15 November 2011

Buy Local Lincoln County

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 15, I will be on "Buy Local Radio" to talk about Calise Soapworks & SuchBuy Local Lincoln County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting small businesses within our county. Here is an interesting quote from the Buy Local Lincoln County Website:

                 If everyone made a 10% shift in their discretionary spending
                 (groceries, dining out, clothes, entertainment and recreation)
                 to local retailers, over $10 million of additional income
                 would stay in our county. (This small shift in spending would
                 equate to a $44.57 per month local purchase per Lincoln County

Join us tomorrow at 8:30. Tune into 1230 AM KCUP Radio. If you are not local, you can listen online! http://www.kcup.net/ streams live online. Just scroll down the Home Page and the link is on the right hand side in red.

I'll be offering a special incentive to listeners, so tune in!

Happy day,
Got soap?

02 November 2011

Giftable Wednesday- Barefoot Surf Boutique- Juanita Browne

Today's Giftable Wednesday features Juanita Browne from Barefoot Surf Boutique. She and her family work together making the old new again by creating a unique variety of bags, clothing, and accessories from both new and upcycled materials.

This sweet and simple burlap purse is just the perfect mix of shabby and chic! Carefully handcrafted from an upcycled coffee bean bag.

Fun & Fashionable Upcycled T-Shirt Scarf.These fun and funky scarves are beautifully versatile... wear them as a one of a kind headband, or as a belt to add a unique flare to your attire. They are perfect for all seasons and are sure to be a favorite accessory for years to come!

Cozy Upcycled Felted Arm Warmers with Cute Felted Flowers

Upcycled Purse

Button on serged flower in a fabulous two tone red design. Use the flower to add a super splash of color to purses, backpacks, denim jackets, etc.... by simply attaching the flower to a button.

Check out her etsy store and facebook page!

Happy day,

01 November 2011

Thank You Bramble Berry!

Much to my surprise, I received an unexpected delivery Friday. The outside sticker gave me a huge clue as to where the box came from, but I hadn't ordered anything. Hmmm.....

The suspense was building as I opened it. Notice the branding?

Wow! A thank you for participating on the Fall S.O.A.P. Panel.  

I now have a couple of fun, creative soap recipes with samples of what the finished product should look like, some activated charcoal (one of my fav colorants:), a fragrance oil and a gift certificate! A great haul for participating in something fun and rewarding. Thanks so much, Bramble Berry! 


19 October 2011

Giftable Wednesday- Whimsy Art Glass- Mary Young

Do you have hard to buy for friends and relatives? With the holiday season is right around the corner, I thought it would be neat to offer some gift alternatives to the big chain stores. Also, you can add another dimension to your gift when you can tell a story about the artist.

Mary Young at Whimsy Art Glass creates fun, useful treasures that won't break the bank. Here are some of her great creations:

Rainbow Heart Window (or anywhere you need some love) Hanger

Mary makes beautiful candle holders (my jar candles happen to fit into them perfectly:) that throw specks of colored light onto the walls when the candle is lit.

A fun, curvy flower display.

Here's a kitty that would brighten up any window or wall.

Mary also makes soap dishes!

You can also find Mary on facebook. She ships nationwide. Let her know if you are looking for something special. She'll be happy to create it for you!

Happy shopping,

30 September 2011

Final Thoughts on the Fall Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Panel

First of all, I want to give a huge ThAnK yOu to Bramble Berry for selecting me to choose the fall fragrances. It has been a blast and an amazing experience!

Soaps are in scent order from #1 (red & beige in the front) to #8 (the last soap on the right).

What I learned:
You may end up liking a fragrance even if you don't like it initially. That's how I felt about #2. My initial reaction was not so lovely, but it is now my second favorite! It fragrance has developed wonderfully in the soap and I think my customers will love it.  

Yes, you can make cp soap pops! If you want to swirl, you need to pour at a thick trace or the depth of the mold blends the colors together. Also, I did cpop the soap pops. This made unmolding easy, but you do need to be careful not to leave the oven on too long or you end up with dimpled soaps like the blue one or pink one.

Soaping is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're gonna' get!

Happy Soaping!

16 September 2011

The Bold and the Not So Beautiful

Making amazing, innovative soaps and beauty products involves an extensive trail and error process. Many products require several tries before they are perfected. I went through at least 20 lip balm formulations before I came up with the perfect, lip smoothing recipe. Here are a few examples that evolved into amazing products eventually...

Cupcake Soap 

As you can see, soap icing takes some practice to master.

Felted Soap

My early attempts resembled soaps with appendages, but the practice paid off.

Cold Process Handmade Soap

Every once in awhile, a fragrance makes my soap look rough around the edges. The scent in the above picture made the top of the soap brown and all of the tan in the soap was supposed to be white. This soap smells amazing, but it looks like something only a mother could love :). All the trail and error is worth it, though, when I end up with some really incredible looking soap.

Practice and patience does pay off.

Calise Soapworks & Such- making the ordinary extraordinary!

08 September 2011

Testing, Testing S.O.A.P. Fragrances 7 & 8

The third time is the charm! Since I CPOP (cold process oven process) most all of my soap I figured whipping up these Soap Pops for Bramble Berry's Fall S.O.A.P. Panel would be a breeze. Well, there is a bit of a learning curve for CPOPing single cavity molds (tips below).  First, the good part- thoughts on the last two Bramble Berry Fragrances.

Scent #7-  Evergreen Boughs

Initial Reaction- inviting and full bodied. Full of spruce, juniper and fir and maybe just a hint of citrus (bergamot?). #7 brings back childhood memories of hiking through the snow on a crisp, wintry day to find the family Christmas tree. 

After Thoughts- This scent soaped beautifully. It did set up a bit fast after pouring, so it may speed trace a bit with warm oils. So far, there is no noticeable discoloration. Colored with chromium green oxide.

Scent #8-  Hearthside

Initial Reaction- this reminds me of a campfire, fireplace- smoke and leather. Warm & intriguing.

After Thoughts-  I was worried that this fragrance would be lost in the soap. It actually disappeared when I first mixed it into the soap batter. Surprisingly, after unmolding, the fragrance is holding strong. This fragrance had a long play time. I had to wait about 10 minutes after pouring before the soap was firm enough to hold up the craft sticks. The uncolored soap has turned a nice light cream color so far. Colored with gold mica.

I'll update in a few weeks on how the scents and colors are behaving. I'm also going to play around with my leftover fragrances in some other goodies. I am having a blast so far. Thanks, Bramble Berry!

Tips for CPOPing Single Cavity Silicone Molds

11 minutes seems to be the magical number to leave the oven on at 170 degrees for molds about 3 ounces in size. Then, turn the oven off and let soaps sit in the oven overnight or several hours until cool.

For more noticeable swirls, pour at a thicker trace into deep molds.

03 September 2011

Don't Play With Your Food

I just walked in the door from the Newport Farmer's Market and I'm so proud of my haul I have to share.

I love that I am set for produce for the week and I didn't have to step a foot in the grocery store.The salad mix- including the edible flowers- was picked this morning by Pioneer Mountain Farms. No salad in the bag or plastic box for me!

The lovely pastry is a Baker's Lunch from Pacific Sourdough. Simply fab-o heated and topped with fresh greens and some Greek Feta Dressing. This is my favorite after-market meal. I'm usually starving by the time I get home and it is lovely having a fast, delicious meal ready in just a few minutes.

The tomatillos are for Enchiladas Verde. I have some jalapenos in the freezer from a week ago that will top mine- I have a hot mouth :) The yellow thing is some sort of melon. It has a white flesh and it has a softer feel than a honeydew or cantaloupe. I can't wait to try it.

And, I couldn't forget the berries or the frosted brownie from Bojomama's. The brownie had no photo opportunities. It was my market snack.

Why do I love buying local? I see the hands that tended or made these amazing foods. Most foods are organically grown or are grown pesticide free. No matter what, I have to buy food to live and I would rather give my money to someone I know and care about. It is also faster and way more fun than a trip to the grocery store ;)

Calise Soapworks & Such

02 September 2011

Thoughts on S.O.A.P. Scents 4-6

Keeping with the Soap Pop theme, I’m ready to test the next three Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Fall Panel fragrances. This time, I’m using clays for color. Oh, I have been adding the fragrance before coloring to be sure I have the same amount throughout the soap and to give it more opportunity to act up.

Scent #4- Groovy Geranium

Initial reaction- geranium! This is a deeper, earthier floral compared to #3. There is some sweetness, but that’s on the back burner.

I was thinking this fragrance would also accelerate trace, but not really. It did turn the soap almost day-glo orange when I initially mixed it in. Colored with Sea Clay.

After thoughts- So far, the scent seems to be staying pretty true. The soap has discolored to more of a khaki tan.

Scent #5- A Few of My Favorite Things

Initial Reaction- Out of the bottle, this is one of my favorites. It is similar to #1, but a little less sweet and a little more spice with maybe some fir.

I noticed maybe the slightest acceleration with my room temp. oils & lye solution, so this one may be a bit of a stinker sometimes. There was a slight yellowing of the soap in the pot. Colored with Australian Red Clay.

After thoughts- I'm still getting a few (very few) spices notes, but floral notes predominate now which is peculiar because I didn't smell any floral initially. A lot of the sweetness is gone and the scent is flatter now. There is some yellowing, but I think that may be more operator error somehow as it is inconsistent.

Scent #6- Breezy Day

Initial reaction- similar to #2, but fewer floral notes. I akin this scent to a fresh linen or cotton.

This fragrance had a huge amount of play time. I had to wait on it to thicken a bit and I should have even waited longer. No noticeable color change in the pot. Colored with French Yellow Clay.

After thoughts- #6 has mellowed quite a bit. It seems to have lost some of the top notes so far, but the scent is still pleasant. Yep, all the white, white color is ash. I think it is because this soap cooled too quickly. Notice there is no ash on the side of the soap pop that is laying down or on the colored clay parts. I took all three of these batches out of the oven because I was worried about the soaps getting too hot. Now, they cooled too quickly! Lesson learned.

I can't wait to see how #7 & #8 turn out!

30 August 2011

The Low Down on S.O.A.P. Scents 1-3

I tried to look at Bramble Berry's S.O.A.P. Panel testing from a scientific perspective. My control was my favorite soap recipe. Yes, it is a bit of a fast tracing recipe (cocoa butter and I do water discount); however, since this is the main recipe I use, I know it well. I soaped at room temperature, stirred with a whisk and added a one color swirl to each batch so I can see any discoloration while still having a bit of color. My fragrance load was ½ oz. per pound of oils (what I normally do) and I am making sure all soaps go through gel. Since I need variety, each swirl is a different color and I opted for a soap pop mold (I’ve longed to make cp soap pops).

Scent #-1 Holiday Berry Sangria (These names are of my own imagination)

Initial reaction- a sweet, spicy candy with berries. While soaping, I was getting hints of cassis and stronger berry notes- sort of like a berry wine.

Moderate acceleration during trace.

After thoughts-  There is a bit of discoloration (yellowing), but not too bad so far. The scent has held pretty well. I am getting more of the spice notes now and still lots of berry. Some of the higher sweet notes have taken a back seat.

Scent #2- In Flight

Initial reaction- a cleaner floral. There’s a top note that doesn’t sit well with me, but there are middle and base notes that are pleasing. I’m sitting here with an empty open bottle and it is rounding out nicely

This fragrance thinned my soap out. I’m thinking this one would be great for multi-colored swirls or the currently popular spoon or column swirl.

After thoughts- I poured this one thin so you can see how liquidy it actually was. See how the swirl is more of soft gradations? Some of the top notes have faded on this one, but I think that is a great thing. There is a soft loveliness about this scent that I think a lot of people will like. No noticable discoloration at this time.

Scent #3- A Rose by Any Other Name is Still a Rose

Initial reaction- at first all I was getting was rose, rose, rose, but there are also sweet notes and maybe palmarosa? I’m now thinking it smells like sugared grapes with rose.

I was thinking this one would accelerate trace due to the floral notes, and sure enough it did.

I have all three in the oven and when I open the door, the combination is amazing! And I’m smelling sweet patchouli- ha!

After thoughts- See how craggy this soap is? It must have super heated. (I put all three batches in the oven at the same time for the same amount of time. While it appears 17 min. is too long before turning the oven off, you can see the other two soaps still look somewhat respectable). Much of the complexity of this scent has disappeared. I am still getting rose, though :) There is a medium amount of discoloration thus far (yellowing).

**side note- BB's neon colorants really need to be mixed in oil or glycerin. I tried alcohol and I'm sure you can see the speckles in Soap #3 and that was with straining! We just moved and I haven't unpacked (found) my mini-mixer yet, so I thought I would try another way. Bad idea.

Calise Soapworks & Such is online and on facebook!

22 August 2011

The SOAP Fragrances Are Here

Sometimes being a neighbor to Washington makes my day. My mystery scents just arrived for the Brambleberry S.O.A.P. Fall Team- a soap-aholics delight! 

Of course, I had to stop all other activity to open and smell these divine bottled delights. I won't mention about the fragrance specifics yet, as I'm sure the other testers are still waiting on their fantastic mystery fragrances. I will say smelling straight from the bottle, I am quite partial to 1, 5, 7 & 8.

The next step is figuring out what medium to test these lovelies in. Cold process soap will be a given, but I need to ponder the other possibilities. Yay!

Calise Soapworks & Such- we make soaping fun!

11 August 2011

Brambleberry Fall S.O.A.P. Panel

I am shamelessly plugging one of my favorite suppliers in hopes of being part of their Fall S.O.A.P. Panel. Brambleberry www.brambleberry.com is great place to get all sorts of soapy supplies. I even went to their Soap Intensive Weekend this year, so Brambleberry really is near and dear to me ;)

One of my favorite items is their 36 Bar Baltic Birch Mold http://www.brambleberry.com/Baltic-Birch-36-Bar-Wooden-Mold-P4708.aspx . They do make this mold in smaller sizes, but the 36 bar mold is the perfect size for me.

Here's a picture of one of the lovely swirls I have done using this mold:

I would love to be a part of the fall panel because I'm in love with the sights and smells of fall- from the crunching of leaves beneath your feet during a brisk walk to the smell of molasses cookies wafting through the house.

21 July 2011

How Our Dead Sea Mud Soap Came About

Sometimes I come up with new product ideas and soap recipes and sometimes my best ideas come from others. My Dead Sea Mud Soap is an example of a fantastic product that wasn't my concept. I made it for my friend, Deborah and below is her account of why the Dead Sea Mud Soap came about.
During my early twenties I travelled with a dancing and acting company. We wore heavy stage make-up, and we slept either on a bus or in different homes. Due to the stressful lifestyle and constant re-application of heavy make-up, my complexion got very bad. My neck was full of large, painful pimples (almost like cysts). My face had constant white heads and pimples as well. I was embarrassed and felt ugly.

 After I stopped touring, my face got a little bit better -- but not much. A friend told me about a great face product. I purchased the whole, expensive system and finally had great results. Over time my entire face cleared up. I still have faint scars on my neck, but that's it. For the past 10 years I decided to save money and just purchase the facial soap. This $40.00 bar of soap worked great for me.

I met Jill Keck with Calise Soapworks & Such and found out she was making all natural soaps. I told her about my about my expensive facial soap, and how great it works. She immediately went to work and formulated a soap that I believe works even better than the expensive brand name bar that I have been using for years. Jill's soap cleans better, and even takes care of whiteheads. I am very picky about what I put on my face. I was sure that Jill couldn't make a soap as good as the one I was using, but thankfully she has proven me wrong. Jill's face soap gives amazing results at a price affordable for anyone.


* To properly use the soap: use very warm water to open up your pores. Wash your face thoroughly with the soap. Splash water on face 20-30 times to thoroughly rinse and also put more water into your skin. Continue with the rest of your facial routine.

Thanks, Deborah! If you have a great idea for a product, let me know. Happy day!

14 July 2011

Making Hot Process Soap with Alkanet

I have wanted to use Alkanet Root to color soap for some time now and a recent wholesale inquiry spurred me into motion.

Alkanet is a plant in the borage family and the dried, ground root is used to color soap, fabric, lipstick and lotions. Typically the color ranges from reds to blues to purples depending on the item being colored and the amount of alkanet being used.

I quickly needed a lavender soap colored purple and I wanted to use botanicals that could grow in the Pacific Northwest. Alkanet orginated in Europe, but it does grow here in Oregon. The neat and scary thing about alkanet is that it changes color in different phs, so the final soap color can be surprising.

Here is the first color right after I mixed my alkanet infused oils and lye solution together:

The infused oil was a deep plum, but it changed to gunmetal grey when mixed with the lye-water solution. This is because the soapy solution is at a low ph, but it was still a bit heart dropping as a grey lavender soap would not go over so well.

After a few minutes, another color change occured. Cornflower Blue still wasn't the color I had in mind. 

When it was time to add the lavender essential oil and plop the soap into the mold, I had an unsightly, dark gelatinous soap to work with.

                                               My heart was slowly sinking, but I still had hope that I would get the beautiful purple I was looking for once the soap cooled.
Luckily, after cooling I ended up with a color somewhere in the realm I had initially intended.

Making soap is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're gonna' get!