Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New soap cutter = I am in LOVE!

I know, it's just a CHEESE SLICER from Walmart but to ME it is the best $20 I have EVER spent on soap right now!  No really - I am in goat farmer soap maker HEAVEN tonight!

I'm going to have to name it something VERY clever and appropriate - like Jaws LOL!  This bad boy had me all a-flutter when it arrived finally on Monday.  Here in the sticks, we do not carry froo froo fancy pants cheese slicers such as this on the shelves in our Walmarts...oh no...you gotta special order them! It really didn't take it too long to get here - but when you go make 8 batches of soap in anticipation of trying this thing out on arrival it makes the wait that much harder. ESPECIALLY when you usually have no patience in waiting to cut your soaps for more than a day! But I waited...patiently...and I was rewarded :)

I was so happy to see it, I made a video even! Go look....I was positively GIDDY Monday afternoon when it was unpacked!
So then, what I really more than anything in the whole world wanted to do was make a video using it.  But I got all over anxious and forgot :(  Oh yes, I was so excited to go cut soaps I left the camera (aka my "too smart for me phone") in the living room.  I went in and began slicing away...took a couple of bars to adjust to but DANG WOWZA AMAZING!  No, seriously, AMAZING I said! 

Usually I make a batch or 2 at a time and cut then next day right? Takes me about 30-45 minutes to cut them up and my loaves make about 11-12 bars depending on how crooked I cut things.  A little bit off each time affects the end result ya know?  So I go in and start with the guillotine mad crazy chopping slicing and WHOA! NO WAY!  I cut EVERY soapy loaf of goodness in 45 minutes! For me this is AMAZING! I counted - some I did smaller and flat style...so they only make 10 bars in a batch...and the rest I did normal for me and those I get 12 out of right?  Totaled out to 88 bars cut up in 45 minutes and THAT my friends for me is a record!

Who needs a super fancy top of the line tank cutter?  NOT THIS FARMER!!! The time I save is terrific, the money I saved is ANOTHER NEW GOAT LOL!!!!!  (Don't go telling the husband though okay? We're gonna slide that one by him later....) OH and the truly best most fantabulous part here?  MUCH STRAIGHTER BARS!

Why yes, I tend to cut things crooked a smidge....I just am not a "stay between the lines" kinda gal I suppose....but with my new super gizmo I cut straight for the first time ever! HAHAHAHA!!!!

Yup...I have a new toy for soap making and I am officially in LOVE!  Singing songs and such as I go...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pink Sugar - a video experiment...

Okay...so first off this is like what, video number 4 maybe?  You know, for all that I spent all 4 years in high school VERY active in Theatre Arts, I am a freaking THESPIAN!  (No, for real, and no smart remarks ya'll, I have already heard them)...anyways, yes, a thespian I tell you and I canNOT do awesome superb videos????  What is wrong with me right???

I dunno...but I am actually fairly pleased with this one....oh yes, not the greatest, but I like it :) 

I got 2 samples of "Pink Sugar" with my latest order from Rustic Escentuals.   If I did it right, that link should show off the fact that they carry MULTIPLE options for Pink Sugar FO and ALL of them sound pretty good right? All sound pretty close, all are bath and body safe, same price...AHHHH!  So I picked 2 - SNC and their "best seller".

So far....my vote is the "SNC" copy....the best seller may sell best, but to MY nose at least it does not SMELL best!

I do think they are just absolutely GORGEOUS though! 

OH!  and what I was trying to say in the video towards the end:  When a fragrance discolors to a dark brown, it's not that people are not clever or creative with it..BUT...we are ALL stuck with that color (the brown discoloration) as part of the soap SOMEHOW right???  Which is why I haven't ever soaped this fragrance until now - I already have several brown vanilla sweet smelling soaps and I didn't know that I wanted another...but I think I see myself heading off into more cupcake type stuff with this one.  It is very delicious to sniff :)

And...what else was I gonna tell ya'll??? OOOHHHH!!!!!

So...at about the 16 minute mark....watch for the blackout!  No really, power went out for a second only...but see!  I am NOT making it up, living out here is CRAZY most days!

And there you have it:  I am going to work on getting better with the video thing...but I like making videos :)  At least I am talking to share with other people and not just talking to myself LOL :)

Well shucks ya'll! The month of April has left the building I see...

I TOTALLY spaced it a few weeks back on posting my link for the mica swirl to the Great Cakes soap challenge - but I have been spacing a TON of stuff lately!  We have baby goats arriving left and right LOL, it makes one a little bit CRAZY and flutterpated!

So...I posted the link to the leopard spots challenge one I made a while back just now...can NOT believe I spaced it on the mica lines :(  Oh well...I will admit though, after doing more mica swirl awesomeness I think I have a new favorite soap trick of the moment!

Let's see...hmmm....taught a soap/goat class a few weeks back, made a trip (6+ hour round trip) to get 2 new baby goats. They are the most perfect mini nubian doelings EVER!  Just see for yourself - meet Hannah (the dark haired beauty) and Nugget (the blue eyed bomb shell)!

Then of course all the prep work and stressing over my 2 does that are due - UGH! Waiting on babies to be born is SO stressful!  Mostly for me, the goats don't seem to really care....they take it all one day at a time style....but I am tearing my hair out!

And then...THEN...there's the soap!  Yes, I have found time to sneak in and soap like MAD CRAZY lately!  I don't know what has come over me...but I will have pics a plenty to post!  OH! and I made a video AND I THINK I have conquered youtube finally!  Have to keep working on that....it's another post though really...

So yes, I have been an absentee blogger lately, which I swore I would not do!  But man oh man - I have had so many emails and phone calls and trips and such that were goat related I just couldn't squeeze in time to blog much...but I'll get all caught up, never you fear :)

Speaking of...guess I better go post about that video before I get sidetracked and forget how to work this computer thing-a-ma-jig huh?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cutting the Mica Swirl Tops Soaps :)

I was all "video makin' happy" last week lol! I got these all cut and on tape and then I walked away from the computer (mostly) for a few days...sooooo...I am FINALLY getting around to posting these!  IDK how great the video is in reality.  In MY head at least I think it is wonderful because I finally did it :P

But anyways, I HOPE it came out okay :) I was uber excited and still am!  Black Raspberry Vanilla and Moonlight Pomegranate - mmmmmmm :)

I think before I officially go post my link on the GreatCakes page I will go get some still shots and put those on the blog - just because my video is NOT that great - but yes, giddy excited a bit I was when I figured out I had a perfect spot to perch the phone and still get ok passing for viewable videos! Happy dance happy dance :)

I want to say I was having a less than beautiful day - but let's be honest, that's how farmer woman tend to roll.  Old t-shirts and make up free! If I really like this video thing I may start doing my hair first LOL :)

Also - please note the OCD with my cutting - I never get a straighter than straight bar and I have some issues haha! Perhaps someone (husband dear) will get me a REAL cutter soon! Actually, maybe I will get me a REAL cutter once I am done with baby goats next month.

And yes, before I start I scrub the HECK out of my hands!  I can't cut for beans in gloves, I tried, didn't work, my hands gets all slippy.  VERY ugly scene!  SO I scrub my hands like medical style before I cut soaps. Just saying - I dunno, another OCD thing with me.

Guess I better go get those pics then so I can post my link for real huh?

Cutting "Key Lime Pie Soap" (aka da Lime in da Coconut)

I've been making videos! YAY froo froo fancy pants phone!  No, no video camera here - just an android phone - but still!  Okay, so don't laugh - there's some MAJOR double chinage going on...but here it is! My "Key Lime Pie soap" all cut and purdy-fied!

The scent is really called "da Lime in da Coconut" from Rustic Escentuals, and it's harder to see in the video that this is indeed the same sparkly mica dusted tops, but it is :) Smells OH SO GOOD!

I have been dragging my feet getting things uploaded BECAUSE I have been moving and grooving doing some "spring cleaning" in this house!  Actually....it was just well over due time to clean the fuzzy dusty house, not because of spring...but you get my drift I think :)

And so, may I present, Key Lime Pie (soap) :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back to the market??? Oh yeah baby!

Ok, so I'm not gonna lie...even though mankind CAN try my patience, I actually REALLY do like people!  Living out here where there aren't many people, I find myself craving them sometimes.  So back to the market I went this weekend! I REALLY had fun last weekend when I sit down and look back at it and you know, the cash is nice.  Plus, to have more room on my soap shelves to make MORE fun soaps is really helpful too!

See, when I really looked at it, I had lotions a-plenty, and TONS of stuff I have been making since February and March - like for real, probably 200 or 300 bars of soap (when I count I'll let you know). I'm not gonna lie, even though that one redneck kinda pushed my buttons, most of the people I met were pretty awesome.  And yes, the lady with the noisy toys...the toys drove me AND come to find out another lady nuts LOL...but she was at least nice.  So, I loaded up and headed back this weekend - I know, crazy right? But why pay for insurance if I'm not gonna make an effort and really sell some stuff eh? Plus, with baby goats coming I won't be able to do it again for a few weeks at least ya know?  Can't leave when mommas are due any minute....

Anyways, I HAD A BLAST!!! Met some awesome people, pretty much sold out of everything else I had that was ready to go and now I am WHOOPED! Overall, the environment is relaxed, the market handles all the "tedious" part as everything is covered so no tent needed, and they have a LARGE table in each space so I don't even have to mess with that either! Just show up and put out my stuff :)  I think I might be addicted lol :)

Plus, get this - they do a drawing each day at 3p.m. for a space number and the winner gets $50 - and GUESS WHAT!!! No, really, guess...come on, guess.....YES!!!!!!! I won today!!!!!!!!!!  And to be honest, I NEVER win anything, not even a dollar on a scratch off! No, seriously - the only stuff I ever win is phone calls from time shares :P and I won something :)

So, I had a tiring but fruitful weekend.  Now, I need to regroup, get pictures of last weeks work posted for ya'll, and get ready for baby goats AND my garden...oh my sad attempts at a garden :(  I HAVE to get on that!  But oh yes, I think I am an addict to selling things, I KNOW I love talking about my goats and my soaps all day and I will return!

OH!  I forgot to say...when you ask "Where have you been?"  I have been at "Olde Security Square" - and I have LOVED IT!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Welders and Goat Milk Soap...what a MESS!

In a good way LOL, but still...the guys my husband works with crack me up! He's a welder you see - we aren't talking about "mild mannered suit and tie office workers".  Oh no, these are hard core rough neck types, and they are a HOOT to sell soap too!

I packed the hubby up with a few baskets of soap this morning before he headed out.  He called me about lunch time with the tally on sales - which was pretty awesome - and THEN he rattled off everyone's suggestions:

  1. make more camouflaged soap - I've done a batch or 2 before and wouldn't mind doing it again.
  2. Make a Houston Texans soap - um, no can do...I can do the colors as a theme, but not embeds, I'm not embed kinda gal right?
  3. Make a John Deere soap - I think I have the perfect fragrance all picked out, can do.
  4. Make a Harley Davidson soap - sure, got to pick a scent, but I can do that I think, color wise at least.

The list went on for a bit, THEN he told me what everyone had bought.  One guy bought "Monkey Farts" for his wife without even smelling it - just because he liked the name! Cracked me up! Another  bought the NG fresh outdoors scent I call Country Skies and after leaving it in his car decided he needed to leave it there and not shower with it because it smelled so good!  Okay, it's your soap now, though I suggest showering with or without it I said to tell him...hehehe....and THEN I found out this little tid bit!

Guess what, no really, GUESS!  Now, keep in mind hubby work for a HUGE company on a HUGE complex way out in the big city - well- guess what they do a few times each year?  Oh yeah baby, they host a huge craft fair thing for employees and their families!  FREE!!!  You go, you get a table and you sell your stuff while people come and mingle through out the day.  Did I mention it's a SUPER huge complex????  Soooo...one of the office ladies - who also bought some soap - is going to get me an email with the info!  How exciting :)  I love free stuff and free stuff where I can make a little money - even if it's not a ton - is TEE-TOTAL-RIFFIC! 

So...perhaps later I will see about posting some pics of the soaps I cut today.  I am VERY excited with the "Key Lime" soap - can't wait until that one is ready as it is FANTABULOUS for real I declare!  And my mica swirl - OH SO PRETTY!  Came out how I envisioned it so perfect too!  Okay, guess I better get outside and go feed the herd.  But a nice pleasant day was had AND not only did I make a little $$$ but I also got some gardening in :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresher than fresh milk - coming soon!

I know - confused right?  I already have 3 goats I am milking each day.  But guess what! No, guess.....

I have TWO MORE goats due May 4th and the excitement is REALLY building now!  Look:

Above is Pomegranate, big as a house!
And THAT is Lucy's baby belly....
And here is Lucy's sweet face!  I am SOOOO excited!

Just a few more weeks and I will have MORE milk LOL!  And baby goats...which means...any soap not made before May 1st will be on hold until the middle of May if not later.  I bottle raise all my babies (it's a goat CAE prevention thing - herd is negative, but I still practice prevention just in case...) anyways, like I was saying, I bottle raise all my goat kids.  That means for a week or 2 they will be in the house in a play pen until they can go outside into the kid pen.  Everyone knows you can't make soap with kids underfoot - people kids OR goat kids and lye do NOT mix right???

So...I have a batch or 2 to knock out before then and hopefully if I remember preservative some lotion to make!  Oh yes, I forgot to order preservative!  DUH ME!  Working on fixing that...

Now, I have to go start picking out names.  My them this year is the letter "D" and I want to be all set when babies arrive to just finish up their papers - these will be registered and I have a deposit on one doe kid already - and then move along with things.  SO SO SO Excited did I mention that???

So, I had to share...we got babies a-comin'!

And WHERE is my promised acceleration???

I know - sounds CRAZY right? A soaper looking for acceleration....hmmm...perhaps I have lost my mind? Aren't most soapers trying to find ways to fight it so they can create beautiful swirls and designs? Nope, I promise I am of sound mind - barely - but sound, and I was ready for this particular fragrance to create and issue or two and ti didn't, which then affected my plans a bit. Have you ever planned a batch around it's warnings and then not gotten any of that stuff? For example - it says "slight accel." - and then nothing? Hmmm....maybe I have lost my mind...see, what had happened was:

I went in yesterday thinking I wanted to soap "da Lime in da Coconut" from Rustic Escentuals.  The plan in my head was:  dark brown and white swirl base with green drop swirls down the middle and a pearly white mice swirl top.   Sounds REALLY pretty doesn't it? However...I paused to check the specs on this one and to quote the manufacturer:  "CP Notes: slight accel., no discoloration, scent holding well, no scent morph"  See it?  Yeah - slight accel - uh oh....I'm not a "loosey goosey" kinda soaper...generally slight accel = soap on a stick if I am not VERY careful....

No really, I KNOW part of my "thick soap batter no matter what I do" problem is my milk.  Milk, when subbed for water 100% in your lye mix, is not actually all liquid itself!  No really, milk is made of part solids and part water!  Now, when your milk is raw straight from the goat, you have ALL the fats, and all the proteins and such that came in that milk too!  Oh yes, store bought milk, even goat milk, has been stripped down of quite a bit before it hits the shelves!  I tried once using store bought goat milk and FINALLY got a "thin trace" and ya know, I hated it! I'm use to my soap tracing in like 2 whirs of my blender - well, it's emulsified at least :)  The store stuff was horrid, took forever to trace and smelled funny since they add lipase to it :(  Just YUCK!  Never did that again ever! (My girls were all dry at the time...and I was desperate to soap but I got over it pretty quick and waited for them to come back into milk after that.)

I know, I hear you, you're saying "What about your oils???"  No, really, even 100% olive oil soap goes thick on my in like 5 minutes of barely trying!  And no, it doesn't seem to matter if I add MORE milk to my lye solution - I still get THICK batter and SQUISHY soft soap that takes MONTHS instead of weeks to get remotely hard!  It's got to be the milk - Nubian milk is pretty rich and my saanens are far behind them...I'm okay with that - the more butter fat in my milk the happier I am.  I actually have learned to like it and don't really like working with thin batter, thin trace, thin anything - heck, I'm a chubby girl, thin is NOT in my vocabulary anyways lol!

So...back to the point.  Slight accel = don't risk crazy swirls!  At least in my world, that's what it is "code" for.  So, I sat down and re-planned this batch in my head.  After sniffing the bottle a few more times, I decided I smelled more LIME than COCONUT anyways and it came to me:  MAY A KEY LIME PIE!!!! Well - I don't have any nifty pie thingies...but I can make a loaf that LOOKS like a pie!  Okay - so now I was set!

I went on in, got ALL set up - oils weighed and measured and melted CHECK, mold lined CHECK, colors ready CHECK, milk and lye prepped CHECK.  And away I went...First I mixed it all up to that nice emulsified point, and poured off a tad for the "crust" and colored it a medium brown - NO fragrance!
Very "crusty looking" - should have added some spices or ground walnuts or SOMETHING to make it more "graham crackery" but alas, I didn't think of that until later :(  Still...nice smooth crust....on to the "pie"!  I split the rest and adjusted my fragrance into the correct portions for each.  The plan was to add fragrance AFTER color was in there and then pour before it could set up - like I said, this ain't my first rodeo with the phrase "slight accel." right....

So, in goes my minty lime green - a tad more mint than lime - but that's okay:
See how it's already thick enough to stick to the sides there?  No fragrance yet either - thick is just "my thing, my style, how I roll".  So, holding my breath, I grab my wisk - NOT the blender - and dump my fragrance, stir like a mad woman and into the mold!
Wait a minute, just wait one stinking minute here!  See how SMOOTH that is???  A few lumps, yes, but not my usual consistancy with something marked "slight accel."!!!  At this point, I am thinking to myself "WOW! Maybe I FINALLY worked fast enough this time!"  You know, one of those "If I had given it a minute it would be more gloppy, I'm just lucky moments"....oh no!  No, no no no no NO!  I was more than lucky, I had a reverse curse!

Curse you say?  What's WRONG with this lady???  Well, see, I was banking on that slight accel bit for the top - I wanted to be able to frost/pipe the top and then go make dinner.  I wasn't in a hurry, but I figured I wouldn't have to wait long as it would set up and I would move all speedy like and then be done right?  Nope...I mixed my white into the top and it's little bit of fragrance and sure, yeah, it was thickER, but not THICK.  Not like I was thinking it would get...so, I put it into my piping set up and thinking "It's coming any minute now I better hurry!" I began to pipe and got this:
Why yes, BLOBS of soft soap batter!  WHERE IS MY SLIGHT ACCELERATION?????  Now I am kinda mad...I REALLY wanted that swirly white brown marbeled soap with green in it and a mica swirl top as I am digging the mica swirls at the moment!  I was thinking I should have gone with said design, I was ready to walk away for a bit anyways, and so I did, I went and started dinner.  Seriously, like 15 minutes later it was STILL soft!  WHAT????  Only me....

I FINALLY got this - still a bit soft - but REALLY pretty when it's all dusted with pearly mica no?  Yes, very pretty indeed I think!  I unmolded it this morning, but haven't cut it yet - I had to go out and feed and milk first and felt like blogging a bit before I got all soapy cutting stuff.  REALLY shiny pretty soap!  Not quite as fun as swirls would have been, but unique unto itself and yes, it smells VERY key lime and not so much coconut still, so I am happy with my decision there :)

It really is crazy how soap can do sometimes isn't it???  I suppose the last few weeks have gone "not as planned" for a reason though - probably the universe setting me up to get a bunch of buck kids instead of does next month - but still....I'm kinda excited to go cut stuff up now. I REALLY am in love with that top now that I look at it again.  Bet I couldn't get so lucky twice that's for sure!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Of Possum's and Mica Swirls....

So, Monday evening I got back in the soaping saddle and knocked out another batch of cherry almond soap - because the first batch is officially spoken for and I want more of it - and THEN I got all ambitious and thought I would do the mica swirl tops for the next weekly challenge.  Now, keep in mind, I have done this one before and REALLY liked what I got.  See:

That would be my version of "Vanilla Oak" which I actually call "Rustic" since it looks so homey and rustic with it's natural warm brown that it turns.  I added the swirly green mica top and green mica pencil lines so it would look like this:
Why yes, that IS the oak tree that throws things at my house and scares the snot right out of me at times...but you have to admit is is a gorgeous big ol' tree ain't it?  Something that large just needed a soap designed after it :)  Anyways...

So, like I was saying, I had knocked out my cherry almond soap, and I even made it through the next batch.  Oh yes, I had decided to use Moonlight Pomegranate for the fragrance on my mical swirl tops and it was coming along NICELY!  I walked out to the big freezers, and put my soap in there because I didn't want it getting too hot and cracking (and it was WARM in this house Monday night) and as I turn around to come in the house look what I found:
FOUR - yes 4 - of our barn cats had this teeny little fella under my truck!  He was still up and hissing and that makes him one lucky possum!  If he had been playing possum, I would have walked away - the cats eat stuff all the time! But no, he was fighting to live and SO tiny!  Like fits in the palm of your hand tiny!  Now what to do right? Well...I still had my gloves on from soaping (because I don't want any possum germs I was thinking...what a nerd right?), so I scooped him up by the tail, and imprisoned him in a bucket with a net over the top while I looked around a bit.  No mama to be found :(  Lucky me - I HAVE GOAT MILK!  ALMOST EVERYTHING CAN DRINK GOAT MILK AND SO DOES MY NEIGHBOR! Who, by the way, has doctored on possums before....

 So he was doctored - had a small wound where I am guessing a cat carried him away from his mama and fed a little goat milk and given a mitten to sleep in.  The next day my time was eaten up by finding him the proper rescue place to go to as he can't stay here - we aren't experts like that! But my soap stayed in the freezer, forgotten :( Oh well, at least this little fighter was doing well though!  To survive my cats - and four of them at once - you have to be a fighter when you are that small!

But, needless to say I have just now this morning pulled my frozen soap out of the freezer lol!  At least the world, or the lord, or mother nature or whom ever let me have my soap in peace this time before tossing wild things my way haha!

So, as I wait for my mica swirl to thaw and my camera to charge to get pictures, I figured I would share a bit of the craziness via photo journal of sorts.  Why yes, we have TONS of critters out here, and not all invited!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The market, my mouth, and why I don't do "Live People"....

Let me just say, I am a hermit.  Yes, a bonafide, stay at home as much as I can, avoid the world hermit.  "Live, in person, for real human beings" often frustrate me.  The end.  Well, not really....Some days I have to leave though, it is a need.  Now, what does this have to do with soap?  Follow along...

Yesterday I decided to go to the flea market and clear out a BUNCH of the left over holiday stuff, and some newer stuff from late February/early March...I need more room on my shelves (or perhaps more shelves - just depends on if you ask my husband or me which it is).  Anyways...so I had a decent little bit of stuff at an insanely reasonable price for what it is.  But odds and ends - like ONE bar of pumpkin soap.  What am I going to do with ONE bar of pumpkin soap?  Sell it for $2 and have no bars of pumpkin until next fall that's what!  So away I went..

I got up EARLY - I don't do "early", neither do my goats.  But up I got, and away I went and THEN the "people" happened....UGH!

First of all, the 2 ladies next to me were selling toys.  Keep in mind here I don't have human kids and I have not built a tolerance to blinky light up noisey singing toys.  Anyways, yes TOYS - toys that sang, and made noise and it was like the Grinch!  The part where he complains "Oh, the noise, noise NOISE NOISE!!!!"  Yup...NOISE!  They also had a boat load of kids - running around, throwing things, shooting darts at my truck, SPILLING SODAS!  Oh yeah...I was still smiling through my teeth as I ground them together.  It was all fun and games until the sugary spilled drinks attracted BEES!!!!  Oh my goodness...the bees! I had to carefully dash through the swarm to get to the truck because there was a puddle of soda and every bee for 3 counties sitting next to my truck door...AND THEN...

These 2 ladies also had some stanky nasty perfumes...oh joy, guess what the bad kids did?  Oh yes, they knocked a perfume off of a table and it busted ALL OVER UNDER MINE!!!  For real???  I spent a few hours telling people what the smell was and that it was NOT my soaps!  But I kept my mouth shut...UNTIL...

Enter the redneck!  Have you seen Joe Dirt???  Oh yes, Joe Dirt times five.  Mullet, tattoos, cut off Larry the Cable guy type shirt...and he thinks he's being cute.  No really, if you have never dealt with this type, you haven't lived.  He says: "Glitter on soap????  Who wants to take a bath and come out covered in GLITTER unless you are a STRIPPER!!! hahahahaha.." Laughing so hard was Mr Redneck, UNTIL I opened my mouth - filter off mind you and said, "Glitter is just like dirt - it WASHES OFF - not that you would know judging by your body odor sir, but ask your first wife, wasn't she a stripper?"

I know...I KNOW ya'll!!!! I am mean, but I SWEAR it just FLEW out of my mouth!  I couldn't stop the words from vomitting forth...:(  It turned out okay though - apparently he had been heckling vendors AND customers down the row, because about 4 people began to applaud and next thing you know I did a nice little chunk of sales right behind him walking off.  He had nothing to say back to me...but still...

I KNOW I should be nicer, but I just couldn't stop myself!  I had already been completely frazzled by the people next to me for half of the day, and out it came...This though is why I like "online internet people" - when they get all snarky smart mouthed I can walk away from the computer and be the better person.  I really don't like being a meany pants mcgee at all :(

It's also what I love about soap - I can quietly sell most of it online, to friends and family really is where the bulk of it goes, and I don't have to see many morons in my day....

I guess I needed to share this morning - I wasn't proud of my actions - but it's why I don't do many "market" type settings and NO farmers markets are not ANY better than flea markets...but that, my friends, is another post!

Friday, April 5, 2013

My new colors came!

And I totally forgot about them!  Well...not really...but as I was having a cry baby poor me moment (due to crazy happenings 'round the homestead) they got overlooked!

Until recently, I have been pleased to work with just a few basic colors for my soaps.  You know, the old stand by type stuff.  Ultramarine blue and purple, titanium dioxide (lovingly called "TD" by many a soaper), black oxide....nothing fancy really.  I've been content to work with just a few basic colors - until I started really paying attention to what other soapers were up to that is...

When Madame Great Cakes (Amy at Greatcakes Soap Works...she's another great one too) anyways, when she posted the next soap challenge I decided after looking around I really needed to start investing in some more exciting colors!  I admit this also:  I have a hang up/fetish for purples, blues and greens!  Yellow, orange, red....ehh....not so much my favorite things! It's part of why I have been content to work in more basic colors - all the fancy, pretty, bright stuff has never really held my attention that long, I had plenty of purple and blue stuff to keep me content. I also have a few greens and some white that do fall under the "mica" category...but no fancy reds or yellows.  Hmmm.... I finally had to admit it was time for me to round things out a bit, play with some more interesting micas and what not...

Upon hearing the call for another soap challenge, I FINALLY ordered some more colors!  Not much, just a pink, and 3 micas that have caught my eye several times at Brambleberry.  I had always passed on them until the other day, and I finally committed and placed the order.  When they arrived I stared at their beauty in their jars for easily 30 minutes - afraid to open them for fear my butterfingers would spill them or a sneeze would send the contents floating into the air! I was then tempted to open then and poke at them a bit...like a kid, I wanted to rub them all over the house like little bright spots of color on the walls! How silly right?  But I was all "ooh and aahhh" about it - color has not really been my thing right?

There are my new little soapy soldiers, all lined up in a row while I stare at them - you can't see it, but the goats are staring back (probably wondering if they are edible...).

After making a few batches of soap now, well, I AM HOOKED!!!! I think I need more of these "micas" lol!  Not only is it really nice to be broadening my own little horizons - but it's fun to have the rainbow in my soap room! I didn't realize what I had been missing! I need more MORE MORE I tell you! Especially pinks and reds - I have been missing out on pinks and reds.  Notice, I am still not really excited about yellow/orange...nope, they are the neglected color choice around here :(

Then once again BAM!  It me like a freight train!  As I was reading the link up/blog for Amathia Soapworks version of the tiger stripes challenge (and bear in mind she was "The One" who inspired it - another VERY clever and amazing soaper indeed!)  I thought to myself "Ok!  I NEED these colors!"  Not just one soaper, but several have mentioned the same colors from the same company - The Conservatorie - in several blogs and videos.  Yup, ruby red, tangerine, magic yellow, apple green, blue kamikaze, and cosmo martini are all on the shopping list.  I have also challenged myself to find one more each of:  red/pink, yellow/orange.  Yes, I consider red/pink one category and yellow/orange another...I know, it's kinda sorta like cheating a bit.  But the budget (and my soap room) can only hold so much at one time haha!

 I am giving myself the weekend to decide on things, and placing my order Monday.  I think I need to go buy some new organizing stuff - perhaps that shelving I had mentioned a month or 2 ago???  That's the only issue I have so far with a new obsession - housing it!  This place is tiny and the soap room is the smallest room of all....

So, now that I have developed a new "habit" to feed - the only problem I see - is where am I going to keep all of this stuff?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rosemary ROCKS!

No, really, that's what I shall call this one :)  Happy dance, happy dance! Actually, last time I made rosemary mint, I did a hot process castile soap with just a green swirl in.  I used a fo from Rustic Escentuals and it was a hit with everyone, even me! (And I don't really like herbal-ish things much...though they are growing on me).  Everyone loved it and I initially just wanted to make another batch...HOWEVER....

My luck this last week or 2 with "remakes and round twos" has been poor to say the least.  Flat out pitiful and bad to be honest.  I also had a decent bit of less than lovely, crooked, odd sized bars that needed to be dealt with.  Mostly my version of castile, mostly plain with no real color...I did have a box of scraps and shavings kicked aside too....hmmmm.....

Since I have been playing around and reading more and more blogs, I came across this one in particular over, again, at Greatcakes Soap Works.   Now, when I rebatch I don't usually go adding stuff in, I just melt it down, add fragrance and plop it in the mold.  Heck, most times I just melt it down and mold it up, cutting it into bars of stuff I can use around here to bath critters and wash my hands! But sometimes I get a tad creative and scent it pretty like...

BAM!!!  That's when it hit me!  Since I had so much mostly plain soap, and since rosemary mint is a mostly natural kind of smell (I still use a fragrance oil - not really big into natural stuff beyond the goat milk, just not my thing) anyways, BAM I said!

In light of the current trend of multiple rounds of soap turning out to be doomed...I decided to do something different and THIS is what I got:

I shall call it "Rosemary ROCKS!" A) Because it looks like rocks and B) Because it does!  LOVE that smell too!  So, I suppose I have had 2 wins in one day and I have a third one to share, but I am saving it for another evening... I am in love with how it looks like my kitchen counters (even though they are formica and not granite lol)...To me, this one says "herbal" when you see it!

Moving on, the Elemental Swirl: Third try = the charm?

OR...is it just that the FIRST try of each technique is the charm???  Who knows right?  All I know is now I can't wait until the weekend comes to share this one - heck, if you are reading this it might already BE the weekend :) It seems for me, with the challenge, I should leave "well enough alone" and stick to one attempt on things...ok universe, I get it, can do!

So...I went on into the soap room bout, eh, 6ish this evening (Actually yesterday evening now...Wednesday night that is).  I got EVERYTHING prepped to do my version of the "Elemental Swirl".  Then, I walked away.  Oh yes, it was time to milk, then dinner and so on...I figured there was no storm blowing through tonight and odds would be in my favor if I waited until after ALL the critters were fed! Plus, I really didn't know if I had it in me to get back in there...but then while I was waiting on the chicken to finish roasting for dinner, I came across a blog post by another soap challenge taker and I was really and truly inspired to stop pouting and get back in that soap room.  Sometimes, I must admit, the farming thing can kinda drive you nuts...this has been one of those weeks!  But I put on my big girl panties and in I went...

'Bout 10p.m. I headed in - ready to do battle!  Flashlight always handy, just in case, everyone on lock down, gloves and goggles on, here I come to tackle a batch of soap with NO INTERRUPTIONS! See now, I was (and still am) VERY excited about this one!  I had some Cucumber Melon fragrance oil from Nature's Garden that I had been meaning to soap - and when I heard about the soap challenge BAM! It hit me!  THAT was the one for the elemental swirl!!!

Milk and lye, all mixed up and ready (oils not pictured ready too :) )

A hot mess of colors and cups, ready to mix away - see my oils off to the left there? Also - please note the splash of purple on the wall above the single red cup...see it?  Oh yes, that would be a splash from the spill in my great Leopard attack the night before!  I still don't know how I came away from that one unscathed....no back to the soap at hand...

The greens and the yellows needed no stick blending - I choose those three on a plain soap base because they reminded me of how both cucumbers and watermelons often have a bit of yellow in the rind portion...The black hadn't been blended yet when I paused to snap this, but I was going for watermelon-y reds/pinks with a bit of black like the seeds ya know?

I didn't get any pics of me mixing it all in the pots...i was way too excited to slow down for the camera!  First...in goes the red bit....I kinda over did it with the swirling thing, it's a little curfuddled and more muddy than I was going for, but hey...I'll take it!  At least a tree limb hadn't come through the roof yet and no goats had strolled through the kitchen either!  Gotta take what you can get in terms of perfection LOL :)
It's more red/pink than white closer to the bottom - funny how you can over stir part of it and not the rest right?  Okay...so then I choose the pearly white mica for my pencil line.  Sticking with the whole "melon slice" theme I was going for, I wanted the white line to be there like that ucky white part only chickens and pigs eat on a melon...
I'm just ITCHING to see how that white line comes out...a little scared it WON'T come out!  Looks silvery a bit in this lighting doesn't it?  Oh well...I must admit here - when I have done "pencil lines" until now I have used a strainer thing-a-ma-jig that I have.  But this time I tried Madame GreatCakes herselfs hint and used an old pair of panty hose over a little jar and YES!  Hausfrau farm wife me did have a pair in the closet still (of course I have never worn them LOL, pulled 'em fresh outta the package! Thank goodness I'm not froo froo anymore!) LOVED that little trick!

Then, ever so gently, on with the green layer....
I ended up with the coolest ever ribbons of green down the middle! I ALMOST left it like that too!  But, alas, I had pink/red bits left and couldn't resist swirling the top a bit....
On with the melon colored madness...annnnnnddd....then we swirls it all :)

Now, here's where I had a VERY tough moment - to glitter or not to glitter - that is the question????  After staring at it VERY hard for a moment, I went with "or not".  A little tidly wee bit of shine from the mica is coming through in that darker red and I decided I liked that.  No, not a ton like melt and pour soap would give it...but enough...A nice little pop of "look real close to see how special this soap is" if you will.

The best part?  The VERY best part?  I only had enough fragrance to do this one ONCE right now at least LOL....I won't be going back for a round 2 on this soap for a while!  So...knock on wood...long as the rest of that oak tree stays put and doesn't fall into my soap room we are safe for a while!  


And....drum roll ya'll............

Sorry, it's a tid bit out of focus - my shaky hands would not cooperate tonight.  But...Me likey :) :) :)

The pencil line in white = bad idea - you can BARELY see it there (of course maybe if I went with darker colors it would be better...but I like the lighter pastely look for this scent).  IF you look reeaaallllly close, it looks more like tiger stripes than swirls LOL!!!  I suppose that is a big "cosmic laugh at me" kinda thing though - I asked for tiger stripes last week danggit and NOW I get them!  Oh my...I'm still laughing at my reaction when I cut it!  "WHAT?  Stripes now??" It took my 2 slices in to catch on too - at first I was all "ooh, ahh" and THEN a very loud WHAT was heard all across the county - sorry ya'll, it was me (my husband seriously came in to check on me as I was talking very loudly to myself as I cut this one haha!) I still love it though!  

Note to self for next time:  more red, no white, in the bottom part...maybe a thin white SOAP middle layer...and no pink stuff on top, perhaps a mica swirl on top and insulate and gel it - usually my soaps do well on their own once I put the lid on them, but it got colder in here last night than I thought! I shoulda wrapped it in a towel or 2, eh, next time I will watch the temp in the house better (I don't recall inviting winter to return either - it's been crazy cold for APRIL the last few days!) Oh well, no big deal right? Ya know, for a cucumber melon scent, I really like the way it came out! It has melon colors, it has cucumber colors, and a little bit of sparkly from the micas I used.  Tres nice :)

Now I need to make a decision for the next challenge - mica swirl tops and such....hmmm...I made a really neat one last month and I know it will go fast among the friends and family.  DO I TAKE A CHANCE ON ROUND 2???  Or do I do something totally different????  We shall see.....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spots Round 2, not that great, but not that bad....

Ok, so FIRST of all...the destruction from Tiger Stripes Day:

Do you see where they knocked down not one but TWO of the boards that form a "fence"...yup...I know, I SUCK at construction work!  But still - this little lean too I built was BUCK proof! See the guilty party looking at me like I was hampering HER fun? MMMmhhhhmmm...names Pomegranate but it SHOULD be trouble!

So...anyways...I went out this morning to take a look at the reason for my heart attack last night in the dark.  First off, you GOTTA see this tree:
This is the tree that gives me my "theme" for what I call "Rustic" (a vanilla oak scent by Brambleberry) - since it is one BIG, GIANT, OLD oak tree I figure it is perfect.  BUT, it does hand over the house, and when there is the combo of a major storm rolling through, a giant crashy noise AND the lights blink out you can see why I jumped and spilled my soap right?  First thought, much like that old t.v. show Sanford & Son was "Lord, Here I come!"  But then I was still alive a few moments later right?  So, okay, here's what I found this morning:

A nice, large, HUGE actually, dent in the roofing over the back porch...caused by:
A limb the size of a young tree!!!!  Yup, I was trying to soap and mother nature was throwing curve balls at me - literally!

So...I did all my hausfrau farmer stuff for the day and lastly I headed in to clean up the mess from the prior evening.  I scraped my now saponified soapy mess off of the floor and weighed it - almost 9ounces of wasted soap, nearly 2 bars worth if you will.  Alright, I guess it's not as bad as I thought. I initially was guessing I had about a pound of Love Spell scented floor cleaner down there - because once it hits the floor that's what it becomes right?

Then...to make myself feel better...I re-batched some scraps and such I had kicking around.  Scented it with rosemary mint and went for the "marbeled natural herbal look" with it.  While I was cooking that down, I did the dishes from the prior evening and started dinner and fiddle with the laundry...we shall see how it came out, but I feel pretty good about it.  Just waiting for it to cool now....anyways..so I held my breath and I cut into "Leopard Spots Round 2"...ok...remember how Round 1 came out???
Not too bad right?  I was kinda dreading round 2 because I had given up after the spill....but....
It's not too bad :)  Still has a bit of the "leopard look" to it...really pretty swirl that's for sure...I guess I am on the same crappy fence I built with this one eh?  Hmmmm....haven't finished cutting it yet - it's still kinda soft and not even 24 hours old yet!  We'll see...still smells good, as far as the 'soap' part it's still soap...just not exactly what I was going for, but kinda nifty in it's own right ain't it?

I suppose the moral here is this:  Even when you nearly wet your pants in fear and make a royal mess of things, it can still turn out sudsy :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And Leopards Suck too!

Ok, well, only sometimes.  Basically, I should have known better :(

See now, how THIS one goes is:  I went in on Monday, after a VERY patience trying last few days to soap and unwind....I wanted to go ahead and knock out the leopard spots I had been meaning to do anyways PLUS then I would be all ready to blog and post later on in the soap challenge right?  The picture above was my outcome on Tuesday - VERY respectable I do think :)  I was pleased and dammit all I SHOULD have left well enough alone...but no...

So, tonight, I figure I wanted to do a second batch.  I wanted to gt my spots a little more evenly spread out...

I wanted to get step by step pictures of the process.  But...BUT....BUT!!!! I should have known better!

See, here's the thing.  We live waaaayyyy out in the woods in the boonies - past the boonies actually - and every time a squirrel farts on a light pole the power blinks.  Every time a storm blows through the power blinks.  Tonight it was storming BAD too...and I KNEW better, I really did.  But heck, sometimes you HAVE to live dangerous you know? So into the soap room I go....

Once again, I manage to get ALMOST everything mixed.  My lye and oils have been combined, my base and my yellow have been mixed up and JUST as I go to incorporate the purple color with the soap batter BOOM!!!! The lights flicker, the power tries to go out AND something BIG just hit the roof!!!!  OH NO!!! Something little hit the floor! What you ask?

Oh, you know, nothing major...just a pound of on it;s way to purple love spell scented soap batter!  We have a GIANT oak over the house and when I heard the loud crash I thought the tree was coming down, I saw my life flash before my eyes, and I jumped and knocked my purple-to-be batter off of the counter top and onto the floor.  I froze, in the dark, not knowing where the soap had gone and not wearing shoes!  Socks, yes, shoes, no...I didn't want lye filled soap batter squishing between my toes!

Thankfully, the lights came back on FAST!  And low and behold:
There was my purple-to-be soap batter :(  Always a trooper, I grabbed another plastic jug thing, mixed up a tad more purple out of the white, and swirled it all together...just a plain old swirly mess I think...I dunno...we will see when I cut it.

The moral of the story is:  I can get away with the big cat themes once, but try for twice in the same week they will bite me - HARD!!!!

I'm a little scared to try the next method in the challenge - the house might really fall on me next time!  At least it's not a panther or a lion them...I should be safe right? And, no more soaping in storms...I really did know better when I went in there though :(

See, what had happened was....

I started out to make "Tiger Stripes" and ended up with "gloppy forgotten hot ass mess" - seems if tiger stripes are the intended goal, then I am gonna need some better fencing!  Fencing you ask?  YES, FENCING!

So...the other day...I go in to make my rendition of tiger stripes in soap.  I have some red and yellow clays from Brambleberry I want to use and this "Little Black Dress" fo from Rustic Escentuals I have used before...I figure since I already made a tiger stripe in "Black Tie" from Nature's Garden (which I refer to as "City Slicker") I will do a "City Slicker for her version....

My goats however disagreed with THAT plan! As I was saying..........

It was a GORGEOUS DAY outside and I had the front door open to catch a little of that in the house.  Nice breeze, lovely weather, just enjoying the day.  I go in, I set up everything, get my lye and oils going like a team of soapy goodness, split the batch, mix in the yellow clay and JUST as I finish mixing in the red I hear CLOMP CLOMP clompclompclompclomp!!!!!!!  Now wait a minute, there should be NO clomping of hooves!!! Here's where it gets good, I ALMOST wish I had been doing a video, except the amount of bleeps needed would be excessive to say the least!

I spin around, and what do I see?  The faces of 3 goats staring back at me - IN MY KITCHEN!!!  Initially, I freak, I shut the door to the soap room and just pause.  What do I do?  Do I soap on?  NOOOOO!!!!  The bedroom door is open too!  From the window in my soap room door, there go 3 of the goats - ON MY BED!!!  NOOOO!!!!And where are the other 2 goats from that pen????

So, in a fit of super pissed off, the gloves and goggles come off and out I go...seems that somehow the girls have managed to DESTROY the pen the bucks never could!  There's a board cracked in half and the chance for escape was taken!!!  I stood there - livid - for just a second.  Well, actually closer to 5 minutes, while the offenders clamored around me for attention.  I had soap waiting to be poured after all...and so I shuffled the does onto the back porch (which is also a goat maternity ward and such at times and currently houses my spoiled "in milk does".  Yeah, sure, Willow the Mean is out there - I didn't care.  I let her whoop on the yearlings while I returned to my soap...my sad, gloppy, now been sitting there for probably half an hour at least soap.  Because for some reason, once you want to catch a goat THEY KNOW IT!  Took me a bit to round them up - they KNEW I was hot!

As I was saying - I returned to my now nearly solidified and saponified soap batter. I proceeded to glop it into the mold.  Let me add here - I LIKE my tiger stripes a bit thicker, but not that thick!  The only photo I got of the process was the end...take a closer look:

Not all the glitter in the world can make it better....
Not all the clever posing helps....the goats ruined my tiger stripes!  Actually, to be honest, the goats and a combo of my crappy fencing ruined my tiger stripes :(

So instead, I give you from the week before this:
This would be the one I mentioned - "City Slicker" - aka "Tiger Stripes UN-interrupted!"

So yes, I have been pouting and not soaping much, and yes...oh yes...I have one more reason why the "Big Cats" and I don't mix.  That story will come in a few days time I think....let's just say there's a VERY good reason I don't use glass when I soap...

AND YES, I made the black and white BEFORE I knew about the challenge and NO I don't care :P (I'm still a little pouty about spending a day fixing fences and what happened tonight...but that is another story all together...)