My Special Delivery Arrived!!

It was just like Christmas when the Fed-Ex guy rang the doorbell!! I tore into the boxes as fast as I could and was NOT disappointed! My custom soap boxes finally arrived!!! I was all teary-eyed when I saw my soap inside this beautiful packaging. Seriously. I never would have imagined that it would look so good – and so professional!!

Custom Soap Boxes from McKenzie Crest

Kudos goes to Michael Hildebrand, the graphic designer. He’s a friend from church, and all he asked for in payment was a large gift basket for a silent auction to benefit his son’s football team. I gave him a vision, and with very few revisions, he came up with the design. I love the window on the front so you can see and smell the soap. This is just the beginning though. I will need several more designed for the rest of my regular line. I also asked for a blank blue one for all my limited edition soaps (I put a Winter Rose soap in there for the photo.) I’ll have to write the name of the fragrance on the front and put a sticky label on the back with the ingredients.

Kudos also goes to Anne Rohde, sales representative at McKenzie Crest Inc.. She worked very closely with me to let me know what the box company needed from me. High quality customer service for sure!

I just can’t tell you how excited I am not to have to shrink wrap and label 100’s of soaps anymore. I love how the shrink wrap showed off the soap and allowed the scent to come through, but it was SO time consuming. Definitely worth it when my production wasn’t as high. I am still planning to sell the smell-through shrink wrap on my website – in fact, I just had another big roll delivered today too (ironic, isn’t it?). I will probably find myself using it here and there, even after I have all the boxes I need.

So that’s my big news! If any other soapmakers out there want to check out McKenzie Crest, their prices are reasonable and their minimums are low! They also offer custom labels.

We’ve Been Reviewed!

International handmade soap blogger Cocobong has posted her interview with me and review of the Great Cakes Soapworks Patchouli Beer Bar on her blog. Cocobong has reviewed multiple soap companies from around the world based on a point system that she’s come up with. It’s a great review, and I am grateful for her kind words and honest opinion.

Patchouli Beer Bars by Great Cakes Soapworks

Patchouli Beer Bars by Great Cakes Soapworks

Update: Unfortunately, Cocobong’s blog is no longer active and her review has been taken down, but you can still get your hands on the Patchouli Beer Bar!

I’m a Joyful Winner!

Last Wednesday I made a comment on the Joyful Soaps blog that made me a winner of two of their fabulous Easter soaps! Today, I received my prize in the mail:

Easter Soap by Joyful Soaps

Easter Soap by Joyful Soaps

Aren’t they adorable? They smell great too, with the perfect amount of fragrance so that you don’t have to wonder if they are scented or not. According to their website, the Bunny Soap is scented with a grapefruit fragrance, but it’s much more complex than that. I’m not the best at picking out notes in fragrance, but there’s definitely a very nice musky background. The Lilac Soap is also quite nice! It’s a very true, powdery lilac fragrance – very similar to the one I make.

And because I couldn’t resist trying it, I soaped up my hands with the Lilac and got a nice, big fluffy lather. Leslie really packs in the good stuff: olive, coconut, safflower, almond, and castor for oils, and shea, cocoa and mango for butters. Wow! My hands feel really soft now!

Thanks, Leslie and Michael, for letting me try your fantastic soaps!

Best Handmade Soap Blog Winners Announced

I want to start by saying that for being a relatively small industry of handmade soap makers, we have some highly talented bloggers! There were some really, and I mean, REALLY tight races in a couple of the categories. I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful and sharing community.

Here are the results you’ve been waiting for:

Category 1: Best Photography – Naiad Soap Arts

Category 2: Best Soap Reviews – Cocobong Soaps

Category 3: Best Soap Showcases – Cocobong Soaps

Category 4: Best Information on Making Cold/Hot Processed Soaps – Soap and the Finer Things in Life

Category 5: Best Information on Making Melt & Pour Soaps – Soap and the Finer Things in Life

Category 6: Best Overall Content – The Soap Bar

Congratulations to the winners – I have contacted them and given them award badges to display on their blogs if they choose to do so (if you didn’t get an email from me, please let me know)! Huge thanks to everyone who nominated their favorite blogs and voted in the final poll!! I’m very excited about the new blogs that have been recently “discovered” as a result of this event. I hope we can do this again next year! Please leave your comments about the experience and any suggestions you might have for next time. For example, I had one suggestion to add the category “Best New Soap Blog” which I thought was an excellent idea. I’m open to other ideas as well, so please let me know your thoughts!

Just a Few More Voting Hours

Voting for the Best Handmade Soap Blog Awards will be closing this evening at 10pm CST. Please visit this post to place your votes.

I hope you have found some great new blogs in this process, because I know I sure have! Huge thanks to everyone who has already voted – as of this moment, that would be 178 of you! I am so excited to be able to share the winners with you tomorrow. Until then…have a wonderful evening!

Vote For Your Favorite Handmade Soap Blogs

It's Time to Vote!

The nominations are in, and the poll has been made. I have removed this blog from the nominations, because while I appreciate the good word, I feel that it’s my award to give, not to receive. I’ve added my own nominations as well.

Here are the blogs that have been nominated in each category, listed in alphabetical order. They are linked to their location so that you may visit them and make your choices. (There was no way to create links inside the poll.)

Best Photography
Between Friends
Cocobong Soaps
Future Primitive
Inner Earth Soaps
Naiad Soap Arts
Simply Soap
Soaperstar
The Soap Bar

Best Soap Reviews
Cocobong Soaps
The Soap Bar

Best Soap Showcases
Cocobong Soaps
Soap is Beautiful
Soaperstar
The Soap Bar

Best Information about Making Cold/Hot Processed Soaps
Artisan Soaps
Cocobong Soaps
El Sapone
Jenora Soaps
Lovin Soap
NaKIN
Soap and the Finer Things in Life
Soap Sister

Best Information about Making Melt & Pour Soaps
Soap and the Finer Things in Life
Soapylove Daily Ditties

Best Overall Content
Adventures with the Sage
GCDSpa Stuff
Inner Earth Soaps
NaKIN
Simply Soap
Soap City
Soaperstar
The Arty Soaper
The Soap Bar

The poll is now closed.

Best Handmade Soap Blogs – Taking Nominations

With the 83rd Annual Academy Awards just announced recently, I would like to create a similar extravaganza honoring handmade soap bloggers! There are lots of great handmade soap blogs out there, and I would like to gather them up here and showcase the best ones. No prize involved, just the satisfaction of being the best, and having your blog promoted on all my social media channels. I currently follow about 40 soap blogs, and have my own favorites, but I’d like to hear about yours because I’m sure there are more! This will be a great way to network and share information, so let’s get started!

Here are the categories for the nominations:

Best Photography
Best Soap Reviews
Best Soap Showcases
Best Information about Making Cold/Hot Processed Soaps
Best Information about Making Melt & Pour Soaps
Best Overall Content

How it works:
You may nominate your own blog or someone else’s in as many categories as you wish. I will gather up the nominations and create a poll to discover the winners. Use the comment section for your nominations (all nominations from a single person can be entered into one comment). You may also nominate anonymously if you like – just write “Anonymous” instead of your name. Remember this is for the best bloggers – not necessarily the best soapmakers, although they may be one and the same. Comments will close on Friday, March 4th at 10pm CST. Feel free to share this post around Facebook and Twitter. Let’s have some fun!

Nominations are now closed.

Custom Welcome Page for Facebook

Are you a fan of Great Cakes Soapworks on Facebook? If you are, then you probably wouldn’t notice that I have a new welcome page for first time visitors. However, if you aren’t a fan, then I highly suggest that you check it out!

Mike Holmes of Redpinservices.com contacted me before Christmas saying that he had found me via a local twitter search. He’s located here in Olathe too, and wondered if I was interested in having him create a welcome page on the Great Cakes Soapworks Facebook site. Turns out, I had been thinking about doing it, but hadn’t gotten around to it. I had even attempted to figure it out myself, but you have to understand a different type of coding, and I didn’t have time to mess with it. So, I told him I would get back with him after Christmas.

When my hubby helped me with the shrink wrap video tutorial, I asked him to take a few still shots as well to use for my Facebook page – and the line of soaps you see across the top of this blog. I sent the photos to Mike, and told him how I wanted things to look, and he got it all set up! He even embedded the Preferred Customer sign-up form. If you need a custom welcome page for your business on Facebook, I’d highly recommend Mike.

If you are already a Great Cakes Soapworks fan and want to see the new Welcome page, you can click on the >> sign across the top, the Welcome page tab will show up and you can click on it.

Last night I mentioned on the Great Cakes Soapworks Facebook page that my new stick blender would be arriving on Wednesday (that’s tomorrow – yippee!!). I asked my fans which soap I should make first – Black Raspberry Creme or Country Clothesline, with the unanimous response of…well, you’ll just have to go see for yourself!

The Best Kansas Day Celebration Ever!

The state of Kansas is 150 years old today! I was invited to demonstrate old-fashioned soap making at Eisenhower Elementary School at Fort Leavenworth for their Kansas Day celebration yesterday. I had no idea what to expect, but I was just blown away by the wonderful displays, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for the kids! There were tables set up in the gym for the demonstrators, as well as live animals outside. Everyone was encouraged to dress up in period clothing – including the kids!

There were about four different shifts throughout the morning as different classes came through the gym. The kids were on their own to explore the exhibits and demonstrations, so as interested kids came by my table, I told them about how soap was made “back in the day”. I wish I had some of the old fashioned equipment to bring with me like some of the other exhibitors, but I had to bring pictures instead. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to actually make soap on site since the lye can be rather dangerous to work with.

My Soapmaking Exhibit

My Soapmaking Exhibit

I talked about how they needed three ingredients to make soap: lye, water, and fats. I had a picture to show how they collected wood ash and put it in a big hopper and poured water over it to make lye. I brought a bowl of water and a potato and talked about how the potato would float when the lye was strong enough to make soap (it sunk to the bottom of the bowl in the plain water). I brought a small container of lard and talked about how they got animal fats for the soap from butchering pigs and cows and let the kids smell the lard. I had a picture of a lady cooking soap in a large black kettle over a fire and talked about how they needed to add some salt to the soap to make it hard like the bar of old-fashioned lye soap that I made. I also brought some of the modern “soaps” that we use today – bath soap, facial soap, shampoo, shaving cream, dish soap, and laundry soap – to demonstrate how they had to use handmade lye soap in place of all of those.

Talking to the kids

Talking to the kids

Here’s the impressive part – all the other exhibits and demonstrations. I took some photos of a few of the demonstrators:

This lady was spinning wool

This lady was spinning wool

Just turn the crank to make rope with this contraption!

Just turn the crank to make rope with this contraption!

The quilting demonstrator

The quilting demonstrator

Also sewing...

Also sewing…

Pottery demonstrator

Pottery demonstrator

Civil War exhibit

Civil War exhibit

I also took some photos of a few of the hands-on activities. This is just a small representation of what was available:

Rug hooking was the station next to mine

Rug hooking was the station next to mine

Shaking up jars of cream to make butter

Shaking up jars of cream to make butter

Trying out a bucket harness.  The bags of sand each weigh as much as one gallon of water.

Trying out a bucket harness. The bags of sand each weigh as much as one gallon of water.

Using a hand saw

Using a hand saw

Playing with antique toys

Playing with antique toys

Shucking corn

Shucking corn

One little girl who looked like she stepped right out out of Little House on the Prairie in her calico dress, white pinafore, and matching bonnet told me, “Kansas Day is the funnest day of my life!”

This photo pretty much sums up the day:
Kansas-Day14