2016 Calendar Contest FAQ

I know Taylor is in the middle of her Semi-Solid Shea Oil Recipe Focus week, but I would love to share some information with you about our 2016 Calendar Contest! Taylor will continue her Semi-Solid Shea Oil focus with a Body Lotion recipe tomorrow, a lip balm recipe on Friday and a Light After Shower Massage Oil on Saturday. (Thanks Taylor for letting me sneak in here!)

CalendarWe have gotten some wonderful submissions of products for our 2016 Calendar Contest and along the way, we’ve been asked questions about the contest. Here are the Frequently Asked Questions as well as a little bit of news about the 2016 Calendar Contest.

Q: Will I retain the copyright for my image(s)?
A: Yes! We ask that you grant us exclusive license for a calendar product. This means that you will not license these photographs for another calendar product, regardless of form displayed.

Q: What kind of photographs are you looking for?
A: Photographs of finished products, raw materials or processes! We are looking for crisp, clear images without distracting labels or watermarks.

Q: Will I have the opportunity to provide my contact information, website or e-mail with my photo?
A: Absolutely! You can provide any contact information you would like to give. It could be a website, company name, e-mail, phone number or even social media pages.

Q: Can I send you a picture of products that someone else has made?
A: No. You must be the owner of products in the photographs. Private label products may be considered on a case by case basis.

Now for the little bit of news! We have had so many wonderful submissions already that we have decided to print a weekly calendar (think weekly planner/organizer)! That means we have extended the number of fabulous makers in the 2016 calendar. Don’t miss this chance to share your EXTRAORDINARY products!

Andee

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Creamy Shea Foot Cream

Finished
Finished Creamy Shea Foot Cream

This recipe is loosely based off of the Bookworm Tootsie Cream. The original recipe is a wonderfully thick cream laden with loads of goodies. While I did want to keep the goodie laden aspect of this cream, I really wanted the Semi-Solid Shea Oil and Aloe Butter to share the spotlight.

The Semi-Solid Shea Oil is a spectacular product. It gives you the moisturizing properties of Shea Butter while being lighter on the skin. In this recipe, the Semi-Solid Shea Oil helps keep the cream from feeling too heavy while still pampering the skin. Talk about pure heaven!

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Aloe Butter is a product I think everyone should try at least once. It is a thick, creamy butter that is just dreamy on the skin. While using it just as is, Aloe Butter can be a little heavy. That being said, it is a beautiful addition to lotions, creams and salves. In this recipe, the Aloe Butter makes the cream a little stiffer and ultra smooth. It give the cream a smooth glide that almost makes it feel like it is melting into your skin. Just dreamy.

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

I also added a little bit of Stearic Acid to this formulation. While this isn’t a product I use all the time, it is an item I like to have on hand. Why? Because it is a fabulous thickener/stiffener without making the finished product feel waxy. I use it anywhere from whipped butters to salves to lotions and creams. You can even use it in lip balms! I love it because it is an inexpensive product with amazing results. I love that a little goes a long way. If you are looking for vegan friendly ingredients, stearic acid fits the bill.

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

This formula also features a tiny amount of Tamanu Oil. While it may seem like such a tiny amount of material, Tamanu Oil is great at soothing dry skin. As we are making a foot cream, I wanted to add something that would help keep the skin from cracking, splitting and drying out.

Every time I make something in the blog kitchen, I find people stopping through to see what I am concocting. (It also means they have seen a number of misadventures.) As this cream was cooling, one gal stopped by. I offered to let her try some cream and she did. Do you know what that clever imp said? She said, ” I think you need to rub that into my feet so I can give you an opinion.” I thought she was serious! Sheesh! Now everyone is teasing me about how they could really use a pedicure.

Ready to Mix
Ready to Mix

Teasing aside, the staff loved this foot cream. While it does make the skin feel ultra slickery, it does keep the skin soft and hydrated. I would recommend wearing socks after applying this lotion. Don’t let this alarm you, this cream does its job very well.  I would even use it on my legs and arms. Baby soft skin is just a jar away!

Ingredients
Aloe Butter
Semi-Solid Shea Oil
Stearic Acid
Dimethicone
Conditioning Emulsifying Wax
Hydrovance
Castor Oil
Tamanu Oil
Liquid Germall Plus
Intense Almond Fragrance Oil
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
30 g Aloe Butter
38 g Semi-Solid Shea Oil
4 g Stearic Acid
12 g Dimethicone
16 g Conditioning Emulsifying Wax
8 g Hydrovance
6 g Castor Oil
4 g Tamanu Oil
1 g Liquid Germall Plus
0.5 g Intense Almond Fragrance Oil
80.5 g Water
Recipe in Ounces
1.06 oz Aloe Butter
1.34 oz Semi-Solid Shea Oil
0.14 oz Stearic Acid
0.42 oz Dimethicone
0.56 oz Conditioning Emulsifying Wax
0.28 oz Hydrovance
0.21 oz Castor Oil
0.14 oz Tamanu Oil
0.04 oz Liquid Germall Plus
0.02 oz Intense Almond Fragrance Oil
2.84 oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
15% Aloe Butter
19% Semi-Solid Shea Oil
2% Stearic Acid
6% Dimethicone
8% Conditioning Emulsifying Wax
4% Hydrovance
3% Castor Oil
2% Tamanu Oil
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus
0.25% Intense Almond Fragrance Oil
40.25% Water

 

Stirring in Preservative and Fragrance
Stirring in Preservative and Fragrance

Weigh everything except the Liquid Germall Plus and Intense Almond Fragrance Oil into a microwave safe container. Heat in short spurts until everything is liquid. Using an immersion blender, mix the lotion well. You don’t want to see any oil rising to the surface. If you do, continue to mix until there is no separation.

Once the lotion is mixed, allow it to cool. I like to come back every few minutes and stir it with a spatula. Once the lotion is under 120° F, add the Liquid Germall Plus and Intense Almond Fragrance Oil. Stir well.

At this point I like to scoop the lotion into a plastic bag so I can pipe in into jars. This makes it much faster to fill my containers and it minimizes the amount of clean up I need to do. I am all about simple and easy!
Taylor

 

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Fixed Oil Focus – Semi Solid Shea Oil!

I have some awesome news that I am super excited to share. I have over forty 6 oz size jars of Semi-Solid Shea Oil that are being sent to our shipping department. If you have never tried this incredible fixed oil before, you should really get in on this opportunity. That is right. You get 6 oz all to your self to try! This next week I will share a variety of recipes that highlight the wonderful uses of this oil.

If you want to get a jar of Semi-Solid Shea Oil, just leave us a comment in your next order. Our shipping department has a limited number of these jars so get one while you can. When they are gone, they are gone!

Taylor

 

 

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 4

As the week draws to a close, I am ready for some time at home in my kitchen. While I don’t have plans for making soap or lotion, I was going to whip up a quick batch of lip balm before moving on to preserving and drying some of this yea’s harvest. I was planning on making the Strawberries and Champagne Lip Soother.

Here at the office, I am known as the lip balm addict. I always have a minimum of 3 lip products in my purse. As I type, I count 4 (make that 5) tubes of lip balm, 2 bottles of roll on perfume and one jar of lotion. That being said, I am not immune from over flavoring a batch of lip balm. One way you can avoid an over flavored batch of lip balm is to use the plate test.

We have featured the plate test on the blog before but it is such a useful technique, it is worth sharing again. You can use the plate test to determine color, flavor, texture and even firmness!

Testing color again
Testing texture and color with the Just for Her Glossy Lip Balm

To do the plate test, grab a ceramic, glass, china or even metal plate. You want something that is cool to the touch. Place a few drops of your product on the plate. Wait for it to cool and solidify. Once it is completely cool, you can evaluate color, texture, and flavor.

If you want to make any changes to your batch of lip balm, you can do this prior to pouring them into their containers. If you make any changes, be sure to place a few more drops on your plate to make sure your finished product is exactly what you want.

It is a quick and easy method to test without wasting great gobs of materials. Isn’t that awesome? I think so!

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 3

I love perfumes. I have since I was a little girl. I remember the beautiful bottles that lined up like little dancers that both of my grandmothers had. One had her bottles lined up in the bathroom, where their crystalline bodies reflected in the mirror. My other grandmother had hers on her dresser, clustered atop  a lacy doily.

I remember sniffing at each bottle and wishing I were old enough to have just one beautiful bottle of my own. Fast forward to today. I have several bottles of perfume on my vanity. While they do not sit on a lace doily, their classic beauty charms me.

So what do you do when you have purchased, made or been gifted a perfume that you absolutely adore but it is too powerful for an elevator compartment? If it is in a bottle that has a stopper or applicator wand, it is much easier to control how much you apply. What if it is in an atomizer or spray bottle? How do you apply a 1/4 (or less) of a spray?

One thing you can do is hang your clothes up and spray them from a distance of 12 inches or greater. It is hard to do when wearing your clothes but it is great because your clothes will release their subtle scent throughout the day. Your clothes will release more scent the more you move and the warmer your body is. This method is great if you are looking for your perfume to last all day.

You can also spritz a cotton ball with your favorite perfume and then apply it to skin. This method is great because it keeps the fragrance close to the skin. This is my favorite method for applying perfume when attending weddings, dinners and other social events. It keeps me smelling nice without a cloud of my perfume announcing my arrival.

Try spraying your legs rather than your decolletage. It gives your nose, and the nose of others, a little bit of space from the fragrance. (This is a great way to keep your perfume from being overwhelming when hugs are going ’round.) With this method the fragrance softly and slowly wafts up throughout the day. I prefer this method when I am in a dress or skirt and will be spending most of my time outside. Family picnics are a great time to try this method.

Another option is to spray your hair brush then run it through your hair. Hair holds on the fragrances very well. (Have you ever noticed you can smell your hair detangler long after your perfume has faded?) By spraying your hair brush, you avoid an overwhelming amount of perfume while still smelling great! This is my favorite method on date nights.

The last method is to take a cotton ball or even a sachet card and spritz the card. Extend your packet of sachet cards by cutting them into small pieces. You can now tuck a few pieces into your pants pocket or even into your bra. This provides subtle yet constant scent all day long, perfect for on the go or rushed mornings!

What other methods do you use for intensely scented perfumes? I want to hear!

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 2

Okay, so we have covered how to rescue an overly scented soap. What else can you save when things go wrong? Today I will talk about how to save a lotion from being overly colored. Let’s get started!

One thing I tend to rely on when working with a large group of kids are easy and interactive activities. They may range from making Peanut Butter Playdough to using one of our lotion bases. They keep the kids entertained and constantly learning.

A few weeks ago, I was showing a group of kids how to make lotion using a base. They helped choose our fragrance. (I found them clamoring for the Punch Party Fragrance Oil.) After we measure the fragrance into the lotion and started to mix, we decided to add some color. The options were yellow, pink and blue. They decided on blue.

Let’s just say one drop of color would have been sufficient for the 10 oz of lotion we were working with. I regret to say I don’t know how much color was added. It certainly enough to color the skin blue. Heavens above! What would the parents say if I sent their children home with blue skin. It would be a disaster to say the least.

So we scented another 10 oz of Head to Toe Cream and added maybe a 0.25 oz of our brightly blue cream. The bag was distributed and everyone took turns mixing. While I still felt the color was a little strong, the kids loved it and it wasn’t ready to turn their skin to smurf blue. (I tend to like ultra-soft colors. Colors so light they might be considered an off white.)

That was a relatively easy fix. As my chemistry teacher used to say “The solution to pollution is dilution!”

 

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 1

Okay, so I have made some doozy mistakes when making  lotions, scrubs and soaps. While mistakes can be rather disheartening, the good news it that many are fixable. This week we will be covering a number of mistakes that can happen and how you can fix them! Come join us. This is one week you don’t want to miss!

So let me start at the beginning. When I make a mistake in my math, it tends to leave spectacular results. Anyone remember my conversion catastrophe? That was a mathematical disaster!

Anyway, as we have has a few days of cooler weather recently I started thinking about making soaps for fall. After all, one does need to make sure the bathrooms and showers are fully stocked with good soap. As I perused the fragrance collection, I decided on using Honey Almond.

I love the smell of Honey Almond. It reminds me of a fresh baked Almond Loaf or of a decadent Bee Sting. Both pasties are absolutely divine. These items always remind me of the days where the nights suggest impending fall yet the days still feel like summer.

I sat down and planned out my soap. I planned on making a 3 lb batch. I calculated my lye and my fragrance. I decided on a strong scent. For a 3 lb batch, our fragrance calculator recommends 2.25% fragrance. Or 1.08 oz of fragrance. I neglected to ensure I had enough Shea Butter to make my soap. (Some of you may be able to see what it coming.)

So I went to the kitchen and started to weigh my materials. I actually weighed my fragrance out first. Then I moved onto my fixed oils. I started with my Shea Butter and discovered I only had enough to make a 1 lb batch of soap. Just as I was finished redoing my calculations, the doorbell rang.

After coming back from answering the door, I got back to my soapmaking. Except I forgot to adjust my amount of fragrance oil! After all, it was already measured out.

I proceeded to make my soap. I remember picking up my container of fragrance and thinking “Gosh, that seems like a lot.”  After I added my fragrance to my soap I was assaulted with an eye-watering cloud of Honey Almond Fragrance Oil. As I stirred my soap, I thought “I wonder why this is so intense. I don’t remember it being this strong.” I poured my soap into my mold and left it for the next day.

Fast forward to when I unmold my soap. The fragrance was still overpowering! So I went to check my notes and found I had not adjusted my amount of fragrance oil. (Notes are so critical!) Whoops! Now what do I do with this overly scented soap? This is way too strong to be elevator friendly, let alone bathroom friendly.  So how do we fix this?!

Well, we can either shred the soap and make a confetti soap or we can cut it into chunks and make a mosaic style soap. I personally tend to prefer the confetti style soaps because I can quickly shred my soap and move onto my other projects. Choose whichever you prefer. Because I used almost 7% fragrance, I will need to make 2 lbs of unscented soap. (It is what I had planned originally. Sort of.)

I shredded my soap and place my shreds into my mold. I then poured my unscented soap over those shreds.  Whew! A near disaster averted. Now just to wait to cut the soap. What do you think? Pretty cool for a soap.

Taylor

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Getting Help from the MMS Team!

Our Team is always here to help. Just give us a call or email!
Our Team is always here to help. Just give us a call or email!

You know the Beatles song, Help!, where the writer asks for help and sings their woes of growing up and now needing assistance because they are not so self assured. Well, we’ve all been through those feelings.

I want you to know about our TheSage.com HELP LINE! We know sometimes you need some help, so what do you do? Email our HELP TEAM, that’s what!

Our newest email address, help@thesage.com, will get you right to a team of people who can help. This address can assist with anything from ordering questions to formulating questions. We can even help with gift or party ideas. Just ask!

Did you know our Contact Us form has been going to this address for several months now? We have over 2000 resolved questions from our help team. That is a lot of know-how at your fingertips.

Have a great Monday out there, and above all, be safe.

Tina

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Mosaics Soap Challenge

A mosaic sun.
A mosaic sun.
Attention all soap makers! It is time for another challenge and we want to see your soaps! The theme of this challenge is Mosaics. To get your imagination going, I am going to share several photos taken of a tile mosaic at the local university, Utah State University. We want to see how you would make these beautiful mosaics into soap.

A woman's face in mosaic.
A woman’s face in mosaic.
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.

A pterodactyl mosaic.
A pterodactyl mosaic.
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 September 4th. The MMS staff will then vote on their favorite soaps based on appearance and accompanying description. Two winners will be selected. On September 8th, we will announce the winners and share their photos.

A spider mosaic.
A spider mosaic.
Winners will receive a $50 Gift Certificate, a 100 pack of Jumbo Heat & Seal Tea Bags and a 1 oz bottle of my favorite fragrance, Wicked! You won’t want to miss out. We will be doing a special project with the Heat & Seal Tea Bags after winners are announced. Happy creating and good luck!

Andee

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Throwback Thursday: Lemon and Basil Lip Balm

Summer is here and I’ve been enjoying fresh tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I’ll toss a bit of fresh basil and a squirt of lemon juice in with the diced tomatoes. Yum! While I’m making you hungry, join me as I make another batch of Taylor’s fabulous Lemon & Basil Lip Balm! I’ve followed her recommendation to change the recipe ever so slightly, so if you want to try the original recipe, click here. If you get a sample of this yummy lip balm, I hope you enjoy!

Andee

The Finished Lip Balm
The Finished Lip Balm
The skies are a beautiful blue with fluffy white clouds and bright sun. I am loving it! It is also making me ready for fresh flavors. I am dreaming of strawberries, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Yum. I think I am ready to visit the local farmer’s market!

In the spirit of the growing season, I wanted to make a lip balm that takes two very popular flavors and blends them together for a delightful treat. Lemon and Basil with a hint of sweetness. With such fantastic weather, what could be better? Come join me in the blog kitchen for a creamy lip with fresh new flavor.

Ingredients
Castor Oil
Cherry Seed Oil
Apricot Kernel Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Beeswax
Mango Butter
Avocado Butter
Basil Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil, USA
Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe: (Makes 10.08 ounces or 285 grams)

Recipe in Grams
57 grams Castor Oil
28.5 grams Cherry Seed Oil
28.5 grams Apricot Kernel Oil
43 grams Palm Kernel Oil
57 grams Beeswax
57 grams Mango Butter
8.5 grams Avocado Butter
0.5 grams Basil Essential Oil
2 grams Lemon Essential Oil, USA
3 grams Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Ounces
2.02 oz Castor Oil
1.01 oz Cherry Seed Oil
1.01 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
1.51 oz Palm Kernel Oil
2.02 oz Beeswax
2.02 oz Mango Butter
0.30 oz Avocado Butter
0.01 oz Basil Essential Oil
0.07 oz Lemon Essential Oil, USA
0.10 oz Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
20% Castor Oil
10% Cherry Seed Oil
10% Apricot Kernel Oil
15% Palm Kernel Oil
20% Beeswax
20% Mango Butter
3% Avocado Butter
0.1% Basil Essential Oil
0.9% Lemon Essential Oil, USA
1% Sugar Baby Flavor Oil

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weigh everything except the flavor oils in a microwave safe container. Heat everything gently until it is crystal clear. Add the Lemon Essential Oil, Basil Essential Oil and Sugar Baby Flavor Oil. Stir well. Cool slightly. You don’t want to put a superheated lip balm into containers. Pour into containers and allow to cool completely. Label and enjoy!

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Note to self: This lip balm was a huge hit. It was smooth, creamy and slightly sweet. I am sending over 100 samples of this lip balm to the shipping department. Try one for yourself!
Taylor

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Melted Lip Balm
Melted Lip Balm

Putting warm lip balm into containers. Creating a little bubble will lessen the divot that occurs when the lip balm cools.
Putting warm lip balm into containers. Creating a little bubble will lessen the divot that occurs when the lip balm cools.
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Adding Flavor Oils
Adding Flavor Oils

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Thoughts and ideas from the world of Majestic Mountain Sage.