Category Archives: Featured Crafters

Clary’s Show & Tell Soap Molds

Clary sent an e-mail a little while back with pictures of soap molds that her husband had made for her and I asked if I could share these pictures with our readers. She happily agreed and even sent information about the molds and more pictures. I hope you find her perspective on an easy soap mold helpful! We’ve had our own wood soap molds that were made in 2010 and they work well! Find your local handyman(woman) and bribe him(her) with some soap.

Clary's finish soap molds.
Clary’s finish soap molds.
Just wanted to brag on my new soap molds that my husband just made for me. They are fully collapsible! I’m proud of how functional and practical these molds are.

Molds collapsed for storage.
Molds collapsed for storage.
Here’s the story: I had showed my husband photos of some wood molds that collapsed using lots of hinges and pins. He thought he could come up with something a bit less cumbersome to both make and store when not in use.

Assembled mold for a smaller batch.
Assembled mold for a smaller batch.
These are what he came up with for me and they work like a charm. The molds are fully collapsible AND adjustable. Just position the little end pieces and straps with turnbuckles wherever you want them between the bottom and side boards.

Close up of the turnbuckle and webbing holding the mold together.
Close up of the turnbuckle and webbing holding the mold together.
The molds are a bit fiddly to put together the first time or two, but really, it’s not a big deal, esp. in light of the fact that it all collapses down for easy storage. We live in small quarters and I only make soap about one to four times a year, so breaking the molds down to keep in a minimum of space is a big deal for me.

Lining the mold with paper.
Lining the mold with paper.
The lumber is 3.5” wide and came from some old crates or something. All that he had to do was to cut them to the lengths I needed. We got the turnbuckles at Menard’s (A home improvement store) and ordered the skinny webbing online.

Finished turnbuckles and webbing.
Finished turnbuckles and webbing.
Make sure the turnbuckles are not quite all the way closed when you slip the webbing through each end. Adjust the straps around the molds and sew the loose ends down. I was able to do the sewing on my regular domestic sewing machine, but it could easily be done by hand with a needle and thread. Loosen the turnbuckles to put the straps around the mold and then when everything is lined up just right, tighten the turnbuckles to hold it all together.

Clary's soap made in her fabulous molds!
Clary’s soap made in her fabulous molds!
This brought out the teacher in me, so I’ve probably overwhelmed you with more pictures and information than you had in mind, but I tend to figure more is better than not enough! 😉

Thank you Clary! We loved hearing about your fabulous molds! A free gift is heading your way as our appreciate for sharing!

Do you have something you would love to share with our readers? Send us a message with your idea! We would love to share your tutorials and inspiration! We’ll send you a free gift for sharing with us and our readers!

Andee

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Rimmed Soaps – No Longer a Mystery

For the last couple of months, I have been marveling over pictures of round or square soaps that have a very unique edge. Admittedly, I’ve been stumped on how these soaps are made. This morning, I found a fabulous tutorial for making these soaps and I am super excited to schedule some time to make a batch of these soaps now!

Champagne Rose Rimmed Soap by Alaiyna B. Bath & Body.
Champagne Rose Rimmed Soap by Alaiyna B. Bath & Body.
Faith over at Alaiyna B. Bath & Body was kind enough to share her tutorial on her blog. I’m sharing the link with you because I think these are gorgeous soaps and if I want to try this method, you might too!

Once you read Faith’s tutorial, pop back over and let me know what kind of colors or scents you would use. Inspire me!

Photo credit: *This picture was taken by Faith Oriold and was published on her blog on October 9th, 2015. She retains all rights to this photo and the linked tutorial.

Andee

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Ebru Soap Challenge: Tatsiana’s Crazy Owl

One of my favorite things about sponsoring Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club is to see all the amazing soaps that are made! Each soapmaker has their own unique perspective and ideas. Today, I would like you to “meet” one of the winners of the recent Ebru Soap Challenge!

tatiana-ebruTatsiana made this fun and crazy owl soap and tied for third place. Her blog shows the not only the pictures of the steps she followed to make the owl, but the pictures that inspired her. I can’t decide if I love the eyes, the heart on the belly or the “ear” tufts! Ah, I love the whole design!

I wanted to ask Tatsiana a few questions and I hope you enjoy our “mini” interview!

Andee: When did you start making soap?
Tatsiana: I started to make soap in the end of 2011, and the process of soapmaking grabbed all my thoughts, soul and feelings. But at some point I took a break for 1.5 years, so it’s not that long that I’ve been making soap. For me the design of soap is very important, but the texture of soap and its aesthetics are even more important. I love to work with difficult designs and when I am told it’s impossible to do something, I find a way to do it, maybe not from the first attempt.

A: What is your favorite thing about Amy’s soap challenges?
T: There are several things I like about Amy’s soap challenges: its atmosphere and the interesting assignments which Amy gives us, they make us try something new. I also like the spirit of competition.

A: How much time did this batch of soap take to make?
T: I started to make this batch of soap 11 hours prior to the deadline, and from the beginning of making the batch and the time I cut the soap it took me exactly 4 hours, because I decided to take a recipe with 80% solid oils and butters to make the soap faster, to be able to finish before the deadline. I would not recommend anybody to do it. It took me 7 minutes to complete the design.

A: What advice would you give any soapmaker wanting to try the Ebru technique?
T: An advice in ebru technique… First of all, what is needed is a good recipe, tested fragrance oil, very thin trace and moving fast to implement the technique. But the most important is to know exactly what you will be drawing and to imaging several times in your head how it will look in your soap.

Tatsiana, thank you for taking time to talk to me! Congratulations on a beautiful soap and taking third place in the Ebru Soap Challenge. I think I will have to try the Ebru technique!

Andee

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Ebru Soap Challenge: Svetlana’s Legend of the Pomegranate Tree

One of my favorite things about sponsoring Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club is to see all the amazing soaps that are made! Each soapmaker has their own unique perspective and ideas. Today, I would like you to “meet” one of the winners of the recent Ebru Soap Challenge!

svetlana-ebru Svetlana made this gorgeous soap which was inspired by the poem, “The Legend of the Pomegranate Tree” and she was very kind to share the poem in it’s entirety on her blog in both Russian and English. I recommend popping over to check out the poem as well as the cut pictures of her soap! I’ve counted at least 14 colors that were used, but I could be wrong.

I wanted to ask Svetlana a few questions and I hope you enjoy our “mini” interview!

Andee: When did you start making soap?
Svetlana: The first soap I made almost 4 years ago. It was Melt & Pour soap and I was very happy how it turned out! After all this time I realize that I was only at the beginning of a long and very interesting way of soap making. Now it captures all my thoughts and free time.

A: What is your favorite thing about Amy’s soap challenges?
S: In Amy’s soap challenges the most interesting thing is the possibility to realize all your fantasies in specified conditions of the challenge. It is always very exciting! That is why I am in constant search of new inspirations and every time I try to bring something new.

A: How much time did this batch of soap take to make?
S: Soap “The legend of The pomegranate” was done in one hour. For this time the soap batter allowed me to work with itself. And the design, preparation, implementation – took another two weeks

A: What advice would you give any soapmaker wanting to try the Ebru technique?
S: The main advice to those wishing to try the Ebru technique in soap – don’t be afraid to try! To open your eyes, open your heart and create! As one Ebru artist said “My Ebru heart is open for you!” Fully support her in this!

Svetlana, thank you for taking time to talk to me! Congratulations on a beautiful soap and taking second place in the Ebru Soap Challenge. You have inspired me to try something new!

Andee

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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Watson and Gracie - They aren't sleeping, they are growing!
Watson and Gracie – They aren’t sleeping, they are growing!
Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions we get for our Technical Support team? Well, I can tell you the questions are all over the place and we must learn new things every day. I’ve learned about horses, armadillos, snakes, gophers, ingrown toe nails, threading eyebrows and more in just the last month. Our customers have a varied collection of interests and experiences. Sometimes we have brilliant answers and sometimes we ask just the right question that allows the asker to solve the problem themselves. The synergy that happens is amazing. Our guest blogger today is the result of this type of question.

You can imagine what I thought when I was asked if our tins were magnetic and if a magnet would stick to the bottom. I wondered what kind of lip balm was going to have a magnet! Come to find out, it has nothing to do with lip balm. Let’s have Megan explain.

My name is Megan and I’m a soapmaker and dog lover/trainer (as well as a handspinner spinning wool from our sheep mixed with “fur” from our dogs!). I make soap under the Cowdance Soap label. I began soapmaking in 1998 when our Jersey cow, Fiona, started producing far more milk than we could drink. I turned the surplus creamy milk in to soap and fell in love with the whole process, especially the fragrant scents used in the soaps. Scents are terrific in all sorts of “forms” and recently I have started using several essential oils with my dogs, training them in a new, rapidly growing sport called Nosework (or Scentwork). Nosework training is similar to training a dog to “alert” to drugs or bombs only in our sport we train our dogs to detect three different essential oils: Sweet Birch, Anise (Pimpinella Anisum or Aniseed), and Clove.

I knew where to go for my essential oils (the Sage, of course) but I also needed little tins to hold the scent-impregnated Q-tips used in training. I found the perfect tins, the lip balm tins, here….so now perhaps they should be re-named “lip balm and NOSEWORK tins”!

Nosework or Scentwork is not only a fun sport but it is wonderful for dogs with special needs. It is used very successfully in shelters to provide shelter dogs with mental stimulation and build their confidence, helping them to be more easily adopted. Senior dogs, dogs with disabilities, ALL dogs love this “game” because it uses their natural ability to smell odors. People love it because the training is completely positive and motivational …. and, the essential odors used smell wonderful!!!

Check out these website for more information: nacsw.net and unitednosework.com

So many uses for essential oils…..soap, canine scentwork….and, of course, I always add a dash of essential oil to the fleece I wash and handspin!

I now have another handspinner to chat with (YEA!) and I learned what I can do with Gracie, our Golden Retriever mix, that has a nose like no other. Eating? She knows. Leave a dirty sock in the sofa? She’ll find it. Missing a cat? She’ll track her down to the hiding spot at the top of the book case and remind the kitty it is time for dinner. Going for a ride? She knows the box of Milk Bones is hidden in the haul from Home Depot. She does the: “I think I’ll stop for a treat before I leave the garage, OK?” type of maneuver. Dogs are amazing and so many are eager-to-please breeds. I can see why dogs that need a job to feel they have value really respond to this sport.

So, you might be wondering if the tins actually can be held by a magnet. The answer is yes, they can.

Tina

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Special Feature: Lisa at ForGoodnessGrape

I enjoy seeing all the wonderful products that our customers make! I find every shop I visit to be inspirational in many ways. I want to share this inspiration with you by featuring a crafter just like you!Today, we are featuring an interview I have done with Lisa at ForGoodnessGrape. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Andee: I see you opened the ForGoodnessGrape shop on Etsy in April of 2010. What first drew you into making lip balm? Where did the name come from?

Lisa: Well I first started out with making melt and pour and cold processed soaps and I opened my first Etsy shop in 2009 called My Spa Secrets. I thought I’d like to add a line of lip balms to complement my soaps and other bath goodies. So I started off with a purchased lip balm base. I had already learned so much from researching oils for soaps, lotions and other bath and body goodies that I knew I could make a much better balm myself starting from scratch so that is what I did and I fell in love with making lip balms.

Where did my name come from? I made a grape flavored lip balm and went to name it, the name ForGoodnessGrape is what popped into my head. The reception was so GRAPE from my lip balms that I knew I just had to start an entire shop devoted to lip balms and ForGoodnessGrape was born. From there, I added perfumes both oils and solids and then added lip tints as well. I now have more than 400 items in my shop on any given day.

Andee: What is your favorite thing in the day-to-day operations of ForGoodnessGrape?

Lisa: My favorite thing is interacting with my dear customers. Without them there would be no ForGoodnessGrape. I also love dreaming up new concoctions and designing my labels for them.

Andee: What separates you and ForGoodnessGrape from the competition?

Lisa: I know that there are some really great handmade lip balms out there. I did a lot of research, testing and product development to come up with what I believe to be an awesome lip balm product. I use outstanding all natural ingredients and I offer a formulary that is moisturizing and healing and has great staying power. I have an extensive line of flavors and essential oils. At any given time I have more than 150 flavors of lip balm available in my shops. I do offer 3 different lip balm formula options, my Lip Candy Lip Balm and my Lip Essentials Lip Balm and my Moose Lips Lip Balm. Lip Candy is sweetened with stevia and flavored with flavor oils. Lip Essentials only uses essential oils for flavor and fragrance. Both of these use my proprietary lip balm base which, by the way, is made exclusively with ingredients from The Sage. My Moose Lips formula is different and is made more with men in mind and has a no to low shine factor and sun block as well.

Andee: What advice would you give someone just starting their own business?

Lisa: Dream big. Be passionate and GO for it. But never lose sight of your dream. Do what you love and do it better than anyone has ever done it. No shortcuts. It will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to realize a dream but there is no feeling in the world quite like that of being the boss of YOU and deciding your own destiny. My favorite quote by an unknown author is: “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” (This is so true for me because I am very dedicated to my customers and offering what I believe to be the best the products out there and because of that I think about my business 24/7)

Andee: What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

Lisa: I would definitely quit my day time job and do nothing else but focus entirely on taking my brand to the next level. What would that be…perhaps doing more marketing to get into a few more local boutiques and maybe even approaching Whole Foods Supermarket and Wegman’s.

Andee: What was the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
That would be giving up time spent with my loving and supportive husband to build my business.

Andee: When you aren’t working on your products, what do you do in your spare time?

Lisa: I am a history buff and love going to Gettysburg and doing a little ghost hunting with my husband.

Andee: What do you see as the coming trends in the personal care industry and particularly with the lip balms and perfume sticks that you make?

Lisa: I think that all natural products will be more prevalent in 2013. More and more people are becoming conscious of all the chemicals being used by the big name companies and developing medical conditions as a direct result of some of these chemicals such as GF being used and people developing gluten intolerances. I believe that handmade and natural products in general are what consumers will be demanding more of in the coming years and these natural products will hold a larger share in the market place.

Andee: What was one of your most memorable experiences while testing products?

Lisa: Reading my first customer feedback that confirmed that all of my testing and product development was successful which said, “mmmm…YUMMY!”

 

 

 

Thanks Lisa! I had a great time “talking” with you and your website is so much fun to peruse! I kept having to wipe drool off my keyboard because there were so many yummy things available!

Want to visit and support Lisa and ForGoodnessGrape?
Visit her website at www.forgoodnessgrape.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/forgoodnessgrape
Twitter: twitter.com/4goodnessgrape

I hope you find inspiration with Lisa and ForGoodnessGrape. I know I have created quite the wishlist of goodies from ForGoodnessGrape and now I just need to narrow down my list!

FGG4

First Kiss Lip Candy Lip Balm - Inspired by Carrie Underwood
First Kiss Lip Candy Lip Balm – Inspired by Carrie Underwood
Rose Sugar Shimmer Stix Lip Tint
Rose Sugar Shimmer Stix Lip Tint
Lip Survival Collection with 2 Lip Balms, 1 Lip Tint and 1 Sugary Lip Scrub
Lip Survival Collection with 2 Lip Balms, 1 Lip Tint and 1 Sugary Lip Scrub
Peeps Lip Candy Lip Balm
Peeps Lip Candy Lip Balm
Irish Cream Sugary Lip Scrub
Irish Cream Sugary Lip Scrub

Dark Angel Shimmer Stix Lip Tint.
Dark Angel Shimmer Stix Lip Tint.
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Special Feature: Susan at S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care

I enjoy seeing all the wonderful products that our customers make! I find every shop I visit to be inspirational in many ways. I want to share this inspiration with you by featuring a crafter just like you!Today, we are featuring an interview I have done with Susan at S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care . I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Andee: What first drew you into making soaps and other personal cosmetics?

Susan: I started out making lip balms. I was searching for a product that had tea tree and eucalyptus oils in it. My partner used to get terrible cold sores, fairly often. I have used essential oils and herbal supplements for a long time. I figured if I could formulate something with the essential oils I knew worked for me, maybe I could create something that would work well for him too. I still make that particular lip balm and it is one of my best sellers. I can’t remember the last time he had a cold sore either.
I also was interested in making a lotion for myself that contained some of the herbal supplements I was already taking. So I started looking for a good source for more oils and such. This eventually led me to the forum (MMS), where I discovered there were a whole bunch of friendly, interesting, talented, and helpful folks. Making my own products didn’t seem quite so weird anymore. Most of these folks were making soaps. This sounded fun, dangerous, rewarding. ‘Ooooh, caustic lye, hope I don’t blow up my kitchen’, I thought. But the temptation was too strong to resist. So with the help and advise of the forum members I dove right into soap making as well. That’s it, I was hooked. So for the same reasons that I started selling my jewelry (I can’t keep it all), I started selling my cosmetics as well. Now selling my product is just a good excuse to make more product.

Andee: What is your favorite thing in the day-to-day operations of S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care?

Susan: Hands down, my favorite part of my business is production. Photographing, promoting, listing, selling, are all neccesary, but the creation is what keeps me going. I love to see an idea become reality. Much like an artist with paint and canvas, except I don’t paint, I don’t even draw very good stick figures. So this is my creative outlet, my art, so to speak.

Andee: What separates you and S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care from the competition?

Susan: I am curious. My mind never really rests. When I was a child my mother used to ask me, “Susan, can’t you just sit still?” The answer to this day is still “no”. I like to turn things over in my brain and see how I might make them different. I am a recycler. Not the hip, trendy, modern recycler. I am the old farmer, “don’t throw that away, I might need it someday” recycler. “It might work for such and such, or maybe I could turn it into this, that, or the other thing”. I am always trying to figure out how to make something work for purposes it was not intended for. This mind set comes with lots of failed ideas. But every once in a while, I come up with something that actually works. Soap lends itself well to this train of thought. It can be colored, shaped, molded, and manipulated into many different forms. It’s a lovely canvas. I get the same satisfation from taking a bunch of beads, baubles, and findings, and creating a unique piece of jewelry out of those little bits and pieces too.

Andee: What advice would you give someone just starting their own business?

Susan: Turn off your television. Seriously.
Don’t overlook the capital investment. When you start out making something just for yourself, the quantities are small. But as you delve into production for sales you need to make sure you have enough cash, or enough credit, and enough room to store additional items. Storage is a big deal. Your products can take over the kitchen, the dining room, all of your closets, and you’re left wondering where you’re going to put the rest. If you know how you’re going to keep and care for your monster, everyone in your house will be happier, including you.
Also, ask yourself how much do you really like doing what you are doing. Can you see yourself still doing it in 10 years? Will you get bored if you have to make a large order of the same item over and over? Will you be able to handle the physical, pshycological, and emotional demands?

Andee: What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

Susan: I would buy and restore one of the historic hotels in town. This would allow for a brick and mortar store front for myself, and I would love to have an artists cooperative that filled the entire space with interesting and beautiful works.

Andee: What was the biggest challenge you have faced so far?

Susan: Learning to talk about myself. When customers buy from a small producer they are buying a little piece of you. Learning to be able to talk to people about how great a product I have, therefore how great I am, is still difficult. But being able to articulate to my client why I am doing what I am doing, and why they should buy anything from me, is terribly important. They want to know the story. Sometimes I don’t think my story is very interesting, and therefore, have a hard time telling it.

Andee: What was one of your most memorable experiences while making (testing) products?

Susan: I accidentally tipped over a bottle of lavender essential oil (expensive mistake) and it spilled off the counter and onto one of my padded mats. I picked up the mat to take it to the bathroom to wash it in the shower, and all the way down the hall I had little drips of black rubber from the mat. Who knew lavender would eat the mat? Fortunately I have all solid surface flooring, so I eventually got it cleaned up.

Andee: When you aren’t working on your products, what do you do in your spare time?

Susan: I have my own landscaping business as well. My summers are always VERY busy. I also watch my two granddaughters 2-3 days a week. Last year I started a rather large gardening project. It is a retaining wall/planter bed system made out of used tires. Phase two should be complete this spring. I also have two dozen chickens and enjoy tending them as well.

Andee: What do you see as the coming trends in the personal care industry and particularly with the soaps and that you make?

Susan: I think a lot of folks will want to jump into running their own business in the next couple of years. It will cause some disappointment for people who don’t end up where they expect. We have worked for ourselves for the last 15 years, so whatever business we tackle, we don’t enter blindly. There are a lot of hidden costs, especially taxes that are no longer paid by an employer. Consumables like soap seem like an easy sell. I think the competition will increase greatly in this category, be that on line or at local venues. I know there have been jewelry vendors in about 40% of the booths at some events I’ve done. I believe entrepreneurial folks will have to work very hard to set themselves apart from their competitors. It will be important to have the patience and stamina to ride the wave all the way in.

Lux Lavender Soap
Lux Lavender Soap
Down Under Wonder Lip Smoother
Down Under Wonder Lip Smoother
Hot Buttered Popcorn Soap
Hot Buttered Popcorn Soap
Rose and Hibiscus Cream.
Rose and Hibiscus Cream.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Hearts Soap
Chocolate Covered Cherry Hearts Soap
Rainbow Colors Soap
Rainbow Colors Soap
Super Hippie Soap
Super Hippie Soap
Nutty As A Fruitcake Soap
Nutty As A Fruitcake Soap

Tangerine and Tulips Soap
Tangerine and Tulips Soap

Thanks Susan! I had a great time “talking” with you and I find myself thinking about applying your advice myself!

Want to visit and support Susan and S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care?
Visit her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/SDesignPersonalCare

I hope you find inspiration from Susan and S~Design Jewelry and Skin Care. I know I have created a wishlist of a few goodies found in Susan’s shop!

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Special Feature: Ana at AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats

I enjoy seeing all the wonderful products that our customers make! I find every shop I visit to be inspirational in many ways. I want to share this inspiration with you by featuring a crafter just like you!

Today, we are featuring an interview I have done with Ana at AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Andee: What first drew you into making soaps and other personal cosmetics

Ana: I’ve always loved to find out how things are put together. Clocks, carburetors, cookies… Whatever. If someone put it together, I wanted to know how to do it too. :) I particularly wanted to make my own soaps because I felt that I could do it better than the commercial products I was buying at the store. I had tried some that a friend made, loved it, and loved the idea that she made it herself, and so I wanted very much to try my hand at it too. I had no idea it could become such an obsession!! LOL! I noticed right away there was a big difference in what I made from the so-called soaps I had been buying before. I didn’t know they were synthetic detergents, didn’t know much about them at all, just that that’s what was available and that my skin was dry and itchy all the time. I just thought that was just the way my skin was. When I started using real soap, my skin got a lot less dry and itchy. In fact, I don’t have that problem at all anymore.

Andee: What is your favorite thing in the day-to-day operations of Ana Banana’s Bath & Body Treats?

Ana: Research. I love finding out about new-to-me oils and techniques and artistic styles. I spend a lot of time figuring out how to make a bar of soap look the way I’d like it to and to have the qualities that I really need for myself. I figure, if I like it, a lot of other people will too, because I’m a real person and so are they. :)

Andee: What separates you and Ana Banana’s Bath & Body Treats from the competition?

Ana: Well, in a word…me. :) I put myself into my soaps and cosmetic goods. They are a product of my imagination and I hope to impart some portion of my creative joy into my products.

Andee: What advice would you give someone just starting their own business?

Ana: Find your groove, find what thrills you and trust your instincts. Also patience. Yup, a lot of patience. Sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you planned, so be prepared to find the beauty in something unexpected. Soaps are like that. You decide what you want them to look like, and then they decide if they’ll cooperate or not. LOL! Be flexible that way.

Andee: What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

Ana: I’d go from an on-line to brick-and-mortar presence. I would love to be able to make my goods in the same location that I sell them and talk to people. I do get some contact with my customers through email and sometimes on the phone, but really talking to people in person is something I’d enjoy very much on a daily basis. And people really like smelling the roses, so to speak, before they buy. I always include a small sample of something different in each order, just so they can do that too, but if I had a physical store, they could smell twenty different soaps instead!

Andee: What was the biggest challenge you have faced so far?

Ana: Marketing has always been my nemesis. :) To be a really successful salesperson, you have to be able to be unapologetically self-promoting, and my natural tendency is to be very modest. Even writing the answers to your questions here is difficult in that I don’t want to brag, but really I should brag a whole lot! LOL! I love what I’m doing, and I know that if I can get people to try my goods, they will love them too! So… What holds me back in boasting about it all? Just that natural desire for people to appreciate my work without necessarily involving ME in there too.

Andee: What was one of your most memorable experiences while testing products?

Ana: Ohmygoodness. Hands down it was during a swap the Sage had a couple of years ago. I was making a soap with a new-to-me fragrance (one of my most favorites now, by the way), and it has a lot of lime in it, which makes soap want to do its thing much faster than I was expecting. The soap is called “Naked Man” and is made with The Sage’s Spicy Lime fragrance oil. I also include some ground luffa for scrubbiness and some color to bring out the green in the lime fragrance. When I was making the batch that I shared, everything was sort of “off” that day. It was late in the day, kids were clamoring for food (feed us NOW!!”), so I was hurrying and getting a little scatter-brained. I love this fragrance and so to me, the most important thing was to get that fragrance in my raw soap right away, except that I forgot to include the luffa and the color before I poured in the fragrance. I hadn’t realized I’d forgotten half my additives until I poured the soap, but by then, it was already starting to set up, so I was trying like mad to get it back into the pot before it seized. Being a superbly stubborn person, I was gonna make it happen! Or not! The soap turned solid on me about halfway through incorporating the extra ingredients, and I had what looked like something I’d rather not clean up after a baby-type “incident.” It looked awful! It looked awful AND was a huge blob on the end of my soaping spoon halfway between the bucket and the mold, at which point I froze up! What do I do?? Oh no! Luckily for me, just a week or so later, the Sage announced a swap appropriately named “Toiletry Tragedies.” I was in! We told our stories for the recipe books (I’m sure you remember this one, lol!) and my new hideous soap with that wonderful fragrance had a home and was also a hit! It was the ugliest soap ever shared, but it smelled sooooo good!

Andee: What inspired the creation of the Zombie Zoapz line?

Ana: Zombie Zoaps are an extension of my weird sense of humor. It’s out there for everyone to see. It’s sort of an alter-personality for me to try to be proper and rein in my quirkiness, but this is an outlet for my inner snarkiness. :) Zombies are so wildly popular, but I can’t take them seriously! I grew up terrified of “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” but I’m more of a “Shawn of the Dead” type of person. My sister-in-law is an writer, Pauline Baird Jones, and in one of her stories she had included some zombies that were freaking hilarious. They were in her steampunk romantic adventure “Steamrolled.” I loved them and was inspired by her humor to create something fun too. It’s also a way for me to have some fun with the ingredients list. Does anyone really read those? If they do, then I’ve included some fun stuff for them to find!

Andee: When you aren’t working on your products, what do you do in your spare time?

Ana: I spend most of my spare time reading. I love adventure/romance/paranormal/fun/you-name-it literature! If I’m not reading, I’m drawing or trying my hand at watercolor or learning how to use PhotoShop. I read this question and seriously had to ask myself… Spare time? What is that?? LOL! If I’m not doing any of those things, I’m probably comatose on the couch or in my comfy chair (with a book!). :)

AB1

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Soap - Limited Edition
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Soap – Limited Edition
Chocolate Sandalwood Soap
Chocolate Sandalwood Soap
Chocolate Mint Lip Treats
Chocolate Mint Lip Treats
Mojito Soap
Mojito Soap
Shampoo Bars
Shampoo Bars
Ana's memorable Naked Man soap!
Ana’s memorable Naked Man soap!
Zombie Zoapz - One Bad Apple Zoap
Zombie Zoapz – One Bad Apple Zoap

Puzhin' Up Daiziez Zoap
Zombie Zoapz – Puzhin’ Up Daiziez Zoap

Andee: What do you see as the coming trends in the personal care industry and particularly with the soaps and that you make?

Ana: Artisan-style soaps are hugely popular, and for good reason. Handcrafted does not mean homely/ugly, and it gives the creator a lot of opportunity to impart their own style into something and make it truly beautiful. I think that’s my favorite part of soaping – making it beautiful to look at, as well and wonderful for the skin. Soap stamps are one way to personalize your creations, and I’ve got one I love. I’m considering designing another one just for the Zombie Zoaps too. :) Swirls and colors and textured tops for soaps make each batch unique and beautiful too.

Thanks Ana! I had a great time “talking” with you and your descriptions just make me chuckle!

Want to visit and support Ana and AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats?
Visit her website at www.anabananacreations.com

I hope you find inspiration from Ana and AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats. I know I have created quite the wishlist of Zombie Zoapz as well as regular soaps from AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats and now I just need to narrow down my list!

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Special Features Wanted!

OnAirMic At the end of November, I ruminated about the closure of the Hostess Brands company. In that post, I also talked about shopping to support small businesses and local economies. Even after writing that post, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind about shopping and showing support for small and/or local. That brings me to the purpose of today’s request!

I would like to hear from you for this new project that I want to tackle! I want to feature you, our customers, and your companies here on our blog. How am I going to do this? I am going to request nominations from you! You can nominate yourself, a spouse, friend or fellow crafter/business . Simply send me a message through our Contact Us form and include the following information; Name of person to contact, contact e-mail, Business name, business site or blog (Etsy, ArtFire and other similar shops are welcome!), and your reason for nomination (not required, but helpful). Once I receive your messages, I’ll begin correspondence to interview you! I will release these Special Crafter Features once or twice a week (depending on how many nominations I receive).

I’m not going to just stop at customer and company features either! Have a special charity project that you are working on or are supporting? I’ll even write features about the charity projects that are close to your hearts! Again, submit your charity project nominations to me by message through our Contact Us form. Please include the name of the charity project, a website and why you support the project (or why it is so close to your heart)! I will release these Special Charity Features in a manner similar to the Special Crafter Features.

Let the features come in so we can support small businesses, local economies and causes that are dear to us!

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Renee’s Easter Egg Bath Bombs!

Yes, I know Easter has already passed, but  I get a lot of inspiration from holidays and I found out that I am not the only one! I love learning what our customers are doing and love sharing that with our readers. Come see what one of our customers made for Easter! I will now turn the spotlight over to Renee, but before I do, if you want to share what you are making, email me! I would love to feature you. Now let’s join Renee in her test kitchen to make some Easter egg bath bombs!

Easter is here!! Stuck trying to figure out what to use to fill in the blank spots in your baskets? Look no further! This tutorial will satisfy everyone! (It’s also a great way to get a chocolate “fix” without having to worry about calories!)

 

Needed Items:

Ingredients
Baking Soda
Citric Acid
Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate
Hot Cocoa Mix or Cocoa Powder
Sweet Almond Oil
Mokalata Fragrance Oil
Equipment
Spray Bottle with Witch Hazel or Water
Mixing Bowl
Plastic Easter Eggs (the kind that split lengthwise, if possible. I only use the “tops” that don’t have the lip on them.
If you use the pieces that fit together, you’ll end up with a “mushroom” affect. So use the pieces without a lip, so
that when you press them together, the edges will meet)
Old Egg Carton

 Note: If you want to make another scent, just omit the hot chocolate powder and use any of The Sage’s water soluble colorants. These are Lemon Yellow, Grape, Purple Raspberry and Ocean Blue.

Needed Items:

Recipe:
1 c. Baking Soda
½ c. Citric Acid
¼ c. Sodium Laurel Sulfoacetate
¼ c. Hot Cocoa Mix or Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp. Sweet Almond Oil
2 mL Mokalata Fragrance Oil

Measure out all of the dry ingredients. Stir well, making sure there are no clumps. Add the Sweet Almond Oil and Mokalata Fragrance Oil. Mix well. Spritz with a few sprays of Witch Hazel until the mixture holds its shape when squeezed. Then pack some of the mixture into each side of your plastic Easter Egg. Be sure to sprinkle some loose mixture in between the halves. Press firmly together and knock off any mixture that squeezes out. Gently squeeze and wiggle one half off. I like to let it sit in the bottom half, while I make one more. Then gently wiggle the other half off, and use your finger to smooth out the line between the halves. I like to set my bath bombs in an old egg carton while they dry. Once they are dry, package them up and slip them into a basket! Happy Easter!!!!!

Renee's Easter Basket
Collect Needed Items
Measuring Dry Ingredients
Mixing Dry Ingredients
Adding Sweet Almond Oil
Adding Mokalata Fragrance Oil
Mixing Well
Clumping after squirting with Witch Hazel
Packing Egg
Brushing Off Excess
Removing One Side
Both Sides Removed
Eggs in old egg carton

Comparing White Egg to Brown Egg
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