Thursday, December 20, 2007

SOAP MOLD OVERSTOCK. Up to 60% savings

It's time for us to clear out the warehouse shelves for incoming 2008 stock. We have discounted a number of soap molds that are overstock, discontinued, or end-of-season designs. These are "top quality" molds and quite honestly, it's a "steal deal".

Take advantage of these year end savings now!

You'll find a complete list of the molds at

2008 Soap Making Trends

Pictured above: French-milled soaps for your A-List Baby from Noodle & Just another one of the "premium" type bath and body to expect in 2008.

Keeping up with consumer trends is essential to building a profitable product line for your E-Biz. Rarely do trends pop out of nowhere. In most cases, they are a blending of mulitple trends that merge into the next big trend. Statistics show that the annual income of an online shopper is $75,000 plus, with many more millionaires taking the online leap.

Begin to study magazine ads and read trade articles; look at what is currently hot, start to analyze and sharpen your skills to spot new trends that will give rise to new products within your industry. Ultimately, the goal of trend watching is to explore new ideas that will lead to profitable product innovations. Here are three trends I see for 2008.

1) The Premiumization of everything and anything. No product will escape a premium version in the next 12 months. With money to burn, more and more consumers will be looking for quick status fixes derived from premium products.

A great example of this trend is represented by The Laundress. Lindsey Wieber and Gwen Whiting, co-founders of The Laundress™, created this luxury fabric care and specialty detergent line to take the chore out of laundry. They saw the necessity of properly caring for their clothing and homes, but were not able to find products on the market that met their standards of delicacy, fragrance and sophistication. This propelled these entrepreneurs to design a luxurious brand of detergents and fabric care with their own uniquely developed fragrances.

Expect to find the same trend with lotions, shower gels, soaps, and other bath and body products. Start looking for ways that you can "Premiumize" your current product line or, develop new lines that are a step beyond the average. and then market them as up-scale, sophisticated bath and body products.

2) Eco Status Sphere is not stopping in 2008. In fact, expect to see trends for both green and blue. Consumers will continue to seek out products that are organic and ego-friendly. Consider using bath and body containers that can be recycled or refilled. Products geared toward fitness and outdoor living will continue to grow. Foot and hand care, body soaks, lip balms are all products that can be developed to greenify the life's of a ego-conscious consumer.

3) Expect online sub-cultures like Face Book and My Space to begin dominating the advertising and selling world. Do-It-Yourself and Make-It-Yourself will continue to emerge from this thriving online sub-culture. is already offering this type of online platform, but you will begin to see FaceBook and MySpace users doing the same. The days of offering a limited number of choices to online customers, is becoming a thing of the past.

A make your own "virtual" bath and body product web site may be something to consider. Generation C is here to stay. What is Generation C? The Wikopedia definition: People who use the web to create user generated content and participate in the co-creation of products and services.

As 2007 comes to a close, I wish each of you great success in your 2008 business ventures. will continue to supply you with products that will help you reach your goals. As the owner, I sincerely thank each and every one of you for your continued business and support. So many of you have become like family to us. We look forward to servicing your soap making needs in 2008.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you!

Denise & the GoPlanet Team

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Etsy: A DIY Crafting Community

Pictured: Chunky pieces of peppermint bark -- entirely made of soap. is an online community with a mission that enables people to earn a living "making" things. then connects those makers with online buyers. In a nutshell, they are creating micro-economies within corporate America. The vision of Etsy is to build a new economy and present a better choice of goods. These goods, by the way, are all handmade.

As posted on the Etsy site:

"The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. We created Etsy to help them reconnect, and swing the pendulum back to a time when we bought our bread from the baker, food from the grocer, and shoes from the cobbler. "

If you are not yet familiar with, I encourage you to check it out. It's a haven for those making hand-made products. Even if you don't make anything hand-made, you'll find it the place to buy ALL things handmade.

As we move into a new year, may each of us be aware of the social and environmental implications of our purchases and become a consumer conscious of the true value of handmade goods. My personal New Year resolution is to buy handmade whenever possible.

Pictured is Death by Cinnamon. It's a heavily scented soap topped with cinnamon "syrup" -- a thick bar, lusciously creamy and excitingly spicy. It's available at Esty.

Beating Heart Soap

The things one can find to do with melt and pour soap. I've been in this business a good number of years; I must admit, this is a first for me.

This link gives instructions on how to make a flashing soap that emulates the beating of a heart. I would take heed to the writer's words of CAUTION about using an LCD battery in soap. I'm certain this can work, BUT I would sure hate to lose any of you to a heart throbbing soap explosion. Might be best if you just let this spark some inventive soap making ideas for the new year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A thank you gift from Tuesday Soap Night

This beautiful holiday wreath arrived today from a local florist. It was sent by my next door neighbor in thanks for hosting Soap night (see my prior post). It was a delightful surprise, and I immediately hung the wreath outside the front door of my home.

The card read, "Thanks for an evening of good "clean" fun. I am blessed with the best neighbors anyone could have."

This post is for Nancy. My wonderful neighbor and friend. Everyone should be lucky enough to have great neighbors. I have been fortunate. All my neighbors (including former neighbors) are still very much a part of my life. Even with moves, life changes, kids growing up... we've kept in contact and remain close friends.

Life is good when you're surrounded by friends. Today, I give thanks for the gift of friendship.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday Soap Night

On Tuesday I hosted a "Holiday Soap Night". It was an evening of soaping, socializing, and sipping wine (what's a soap night without a little wine??). Everyone made four soaps for our grandkids (one duck pond soap, one bendable holiday character soap, and two cupcake soaps) . I've posted a few pictures of our event.

Post Script: I am fortunate to have one of the most wonderful group of lady friends. The more time I spend with them, the more I treasure and appreciate their friendship. Life is good when you're surrounded by incredible friends.

All of the supplies used can be purchased at

Missy (far left), my long-time employee, is showing the gals how to add the snow effects to the top of the duck pond soaps.

Betty is putting the finishing touches on her bendable holiday soap.

Our lovely, crazy Mo (short for Maureen) showcasing her work.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A few Christmas Decorating Ideas

The holiday season is upon us and I thought a few decorating ideas were in order. Hope these inspire you to dig out those boxes of Christmas lights from the attic and make this year's Christmas merry and BRIGHT!

If you're looking for more holiday decorating ideas, pay a visit to I guarantee you'll find something that strikes your fancy.

In the above picture, I'm guessing the canopy tent is where the manger scene is set-up. The homeowners didn't want Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be out in the rain or snow. It just wouldn't be right.

The house with all the lights.... again, I'm just guessing, but I bet there were no lights left at the local Wal-mart after this homeowner left the store. Thankfully, none of these homeowners are my neighbors! In fact, these pictures inspire me. Not to decorate, but to send a wonderful gift to my neighbors for NOT decorating.

Sure hope all of you are making time to enjoy this joyous holiday season.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bath Salt Sundae... a great holiday gift

Instead of an ice cream sundae, how about a bath salt sundae? This is a great project to do with kids.

Here's what you'll need:

1) Ice cream sundae dish. I suggest checking Dollar stores and restaurant supply stores in your area.

3) Nylon Bath Puff

4) Sea Salt Colorants (if desired)

5) Fragrance Oil (if desired)

6) Plastic sundae spoon. Check out your local ice cream shops.

Color and scent the salts. If you want to get creative, you can layer the salts in different colors. Place the sundae spoon into the dish and then add salts. Finish off your soap sundae by attaching a bath puff to the salts. You can use a glue gun or drizzle some melt and pour soap over the top of the bath puff allowing the soap to seep down in th salts so that it seats the puff. Top off the salt sundae with a red cherrie made from soap or a red bath bead.

Use the spoon to sprinkle salts into your next bath. You'll be saying Ooohh-la-la the next time you soak in the tub.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Words from a daughter...slow down, enjoy life

My daughter is pregnant with her 3rd child, working on her Master's Thesis, cares for 2 children under 4, and works full-time as an educational Title One Director. She does all this while her husband works 12 hours away and is only home a few days out of the week. And I think I'm stressed.

This morning, I received the following message in my email box:


I know I am the last person who should be telling you not to stress about work. That is the pot calling the kettle black. But, I think that both of us need to learn to slow down and enjoy life a bit more. I printed this and have taped sections of it to the wall in my office and on my mirror at home as a reminder that life is short, money will come and go, and stress is not worth it. Thank you very much for all your help this weekend. I like coming home. Love always"

I have no idea who should receive credit for this, but it sure made my day. Hope it uplifts and sheds new perspective on what's really important in life.

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, I'll have to call an ambulance."

"In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."


1) Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

2) Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

3) If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

4) It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

5) Never buy a car you can't push.

6) Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

10) Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11) Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12) The second mouse gets the cheese.

13) When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14) You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

15) We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

As we move into this busy holiday season, may we all take time to put down our burdens, slow down, and enjoy life. Remember, the truly happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yep, Over 200 Nutcrackers!

Many years ago my husand and I had New Year's Eve dinner at a posh restaurant in the Greater Detroit area called the Lark. While dining, my eyes were drawn to a collection of Nutcrackers that adorned a mammoth stone fireplace. It envisioned every child's Christmas dream. It was at that moment I knew I must possess a Nutcracker collection just like it.

I certainly succeeded and have far surpassed it. I now own over 200 plus nutcrackers ranging in size from 6 foot to miniature ones that hold guest place cards. There are animated and musical nutcrackers, expensive Steinbach's from Germay (compliments of my brother-in-law who is a physican that practiced in Germany for a number of years) and a good number of cheap charlies. When you walk into our home at Christmas, it is apparant that I've became obsessive about the collection. My original plan was to collect enough nutcrackers to decorate my fireplace mantel. The collection outgrew the mantel years ago and now fills every room of the house.

The grand kid's love Christmas as NeeNee and Poppy's. The minute they walk through the door, they are in Christmas wonderland. My heart leaps as they run from room to room moving the nutcrackers mouths , giving sighs of oooohhhh and ahhhh as they wind up the musical ones, and seeing the overall joy they express at the wonder of the season.

This week marks official Nutcracker week at my house. It's the week we bring down all of the nutcrackers from the attic, unpack them, repair as needed and meticulously place them in their chosen locations. I love it! The down side....packing them all away. Every year I say this is the last time I'm displaying nutcrackers. Every year, I continue to do it. Maybe I'll stick to my guns once the grand kids are grown. For now, I couldn't bear to disappoint them.

And the winner is.....

Congratulations to Lesha Anderson of Indiana the winner of our recent soap giveaway. Lesha will receive 6 beautiful handcrafted soaps from Soaps are crafted from a select group of Mold Market soap molds.

We have pictured the soaps that will be included in Lesha's gift box.... snail, honey bee, flower watering can, maple leaf, playing card, Christmas candle. All of these molds are available at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Saving Lifes with Soap

I opened my email box today to find this uplifting note from a customer. It was a wonderful start to my day. One of my long-time customers shared this....

"Hi Denise,

Joseph and I just wanted to share a great story with you, and you can post this on your website if you wish. It is so cool.

We ordered five of your Mold Market breast cancer awareness molds back in September since we met a radiologist from a local hospital in our area who was looking for a way to get women to come to the hospital to get their mammograms and bone densitometry tests. Joseph and I thought taking your mold, making it in light pink and unscented (since many of the ladies would not care for scent) would be a great incentive. We approached the radiologist who went to her higher up at the hospital, and flyers went out that this free gift would be given to women on October 21, 2007. Well, to say the least, the women flocked in and they had 200 tests performed that day! We thank Go Planet Earth for providing us with the catalyst for not only a great idea, but a helpful one that may have actually saved lives."

Jayne and Joseph in California

Most of us have family or friends who are battling or have died from cancer-related diseases. I hope this post will encourage you to begin a crusade within your own community to raise cancer awareness. Let's all do what we can to promote mammogram testing, smoking cessation programs, annual colonoscopys, prostate testing, and any other educational programs that help prolong life and identify the risks associated with cancer.

I've mentioned in a number of posts that my Dad is battling prostate cancer. It is stage IV and has metastized to the bone and bladder. In this same year, I've witnessed the horrific effects of cancer with a number of other family members and close friends. Some did not survive. Cancer is no respecter of persons or age. We are all at risk even with a healthy lifestyle. My Dad bears witness to this.

I applaud Jayne and Joseph for the dedication and unpaid work in donating soaps to save lives!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ten Pointers for Thinking Outside the Box

Most of us tend to follow conventional wisdom and to think in routine ways when problem solving or investigating new ideas outside our comfort zone. Thinking outside the box can be a daunting task. It forces us to let go of preconceived notions of what an idea or solution should be and expand on the possibilities. It means asking what if and assuming the absurd. When we do, the sky is no longer the limit and we begin to develop a product that is better, more creative, and beyond our wildest dreams.

Here are ten pointers I've found helpful for “out of the box” thinking….

1) Look for opportunities that others miss.

2) The more diverse your experiences, the bigger your box will become.

3) Build your creativity on collective interaction. Seek out the perspective of many people. When everyone overlaps their boxes, incredible ideas can emerge.

4) Don’t be afraid to fail, think of it as a learning tool.

5) Deliberately explore the absurd and unusual to inspire new ideas and concepts.

6) Be open to new ways of looking at things.

7) Understand that sometimes expertise in an area can hinder creativity because it fixates us on a certain line of thought. Work to eliminate barriers that result from preconceived notions of what the idea should be. Take a leap of faith and test assumptions so that you can expand on the possibilities.

8) Be willing to face ridicule from people who cannot see things from a new perspective.

9) Understand that creativity is defiance from past experiences and procedures. Keep in mind that there is more than one way to cut a cake, peel a potato, or decorate a Christmas tree.

10) Embrace the concept that you can take any idea or product and make into something new.

I hope this post inspires you to take your ideas, turn them around, inside out, upside down, and back to front to see what happens.

As always, I wish each of you much success in your soap making ventures.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Soap making....thinking outside the box

I've always admired people that think outside the box. They inspire, get the creative juices flowing, and motivate me to try new soaping ideas. Midohana is a one of those "think outside the box" people. Not only are these sushi soaps "way cool", the bento box used to package the soaps are often recycled (clean and sanatized, of course).

What a great Christmas gift. A bento box filled with a delightful assortment of sushi soaps. One of the sushi soap assortments even includes a set of chopsticks all nestled on a bed of raffia. All are very affordable gifts ranging from $6.50 for the mini sushi gift pack to $18.50 for the deluxe assortment (shown below).

Are you a "think outside the box" person? My next post will expand on the attributes and characteristics of individuals who find more ways than one to skin a potato, or should I say make soap.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Interview with Soap Maker, Paula Kates AND a FREE soap giveaway!!!

I recently interviewed Paula Kates from I’ve personally seen Paula’s work and sampled the end product. Without reservation, I recommend her soaps as gifts for holiday gift giving. In fact, I’ll be placing my holiday order with her very soon.

I hope you take time to read the interview as it provides some great soaping tips.

Also, be sure to register for GoPlanetEarth’s FREE soap giveaway (a $42.00 value AND we pay shipping). One lucky winner will receive (6) decorative and deliciously fragranced soaps handcrafted by Paula using Mold Market molds. Winner’s name will be posted November 15, 2007 on Denise’s Yadda Yadda blog.

*CLICK HERE to register for the soap giveaway (no purchase necessary).


Denise: What prompted your interest in melt and pour soap making?

Paula: My partner Jan has always been a lover of the highest quality exotic soaps from around the world (which is pretty neat since he competes in strongman competitions, you know where they pull airplanes, carry refrigerators and lift cars etc.) So up until 2003 we were buying fancy soaps from a bunch of different places. Then one of my best friends who I play scrabble with almost daily told me how he was going to make M&P soaps for holiday gifts! It didn't phase me at first because I thought, right, he's an astrophysicist; I'm sure it won't seem difficult for him. Well after he showed me a picture of his first batch and I had to ask him all about it. He said it couldn't be easier and the clincher for me was when he said "clean up's a breeze!" I found that I could completely control the ingredients, fragrance and look of the soap. I was ready to sample and test bases, colorants and fragrances until I found ingredients that matched my desire to remain as close to nature as possible and for overall excellence.

Denise: When you make a bar of soap, it looks like a work of art. It’s truly amazing. How long did it take you to develop the technique you use for multiple colored pours?

Paula: I started just making plain slabs of solid colored quality soap with amazing fragrances then stamping a design on the top of each bar. Then every night I went to bed I'd think "I bet I could do x, y & z" then the next morning I'd try something like layering a soap with 3 colors. Then I'd go to be thinking if I can lay down 3 layers I could do 2 clear layers and anything I want in the middle (like I could stamp out soaps with cookie cutters and put a bear and a tree in the middle of clear layers). I always wanted the best so I wanted the image to last which embedding is perfect for. Then I started to find chocolate molds that I could paint and embed in the soap. At first, I tried soap paints but they were so frustrating to work with and the whole pot would turn to rock after 2-3 uses, anyway that wasn't the kind of stuff I really wanted to be putting in my soap. So I thought I'm using these basic pigments, mica's and clays to color the soap, why not try painting the soap embeds with a straight concentrated form of the pigments. Well it worked perfectly, however you need to lay down 3 layers of each color and dry for 3 days. LOTS of work, but really worth it for things like the Designer Easter egg embeds.

I then remembered seeing some super beautiful soap molds, the surface of which was 3D and if I could get colored soap in those depressions rather than a light coat of pigment on the surface they might hold their image longer. So I started experimenting with small little batches of colored & scented soaps (those that would compliment each other) and the real trick came in trying to figure out how to get the hair of a woman to be distinct from the color of her face. As soon as I knew it was possible I wasn't gonna stop 'til I'd found or made all the right tools to master this technique.

Denise: I know you teach workshops on advanced soap making skills. Are you willing to share a tip or two about working with multiple color pours?

Paula: Sure. I actually have a basic hand out I give to my students so they can avoid most of the disasters I've encountered through the years. For example: never pour a layer of M&P on a 2nd layer until it is fully set (hardened), then sprits the surface with rubbing alcohol or the layers will NOT bond (and who wants to spend hours making an American flag that falls apart when you pick it up)? If you are pouring a mold with a 3D surface, start filling in your colors the lowest depression. If you want a top color to look gold and you have darker colors to be poured on top of that gold, you must first add a thin layer of white to cover the gold after it's set or your gold will come out looking green. This is a rule anytime you want to retain a true color and keep it distinct from the additional layers.

Denise: Mold Market is a major USA mold producer. This company showcases many of your finished soaps. What top 3 Mold Market molds would you recommend for someone just learning melt and pour?

Paula: Good Question....GoPlanetEarth actually stocks the new
Starfish Mold. That would be ideal for just training the brain to pour one color carefully into the starfish (without over pouring) and then spritzing with alcohol immediately before the next layer/color is added. It's also good for learning how to clean up any over pours. If you've filled the starfish too full, don't worry, just let it harden and hold it to the light and trim any excess soap away from the starfish. It will look as good as if you never did the over pour.

Another mold that's good for beginners is the snowflake. The indentations for the snowflake aren't very deep so it requires learning another trick or two. Before you try to give the etchings of the snowflake their distinct color, spritz with alcohol. When you're using that little bit of soap you want to keep it free flowing into the crevices so spritz pour enough to fill the crevices of the design. Wait 'til those harden then take a plastic scraping tool (spatula) and gently scrape away until any over pour is cleaned up; spritz with alcohol and pour in the base color. Make sure your base color isn't too hot as to melt the thin layer of snowflake (I dip my pinkie into the base and if it's not too warm to hold my finger in there for 4 seconds it's not too warm to pour.)

The Water Conch would be my next suggestion. Those etchings are deeper but they are also at an angle so pouring the contrasting color into the edge design must be done with greater control. Over the years I've discovered and developed the perfect tools for doing all of this with the least amount of overflow and cleanup between layers. The kit is available on my web site.

Denise: What business advice and encouragement can you offer to someone just starting out in the soap making business?

Paula: Wow, if your aim is to make money and put food on the table. I can't suggest doing what I do. It can take hours just to make a dozen soaps. Don't get me wrong I LOVE it and would never do it any other way, but I also want the best ingredients and they cost and arm and a leg. You can make money making soap and you can do it with great ingredients, but then you're talking about being able to make batches of 2100 in a day rather than 18 in a day (which is about the most I can make in a day). Look into CP soap making and make sure you wouldn't rather do that and make a living. If you decide you want to do your soap PJ Soaps style, you can pay for your supplies but there isn't a lot left over. I know if I land a few B&B's as a base for regular income I will be able to do this for a living. But as of now, for me it's a beloved art driven by the will to master the art & craft.

Denise: You seem diligent about working with inorganic pigments such as mineral/oxides and ultramarines. What’s your voice about color choices?

Paula: I regard them as "closer to nature" in that they either originate from rock, minerals or clays or they are created to mimic same (although they have all been processed to remove impurities such as lead and other heavy metals). They also do NOT bleed which is essential for what I do. They don't stain hands, clothing or surfaces they all rinse off with water. They do have a drawback and that is you get a limited range of colors.

Denise: How long does it take you to handcraft a bar of soap… for example, the Christmas Candle Stick or Star Santa molds from the Mold Market collection?

Paula: With the proper tools I could make a batch of each (3&3) of the details in 2 hours, at which point they need to sit unmoved for another two hours and move to a cool place 'til they are ready to unmold 4ish hours later or often over night.

Denise: You recently took 1st place for the most artistic soap at the 2007 ISOCAN convention (Illinois soap and candle conference) using the Mold Market Bass mold. What a great honor. What are your thoughts on winning?

Paula: It really meant the world to me to be judged by people who actually make soap themselves and to win. M&P soaping hasn't really gotten a lot of respect over the years and understandably so, given how easy and almost fool-proof it is. But finding a top of the line soap base, colorants and FO's or EO's and then making an art of it is really fairly new. So my guess is that got me the award more than anything, bringing something new to the process.

Denise: Soap making is becoming increasingly competitive. What “how-to” suggestions or advice can you offer to new soap makers on marketing their business?

Paula: If you love and believe in your product and the ingredients you put in them, and would bathe your own sensitive skin baby in it with confidence, the sky is the limit. Seriously. I am not afraid to contact 5 star hotels or sell soaps to people with sensitive skin. All they have to do is try the product and it simply sells itself. Sometimes just the look or smell of the bar sells it, but that's the great irony. The quality of the soap is so high that it would a crime to have it sit there forever looking pretty and not be used. My suggestion to the shops I sell at is to tell customers to do what I do. I put a fancy bar on my sink for a few days until it stops looking fancy then it goes into the shower for the best shower EVER. I also remind the shops that the soaps have about a 1 year shelf life before they will start to lose their look. My soaps are very high in glycerine so they are very soft and can sweat in humidity. Just be upfront about all of it and try not to get lazy about posting positive feedback on your site. (I got busy and skipped a few months and have to go back and fill those in) .

Friday, October 26, 2007

Environmental Packaging Concerns

This past week I received a customer email from Amanda about the use of Styrofoam packing peanuts....

"Dear Denise,

I received my package in good condition. I was disheartened to see the Styrofoam peanuts in the package as well. I ordered from your company understanding that it was an environmentally-conscious company.... Please consider switching to other earth-friendly shipping materials, such as biodegradable peanuts. Also, would it be possible to return the "melt and pour containers" for refills, instead of chucking them in the garbage?"

My Response:

Thank you Amanda for your concern and for taking the time to write us.

Without some sort of support, product can get bruised and broken during shipping. To provide that support, we often use Styrofoam packing “peanuts.” GoPlanetEarth has tried (and is always searching) to find better packaging solutions. We have tried using a puffed cellulose product that was indeed biodegradable. It was so biodegradable that any kind of moisture melted the puffs, leaving the product unprotected and the package contents spotted with "melted" cellulose peanuts.

We do care very much about the environment, and are constantly looking for creative ways to deliver quality products undamaged by shipping. Keep in mind that you can recycle these packing peanuts. You can take them to your local UPS Store, or go to Earth 911, type in your zip code, and check out the other drop-off locations.

We also use recycled Kraft paper and recycled corrugated boxes for packing. However, paper product also raises other environmental concerns such as the harvesting of trees to produce this paper product. We have used the air-filled plastic bags. They took up so much space in a carton that we were shipping two cartons when one would have been adequate. Customers didn't appreciate the added cost of a second carton.

We strive to be a paperless company. Customer sales receipts and packing lists are sent via email. Transmitting this data electronically limits the consumption of printer ink (which is extremely difficult to recycle) and minimizes the use of paper based materials which thereby reduces garbage.

Concerning MP plastic containers. These containers can be recycled locally at your nearest recycling center or with refuse companies offering recycling options. The cost of returning the containers and the energy used to re-melt soap base outweighs the cost of recycling the plastic. You might consider using the plastic containers for storage. Since the soap base it contains is unscented/uncolored, the containers could be washed and used to store left-over food product.

Certainly we are advocates of recycling. Unfortunately, the cost of bio-degradable packaging is still higher than traditional options and most consumers are not willing to pay extra for the use of eco-friendly alternatives. Even then, when it comes to shipping a package safely, those alternatives are limited.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's all the chatter about felted soap?

There has been a recent revival in the craft of felting around a bar of soap. The process involves matting and pressing together wool fibers using heat and water which creates a dense fabric that encases a bar of soap. The felted fibers act as a washcloth that gently exfoliates as it cleans. Merino is the wool of choice when felting soap. Two ounces of wool fiber will easily cover four normal sized soap bars. The felted soaps pictured (above) were created by Trinity. Note the use of different colored fibers which lend themselves to unique patterns and textures.

Felting is not difficult. If you're interested in learning the basics, I suggest watching this video
on how to felt soap by Suzanna Anna. An sample of one of her felted soaps is shown below. The lime green, hot pink, and orange fibers work together brillantly.

Felted soaps make great Christmas and housewarming gifts. The cost to make is relatively low and it's something you can do with the kids (or grandkids, in my case!). I have ordered some colorful fibers and plan to spend a weekend making felted soaps for all the ladies in my "breakfast club". It should be fun. If I'm successful, I will post photos of the finished soaps.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chalk art like you've never seen!

Earlier this week, I made a post about how to make chalk using soap molds. If you're not sure what to do with your homemade chalk let these photos serve as inspiration. Sidewalk artist, Julian Beever, uses pavement as his canvas. His chalk drawings are amazing examples of 3-D illusions. I hope that within my lifetime, I have the opportunity to see his work up close and personal. It's beyond remarkable.

The photo of the lady in the swimming pool is so lifelike when seen from one side. Take a look at what the drawing actually looks like when viewed from the opposite side. Keep in mind that the guy holding the pop can has both feet flat on the pavement. The chalk drawing gives the illusion that he is stepping into the pool.

These last two photos were two of my favorites. The detail is incredible and if you look closely, you can see the lines in the concrete blocks of the sidewalk. There are certainly some clever, artistic people in this world. I'm not one of them, but I can sure appreciate the talent.

Hope you enjoy these pieces of pavement art as much as I did!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bunco. An old person's game? I say, nonsense!

I recently hosted a wine tasting and h'orderve party for a group of friends. All were woman between the ages of 30 and 60. At some point in the evening the subject of "Bunco" was brought into the conversation. I know a number of women who participate in Bunco" groups and have been excited about starting one with some of my close friends. For those of you who don't know, Bunco is a popular "Ladies Night Out" social interaction dice game that has been around for years. Bunco is typically hosted at a house party with an average of 12 players attending.

A good number of the ladies at my party were thrilled with the idea of a monthly Bunco party. However, there were a couple of ladies who called it "an old persons game" and wanted no part. I was actually surprised that someone would put this type of label on Bunco. Come 'on, how can you possibly place Bunco into a select age group? Bunco lets you to....

1) socialize with good friends,

2) leave cares, worries, and kids behind (with dads and baby-sitters)

3) snack on M& M's. Chex-mix, or anything else that's not on your diet plan

4) sip on wine, guzzle soft drinks, and eat appetizers with total disregard of calorie intake

5) talk with friends about anything that tickles your fancy, inlcluding husbands, kids, movies, TV shows, and anyone who doesn't show up

6) play a silly, mindless dice game with wild abandon and laugh until you almost pee your pants

Needless to say, I've totally ignored those who diss Bunco and ordered the official game with plans to start a monthly Bunco party. I'd sure love to receive tips and comments about the game. If you belong to a Bunco group, please post anything you believe would be helpful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Make sidewalk chalk with soap molds

Looking for another use for your collection of soap molds? Use them to make snazzy looking sidewalk chalk. Who said chalk had to be tube shaped?

There are a number of fun shapes that are ideal for chalk. I've listed a few of my favorites along with a easy to make chalk recipe. Colorful shaped chalks make great birthday party favors for kids. It's also a simple enough project for teachers to do with younger students in the classroom and mom's to do at home.

Here are a few of my favorite molds to use.

Flip Flop
Flower Power

Chalk Recipe:

  1. 1 cup plaster paris

  2. 1/2 cup cold water

  3. tempra paints or neon gel colors

  4. molds

Combine all ingredients. Color with paints keeping in mind that the amount of paint used will determine the intensity of the chalk color. Pour the mixture into molds. Let dry.