Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

kenna amy 150x150 Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Central Soapers Workshop, brainchild of Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, and one of my favorite soapmaking friends.

I am so blessed to live about six miles from the meeting place at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, where 58 soapmakers from the Midwest and beyond gathered for some fantastic networking, learning, and sharing. Simultaneous workshops and soap lab presentations took place during both Saturday and Sunday, which made it difficult to decide which topic to glean from! We also had plenty of time over the lunch break to visit vendors, talk shop with other soapmakers, and I even got to pick Tina Howard’s brain from Majestic Mountain Sage.

I have a ton of photos to show you, so let’s see which ones make the cut!

Chronological order, anyone?

prairie soap gathering Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

The pre-party gathering at Prairie Soap Co. in Lee’s Summit, MO on Friday afternoon

intro Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Welcome to Central Soapers Workshop!

This was the first workshop I attended:

liquid soap amy Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Demystifying Liquid Soapmaking with Amy Young, Foam on the Range

Now I feel confident to try this crazy process again! I know my customers are rejoicing!

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Believe it or not, the next activity was LUNCH!

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Work-Life Balance Workshop with Lela Barker, Lucky Break Consulting

Ironically, this workshop was supposed to be taught by Donna Marie Coles Johnson of the Indie Business Network, but life got in the way. Essentially, we discussed how there is no such thing as work-life balance. It’s about setting priorities and boundaries and then measuring your results.

During this time, the soap lab which was sponsored by Majestic Mountain Sage was also open:

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Boxes lined with mylar for molds…

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We used containers of pre-mixed oils with a variety of recipes, and lye solutions were measured into cups…lots of colors and scents to choose from!

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Tutus and tiaras were the theme of the Soap Lab!

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One of our Challenge Club members making soap in the Soap Lab!

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All about Etsy and Farmer’s Markets with Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

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Amanda Griffin, Lovin Soap and Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating the Peacock Swirl

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Holly’s Peacock Swirl soap

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Goal Setting Workshop with Benjamin Aaron, Prairie Soap Co, assisted by Kenna in her tutu and tiara

This was an incredible workshop, that led to me purchasing these:

notebooks Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

His and hers notebooks for writing our goals morning and night. New colored pens for added incentive!

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Perfumery 101 Workshop with Charlene Simon, Bathhouse Soapery

And the day isn’t over…AFTER PARTY!!!

after party Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Catered dinner to start us off…

Followed by games and craziness!

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Potato sack race to get all the ingredients to make a batch of soap!

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Ingredients even had to be measured – don’t worry, no one was hopping back with lye solution!

ring toss Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Ring Toss, sponsored by Wholesale Supplies Plus. All sorts of fixed oils, fragrance and essential oils, etc to win!

And finally, photo booth fun!!

photo booth collage Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Take us back to the farm – funny farm, that is!

Are you tired yet? That’s just the first day!

On Sunday morning, Holly Port was already opening up the booze for her Happy Hour Soapmaking workshop!

holly happy hour soap Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating how to use alcohol in cold process soap

Next on the schedule was Kenna with her power point presentation of her e-book on Swatch Mania. Everyone who came to this workshop will receive a free copy!

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Kenna Cote, Modern Soapmaking talking about how to make color swatches for cold process soap

Simultaneously, there was a workshop on product photography:

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How to Get Money Shots by D.H. Riley, Madame Scodioli

You should check out the Madame Scodioli website – it’s super creative!

Of course, we had more time in the soap lab too!

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Tina Howard, Majestic Mountain Sage, assisting a new soapmaker

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My turn!! I made this fun soap with amethyst pink and venetian violet colors, scented with Wink fragrance – all from The Sage of course!

After lunch, Lela Barker gave us the low-down on how to get press coverage – for free. It was amazing!

be pr agent Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Professional tips to landing some serious media coverage.

What a privilege to learn from someone who has worked so hard to build her company and is now sharing her expertise with others. Seriously, check out Lucky Break consulting company to get some great information and tools. Lela teaches everything she wishes someone had taught her to get where she is today.

Here’s the soap Tanya made to demonstrate how to do mica veins and swirls in her workshop:

tanya soap Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

Mica veins and swirls by Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

And finally, we had the raffle drawing at the end. Everyone won at least one prize that was donated by our sponsors, and some people won two!!

raffle prizes Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

A small portion of the prize table!!

Best part: New soapy friends!!

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Me, Tara, Justin and Charlene (photo bomb courtesy of Holly Port)

So now that you know how much fun we have, make sure to join us next year! Follow the Central Soapers Workshop Facebook page so you don’t miss out!

Embed Soap Challenge Winners

We have some crazy cool soaps from the Embed Soap Challenge!! Members were asked to create a soap made with pre-made cold-process or hot-process soap embedded into a fresh batch of cold process soap. The design ideas for this challenge are obviously endless…

Our grand prize winner is this soapy work of art by Zahida in Florida:

starry night Embed Soap Challenge Winners

Starry Night Soap by Zahida

This is Zahida’s first time participating in the Soap Challenge Club, and hopefully not her last! She won a $50 gift certificate plus the mini silicone column mold set from Brambleberry!

We had a tie for second place between Toni in Michigan and Ildiko in Sydney, Australia. Toni made this adorable patchwork soap with a denim fragrance:

toni patchwork Embed Soap Challenge Winners

Toni’s Patchwork Soap

Ildiko made a series of soaps all at once, inspired by photos of sunrise, sunset, and moonrise over the water:

ildiko Embed Soap Challenge Winners

Soapy Sunrise-Sunset, Sunset-Moonrise, and Polka Dots by Ildiko

Our third place winner is Margo of Bearprint Soaps in Oregon! She created these beautiful heart embed soaps, scented with Pink Berry Mimosa:

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Heart Soap by Margo

All of our second and third place winners will receive free registration to next month’s Soap Challenge Club!

You can see all the beautiful entries in the Embed Soap Challenge Club HERE.

Next month, we will be doing the Drop Swirl technique:

or rosemary2 Embed Soap Challenge Winners

Orange-Rosemary-Anise soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

This is one of the soaps I created for next month’s Challenge Club. It is all natural, except for some titanium dioxide. Smells very refreshing! Registration for this technique will open this Monday (March 3rd). Our sponsor will be Majestic Mountain Sage, and they will be providing a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize winner!! You can sign up to be notified as soon as it opens:

notify me Embed Soap Challenge Winners

Valentines Soaps Now Available!

We have several new soaps available for your Valentine!

First, for the gals:

sweet nothings Valentines Soaps Now Available!

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 blossoms Valentines Soaps Now Available!

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:

perfect man Valentines Soaps Now Available!

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:

perfect man2 Valentines Soaps Now Available!

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!!

Challenge Club Winners Announced

When I chose the Taiwan Swirl as our technique of the month for the Soap Challenge Club, I had no idea how challenging it would be!! It appears to be this simple technique that anyone can do with amazing results. In theory, this is true. However, this happened to be the one technique that I ended up making six batches just to get a decent video tutorial made. I am so impressed with the entries for this challenge, knowing how long it took me to get it “just right.”

Let’s start with our grand prize winner. Congratulations to Sarah Milroy of Spicy Pinecone!! She wins the $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden!! Sarah created this beautiful blue and black Taiwan Swirl soap:

sarahs soap Challenge Club Winners Announced

Taiwan Swirl soap by Spicy Pinecone, scented with CK-One type

Click on the photo to see how she made it!!

Our second and third place winners receive free registration to next month’s Soap Challenge Club. In second place we have Ruth Esteves of Sirona Springs! She created this lovely deep red and orange Taiwan Swirl:

ruths soap Challenge Club Winners Announced

Taiwan Swirl soap by Sirona Springs, scented with Sensuous Sandalwood

Our third place winner is someone new to the Soap Challenge Club. Congrats goes to the very talented Jodi of Lakehurst Farms who created this lovely multi-colored Taiwan Swirl soap:

lakehurst soap Challenge Club Winners Announced

Taiwan Swirl soap by Lakehurst Farms, scented with Sweet Rain

Are you ready to see the rest of the entries? They are located HERE.

Soapmakers from all over the world are invited to join us next month as we make cold process soap with embeds – embeds must be made with finished cold or hot processed soap in any shape or size. Our sponsor is Brambleberry once again, and they have come up with a fantastic prize package which includes a $50 gift certificate PLUS a set of their mini silicone column molds which are awesome for making embeds!

Registration for next month’s Soap Challenge Club will open February 3rd. Hope you’ll join us! If you haven’t already signed up for notifications about the challenge club, you can do that here:

notify me Challenge Club Winners Announced

Valentine Soap Preview

I’ve had so much fun making Valentine soaps! Typically, I will make one for the guys and one for the girls. This time there are technically two for each. First up is the soap for the guys. I made two different designs with the same scent – similar to Bleu de Chanel. It’s called Charming:

perfect man Valentine Soap Preview

Charming by Great Cakes Soapworks

As I was practicing the Taiwan Swirl, I also made another one with the same fabulous scent. These will be available January 20th:

perfect man2 Valentine Soap Preview

Charming (2) by Great Cakes Soapworks

For the girls, I have this beautiful pink and purple soap called Sweet Nothings:

sweet nothings Valentine Soap Preview

Sweet Nothings by Great Cakes Soapworks

This one was a 3-day process of creating embeds inside of embeds! You might also notice that the top is another Taiwan swirl. It smells so yummy – like fruity candy!

I also have this Bubblegum soap for the girls:

bubblegum Valentine Soap Preview

Bubblegum soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Super simple and sweet. The embed is made with the new silicone column mold from Brambleberry – thanks to Anne-Marie for my fabulous Christmas presents! I wish the scent was stronger, but it will have to do. The girls soaps will be available January 28th.

There are a couple more new soaps on the curing rack as well. You can check them out on our NEWS page.

Taiwan Swirl Challenge Club Closing Soon!

Just a quick FYI for those who haven’t heard: Registration for this month’s Soap Challenge Club will be closing Monday (tomorrow!) at 2pm CST. We are doing the Taiwan Swirl, which looks like this:

black rasp creme Taiwan Swirl Challenge Club Closing Soon!

Taiwan Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Any soapmaker can join the Challenge Club. The only requirement is that you have a basic understanding of cold-process soapmaking. Members of the Club will be able to view written instructions as well as a video tutorial, then have the opportunity to create their soap, documenting the process via photos or video, and sharing their creation in the Members Only area so that other members can view, comment and vote on the winners.

This month, the grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Nature’s Garden, and second & third place winners will receive free registration to next month’s Soap Challenge Club. (Registration fee is just $5.95.)

Soapmakers from all over the world come together for this fun event each month – it really is a great way to build relationships and share creativity. Plus, who knows? You might even win a prize! Click the button below for more info and to register:

register now Taiwan Swirl Challenge Club Closing Soon!

Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

We just finished up another amazing Soap Challenge Club! Our technique this month was the Column Pour, and we had some very talented soapmakers participating yet again. However, this time we had a very clear first place winner – someone who was brand new to the Challenge Club! Congratulations goes to Michele of Tierra Verde Soaps, the grand prize winner of a $75 gift certificate from Brambleberry! Here is her magnificent column pour soap:

Green Purple Swirl 1 Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

Eucalyptus-Spearmint Column Pour by Tierra Verde Soaps

Second and third place was a tight race – but Jaime of Crochet Dynamite came in second, and Sarah of Spicy Pinecone is the third place winner. Jaime and Sarah will receive free registration to next month’s Soap Challenge Club!

Here is Jaime’s beautiful Tie-Dye Column Pour soap:

tie dye column Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

Rise & Shine Tie Dye Soap by Crochet Dynamite

And here is Sarah’s awesome White Trash Beautiful Column Pour soap:

WTB Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

White Trash Beautiful soap by Spicy Pinecone

For more beautiful Column Pour technique inspiration, check out the rest of the entries HERE.

Curious about next month’s technique? We will be tackling the beautiful Taiwan Swirl! I just cut one of my practice batches and I can see that it is going to discolor – so I took a photo real quick! Nature’s Garden just confirmed that they will be our grand prize sponsor with a $50 gift certificate – yippee!!

perfect man Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

Taiwan Swirl practice soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Registration for next month’s Soap Challenge Club will open December 30th. Hope you’ll join us! If you haven’t already signed up for notifications about the challenge club, you can do that here:

notify me Congrats to our Challenge Club Winners!

Cyber Monday Shipping Deal

Although it’s later than usual this year, Cyber Monday is finally coming!! This is the kick-off to our annual Christmas sale, with plenty of great deals, no matter what your budget is. Cyber Monday ONLY you get free shipping on all U.S. orders over $40, in addition to our Christmas sale discounts:

All orders up to $20 get 10% off
Orders between $20.01 and $39.99 get 15% off
Orders of $40 and up get 20% off

No coupon codes needed!

Here are some of our new soaps (Click photo for more info and to purchase):

bayberry1 Cyber Monday Shipping Deal

Bayberry Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

figgy pudding1 Cyber Monday Shipping Deal

Figgy Pudding Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Get lip butters and whipped shea butter too!

GO SHOPPING

How to Ship Packages from USPS.com

I offered to do this tutorial for another soapmaker, but I think it’s for anyone who wants to send packages out for the holidays without standing in long lines at the post office. Benefits include: free boxes from USPS, discounted online postage rates, and free mail carrier pick-up. The best part is, once you set up your account, you can continue to use it! The only piece of “equipment” you need is a scale to weigh your packages. Soapmakers all have scales, but not everyone does. You can buy a regular postal scale, or just a kitchen scale if you don’t have one already. (The bathroom scale probably isn’t quite accurate enough!)

One caveat: You can only purchase Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express postage at USPS.com.

USPS has become the most economical way to ship small to medium to large size packages quickly with their flat rate and regional rate services. Anything that is too large to fit in a flat rate or regional rate box is probably better off going UPS or FedEx. You can get flat rate or regional rate boxes for FREE when you order them on the USPS website. They get delivered straight to your door. Postage for flat rate boxes can be purchased from the post office, but postage for regional rate boxes MUST be purchased from USPS.com. Flat rate boxes cost the same amount no matter where you send them. Regional rate boxes are a discounted rate, but their charges vary depending on the destination. You can check which one is more economical by using the online postage calculator.

I used to print my labels on regular white paper and tape them on with mailing tape, but now I purchase mailing labels from OnlineLabels.com HERE.

Once you have all your supplies, package your boxes and weigh them. Now you are ready to print your labels! First, you’ll need to go to USPS.com and register for your account. (You can click on the screenshots to see a larger image):

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Step 1: Register for an account

Once you have signed into your account, move on to Step 2:

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Step 2: In the drop down menu under Ship a Package, select Print a Label with Postage

On the next page you will see this:

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Step 3: Choose your destination and “Print a Shipping Label Now”

On the next page, it should show your return address info at the top. You will need to fill in the destination address, etc for Step 4:

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Step 4: Enter the destination address, and add a personal message if you like.

Scroll down to enter the package info:

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Step 5: Enter the weight of the package and the date you are sending it. I usually skip the insurance, but you may add that here as well.

On the next page, you will have a list of shipping options with their prices:

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Step 6: Shipping Options, pt 1

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Shipping Options, pt 2 with Regional Rate boxes highlighted

Once you choose the method you are shipping, you will move on to payment info. Choose “Add New Card” to pay with a debit or credit card OR you can pay with paypal:

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Step 7: Payment info.

Next is printing your labels. For the first step, I always choose “Print labels without receipt” so I can get 2 labels on one sheet. You will still get a copy of the receipt via email. Even if I don’t have more than one to print at that moment, I can re-use the label sheet the next time. After clicking on the blue “Print Labels” link, your printer interface should pop up. If you are printing on label sheets, be sure to select “labels” at that time so your printer knows what material you are using. If you are using regular paper, just print like usual. You can also schedule a carrier pick-up on this page. Another perk of printing your labels online! (Unless you live in a rural area that doesn’t support it, or you don’t have a place to leave your package for your mail carrier.)

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Step 8: Printing Your Labels

That should do it! If you can’t schedule a carrier pick-up, just drop your package at the post office and you’re done!

Squeeze Bottle Design Challenge Results

We had some really fantastic entries in the Soap Challenge Club again this month! Our technique was called “Squeeze Bottle Designs” and it gave the Club members a lot of creative license to make designs with a squeeze bottle on the bottom of their soap, then fill in the remainder of the soap however they wanted to. It was another tight race to the finish, and we ended up with tie for 3rd place – yet again! Our sponsor, Majestic Mountain Sage, was very gracious to offer a grand prize not only to our first place winner, but also provided Sampler 7 kits for 2nd & 3rd place winners (in addition to their usual prize of free registration to next month’s Challenge Club!).

Let’s start with our grand prize winner! Congratulations to Tricia Miller of the Miller Soap Co. who created this beautiful musical design:

tricias soap Squeeze Bottle Design Challenge Results

Musical Soap by Miller Soap Co.

Second place goes to Margo Long of Bearprint Soaps. She made this unique Lavender Lemon soap:

margos soap Squeeze Bottle Design Challenge Results

Lavender Lemon Soap by Bearprint Soaps

Our third place winners are Vickie Robinson of Udder Indulgence and Jaime Maraia of Crochet Dynamite. Vickie’s soap is a beautiful Cherry Blossom:

vickies soap Squeeze Bottle Design Challenge Results

Cherry Blossom Soap by Udder Indulgence

Jaime entered this really cool snowflake soap:

jaimes soap Squeeze Bottle Design Challenge Results

Snowflake Soap by Crochet Dynamite

Ready to check out all the amazing entries? They are located HERE.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated this month!! I know it’s a busy time of year! Believe it or not, next month’s Challenge Club will open on Monday. We’ll be doing the column pour technique. I’ll have more details soon!