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Archive for the ‘etsy’ Category

I love this time of year!  It’s time for fun craft projects for me and my family.  This year I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I am enjoying it!

I am currently in the middle of several projects and have plans to do a couple more if I can convince my husband to go the fabric store with me.  He’s not a fan, believe me.  Let me put it this way, when we were putting locations on our GPS he used a skull and cross bones icon to identify it on the map.  Har-dee-har.

Anyway, this winter I’ve managed to piece together a quilt for my youngest daughter’s big girl bed and I am currently painstakingly hand-stitching the quilting on it.  Tried using my machine, but there was too much fabric to maneuver under the walking foot.  may have to invest in a long arm sewing machine if I keep up making quilts!

Trying to get the layers smooth and even before pinning and basting.  Taping the edges made it a ton easier for me!

Trying to get the layers smooth and even before pinning and basting. Taping the edges made it a ton easier for me!

My hand-stitching attempt.  I like the little PVC frame I found, but hand-stitiching is tough!  I definitely need to practice to make sure my lines on both sides of the quilt come out nice and even.  Love the butterflies though.

My hand-stitching attempt. I like the little PVC frame I found, but hand-stitiching is tough! I definitely need to practice to make sure my lines on both sides of the quilt come out nice and even. Love the butterflies though.

It’s fun and I hope to make a quilt for each of my children in the next few years.  Also, I have been knitting a sweater for my blondie.  I stalled over Christmas time when my soaping kept me busy but now I need to finish it off.  I only have the collar and cuffs to do, but since I’ve been designing it on the fly, I’m a bit nervous as to how it’s going to turn out.

Also, my awesome husband got me fleece pajamas as a gift for Christmas and they are sooooo warm and cozy!  Perfect for the below zero temps up here in NY.  Anyway, my hubby would like a pair, but couldn’t find any at the store so of course I offered to make a pair for him.  Unfortunately, convincing him to go to the fabric store with me is like pulling teeth (see above paragraph).

So, what are you doing for projects this winter?  Feel free to share in the comments!  Also, I plan on offering a coupon code for Valentine’s Day at the etsy soap store.  Please visit my facebook page and “like” to get the code later this month!

Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/GrammaVedora

etsy store:

www.GrammaVedoraSoapCo.etsy.com

 

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I have spent most of my day making some new fall themed soaps!  My house smells so yummy!

The first batch I made was Pumpkin Spice which really did smell pretty much like a pumpkin pie.

I used real pumpkin in the soap to give it a nice orangey-red color and dusted the top with a bit of cinnamon, yum!

Pumpkin spice soap after curing

Pumpkin spice soap after curing

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The second batch was made with triple strength coffee and scented with Cafe Caramel FO.  Smells so good!  Not sure what I’ll name the soap yet, maybe Coffee Caramel Latte, or Choco Caramel Latte…. hmmmmmm…..

Cured Coffee soap.  Love the "froth" on top!

Cured Coffee soap. Love the “froth” on top!

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For my third soap I made soap with Apple Jack Peel FO.  I wasn’t sure what this FO would smell like when I purchased it since I didn’t know what Apple Jack Peel was.  According to the FO company where I purchased the fragrance Apple Jack Peel was some kind of alcohol beverage made a long time ago.  It was made from apple cider!  Interesting.  Anyway, the scent does remind me of a spiced apple cider– perfect for the fall!

Newly named "Spiced Apple Cider"  Love the smell!

Newly named “Spiced Apple Cider” Love the smell!

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Final soap isn’t specifically fall themed, but I’ve been wanting to make it for awhile.  I made a salt bar with pink Himalayan salt and scented with Grapefruit EO.  I call it Pink Grapefruit! Smells so bright and cheery!

I used coarse Pink Himalayan salt as a decorative element on the top of the soap.

I used coarse Pink Himalayan salt as a decorative element on the top of the soap.

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I really love this new soaps, I hope you do too! Feel free to visit my etsy store to check them out and leave comments below as to your favorite fall scents and soap ideas!

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It has been a busy summer so far!  Farmer’s market season here in upstate NY is well under way.  It has been fun so far, though surprisingly exhausting!  I didn’t think attending an outdoor market once a week could wear me out, but by the time I get home I’m so tired I fall asleep on the couch.   I think part of it is that I am spending so much time outdoors and whether it is cold or hot outside (both of which rotate turns up here  in the summer near the Adirondacks) wear me out.

My basic farmer's market display

My basic farmer’s market display

I enjoy the experience though.  I have learned so much!  I know when to push a sale, when to shut up, when to ask a question, and even when it’s best just to smile and nod and give a cheery wave.  I have also become more confident with my soaps and am more willing to talk about it.  Seems like basic, simple stuff, I know, but still I feel like I have learned so much.  This summer has been going by way too fast!

I also have created a few new soaps that have been quite a hit.  I created a Cucumber and Aloe soap using cucumber puree and aloe juice.  Such a gentle, cleansing soap and so bubbly!  I have already pretty much sold out of my first batch and will be making a new batch that should be available in August.

To view a video of the making of my Cucumber and Aloe soap, please visit my youtube channel, GVSoapCo or click here.

 

Here’s a pic of the cut Cucumber & Aloe soap.  It’s not the best lighting since I took it at night.  Usually I take some pics on a white background in natural light, but these sold quickly enough before I could do that and list them on etsy. Yay!

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

 

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I have joined a new challenge!  Sponsored by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks, a new soaping challenge program has begun! Each month, a soaping technique will be demonstrated and those that are willing to register (for a small fee) can display their attempts on a link up post.  Those participating can then vote on a “winner.”  The winner will win a prize! (a different prize for each technique/challenge from what  I understand.)

Anyway, this month’s challenge is the peacock swirl.  My attempt I documented through video and have posted on youtube (here).

I made a small batch using a shoebox because I figured I would probably screw it up at least once– and I did!  If I would have used my regular wooden slab mold, the swirl may have been easier to do, but I didn’t want to waste all of the ingredients if I had to remake the soap over and over.

To start with, I used a slow moving recipe of Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, and castor oil.   I blended to emulsion and divided my raw soap batter into 5 condiment bottles.  For colors I chose black oxide, electric bubble gum pink pigment, soft green mica, ultramarine violet, and titanium dioxide.  The fragrance was a lavender essential oil.

I added the colors and EO to the bottles.  After adding the lids, shook them up and tried to make sure they were thoroughly colored.  I had lined a shoebox to use as my mold so quickly zig zagged my soap into the mold alternating the colors.  Instead of putting a layer of uncolored soap on the bottom of the mold as a base, I just decided to swirl the whole thing!  Yay!

When I had emptied all of the bottles, I tamped down the mold (gently) and used a chopstick to create the “Peacock Swirl.”  Now, for my first batch, I did screw up the swirl a bit.  I did ok with the initial drawing the chopstick down through the soap, pulling out and starting at the top again for each row.  I screwed up at the “s” part.  Instead of starting at the top of the mold for each “s” row, I alternated from top to bottom.  It still looked pretty but not like a peacock swirl should.  Ultimately, it didn’t matter since I dropped the soap on the countertop the next day, ruining it.  BOOOOOO!

So I made another batch with the same recipe, EO, and colorants.  I videoed the cutting of that soap and have the finished photos of the second batch to show.  Overall, the soap came out good.  I love this technique and will use it again in the future!   Will definitely need a better mold though– I really stink at measuring and cutting my soaps using a ruler!

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Another view of the variation of swirls

Another view of the variation of swirls

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love the pink in this one

Love the pink in this one

I love the lavender EO. I didn’t put in a lot so it’s a light fragrance of lavender. Also, there are a few tiny little beads of glycerin on the tops which I washed away after taking the photos. I used glycerin to mix my colors and that often happens when I do that. The soaps are still fairly soft– partially due to the recipe and partially due to the high humidity up here. I was afraid to wash them prior to taking pics and ruin them!

I also will bevel and trim the remaining soaps when they have sufficiently hardened. Right now, I’ve put them all back on the curing rack and I won’t touch them for another 4-6 weeks! Do not want to ruin another batch!

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Thanks for all that participated in the April giveaway!  Sharing my facebook page brings more exposure to my business and that’s great!  For this giveaway I planned on adding some examples of new products I want to add for the spring and I hope you all enjoy them!

To start off with, the products will be contained in a cute new crocheted tote!  I love totes especially in the spring and summer to quickly toss a few items in and use as a small purse.  In the tote some new items I have been working on: lotion bar and hand soap!  As many of you know I have been working on my liquid soap and I think I have finally managed to create a product I feel confident selling to you all!  Also, I plan on adding a soap bar, lip balm and whatever else fits.

Here’s a photo of some potential items– no labels in these pics yet, but I plan on adding them prior to shipping!

New body lotion bars and body wash

New body lotion bars and body wash

Enough suspense! The winner of the April giveaway is —–> Lydia Holcomb!

Thanks to all who participated!  I hope the winner enjoys her gift and I hope those who did not win will participate for the next giveaway!  Don’t forget, all orders made in my etsy shop will receive a 15% coupon code toward their next purchase!  Don’t forget about your mother for Mother’s Day in May!

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I have been working on making liquid soap for a few months now and it has been a bit tricky for me.  I have made a few good batches initially, but then I decided to change up my recipe and add some new elements and screwed up my recipe!  Beyond frustrating!   So, I have researched on several soaping forums, blogs, websites, and youtube videos to figure out how to keep my soap clear, how to dilute, and how to thicken.

I learned several things: 1. There are a lot of things that can go wrong or right with a liquid soap recipe– there are a ton of variables to consider, 2. everyone has a different recipe and a different opinion on liquid soap, 3. You really need to experiment on your own to find what works for you (unless you’re lucky enough to have someone show you how to do it).

There are books, videos, blogs, and tutorials out there that can be very helpful, but also confusing too.  To start off with, many soapers suggested that I read Catherine Failor’s book on liquid soapmaking (Making Natural Liquid Soaps).  Failor’s book has a lot of information, but as I made batches, experimented, and researched more I came to the conclusion that some of her information is a bit outdated.  There are some decent youtube videos that were more helpful in the aspect I was able to visually see what the soap paste was supposed to look like and the overall end result, but the information contained within the videos was minimal.

I was able to develop a nice, bubbly clear soap after dilution, but had issues with adding fragrance oils, essential oils, and getting the consistency of the soap where I wanted it.  This is where I had a bit of trouble.  I could not get my soap clear or thick!

I learned about sequestering- storing the soap for up to 2 weeks using sequestering agents such as sugar solutions and/or glycerin to clear liquid soap.  Failor’s book gives a decent description of this.  I tried sequestering, but had little success with this.  I think sequestering as described in Failor’s book works best for soaps that have cloudiness due to excess fatty acids and mine were not cloudy from excess fatty acids, at least I didn’t think so.  So, I tried an emulsifier to help the fragrance oils and essential oils to mix better hoping this would decrease or eliminate the cloudiness.  I tried Polysorbate 80 since I had some on hand and I was ecstatic when it worked!  Yay!

Thinking I had the cloudiness issue all cleared up (ha!) I tried to thicken my soap.  There were 2 ways that I knew of to thicken my soap besides limiting the dilution rate while diluting the initial paste.  The first was to create a saltwater solution using regular ol’ table salt.  Sounded easy enough and I had used this method to thicken my very first batch which worked great!  But for some reason, subsequent batches didn’t work!  Frustrating!

So, to the internet I went!  I also reviewed Failor’s book.  The book mentioned trying a borax solution to thicken so I thought that may be something to try, but some soapers are hesitant to use borax.  Here are some of my thoughts on borax.  I thought there had to be other solutions so I asked around and researched some more and learned about thickeners such as xanthan gum and liquid crothix.   Xanthan gum is naturally derived from sugar.  Crothix is a complex ester derived mostly from stearic acid.  To learn more about crothix visit this informative blog.  Not too bad as a compound really from what I’ve read, but of course I haven’t tried to use it yet.

I plan on doing a write up and possibly even video about each of these thickening options to see which works best for me.  I admit, I’m hoping I can get the salt solution to work since it would be the most cost effective solution for me to use, but I am not totally against the others yet.  I may change my opinion after I try them, but I am trying to leave my options open until I have gotten the chance to experiment.

I didn’t want to toss out my “failed” experiments to far, so for the cloudy slightly thickened soaps I decided I will use myself for a thin body wash.  For the solutions that weren’t cloudy but not thick enough I bought foaming dispenser bottles to try.  I love them!  They work great and here is a video of my first time using them:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHO-npBshEU

Also the new April giveaway begins this weekend!  How to enter giveaway: Any one who shares my facebook page and then either notifies me through messaging or on my facebook wall will be entered in the drawing for the prize.  The prize is made up of a variety of items created by me (of course!).  Some of the items are currently available in my etsy store and a couple of the items will be new additions!  Please enter and join in on the fun!

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A little slow

Business has been a little slow this month.  I’m a bit disappointed but I’m trying to be realistic.  My etsy shop has only been open for a few months so I can’t expect to have a steady amount of orders coming in yet.  Logically that makes sense, but also, until I sell more soap, I really shouldn’t make anymore.

That makes me sad because I love to make soap!  I am making a loaf or two a week for a couple of soap challenges I am involved with but still, I have a ton more I want to make but not enough room to really cure them until I sell some more.  Oh, well I guess I need to work on my marketing skills (and my patience)!  To see the soaps I have made so far for challenges check out here and here.

I did apply for a table at the local farmer’s market for the summer, but won’t hear if I got a spot until the end of April and I am finding myself less than patient!  I am constantly reminding myself to leave it in God’s hands but my human nature is battling with that control issue.  When will I ever learn?

I do have a few soaps that will be cured soon and I will be adding them to the shop over the next couple of weeks.

The Honey Bee Lovin' and Peppermint Tea soap will be available this week.  The Oatmeal, Milk and Honey will be ready in a couple of weeks.

The Honey Bee Lovin’ and Peppermint Tea soap will be available this week. The Oatmeal, Milk and Honey will be ready in a couple of weeks.

The Honey Bee Lovin’ soap is unscented and contains beeswax, honey, and bee pollen. It smells faintly sweet naturally which is great!  The Peppermint Tea was made using brewed tea and is scented with Peppermint essential oil.  I also added peppermint tea leaves for a bit of exfoliation a bit scrubby!  Last, but not least, is my Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey soap.  I do have some OMH soap available at the etsy shop, but this OMH is  a newer batch made with evaporated goats milk, decorated with oats, and scented with oatmeal, milk, and honey fragrance smells yummy!

Hope you like my soap and please visit the shop to view all available soaps!  Also, visit my facebook page and “like” to see available coupon codes!

facebook:  www.facebook.com/GrammaVedora

 

Etsy:  www.GrammaVedoraSoapCo.etsy.com

I will be doing another free giveaway at the end of the week so visit my facebook page and/or the blog. 

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