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,

05 December 2012

From the Eyes of the Beholder

Since I am a one woman show, I have the privilege of being research and development, producer, retailer, wholesaler, marketer, accountant, web designer, shipper, photographer, clean up crew and the foreman that is always standing by watching with their hands on their hips with pants, well, you know where! ... as well as being a mom (of two and four legged children) and a wife. Luckily, I love challenges and I thrive in multitasking, high energy environments (I think it is fun). Yes, sometimes I am more concered if I remembered my table coverings as opposed to having them starched and ironed!
I recently was at the Wildwoman Creations Holiday Show & Sale. This is my favorite Holiday Show. I adore Rosie and all the other Wildwomen that make this show possible. Little does Rosie know how much I have learned from her, but I recently had some ah-ha moments after looking at some photos she took of my booth at the show. Since I take so many up close product photos, I didn't realize how close-up-photography-oriented my vision has gotten. Below is my critique of me now that I see a wide angle view...
Photo 1

Photo 1: I like that I can read the prices easily and I like the color variety although this area is getting a bit too blue. I do tend to arrange in a more organic (less straight) setup because when customers pick up my products, my arrangement tends to look off-kilter. Planning for this keeps the one not-in-the-right-place item from looking like a sore thumb. I still try and keep a cohesion of product type (soaps with soaps, scrubs with scrubs, etc.), though. 
Photo 2


Photo 2: Why do I have so many things around me? Well, I have my packing materials and other little to-do items on either side and the blue lid looks like it should have a sign on it. After looking at this photo, it would make a lot more sense to put the containers under the tables out of sight as I don't need anything that quickly.

Photo 3
 Photo 3: These are cards made by my daughter, Elise. Perfect! ;)

Photo 4
Photo 4: This is a pretty respectable view. I do see a couple sample containers at the back corner of the table and I see a container lid on the floor.

Photo 5
Photo 5: I love my candle display. The base fits inside the shelves (they are supposed to be drawers), so it travels compactly and I like the dark shelving contrasting against the color pop of the candles. Yes, I'm going through a major label re haul and I still see my bags on the seat. ;)

Photo 6
Photo 6: Well, this is just cute!

If I had taken these photos, I would have cut out the not so good parts because that is what I do every day when I take and retake product photos. It took me looking at my creations through another person's eyes to see where I could do things differently to make an overall better impression. Maybe the next time you are at a market, have another person take photos of your display with your phone or camera so you can see what your display looks like though someone else's eyes.

Thanks for the inspiration Rosie! (she even has her own soap;) And, thank you, Mr. Soapy, the light of my life.

Happy day,
Calise Soapworks & Such

04 December 2012

Weaving for Small Business Saturday

In addition to being a small business the participated in Small Business Saturday, we were also customers. One of my favorite, local eye candy stores is Elsie's Discount Roving. Elsie has wool roving that I use to felt my soaps and she also spins yarn and weaves with Pendleton Wool. I love color and texture and I could spend hours gazing at the amazing color combinations. 
Elsie offers a DIY Class where you can weave your own rug. I have always been curious and after stopping at her shop on Small Business Saturday, I signed myself and the girls up for the class.
Some of Elsie's Pendleton Wool Rugs

 We got to use a loom hand made by Elsie and Jack (her husband of 38 years). Elsie said she learned weaving from a book almost 30 years ago. I can't imagine warping one loom (threading the yarn that goes up and down) and they have 5!
The nice thing about weaving was that the girls and I were able to work together. The hardest part was picking a color, but we did find one we could all agree on.
At first Jack showed us what we needed to get started. Then, Elsie would wind my shuttles full of new wool for me to weave. The girls kept us all entertained by singing songs and showing Elsie & Jack their magic tricks.

Elise passing the shuttle through the warp.

 The weft is the material that you push through the warp with the shuttle. The reed is the wooden piece you pull back or beat the weft with to compact it into snug rows. The girls were able to help me with both of these jobs. We practiced taking turns and working together; with a 4 and 5 year old these are important concepts.

Beating the weft with the reed.
I love being able to see the process of taking strips of wool or cloth and turning it into something solid. It's amazing.
Counting, cutting and tying off the warp for the next rug.

Our finished rug was a group effort.
 See Elise's bag? Well, it's full of scraps that I'm supposed to use to knit her cousin a scarf! That's my thoughtful girl...
Elise making sure our rug is the right size.

Camille taking it all in.
 Camille said her favorite part was, "pulling that down." (aka beating the weft). Elise's favorite part was, "that we got some strings (her wool scrap stash), we got to eat and see the kitties." My favorite part was taking a day during my busy time and spending it with my girls without TV and phone interruptions. We all walked away with a full brain and happy hearts.

Our finished rug!
Yes, there is an Elise and an Elsie and a Jill and a Jack in this post!
You can find Elsie's Discount Roving at 4210 NE HWY 101, Depoe Bay, OR. 541-764-3997 or chiavarioelsie@yahoo.om
Happy day,