Sunday, July 29, 2012

Melt & Pour Soap: Slider Burgers & Fries Tutorial

Melt & Pour Soap: Slider Burgers and Fries Tutorial

OK, Maria... this post on "how-to" to make the slider Burgers & Fries soap is for you. Below are the notes we have on file.

  • Clear soap colored with Flower Child Yellow Submarine color
  • Partially fill the square cavity of the basic shape mold
  • Clear soap colored with neon red
  • Partially fill the round cavity of the basic shape mold
  • There are a couple of options. You can use clear soap and color it with neon green and Groovy Green flower child colors (mix to desired color). Or, you can use clear soap, add a small amount (about 10%) of white soap base. The addition of the white base will help soften the green color for a more "lettuce-like" color.
  • Partially fill the square cavity of the basic shape mold
  • Clear soap with a small amount of white base added. Color with yellow oxide (very small amount) and Flower Child Yellow Submarine colorant. You will have to eyeball the color. Start with small amounts of color, a drop or two, until desired color is achieved.
  • Use wavy soap cutter to cut the fries.
  • Pour colored soap into a jelly roll pan. Let soap set up, then cut fries to size.
  • Melt clear soap base and drizzle between each layer of the burger. The soap will harden and keep the burger layers in place.
  • Want ketchup with your fries. No problem. Melt clear soap and add a small amount of tomato red. Pour soap into a condiment cup.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Melt & Pour: Summer Soap Camp

Granola Bar Melt & Pour Soaps

Every summer I have a few workers graduating from college. It's both joyful and sad as they move forward in their career path. We are like a family at GoPlanet, so when someone leaves us, there are tears. As we wipe the tears, we welcome our new replacement workers into the fold.

Part of their initiation rite is learning to make soap. We call it our Summer Soap Camp. I'm a firm believer employees must be equipped with knowledge to provide great service. Summer Soap Camp helps acquaint new workers with the business they represent.

Day One: Basic soap making techniques are demonstrated. This includes how to melt, color and scent melt and pour soap. Opacity is discussed and how it affects color outcome.

Day Two & Three: Three easy dual pour projects using Mold Market's Soft Serve Ice Cream mold (#239), Funky Flower (#267) mold and Button mold (#265). Pouring dual colors, monitoring pouring temps, demonstration on injector soap tool and importance of using rubbing alcohol to promote adhesion.

Day Four: More complex use of the injector tool for beginning soap makers. This included pouring a grape cluster soap. An introduction to pouring loaf soaps with embeds was also on the agenda.

Our GoPlanetEarth newbies had no problem grasping the techniques presented at each session. Everyone showed great enthusiasm and caught on easily to multiple color pours. At the end of day four, they were hooked on soaping.

Day Five: This was the final session allowed everyone to "create your own" soap. Two soaps that stood out were the granola bars and embedded loaf. These were rather advanced soaping projects for beginners, but the outcome was awesome.

Gabby's loaf mold was a partial success. It was a learning curve in the importance of pouring layers at the right temperature to ensure the each layer adheres. When the loaf was released from the mold and sliced, several slices separated.

I was impressed that she carefully monitored her pouring temps and none of the embeds had a melt-down. That alone is quite an accomplishment.

Chelsea's granola bars were quite impressive. I will be posting a future tutorial on how to make these yummy smelling bars.

It's been a fun week training staff. The excitment displayed when the finished soap is released from the mold reminds me why I love this business.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Coloring Queen Anne's Lace Flowers

How to Color Queen Anne's Lace Flowers

The whole state of Michigan, as well as 60% of the US, is suffering extreme drought this summer. Queen Anne's Lace is one of the few flowers thriving in the heat. It's considered a wild flower but, surprisingly it's a direct relative of the carrots we eat today. In Michigan, it is commonly found in dry fields or along road sides. Most of us never give it the time of day. However, the delicate lacy blooms are a coveted filler in summer wedding bouquets.

One of my staff members is getting married next month. It's a casual outdoor setting and she asked for help decorating the reception tables. Queen Anne's Lace seemed the perfect choice since Mother Nature has provided an abundant crop.

The wedding colors are turquoise and coral. Since this flower readily accepts dye, the petals can be color themed to fit any wedding. Here's a pic of the turquoise flowers. I'm experimenting with a coral color this week. I'm excited to see the trio of white, turquoise and coral flowers intermingled within wild greenery.

Coloring Queen Anne's Lace Flowers

The flowers will display in chalkboard graffiti wine bottles with random placement of crystals and jewels to add conserative 'bling'. Fun graffiti plans are in the works for the wedding guests (can't share at this time).

You may purchase the dye to color these flowers at GoPlanetEarth. Mix 2 parts water to one part dye. Allow flower stems to sit in the mixture for 4 hours, then add additional water. Let stems absorb the dyed water overnight. You'll be surprised with the color change after 24 hours.

TIP: Cut the flower stems at an angle before placing the the colored water.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Business 101: Create A Business Plan

My daughter and son-in-law are vacationing in Mexico for their 10-year anniversary. Hence, the "free" babysitters have the grand kids for 8 days. Each day we do a special project. It keeps them occupied and away from electronic devices. Yesterday, our project was robot inspired.

Miss O helped set out project trays and disburse robot parts.

I handled the spray painting and hot glue gun. The first step, and most difficult, was plotting the robot design.

It was intriguing to watch each child explore their options. As you can see, their ideas were all different and unique.

Carson made a TV and remote for his robot. Four year old, Fischer gave his robot a light bulb brain  (he pretends the light bulb glows when the robot is thinking "really hard").

Of course, Miss O designed a Princess Robot in pink and purple colors. I opted for an all silver robot that we call the Techno Robot.

Positioning the robots for a photo shoot, I was reminded of the uniqueness of the human mind. Each of our project trays contained the same parts; yet, each finished robot was distinctly different. The direction each person took to complete the project didn't matter. The bottom line was they finished.

In the early years of starting an online business, I was a "newbie" seeking to carve my company's identity. The competition was intimating. Assembling a business plan was not unlike the robot parts. What glue would I need to adhere all the ideas into something functional? If I failed, could my business plan be revised and reassembled?

Current economic woes have forced many into seeking alternative ways of making a viable living. With the growing number of small businesses trying to gain entry into the market, you need a plan. Especially if the Internet is your major marketing avenue. My next blog post will be address how to create a realistic business plan for success.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Blacktop at Warehouse

There has been plenty of heavy equipment hanging out with us the last few days. These guys are digging up, replacing and resurfacing the current blacktop at our warehouse. Gotta love 'em as it's in the upper 80's.

The guys told me I could post a picture as long as it wasn't on Face book. I promised it would only be on my blog.

Accolades to these hard working men! If you think you have a difficult job, think twice. Most of us aren't pouring black top in excessive temperatures. The temperature of heated black top is around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thank you Black & White Paving for a great job! Our delivery drivers and employees will appreciate the newly paved area.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Fortune Cookie Wedding Favor

Fortune Cookie Wedding Favor Soaps

The last few weeks, I've been brainstorming about wedding favors. GoPlanetEarth is gifting wedding favors to one of  our long time workers, Kaylee. She been with us for seven years and is tying the knot in August. Her wedding colors are turquoise and coral. I love the bright color combo.

The final (Kaylee approved) favor is pictured. The coral ribbon was shipped from Hong Kong. Yes, that's correct... Hong Kong! I needed just the right coral color, so I jumped on Ebay and found the perfect match.  Bulk chopsticks and turquoise take-out boxes are enroute.

I designed the round monogram seal and seating placement card in MS Publisher. A personalized fortune cookie is tucked inside each box. Kaylee is foregoing seating assignments, so I will be revising the favor card. In place of the guest name and table, there will be a message for each guest to do a "fill in the blank" fortune for the wedding couple. Guests slide the card from the chopsticks, fill in a message and drop card in a fortune cookie shaped box. How fun!

Fortune Cookie Wedding Favors

Place 2-3  fortune soaps in each box (heat-seal them in a poly type bag before placing in the box). Consider dipping cookie soaps in colored soap base and embellishing with sprinkles. The packaging design pictured might include coral colored soaps dipped in a turquoise color and dressed with white sprinkles, or vice versa.

Let your imagination run wild! There are so many color combinations you can use.
Checkout GoPlanet's printable fortune cookie sayings.

Chocolate drizzled fortune cookie soap favors.