How I Saved This Soap

I had a near disaster a couple days ago when I was attempting to re-make the butterfly swirl soap I created for the January Soap Challenge Club. I decided it turned out so beautifully that I would need to have more on hand. Never mind that I thought I’d nearly ruined the first beautiful batch with the portion that I had mixed in titanium dioxide. The added water in such a small amount of soap nearly caused it to separate. You can see a few glycerin rivers in the white parts, but everything managed to hold together:

Original Exotic Pear soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Original Exotic Pear soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I remembered that I was going to use super white pearly mica instead of titanium dioxide in the re-make, but I forgot why. I had some raspberry red mica mixed with olive oil left over from the first batch that I wanted to use – which was great! Then I started prepping the rest of the micas and decided I would mix them with WATER. Let me tell you why I like mixing micas with water. Easy clean-up!! So with this in mind, I proceeded to mix the blue, yellow, white and black micas with water. The blue, yellow and white were going to be mixed with just half a cup of soap, and the black was going to be mixed with just a quarter cup of soap. It really wasn’t a lot of water mixed with the mica, but because I was mixing it with such a small amount of soap, it started interfering with saponification almost immediately. I realized my mistake, but it was too late!

I could just barely immerse my stick blender in the half cup of soap. As it started ricing (majorly separating!!), I had to stick blend each one for at least 5-10 minutes before it would hold together. I had already added my fragrance to the entire batch up front, so I was worried that it would start setting up – especially the main soap base that didn’t have any extra water added to it. Fortunately, the fragrance behaved beautifully and I was able to continue to stir the base soap periodically as I was beating the small cups of soap into submission.

The black soap was a lost cause, however. A quarter cup of soap was just too little to be mixed with a blender:

Separated black soap

Separated black soap

So I mixed up a little bit of black mica with some oil and decided to create a little bit of veining instead. I was really worried by now that I wouldn’t be able to do any drop swirling with the main soap base since it was setting up faster than the smaller cups of soap which were at a light trace. Boy was I surprised!! The difference in texture did affect the way the swirls turned out, but I was just happy I got the soap into the mold at this point!

Top of the second Exotic Pear soap

Top of the second Exotic Pear soap

Today I was able to take the soap out of the mold and cut it. I had no idea how it was going to turn out! You can see the freezer paper I used to line the mold is damp from the extra water:

Damp freezer paper

Damp freezer paper

But the soap actually held together quite nicely!!

Exotic Pear soap remake by Great Cakes Soapworks

Exotic Pear soap remake by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s not quite as fancy as the first batch, but it’s definitely a close second:

Exotic Pear comparison

Exotic Pear comparison

These soaps will be available at on February 4, 2015.

Valentines Soaps Now Available!

We have several new soaps available for your Valentine!

First, for the gals:

Sweet Nothings by Great Cakes Soapworks

Sweet Nothings by Great Cakes Soapworks

Purple hearts, pink and white swirls, sparkling glitter, and a sweet fruity scent that any girl would LOVE for Valentines Day.

Not into sweet and fruity scents? How about a nice, soft floral:

Spring Blossom soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Spring Blossom soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Intoxicating blend of narcissus, lily of the valley, frosted snow drops, and cherry blossoms that’s sure to remind you of warmer weather to come!

And for the guys:

Charming by Great Cakes Soapworks

Charming by Great Cakes Soapworks

Just what you would imagine your Prince Charming would smell like. Smart, sophisticated, and sexy. Want a different look? We also have Charming in this design:

Charming (2) by Great Cakes Soapworks

Charming (2) by Great Cakes Soapworks

Click on the photos for more info and to order! All soaps are $5.95 each or 4 for $22. Happy Valentines Day!!

New Lip Butters!

I made some new lip butters yesterday – not that my regular customers haven’t seen these before, but it’s been awhile!! The Orange Creamsicle has been out of rotation for two years, and by special request, I’ve brought it back – along with the Chai Tea.

The Great Cakes Soapworks lip butter flavors are custom blended, so you won’t find them anywhere else! Our recipe is also unique, with a super smooth texture that glides right on without feeling gunky or addicting like petroleum-based lip products.

Chai Tea and Orange Creamsicle Lip Butters by Great Cakes Soapworks

Chai Tea and Orange Creamsicle Lip Butters by Great Cakes Soapworks

Here’s a list of our other flavors:
Blackberry – just 3 left!
Vanilla Honey
Nourishing (no flavor)

Click HERE for more info and to purchase! Just $3.50 each, or $3.00 each if you purchase any 3 or more.

Custom Birthday Party Favor Soap

I’m getting ready to mail out these birthday party favor soaps tomorrow. I created them with a mold my husband made for me at least three years ago that I had yet to use! It was the perfect size to create these three-ounce soaps. I used the tiger stripe technique and scented them with the ever popular Black Raspberry Creme fragrance.

Just after cutting...

Just after cutting…

All of them wrapped and labeled

All of them wrapped and labeled

Close-up of the very simple label

Close-up of the very simple label

Since I’m not doing the farmer’s market this year, I feel like I have more time to do some custom orders, which has been a lot of fun!! Contact me if you have ideas for a custom soap. I’d be happy to see what we can come up with!

Scenting Soaps Naturally

For the past couple of years I have contemplated how I can offer more naturally scented soaps – that is, using plant-derived scents instead of synthetic fragrances. Natural essential oils can provide many beneficial properties from the plants they were extracted from. Some are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, and the list goes on… (For more information about essential oils and their properties, please visit AromaWeb.)

However, there are limitations to using essential oils in handmade soaps. Natural scents are limited by what can be found in nature, and what can be distilled into an essential oil. Even though apples and raspberries can be found in nature, there’s no such thing as apple or raspberry essential oil, for example. Natural scents are usually quite a bit more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, and their scents may not hold up to what is initially a rather harsh environment when the soap is made. As the soap cures over several weeks, it becomes extremely mild, but during those first 24 hours the fresh soap is very caustic and hot. Some natural essential oils can be skin irritants, and others can cause the skin to be extra-sensitive to sun exposure, and some are unsafe during pregnancy, so not all natural ingredients are actually good for your skin!

There are several soaps in the Great Cakes Soapworks line that are currently scented synthetically, but could be scented naturally. For instance, last year I was able to create a blend of essential oils for the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap that doesn’t really smell like the synthetic fragrance I used to use, but is still a very nice alternative. Just this past week, I decided to see if I could re-create the Cinnamon Bun Coffee Soap with some natural essences. I have some 20-fold vanilla oleoresin that is quite thick and holds up to the soapmaking process. Combining it with a bit of cinnamon essential oil smells pretty fantastic, but doesn’t have the same WOW factor as the synthetic fragrance. Not to mention that the oleoresin alone is more than twice the price of its synthetic counterpart. Here is the result of my test batch of five bars:

Naturally scented Cinnamon Bun Coffee Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I don’t think I’ll be re-creating this soap in a full-sized batch though. Even if the scent came close to what my customers are used to, unfortunately I couldn’t justify the price.

I also experimented with a couple of new soaps that are completely natural, and I believe they turned out much nicer. The first one is a test batch (5 bars) of Ginger Lime, made with ginger CO2 extract and four-fold lime essential oil and colored with algae powder:

All-natural Ginger Lime soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It smells amazing!! I’m not sure how the green color will hold up over time, but I like the results so far! Depending on how my customers like it, I am hoping to create full-sized batches (24 bars) of this one.

The next soap came as a request from a customer for something scented with bergamot. She uses it in an oil diffuser at home and wanted to know if I had any soaps or could make a soap with the same scent. She reminded me that bergamot is what gives earl grey tea its flavor! I used a bergamot essential oil with reduced bergaptine, so it won’t cause photosensitivity and mixed it with a couple other “secret” essential oils. The result is what I’m calling Citrus Soother:

All-natural Citrus Soother Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Citrus Soother is colored with rose clay, french green clay, and more algae powder. I made a medium-sized batch of this one, so there are 11 bars. All three of these all-natural soaps will be available for purchase at around February 11th.

New! Vanilla Honey Lip Butter

As some of the lip butter flavors have recently sold out, I decided to try this new blend of vanilla and honey as suggested by one of my friends in my last lip butter survey! Very sweet and yummy – this might be a new favorite!

Vanilla Honey Lip Butter

Other flavors currently available include: Blackberry, Chai Tea (3 left), Honey Lemon (also 3 left), Limeade, Peppermint, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and non-flavored Nourishing. Buy them separately, or get a gift pack with 3 for $10 in an organza bag!

Here are some recent comments I’ve received about our lip butter:

“I was lucky enough to win a free tube of Blackberry lip butter from Amy during her last survey. I have been using it for a few weeks now and I have to say how great it is. It slides on silky smooth and has just the right amount of gloss. I don’t like lip balm that is heavy feeling but this one is light on the lips and it stays on for quite awhile. Thank you Amy for such a great product and I am glad that I was the lucky winner to try it!!”
-Barbara M., Worthington Springs, FL

“I’m 6 months pregnant, and somehow the baby has sucked all the moisture out of my lips! I’ve had dry, cracked, painful lips for several months now, and I’ve tried MANY different lip balms and treatments. After only 2 days of using your lip butter, they are amazingly soft and no longer peeling! And I’ve only applied it a few times a day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
-Katy F., Neoga, IL

Custom Peppermint Soaps

Sometimes I get requests for custom soaps that I know are just going to be really great, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out! This would be one of those projects. One of my local customers contacted me about making some half-size soaps for Christmas presents – her original idea was around 50. By the time we met together and I recommended making Peppermint soaps, she had increased her order to 70!

Tomorrow she will pick up these beauties:

This is what 70 half-size Peppermint soaps look like (and some aren’t in the picture!)

Fortunately, I already had some clear, round labels which worked out perfectly!

I wanted to be sure you could see the swirls behind the labels!

Today, I realized that I ordered Winter Wonderland fragrance a couple months ago, but haven’t made it into soap! I’m working on remedying that situation now, and hopefully I’ll have some photos of that soap tomorrow…

And just 9 more days to get your challenge soaps made! Only one entry so far to win the 5 lb. wooden log mold with silicone liner from Brambleberry!

Nerium Update

While I’m giving updates, I thought I would let you know that I am still going strong selling Nerium AD! I’ve had some incredible customers share their before & after photos with me. Here are a few of them:

My friend Miss Pat

Miss Pat is such a lovely lady inside and out, and she’s so pleased with her results! She was one of my first customers when I started the business.

My friend Suzanne

Suzanne had been using Nerium for 33 days when I took her second photo. She has beautiful skin to begin with, but she’s also very pleased with her results!

My soapmaking friend Tina!

I’ve known Tina for about seven years now. We met in a yahoo group many years ago and have kept in touch. She’s a very talented soapmaker and I’m proud to call her a friend, even though we’ve never met in real life!

There are literally HUNDREDS of before and after photos of people who have seen visible results from Nerium AD – some in as little as one week! Check out this photo of someone’s FEET:

Here’s a photo that was posted on Facebook today:

Who’s next? If you’re looking for a product that will visibly change your skin for the better, you have nothing to lose with Nerium AD. It’s a simple night cream and nothing else, and it’s backed by a 30-day money back guarantee! Not only am I looking for customers, I’m also looking for those who are looking for some extra income who would want to join my team! Check out my website, and let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Not Your Average Wrinkle Cream

Several of my customers have asked me if I had something that would reduce their wrinkles. Without going looking for it, I was recently introduced to a brand-new anti-aging product called Nerium AD – by one of my husband’s subcontractors, of all people! Of course, I had to try it for myself to find out how well it really works. I knew if it performed well, it would be an excellent addition to my current line of natural facial care products that I personally love to use. My recent favorites that I use on a daily basis are my Fruit Smoothie soap with the Skin Glow Facial Moisturizer. My skin care regimen barely had to change. I still use my Fruit Smoothie soap and Skin Glow Facial Moisturizer every morning, but at night I wash with the Fruit Smoothie soap and then apply the Nerium.

I found out that not only does Nerium produce real results for wrinkles and fine lines, but also discoloration and skin texture. Some people see visible results in just a few days. I noticed that my skin felt smoother, but it took a couple weeks before I started seeing the visible results. It’s all about the before and after photos! Here are mine:

This is not a handmade product, but I am very excited to announce that I have started to sell it because I don’t think I could make a product that will come close to working this well – besides the fact that I believe it can work for you too! If you are tired of wasting money on a drawer (cabinet?) full of anti-aging products that have not lived up to their promises and can’t offer you a money back guarantee, then Nerium is definitely for you. Not to mention that there is a simple way for you to get it for free! CLICK HERE to find out more about purchasing Nerium and how to get it for free.

If you are a soapmaker (or anyone else!) looking to make some extra money, then I would highly recommend checking out the business opportunity to become a brand partner. If you’ve never heard of Nerium before, it’s because the company is just coming up on their one year anniversary. While it’s brand new to the public, the co-founders and scientists behind Nerium have been testing the product thoroughly and creating one of the best business plans out there. I have never been part of a direct sales company before, but I spent all day Saturday at a regional meeting where I met the president and co-founder of Nerium International, Dennis Windsor, who presented an impressive amount of information and explained the simple, yet generous compensation plan that is like no other. CLICK HERE to find out more about becoming a brand partner.

New Lotions Now Available!

Hand & Body Lotions by Great Cakes Soapworks

I have been working on some new all-natural fragrances for the Hand & Body Lotions. The only ingredient in the lotion that isn’t completely natural is the emulsifying wax – which is derived from natural ingredients – and holds it all together!

So here are two new scents that are now available: Cherry Orange Tea-Cake and Rosewood.

After having my local customers try the Cherry Orange Tea-Cake and another lotion with straight up Fruit Essences, the Tea-Cake version came out the clear winner. It is a combination of real cherry fruit essence which I used in place of the distilled water, and orange, almond, and vanilla essential oils. It is delish!!

Rosewood is scented with mostly rosewood essential oil and hints of geranium and ylang ylang essential oils. If you’ve never smelled rosewood before, I would describe it as a sweet woodsy scent. It doesn’t have the traditional rose flower scent, as it is a tree with rose-colored wood. The geranium adds a “green” note, and the ylang ylang enhances the sweetness.

I’ve also brought back Honey Almond – which smells like it sounds, as well as Lavender Lemon. Stress Relief remains a customer favorite blend of mint and eucalyptus, and Grapefruit Parfait is the perfect summery citrus scent.

Click the photo to order – they are just $8.00 each!!