new Honey & Oatmeal soap

by simplysoap | 3 Comments

One of the things l knew l was going to miss when giving up Fragrance Oils was my Honey & Oatmeal soap. It was so nice, and it’s such an everyday soap staple that l knew l was going to have to try and come up with something naturally smelling of honey & oatmeal to try and replace it. This is the first of the ‘experiments’. I’ve used goats milk, organic Australian honey, and ground oatmeal. Thinking about it now, l wish l’d added some cinnamon to it, because it smells exactly like a big bowl of oatmeal on a wintery morning. It’s not a strong smell at all, in fact on first sniff it smells quite plain. But while using it, if you lean down and take a sniff of the lather, there is a lovely, warm toasty smell of oats and sugar and milk. It smells wholesome and natural. And the goats milk makes it feel really lovely on the skin.

The new Honey & Oatmeal will be ready for sale in early April.

Name That Soap…

by simplysoap | 36 Comments

(competition now closed)

This is the latest addition to the Simply Soap range – along the lines of May Chang and the old Citrus Twist, it is a really lovely citrussy/orange scented essential oil soap. Except it is really STRONG, it’s almost Super Citrus, and it deserves a special name, something a bit punchier than Citrus Twist. Maybe Citrus Twist Your Arm Off? ;-)

If you like a soap that will not just wake you up in the morning but actually smack you in the head, turn off your alarm for you and even make the bed, this is it (just kidding LOL!)

I quite like the name ‘Super Citrus’, but l’m not 100% sure. I’ll send a bar of Super Mega Orange Citrus Explosion soap to whoever thinks of the most fitting name for it. I’m open to humour. I’m open to any of the names being incorporated from this post. Just hit me with your favourites :-)

competition closes next Sunday 18th March 2012 at midnight AEST and is open to anyone!

edited to add: We have a winner!

There were some wonderful entries (thankyou so much to everyone who entered!)
l am sorely tempted to make 15 more different types of citrus soap just so l can use them all, but…this one really stuck with me :-) (thankyou so much Felice, l’ll email you!)

Finally – some soap!

by simplysoap | 4 Comments

I’ve finally felt like making some soap in reasonable quantities. This one is Hello Myrtle soap with a little less ‘Myrtle’ and a little more ‘Hello’ (those crushed lemon myrtle leaves l’ve found are a bit scratchy in the shower so l’ve tried grinding them up finer and also using a little less of them!)

…and a new soap based on the old Citrus Twist – except this one is going to be called Super Citrus or something along those lines. Actually…l might have a competition once l’ve cut the bars up, there hasn’t been a giveaway for a while!

These photos were taken with my New Camera <insert flashing lights here LOL!> I’m a little worried, they don’t appear to be any better than the other photos l used to take. I haven’t finished reading the camera manual yet, but l’m hoping l just didn’t make a rather expensive blunder!

Colour

by simplysoap | 9 Comments

Remember a while back l talked about giving up Fragrance Oils in my soaps? I haven’t regretted it (that may be because l haven’t made much soap since then!) but, l have noticed a few comments here and there congratulating me on the more ‘natural’ approach l was going to take to soapmaking, and asking what l was going to use to colour my soap.

And l hadn’t even considered that with a move towards using more essential oils, it is often expected that there will also be a move away from the more ‘non-natural’ colours. Except there is just no way l could do it. I love my bottles of soap colour, so, so much. Some of them can still be classed as being natural – the micas, ultramarines, oxides etc – but it can be safely assumed that the neon lime green that l used to colour Avocado & Lime soap last night is totally NOT natural *g*

And really…for now, l’m okay with that. Soap for me at the moment is all about heading in a general direction that l am happy with, and if colour makes me happy, then that’s okay. Not every soap is coloured loudly, they are all different. Some have artificial glitter on top. I’m not going to tie myself in knots by becoming a purist, goodness knows I have enough other things to tie myself in knots over without adding to the pile!

Meditate…

by simplysoap | 4 Comments

Finally l soaped. Only a small batch, this was the first of my non-palm oil experiments. I was pleasantly surprised, this is an olive oil and coconut oil soap – nothing else. I had expected it to have a slightly ‘slimy’ feel to it like castille soap, but there’s none that l can detect. Instead, it’s a lovely soft and fluffy lather, and l think l might prefer it to my standard recipe. (The ‘fuzzy’ top you can see in the photo is due to me ‘oven baking’ this soap to force gel, and l left it in a little too long so that it started to bubble on top.)

Another experiment: using a higher ISO setting on my camera to get better low light photos. The focus is not so good on the bottom of the photo, l need to wean myself off wide apertures a little bit – there’s also a fair bit of ‘noise’ in the photo, but l don’t mind it.

Soap Heroes

by simplysoap | 5 Comments

Okay, it’s time for some FUN around here. Just quickly though, THANKYOU so much to everyone who has emailed or left comments re: the last couple of ‘difficult’ posts. (I’ve turned some of them off, just sick of looking at them really.) I was absolutely amazed & humbled at the many kind and supportive comments and emails, they were so unexpected.

Thank You.

So in the spirit of loving soap and pretty photos and sharing some link love, l’ve compiled a list of my all time soap heroes. These are the soaps and websites that inspire me on a daily basis, the places that l go to admire what’s new and lose myself in someone else’s creativity. l hope you enjoy!

DeShawn Marie handmade soap

Oh my lordy me l LOVE DeShawn Marie’s soaps. I still haven’t gotten around to buying any of these, l think she is in the USA somewhere and sells on Etsy. I ADORE the colours…photographs…and the bits and pieces that she adds to each bar. Her product descriptions are wonderful, she mentions something in each listing about ‘ingredients that are good enough to eat’, and goddamn, l sit here and drool at the screen and l DO want to eat them LOL. I’m not 100% sure but l think many of these soaps are a melt and pour base which explains why many of the designs & colours would be kind of hard to reproduce in cold process soap. Regardless, DeShawn Marie is my number one inspiration in soap-land.

Inner Earth Soaps

Hahaha you had to know this one was coming…l LOVE sneaking a look at what’s new at Inner Earth Soap. I just today received a beautiful big box of gorgeously wrapped soaps in the mail, my valentine’s present to myself. And they are stunning. I’m going to challenge myself to take some photos of them tomorrow, just to see if my photography has improved from reading the first module in my photography course. (hmmm…probably not!) Anyway, back to the soap…l’m always inspired by Erin’s use of colours…and her soap names are lovely too. See that Lemon Slices soap above? Does it not sound positively edible?! And l have a bar of Raspberry Truffle sitting here in front of me…it looks so much like a big piece of chocolate fudge that it’s all l can do to not take a huge bite out of it LOL.

I love watching Erin’s business grow, and l hope one day l have enough courage to do something similar :-)

Haus of Gloi

I stumbled across Gloi soaps on Etsy a long time ago and was drawn in by the mysterious soap names (Apothecary…Imp…Pixie Sorceror!) as well as the complex scent combinations and beautiful descriptions. And the soaps themselves – this is one very talented and accomplished soapmaker who has a wonderful grasp on colour and design and also happens to take breathtaking photos. Pure eye candy and another soapmaker to add to my ‘l really must try these one day’ list.

Lynnz Artisan Soaps & Candles

Lynnz soaps are so inspiring! They are big, bold, modern chunks of yumminess, decorated with bright colours, soap curls, chunks or hand rolled soap balls. l love the stamps added at the end, and also love reading about Lynnz latest soap batches, her enthusiasm is addictive and after looking at photos of her soap logs l am always immediately inspired to go and make soap too. Lynn makes the best sculpted soap ever. (Lynn l think you could teach me a thing or two about swirling!) Love, love, love.

Cocobong Soaps

After reading a few of Julia’s soap reviews, l am now utterly and completely addicted to Cocobong Soaps and constantly hanging for the next review. I’ve never heard anyone describe soap in such glowing terms and with such attention to detail. It’s not just the appearance of the soap she considers and whether it bubbles well, but she also explores the quality of the lather…muses about the oils that may have made up each soap…the scent combinations…how a bar feels in the hand…and so much more. The rankings she gives out – l read them and constantly wonder how my soap would stand up if subjected to a Cocobong review. A couple of times l’ve almost gotten up enough courage to post some, but l always chicken out at the last minute and think to myself that one day…one day l will make a soap worthy of submitting. For now my perfectionistic tendencies hold me back. Maybe 2012 is the year!

Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps

Read that description above…it is all l can do to not steal it and use it for Simply Soap, it explains EXACTLY why l love handmade soap and love making it and selling it. Love this website (yes, truly Michele, but you already knew that!)  and just love the warm, natural earthiness of Tierra Verde soaps. The packaging is pretty much to die for as well :-)

Blaull

Finally, Blaull. I cannot understand a word of this website (LOL!) but l love the gorgeous photography, the clean and crisp website layout, and the very simple but honest blocks of soap. Soap doesn’t get any simpler than this, but still, it is so very elegant, don’t you think? One of these days l am going to investigate whether they ship to Australia. I really hope they do :-)

There are heaps more soap sites that inspire me, but in the interests of finishing this post in 2012 instead of 2013, l am hitting the ‘publish’ button *g*. Hope you enjoy :-)

Carved Soaps

by simplysoap | 1 Comment

One of the girls I work with recently went on holidays to Thailand…and saw these amazing soaps. Apparantly the white ones above are all hand carved and the man that does them sits out on the street from about 3PM – 1AM every single day just carving away.

Amazing stuff (there is no way l would have the patience to do this, and if l took a chisel to any of my soaps l can guarantee the results would look nothing like these LOL!)

Some of the soaps for sale on his stall :-)

Finally, a RANGE…

by simplysoap | 5 Comments

Finally, l have just about decided on a soap range. A range that is not too big…not too small…not too ambitious…pretty to look at…and that contains all of my favourite flavours. (Still undecided on what blend the citrus one will be, so a bar of Grapefruit Pomegranate is standing in for the time being!)

So far there are 10-12 soaps in the range. I say 10-12 because l still need to make a couple of logs of Meditate soap – pictured above. So it didn’t get included in the group photo.

Then there are the Shampoo Bars – they started off slowly but have been selling quite steadily, and l would love to continue selling at least one flavour.

And finally…under the Lemon Shampoo Bar, there are three round soaps – these are all Olive Oil Castille soaps, in plain, citrus and lavender. They are still curing from when l made them ages ago, and l am so undecided as to whether to continue making them. I used to only make the unscented one, and while it was never a hit, it did sell slowly, and l love the idea of including it in the range. There’s something about the simplicity of plain olive oil soap that really appeals to me. The addition of Citrus and Lavender scented ones was to hopefully improve sales…but of course now l am trying to scale back a bit and hopefully make the business a bit more manageable. It’s not about selling huge amounts any more, l’m more interested in having a thoughtful range that people get used to, and know they can come back to again and again if they run out of their favourite soap.

It’s been incredibly hard to cut back the variety. I have had an excel spreadsheet going for months now, l open it every couple of days and edit…chop…change…put back…re-name…change ingredients – it’s been so hard to let go. I truly love so many of my soaps, and so many times l have almost grabbed all my fragrance oils in a panic and put them back on the soap shelf.

But l am also very, very aware that it was around this stage & age of the business that l gave in when l owned my first soapmaking business, and l put it up for sale because l was exhausted and sick to death of soap. I don’t ever want to find myself in that place again. And it’s this memory that motivates me to change, to try and take control a bit more. Of course l have a lot more help and support now which is fantastic but still, l want to keep this business in it’s place and not let it run me into the ground. I reckon for now l can just about keep up with 10-12 flavours.

Wedding Soap Favours

by simplysoap | 6 Comments

Some custom Rose & Geranium soaps made as wedding favours a few weeks ago…

Today they all got labelled and photographed…

Congratulations Karen & Doug, may you have a lifetime of happiness together!

Limited Edition Soap SALE

by simplysoap | 1 Comment

Because l’m discontinuing using fragrance oil in my soap, l’ve decided to clear out all of the soaps that contain them. So until stocks run out, you can buy any fragrance oil soap for only $4.00 a bar. If you haven’t ordered before, then you can still use your free soap offer too. Grab a bargain while they last, and l’d better get busy dreaming up some Essential Oil combinations LOL!

ps. l will be changing the blog template in the next couple of days, so if things move/disappear, then they’ll be back. Just doing some housekeeping!

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