Monday, 27 February 2012

Studio Update

Yesterday we did the initial clean out of the studio with some helpful friends.
We had to throw out a lot...
  but there are things we can recycle as well. Corks – maybe a handmade cork board? Wooden squares – framed blackboards? I can see staining them and then painting the inside section with blackboard paint. Baskets… bowls…
My first Essential Oil burner blend to cleanse previous smells and renew the atmosphere – Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Spearmint & Lavender…
First coffee there, paid for by the Euros we found when cleaning up…

Now just waiting on renovation quotes… front sign quotes… my husband and I are at odds about the sign.  I think it should be handmade – maybe in wood, maybe in metal relief, maybe in ceramic tile – hand painted. I don’t want neon and plastic. He thinks the most important think is visibility, class and lighting, so that it will catch people’s eye and bring them in…. hmmm. We will see!

Currently there are 4 different floors!  The original laid stone work as you can see in what will be the production room… faux-wood as you can see in the area designated for packaging… small brick-like tile in the front and then large ochre-coloured tile in the bathroom… so we will have to choose which one or which combination to go with. Cost will be a major factor as well as we are doing this on a budget and I am determined not to take any loan... loans for me create stress and I don't want stress in my life.
All at the same time, getting the paperwork done (well, understanding requirements first!) for Health and Safety, continuing production and markets as I have previously been doing, creating new packaging for my shampoo bars, getting my daughter ready for Carneval (she danced on Saturday night) and an upcoming dance competition, language classes and markets.
It is a very busy time, but it is a wonderful busy as I am doing what I love!!
Happy Soaping!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

International Soap Swap

Soap Artists

Julia from Soap Artists is organizing an international soap swap!!

Spanish soapers will be swapping with other soapers from around the world!!  All you have to do is:

1) Go on over to the Soap Artists blog and sign up with a comment...
2) Wait until March 3rd when the swap list will be published and you will know who you will be swapping with...
3) Blog about the soap you receive or send photos some other way?

So, maybe we will see you on the list?

Happy Soaping!!


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Friendship Soap Video - Part 3 & Final - Stamping the Soap

Here is the final part of my friendship soap video series.... Stamping! 

Happy soaping!!


Friendship Soap Video - Part 2 - Cutting the Soap

Here I am cutting the soap!

Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Friendship Soap Video - Part 1

My list of firsts for the day:

- First time I have posted twice in the same day! (Couldn't wait to post the video now that I have finally got Youtube worked out!)

- First time I have posted a video

- First time I have made a soapmaking video

- First time I have worked with my new Serif Video software (MoviePlus X5)

And there are so many more firsts going on in my life these days with setting up the soap studio...  I have been so excited about everything that I can't seem to sleep much past 6am...

Let me know how you enjoy the video!

Happy Soaping Everyone!!!!


Blog Books - Blog2Print

Look! I wrote 2 books!! 
My daughter got me a Blog2Print print out of the first year of my blog for Christmas.  I felt so proud when I saw it!

The only thing I would have done differently is include the comments from people it it…
So I just got the second year print out, including comments, and I love it!! 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

This is IT!!!!!!!

 I have been working toward this moment for quite a while and it has finally arrived.  This is going to be the Naturalmente Mediterráneo soap studio!
Spanish Health and Safety has very specific requirements for producing soap and natural skin care products and one of those is that a dedicated space is needed, which cannot be your own kitchen.  The space needs to be divided in several areas including work space, packaging space and several different storerooms.
(My husband, removing the For Rent sign)
Next steps include, getting the inside renovations done and a nice artisan sign up front. Tomorrow I am getting the electricity and water connected and organizing insurance.  There will be a small space at the front for sales as well, but I am not expecting a lot of walk-ins (yet!) as we are located in a little Spanish fishing village.  I will open to the public possibly 2 mornings and 1 afternoon a week.  Also if people call ahead for a visit, I will open for them.  I will be aiming for visits from school-groups and tourists to see a local Artisan (me!) at work. 
(As you can see, it used to be a little Mexican Restaurant!)

Will keep you posted and post photos of the progress on the Studio!! 
Gratitude - I feel so fortunate to be where I am right now.  Just two years ago, I spent most of my time working in a job I despised, and it almost broke me.  I decided to DO WHAT I LOVE & LOVE WHAT I DO.  Now, I wake up each morning, excited about my day.  I give thanks every day for being where I am and being able to follow my passion.  When I think too much about how thankful I feel, I get all teary eyed…
I suppose now is the time thank ALL OF YOU!  So THANK YOU to anyone out there who is reading this and following my story.  Thank you for your comments, help, suggestions and encouragement. What a wonderful supportive community Blogger has helped me connect with.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Revisit Water Discounted Soap...

Remember this crumbling rock hard goat milk soap?

Well, it has turned into a fabulous bar!!  The creamiest milk soap I ever made. Wonderful, rich, bubbly suds. The scent has stayed really well.  It is also ROCK hard.
So, my questions to you are:
Do you discount the liquid & why?  Or why not?
What differences have you found in the finished soap when discounting?
Maybe just maybe, I have found that the suds are slightly more difficult to wash off?  But there may be other factors involved so I am interested in others' experiences with water/liquid quantity differences in soaps.
The soap was made with 100% goat milk and the water discount was 36%.

I wish the photo were better... but can you see how milky the bar is?

Eager for your comments!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Friendship Soap

I have been invited to participate in an international Friendship soap swap!  There are 9 participants each one of us has to make a soap for someone and someone else makes a soap for us!
I got to make soap for Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks!!  I actually videoed the whole process from making, to cutting and stamping… but I can’t seem to be able to upload it to YouTube!!  When I get that figured out, I will post…
All Amy requested was something natural from my area and she likes citrusy scents…

So…… I decided to make her a salt soap, try to colour it orange (as you can see, it turned out a muddy yellow…) and use bits of soap from my prickly pear soap, my pomegranate soap, my lavender soap and my rose hip soap.

I liked the result, except next time I would try another colour (as natural colours are such a mystery, the annatto worked differently in a salt soap!!), trace it thicker so the salt wouldn’t sink to the bottom so much and make a little more quantity so that the soap would be taller.
Other than that, I am pretty pleased. I like the smell – with Litsea Cubeba, Lemongrass, Bitter Orange and Bergamot Essential Oils.

Hope you like it Amy!!
Will let you know as soon as I get YouTube sorted out.

Monday, 6 February 2012

More Shampoo Bar Experiments

(Rhassoul Shampoo with Essential Oils of Bay Laurel, Lavender, Ylang Ylang & Rosemary. The scent is a DUD but I love the Shampoo Bar!!! New formula - with borax.)

I used to make a beer shampoo bar that I really liked for my hair, and somehow lost it.  Maybe my hair changed, maybe the water changed, maybe I copied something down wrong on the recipe, maybe I just became addicted to more suds in a shampoo bar ever since I exchanged shampoo bars with some fellow soapers last year.  In any case, I have been experimenting with shampoo bars for a couple of years now…  and experimenting extra hard since August last year.
(Goat Milk Shampoo with Rosemary Cedarwood and Thyme Essential Oils – This one was a DUD!)
Nothing seemed to work!  My hair seemed to get “the greasies” from any shampoo bar I tried!  It wasn’t the superfat, as I experimented from anywhere between 1% and 5% for my shampoo bars.  Could it be too much Coconut oil that I was trying now?  Could it be from water quantities?  Types of oils I was using?  I kept trying new oil formulations, different liquid quantities, various Superfatting…
(Goat Milk Shampoo with Patchouli and Cedarwood Essential Oils – Another DUD!)
I have come up with a new shape and size that I like for my shampoo bars and of all the different EO blends I tried, I have one I really like with Basil, Peppermint and Lavender.
(Avocado & Honey Shampoo with Basil, Peppermint and Lavender Essential Oils – Love the scent, but the bar is a DUD!)

(Beer, Egg and Honey, with Lemongrass, Cedarwood and Patchouli Essential Oils.This is an attempted repeat at my original favourite bar.Still curing so I haven’t tried it on my hair yet. )

One of the theories was that a shampoo bar needs a low pH…. So I tried adding a little borax and BINGO. I have a shampoo bar with a lower pH, that leaves my hair just as I like it. This bar has abundant lather, hair loving oils, and it leaves my hair lighter and fluffier than any other bar I have tried, and also the lightness lasts for days. (Photo of this bar - the Rhassoul Shampoo Bar is at the top of the page)
So if pH is the key, what other natural ways would there be to lower the pH in a shampoo bar? Suggestions?
(Avocado, Honey remake, with the new formula with borax.  Curing. Note the honey didn't mix in well... but I think I kind of like the speckled effect.)
I am so excited with my new Shampoo Bar formula!!
(Goat Milk and Silk with Rosemary, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli and Bay Laurel Essential Oils. This time the scent worked! Slightly sweet but I like it. Still in the mould as you can see here. New formula. This was the first time I attempted any soap with silk, and as I was keeping the temps low for the goat milk, it didn’t fully dissolve! So I had to fish out little silk clumps.  Next time I experiment with silk, I will use a different liquid so I can let the temps go higher!!)
By the way, although it looks simple... lining the round mould has been challenging! Any suggestions welcome...
Well, happy soaping everyone!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sapunuri naturale

I recently received this beautiful package from Alexandra at   We have been exchanging emails ever since she won the guessing game on my mysterious natural soap colour – Pomegranate Juice!
The thing that struck me most at first from the wonderful selection of soaps that Alexandra sent me was the difference between all of her products.  Each one has so many different ingredients!  The aromas come from Essential Oil blends and they are faint but lovely blends.
The first soap that I am using of hers, as I was most intrigued by it, is her soap with Pomegranate Juice and Hibiscus tea, and I am amazed at its smoothness and the way it leaves my skin feel – one of the nicest soaps I have ever tried.
I used to think that a good soap needed to have abundant, big bubbly lather, but that seems sort of superficial to me these days…. The real thing I look for in a bar of soap is how it leaves my skin feel.  Although I still love scent, smoothness, and a manageable soap size.  This soap, as it was cut as a smallish sample, was easy to use, the scent is quite faint, and it is VERY smooth, sort of reminds me of my pomegranate bar smoothness.  Could it have something to do with the juice?  
I started trying the soap out first on my hands for a couple of days.  The lather is delayed but it slowly builds up into a thick and creamy (less bubbly) lather which is amazingly addicting.  I love it.  And the best part is the softness of my skin afterward.  What an amazing soap!!   I then used it in the shower and I loved it on my body as well as my face.  Very moisturizing and softening.  I am so in love with this bar that I will be upset when it is I use it all up!!!
But I have several more to try out.  When trying out new soaps, I prefer to use only 1 type for a couple of weeks to really feel the effects on my skin.

Next I get to try out her beautiful shampoo bar, with castor oil, green and yellow clays, spirulina, basil leaves, rosemary leaves and rosemary, tea tree and ylang ylang essential oils, and several other soaps – one with shea butter & geranium & rose essential oils, another with Carrot Juice, “Catina” oil with a blend of sweet orange, bergamot and ylang ylang essential oils, another with Heineken Beer, Castor oil and Patchouli, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

I may have to post an update once I have tried the other soaps!!
Thank you SO MUCH Alexandra for sharing your soaps with me.  So far I LOOOOOOOVE them.