Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life Sometimes Gets in the Way

I was looking up some blogs today and realized it had been a while since I had updated mine. I didn't realize it had been 8 months. That is 8 very lonely months to my blog. I must do better, I MUST do better.

To be honest, I've been unbelievably busy. I've said this before, but I have a "real" job. One that pays for my health insurance, car payment, two very rascally dogs, and my other hobby, running. I love this job (as I love making soap, which is why I do it) but it has also been very busy. This is a good thing and a bad thing. I feel very needed and valuable to a major organization, but I also haven't had as much time to devote to my soap. I'm hoping I have gotten to a point where I've learned how to balance this. Life is always a balancing act, sometimes, we fall off the tightrope, we just need to get back on. And make sure there's a net below. There always needs to be a net.

With that said, the other thing, as I mentioned above, that has been keeping me extremely busy is running. I decided to train for a half marathon. It's tiring, draining, frustration, painful at times, but most importantly, so very very rewarding. But I have a love/hate relationship with it. I sometimes hate it while I'm doing it, but love it when I'm not. I love competing with myself (I will NEVER be a world class runner) and collecting finisher medals. It means I did something for myself. I made it.

So that is what has kept my busy.

Something else has too. I've been working on a line extension for Inspiri. I am not ready to reveal it, it's still several months out from being where I want it to be, but I will say that my running has inspired it. There's still so much research, formulating, and testing that needs to be done, but I am very excited about the changes. And no worries, your favorite soaps (well, most of them) will still be available as well.

I just wanted to say hi, give an update, and let you  know that there will be new things to look forward to.

Until next time, stay inspired!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Inspired Soap - Watson's Library

I am a nerd. Self-proclaimed. Always have been, always will be. And with that comes my indisputable love for books. While I have switched to a Kindle (1 lb, vs 20 lbs of books on vacation, I'll take it) I still love books and reading. Currently, my favorite author is Clive Cussler, particularly the Fargo and  Isaac Bell series, but my most favorite stories of all time are the Sherlock Holmes collection. I've read them all at least three times but I STILL love to read them each and every time. Not only do I have two full collections, I also have a beautiful hardbound book with all of them and I keep them on my e-reader. I actually liked Sherlock Holmes before the movies and most of the shows. I may be a *little* bit of a fan.

Anyway, so while developing new soaps, I came across a fragrance that automatically took me to the Victorian Era in England. It smelled like what I imagine an old English gentleman's study would smell like; leather chairs, bound books, wood furniture, tea, a little pipe tobacco. In an instant, in my imagination, Dr. Watson came into the scene. And it hit me, this is exactly what Watson's study would smell like. And because he's a doctor and likes to study, his library. So the soap, Watson's Library, was born.

I still had to figure out the colors. It wasn't too hard, thinking of the elements that made up the fragrance. There was leather, books, tobacco...brown, black, and red came to mind.

And so, my good friends (said with English accent), that is how we came to the naming of Watson's Library. You also now know my weakness for all things relating to the amazing perceptive abilities of one Sherlock Holmes.

Every soap has a story.

Saponification, my dear Watson.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Revamped Beach Glass Soap

Have you ever seen my Beach Glass Soap? If not, you're in for a treat.

Gorgeous, right? Well, I think so. I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and loved looking for beach glass as a kid. We have little bowls throughout the house with it to decorate. There was actually an interesting article recently on Hurrican Sandy and beach glass, here.

I've always loved beach glass. The colors, that it's a little rare to come by, and that you find it at the beach. Which is where this one was inspired. Plus, we used the same fragrance as our Sunrise on the Sand soap, and it smells just like the beach! A little salt air, a little suntan lotion, a little sand, completely amazing.

Recently, I switched colorants. Not because I didn't like them, but I've been working with micas more. I love how they look, how they shimmer, how easy they are to use and the colors I've been getting. So while this may be a little more muted than the old version, I think it is just as beautiful and love how they turned out. Make sure you check out our Beach Glass Soap in our Etsy shop.

Do you have anything from the beach that love? Have you ever found beach glass? What did you do with it?

Stay inspired!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How times (and products) have changed

When I started this journey a little over two years ago, I had NO idea where it would lead. It started with bath salts (and not the kind that make you eat people's faces) then lotion for myself and then morphed into what it is today. Little did I know two years ago that I would make these little guys:

Spearmint Lip Balm
Also, I never knew that I would move from this type of soap:

Lily of the Valley Glycerin
 To this type:
Lily of the Valley From Scratch
I've had a few people ask me why the switch. To be honest, I love both. But there is something that truly speaks to me with our From Scratch line. Mostly, I have complete and utter control. With the Glycerin soaps, I have a base, I cut it up, melt it down, add color and fragrance, pour, and move on my merry way. With From Scratch, I mix every ingredient, carefully measure out, determine the type of pattern (and deal with any weird things that the fragrance may do) and then wait with what little patience I have for them to cure for testing.

Sure, not every batch turns out exactly the same as the last, but that's the joy of handmade. No two bars of soap will ever look exactly alike. They each have a personality and a story, just like we all do. One day, I'll go into a more in depth analysis (it is what a do for my day job after all, I'm just a soap ninja by night and weekend) on why I made the switch. But for now, if you've seen your favorite bar take on a more rustic look, that's why.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Inspiration for Life - English Gardens

I love to garden.  I'm not very good at it, my plants occasionally die, my fruit and veggies don't get that big, and my flowers seem to have a tendency to get unwieldy.  But that doesn't stop me from trying (usually).

One day, I dream to have a big, beautiful, lush garden.  Although, living in the south, I'm not entirely sure that our weather is conducive to that.  Maybe a big, beautiful, lush, SHADY garden is what I'll have to work towards.

And you know what inspires me the most when it comes to gardens? English gardens.  They're amazing.  I've been to England several times now and I love going through small towns and peeking through garden gates to see what treasures are behind them.  And no, I'm not trying to be creepy, I just have a love affair with English gardens.

The colors, the variety, the fact that they don't have to be 100% perfect just appeals to me so much. Which of these do you love the most?  I just can't decide!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Inspired Design

I have officially dipped my toe into the world of video making.  As you may know, all of our soaps have a story.  And I am long winded.  I can fit WAY more words into a video than any description online, and I can say it quicker than a blog post.  So I present to you my first video!  Very fitting since it was the first fragrance I ever worked with!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Inspiri Inspired

I've been making bath and body products for just over two years now.  Yet, I feel after the last 48 hours, I've had a major change.  What happened, you may ask.  I'm attending the HSGC (Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild) conference in Raleigh, NC.  I've met so many amazing soapers, including some of my soapy idols.  Soap-alebrities, if you will.

On Friday, there were some really amazing seminars that I got to witness, including how to make natural shampoo, making a peacock swirl (I'll talk about my experimenting with this at another time), as well as  how to make milk soap (which I am planning on trying, I've already got a recipe and fragrance in mind).   Today has been equally as awesome.  This morning, we got to learn about the chemistry of soap, by Kevin Dunn, a professor of chemistry at Hampdon Sydney College as well as learning most about natural and synthetic fragrances (there are definite advantages to both!).  This afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a class by Ruth Esteves on making soap cupcakes and I have new techniques I can't wait to try.  Plus, a coloring class (you all know how much I love color).  So many ideas! I'm completely blown away by the talent of the people that are not only presenting but so many of the attendees and their knowledge, experience, and creativity.

After being here, I am truly motivated to work harder to bring better products to you.  Not only that, I'm reinvigorated about why I started making these products in the first place.  Because I love them.  Not the well-I-like-this-and-it's-fun kind of love.  But a passionate, honest to goodness, desire to make and bring fantastic, beautiful soap and other products to the world.  I may not be the biggest, and I never expect to be. But I want to do what I can.  I love soap.  I love the colors and the scents.  I love the way it feels and how it doesn't leave my skin feeling dried and taxed.  I love making it and the chemistry that goes into it.  I. LOVE. SOAP.

So if you start seeing more from me, you know it's because of this conference.  I can't wait to get back home to the soap kitchen for experimenting, creating, and crafting.

Stay Inspired!