Saturday, January 21, 2012

What a busy week!

I have such a great schedule at my job, only three days a week! Even though I do work every weekend, it's pretty great having Tuesday through Friday off every week. It makes scheduling vacations really easy, and gives me lots of free time to catch up on laundry, movies, gaming, and soaping!

I've got a lot of plans for the next month or so to hopefully get my soap sales up and off the ground. Right now, my soaps just occupy a couple of shelves at a local department store here in town and move pretty slowly most of the time, with an impressive day here and there. There aren't any craft fairs to speak of near where I live, and the farmer's market in my small town is pretty much strictly a produce and garage sale crowd. But I do still have a couple of events planned, one being a Valentine's Day themed sidewalk sale at the department store and the other (yet to be confirmed) very casual sort of setup in the boardroom at my work. If plans go through, these will be my first public face-to-face soap sales, and naturally I am pretty nervous! I still have so much to prepare! I'm browsing blogs and forums for inspiration on some light and attractive display ideas. So far I've bought a few inexpensive and colorful baskets and soap dishes, and have notions for filler like fabrics and packaging-type materials. I want to make some information cards on ingredients and fragrances, make a cute flier for bulletin boards and social media, and not to mention beef up my soap stock!

I've been sifting through BrambleBerry owner Anne-Marie's videos at SoapQueen TV, a lovely blog I found through forums called Addicted To Crafting by Amber from Soapy Joes, as well as a handy free ideas brochure from a major crafts store, and I've picked up some great ideas and inspirations there! I also found a supplier here in Louisiana that sells some great New Orleans Saints themed molds and snagged those up pronto for all the Saints fans! I ordered a few soap bases from their site too, which is great because the proximity of the supplier cut back drastically on shipping time I am used to (and costs? I shall have to compare!), and it makes me feel really good to support a local business!

So I put my nose to the grind this week, trying a few new design techniques and fragrance combinations, including a couple of nice aromatherapy oils in combination with some of my favorite fragrances from my favorite supplier, . Some of the new designs I tried this week included using acrylic stamps (commonly used in scrapbooking) in one of my favorite molds, temporary tattoos, and rub-ons (groan). I found a couple of sets of adorable kitty and bird acryclic stamps as well as "pretty n' punk" temp tattoos on Amazon, and those came in the mail early this week. I was so excited to experiment with them, so I dove right in! Here are some of the results:

Sometimes I am paralyzed with fear that my soap projects might not turn out quite the way I envision them (I tend to be hard on myself for wasting supplies), but I was wrong to worry about these stamp soaps! It was as simple as pressing the flat side of the acrylic stamp into the bottom of my silicon multi-cavity square molds and pouring my soap mixture over the top (careful, not too hot!).

They turned out beautiful, with only minimal clean-up needed with an Xacto knife where tiny amounts of soap seaped under the stamp. I even tried out a thin top layer of another color with left-overs from another project on this lovely birdie soap, and I was so pleased with how it turned out!

1982 Blue Mica colorant, Spearmint Eucalyptus fragrance & Tea Tree Oil

Liquid brown oxide + opalescent bordeaux mica colorants,
Patchouli  oil with  just a drippity drop of peppermint oil!

Rub-ons.... they were a pain in the booty. Maybe I chose poor designs (too small/intricate?), but I had so much trouble transferring to the soap bars, I gave up after one (hard-fought) successful and two failed attempts. I've never worked with rub-ons before, but I assume it's the difference in surfaces (they are usually used in scrapbooking). The friendly worker at the craft store where I bought them said "they aren't very popular, so we don't keep many" when I asked about them. Even though that one bar looked really nice, I doubt I will be able to talk myself into trying this again! I also used Patchouli and peppermint for the "hope on a soap" bar. I know it may sound like an odd pairing, but it was a very nice combination of minty and musky.

The tattoos were easy, super quick, so adorable! I made these fun pink bars up before I ever got the temp tattoos in the mail, I was so excited to have them ready to go. I used a mix of rose pearl mica and liquid pink colorants along with pink glitter, with Strawberry fragrance. I really love this strawberry fragrance, it's so sweet and girly! It really was the perfect fit for my "pretty n' punk" vision. My two nieces, six and eight, loved the smell and took home a complimentary "short" bar of their own. :)

I bought all of these fragrances and colorants from, oils and rub-ons from Hobby Lobby, stamps and temporary tattoos from Amazon.

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