Monday, October 22, 2018

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

We officially went from summer to winter seemingly overnight. The temps last week were in the 80's and 70's and now we are in the 30's at night with 50's and 40's in the daytime. The leaves are barely starting to change and normally they are at their peak by the week of October.

Stinkeye!
The kittehs OTOH are taking advantage of the shift in sunlight and a knitted blanket I have on my office chair. Miss Thang is giving me the stinkeye and Chaz will probably start annoying her any minute in order to get her to jump out of the chair. That way, he can have it all to himself. They both "fight" over it...it's been funny to watch.

This year has been so strange weather wise in Virginia. I'm sort of glad I did not have a vegetable garden, as I've heard that all the rain made local gardening a bear. Split tomatoes, blight, fungus, and weeds, weeds, weeds. It would have been a hot, muddy, mess for sure. Although I miss having a garden, it HAS been nice to have the extra time and energy to do fun things again. We're going to have trick-or-treaters...big difference from living in the country for 6 years!

Missing, but NOT missing my old veggie garden!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Soapy Friday - "Coco Loco"

Happy soapy Friday everyone! This bar of soap looks pretty ordinary, doesn't it? But NAY...it is not!

"Coco Loco" - Crazy Luxury Soap!
I present to you "Coco Loco" - made with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and coconut milk, it will make your skin feel loco soft and smooth! It's scented with an exotic, coconut-fruit fragrance blend that will make you think that you are gently swinging in a hammock between two palm trees on the beach.

It has only 6 ingredients TOTAL...no colorants, nothing extra, just crazy, creamy good stuff for your skin!

I made this soap 3 weeks ago and I can't wait to try it; it even FEELS creamy in my hand. Hope this is what I've been hoping...a super creamy, luxury bar of soap.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Soapy Friday: Rethinking Laundry Soap

Whooo...I've been busier than a one-legged paper hanger lately! My laundry cream got me thinking...although it worked fine and it was wonderful, it WAS a cream that required distilled water to make. And water means you need to use a preservative, which I wanted to avoid.

Laundry Soap Powder
So, I reformulated it back into a good-ol'-fashioned soap powder. It works just a well, it requires less ingredients (which equals less $$ to make) AND it's cheaper to package. I'm thinking ahead here, and I think there is a want and need for a more natural laundry product.

So, there's that. Also, I've been testing fragrance oils like cray around here. I'm having a love affair with Nuture Soaps and this might very well be my numero uno fragrance oil company for the future.

Testing Fragrance Oils in Cold Processed Soap

PLUS, they sent me the most awesome Ryan...I mean LOOK AT IT! They even friggin' laminated it!


"Hey Girl..."
Lastly, I sold some of my very first bars of soap last weekend! Hubby and I finally got around to having a garage sale and I decided to put out a display for my soap, body butter, and laundry soap. I friggin' sold $150 worth of my stuff ALONE! I so wish I had gotten a pic of my setup...but I was too busy and distracted. Sigh.

Anywho, things are really looking up...I'm hoping to debut my logo & business cards soon! Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Soapy Friday: Halloween Soaps

I've been having such a blast over the past couple of weeks making my Classic Monsters Halloween soaps...



Friday, September 07, 2018

Soapy Friday: The Vanilla Villain

Happy Friday everyone! Why is it that short, holiday weeks always feel the longest? I swear...this week went on FOR-EVER! But first, some beautiful "Toasted Vanilla" soap:

"Toasted Vanilla" 
I was out-of-town last week for work, but I did manage to make a loaf of vanilla-only scented soap when I got back. I usually blend vanilla with other fragrances, but I just bought a big bottle of "Vanilla Bean" fragrance oil (FO) and wanted to see how it stood on it's very own.

Most people have been taught to believe that vanilla - whether scent or flavor - is white or off-white. But it is NOT; it really is a dark brown in its natural state. The fragrance compound "vanillin" within vanilla scents or flavors oxidizes and eventually turns brown when it is exposed to air. Vanilla scents or flavors are typically blended with what is called "vanillin stabilizers" to keep a product from turning brown. The problem is, at least in the skin-care world, this only lasts for a few months, maybe up to a year.

When I initially made this soap, it was a creamy, off-white color - exactly what you would THINK a vanilla color should look like - but as the vanillian oxidizes with the air, my soap is slowly turning a dark brown. Eventually, each bar will turn completely dark brown throughout.

The vanillin villain going to town!
My philosophy is: Don't fight it. I think it looks like gilded chocolate cake, and IT SMELLS SO FRIGGIN' GOOD!

Good enough to eat!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Soapy Friday: 2018 Fall Soaps

The thing about making high-quality, artisan, cold-processed soap is that it needs a minimum of 4-6 weeks of curing time before it's ready to be used. So, you have to plan ahead, which means you are making fall and winter stuff in the summer.

Fall Soaps for 2018
I don't mind it. I'm sick of the hot weather and making fall and winter soap puts me in the mood for cooler times ahead.

I've made 3 different fall soaps this week, which will all be ready by early-to-mid October. I'm feeling chilly already!

"Falling Leaves"

This soap turned out EXACTLY like I was hoping it would. In fact even better. I used my triple-butter luxury recipe for this soap, and it is scented with a citrus-spiced-berry fragrance that makes me want to go pick pumpkins and Christmas trees at the same time!

Falling leaves and autumn glory

"Eucalyptus Spearmint Sea-Salt"

This is another one of my triple-butter luxury bars made with activated charcoal and white and pink Himalayan sea-salt. It has a very invigorating eucalyptus and spearmint fragrance, with hints of ozone and sea spray. This soap makes me think of taking a long walk along a winter sea shore with a wool sweater wrapped around my shoulders.

Eucalyptus Spearmint Sea Salt Soap 

"Country Bumpkin"

Not only is this soap gorgeous, it's made with real pumpkin! Pumpkin contains Vitamin A and C to help soften and sooth the skin, while boosting collagen production to prevent aging. Better than pumpkin spice, this soap smells like fresh-baked pumpkin pie with an extra dash of cinnamon!

Pumpkin Pie anyone?


Monday, August 20, 2018

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

Ugh...I've been up since 4 a.m. and I'm dragging butt.

One of the smoke detectors in this house decided to go off and announce "FIRE!" at that glorious hour of the morning. It's one of those newer detectors where it not only belts out that annoying chirping alarm, but it speaks to you as well.

I was out of bed in a hot second, and then it stopped as soon as it went off. I searched the house from top-to-bottom before going back to bed. Of course I didn't go back to sleep because I kept imagining the worst...what if there's a fire in the attic that I can't see? Do I smell smoke? What is that noise outside?...it was the rain.

Sigh. This house is cursed. Probably the batteries need to be changed in the detectors, as I'm sure they've never been changed ever.

Of course hubby slept thru the whole thing...how can they do that?  Anywho, Miss Thang has no problems sleeping, especially if there is a beam of sunlight involved.

Sunny Thang

Friday, August 17, 2018

Soapy Friday: Cream Laundry Soap


Ya’ll…YA’LL…I have been super busy this week making this amazeballs, natural Cream Laundry Soap. Yes. Laundry soap! 

Cream Laundry Detergent...and the angels sang
It’s made with 100% cold-processed coconut oil soap, washing soda, Borax, essential oils and fragrance oils, and it totally kicks ass! Or should I say it kicks dirty laundry’s ass! Blended with lavender and lemon essential oils, and a touch of an April clean fresh fragrance oil, it smells like heaven had a baby with a mountain stream and then bottled it up in this here jar.

Sooo lusciously creamy!
How do you use it? Why I’m glad you asked dear friend! You simply put 1-2 tablespoons of this luscious cream detergent in your washing machine drum BEFORE you throw in your clothes. Turn on your machine, and VIOLA! If you have a stain, just rub some of this amazing stuff into the stain (scrub with a toothbrush if extra bad) before washing, and step back to watch the magic.
  • No more gunky liquid detergent dispensers.
  • No more stepping on spilled powder detergent on the floor that SOMEONE didn’t clean-up. AHEM!
  • No more enshrouding yourself with synthetic detergent residue every time you get dressed…OH AND YOU’RE A TOTAL BALLER FOR NOT POLLUTING THE PLANET!
All natural super hero
Does it work? Ya’ll…YA’LL…I’ve been a laundry nerd waaaay before I was making soap. My nemesis is grease stains. It works ya’ll. It friggin’ works like a dream. And dare I say my clothes actually FEEL softer too?

I don’t have a stitch of dirty laundry in my house, as I’ve been testing this baby all week.

Drops mic.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Soapy Friday: Back to Life...Back to Reality

Sorry to have so much silence on the soap-front, but hubby and I just got back from a desperately-needed vacay to Louisville/Ohio last night. The week before this, I was in Boston for work.

We had ourselves an old-fashioned summer road trip and drove instead of flying. Partly because we wanted to have a slower pace, and partly because I wanted to stop-and-shop at some soap supplies stores in Ohio.

Louisville, KY

We love it here and will return again-and-again. We stayed at the brand new Omni Resort in downtown Louisville. They DID NOT disappoint! 

I mean they even FRAMED a Ryan for me!

"Hey girl...sweet dreams before you go to sleep."
Hubby went to a classic car show; I stayed by the pool.

Poolside...drink in hand...not a care in the world
Of course there was bourbon to be had at one of the many distilleries nearby (this one is Jim Beam).

Decisions, decisions...

Ohio

We had a lot of fun in Ohio. I was in seventh-heaven and did some major damage shopping for soap supplies at Wholesale Supplies Plus and Nature's Garden. 

Nature's Garden
Fragrance Oils from Nurture's Garden
Wholesale Supplies Plus
The Hilton where we stayed in Ohio did put a Ryan in the room, but it's funny they actually put his name on the printout....as if THEY didn't know who he was. LOL!

Ryan who?
We did some other sight-seeing at The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. Hubby also went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Let's rock!
We were here for almost 6 hours...worth it!
Aaaaand now we're back to reality. The kittehs missed us terribly and were very high maintenance for our very patient pet-sitter. Now they won't leave my side.

They are both with me in my office...snoring away on the floor and this stool. Kitteh snores are the best!

From here on out, it's soap, soap, soap!

We're staying right here!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Soapy Friday: Planning Ahead

Happy Friday everyone! There wasn't much going on this week soap-wise...I've been playing and prepping for the upcoming holidays.

I know, I know. But when you make a product that takes 6-8 weeks to cure, you have to plan ahead.

But first...RYAN!

"Hey girl...I brought you some soaping supplies"
I ordered some highly-concentrated, cosmetic bath-and-body-safe dyes this week to play with in bath bombs. Look what I got...LOL! I love asking for pictures of Ryan Gosling whenever there is a "special request" option for online orders. LOL!

Next, onto what I'm planning to make for a Halloween-themed soap. Aren't these friggin' adorable? I made these teeny skulls out of SOAP ya'll!

3 down...1,000 to go!

Itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, little soapy skulls for me-ny!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Soapy Friday: "Taste of Honey"

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! This week has been busy soap-wise; I've been trying a few new things and making some old-standbys.

"Taste of Honey"
My "Taste of Honey" soap, an homage to Herb Alpert, is pretty much good-to-go recipe wise. I FINALLY got all the things I wanted out of that bar of soap and it's only taken me a year-and-a-half to get there.

Loaded with skin-loving sunflower oil, cocoa butter, local Virginia honey, beeswax and an intoxicating honey-almond scent, this soap is "a-buzz" with all the good things your body wants and needs. I believed in it from the very start, and that's why I kept trying.

That gel ring tho...
Other things...

I've been back at bath bombs trying new things. My Rainbow Heart bomb is loaded with a rainbow of colors and makes very pretty bath art, although I still have a way to go with getting that right too.

Trying out Rainbow Heart in the bath
I made some Unicorn Horn bath bombs and was trying out a new theory on one of my ingredients and again, discovered something new. I won't bore you with the details, but it's pretty exciting IMO.

Love how these turned out!
Have a happy & safe 13th...stay cool out there everyone!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Soapy Friday: "Beach, Please!"

Happy Friday everyone! This week I made another batch of my triple butter, cold-processed soap and have decided to name it "Beach, Please!" because, seriously...hot CUTE are these bars?!!!

"Beach, Please!"
Scented with "Coco Cabana" fragrance oil from Wholesale Supplies Plus and made with cocoa butter, mango butter, and shea butter...it's heaven at the beach! Even the "sea shells" are little, custom made soaps. Plus, some sprinkling of pink, white, and black sea salt on top gives it that extra beachy touch.

She sells sea shell soap by the seashore
I've made this before and thought my design would be better for the "water portion" but not really. Guess I'll have to try again. I LOVE the way they smell...like coconuts and Coppertone suntan lotion.

Adorbs
I'm pretty "solid" on my cold-process recipe, so I most likely will stick to making my larger loaves unless I'm trying a new design or fragrance. Gotta order some more supplies!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

We're still settling in. Chaz has gotten over his spookiness of seeing cars and people pass by outside the front of the house. Now it's a constant source of entertainment. I guess moving from the country to the suburbs has been a big change for all of us.

Watching the world go by
We are really loving having more free time in suburbia. Although, all last week I was in Oklahoma City for work. I had the most AMAZING steak at Cattleman's Steakhouse. This steak will haunt me...

The best steak I've ever had
I told hubby, "As god as my witness, I WILL take you there someday." I might be back around that area again next year, so maybe that will happen. Next month is Burlington, MA.

It's amazing the things you find when you are unpacking. :-) These glasses are an endless source of entertainment.

Who dat?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Soapy Friday: New Soap Studio

We still have about 1/2 dozen random boxes to unpack and we're finally at the point where we can start hanging some art on the wall. But more importantly, I MADE SOAP!

Oh, you have NO idea how I've missed this. The last time I made soap was in March...maybe late April. Anyway, here's my new soaping studio!

New "Soap Lounge" ...LOL!
It looks more like a "soap lounge" though, doesn't it? It's all cool... I can hang out there while I'm waiting for my oils to cool or heat up. But I love that it's finished, clean and bright!

I even have company! Bucky looks like he's ready to party, but he's in a rocking chair, so maybe not?

Chillin' like a villain 
It's a little messy now, as I'm still trying to find my rhythm down here, plus I made soap! I made a big log of my "Super Scrub" as I've really, really, really liked how the last batch turned out. It's funny...the first time I made this soap, I also made pickles that week. I made this soap and pickles this week too!

"Super Scrub" Soap
I thought I had enough of my fragrance oil blend to make such a large batch, but I didn't so it smells just a bit different. Kinda bummed about that, but it turned out gorgeous and it works wonders on dirty hands or bodies.

"Super Scrub" topped with Dried Calendula Petals

Friday, June 08, 2018

Soapy Friday: Bath Bomb Success!

Whenever I share or mention to someone that I now make high-quality, handcrafted body and skin care products, I’m almost always asked, “Do you have a website? Do you sell? How can I get some?”

Finally....bath bomb success!
You would think that with this foresight, I would immediately run home, build a website, put my stuff up on Etsy, and start selling, but no.

When I first started this journey, I remember reading somewhere that a person doesn’t just decide one day they are going to make and sell bath and body products and start doing it. It takes lots, and lots, and lots of time, practice, experimentation, persistence, mini-wins along the way, and failure.

Naming a dream is easy. What’s far less popular is the disciplined practice of a craft – the thousands of thankless hours it takes to become good – even great – at something before sharing it with the world.

I believe there’s no such thing as talent, only practice.

So, after almost 2 years of making bath bombs – at some point every single day – I’ve finally gotten a particular part of my bath bomb recipe down pat and they do exactly what I want them to do every time. This goes back to asking yourself, "What do I want my bath bomb to do?" If I just wanted a rock hard bath bomb that fizzed like mad, but sunk like a rock, I would have been done a long time ago.

But no, I also wanted the "fun stuff," and that meant my bath bombs had to align with what I call "The Four Fs for Bath Bomb Success":

  • Form - They dry rock hard, are not crumbly, soft, or fall apart
  • Fizz - They fizz and spin without "marshmallowing" out 
  • Float - They float!
  • Foam - They provide "bath art" with a surfactant

At some point in the future, I'll make a video of one of these in action!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

Ugh. Monday.

It's been interesting watching this neighborhood's routines outside my new office window. Lots of animals come-and-go, cats, dogs, people walking dogs, kids going to or coming from the bus stop, neighbors checking mail, garbage trucks, the mail carrier. Ah, suburbia!

The kittehs have adjusted amazingly well, although they are not used to looking out the window and seeing so much activity. It still spooks them.

We've "officially" been in this house 3 weeks now and have only just been able to start upacking the upstairs due to oh....so....many...issues...with...this...house. I can't even begin to start.

I will say that simply maintaining a home and keeping it safe and clean are two entirely different things - both of which the current owners were not very good at.

ANYWHO...

I'm keeping this box here as a reminder that I have a package to send out to my sister. But the kittehs have claimed it a their new, favorite perch. Now what do I do?

Rainy day observation perch

Friday, May 25, 2018

Goodbye Country Home

Some amazing memories were made here!

Today we settle on our beautiful country home. We’ve absolutely loved living there, and it’s been truly heartbreaking to let it go, but our decision to sell has been for the right reasons. We are looking forward to having more time to focus on the next chapter in our lives, which is to put us in a position to work and do what we want to do versus what we HAVE to do to make a living. Also, we want to start focusing on where we want to eventually retire, and it might not be here in the NOVA/D.C. area.

Secondly, selling was a smart business decision being executed at the right time. The market is up, we got a great comp for a sale, and we seized the moment.

But we will truly miss our country beauty. We are thrilled with the young family that is buying the place and we know they will love living there as much as we have.

Goodbye country beauty; we will always love you.

Friday, May 18, 2018

In Life, A Person Will Come And Go From Many Homes

In one week from today, we will say goodbye to our lovely, country home.

I am here now, waiting on a contractor to "de squeak" some of the upstairs floorboards. I always considered the noise they made when you walked across them part of the charm of this house.  I tried to sell it to the new owners as a perk to know when their kids might sneak around past bedtime, but no.

An empty house makes many noises
So, a de-squeaking we will go.

I picked these peonies from the front yard this morning. It's the first time I had enough from all the small bushes to make a bouquet. A big bouquet of fresh peonies is one of my most favorite things in the world.


They are mostly heirloom "Primevere Peony" which smell heavenly like roses. Most peonies that you buy from the florist or store have no scent at all.  Someday, I hope to grow them again.

Primevere Peony
The new home we are in has it's issues...mostly with the state of some things the owners left for us to deal with. So, we haven't settled in yet and it will take time. Next week we are having most of the upstairs carpeting replaced there...seems like flooring is the hot ticket for this move.

But I HATE that feeling...being unsettled. Living in limbo.
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