All posts by Taylor

Vinegar – Our Gift to YOU!

I love my job. And no, I am not saying that for a marketing ploy. I work in one of the coolest jobs in the WORLD! I get to try and test new products, formulate like crazy and talk with all of our wonderful customers. I love reading through our catalog and laughing at all of the descriptions. There are some pretty great ones in the fragrance category.

That being said, my favorite category in our catalog is actually our Gifts and Teas section. If you haven’t checked out our Free Gifts Program, you should. There are some awesome things in there that you can treat yourself to every time you place an order. Some of our most recent additions have been some fabulous and mouth-watering vinegars. Let me tell you about them!

First on our list today is the Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar. Now I adore balsamic vinegar. I love pouring balsamic vinegar and olive oil onto a plate then dipping bread into it. The Blackberry Balsamic is perfect for bread, salads, cheese and even drizzled over a pork roast. It is wonderful.

The next vinegar I wanted to talk about is the Ginger White Balsamic. This vinegar is perfect who love the taste of ginger and like to add a little exotic flair to their food. I have enjoyed putting this on noodles, salads, curry and even on flaky fish. This vinegar is a big hit every time I cook with it. You should get a bottle for yourself to try!

The Raspberry Champagne Vinegar is absolutely exquisite. It is tart, crisp and berry sweet. I love it in vinaigrettes, particularly when I am serving salads that are topped with fresh berries. I have even heard of it drizzled atop fresh melons and berries as a simple yet memorable dessert. Or adding some to sparking water to make a spritzer. I think that sounds yummy. Want to try a spritzer with me?

The next vinegar I wanted to talk about is the Fig Balsamic. I must admit that I was a little unsure about trying this vinegar due to my lack of exposure to figs. Goodness, why did I even hesitate? This vinegar is divine. If you are wanting add a note of intrigue to dishes where you normally use Balsamic Vinegar, try the Fig Balsamic. It won’t disappoint.

Until we brought in all of the astounding vinegars, I had never heard of a Balsamic Vinegar that wasn’t dark in color. So you can imagine how much the Golden Balsamic surprised me. This vinegar is wonderful. I like to use it for dipping bread, on salads, fish, chicken and even grilled vegetables. I have taken great delight in using this where I wanted the flavor to surprise people without the color giving away my secrets.

The last one on our list today is the 25 Year Balsamic Vinegar. While the entire staff has loved trying all of the different flavors, for many this was ranked as their favorite. This vinegar is so different from what many of us are accustomed. It is sweet and tart and full of flavor. We have used it every where from dipping bread to drizzling it atop strawberries with whipping cream. If you are looking for a top notch vinegar that can be used from appetizer all the way to dessert, this is it.

If you want to try one of these fabulous vinegars, just let us know in the comments field of your next qualifying order!

Taylor

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Rocket Booster Testing

Watching the Rocket Booster Testing
Watching the Rocket Booster Testing

There are always events that may make a ripple in the world news but are huge when it comes to the location it occurs. Today was one such thing for us. Today Orbital ATK tested the largest and most powerful rocket booster today at Promontory Point in Utah.

It is a rather exciting and momentous event for those of us who live here. For the MMS staff, there is an even larger tie. Many have spouses or family members who are either currently working or have worked on the massive rockets that have taken astronauts, space probes and robots up into space. My own grandfather worked on the boosters for the Space Shuttle Program.

This morning, we went to go watch the QM-1 rocket booster testing. It was an astonishing sight. Today they tested the rocket booster at high temperature ranges. They heated the booster to 90ºF to simulate hot weather conditions then ignited the booster. From where we were watching, it took 5 seconds for the tremendous sound to reach us.  5 seconds may not seem like a lot of time but it certainly is strange to see something before you can hear it.

During the test, more than 531 instruments were use to monitor and gauge 102 design objectives.  Wow! That is a lot of equipment. The test also demonstrated the boosters ability to meet ballistic performance requirements as well as demonstrating the upgrades to insulation, liner and nozzle design. If you want to learn more about this test or to watch it for yourself, check out http://www.nasa.gov/ for more information or check out this article.

Taylor

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Winter Soap Challenge – Mary

Mary's Winter Challenge Soap
Mary’s Winter Challenge Soap

Last week I told you how Cache Valley was covered in another blanket of snow. Well, that blanket is receding but it made for a beautiful view this morning. The air was crisp and frosty, the birds were puffed up like crazy. They are so cute. They were determined to herald the morning with their song. It was the perfect morning to sit at the kitchen table and look out to watch the sun rise.

This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.
This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.

May I just say the sunrise in the Rockies is truly spectacular? Mary made a soap that celebrates that breath-taking beauty. Read what she has to say about her soap!

I lived most of my life in Nebraska and Colorado, and miss the serene beauty after the snow storm has passed, the sun has been out and is now fading. The deep blue against a pale blue sky, swirled with peach and white, offers a calmness I never tire of. It shows a glimpse of what is to come.

This is my CP soap submission:
I tilted my loaf mold and poured a small amount of white, colored with TD and Shimmer White Mica, with a Copper Mica pencil line (my first time using it) followed by a blue, and another Copper Mica Pencil line. I let this set up a couple of hours then spritzed with alcohol (to help the remaining soap batter ‘stick’.

Placing my mold upright, I continued with a new batch of soap divided into 4 colors. I used a Dark Blue Ultramarine, a Medium Blue Ultramarine, mixed with a Light Blue Mica (name unknown), White that I mixed the same as above, and a Peach color made with Peach Sunset Mica. I layered and swirled my colors. I used Hershey’s Cocoa
Powder as my final pencil line (my first time using this). The top is a simple swirl. My soap is scented with Icicles FO

Thank you so much for doing this……it really was a ‘Challenge’ and guided me to try a few new things. It was a LOT of fun.

Mary

Wow! If you compare the picture to the soap, there is an astounding resembalance! If you want to join in on the fun, remember that you have until March 15th to submit your photo and description! Read more about the challenge here!Taylor

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Tropical Illusion Lip Balm

Finished Lip Balm
Finished Lip Balm

I love vacations but I don’t always have the ability to just pick up and go. So I like to bring a vacation to me. Sometimes I do it by choosing a new scent for my lotion or I make bath salts so I can sit in the evening and relax. Today, I am providing a vacation to my lips! Come join me for a tropical illusion!

Ingredients
Soy Lip Solutions
Island Delight Flavor Oil
Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
286 g Soy Lip Solutions
5.5 grams Island Flavor Oil
5.5 grams Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Ounces
0.63 lbs Soy Lip Solutions
0.2 oz Island Delight Flavor Oil
0.2 oz Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
96% Soy Lip Solutions
2% Island Delight Flavor Oil
2% Sugar Baby Flavor Oil

 

Heated Lip Solutions
Heated Lip Solutions

Start with the Lip Solutions Base of your choice. I will be using our Soy Lip Solutions base, but there are many to choose from. Select your favorite. Heat the base gently in the microwave until melted. Once the base has completely melted, add the Island Delight Flavor Oil and Sugar Baby Flavor Oil. Stir well.

Adding Flavor Oil
Adding Flavor Oil

From here, you can either pipette the mixture into your tubes or you can use a filling tray. I like using a filling tray because they are simple and fast. If you are using a filling tray, insert your tubes into your tray. Flood the tray with your melted lip balm. Allow the mixture to cool. Scrape off the excess. I like to use a plastic putty knife. Remove the tubes from the tray and cap.

Putting lip balm in tubes
Putting lip balm in tubes

If you are going to pipette the lip balm into the tubes, fill the tube until you get a dome of liquid material at the top. Wax shrinks when it cools and doing this helps insure that you get a very pretty top. Fill all of your tubes making sure they are domed on the top before they cool. (You may need to reheat your jar of Lip Solutions during this process. This is normal and to be expected.) Allow the tubes to cool then cap.

Now you can give your lip balm a pretty label or put it into a cute bag. Enjoy this great lip balm and give as gifts! If you want to try this lip balm for yourself, tell us in the comments field of your next order! We are sending over 500 lip balms to the shipping department!

Taylor

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Winter Soap Challenge – April

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

Here in Utah we have had a few weeks of beautiful spring weather. Enough to make the horses start shedding and the robins sing. Which has resulted in a bona-fide case of Spring Fever here at the office. Well, winter has decided to make a grand reappearance. Everything is now white. The enormous mountains that scrape the sky are white, the roads are white and even the orange cat that slinks through the nearby field is white. It is the perfect day to sit with a cup of hot chocolate and make winter inspired soap.

Making the fence
Making the fence

April has shared what a picture of our winter frosted Cache Valley inspired her to make. It is amazing to watch as she builds her soap. I will let her tell you all about it!

This is my first soap challenge. And boy was it! For some reason I decided the fence was a good place to start. Of course I wanted water, snow, mountains, and sky but the fence was my crazy launching point.

Three bars of soap were sacrificed in the making of this soap.

Setting up fence
Setting up fence

*Attempt number one:*
I forgot the oils in my second batch (I used small separate batches of oils/lye in the making of each layer) of soap while making the water…I
had to dig my fence out of the gooey mess and start all over again. Scrap number 1.

*Attempt number two:*
I reused the fence (which was unreasonably small for a whole loaf of soap). I waited all night to un-mold this loaf only to find my sky was too green, mountains too grey, my fence off kilter, and worst of all my snow was YELLOW! In addition I could see the error of choosing the mold I did (it was far too short). Scrap number 2.

Pouring in Soap
Pouring in Soap

*Attempt number three:*
Beginning again, I changed molds to allow for more room. I cut up two more bars of soap to make a fence that would span the length of my mold. (Might of been less but I was still trying to be creative, hand-carve fence? NO.) Then once again, I began with the batches. 5 batches later I had – snow layer, water layer, mountain layer, and two batches for the sky layer.

Installing the fence in the snow layer proved more difficult that I’d
imagined! Even though I waited for a very thick trace before pouring, and did so carefully, my fence started floating all over. Sticking (my gloved) hand in the soap I coerced the fence back into place for several minutes…each time I moved, the fence did too…eventually I was satisfied the fence was built.

Adding Soap
Adding Soap

Carefully, I chose new colors to compliment my goals. This time I thought maybe I should stay with the exact same blue just use more or less and add some black into the mountain layer. This helped even out the overall color of the whole soap. Yay.

Scenting proved difficult but I managed to find a couple of things in my closet to work with that turned out well. In soap number two I had mixed the two scents together in the whole soap. After smelling it the next day, I thought something needed to change a bit. I like both scents individually and even a bit together but for an overall scent I should try something different.

Adding Soap
Adding Soap

*The scent:*
If I were sitting on the side of that lake on the bank, I imagine I could
smell a soft earthy, mossy, grassy scent coming from the dried foliage,
softened by melting snow. I scented the snow layer using an oak moss scent.

Next, I imagine the scent of the blue water being brought to me by a light wind. I scented the water layer with a beach type scent.

Un-molding Soap Loaf
Un-molding Soap Loaf

Then I imagine the mountain layer, watching over the lake, has been around a long time and could use both scents. I combined them in this layer.

I left the sky layer unscented so I would not overwhelm the rest of the
scents. Each layer offers something significant that blends well with the next.

Smelling the soap from the top (the sky layer) my daughter says that
somehow there is a scent coming up from the bottom that she says is
“breezy” and I believe she is right!

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

I had so much fun creating this challenge soap! I hope you like it! I do :)

April

This is just incredible. I hope you know how much each one of you inspires me to set outside of my comfort zone when I soap. Each photo I receive is inspiring. If you want to join in on the fun, remember that you have until March 15th to submit your photo and description! Read more about the challenge here!

Taylor

Finished Soap
Finished Soap
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Tantalizing Tangerine Lip Gloss

Finished Lip Gloss
Finished Lip Gloss

I love lip products. Lip balms, lip sticks, lip glosses, lip stains, etc. You name it, I have and love it. One thing that makes for some difficulties is that no lip product is  alike. Some are thick and heavy, some are light, others are long lasting while yet others are super shiny! With all of the possibilities out there, it is difficult to choose what to make and wear. Today I wanted to make a light weight lip gloss that has lots of shine. Come join me!

 

Ingredients
Beeswax
Mango Butter
Lanolin
Castor Oil
Golden Jojoba
Vitamin E Natural
Squalane
Green Tea Extract
Orchid Extract
Tangerine Essential Oil
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

 

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
4 grams Beeswax
60 grams Mango Butter
16 grams Lanolin
60 grams Castor Oil
44 grams Golden Jojoba
2 grams Vitamin E Natural
5.5 grams Squalane
4 grams Green Tea Extract
4 grams Orchid Extract
0.5 grams Tangerine Essential Oil
Recipe in Ounces
0.14 oz Beeswax
2.12 oz Mango Butter
0.56 oz Lanolin
2.12 oz Castor Oil
1.55 oz Golden Jojoba
0.07 oz Vitamin E Natural
0.19 oz Squalane
0.14 oz Green Tea Extract
0.14 oz Orchid Extract
0.02 oz Tangerine Essential Oil
Recipe in Percentages
2% Beeswax
30% Mango Butter
8% Lanolin
30% Castor Oil
22% Golden Jojoba
1% Vitamin E Natural
2.75% Squalane
2% Green Tea Extract
2% Orchid Extract
0.25% Tangerine Essential Oil

 

Weighing Beeswax
Weighing Beeswax

Weigh everything except the Vitamin E Natural, Squalane, extracts and essential oil into a microwave safe container. Heat until everything is liquid. Add the remaining ingredients. Allow to cool the pipette into the doe foot pens. Insert the doe foot, cap and label. Enjoy!

Weighing Mango Butter and Lanolin
Weighing Mango Butter and Lanolin

Notes: I am in love with this lip gloss. It is ultra light while having some staying power. This is perfect just by itself or for adding some shine on top of a lip tint or lip stick color.  I liked how subtle the Tangerine was. It was not overpowering, which means it is perfect for date nights when you are going out for dinner. This lip gloss will not distract or detract from your food. Next time I think I would add just a little bit of Sugar Baby Flavor Oil to make it more enjoyable.

Weighing Liquid Oils
Weighing Liquid Oils

 

Taylor

 

 

 

 

Melted Lip Gloss
Melted Lip Gloss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooled Lip Gloss in Pens
Cooled Lip Gloss in Pens
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Winter Soap Challenge – Christine

This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.
This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.

Christine submitted one of her soaps for our Winter Morning Soap Challenge. I think one of my favorite things about challenges is to see different perspectives of the same thing. Check out Christine’s view of beautiful Cache Valley.

This soap came about when I was shopping at a local soap supplier and smelling fragrance samples a little before Christmas. I did get a small bottle of this scent to play with, although the actual soap did not happen much before Christmas, more as an afterthought that we still have a couple of months of winter.

Christine's Soap
Christine’s Soap

The official fragrance description is as follows: perfect blend of wet snow, a frozen air accord, woodland moss, spearmint leaves, an ozonic accord.

I do suppose that describes it somewhat, in a sober sort of way. To me it is more than that though. The picture in my mind when smelling it is very much like your beautiful picture of Cache Valley. As a matter of fact, if you zoom in quite a bit on the right side, in the crease of the mountain about halfway up, you can see a grove of trees that inspired this soap. To me, it smells of crunchy footsteps, ice skates on a pond, runny noses, wooly mittens, ravens cawing, animal tracks in the snow and some serious sledding. Can you tell I love winter?

This soap is hot processed, the brown color made with cocoa powder representing the obligatory hot chocolate when returning indoors. The green part is colored with chromium oxide and mica and piped on top. The finishing touch is a layer of snow made of hemp oil M&P soap colored with white frosty mica drizzled over the top and some iridescent glitter.

How fun! I love all of the thought that is put into these soaps! They are just too cute! Remember, if you want to join in on the fun, you have until March 15th to submit your photo and description! Read more about the challenge here!

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Winter Soap Challenge – Mo

This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.
This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.

I sent out a challenge the other week calling all soapmakers. I must say I have gotten some amazing responses. Allow me to introduce you to Mo, who will be sharing the soap she made.

Did I need another excuse to make another loaf of soap…yep! Nope!

Mo's Soap
Mo’s Soap

Your posted photo celebrates a crisp cold winter in its quiet beauty. I was inspired. Looking at the photo I imagine slicing into a set loaf and seeing this very scene.

To begin I drew a slice of the soap blocking where colors would go. As I drew I thought about how I would layer the batter layers to get what I wanted. I marked where I would put the botanicals (coffee grounds and ground oatmeal), the copper mica and the hues of blue, pink and white.

Mo's Soap
Mo’s Soap

As the lye  water and melted oils cooled I organized my working space. I was methodical (I am not usually so). I set up the bowls, the spoons, and the spatulas. I mixed my colors-blue, pink and white. I ground the coffee grounds and oatmeal setting each into a small saucer. I opened the mica. I put spoons next to each dish. (Imagine setting the table for a formal affair!)

After the workspace was set, I opened my computer to the winter photo and set my map on the keyboard for easy reading. When temperatures were good I mixed the lye and oils. I kept the trace slow needing time to think, layer, read, think. Did I say I was taking my time?

Mo's Soap
Mo’s Soap

I began tipping the loaf pan for the first layer of snow. This was followed by layering the oatmeal to represent snow and form a base for the coffee grounds. This brown layer represents the fence and dead grasses. Next I carefully layered blue for the water and another layer of brown for the distant shore. I placed dark blue for the mountain finally layering with pink, white and blues for the winter sky. The top was decorated with blue and pink and copper reflecting the soaps origins.

The scent was an efficacious process. I purchased Osmanthus several months and have never tried it. This was a perfect time to try it. I did. And I had to add a few drops of Frankincense. Maybe it’s not a cold weather scent but I live in Florida and all my seasons are mixed up any how!

This a cold process soap.

The result is beautiful! There are subtle layers of colors and brown lines with shimmering of copper. There is a story in each slice. The final soap is exciting!

Wow! Mo’s soap is just breath taking. But so are the others I have waiting to be shared. If you want to join in on the fun, remember that you have until March 15th to submit your photo and description! Read more about the challenge here!

Taylor

 

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Winter Morning Soap Challenge

This is the type of winter morning that inspired this soap.
Winter Morning in Beautiful Cache Valley

Attention all soapmakers! It is time for another challenge and we want to see your soaps! The theme of this challenge is Winter Morning. To get your imagination going, I am going to share a photo of our beautiful Cache Valley. We want to see how you would make this beautiful landscape into soap.

All participants must submit a photo of their soap and a description. The description must include a write up about the scent, and how the soap came about. Here is your chance to use some creative writing. Make us excited about your soap.

Your submission can be Cold Process, Hot Process or even Melt & Pour soap. You can submit your entry either via email (blog@thesage.com) or on Facebook. You must be an existing MMS customer to qualify. Submissions will be accepted until March 15th. The MMS staff will then vote on their favorite soaps based on appearance and accompanying description. Two winners will be selected. On March 20th, we will announce the winners and share their photos.

Winners will receive a $30 Gift Certificate, an Extra Large Handmade Tray Mold and a 1 oz bottle of our new fragrance, Icy Waters! You won’t want to miss out. We will be doing a special project with the mold after winners are announced. Happy creating and good luck!

Taylor

 

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Caramel Latte Lip Balm

Finished Lip Balm. YUMMY!
Finished Lip Balm. YUMMY!

You know when a good friend introduces you to something so good, it feels like it has turned into an addiction. Yeah. I am suffering from the effects of a well intentioned friend. My new addiction, you ask? Caramel Lattes. Well, today I am going to give into that addiction and make a lip balm worthy of those liquid delights. Come join me!

Ingredients
Soy Wax
Candelilla Wax
Palm Kernel Oil
Conditioning Emulsifier
Castor Oil
Coffee Butter
High Melt Point Shea Butter
Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
10 grams Soy Wax
20 grams Candelilla Wax
20 grams Palm Kernel Oil
10 grams Conditioning Emulsifier
80 grams Castor Oil
20 grams Coffee Butter
36 grams High Melt Point Shea Butter
4 grams Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil
Recipe in Ounces
0.35 oz Soy Wax
0.71 oz Candelilla Wax
0.71 oz Palm Kernel Oil
0.35 oz Conditioning Emulsifier
2.82 oz Castor Oil
0.71 oz Coffee Butter
1.27 oz High Melt Point Shea Butter
0.14 oz Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
5% Soy Wax
10% Candelilla Wax
10% Palm Kernel Oil
5% Conditioning Emulsifier
40% Castor Oil
10% Coffee Butter
18% High Melt Point Shea Butter
2% Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil

 

Weighing Waxes
Weighing Waxes

Weigh everything into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until liquid. If the wax is slow to melt, remove the container from the microwave and stir.

Weighing Conditioning Emulsifier
Weighing Conditioning Emulsifier

This often allows the surrounding oils to melt the wax. When the mixture is completely melted, add the flavor oil. Mix well.

Weighing Castor Oil
Weighing Castor Oil

From here, you can either pipette the mixture into your tubes or you can use a filling tray. I like using a filling tray because they are simple and fast. If you are using a filling tray, insert your tubes into your tray. Flood the tray with your melted lip balm. Allow the mixture to cool. Scrape off the excess.

Weighing Coffee Butter
Weighing Coffee Butter

I like to use a plastic putty knife. Remove the tubes from the tray and cap.

Weighing High Melt Point Shea Butter
Weighing High Melt Point Shea Butter

If you are going to pipette the lip balm into the tubes, fill the tube until you get a dome of liquid material at the top. Wax shrinks when it cools and doing this helps insure that you get a very pretty top. Fill all of your tubes making sure they are domed on the top before they cool.

Heated Lip Balm
Heated Lip Balm

You may need to reheat your container of lip balm during this process. This is normal and to be expected. Allow the tubes to cool and cap.

Adding Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil
Adding Caramel Toffee Flavor Oil

Now you can give your lip balm an elegant label or put it into a cute bag. Enjoy this great lip balm or give as gifts!

Taylor

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