Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Soap Dishes

I am thrilled with the soap dishes that the ceramicist created for me!  Here are some of them. 

The others sold. He is making more so I will post again!
Farewell Wild Lavender... the last bars sold!

The season is in full swing and my evening markets have STARTED! 
My shaving soap on my sea-side stand…
Happy summer!!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Meet Honey Lavender! I lost my purple...

I lost my purple… Well, I kind of left it behind.  Sadly, I am retiring my Wild Lavender soap for now.  I really liked it… and it sold well too.  Problem?  Short shelf life.  Something that didn’t make me proud to sell it any more.  I have never had this problem with any of my other soap, which all have a lot of Olive Oil in them, anywhere from 30 to 100%.  By short shelf-life, I mean that it gets that rancidy oil smell, something that has never happened that I am aware of, to any of my other soaps.  I have had soaps last for years without it…

Retiring "Wild Lavender"

In order to get the purple colour (from Alkanet or Ratanjot) in my Lavender soap, I had to leave the Olive Oil out.  I love olive oil in my soaps and it is one of the main agricultural items we have in this area of Spain. It is so much a part of the Mediterranean identity.  I decided I don’t want to make soap without it right now.  I am not willing to compromise quality for aesthetics, in other words performance for colour.
So I tried several Lavender soaps again with varying quantities of Olive Oil...

... until I made another decision – scrap the colour for now.
Meet Honey Lavender.  Same Essential Oil blend.  Now with fresh local Honey.
I am really enjoying it!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Liquid Soap & Some Studio Details...

I have been experimenting lately with liquid soap… and really enjoying myself!

The first liquid soap was a hand (or body) soap, scented with orange and grapefruit essential oils and it leaves my hands nice and soft, though it doesn’t get the same suds I love in my bar soaps.
First liquid soap

The one on the left has Essential Oils, the one on the right doesn't. I am sure I will learn all about the right moment to add the Essential Oils to keep cloudiness down.

The second one was a shampoo.  Not bad!  It has crazy suds and as I wanted a herbal scent reminiscent of this area… I added Rosemary, Lavender and Spearmint (plants which all grow wild here) essential oils.  Although liquid, it performs much the same as my solid shampoo bars.  Difficult to get a brush through my hair, better with the vinegar rinse but lovely when my hair dries.  Great on my scalp too!  When I make another shampoo, I think I may decrease cleansing a little and increase conditioning…

They are both really LIQUID though.  What was I expecting?  A nice thick gel?  It will probably take a lot more experimenting before getting the exact consistency and performance that I want.
For now, experimenting will be mostly coming to a halt until after the summer.  I am moving into the high season when this area is full of tourists.  I am doing the night markets again this year so will be busy at the markets 7 nights a week, then producing during the mornings!
Some shelves that the carpenter made for the shop! We were going to paint them white, but the natural wood is so nice that we are not sure now...

I have really been enjoying contracting local talent to make things for the studio and shop. It would be so easy and quick to just get the place entirely kitted out at IKEA... but it wouldn't feel the same.  I love hand-made and I want to support local artisans.

A bowl made by the same ceramisit who made the studio sign. He is also making some original soap dishes and shaving mugs for me...

A stained-glass candle dish made by a wonderful local stained-glass artisan.

One of her mirrors as well.  She is making another mirror for me, bigger and in different shades of green, to go above the bathroom sink here at the studio.  Yes that's me taking the shot!!  I kind of liked this self portrait...

Hope you are all well, enjoying beautiful summer weather and happily soaping!!!