Friday, 26 April 2013

If Only...

If only I had a super-duper soap cutter that cut the whole log… if only I had all my labels printed out for me on beautiful rolls... if only I could order 1000 cream tins and/or lip balm tins and bring the cost down and not worry about running out… if only I had that awesome Kitchen aid mixer for my creams… if only…  I could go on and on.
Then my daughter reminds me “Mum, remember what Grandma always tells us?  Enjoy the phase you are in, because one day you will miss it.”  Then she also reminds me “Remember when we use to play those computer games like Diner Dash or Cake Mania and you would build your business… at the beginning it was so addicting because you were working towards getting something to improve production, like a new faster oven, but then once you had everything the game got boring?”   She’s right.  So’s my mum.
I remember when my soap moulds held 3 soaps, then I upgraded to 6, then 9… now my moulds hold 48 bars.  I remember when I was ordering 15ml of essential oils and my first order of 100ml bottles was a really big deal!  Now we usually order 1lt bottles and are about to place our first order for 5lt bottles.  Little by little.  If we had it all at once, we wouldn’t appreciate each new step…
My husband and I have spent hours and hours and hours preparing the labels for our salves, creams, lip balms and scrubs… we dreamed about having proper labels made that really didn’t smudge and came on rolls.  We placed our first order for our lip balm labels a few months ago and we were so excited we almost argued about who got to stick the first "proper" label on... and we celebrated with champagne!  Now we are about to place an order for the labels for our other products.
As the business grows bit by bit, I feel so grateful for each new little step… but watch carefully that I stick to my 4 core values of the business:
1)      Enjoy what I do
2)      Use only natural ingredients, from this area whenever possible
3)      Support the local community and economy
4)      Treat the environment well

So for now, I enjoy cutting each and every bar by hand but one day, in the not-too-distant future, I will get “the Tank”, and hopefully enjoy cutting my soap on a different level.  If I ever find myself not enjoying something, I remember my core values and re-direct things to come back to what I enjoy.
So, I wish you all passionate enjoyment of whatever doing!!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making Castille Soap

Castille Soap sounds like the simplest soap of all to make... but it hasn't been so simple for me!
My Castille soap has only 2 active ingredients - local organic extra-virgin olive-oil and water, once the lye has evaporated out. 
Gentle, moisturizing, low, gooey lather... when my skin is feeling its driest in the winter, this is the soap I use on my face, then I follow up with my Serum.
Simple to measure things out and begin mixing, but it takes forEVER to trace. 
As I pour at a very light trace, sometimes it leaks if I don't get the mould liners perfect... so now I Saran-wrap the insides of the moulds first, when I make Castille soap, then the liner...

Then it needs a little under 3 days in the moulds before removing... as it is still very soft if I remove it after 24 hours.  If I remove the soap logs at the right time, my fingers can still sink into it, it is still slightly buttery, but I need to cut at this point. If I wait even just 4 more hours, it crumbles and breaks my soap slicer.
If I stamp too early it is gooey....
If I stamp at the right time, I think it looks quite beautiful with its smooth natural white .... and after a few months curing, it is a wonderful gentle bar.
Happy Soaping!! xo Jen