Monday, April 30, 2012

Finally...the Wheatgrass Soap

Finally had a moment to work with the wheatgrass I grew at Easter. I cut back the grass last week and new sprouts are already popping up. Yippee, I am going to have a whole new crop. I dried the cut grass in the microwave on a defrost setting. If you have a "Melt" setting, use the one for butter, that will also work. Spread a handful of the cut grass onto paper towel and place in microwave. Use short bursts of heat (which is why I recommend the defrost of melt settings. You're not trying to cook the grass, just dry it.

I experimented with three different designs. The soap pictured (R) was made by pouring a small layer of clear soap into the mold. Let the layer set up for about 30-45 seconds and then place strands of the wheatgrass on top of the clear soap. Pour another very thin layer of clear soap to seal the grass in place. A second layer of white soap was then poured, followed by a layer of grass green. Chopped grass was added to the grass green pour. A final layer of white completed the bar of soap.

The soap pictured center was poured in clear layers. Random strands of wheatgrass were added to each layer. The final soap (left) started with a clear pour. I let the soap set up slightly and added chopped grass and did a thin overpour of clear soap. The balance of the mold was filled with white soap. Bamboo & Hemp fragrance was used for all the soaps. The fragrance was a perfect fit.

I leave for a short retreat in the sun at week's end. When I return, I will post a brief tutorial with pictures on how to make these soaps. I'm also working on a packaging idea to complement the grass theme.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Camouflauge Fun

My grand son, Carson, is celebrating his ninth birthday in May. He opted to have his party at my house because..."NeeNee always plans fun stuff". I was flattered, but the event involves a camp out in the back yard along with a scavenger hunt, sack race, marshmallow toss and camp fire with popcorn. My OCD personality always makes it over the top, and I didn't disappoint. Hmmm... wonder why laundry is never done. I'm a confirmed nut case, but harmless and fun loving!

There are imprinted dog tags for each soldier. Goodie bags include binoculars, head lamps, canteens, camouflage bandannas, face paint, survival whistles..... you know, everything you need for a back yard camp out (NOT!). Geez, I even created a scavenger map that matches the layout of our backyard. It's pretty neat, in my opinion. My grandson has no concept of how much time, energy and funds have gone into planning this event, but his excitement makes it all worthwhile.

The invite is a twine lanyard with party info and camping admittance tickets secured with loose leaf book ring binders. Dinner and breakfast "Camp Grub" menus are also attached to the invite. The invitees will bring their invite/tickets to the party to cash in for prizes throughout the evening. Thankfully, there are only 4-5 boys coming to the party, otherwise, I might have to forfeit a paycheck to cover the cost.

In preparing for the party, my mind raced with soaping ideas (as usual). Next week, I will be showcasing camouflage soaps along with packaging tips. If all goes well, those soaps will be included in the goodie bags for the birthday camp out.

The Scavenger Hunt Map
 I leave for a mini-trip to Florida the first part of May (hello sunshine). Once I return, I will put together a complete birthday party packet for this Camouflage Fun party including soap instructions. I have plenty of packaging ideas racing around in my head.

The Spin to Win Camouflauge wheel will be used for dollar store prizes. Hoping for nice weather. One never knows in Michigan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oops, I Overheated the Soap

Here's a sampling of some of the soaps being displayed at the 2012 Soap Guild Conference. Mold Market has two vendor table at the event and my assistant, Kristy, has been pouring soap samples for their table display.

There was one soap mold in particular I wanted her to use. It's our best seller Tray Mold #079. Her intent was to use small chunks of colored soap and then over pour with clear soap. She got a little anxious (bet you've never done that :) and the over pour was too hot and melted the embeds. Her final soap looked like this:

Instead of colorful embedded soap chunks, she ended up with a melted tye-dye look. The extreme heat caused three things to happen.

  1. The intense heat scorched the soap and affected the opacity. Overheating melt and pour soap (especially clear) will cause the soap to have a yellowish tint.
  2. Overheating soap will also burn off the fragrance. The intensity and aroma of the scent dissipates under extreme heat.
  3. Pouring hot soap will warp a plastic mold. That's what happened in this case. The mold was discarded because it bowed under the extreme heat.
I point out this faux pas because those new to soap making often overheat MP soap. The excessive heat warps the mold and they believe the mold to be defective (or question why the soap is no longer clear).

It was a lesson learned for Kristy. Unfortunately, it cost us 2 pounds of soap, fragrance, colorant and a mold. A new or small business can't afford these costly errors. I know because I've been there. The soap is usable, but certainly not saleable quality.

Melt and pour soap should be heated to no more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If doing an over pour, I recommend 132 to 135 degrees. No thermometer? Then do a pinkie test. Dip your pinkie finger in the melted soap. If it's too hot to keep your finger in the soap, then it's too hot to pour.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

We've Got Grass Baby!! Day 7

Look at those awesome looking containers of wheat grass. I'm so excited that the seedlings have grown to a reasonable size. Will post pics of the final table setting for the Sunday Easter dinner.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Chole's Easter Gift

Chloe loved her gift. The sweet voice of an eight year old expressing her thanks was a reminder that there are plenty of kids that appreciate the small things you do for them.

This is a follow up to a prior post!

Celebrating Easter: My Take

I gave one of my workers the templates to make this gift wrap bunny project for a special child. Tucked inside the box are all kinds of Easter goodies. I added some finishing touches to the wrapped box (but failed to take pictures). I have a call out to the honey-man hoping he can snap a few phone shots before delivering.

Oh yah! The Easter eggs are ready to hide. That will happen on Friday. We have 180 eggs and each child will receive a orange bucket to collect their finds. The Golden Eggs (there are 12 of them) are worth $5 or $3. Some colored eggs are worth coins, others can be cashed in for candy. The grand kids nanny will be scouting out the hiding places and make sure we are good to go.

Easter baskets are stuffed and ready for delivery by Peter Cottontail. Hoping it doesn't rain as our Easter event is an outdoor event. The Bunny Hop bags housing the yellow tubs will be used for a relay obstacle course race.

The wheel is ready for spinning. Once eggs are collected (kids have 20 minutes to collect eggs), they spin the wheel and cash in for candy or money. Each child gets 8 spins.We are going to put a bunny face on the center of the wheel.

Face painting and canvas painting is also on the Easter Brunch agenda. But, the biggest celebration is my faith. The Easter celebration at our church is so large (we normally host 3 Sunday services), we gather in the gym at a local high school.

Wheat Grass (Day Five)

Cha Ching!! I do believe I will have wheat grass for my soaps. Look at those sprouts shooting up from the soil. Unfortunately, my honey-man was not impressed and showed no interest in my green thumb project. No wheat grass soap for him.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Business Shout Out

I was delighted to find a tutorial posted on SisterStuff.blogspot on how to use GoPlanet's popsicle mold. Carrie from greenbeans craftterole was a special guest on the SisterStuff blog. A big thank you to sisters Alish and Whitney for sharing the how-to. And an even bigger thanks to Carrie for the great tutorial filled with wonderful pictures that are easy to follow.

Here is a list of ingredients needed for this project:

Back in 2008, I posted a video tutorial on making these soaps. It demonstrates   fudgesicle and raspberry drizzle soaps. The raspberry drizzle soap is poured in layers which is helpful if you want to learn how to pour in varying colors.

The link for the tutorial video is found here. I sure hope you take a moment to visit the two blog sites mentioned above. They have some really awesome craft ideas that are inspiring and unique.

Growing Wheat Grass (Day Four)

I'm doing a happy dance this morning. Sprouts have appeared and I do believe I'm going to have Easter wheat grass. I just have to remember to spray the seedling every with water. That's one of the reason I've never had house plants. The poor things died from thirst. Keeping my fingers crossed these little guys live at least through Easter, so I can make my wheat grass soaps.

The big empty spot is where I will place a glass vase filled with decorative eggs and fresh daffodils (I hope!)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Yay, Wheat Grass is Sprouting!

At 5:30 AM I checked on my little wheat grass seedlings to see if they were making progress. Low and behold, there were root sprouts popping out from each little guy. The dirt and seeds had conceived and the birthing process had begun. Now, let's see if the conception produces some healthy green babies (and lots of them!).

I'm a goofy chick, for sure, but things like this excite me so bear with me through my wheat grass evolution of growth. Unfortunatelyy, my husband had to share that they were selling flats of wheat grass at the grocery store that were 4-5 inches in height. Leave it to a man to point out the obvious. I'm not letting it burst my bubble about green thumbing it.

I will remain positive and assume my wheat grass will outshine that of my local grocery store. Hoping to see some green by Wednesday. Stay tuned (and in my cheering section).