05 February 2013

Thank You Bramble Berry

As a soapmaker, I am only as good as my supplies. One of my favorite suppliers is Bramble Berry. There are many reasons why I look to this company as an example of how I want to grow. I love how they offer opportunities to help you grow as a business. Over the past few months, there have been fun blog contests to enter that run the gamut for soap & cosmetic makers (Nail Polish, Bath Bombs, Naturally Colored Soap, Packaging, etc.)

Recently, I was honored with a Photography Challenge- Props Award for my Ocean Soap. The other awesome soaps pictured here were also winners. See how inspiring this is?

My Giant Lolly Soaps also were one of the Soap Sculpting Winners. 

Looking at other's work is inspiring and trying to come up with a unique, fun entry is a great challenge.

Thanks, Bramble Berry for the recognition and the inspiration!

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

28 December 2012

My, You Have Grown!

A little organizational energy burst the other day helped me see how far Calise Soapworks has come. 
I came across my first label holder during my clean and I chuckled at its size. It's basically a wide coupon organizer that I picked up on sale. When purchasing, I thought the ribbon tie was fancy compared to the elastic or velcro closures on most organizers. Anyway, every label for every product I made fit into this space.

This is what I have today- a mounted 20 drawer organizer and a portable file box. This works well when I put things back where they belong. This is where printed labels go. I have a shelf designated to all the unprinted paper and multiple types of adhesive backed labels I use.

Another neat thing is that I still make a few soaps from the beginning: Four Paws Dog Soap, Dead Sea Mud Facial Soap, the ever so popular Eucalyptus Mint, Spa Sea Salt & Oatmeal & Honey. Although the labels and bar sizes & shapes have changed, the recipe remains the same. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I'm excited about where Calise Soapworks will go in 2013. I love creating skin loving products that are effective and make people happy. I have never worked so hard in my life, but I love every minute of it.

Thanks for believing in me and my business.

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

26 December 2012

Happy Holidays

Wishing you the merriest of holidays!  Yes, we have a character...

Carrots for the reindeer & cookies for Santa.

Marley wondering if he's being replaced by Baby Butterscotch.

Toy overload.

I'm being serenaded now with our new Paper Jamz Karaoke Set. There's a rock star in all of us. :) 

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

21 December 2012

Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

My girls have a sensitivity to gluten; and, alas, it seems I do too. We're slowly going down the gluten free route and I wanted to make some yummy cookies but spare my belly the tummy ache after devouring them. Here's the recipe I used- I modified it from my favorite, tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Calise Soapworks Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may want to cut this recipe in half as it makes about 6 dozen cookies.

3 sticks of butter softened
1 1/4 cups sugar (I used evaporated cane juice)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (I used Demerara Sugar because that's what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 large eggs (I would do 4 medium)
5 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch (you can probably leave this out and sub rice flour. I had it, so I put it in :)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups chocolate chips (the darker, the better)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Add the remaining ingredients a quarter at a time (except chocolate chips) and mix. You can decrease the flour by 1 cup if you want a thinner cookie, but we like them thick.

Drop dough by the tablespoon or with a #40 or #50 scoop on an ungreased baking sheet/silicone mat.

Having your dough mounded will help your cookies stay thick and not flatten out.
Bake for 10 minutes. Let your cookies sit for a couple of minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. This helps them firm up.

What are the differences from using wheat flour??? Well, our cookies are pretty crisp on the outside, and they have a bit of a crunch to them, but I think that is also from the Demerara Sugar as it is big, granular pieces. Rice flour will never be as soft and grit free as wheat flour (as you may know), and these cookies are a bit more crumbly than my wheat flour recipe, but the taste is fantastic! Even Mr. Soapy gives them two thumbs up, "These are gluten free. Really?" was his response after he had eaten one and I told him.... I like to drop the bombs after he likes something. :)

Do we have gluten free products? You betcha'!

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

20 December 2012

Soapy Santa Paws

I just have to share these adorable holiday cards the girls got in the mail from a sweet customer. I am touched and the girls love it!

What a great idea! Thank you for brightening our day.
Happy day,

18 December 2012

Calise Soapworks Giant Gingerbread Man Soap Winner!

And the winner of our Giant Gingerbread Man Glycerin Soap is:

Congratulations Barbara from Florida!
Thank you so much for your support. We had over 100 entries!

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

12 December 2012

Creativity Lets the Cat Out of the Bag

As a parent, I'm learning to let my girls imagine and create.  Being in the creative zone is a special place. Athletes speak of being "in the zone" but I think it also holds true for imagination, learning & creativity.
In teaching, this is called a "normalized" classroom in Montessori lingo. There's a happy buzz about, but when you look around, you see children doing a creating- moving to and fro with intent. As a teacher, when your class gets into this groove, it is monumental, but you have to celebrate quietly so as not to break the spell. Watching children learn will forever be up there in my most favorite life moments.
Here are a few favs from my girls:
Elise didn't love the texture of finger paint, but she loved using cotton swabs to create.

Focus. Elise traced the butterfly and then incorporated her own imagination into the design.

Camille's about 18 months here. I love her focus!

Lessons in balance.

My goal is to listen and respect the "Do Not Disturb" sign when someone is creating (including me) because there's a whole lotta' something good going on.
Happy day,