Friday, July 27, 2007

Scrum-dilly-ious Works of Art

Can you believe that these are actually cakes? I was stunned by their beauty. They are all created by artist Shinmin Li who owns I Dream of Cake in San Francisco. I don't think I could bear to cut into one of these signature style masterpieces. It would be akin to taking a knife to a Van Gogh painting.

You might be wondering what one of these stunning cakes will cost. Prices range from $8-25 per serving, depending on size and design and custom cakes start at $350. They come in flavours from chocolate to pumpkin spice.

As I admired these delicious works of art I started wondering if this same artisry could somehow be applied to soap. No doubt it would a daunting task, but I'm convinced it could be done by someone, just not me! I would love to claim that I have risen to this type of artistry in soap, but if challenged, I would fail miserably.

What do you think? Are any of you up to the challenge? I'm thinking that a tiered type soap cake is doable. Hmmm... it's got me thinking. Many of you are pretty talented soapers. What's your thoughts? Some little pea size balls of soap dusted with shimmering mica could be threaded onto fishing line to look like an elegant strand of pearls that drapes over the top of the soap cake. My mind is starting to race with ideas. For now I'll have to sleep on it; but, it's certainly an idea I will revisit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bacon Soap?? Now this is recycling to the extreme!

Bacon Soap I stumbled upon this video the other day. It's amusing and believe it or not, informative in the sense that it does give a generic overview of how CP (cold process) soap is made. I'm not so sure I would ever use "bacon soap", but it's a novel idea. ENJOY!

This link will take you to the step-by-step instruction page and video clip.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Soapmaking Certification Program

The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild (HSMG) recently annouced a soap making certification program to members of the guild. If you are not yet a member of the soap making guild, I encourage you to join. They offer many member benefits including a soapmaker's journal that is published several times a year, product and general liablity insurance at group rates, resource library, online forum to meet and chat with other soapmakers, and many other added benefits and incentives.

I am quite excited about the the certification program as it will promote high standards among handcrafted soap makers and will help to establish an industry wide standard of excellence. Three levels of certification will be offered for both CP/HP soapmaking and MP soapmaking. The levels include

1) general soapmaker level
2) advanced level
3) master level

I've been appointed to serve on the certification steering committee to help establish criteria and test questions for all levels of MP soap making pertaining to formulating techniques. The Soap Guild hopes to begin the first level of testing on October 1, 2007 (cost is $25). The advanced level of certification will be implemented April 2008 (cost is $50), and the master level October 2008 (cost is $75).

For more info about the certification program visit

Back from Vacation

Vacation was over way too soon. It seemed as if we had barely gotten unpacked and it was time to go home. I felt a twinge of sadness as we left our Northern Michigan cottage. The entire week was so restful and being with our kids and grandkids was an absolute delight! I hated to see it all come to an end. The weather was warm, sunny, and the evenings just cool enough to make a bonfire by the lake to toast marshmallows for smores. As you can see by the photo, the sunsets were breathtaking.

We spent a great deal of time on the pontoon boat just cruising the lake, swimming, tubing, and fishing. Our 4-year old grandson, Carson, caught his first fish with his mommy and talked about it for the entire day. Our sweet princess Olivia drove the boat with Poppy, swam in her little pool (which we put on the boat), and was showered with plenty of smooches from NeeNee (that would be me).

My terrific staff held down the fort while I was away. They'll be enjoying some famous fudge and cherries from the Travese City area when they return to work on Monday. It's always crazy the week after a vacation, so please bear with us. Apart from the fact that I've gained another 5 pounds this past week, I am refreshed. Seeing myself photographed in my swimsuit was rather frightening. Gosh darn, it's hard to be trim at this age. Why is it so easy to put on those extra pounds, but to lose them takes double the effort? Anyway, it was a great vacation!

Friday, July 13, 2007


To My Dear Customers,

As of 4 PM, Friday, July 13, 2007 I am on vacation. Our entire staff has worked like crazy to ship orders prior to next week's vacation closure. Every one of my staff members deserve a round of applause for their hard work and extra hours. Feel free to order online while we are away, but with the knowledge that we won't be shipping until we return on July 23.

I must give thanks to so many of my wonderful customers who have emailed with well wishes about this vacation. No doubt, this vacation is long overdue. For those of you who run an online business, you are well aware that it's pretty much a 24x7 job and at times overwhelming. I hope to come back refreshed and ready to give you the same great service you have come to expect.

I will check email (on a limited basis). Many of my customers (God love you!) told me I shouldn't even check mail. If it's something I can fix while away, I will. Otherwise, it will have to wait until I return. I need this time with family and I truly appreciate your understanding (as does the rest of the staff).

I won't be posting on the blog during vacation. I'm hoping that each of you are able to take some time off this summer. Life is short! Enjoy family!!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Do-It-Yourself Romantic Candle Dress Ups

I love candles, but don't want to fuss with making them. I now just purchased ready-made candles and then look for ways to dress them up. Here are a few ideas that I've used (courtesy of Better Homes & Garden) and all cost very little money. Most of these items can be found around your home.

Wrap gold crafts wire around the clear glass candleholders. Wrap and twist the wire freely, or tightly for a wire motif bow. I like to thread a few glass beads through the wire.

For a natural look, use tiny clay flowerpots for holding candles. Add a base of polished rocks and bits of moss, highlighted with a few larger rocks that offer words of congratulations. Use a stencil for the lettering or rub-on letters.

Stand candles in vase and tie with ribbon. Make sure ribbon is well away from flames.

Fill the bottom of a vase or glass container one-third with sand or gravel. Arrange a grouping of dripless taper candles in the sand, allowing the candles to fall playfully to the side, resting on the container edge.

The next time you have a garden or yard party, tea, or special event such as a bridal shower think outside the box. Candles make great centerpieces and generally cost less than floral arrangements. When visiting a second hand shop, the beach, a dollar store... look for containers, elements, and ideas for making unique candle arrangements. Some of my best candle containers have been found at garage sales. Someone elses junk can be your treasure!

Try your hand at soap painting

Mold Market Dragonfly Mold Another new design from Mold Market. Very detailed and deep enough for mulitple color pours (for those of you who are patient and skilled in the process). If you don't feel up to the task, why not try your hand at soap painting.

The dragonfly pictured was painted with our
liquid gel colors using a good quality artist brush (rounded tip). The foliage was painted in Jade green, and the dragonfly is a mixture of neon purple, blessing blue, radiant gold, and copper for the dragonfly tentacles.

When painting soap be sure to lightly dust the face of the soap with cornstarch. Blow off any excess cornstarch. Soap is oily and the colors get stubborn about wanting to stick; the cornstrach helps the paint to adhere better. Make sure to shake the color pots before each use AND allow paint to dry completely before applying a second coat.

Sad, but true, the colors do come off in the first wash. But they still make lovely gifts and it's a fun way to excercise your creative side. Painted soaps should air dry for at least 2-3 days before wrapping. If there's concern about soaps sweating while they dry, place them in a covered container with some uncooked rice. The rice will absorb excess humidity.

Below are examples of other painted soaps. All molds are from the Mold Market Collection.

Mold Market Boo Bar Mold Frog on Lily Pad Mold

Tiki Mold

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

New Mold Designs

Holiday Candle Two new holiday designs were recently released by Mold Market. The Mold Market brand of molds is comprehensive, well made and continue to be our top selling mold line. carries the entire mold collection, which includes a full monogram mold set. In my opinion, Mold Market molds get a thumbs up for quality, value, and selection!

Mid-July is when many of you start gearing up for upcoming fall and holiday craft shows. You'll want to add these two new molds to your holiday line-up. They're in stock and ready to ship!