Labels: More Than Just Ingredient Listings

Have you ever thought that labels are just a place for product names or ingredient listings? This is a common thought when one hears the word “label.” Today I want to show you a unique use of our Graphics Department and the labels they create.

First, the back ground. Jean is my Great Grandma. She was fast approaching her 100th birthday. I worked with my mom and my aunt and my cousin to get samples of Jean’s handwriting. We searched through cards, letters and asked Grandma to write a few things for us about a week before the party. We found great phrases that allowed us to hear her voice when we just read the words. Do you have phrases in your family that start everyone laughing but outsiders just don’t get it? I am sure every family has these and my great grandma is no different.

Second, the goal. We wanted to create jars of creams and bottles of soap that would have Grandma’s sayings on the labels. These would be little moments of memories when softening dry hands or cleaning up from gardening. We wanted everyone at the party to take home a little piece of Jean, whether she is a mother, aunt, grandma or great-grandma to the guest.

In one card we found a fantastic example of Grandma’s writing.  See Picture 1. Grandma always signed her cards and letters in this fashion. I think it was that if anything were underlined it carried more emphasis. You can imagine the love she was sending when she wrote this!

Phrases I could hear her say is “That’s good stuff!” and “Egad! I never thought I’d see the day!” We asked Grandma if she would write these for us. She asked, “What’s wrong, can’t you remember?” It made the day we asked even more memorable. See Pictures 2 and 3 for the newly written phrases.

Changes made to the recently written phrases:

We had to make a few changes to Grandma’s handwriting before we could incorporate her writing into a label. Grandma pauses more now when writing and her vision is less than what it once was. See how we changed the exclamation points, Ts, Ys, Ss and Vs to clearer text in Pictures 4 through 14.

Changes made to the phrase written in the older letters:

The phrase, “Lots and lots of Love, dear, Grandma Thomas” was changed by adding the letter “s” to the word “dear” so this could be used as if writing to a family instead of one person.

While the graphics team worked on fixing Grandma’s handwriting samples, Mom and I started looking through the catalog to find fragrances that remind us of Grandma Thomas. We chose eight total fragrances to use for our creams and soaps.

Fragrances we chose and why:

Peach: We chose this fragrance because Grandma had a peach tree in the backyard. That peach tree was not only a food producer, but a tree for the kids to play around as well.

Black Raspberry: We chose this fragrance because my Mom remembers the black raspberries that grew along the fence in Grandma’s back yard.

Rose: This fragrance was chosen because Grandma has several rose bushes around her yard.

Osmanthus: I have a bottle of Osmanthus fragrance that we once carried. (I have heard this is coming back as a Limited Edition so watch the catalog and this blog for future notices.) I only use it for special occasions and we decided that Grandma turning 100 is a very special occasion.

Polynesian Red: We needed a bright a fruity scent and Polynesian Red is one of the fragrances that my mom and I both love! We decided that this fragrance was perfect for this party because it gave us some more variety to our collection.

Alice: We chose this fragrance because Grandma loves mandarin oranges and always has them in the refrigerator. This citrusy and spunky fragrance made us think of eating lunch with Grandma.

Esme: This fragrance was chosen because it smells almost like the perfume my Mom remembers Grandma wearing. The best part about this fragrance is that those who remembered the perfume thought this light, sophisticated floral was perfectly “Grandma.”

Emmett: We couldn’t just make creams for the gals, so we chose this fragrance for the guys. Since we didn’t know what to call it, we decided to just call it “The Good Stuff”. When we shared this with Grandma and let her smell it, she laughed and said, “That is good stuff!”

The graphics team had ideas of using vintage fruit crate art for our labels, but we also wanted a label that looked like a stylized drawing of Grandma’s house and something that shouted the fact that Grandma is now 100. After our discussion, the graphics team submitted several designs for our consideration and we picked the designs we liked the most.

Want to know how the graphics team made the label that had the stylized drawing of Grandma’s house? It was actually quite easy. They copied the street image of Grandma’s house from Google Maps and then designed the stylized artwork over the picture. Once the drawing was finished, the original picture was removed and the artwork was adjusted to look like Picture 4.

We decided how many labels of each design we wanted and the Graphics Team went to work. We started making the products. We used the Paraben Free Head to Toe Cream Base for our hand creams and the Shower Gel & Liquid Hand Soap in One Base for our hand soaps. We made about 80 items and every party guest went home with a special gift that had a note from Grandma on it!

I had lots of fun making these gifts and my Grandma loved them! She was so excited to give away some of her love notes to each guest and the guests were thrilled to receive them!

The next time you have a special event, consider special labels. Great labels can make long lasting memories!

P.S. Did you know we can use any of these backgrounds for your labels? Just ask the Graphics Team to have these used for your special labels. They’ll take good care of you!

Picture 1: Grandma's handwriting from the 90s.
Picture 2: Grandma's handwriting today.
Picture 3: Grandma's handwriting today.
Picture 4: Grandma's house as a stylized drawing.
Picture 5: Egad! She's 100! Polynesian Red scented cream label.

Picture 6: Finished label for the cream scented with Esme.
Picture 7: Finished label for the Peach Hand Soap.
Picture 9: Finished label for the Black Raspberry Cream.
Picture 11: Finished label for the Emmett aka The Good Stuff Cream.

Picture 13: Finished label for the Alice Cream.
Picture 8: Finished label for the Peach Cream.
Picture 10: Finished label for the Black Raspberry Hand Soap.
Picture 12: Finished label for the Osmanthus Cream.

Picture 14: Finished label for the Rose Cream.
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Fragrance Review Deadline Coming Up!

Back in August as we were releasing many of our new products, I released a challenge to all readers about our new products. The best reviews for any of our new products would receive one of our new scales. Friday morning will be the deadline for these fragrance reviews, so you still have a little time to get your reviews in!

The cut off for these reviews will be Friday morning at 8 am Mountain Time. If you are not a morning person and you suffer from “Warning! Operator halted. Caffeine not found.” Make sure you submit your reviews before you go to bed Thursday night. Just fill out our Contact Us form and send your opinions to our blog team. If your reviews are in my e-mail by 8 am, they will be eligible for a new scale!

If you aren’t sure what our new scale is like, check out my blog post here for my rave about this new scale and some pictures!

If you would like to read the original fragrance review challenge, check out this blog post for all the details.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to win a new scale! Remember, I can give away a total of 4 new scales! Doesn’t your kitchen need a new scale?

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Can you imagine your kitchen without a dishwasher? Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. This tool has certainly become commonplace in our industrialized society. Yet we may take this tool for granted as soap and lotion makers. Here are a few Dos and Don’ts for your dishwasher using pleasure:

1) Read the manual. I know this sounds like a silly notion but so many of us install equipment and never read the manual because “we already know how to run such a simple machine.” Reading the manual may show that your dishwasher can grind up some foods like cooked rice and beans but it can’t handle an olive pit. Reading the manual may explain how to keep the racks in the best condition for a long time or how to keep the dishwasher smelling fresh when used infrequently.

2) Rinse your dishes but don’t wash them twice. I know people who wash their dishes and then run them through the dishwasher. This tool is not a dish LOCKER, but a dish WASHER. Rinsing saves time, money, energy and detergents.

3) Never, ever, ever wash an item in your dishwasher that has been tainted with a fragrance, essential or flavor oil. You may think “one time won’t hurt.” This is bad thinking because it will be tempting to wash again and again because “so far nothing bad has happened.”

Fragrance, essential and flavor oils are that, OILS. They get trapped in all plastics. Even if you have a stainless steel dishwasher interior the racks are likely coated plastic and the sprayers and wheels can be plastic too. Once these plastics are contaminated with scenting oils then they will continue to give everything a fine coating of scent. This means if you wash your favorite plastic mug in the dishwasher after the dishwasher was contaminated then the mug will smell like the flavors/fragrances/essentials that were placed in the dishwasher. Your Diet Coke, coffee and water will take on the mixture of flavors and odors and make all your beverages undrinkable!

Do yourself a favor, and your budget a favor too, only hand wash items that are used with fragrances, essentials and flavors. Unscented soap buckets and pots may be washed in the dishwasher IF the soap was cold process and the bucket/pot is fresh. If the soap was allowed to set up, hot process or melt and pour soap was made instead of cold process, you will quickly learn that the dishwasher is the most efficient bubble making machine on Earth. You will need a snow shovel to scoop up the suds that are now spilling out the dishwasher and spreading across the floor!

If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated dishwasher for your soap kitchen then make sure you never wash food containers in that same dishwasher.

Happy soaping!

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Swap Feature – Catherine’s Coconut Cream Soap

Coconut Cream Soap

This soap is the last soap I have to share from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I’ve been very impressed by all the talent these soapmakers possess and I hope their work has been as inspiring for you as it has been for me.

When I first unwrapped Catherine’s soap, I was surprised by her soap color swirl. I have to admit that this soap looks pretty complicated, but I’m sure it was a lot easier than it looks! This soap smells like a berry patch from Utah took a trip to the tropics as the scent is mostly berry with a little bit of mango thrown in. Her cigar bands are also super cute! Glittery paper and even tied with a ribbon! Wow!

Catherine’s Recipe:

15 oz Palm Oil
6 oz Palm Kernel Oil
15 oz Macadamia Nut Oil
6 oz Sweet Almond Oil
6 oz Coconut Oil

6.63 oz Sodium Hydroxide
12 oz Water
3 oz Coconut Oil


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Swap Feature – Cindy’s Lavender Body Soap

Lavender Body Soap.

This soap is our second to last soap! This soap is from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. These soaps have been so much fun to look at and review!

Just like Elaine’s soap yesterday, I just wanted to hold Cindy’s soap up to my nose and breathe in deep! I have no idea where my lavender liking tendencies came from, but I might as well enjoy the lavender soap. I thought that the swirls of lavender color were perfect for the soap as well as the awesome beveled edges. I dropped the soap, so I can promise that the chipped corner is from me being clumsy!

Cindy’s Recipe:

30% Coconut Oil
30% Olive Oil
30% Lard
10% Shea Butter
Lavender Essential Oil
Colorant (Optional)

Cindy’s Notes:

This is my favorite recipe for a basic hard bar with good lather, and I dearly love Lavender!


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Swap Feature – Elaine’s Lavender & Vanilla Oatmeal Swirl Soap

Lavender & Vanilla Oatmeal Swirl Soap

Two more soaps to go! This soap is from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I hope you have been enjoying these wonderful soap recipes. I hope you have been enjoying these wonderful soap recipes and using them as inspiration.

When I received Elaine’s package, I couldn’t help myself and I just had to hold a bar up to my nose and inhale deeply! She used a great combination of Vanilla and Lavender that is soothing and relaxing. (At least I think so!) This soap looks great and I can’t wait to take it home and try it! She even used a long fiber mulberry paper on her cigar band and I think the final result is adorable.

Elaine’s Recipe:

Lye Solution for 8% excess fat:
20 oz water
8.46 oz Sodium Hydroxide flakes

Oils & Butters (62 oz):
20 oz Olive Oil
16 oz Refined Coconut Oil
12 oz Palm Oil
8 oz Avocado Oil
6 oz Refined Shea Butter

½ to 3/4 cup sifted, ground oatmeal (not quick oats) – Optional
1 oz Lavender Essential Oil of choice (I used Bulgarian in this recipe)
½ oz Vanille blend essential oil (a blend of vanilla absolute, benzoin and Peru Balsam prepared by my local herb shop)

Elaine’s Notes:

This is one of my favorite blends of oils and butters, but I tend to save it for special occasions because the Avocado and Shea are a little more expensive. This is also one of my favorite scent blends. I’ve always used oatmeal with lavender and vanilla and have blended the vanilla in the whole batch for a brown bar, but I think if I would leave out the oatmeal next time if want to swirl the soap since the oatmeal thickens the soap (go figure).

I like to begin when the oils and butters and the lye solution are 90-100 degrees. Add the lavender eo at light trace and gently blend. If you would like a solid brown bar, add the vanilla eo now, too. Add the oatmeal and gently blend until mixed thoroughly. (Once the oatmeal is added, the blend will thicken quickly, but don’t worry about it. This batch REALLY thickened up and it still turned out great.) If you want to marble the soap, pour about ½ of the mixture into a glass container with a pour spout and blend the vanilla eo in thoroughly. You’ll need to work as quickly as you can from here because it can get very thick, especially if you’re using oatmeal. Carefully pour the vanilla mixture in drizzly swirls back into the lavender mixture. The closer you have the vanilla to the lavender as you pour, the more shallow the vanilla will be in the soap; hold it higher up as you pour if you want the vanilla to reach the bottom of the bars (thanks gravity!). Quickly pour the soap into your prepared tray/mold and jiggle it to even it our and then use a chopstick to create additional swirls or designs in the soap. It’s up to you if you want a super smooth top using a spatula or if you like the grooves made by the chopsticks. Cover with a piece of wax paper and cover tray with a piece of heavy cardboard and insulate the soap with blankets, towels, etc. and tuck into a warm spot our of the way for at least 24 hours before cutting the bars.

Ok, so I must confess, I intended to marble the soap as I described above, but I was distracted by how quickly the soap thickened after I added the oatmeal and started to pour the soap into the mold and forgot about the vanilla! Oops. Luckily, I figured it our before I poured it all into the tray, stopped and added the vanilla. It was pretty thick by then, not at all thin enough to drizzle, but I still added the vanilla mixture a little at a time to the lavender in the tray at different heights (plop, plop, plop) and then swirled it with a chopstick. It didn’t go as planned, but I was still very happy with how it turned out! I hope you agree!

The Vanille blend that Elaine used was purchased from Artemisia Herbals in Sonora, California.


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Swap Feature – Cecelia’s Smells Like Bella Soap

Smells Like Bella.

Wow! I’ve been impressed by the last four soaps I’ve shared with you and I still have three more soaps that I haven’t even shared yet! I’ve now shared three of the soaps from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I hope you have been enjoying these wonderful soap recipes and d and hope these will be inspiring to you.

The instant I opened Cecelia’s package of soap, I knew she had used Bella as the fragrance for her soap. I love the coloration of the top layer and swirled wave in this soap. This soap seems to portray Bella’s innocence with a bit of a mysterious twist. Either way, this soap is fun!

Cecelia’s Recipe:

12 oz Palm Kernel Oil
24 oz Olive Oil
12 oz Shea Butter
4 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
6 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Almond Oil
2 oz Castor Oil

8.67 oz Sodium Hydroxide
21.5 oz Distilled Water

FO was Bella from MMS – I used 3 oz.

Cecelia’s Notes:

I’ve been wanting to make this recipe I designed that has a lot of Shea Butter in it. I am marketing this as a very special soap. Bubble wrap was used to make the design on the top of the bars. Shrieking Violet Neon was the soap colorant used.


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Swap Feature – Andee’s Spearmint & Basil Soap

This soap is my soap that I sent our in our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I’ve been very impressed by all the talent these soapmakers possess and I hope their work has been as inspiring for you as it has been for me.

This soap batch was very fun to make because I got a chance to use the new Digital Slim Kitchen Scale. This new scale is so slick and easy to use. I even spilled some oils on the scale, right over the display! Since this scale is flat, it was easy to just wipe the scale off and continue weighing my ingredients. The scale even has the ablilty to weigh my Sodium Hydroxide with no problem! Can I say that I think I’m in love with this scale?

I chose this blend of essential oils because I wanted a refreshing soap that had a minty scent but I wanted a little more oomph to the scent than just plain Spearmint. This soap smells just right for that morning wake up call!


16 oz Coconut Oil
16 oz Palm Oil
16 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
16 oz Sunflower Oil

8.90 oz Sodium Hydroxide (7% Superfat)
24 fl oz Water (reverse osmosis)

0.56 oz Basil Essential Oil
0.82 oz Spearmint Essential Oil

1 Tbsp Mint Green Color mixed with Liquid Glycerin

Spearmint & Basil Soap

Our new digital scale with a cool digital display!


These bars are bigger than I expected because I was testing a new mold and a new swirl technique at the same time! You would think I would remember to only change one thing at a time!

This soap was processed at about 120° F. After the soap reached trace, I poured most of the soap into the mold and then colored the remaining 2 cups of raw soap. Since the swirl didn’t work as I desired, I’ll continue working on it and post to the blog as soon as I have perfected this.


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Swap Feature – Crystal’s Berries & Twigs Soap

Berries & Twigs Soap.

I’ve now shared three of the soaps from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I hope you have been enjoying these wonderful soap recipes and I hope these will be inspiring to you.

Crystal’s soap was a surprise for me as I normally don’t like the smell of Berries & Twigs Fragrance Oil right out of the bottle. This soap changed my mind about this fragrance and I think I just might have to try a soap scented with this. This bar of soap doesn’t have strongly contrasting swirl, but a very light delicate wisp of color instead. While the wispy style is different, I find it to add just enough color contrast that you look at the bar twice when trying to place the color.

Crystal’s Recipe:

19% Coconut Oil 24 oz
40% Olive Oil 52 oz
11% Shea Butter 14 oz
16% Palm Kernel Oil 20 oz
14% Soybean Oil 18 oz

Sodium Hydroxide 18.07 oz
Water 42.24 oz

Crystal’s Notes:

Processed at 120° F using cold process method. Swirled with Red Moroccan clay. 1 Tbsp mixed with 1 cup of raw soap at light trace. Fragranced with Berries & Twigs from The Sage with a usage of 3.5 oz.

This is a great recipe to use with varying scents or additives.


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Swap Feature – Robin’s Orange Cream Soap

Orange Cream Soap

I’ve shared two of the soaps from our recent “My Favorite Recipe to Share” soap swap on The Sage Forum. I hope you have been enjoying these wonderful soap recipes and hope these will be inspiring to you.

Robin’s soap was absolutely yummy in scent. Just smelling her soap made my stomach growl and I started craving orange creamsicles! I’d bet you would be craving them too if you could smell this soap. This soap is a lovely brown color from the vanilla content of the fragrancing materials, but some how this coloring really doesn’t matter when you just want to curl up and snuggle with this bar of soap! I should probably make a batch like this for my mom for Christmas so I don’t have to share!

Robin’s Recipe:

18 oz Olive Oil blend of Olive, Soy and Canola
16 oz Coconut Oil
14 oz Palm Oil
4 oz Jojoba Oil
4 oz Shea Butter
Total oil weight: 56 oz

19 oz Distilled Water
7.58 oz Sodium Hydroxide (usually around 7% as per the MMS calculator)

2 oz Orange 5-fold
0.5 oz Vanille blend (The vanille blend is vanilla absolute, benzoin and Peru Balsam, created by a local herb store, and it’s worth every penny.)

Robin’s Notes:
If you’re a fan of 50-50 bars, you’ll love this soap. It’s almost good enough to eat!

I typically combine my oils and lye around 100-110 degrees. This size batch yields 16 bars that weigh approximately 4 ounces each after curing. For previous batches, I’ve sprinkled the tops of the bars with cinnamon, but since it’s a fairly dark bar, I didn’t do that this time.

The Vanille blend that Robin used was purchased from Artemisia Herbals in Sonora, California.


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