Category Archives: Thoughts from The Sage

Favorite Soap Dish Challenge with Lauri

Lauri's Adorable Soap Dish
Lauri’s Adorable Soap Dish

A few weeks ago I announced the Favorite Soap Dish Challenge. I wanted to everyone to have a chance to share their favorite soap dish. Lauri took me up on it and shared her favorite soap dish with us! See what she has to say about it

This is my favorite soap dish because I purchased it at 10,000 Villages which is a boutique that sells fair-trade crafts and housewares from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.


I also think the green is a great background to showcase homemade soap and the little frog gives it a wonderful touch of whimsy. Bathrooms are perfect for whimsy!
I think that is one of the cutest things ever! It makes me wonder what other cool soap dishes I am missing out on! Think yours is worth sharing? Snap a photo and send it to us. Remember winners will receive hand selected items from my private stash! How sweet is that? Don’t miss out.
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Customer Spotlight!

cupidBack in January, Andee showed us how to make a dual colored lip balm. Many of you found it inspiring and fun. If you haven’t tired it yet, here is another great idea along these same lines.

Kristie found some heart shaped straws online and made some heart shaped lip balms for lip balms.  Wow! I think I am in love! It really makes me wonder. What other shapes do straws come in?



If you end up making some of these dual lip balms for Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to share your pictures with us! Cheers!


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GMP or Potatoes?

Don't get caught with your potatoes half peeled!
Don’t get caught with your potatoes half peeled!

When it comes to explicit instructions of how to follow a procedure, you can’t skip any details. Part of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) is writing a good instruction set for anyone to pick up your job and make exactly what you make.

I’m not sure where this photo has come from, but I know it has circulated around the Internet. The commentary to go along with the photo is the wife giving the husband, who wants to help, these instructions: Honey, grab that bag of potatoes and peel half. Put them in a pot of water on the stove. I’ll be there in a minute.

Never get caught with your potatoes half peeled! Write good instructions so your staff can do what you do!


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Favorite Soap Dish Challenge!

Soap dispensers and barsOne of my favorite soap dishes is located in my guest bathroom. It is a creamy white bowl filled with clear, colored marbles. It is fun, simple and just a tiny bit sassy. There are tons of soap dishes out there and they are made out of a variety of materials. Glass, plastic, resin, ceramics, wood, bamboo, you name it!

For the next two weeks, I want you to share pictures of your favorite soap dish! You can email them to us or share on Facebook.

You can submit your entry either via email (, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook. Tag us on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter with  @mmtnsage and use the hashtags #FavSoapDish and #TheSage. (If you need help sharing your photos, let us know! We would be glad to help.) You must be an existing MMS customer to qualify. Submissions will be accepted until February 17th. The MMS team will then vote on their favorite soaps dishes.

Winners will receive hand selected items from my private stash! You won’t want to miss out. Happy photoing and I can’t wait to see what everyone shares!


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The Impact of Odor

smellMost of us take our sense of smell for granted but we forget how much of an impact it has on our lives. Our sense of smell is tied very strongly to our memory. Certain scents will bring back strong memories. Perhaps the smell of baby powder can reminds you of when your kids were little. Lily of the Valley reminds me of my grandmother’s perfume. What are other aromas you have associated with memories? Do the scents of baked goods, smoke or leather invoke memories for you?

Because our sense of smell can cause almost immediate sensory recall, how can we use this to our advantage? There are a lot of ways to do this but one of my personal favorites is to choose a single perfume to take with me on a vacation. I use that fragrance exclusively during the vacation and when I get home, I put that bottle away for a few weeks. When I am needing a break and to decompress, I dig that perfume from out of my vanity drawer and spritz it on. I am immediately whisked back to my vacation and all of the delightful memories associated with that perfume.

How would you use the power of sensory recall to your advantage? How else might you use sensory recall? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


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Doggy Dozen Products for February 2016!

It’s the 20th of January and it is time to start thinking about the February list for the Doggy Dozen Program!

PawPrintFor me, picking the list for the Doggy Dozen is like going to the bookstore and being told I can only buy a certain number of books. It makes the decision extremely difficult! I hope you enjoy these 12 items that I picked with the theme of Valentine’s Day, fun, and puppy love in mind. If you are like me, you have a dog or cat that you love to cuddle with and what better reason to celebrate that love? If you don’t have a furry friend to cuddle with, I’d recommend checking out your local no-kill shelter to find a new furry best friend! Ready for the list of products that will help dogs and cats? Drum roll please!

  • Mini Lip Balm Tubes in Ivory and White
    • The Mini Lip Balm Tubes are a staff favorite! The best part about these tubes? If you buy a 100 pack, you will auto-magically receive a filling tray specifically for these tubes!
  • Red Pearl Lip Balm Tube Caps
  • 2 oz Round Base Jars
    • This jar is one of my favorites for traveling. I love the classy appearance and it even makes a great set when paired with the 1/2 oz Jar. Don’t forget to pick your favorite lids!
  • Cantaloupe Flavor Oil
    • This sensual flavor might be overlooked in it’s seeming ordinariness, but it is well worth trying! We love keeping this one in our pockets to have sunshine for our lips at any time.
  • Honey Flavor Oil
    • It may be cold outside, but nothing warms the soul quite like honey! If you want to try something different, pair this delectable flavor with Lemon, Cinnamon or even Cheesecake to make a unique lip balm!
  • Cabana Boys Fragrance Oil
    • If you dream of tropical beaches and pineapple beverages, try Cabana Boys to be swept away to the world of your dreams! Perfect for any summer product line.
  • Cotton Candy Fragrance Oil
    • Teens, move over! Cotton Candy isn’t just for kids and teens anymore!  This fragrance is perfect as a room freshener because you can’t tell what the fragrance is, just that it smells clean, fresh and sweet. This is my favorite fragrance for the guest bathroom that I want to keep smelling nice.
  • Energy Fragrance Oil
    • If you know someone who isn’t a morning person, this is the perfect fragrance for their morning routine. Scent lotions, soaps, and even room sprays with this fabulous fragrance and they might be a little more chipper in the mornings!
  • Relaxation Fragrance Oil
    • At the end of a long day, I just want to lounge around the house and massage aching muscles with lotion. This fragrance is appropriately named because every time I smell it, I just want to find my slippers.
  • Echinacea Extract
    • This unique extract is great for skin and hair care applications. I have a few lotions that I want to make with this extract, but you should beat me to it!
  • Rocket Red Day-Glo Color
    • If you need a bright cheery color, try Rocket Red. This color truly looks like the “rocket’s red glare”!
  • Alkanet Root Powder
    • If you love using botanicals for coloring your soap, then Alkanet Root Powder is perfect for you! Blend it with Activated Charcoal to get a classic mauve colored soap.

Don’t forget! There are a few more days to get your hands on the January Doggy Dozen Products!



P.S. Supporting local programs like Four Paws is fun. Check your local yellow pages for a shelter or rescue group. Find a friend to bring home or help support them with time, services or donations. They truly value every little bit!

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

worldMartin Luther King Jr. Day (also known as Civil Rights day) is observed on the third Monday in January. That happens to be today! One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. is  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”  This quote really resonates with me because it asks to look beyond ourselves and look at our fellow humans. It inspires the question of “Can I do more to help my neighbors? My community?”

In my neighborhood lives an elderly woman who is very generous. She regularly picks up mail for those away, makes meals for those in need, bakes goodies to share and babysits children after school. She is amazing and quite the inspiration. She has spent her entire adult life looking beyond herself and her family. This woman is a steward for our community and an excellent role model. Can I say I want to be like her when I grow up? bow What are different ways you help serve your community?

Before I forget, I have some important announcements to make. Because today is a Federal holiday, the post office is closed. There will be no deliveries today from the post office. UPS is open. They will be making deliveries so you may have a package delivered today by UPS. We are open and working on shipping out all packages shipping via UPS. All USPS packages will ship tomorrow. Cheers!


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Love the Doggy Dozen? Show us your love!

I’ve been loving the comments we have gotten about the Doggy Dozen program. Now I’d like to challenge you to show us what you do with the products that are part of the program.

PawPrintTag us on your favorite social media with #thesage and #doggydozen to share pictures of your pets, products or recent orders including Doggy Dozen products!

Remember 20% of the purchase price goes to Four Paws, so you can stock your supply shelves and help dogs and cats in need.

There is still a little bit of time for you to pick up items from the January Doggy Dozen list before the month ends. Here is the list to remind you of the awesome products on it.

I can’t wait to see your #DoggyDozen tags!


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Conquering the Fearsome Math Dragon!

LearningEveryday each one of us is faced with a variety of math problems. Whether it is increasing or decreasing the size of a recipe, balancing the check book or determining which size of applesauce is a better value, most of us take these math problems in stride. So why do we quake in our shoes and cower anytime someone says the word math?

I say enough of that! Almost all of us use algebra every single day without giving ourselves the credit for it. In fact, most of us have been doing it since the 1st or 2nd grade. Remember when you had to fill the the empty box? 5+7 = . Yep, that is algebra. Except we now say solve for X.

Well, that is all well and good but what about percentages. Trust me, if you can count pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters to make a dollar, then you already know how to use percentages. Pennies are the equivalent to 1%. Nickles are the equivalent to 5%. Dimes are the equivalent to 10%. Quarters are the equivalent to 25%. You must be able to create something that is equal to $1.00 using different combinations of these four coins. Just like making $1.00, you must make 100%.

Let’s play the What If Game. What if you have a lotion recipe that weighs 10 ounces and you need to use a preservative. How do you calculate a preservative for that? Let’s say that we were going to Liquid Germall Plus as our preservative. Liquid Germall Plus has a usage rate of 0.1% to 0.5%. How much is that?

Let’s start with 0.1%.

10 ounces X 0.001 (0.1%) = 0.01 ounces to be added to lotion

Now let’s try 0.5%.

10 ounces X 0.005 (0.5%) = 0.05 ounces to be added to lotion

How did I calculate that 0.5% is equal to 0.005? I removed the percentage sign, and moved the decimal point two places to the left. Even if I was calculating 15%, the decimal point would still move two places to the left. Now, 15% is 0.15 and easy to multiply, because this is the same as if I had $0.15.

Say we need to increase our recipe 11.5 times in order to fill 100 jars. We would multiply each ingredient by 11.5, right? Guess what. That is algebra and not only can you do it, but you are a whiz!

What if someone gives you a recipe and you want to check your percentage of fragrance oil. Are you ready? Our recipe makes a total of 14 ounces and our recipe calls for 0.035 ounces of fragrance oil. So start with your amount of fragrance an divide by the size of your total batch.

Say it out loud:
What is 0.035 of 14 oz?

0.035 of (÷) 14 oz? (=) The answer is 0.0025.

To make this into a percentage, we need to move the decimal to the right by two places, giving us 0.25%.  So what is 0.25%? It is one quarter of 1%. 1% is also $0.01. 0.25% is less than 1%. Someone has taken our penny and cut it into 4 pieces!

According to our math, this recipe uses 0.25% of fragrance oil, which is a safe amount for most skin safe fragrance oils. How cool is that? Now you can draw your mighty pencil and conquer the Math Dragon! Go forth, young grasshopper!


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January 2016 Soap Challenge Club at Great Cakes Soapworks!

It’s time for another Soap Challenge Club over at Great Cake Soapworks! Amy is sharing her tutorial for Elaine Wright’s version of the Circling Taiwan Swirl. These challenges are lots of fun, a great way to learn a few new techniques, a chance for meeting soapmakers from around the world and getting inspiration for your next soaps!

Inside piece of Circling Taiwan Swirl
Inside piece of Circling Taiwan Swirl
As the sponsor for experienced soapmakers (making soap for over 2 years), we are giving away the following prizes; a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize, $75 gift certificate for 2nd place, $50 gift certificate for 3rd place, and $25 gift certificate for Sponsor’s Choice.

Circling Taiwan Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks
Circling Taiwan Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks
To join, you just need to have a basic understanding of cold-processed soapmaking. If you are ready to join, you will need to register and pay a small fee of $6.95 and you will gain access to the private area where you will be able to read instructions and watch the instructional video. Everyone who documents the making and final reveal of their soap and then shares it on the link-up will be eligible to win any of the prizes!

You don’t have much time to sign up! Join today because this challenge looks like fun!

Deadlines (all will occur at 2:00pm CST):
January 4-11, 2015 – This registration will be OPEN
January 20-23, 2015 – Link-up for submissions will be OPEN
January 24-26, 2015 – Voting will be OPEN
January 27, 2015 – Winners will be contacted!



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