Sunday, June 29, 2008

So little time in each day....sigh

Lots to update you all on, but like always time has flown by and I need to sleep very, very soon. In the next few days I will show pictures of the cut and cured goat's milk soap, my sensitive skin soap, a new shaving soap, and a yummie smelling candle! I have also been working on a Salt bar tutorial for Joanna over at the soapbar.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pirate Party

It has been a busy few weeks planning for our annual Pirate party. The party was on the 21st and we had a great turn out. Probably around 50 people showed up. My brother came down from Vermont and we had a lot of friends that came from all over New England and New York. This party is always held sometime between May and July depending on when most people can make it. We started the annual party as a party for Dylan's birthday, though he would never tell people that. So every year I make a pirate boat type cake and I thought you all would like to see a picture. I am quite happy with how it came out. It is certainly my best so far. Of course I have only made a couple fondant covered cakes so I am sure there is much I can improve on. The cake was a chocolate vanilla swirl covered in a layer of buttercream frosting and then decorated with fondant.

Dylan and I always get decked out in costume. I made all of mine except the corset and Dylan has compiled his costume over the years. He bought the Jacket last year on Ebay and had a local tailor put in pockets this year. He also had the tailor modify the pants he picked up at Goodwill last year so that they tied off just below the knees. Dylan made the shirt he was wearing and I made his hat a couple of years ago. I was excited to see that many of our guests actually got dressed up in costume, too, though none quite as elaborate as ours. Next year I may try to get some on my girlfriends to wear wench costumes like mine.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Liquid Soap

I finally got the courage to dilute my liquid soap paste and while I thought I was being modest with the amount of water I added to dilute, it turned out a little too watery. In one of the yahoo groups I am a member of people have been discussing ways to thicken liquid soap. One method was using Hydroxethyl Cellulose (HEC). So since I don't have HEC and it reminded me of Pre-neutralized carbomer I tried using the PNC that I had on hand. Well it worked okay, but it seems like the PNC "crystals" just sink to the bottom of the container. It does make the soap thicker, but it is not pretty. Compare the two photos: the top one was from yesterday and the bottom from today...see the separation? :( I do like the color though and I scented it bubblegum!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soy Wax Candles

Here is a picture of the 3 candles I made this weekend. the pink one is scented a cinnamon spice, the blue is blackberry, and the yellow is banana. I really love the look of soy wax and it is so much nicer to work with than paraffin wax. Now if only I can figure out how to get the banana candle out of the mold. I am wondering if I need to use the pillar type wax for that type of mold. Anyone know the difference between pillar and container wax?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New items in Etsy shop

I posted a few new items in my Etsy shop today and I will be posting 2 different soaps tomorrow. Feel free to check them out here.

I played around with some candles today and I must say I am so impressed with the new one pour waxes. I had not made soap for many years and what I worked with back then was just paraffin wax or beeswax and both would get divots as they cooled. I will post some picture of them tomorrow.

I also made a super luxurious soap for those that have very sensitive and irritated skin. All the ingredients are known to help with eczema and dry skin. I used neem oil in this soap and man does it smell bad. I have had the neem oil for about a month, but it stank so much through the unopened container that I have avoided using it until now. The smell is supposed to fade during the cure and I can already tell that it is getting milder in scent.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goat's milk soap

This was my first attempt at replacing some of my olive oil with soybean oil. I did not plan to do this but once I started weighing out my oils I saw that I only had about half the amount of olive oil I needed. So I went back to my soapmaker program and reformulated to add soybean oil. This was also a larger batch practice...instead of my normal 4lb batch I did 8lb. I may be getting a wholesale customer that will require me to work more efficiently if I am to keep up with her demands. This soap looks nice, but I did not incorporate the GM powder as well as I should have and now I have little chunks of GM powder in the soap. I think it actually looks cool, but I am not sure if I should sell this batch. I will have to try it out and see if the powder feels gross or nice or scrubby. I finally made a fairly nice top though...I used my whisk to create the little peaks. I guess if I don't like the specs of goat's milk powder that i could try to rebatch it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Homemade Toothpaste

I have been actively commenting on the soap dish to try and get my 100 comments needed to use soapsaver. There has been discussion about homemade toothpaste or tooth soap on there and someone happened to mention using cream soap as a toothpaste. This sparked my interest due to my recent batch of cream soap. So I went and tasted my soap to see if it was nasty tasting...but low and behold it tasted great! It must be due to the glycerin in the soap, cause it has a light sweet flavor. I am planning to add a bit of baking soda and some peppermint EO and make a bit of tooth paste to try out. I am not sure how much of each to add so any suggestions would be welcome.

Cream Soap 2

Day 2 for cream soap. This soap was formulated with some palm oil since it is rich in stearic acid. Stearic acid is really what gives cream soap its sparkling white luster. Often cream soap is made entirely with stearic acid or just a little liquid oil. When you add palm oil to act as some of your stearic acid it apparently makes the cream soap very very thick and almost salve like. My last cream soap batch (see here) was basically a thick sticky liquid after 1 day. I do not think I like this recipe as much as my last one. Though I have be able to get a better consistency if I whip in in my kitchen aid and add some water or aloe gel. I will keep you updated on how this soap changes over time.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cream Soap

I am in the process of making another batch of cream soap. This time I tried a recipe from the Failor bulletin on cream soap. This batch is made with stearic acid, palm oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. The picture below shows the soap after the cook and super creaming. It was in the process of cooling and you can see how it is starting to turn a creamy white color instead of a translucent gel. It is really quite interesting all the stages cream soap goes through before it actually becomes the nice creamy soap it is destine to be. Any suggestions on what to add to this batch?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Soap curing rack

When the undergrads moved off campus a couple weeks ago, I did a little scavenging. I found some large plastic storage containers that now hold most of my container supplies for packaging product. I also found a bunch of those 1ft x 1ft metal cube rack pieces. I decided that they would be great to use for shelves in a soap curing rack. We had some extra wood just sitting in the basement so I asked Dylan for help cutting the wood and I was lucky enough that he decided to do the whole project for me! He put some caster wheels we had in a toolbox on the bottom of the rack so I can move it around. I really love it...I am wishing that I had another! There are plenty of shelves left so I would just have to get some more wood. So maybe in the future I will have more..Dylan are you reading this? Haha

Anyways, I thought I would post a picture since I always love looking at others soapers spaces, I thought you all might enjoy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Not so pretty bath bombs

Well my first try at bath bombs did not turn out as nicely as I had hoped. They looked great until about 20 minutes after I made them, when I noticed they were swelling. I tried packing them again in the mold, but they just kept expanding. They did not get overly large, but they are somewhat misshaped. They still work great as "shower steamers"; I have not tried one in a bath yet. I LOVE the is called china rain and is such a relaxing scent. The blue color turned out very nice. I used FD&C blue 1 and just added a drop at a time until it was the desired color. In the future, I will add my citric acid after I add the liquids and I think it is best to spritz the witch hazel or water instead of dumping it in all at once.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Purple Rain Soap

I really love the way the swirls came out in this soap. I swirled in the pot for the first time and really like the effect much more than in the mold swirls...well at least for loaf molds. I have yet to swirl in a slab mold since I don't have one yet. I ended up making this batch way too big and had enough left over after filling the loaf mold to fill 4 milky way Celtic type molds, a hard white mold that I got for free from Brambleberry, I believe, and a silicone ice cube tray (triangle shape). I think the little guys from the ice cube tray will make nice free samples. I always include a sample in all my orders. This batch was the soap I had planned on being a sky blue, but morphed into this lovely purple. Ah well...I think the name purple rain will work well for the soap.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sandalwood Incense

I dipped these incense in sandalwood FO. They smell really nice right now, but they are still slightly damp so I am waiting to burn one. I burned an unscented stick and they seem to last about 40-45 minutes. I am really excited to make more scents and add them to my Etsy store at some point. I haven't quite figured out how these would be best packaged. I bought the appropriate sized zip lock type bags for them, but I do like how they are wrapped in the photo with just raffia. I was originally thinking the zip baggies with a paper fold over label on top.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vegan Lip Balm

After many trials, I think I finally came up with a recipe I like for lip balm. I gave a tin to a friend and she liked it so much that she just bought a container to give to another friend. I really like the feel of Candelilla wax much better than beeswax. It seems to spread much nicer, though it could just be that I added extra liquid oil. Let's see if I can reproduce the lip balm. I am excited to try new flavors. So far I have made mango flavor and chocolate flavor. I have a few other flavors on hand that I try soon. How do you all get the lip balm sweetened? Do you add a sugar substitute of just get flavor oils already pre-sweetened?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lavender Almond Facial Scrub

This is a face wash/scrub that I recently made and am currently testing. I will let you know what I think of it soon. I have to give props to Dylan, I am in love with the photos of this scrub! They look so professional, but back to the scrub now. This is made with very finely ground almonds, ground lavender buds, lavender EO, and glycerin. It smells great and I think it will make a nice night time scrub since the lavender EO will help you to relax.

Monday, June 2, 2008

French Clay and Ginger Cream Soap

I just received my containers for a bunch of new items I will soon be adding to my store. They are all a little smaller than I expected. I may get 16oz containers in the future instead of 8oz. The picture below is of my French Clay and Ginger Cream soap in one of my new containers. It also shows one of my new labels (though I forgot to change the net. weight from that of my lip balm...haha lucky I only printed two labels). I really love this cream soap. I just put a little dab on my mesh poof and much lather! Plus the ginger smells great and it feels nice as a facial soap too. I think it would also make a great shaving soap, though I have yet to try it out as such.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008

There has been a lot of talk lately about the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008. It has come to my attention that Donna from the indie beauty network is going to write a letter on our behalf (as small business owners). She has asked for opinions about the Act so that she can better write the letter on our behalf. I urge you all to go to the forum she has (link below) and put in your opinon. I have attached the letter she wrote to IBN members.

Dear Indie Beauty Network Members,

I write to you with an update on a regulatory concern that threatens the Indie Beauty industry, and the action I would like to take.

First a bit of background.

Before 2000, the year I founded the Indie Beauty Network, I worked as an attorney for many years, mostly as an advocate for various companies before federal and state regulatory bodies. When I started making cosmetics of my own, and later selling them, I often pondered and appreciated the regulatory freedoms that participants in the cosmetics industry enjoyed.

Unlike other industries, cosmetics industry participants do not have to register their businesses or their manufacturing facilities with the federal government. Registration is voluntary, and estimates are that less than 1/3 of the operating cosmetics facilities in the US are registered under the FDA's voluntary registration program. While a few states require facility registration, the vast majority do not. In addition, companies do not have to obtain state or federal pre-approval before selling cosmetics.

One of the reasons I started IBN is because I have a passion for cosmetics and beauty products. I also have a passion for you -- the Indie beauty business owners -- who make and sell them. I have always felt strongly that, as the industry grew and flourished, increased regulatory oversight would follow.

Today, Congress is poised to give the Food & Drug Administration the ability to implement what I consider to be burdensome and costly regulations that go far beyond what is required for the agency to effectively perform its legislative mandate.

I formed IBN in part so that, when the time came, IBN members would have an advocate in the event this type of unfair regulation became a possibility.

It seems as though that time has come.

Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008

The draft of the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008 was announced late last month. The legislation is aimed at giving the FDA authority to promulgate new regulations that are supposed to protect consumers and also provide the funding the agency needs to enforce existing laws in a global market.

Since its announcement, several industry participants have testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health about the draft, including Stephen F. Sundlof, DVM, PhD, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration (see:, and a representative of the Personal Care Products Council, formerly known as the Cosmetic, Toiletries & Fragrances Association. (See:

You can read the full text of the draft legislation here: As you can see, the proposed legislation would, among other things:

1. Require all cosmetics companies serving American consumers to register annually with the FDA, and pay a registration fee of $2,000 per facility per year, and to list in its registration the cosmetics is manufactures, processes, packs or holds, and also, for manufacturers, to list all ingredients in each product contained in the registration listing.
2. Require all cosmetics companies to report to the FDA "serious adverse events" resulting from the use of the products.
3. Require all cosmetics companies to comply with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices.
4. Require all cosmetics that import cosmetics to register annually with the FDA, and pay another registration fee to do so.
5. Give the FDA authority to levy substantial fines for violations of the new requirements.

The implications of passage of this draft legislation are obvious and far reaching, and should it become law, it will have a definitive and immediate effect. While I feel we must acknowledge the critical role of the FDA in protecting consumers from unsafe or misbranded cosmetics products, we also must ensure that they appreciate that imposition of registration fees, registration requirements and burdensome reporting requirements on small businesses will snuff out an entire segment of the cosmetics industry. It will also have the devastating effect of hampering the creativity and robust competition that consumers have come to expect and appreciate.

What I'd Like To Do On Your Behalf

I would like to prepare a position paper on behalf of the 700+ members of the Indie Beauty Network to will address the draft legislation and share IBN members' perspective. Of course, I first need to know what your perspective is, so I have set up a forum for you to post your opinions:

Please share your suggestions, opinions and questions here.

Please post your comments as soon as possible. Once they are reviewed, I will call a member-wide teleconference meeting to address our options so we can collectively decide what steps to take next.

I will also post updates here from time to time.

Please note that this forum is open to the public at this time, but any draft letters sent to any authority on this topic will be vetted only among IBN members in a private forum. Members of the public are invited to submit comments via the forum and join the discussion. Only IBN member opinions and input will be included in any filings made on this issue. Non-members will not be able to review draft letters, or the edits we make to them before filing.

Please feel free to post this email to your blogs, discussion groups, newsletters, etc. I know it's kind of long, but if you post it, please do so without making any changes.I look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions, and to working with you on these important matters.

Thank you,

Donna Maria Coles Johnson
Founder & President
The Indie Beauty Network

Resources & Links:

Committee on Energy & Commerce:
Discussion Draft Legislation:
Testimony of Janet Woodcock, M.D., Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Testimony of Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Donna Maria
Founder & President
Indie Beauty Network
Indie Business Media, LLC

New Logo!

Dylan created a new logo for Ladybug Soapworks. He took a macro picture of a leaf and placed a little ladybug graphic on the stem. I think it came out great, though we are hoping to find a ladybug at some point and replace the graphic with a picture.