Archive for April, 2009

Unique Invitations, Part 2

Thursday, April 30th, 2009
Yesterday, I showed how you could design a label to be an invitation and I promised that I would share how to make another style of unique invitations today.

First, I need to explain what Artist Trading Cards (ATC) are. Artist Trading Cards are miniature works of art that are traded between artists or a variation of ATC called Art Cards, Editions and Originals (ACEO) are sold by artists. Artist Trading Cards are about the same size as baseball trading cards (2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches) and will fit into standard collector sleeves. You can use any type of paper as your base, most artists prefer to use card stock or a similarly heavy paper. You can design a card on the computer or draw it by hand using any thing you want. Colored pencils, markers, highlighters, watercolors, paints, makeup, dyes, pigments, nail polish, and many other things. You can also glue items onto your trading cards as long as the cards still can fit into collector sleeves.

On January 19th, I made a simple bath salt and today, I’m going to make the same recipe only with Raspberry Fragrance Oil.

Collect needed items.

Salt, last time I used Dead Sea Salt, but today I’m going to use Epsom Salt.
Raspberry Fragrance Oil
Spray Bottle of Purple Raspberry Color from January 19th
Small Transfer Pipette
Gallon size zipper style bags
Small Gusseted Bags
Ribbon

I’m going to make 2 pounds of Bath Salt, so I need to use the Fragrance Calculator to determine the amount of Raspberry Fragrance Oil that I will need. A strong fragrance load is 1% or 8.7 mL for 2 pounds. I’m going to round this down to 8.5 mL because this will be easier for me to measure as well as allow me to keep my sanity. :-)

Place salt into the plastic zip bag and add fragrance oil to the salt. Close the bag and knead the salt to mix the fragrance oil into the salt and break down any clumps. Once the clumps are gone, we can start spritzing the color onto the salts. I used 40 total spritzes on the salt.

Now the salt is completely mixed, you can measure it into the gusseted bags and then tie the bags with ribbon. You can punch a hole through the Artist Trading Card and tie that card to the ribbon on the bag. Ta-da! The bath salts are now done and you have beautiful invitations.

You can also use this idea for kids passing out birthday invitations, Valentine’s cards or other event invitations at school.

One variation of an Artist Trading Card is to get your friends together and the card has the recipe on the front, and the contact information on the back. The local home brewers are now trading Brewer’s Trading Cards. Do a Spa Product Recipe Trading Card! Do a soap recipe trading card. Especially when the products are sampled, the Artist Trading Card becomes more valuable.

I have attached a PDF of the ATC designed for this post here.

Next week I’m going to show embedding objects in Melt & Pour Soap!
Andee

Front and back of the ATC designed for this post.

Front and back of the ATC designed for this post.

Adding Raspberry Fragrance Oil.

Adding Raspberry Fragrance Oil.

Kneading the fragrance oil into the salt.

Kneading the fragrance oil into the salt.

Kneading in 10 spritzes of color.

Kneading in 10 spritzes of color.


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Unique Invitations

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
Yesterday’s post was from MB and in her original comment, she had mentioned using the lip balm as an invitation. This is such a fun idea and very easy to expand on. Why not use a lip balm as invitations to other events besides Spa Parties?

How would you design a cute label for an invitation lip balm? Our Graphics Department can work with you to design an adorable label. If you have an idea of how you want the label to look, you can draw out the label basics. (You don’t have to be a great artist to draw this out.)

When I made the Mint-Lemonade Sugar Scrub on April 15, I wanted to have a cute label that was wedding related. I wrote on a paper what was needed for the label. You can click on this image to see a larger image.

The adorable label below is what they sent back to me.

If you don’t have a good idea of what you want, the Graphics Department can still help you. Simply e-mail labels@thesage.com, and someone in our graphics department can help you come up with a great label design that will suit your needs.

I think I got a little side tracked with labels, so back to using lip balm as an invitation. You don’t have to use lip balm. You can use anything that you can think of as an invitation. Tomorrow, I’ll show how you can use Artist Trading Cards and close a bag of bath salts! (For those that don’t know what Artist Trading Cards are, I’ll explain what those are too!)

This is what I sent to the Graphics Department.

This is what I sent to the Graphics Department.

This is the finished label.

This is the finished label.

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Spa Parties

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

brilliantOn March 3rd, I posted a blog about a Saint Patrick’s Day Mint Lip Balm. MB commented on this blog about a spa party. Here is her comment.

You could have a Lucky Leprechaun Spa party using the products on this blog and color them green. When it’s time for everyone to put their feet into the individual foot tubs, let each person choose a Magic Color Bath Fizzy from something like a leprechaun hat or a black plastic cauldron. Make all of the Magic Fizzies turn green but one that will turn gold. The person with the gold Fizzy water wins something from the Lucky Leprechaun’s treasure pot filled with your handmade products. You could have a fun and informative party with many different games and product demonstrations.
The Mint Lip Balm and label could be part of the invitations.
Thanks again for the blog,
mb

After I read her comment, it got me to thinking about different potential ideas for Spa Parties, such as Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Product Sales, etc. I e-mailed her asking if she would like to guest write a blog about her spa parties idea. Here was her response.

Hi Andee,
What a nice compliment that you liked my idea. Thank you. I was inspired by your Saint Patrick’s Day Mint Lip Balm blog. When I read that the color green brought your fun childhood memories to mind along with the anticipation of Spring and you wanted to share a fun green product with us for Saint Patrick’s Day my imagination switched on. To me it was just like reading a recipe: Green + Fun + Body Care Products + Saint Patrick’s Day = a fun party for you. I also thought this could be a colorful activity for you and all of the MMS bloggers way up there in the North with all of those snow days. I can only imagine what that must be like.

I remembered a Body Shop home party I went to a few years ago and thought why not just switch everything from their product to yours and give it a theme. It could work with any holiday or you could even make one up like “Mother Daughter Spa Day” (from your Light Facial Cream blog). It has been years since I have attended a Bridal or Baby Shower but I remember the little tablets with games the hostess would hand out. This could be made to fit any them too. (I don’t know what’s cool nowadays for parties.) I also was thinking of some way for people to have “good clean fun” for Saint Patrick’s Day other than looking forward to a big drinking party (which is fine for anyone that enjoys it and I’m not judging). Games could be themed around chance and luck. Like everyone writing their names on a shamrock and dropping them into a bag or hat and one is drawn out for a prize. The parties could be as simple or elaborate as anyone would like to make them. A product themed party could have different stations set up around like in the kitchen, dining room and living room where guest could watch and or make something. [from your kits-or you could make party kits] Instead of buying Body Shop Products the guest would buy a product from the hostess and could choose their color and fragrance . To me that would be so much fun watching everyone oooooh and ahhhhhh over FOs and products. If there were pre-made products for sale the party could be like a MaryKay party and the total amount of sales portion bonus would go to the hostess.

I’m a little self-conscious about sharing my ideas because I don’t want to appear to be a miss know it all or trying to tell someone how to run their business. My ideas may be 10 years behind but I have shared them with the intention of bringing a little bit of fun, joy and imagination to someones day.

Sometimes when I have one of my “bright ideas” my husband teases me and calls me the crazy cat lady(I only have 1). We have a good laugh over it because he will have a dead serious look on his face before he starts laughing. He knows it drives my OCD monster crazy. :)

I’m not much of a writer because I worry about my grammar and punctuation. I read and re-read what I am going to put on the blog to see if it sounds like I just fell off the tater truck. I don’t know how to convey my personality so the reader can tell if I am being funny or serious. Most of the time it’s a happy happy joy joy attitude.

Since it was you and your blog that triggered my imagination, you have my permission and blessing to use any and or all parts of the Lucky Leprechaun Spa party idea and any idea or statement in this letter and make it your own. I’m just saying that my wish for you is to have fun and maybe some orders from these ideas. :)

I am sure you or some of the more girly girls know more about planning parties than I do. It would be fun to see what you and MMS staff could put together for a Lucky Leprechaun Spa party. Even if you want to change it to a Saint Patrick’s Day Spa party and make it your own would be ok with me. I have so much fun reading and learning from your blog that it’s just fine with me if -you- are the primary writer and if you just want to say something like “from mb’s comment on our Saint Patrick’s Day Mint Balm we etc. ”

Thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge with everyone.

I get to go play now cause my order came in today. :)

sincerely,
mb

These great ideas can be turned to any event, any holiday or for no reason at all. What about a Friends Party? Just invite your friends for light refreshments and a lotion making party. I loved her response and because she has been today’s guest editor, I will be sending her a $25 gift certificate to be used here at MMS. Congratulations!

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Energy Body Cream

Monday, April 27th, 2009
We received a question about our Energy Body Cream recipe that is on our site. The question is how to reduce the viscosity of this cream.

Let’s look at the recipe:

3 grams Liquid Glycerin
4 grams Stearic Acid
6 grams Emulsifying Wax
13 grams Apricot Kernel Oil
7 grams Colorless Jojoba Oil
5 grams Sweet Almond Oil
3 grams Regular Cocoa Butter
113 grams distilled water
1.5 grams Germaben II
1.5 grams Energy Fragrance Oil

Let’s figure our the percentages of each of these ingredients first.

Total is 157 grams by weight:
2% Liquid Glycerin
2.5% Stearic Acid
4% Emulsifying Wax
8% Apricot Kernel Oil
4.5% Colorless Jojoba Oil
3% Sweet Almond Oil
2% Regular Cocoa Butter
72% distilled water
1% Germaben II
1% Energy Fragrance Oil

These percentages have been rounded a bit for easier calculating.

To reduce viscosity the Stearic Acid, Cocoa Butter, and Emulsifying Wax all contribute to an increased viscosity. Reducing the Stearic Acid to 3 grams will decrease the viscosity just a tad. Removing the Cocoa Butter will decrease the viscosity a bit more. Removing the Stearic Acid will decrease the viscosity by a lot more, and removing both will decrease the viscosity significantly.

Sometimes we replace ingredients like these with other materials that help make a creamier product with a lighter feel, this helps reduce viscosity and help lighten the overall feel.

I would probably make the Stearic Acid 2 grams, increase the Colorless Jojoba to 8 grams, and replace the Cocoa Butter with Isopropyl Myristate. To make the lotion have less drag, replacing the Glycerin with Hydrovance will also reduce drag and make a lighter feel, without changing viscosity much.

This gives lots of options for change. It certainly will make a difference, based your desired final product, by which option you choose.

As always, you can change a recipe to suit the ingredients you have on hand. I only had White Cocoa Butter on my workbench, so I used that instead of the Regular Cocoa Butter that the recipe called for. Even with this change, the recipe turned out fine.

Collect needed items:

Liquid Glycerin
Stearic Acid
Emulsifying Wax
Apricot Kernel Oil
Colorless Jojoba Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Regular Cocoa Butter
Germaben II
Energy Fragrance Oil
Distilled Water
Scale
Transfer Pipette
Spoon
Immersion Blender (Optional)
Container for mixing
Containers for the finished product

Weigh all ingredients except Germaben II and Energy Fragrance Oil. Melt the ingredient in the microwave using short bursts of time. It took about 1-1/2 minutes  in my microwave to melt the ingredients. Once the ingredients are melted, stir to thoroughly mix. Allow the ingredients to cool until the cream has reached approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Now you can add the Germaben II and Energy Fragrance Oil and mix well. Pour the cream into jars and cap the jars. Now you have a quick and easy cream ready to use for an energetic pick-me-up.

Collect items.

Collect items.

Weigh ingredients except for fragrance and Germaben II.

Weigh ingredients except for fragrance and Germaben II.

Stirring melted ingredients with a spoon.

Stirring melted ingredients with a spoon.

Stirring melted ingredients after adding fragrance oil and Germaben II.

Stirring melted ingredients after adding fragrance oil and Germaben II.

Pouring finished cream into jars.

Pouring finished cream into jars.

Filling the last jar.

Filling the last jar.

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Finished Mother’s Day Gift Baskets

Friday, April 24th, 2009
We have the items for our Mother’s Day Gift Baskets, but how will I guarantee that the items will stay in their baskets while shipping? I use Shrink Film. Before you ask me how Shrink Film works, I’ll explain it.

First things first, choose the basket that you want to use and then collect the items you are going to place in your gift basket. You will want paper or excelsior to put in the bottom of the basket and to also help prop up the products.

The items in these gift baskets are listed below:
Honey Lip Gloss
Fruit Slices Light Facial Cream
Jordan’s Mint-Lemonade Scrub
Rose Blooming Bath Oil
Lemongrass Clay Face Mask
Strawberries & Champagne Body Wash
Relaxation Shampoo and Conditioner Set
A Lip Solutions Gift Kit

Place the items in the basket on top of the paper or excelsior and arrange to suit your desire. Once the items have been arranged, measure the needed amount of Shrink Film by covering the top and sides of the basket. Cut the film so you still have plenty of room to tape the edges underneath the basket and still allow the film to shrink. The 16″ Shrink Film I am using is a center fold film, so I will open the film to the full 32 inches, then spread out the film to cover the basket. After the basket has been covered, gently tape the sides and corners under the basket. Don’t tape the film tightly, or when you use the heat gun, you will create holes in the film. The basket should look like a bath poof is surrounding it. After the film has been taped to the basket, use a Heat Gun to shrink the film. A good basket will let the shrink film hold the products firmly against the cushioning paper or excelsior.

Why would you use Shrink Film on a basket?
There are two reasons that come to mind instantly for me.
1) Keeping curious hands out of the products.
2) Making transportation of the gift basket easier.

Andee

Placing paper in the bottom of the basket.

Placing paper in the bottom of the basket.

Placing items on top of the paper.

Placing items on top of the paper.

Cutting the shrink film.

Cutting the shrink film.

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And the Mother’s Day Gift Basket Winners are…

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Congratulations! We now have the winners for the Mother’s Day Gift Baskets! As I stated back on March 2, all comments from March 2 to April 22 would be included in the drawing. Tomorrow, I will show making the baskets and then I will ship the baskets out.

From tamithornton on the Coffee Body Balm “I have never worked with coffee butter — does it smell like coffee?”

From KimVH on the Precious Cuticles “I just received a sample of this. It’s wonderful! Since I had ordered the supplies, my girls and I made a batch right away. Thanks for starting this blog. The information is great and it’s nice to see the recipes done step by step.”

From Jaellra on the Massage Oil “I was asking because there’s a cpl recipes ya’ll have that state Germaben II and a cpl Germaben II E, so I was of course wanting to know if I could use the Liquid Germall Plus in each of them to save myself some money and confusion! I’ll email the Technical Support Team. Thanks very much for such a fast reply! Lisa”

From MB on the Curing Soap “I can tell this is going to be another soap epiphany for me. You mean I don’t have to stare at my soap for 6 to 8 weeks before I try it…wow! The “make and wait” process for me to test a recipe is why I only make soap occasionally. The recipes, s.calc., methods and time I have used trying to produce a soap I am truly happy with is fun but at the same time a little frustrating for my OCD. Changing the way I make soap just may give me the up-grade I have been searching for. Thanks, mb”

From Patzee on the Mother’s Day Announcement “Thanks so much for the advance notice. I’ve just discovered that my paper crafts group is mad about the soap I gave them for the holidays. How cool to”

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Baby Soap

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
What do you do when you are requested to make a baby soap that has tea tree and lavender? Go lightly, dear soapers, go lightly. This question was recently posed to our technical support staff and here is the recipe and the thoughts behind the choices.

Oils to use are olive oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil. Today’s thought is that coconut and palm kernel give great lather but we want to temper the aggressive cleaning with gentle care. Let’s use 3 ounces coconut oil, 3 ounces palm kernel oil and 10 ounces olive oil for our base. Use the Lye Calculator to figure the lye and leave about 6% excess fat. The lye should be an easy to weigh amount, but right close to 6% is our target.

Tea tree and lavender can be used neat, this means undiluted, on the skin. However, baby skin is so tender and new we don’t want to overwhelm. Let’s keep the essential oil addition to 1%, this will be plenty for our extra mild soap. Because tea tree is so strong, stronger than lavender, let’s use it as 1 part and lavender as 3 parts to make our scenting mixture. We will need a total of 4.5 grams of essential oil. If you want to make measuring a bit simpler, you can do 3 grams lavender essential oil and 1 gram tea tree. This will be lighter, but certainly in line with a baby soap.

If you are looking for a stronger scented soap, or one for acne prone skin, you can increase the scenting to 2%, which would be 9 grams total.

Let’s show some pictures of our test batch.

I’m using Lemon Yellow from our blog on Jan 12, 2009. I have added 5 drops of color to achieve a pale, sunshine yellow soap. I have used a lovely mold from Soap Hutch that is scaled for this 1 lb fat batch.

3 ounces weight Palm Kernel Oil
3 ounces weight Coconut Oil
10 ounces weight Olive Oil

2.2 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
6 fluid ounces cool water

Weighing time: 8 minutes
Adding lye to water: 5 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of stirring
Heating of oils time: 2 minutes
Pouring lye solution into the fat mixture: 5 seconds
Using immersion blender to mix soap solution: 90 seconds
Blending in Tea Tree and Lavender Essential Oils: 30 seconds
Pour into mold: 10 seconds
Allow soap to rest: 24 hours

The soap is going to look dark because of the olive oil, but the color will lighten significantly when cured.

Andee

Collect supplies.

Collect supplies.

Mixing lye and water.

Mixing lye and water.

Adding lye solution to melted oils.

Adding lye solution to melted oils.

Blending the lye solution and oils together.

Blending the lye solution and oils together.

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Finishing Lip Balm

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
I received an e-mail the other day from Carolyn asking about making lip balm. She wanted to know how she could make a nice dome on top of her lip balm. Today I’m going to cover making lip balm and giving your lip balm a nice dome top. I’m going to use one of the Lip Solutions for this demonstration. You can use any lip balm mixture you desire.

First, melt the lip balm mixture. Using a pipette, fill the tube almost to the top. Refill your pipette.

To make the dome top requires a steady hand. While the tip of a filled pipette is barely touching the fluid inside the lip balm tube, squeeze gently on the pipette bulb. Continue with firm, even pressure while the lip balm mixture grows up and out of the tube. If you remove the tip of the pipette from the liquid lip balm mixture, all is lost. The surface tension is helping you prevent an over flow. Keep touching the surface and squeezing. If the lip balm mixture is filled too much, the over flow will make cleaning a whole new chore.

Once you have a nice dome on the top of the lip balm tube stop squeezing the bulb on the pipette, don’t release the bulb to cause suction of the dome back into the pipette, just stop dispensing more material into the lip balm tube. Now gently remove the tip from the lip balm. Bumping the table, counter, or work surface can make the dome topple and flow down the side of your tube.

As the mixture cools, the top will contract slight and you will have a nice dimple in the top surface of your tube. This is from the wax shrinking. Work carefully and you can have these lovely dimples in your tubes too!

If you have a deep, hollowed crack, then the lip balm was filled too hot, and/or the wax is prone to significant shrinkage.

Send in your photos of lip balm tubes with perfect dome tops! And a few that aren’t so perfect.

Andee

Empty lip balm tubes.

Empty lip balm tubes.

Filling the tubes.

Filling the tubes.

Topping off a tube.

Topping off a tube.

Pipette tip in the dome of lip balm

Pipette tip in the dome of lip balm

Close up of finished dome.

Close up of finished dome.

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Blog Reader Challenge

Monday, April 20th, 2009

questonAs I was sitting at my desk today, I realized that I’m wrapping up the Mother’s Day Gift Baskets this week. This made me wonder what have the blog readers made for themselves, family, friends, mothers, etc. Therefore, the curiosity has made me want to see pictures of your projects. I challenge all blog readers to send me pictures of their latest projects.

This challenge brings me to my next series of questions.

1) What do you struggle with in your crafts?
2) What would you like to see covered with more detail in a blog post or post series?
3) What is your favorite thing to make?
4) Is there something in your recipes or formulations that just doesn’t make sense?
5) Are there themes that you would like to see on this blog in the future?
6) Would you like to be a guest editor for the day and demonstrate your recipe, technique, or packaging?

Andee

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Cookie Friday

Friday, April 17th, 2009
Since it has been raining and snowing all week, I needed a way to perk up the staff before the weekend. I decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookies. Naturally, I slaved away all day making the cookie dough and then baking them. (Giggles! I actually just picked up a tub of cookie dough and rolled the cookie dough into balls, but it sounds better that I worked all day on the cookie dough.)

I wish you could have seen everyone’s noses sniffing the air appreciatively as the cookies baked. Then again, I wish I could mail out the cookies too! These cookies came out of the oven just as most of the staff was getting ready to go home. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of staff enjoying these cookies, but I can assure you the cookies were devoured quickly!

If you are looking for a baked goods type of scent, here are some of our staff recommendations!

Brown Sugar & Spice Fragrance Oil
Cinnamon Bear Fragrance Oil
Frosted Cupcakes Fragrance Oil
Gingerbread & Spice Fragrance Oil
Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Fragrance Oil
Pumpkin Pie Fragrance Oil
Spiced Fig Fragrance Oil
Vanilla Cream Fragrance Oil
Vanilla Hazelnut Fragrance Oil
Warm Vanilla Sugar Fragrance Oil

Rolled cookie dough on the sheet.

Rolled cookie dough on the sheet.

Cookies baking in the oven

Cookies baking in the oven

Finished cookies! Yummy!

Finished cookies! Yummy!

My magic recipe!

My magic recipe!

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