Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Carrot & Coconut Cream Shampoo Bar

Made another Shampoo Bar, this time with pureed carrots and coconut milk. I kept the oils as simple as possible. I am leaning toward using more and more olive oil in all of my products as that is what this area offers, instead of importing more exotic oils from elsewhere. Well, all of my bars also have Coconut Oil and Castor Oil in them, and most also have Shea Butter as I am in love with Shea Butter. So, I am not giving up importing entirely...!!

This shampoo bar has: Olive, Coconut, Castor, Carrot & Jojoba Oils. The liquid is a 50-50% split carrot purée and Coconut Milk. The essential oils are Bay Laurel, Lavender & Ylang Ylang. Sounds like a beautiful scent combo. Right? Wrong. It is a really odd scent. Not pretty. Won’t do this one again. Oh well, it’s all part of experimenting.

I like the colour. Must come from the carrots and carrot oil although it is not a carrot orange. As you can see, it is more yellowy than orange.

I loved working with the Carrots (first time!!) and coconut cream. The only thing is the soap seems a little dry and bumpy, like this. Do you see what I mean?

I prefer a sleek soap that you just can't stop touching... like my spoon swirl soap...

I love when you slice it and you get that sleek, smooth cut, like Sparklebrooks soaps. I get it more often than not. However, lately I have been getting these odd bumps sometimes. Could it be the climate? Does anyone know why this happens? Somehow I think maybe Guru Cocobong may know...

Also want to take a moment to talk about the “messy swirls” on top. I have had to do these on both of my recent Shampoo bar experiments as the mix got thick real fast.

Although I am a big fan of looking at photos of beautiful swirly-top soaps, when it comes to using a soap or shampoo bar, I much prefer a perfectly smooth bar. I know we all have different priorities in our soap making… some soap makers put scent first, others put appearance first. Our different priorities and focuses is what makes us all so unique!! My main focus, by far, is functionality, feel and result on my skin. So I try to get the tops as smooth as possible now, but when the soap gets thick? I swirl!

Can’t wait to try this one!!


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tierra Verde – Fabulous Soaps

I have been admiring Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps for some time. I go over and over the wonderful photos on the blog http://tierraverdesoaps.blogspot.com/ and on the website http://www.tierraverdesoaps.com/ . They are just my kind of soap… all natural, simple, skin loving, Essential Oil soaps. The packaging is beautifully simple and ecological.

So, recently I got some!! Here is the package I received!!

From left to right - Sweet hand-written card from Michele, Warm Cedar Shaving Round, Orange Honey Drizzle with Oats, a sweet heart sample of Patchouli Vanilla, Creamy Coconut with Lime and Clove.

The truth is I love them all!

As I have yet to perfect a shaving bar, I was most intrigued by the Warm Cedar shaving round... so I tried it first and it is awesome to shave with! I love the scent. Cedarwood with Patchouli... I am a Patchouli addict so I adore this one. Subtle yet lasting.

The bar is hard, the suds are thick and abundant and it makes shaving a treat. It is also the PERFECT size. I have put it into one of my mugs and it fits devinely. I love the thick shaving lather!

Then I went for the heart sample which was luring me, unopened with the patchouli... Great soap, awesome scent and lots of creamy bubbly suds.

Next was Orange Honey Drizzle with Oats – A beautiful bar to look at.

Sleek and hard to hold. Conditioning and lightly exfoliating when using. There is something subtle yet clearly orange about the aroma. Addicting. I keep smelling again. When I use oats, they always turn out harsher in my soaps, but this bar is soft on my skin and the oats are mild. I love it. Currently I have it in my kitchen.

Lastly, Creamy Coconut with Lime and Clove. Another wonderful soap! This one is the creamiest and sudsiest. Nice hard bar, sexy addictive scent, soft on my skin and creamy, silky lather. Love it!!!

All in all, wonderful, beauiful, amazing smelling, all natural soaps.

Thank you Tierra Verde!!!!!!


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Lorca Market on Sunday

Here I am at the market in Lorca on Sunday.

I still have not had a proper cover/ shade/ toldo made for the stand. Just threw a bedspread over it and clipped with clothespegs. I was actually on my way to the seamstress yesterday who will be making the cover when I injured my leg. I am rather incapacitated for a few days (hopefully that is all because I will go CRAZY if I can’t move around). So, I can’t drive and couldn’t make it to the seamstress.

Some other images of my stand on Sunday.

My car with the stand loaded on the roof-rack!

I did want to tell you a little about Lorca though…

Not sure if you all know that there was a bad earthquake there about 1 month ago. Lorca is only 45 minutes from where I live but I didn’t feel the earthquake at all.

Anyway, one thing is to see images on the web or TV but it is another thing entirely to be there and see the devastation caused by the earthquake. There are over 8000 people without homes now because so many of the buildings have been at least partially damaged, cracked and need to be torn down. It felt like a ghost town. So many people have had to leave and look for apartments in the surrounding towns or moved to the country or moved in with friends and/ or family. There is rubble all over the streets, at least after a month they are mostly organized rubble piles now. Here are some images:

This is the rubble behind my stand. To the right, outside of this photo is a school that children can no longer attend because the building suffered damages and is unstable...

I snapped this shot on the way for a coffee from my stand and was later told that it is a mini shrine for 3 men who died in the quake by a piece of falling building...

So why am I writing about this...and posting pictures...? because I am morbid? No. Because of how I was reminded of a lot of important things that day. There were barely any stands that Sunday, not like usual. This market is every second Sunday and usually the whole Plaza is filled with stands. There were not many passers-by because so many people have left Lorca. My car also broke down on the highway on the way home...So, why the heck did I have to go all the way to Lorca that day? Well, as a reminder of how beautiful life is, and how wonderful Spaniards are and how lucky we are to be alive and healthy. That's why.

Each person that stopped to chat, I asked if they had been affected by the earthquake. And EVERY ONE had some marvellous story. They all said that the actual moments of the quakes (there were 2, a few hours apart) were scary and eery. Those who were outside said the ground rippled like waves. But all of the people that I spoke with that day have moved on positively and see the great things that have come out of this. Many have been reunited with family, having to take family members in to live with them. Landlords all over the area have dropped rents to rock-bottom prices to help out the earthquake victims. People are taking in neighbours, friends. And they all said, it took the earthquake to realize what is really important. That things were getting out of hand materially and in fact, they can live on very little. It is the people in your life that count and our health. They all said they felt lucky to be alive.

And so do I....


Saturday, 11 June 2011

My New Market Stand

This is the market stand a friend of ours built for me and I am SOOO pleased.

The table goes underneath and I still need cover to go over it, to provide shade. I hunted down material for the shade. It is not easy to find things in the collection of little villages where I live. The first quote was 20€/ meter!! Finally I found some good cloth in "Naturalmente Mediterraneo" green for 6€ per meter (2.80m width) and I have someone making it for me. In the meantime, I just throw a colourful cloth over the stand and secure it on with clothespegs.

I have had a few people request more detailed photos of it, so here they are.

All the parts, disassembled.

The tall parts on my roof rack. The rest fits into the car.

The feet.

The main supports, the "legs". They go into the feet.

Nuts & Bolts

Support Cross Pole

Top - (the cat you can see in the photo is Selena and yes she has a crooked lightening tale like a witches cat)

Hooking the legs into the feet and top

Securing the legs onto the top

Upright but not fully opened yet



Adding and securing cross support pole.

Another photo of the mounted stand in my garden.

The angle of the top can be easily shifted from the back to the front, to shift it with the sun.

As you can see, it is quite small. My table is only 1.2 meters accross. Keeping it small gives me more opportunities for markets. If the stand is bigger, it is more difficult to find space at a market.

Once the shade is ready, I will post pictures with the shade... maybe even operational at a market!

Hope this has been useful for those of you who wanted to see more detailed photos.

Happy Soaping to all.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

No Mosquito Soap

I made this soap because so many clients have been asking for a natural soap that will deter Mosquitoes. I used the base recipe that I like the most, and added Essential Oils that deter Mosquitoes. Just waiting for it to cure but I have a feeling it will sell out quickly!

Really at a loss for a name here… I am not interested in cutsy or comical names. Just want a simple straight-forward name for this soap? There has to have a simple translation into Spanish as well… any ideas?


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Yesterday - Busy Market Day

Market Arch at Sunset

Long, wonderful day yesterday with 2 markets in the same day! Arrived at my regular Saturday market super early to fight for my spot. Last Saturday someone had taken my spot and instead of being cooperative about it, he had been rude! So yesterday, I arrived 1 hour earlier and was all set up by the time he arrived. I was actually shaking as I stood up to him and his “bodyguard” (not-literally a bodyguard, but rather the market supervisor that just puts his cousins and their cousins wherever he likes). No-one usually stands up to them as it is a bit of a family mafia there… but I don’t know what came over me. The market supervisor tried to kick me out of the market when I said I wasn’t moving my stand. I said I wasn’t going anywhere and I moved CLOSER to him when I said it. I still can’t believe it. Anyway, it all worked out. All the neighbouring stands were rooting for me! I stayed. I ended up actually working things out with the guy-who-stole-stand-spot and squeezed over enough so he could get in on one side. Something that if he had done for me the previous week, this whole thing would not have errupted.

After my morning market finished at 2pm, I packed up and headed straight to the afternoon market. This one is a yearly town fair in Sierra Cabrera.

A friend of ours has built a stand for me, all out of wood and it is so beautiful I just can’t believe it is mine! It is easy to put together, light, and fits easily on my little car roof-rack. I already had a table and a bench. Now I have the stand to go around it, to put the shade part over top. It gets seriously hot here and I can’t have the sunlight on my soaps when they are displayed or the Essential Oil scents evaporate. So this week I will get the shade made and take photos!!! Yesterday was the first time I used it. I just threw a blanket over top. I didn't get a good photo of the entire stand set up but here is a close-up photo of the wooden details.

Some more photos of the market for you...

Stilt Jugglers

Sherry Pourer

Ham cutter, sharpening his knife

Cutting the ham

My friend Street's shoes. Yes her name is Street. Cool eh? She and her mother make and sell shoes. Aren't they lovely? Street and I go to various markets together.

Peeking out from under my stand at the Andalusian horses

Andalusian horses at Sierra Cabrera Arch

So started my day at 6:45am and finished at 11:30pm. I did well. Enjoyed it all. My body is aching today from being on my feet all that time. But I am not complaining. It is a good aching...