Archive for November, 2011

Etzcetera Magazine

Nov 28 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,soap photos

I’ve been asked by the lovely Kim Archer to be profiled for her new venture Etzcetera, a bi-monthly home and lifestyle magazine. It’s a wonderful collection of crafty articles, projects and inspiring photographs. A visual feast for anyone who loves crafty stuff, home decorating, colour & design.

So of course l needed photos to go along with my submission. I raced around the house taking photos of everything soapy…

 (a slightly empty curing rack, l had better get soaping!)

And then had the brilliant idea of having photos taken while l made a couple of batches of soap. Soapmaking in motion!

But l was in fits of laughter at the resulting 75-100 shots…l had imagined that just by putting on a clean top and apron that l would be transformed into a soapmaking glamazon. Sadly it was not the case – most of the photos showed facial expressions of extreme concentration…lots of frowning…and the remainder were blurred from everything happening just a bit too fast for the camera.

I’ve mentioned before that l am a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of soaper – now l have proof LOL.
(and yes, l forgot to wear my disposable gloves, very bad of me)

The finished logs – Snow Candy and Peppermint Rose before being trimmed and cut…

All chopped up and ready for the curing rack…

I did manage to get one or two half decent photos of me with some soap. I guess it’s time for that About Me page l’ve been threatening ;-)
The magazine will be out in January 2012. With better photos than these!

4 responses so far

More soaps and a logo…

Nov 26 2011 Published by under new soaps,soap photos

l’ve made it sound like l haven’t made any soap at all recently, but that’s not exactly the case. l made this beautiful citrussy one above a few weeks ago. l think l may have already blogged a photo of it, but l love this shot that is intended for the shopping cart. I’m still love, love, loving taking photos of soap. Well, taking photos in general really, but of course soap is a captive subject unlike labradors and cats and children. It is much easier to control!

This pic is a new batch of chai tea soap that is currently curing. It has all just been stamped by my automatic soap stamping machine (LOL) – l bet you didn’t know there was such a thing. Some soapmakers have spiffy soap cutters, some have shrink wrappers and packaging systems…but l’m lucky enough to have John, who stamps all of the soaps a bit like a robot, and is quite obsessive about it. Even l get told off now for stamping them crooked LOL. And never let it be said that one might slip through the ranks and into an order without it’s stamp on!

He’d stamp the cupcakes too if he could work out a way of getting it on them neatly. And believe me, he has tried *LMAO*

One of the things l have been working on for the site is a better ‘brand’. It has always bugged me that Simply Soap doesn’t have a ‘logo’ as such, just the words Simply Soap plonked in a website header. So l’ve been having a really good think about branding, and how l could incorporate the words and some sort of graphic into more of a logo; something that stands alone a bit more than just the words stuck on top of a heap of soap graphics. I want to keep things simple of course. And l wanted my logo to appear ‘natural’ with maybe a leaf or something in it, to signify the natural aspect of handmade soap. I also wanted it to look elegant, and also incorporate the current text somehow. The logo above (in the cupcake pic) is what l’ve come up with.

Here it is a bit more clearly:


What do you think?

I’ve been checking it every couple of days to make sure l still like it. If l go ahead with it, l will be updating all of the soap labels, and then also the website somehow. I’m still not sure. l can’t believe how hard it is to come up with a brand for my own business – l have no troubles dreaming up all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas for everyone else, but designing something for me has been almost impossible, l change my mind every 10 minutes. I guess it is tied in so much with my thoughts on handmade soap and why l make it in the first place, l want my logo to reflect all of those things. The purity of handmade soap, the art behind it, the natural aspect, the fact that it is a beautiful gift to buy yourself or someone else, the ingredients – all of those things. And now that l’ve written all of that down, there’s a tiny part of me that is a little bit excited, because you know what, l think finally l might have nailed it.

(???) LOL!

7 responses so far

thoughts on Christmas…and some flower soaps

Nov 24 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

Two of my Christmas soaps have sold out already. I’m disappointed now that l didn’t make more, but it’s too late now, and l really haven’t felt like making much soap of late. So instead of working myself into a lather (pun intended LOL) of what to offer customers for possible Christmas gifts, l have decided to do absolutely nothing about it. Yes, you read that correctly.

l think l am going to use the opportunity of a quieter Christmas to slow down a bit, and rethink some of the soaps l offer. l might even close the site for a couple of weeks. I really feel like l need to regroup and recharge, and the thought of having some time off to work on the website, make some soap in my own sweet time and just generally clean things up a bit is too good to resist. I have so many ideas swirling round in my head and so many things on my ‘to do’ list that won’t ever get done if l don’t take a bit of time out.

(I really feel like l need to justify this decision to myself LOL – it’s not exactly good marketing practice to go and have time off right in the middle of the busiest shopping season of the year, is it?)

I’m just tired, and a bit overwhelmed. And really unsure of where l want this little soap biz to go. (how do you decide such a thing anyway?)

Some thinking time could be a very good thing.

And some playtime with my new soap moulds would be fun ;-)

3 responses so far

I got ME some soap :-)

Nov 22 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

Erin from Inner Earth Soaps and l did a little soap swap recently. And these are SO yummy, l feel so spoilt! (yes, even though we swapped, l still feel like l have treated myself, it is so nice to receive handmade soap LOL)
Above is Kakadu, which is my favourite so far. I adore the fresh lemony smell. And the soap lathers beautifully, I’m not sure if it is my imagination or not, but it feels different to my soap, l’ve spent quite a bit of time in the shower pondering what balance of this and that might be in it :-P

Next up is Snowflake, l haven’t actually taken it out of the wrapper yet – it’s too sparkly and pretty and white, so l am leaving it in there until just before l use it. I don’t buy myself soap very often, so l am treasuring these :-)

And lastly is Lemon Meringue soap slice, how sweet is this!? After my cupcake piping experiments, l am so appreciative of anyone who takes the time to pipe anything on soap. And the glitter is perfect :-)

I also bought myself a bottle of Erin’s Vanilla Buttercream Hand and Body Cream. Now l’m really fussy when it comes to hand cream, l normally use the body butters from The Body Shop, my only complaint with them is they are often just a bit too heavy and greasy. But l dislike handcreams that dry on your hands and leave them feeling ‘squeaky’ and dry, so am happy to put up with the ‘heaviness’ of the butters. Erin’s handcream is just about perfect – it leaves a nice ‘film’ on your skin, without feeling thick and greasy. And the smell is

YUM!

Almost edible actually LOL.

Thanks so much Erin :-)

 

2 responses so far

cupcake soap photo shoot

Nov 12 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,new soaps,soap photos

Twice divorced John is looking a little bit green around the edges tonight ;-)
I came home from the shops this morning with two bridal magazines, and then went and got out my wedding veil from the depths of my wardrobe.

All in the name of inspiration of course!

I love wedding magazines, they always have gorgeous photography, beautiful fonts, lovely design, and of course l love looking at the different dresses, cakes, shoes & flowers etc.

I got out my camera and some of yesterday’s test cupcakes, arranged my veil as a backdrop, and had a little impromptu photo shoot in the back garden.

These piped cupcakes take my breath away. (I’m not quite sure how to say l love them without sounding full of myself, but l do love them a lot!)
There is no way l would ever sell these retail and entrust their delivery to Australia Post. Can you just imagine what you’d receive on the other end LOL?

I’m wondering whether they might work though as special order soap cupcakes for delivery in the Melbourne metro area. They’d also be good as regular food variety cupcakes too *LMAO*

5 responses so far

more soap!

Nov 11 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,new soaps,soap photos

l made more soap yesterday. I was unhappy with how the last batch of citrus soap turned out, so decided to have another go at it. I’m much happier with this random blood orange swirl kind of look – l added finely chopped mixed peel to the previous batch and it all ‘cooked’ during gelling and has gone a dark brown spotty colour – a bit like it has measles LOL. But blood orange really does it for me, l’m quite tempted to take a bite out of this soap!

A new look for some vanilla soap…just trying to simplify things in the soapmaking process slightly while still hoping for a pretty design.

The really cool thing about vanilla soaps is how they discolour over age – the two bars above are the exact same recipe and fragrance. The bar on the left is approximately 2 years old. It doesn’t normally take 2 years to achieve the discolouration, (LOL!) – l would hope after 4 weeks of curing that the soap on the right would be well on the way, and the white swirls showing up a bit more defined :-)

And a happy snap shot on my curing rack this morning – l made a big batch of blue soap for some future shreds…and just happened to notice the lovely colour contrast between blue and red. Wouldn’t this make an awesome swirled soap bar! (ps. the blue shapes overheated a bit in the oven, l forced gelling very hard, hence the ‘bubbled’ edges.)

I’m going to update my weightloss page a little bit later today. Lots to say in that department, l just need to do some work first!

4 responses so far

l soaped! Yeahhhhh!

Nov 03 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,new soaps

 

l wasn’t sure l was going to make soap ever again, l really haven’t felt like it of late. Life has been going through one of those topsy turvy stages and l have been hanging on by the proverbial skin of my teeth.

My 14 year old daughter decided she wanted to live with her dad. I thought l was being wise in letting her decide for herself (the old ‘if you love somebody set them free’ thing) but was totally gazumped when she actually went ahead and did it. It has knocked me for six. On one hand l am so proud of her for having enough courage to let me know what she wanted (l didn’t stand up to my own mum until l was 34 years old) but on the other hand, it hurts so much. l am constantly reminded that here comes another one of those life lessons, and l really feel like l’ve lost my instruction book. And how come l seem to be on the receiving end of so many lessons right now LOL? Does there ever come a time in life when you get to say ‘oh phew, l can relax for 10 minutes’ without something sneaking up and blindsiding you? A few months of mindless boredom would be really nice right now!

I also worked outside of the home in a new job for 2.5 days. Not my cup of tea at all. l guess it was another lesson l needed to learn – that there ARE advantages to working from home, and l am very grateful for having received a rather large reminder. l needed it. The grass is no longer greener on the other side of the fence, it’s actually nice and green right under my feet. I just need to catch up on everything l’ve neglected now.

Anyway, this is my new Citrus Blast handmade soap, with a log of natural goats milk underneath.
I love citrus, and this is exactly why:

Enjoy a hit of energetic citrus each morning to help wake you up and get those brain cells moving. Lemon, orange & may chang essential oils combined with the fragrance of grapefruit will blast away sleepiness & leave you refreshed and ready to start the day.

It will be ready for sale around the 24th November, give or take a week or so. I hope my brain can wait that long!

ps. if anyone older and wiser than me can share some gentle advice re: dealing with a 14 year old, l would be forever grateful. I’ve spent much of today crying my eyes out and feeling like a complete failure as a mum :-(

 

9 responses so far

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