Saturday, December 8, 2012

Etsy Cuteness!

Dylan and I started taking pottery classes together last year and it has turned me into a total pottery addict.  I can spend hours on Etsy looking through all the great pottery and dreaming of making things as nice. Well I just had to share my recent find on Etsy as it is just so great.  I can't stop looking and smiling at those cute flower pot faces! 

Hairy Babes Plant Pot

Pick up one of these cuties at

Friday, December 7, 2012

In the oven: Lemon Poppyseed Shea Soap

I have slightly revamped my Lemon Poppyseed Shea Soap. In the past, I used both lemon and vanilla fragrance to make the soap smell like a lemon poppyseed cake, but the vanilla turned the soap a brown color and did not fit with how I imagined the soap to look. I then tried this soap with just a lemon fragrance and infused calendula petals in the warm lye to try and get a slight yellow color. While the soap smelled ideal, the yellow did not last.  So, this time I modified again and used a mix of lemon fragrance and litsea cubeba essential oil and yellow oxide for a hint of yellow. The soap is still setting up and will be ready to cut tomorrow.

Lemon Poppyseed Shea Soap

It smells very nice so far.  Since I ran out of my lemon fragrance oil, I might just use only the litsea cubeba next time. You can order this soap now at either or

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Now that Thanksgiving has past and the days are getting colder, I have started think about the month of holiday parties I have ahead of me.  I like to bring a treat to the parties, so I have started making a list of deserts to make. This year Christmas will be hard for me. If I don't find a new job soon, come Jan. 1 I will be officially unemployed. While that in itself is sad and very scary to me, it is forcing me to be creative for Christmas. I plan to make a lot of my gifts and bake even more! So here is the first item on my list:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

I found the recipe on Go check it out! The bars look beautiful and extremely yummy!  I can't wait to make some this weekend.  I will let you know how they turn out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why antibacterial soaps are dangerous and not neccessary.

Antibacterial soaps were first developed for use in hospitals and clinics where sterile environments are often necessary. In recent years, these soaps have made their way onto the shelves of nearly every store that sells body care products. While the claims of killing up to 99.99% of bacteria on your body may seem attractive, in reality they may cause more harm than good.

Known harmful effects:
  • Antibiotics kill bacteria, but not viruses which are the cause of colds and the flu.
  • Using antibacterial soap will kill both good and bad bacteria
  • Bacteria evolve quickly and can develop resistance to antibiotics in the soap. This leads to strains of bacteria that are multidrug resistant such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA.
  • Exposure to bacteria helps to strengthen our immune systems.  Using antibacterial soaps on a regular basis may make you more prone to bacterial infections. It is very important for young children to be exposed to bacteria so that they can develop a strong immune system.
  • Researchers are finding a link between allergies and the use of antibacterial soaps. This is again due to a weakened immune system caused by a reduced exposure to bacteria.
One of the most common antibacterial agents found in commercial hand soap is triclosan. In addition to the harmful effects stated above, triclosan produces some harmful effects of its own:
  • When triclosan is mixed with chlorinated water (plain tap water) they combine and produce chloroform gas. Chloroform can cause a person to loose consciousness and thus could cause drowning when taking a bath. In addition, chloroform is toxic and is listed as a carcinogen.  
  • Triclosan can cause accumulate in fat cells and cause hormonal problems and liver damage.
  • Triclosan is also linked to eczema, asthma, and allergic reactions.

So what can you do to keep yourself and your family safe from germs? It has been shown that regular soap is just as effective in removing bacteria and viruses from the skin as antibacterial soaps. While regular soap does not kill bacteria, it does make it easier for the bacteria to be washed away. Soap is an amphipathic molecule meaning that one end of the molecule is hydrophobic (water-hating) and the other end is hydrophilic (water-loving). Since bacterial cells are encased in a lipid membrane, the hydrophobic end of the soap molecule will bind to the lipids and the hydrophilic end of the soap will bind to the water. This allows the bacteria to be easily removed from your body by washing with water.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New beginings

As some of you may know, I run a small soapmaking business called Ladybug Soapworks. This business was really started as an impulsive decision without much planning.  As I have run the company for the past few years, I have come to realize that I would like to focus on creating a more natural and upscale brand. I am very passionate about using plants for healing, comforting, and beauty. This has let me to do a lot of self-study and take a college course on ethnobotany.  Ethnobotany is the study of how indigenous peoples use plants. I am especially impressed with the knowledge that these people have learned over the many generations of their relying on nature for survival. Sadly, much of this knowledge is being lost as shamans pass on without apprentices to carry on their knowledge for future generations. Indian Aryuvedic medicines, Chinese medicine, and medicines used by indigenous peoples throughout the world are great resources if you are looking to heal and sooth your body using plants. While I will not be producing products that cure or heal due to regulations, I would like to use plants that have been known for hundreds of years to soften skin, promote thick and shiny hair, or relax a person through aromatherapy. With this goal in mind, I will be re-branding and renaming my business to Vitae Essentia.  Vitae essentia means essence of life in Latin. This name truly encompasses what I hope my new company will represent. My goals are to create a product line that is made from only natural ingredients. I want to take the essence of pretty flowers and turn them into sensual perfume. I want to capture the beauty of nature and use it revitalize our own beauty. This is the purpose and meaning of Vitae Essentia.
My new logo...what do you think of it?

Please check out my new website at and follow this blog to see product pictures, tutorials, herbal information, life musings, and pretty much whatever  else I think you might enjoy. Hopefully, this blog will be a place for discussion and inspiration.  I look forward to sharing much more with you in the future.

Holiday Soaps for Sale on

While I have lagged way behind on blogging, I have been doing a lot of work behinds the scenes. Big changes will be coming to Ladybug Soapworks in the next year. I will be transitioning it to a new name (Vitae Essentia) hopefully by January. My products will be focusing more on using essential oils. I may keep Ladybug Soapworks as a division of the company making fragrance oil soaps, but that is not yet decided. For now though check out my holiday soap offerings at my Etsy site.I just listed them a few hours ago.

If you are interested in learning more about Vitae Essentia, you can check out my new website, blog, twitter, and facebook page.  I am so proud of myself for making the website. I think it looks so professional! The website is still a work in progress and I have it set to a showcase mode so purchases can not be made you from the site.  Let me know if you have any suggestions on how to improve the site!
Pumpkin Pie Soap
Bayberry Soap

Gingerbread Soap

Apple Pie Soap

Monday, February 20, 2012


I had a soaptacular event recently and made a bunch of soap.  I like to cold-process oven-process my soap, which is why you see it in my oven. Putting the soap in the oven at 150-170F for 1-2 hrs and then leaving it in the oven overnight will speed up the curing process allowing the soap to harden quicker and be ready for use sooner. I always oven-process my soap as it helps to get a complete gel of the soap which tends to intensify the colorant.
Oven full of soap!

 This peppermint essential oil soap is colored a light blue. When the picture was taken the color had not fully developed yet. I sprinkled the top with some glitter and blue jojoba beads. Not only does this soap smell good, it gives you a little tingle in the shower...zing!
Peppermint EO soap.
 The Tea Tree Shampoo and Body Soap is one of my best sellers. This soap is made with tea tree essential oil and some luxurious oils that are known to be good for your hair.  I find that this soap makes my hair look and feel much thicker. I always have a bar of this in the shower....
Tea Tree Shampoo and Body Soap
 The always pretty geranium rose soap.  This soap is colored with a mixture of pink and red clay and a sprinkle of glitter on top. This was the first time I made it in a tray mold instead of a loaf. It came out okay, but the rose buds did not end up all being in the center of the bars. I really need to get this cutter from to make the cutting easier and straighter.  So many crooked bars...sigh. :(
Geranium Rose Soap
 Here are my Jasmine Salt bars. I had the geranium rose soap on top of this on in the oven and you can see where it discolored. I moved the rose soap and let this sit for a while more in the warm oven and the color did all turn a nice light pink. This Kelsie's mold is perfect for salt bars. It makes the sides so nice and smooth and you don't have to worry about cutting the bars.
Jasmine Salt Bars

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

As our gift to you, take 15% off of all orders placed at on Valentine's Day (Feb 14th) when you use the coupon code VDay15.

Geranium Rose Soap

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brewing up a storm!

Pouring the malt into the kettle
 This weekend Dylan and I took a trip up to Nashua, NH and met my parents at IncrediBREW for Abe's Brewfest. IncrediBREW is a brewery and winery where customers can go to make their own beer, wine, and soda. There were 6 groups of people at the brewfest and we all made a different type of beer. In two weeks, we will go back to the brewery, bottle the beer, and all six groups will share what they made so that we can try an assortment of recipes. The equipment is more high-tech than what a home brewer would have access to, but it was a great way to learn about what goes into the beer brewing process. My parents (along with a number of my friends) have gotten the beer brewing bug recently and so they convinced Dylan and I to try it out.  Overall, it was an interesting experience but there was a lot of down time where we had to wait (luckily they gave us some snacks and a selection of beers to sample). I would recommend taking along a book or some good company to keep you entertained. We may be heading back in March for the St. Patty's Day brewfest.

The bottle filler

Friday, February 10, 2012

Subjective Reality Photography

Here is a teaser photo...pretty nice huh?
Dylan has opened an Etsy store featuring his photos from our travels. If you have enjoyed looking at the pictures of my soap, then you will love what you find in Dylan's store. Go check it out and let us know what you think!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cubes of sugary goodness...

I have a bunch of melt and pour soap that has been sitting in my soap lab for quite a while. I had grand plans to make some pretty detailed soap, but alas I much prefer to make cold-process soap.  So this soap has just been waiting for me to get some motivation and make something with it. Finally, today was the day! I was browsing some of the Soap Queen's old blog posts and came across the sugar scrub cube tutorial from Naiad soap arts.  Since I have a ton of fragrance oils that are not used in my soap line, but I just NEEDED to have, I put some of them to use.

The pink cubes are watermelon scented, the yellow is coconut lemongrass, and the green is succulent pear. Dylan came into my soap lab after I was done and wanted to eat them...they do smell and look pretty tasty!

These cubes are quite easy to make. For each color I simply melted 2 oz of clear melt and pour soap. I then added 2 oz of jojoba oil and mixed well. Next I added between 2-4 drops of liquid colorant and about 20 drops of fragrance. The final step is to add 6 oz of regular refined sugar and mix really well and then pour into a mold. I used the square silicone mold from Brambleberry and it worked great. For more detailed instructions check out the blog post I mentioned above.