Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Been A Busy Summer!

I feel like such a bad blogger after neglecting it for months! I've had such a busy summer and no soap has been poured. Now that things have settled down and the cozy fall weather has set in, I am looking forward to creating some new scents and bringing back a couple old favorites.

What could have kept me so busy that I had no soaping time? Lots of vacation!

To begin the summer, I went on a road trip from Victoria BC down to Santa Cruz, CA. It took almost two weeks and was amazing! I saw many miles of beautiful ocean beaches, enormous Redwood trees in the Redwood Forest, and the larger-than-life beauty of Yosemite National Park.  There are too many things to list, but here are some pictures of the trip highlights.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Redwood National Forest, California

Lower Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

After returning from the road trip, I traveled to Poet's Cove Resort and Spa on Pender Island, British Columbia for the wedding celebrations of friends. It was my first visit to that particular island, and I highly recommend it. The setting is gorgeous, the staff are friendly and the accommodations were spectacular. 

Soon after, I visited Winnipeg, Manitoba for a week. While I was there, I was fortunate enough to spend time at Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg, and a few nights at an adorable cottage on Granite Lake, just outside of Kenora, Ontario. I wish I had photos of the two above events to share.

In between the previous events listed, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and in the garden. Some of my plants were flukes, but I was fortunate enough to harvest a lot of vegetables! It was very satisfying to eat vegetables grown by myself in my backyard. I harvested two kinds of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, and many, many tomatoes. I also have a producing apple tree and yellow plum tree in my backyard, and baked a couple pies with the apples and made jam from the plums and also from the blackberries that grow like wild weeds here. For my first summer canning, it was pretty successful with canned blackberry jam, plum jam and tomatoes.

Most recently, I traveled to Moncton, New Brunswick to attend my sister's wedding as Maid Of Honor. I had a wonderful time, met some wonderful and very special people, and spent some long-overdue quality time with family and friends.

Hopefully my wanderlust has been satisfied, and the chilly air and fallen leaves will convince me to stay inside and get back into soapmaking. I also have a resolution to knit an afghan this winter. My mother gave me a kit for one about two Christmas' ago now, so I really should get on that :)

How was your summer? Do you have any Christmas soap suggestions?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Introducing.... Olive Oil Soap!

Today I would like to introduce my new Olive Oil Soap! It would be considered 100% castile soap, but I prefer to refer to it as Olive Oil soap :)

It's scent free, but it still smells like soap. I just haven't added any fragrance or essential oils to it. As much as I love wonderful-smelling, gorgeous-colored soaps, I know that I need to offer a fragrance free, dye free soap that's gentle on skin. There are a lot of sensitivities out there, and I like to be accommodating to everyone.

I've been slacking on blog posting, but that's just given me time to thoroughly test out this soap. I've been using it for several weeks now. I have a full sized bar in my shower, which says a lot considering I only keep and use mini bars of my other soaps for myself. Being 100% olive oil, the lather is not thick bubbles or really that many bubbles at all. It's more of a milky, creamy lather. It feels silky on my skin, and my skin has also never been so soft and smooth. It's definitely the most moisturizing soap I've tried yet. Not to name names, but it is personally more moisturizing for my skin than that other soap, the famous brand name one that brags about being "1/4 moisturizer"......

And here are the photos!

These almost look like vanilla fudge :) Speaking of which, I was recently in Coombs BC at a fudge shop, and when I looked at the display of fudge, all I could thinking about was how they looked like freshly cut soap loaves..... delicious ones at that! 

I would also like to mention that I currently have full size Rose Oil bars and full size and mini size Olive Oil bars available :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Packaging, and Disaster In The Garden!

I think I may have finally worked out my labels! They're quite simple, but I think there's a simple elegance about them. I'm going to post photos anyway, so I won't bother describing them first :)

These are the mini bars!

Close up on the mini bar package.

Rose Olive Label

Back of Rose Olive Label

Oatmeal Lavender Label!

Back of Oatmeal Lavender.

I'm very happy with how these turned out! The best part is that they are so easy to design and print with simple software that I have at home. The only thing that I really plan on changing is to shrink wrap them in plastic wrap, but that will be after I purchase a heat gun. There's always something on my wish list! The more I do, the bigger it grows :)

As for the disaster in the garden.... Recently I planted my vegetable garden. So far I have two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, onions, and tomatoes. I also have some seedlings of spaghetti squash, cucumber and zucchini to transplant, but that requires expanding my garden. That's a lot of manual labor, so I'm putting it off until the next nice weekend. Anyhow, I put in the broccoli over Easter weekend and one of the plants was growing gorgeously, and was already almost two feet high! I got home from work today, only to discover a small male deer quietly munching in the backyard.... I fawned over him for a minute, before I remembered that deer in Victoria are notorious for eating gardens! There are some unmistakable hoof prints in the soil, and a large portion of my broccoli plant and some deer-mouth sized chunks of lettuce are missing..... Not to blame the deer, but considering the evidence I don't think it was the orange cat next door or the husky dog down the street getting into my garden! Needless to say, there will be a fence put in just as soon as my partner Michael can get it in!

What do you think of my packaging? Do you have any tips for deterring deer in the garden? Post them in the comments below!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rose Olive Soap!

New soap announcement! My Rose Olive Soap has emerged from the curing closet, and it is just heavenly. A creamy, light pink shade, gently scented with rose oil and covered in rosebuds on top! It lathers well, but the full size bars look almost too pretty to use!

This is my first soap containing shea butter, as well as the usual vitamin E and sweet almond oil and the high olive oil percentage creates an extra gentle lather. My skin feels so soft and smells so sweet after lathering up with this soap in the shower :)

The full bar right after cutting.

Look at those rosebuds!

Here are the mini soaps!

Mini soap close up.

In other exciting news, I realize I have completely underestimated how quickly my soaps would move! I am completely out of the Camellia Lemongrass and the Cucumber Melon, and I have only one bar of Lavender Oatmeal left. I have a large order for my supplier going in this week, and I can't wait to receive it and start pouring more soaps! There's not much I like more than having my curing closet full of soap.

Which scents and colors do you think I should make next? I'm leaning toward a food-scented one, maybe a coconut lime or vanilla bean or something like that. Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My First Sale!

What exciting news! I haven't started to advertise my soap for sale yet, but I have been giving away (some may call it "forcing") some samples to friends and coworkers. One of the ladies liked it so much that she approached me and asked to buy some! It felt so nice to have someone actually approach me, tell me that they liked my product, and ask to purchase some :) I feel extra good about it because it's my very first sale, so it's kind of a big deal.

The soap was a gift for her mother, so I did some quick wrapping and labeling. It was quite spur-of-the-moment, as I haven't gotten as far as packaging with my business planning yet. I'm pretty happy with it though, I intended to print the labels but as my printer was having issues I decided to write them by hand. I think it's pretty cute and gives it an extra-personal touch.

Cucumber Melon

Camellia Lemongrass

Oatmeal Lavender

I packaged them in a pretty seagrass basket with some pink tissue paper. I'm confident that they will arrive at their destination safely, without any dents or damage from being stepped on by the postman.

Another exciting thing that is happening is that my sister has approached me about making the favors for her upcoming wedding! That would be a huge event for BathingWithChelsea and I'm quite excited to show her some samples and get started on this massive project!

What do you think of my packaging? Do you have any great ideas on wedding favor soaps? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Introducing... Oatmeal Lavender Soap!

Another successful soap! I find it quite exciting to test out the first bar of a new soap! You have to wait soooo long for it to cure, it is definitely some delayed gratification. The one that I tested out today is my Lavender Oatmeal Soap, and as the name implies it contains oatmeal and lavender :)

There is finely ground oatmeal and whole lavender buds throughout the soap, and I added a layer of lavender buds to the top for some visual interest. It smells divine, and I credit that to the lavender-infused olive oil that I infused myself over a weekend in preparation for this soap.

The oatmeal and lavender buds give it a great, somewhat coarse exfoliating quality. I was pleasantly surprised at the bubble factor, it began to lather just being held under the shower.

Lavender Oatmeal Soap

Freshly cut soap bars.

These are mini bars that I pour as sample sizes.

After trying out this soap, I can't wait to test out my next soap, Rose Olive Soap, which should be ready this weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Soap That Grows On Trees?!

I was blown away by this! Apparently there are trees in India and Nepal that grow soapberries. These soapberries naturally contain saponins in their outer shells, and when added to water, the shells release these saponins and act as a natural detergent.

I started looking for them right away and managed to find them at my local grocery store. I instantly replaced my regular laundry detergent with them and have never looked back. You simply put four or five shells into a muslin bag (it should come with one when you buy it) and toss it into your machine. They are said to last 4-5 loads in cold water, or 2-3 in hot water. I don't believe that hot water makes any difference so I always wash in cold. After using them up, they get a bit smooshy and that's when you know it's time to toss them. My favorite part is that you can put them right into your compost bin! Doesn't it feel good to know that you're not washing with harsh chemicals and detergents or polluting the water?

But wait! What about your eczema? Your psoriasis? Or otherwise delicate and sensitive skin? Not a problem! Those conditions are frequently caused by reactions or irritations to the chemicals and additives added to commercial laundry detergents. Soapnuts have a history of being used as an Ayurvedic treatment for eczema and psoriasis.

I haven't been this adventurous (yet, haha) but there are many other uses for soapnuts besides just washing your clothes. They can be used as mosquito repellant, liquid hand some, shampoo, all purpose cleaner, window and glass cleaner, steam cleaning spot treatment, in the dishwasher, cleaning jewelry, and even as a plant wash and pest repellant.

This bag suggests I'll get 80-100 loads, and it only cost me $10.

Like it says, Organic - Antibacterial - Hypoallergenic - Compostable


 Thanks goes to...

Disclaimer: None if this is intended as medical advice of any kind.