Archive for the ‘crafts as a hobby’ Category

Soap Making: Where Do I Start?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

M&P soap, CP soap, CPOP soap, HP soap, which method is right for you?

For the next few weeks, we at Natures Garden will be writing a series devoted to soap making.  We hope that you find this series informative and that it may help to answer any unresolved questions in your mind when it comes to making soap.

The first decision you need to make before you start making soap is what soap you want to make.

Just so that everyone is starting off on the same base, a general definition for soap is:  an emulsified product of an alkali treated fat yielding a cleansing agent.

There are 4 different types of soap making.  They are M&P (melt and pour), CP (cold process), HP (hot process), and CPOP (cold process oven process).  Each group has its own pros and cons.   Each process differs in varying ways, but there are two similarities that all of the groups share:  Each group’s process has already gone through, or must go through the chemical reaction of saponification.  And, each process results in finished soap.

MP soap

One of the greatest advantages of melt and pour soaps is that the actual soap making chemical process (lye process) has already be completed; technically making this a ready-made product.  When working with M&P, you are dealing with soap that essentially only needs melted, fragranced, colored, and molded.

For precautionary reasons, this is a perfect soap making process for anyone with small children or pets, since the process does not require working with lye.  Melt and pour soap is also a great place to start if you have never made soap before.  The steps are very simple.  Melt the soap, add color, add fragrance, and, place in mold to harden.  That is it!  There is no cure time.  Soap bars are able to be used once they are popped out of the mold.  Coloring M&P soap is also very predictable.  Unlike the other soap making processes, the color that your liquid soap is before you pour it in the mold, will be the same color of your finished bars.  There is no color morphing since that soap has already been saponified.

Melt and Pour soap is also known as glycerin soap.  Glycerin is a natural by-product of the chemical reaction of lye and water.  Having glycerin as a component in your M&P soap is very beneficial because glycerin is not only an emollient keeping the moisture in your skin, but it is also considered a humectant- absorbing the moisture from the air so that the skin does not dry out.  Additives such as herbs and exfoliates can also be added to M&P soap, resulting in bars that can do various things for your skin.

This is a very forgiving soap for error.  If soap hardens too quickly, it can always be re-melted in the microwave or by using a double boiler.  Since M&P is very pliable you can safely handle the soap without the worry of being burned by lye; forming swirls and other shapes.  This process is very cost effective, and allows for you to have a healthier bar of soap for your skin than any store bought brand that has had the glycerin stripped from it.

The cons of M&P soaps are that you do not have direct control of all of the ingredients in your soap.  Melt and Pour soap can also easily burn during the heating process so you will want to watch it closely.  Because glycerin is the most prominent ingredient, your M&P bars are softer and tend to not last as long as the other processed bars of soaps.  This is because glycerin is quick dissolving in water.  Aesthetically speaking, due to its humectant tendencies, this soap is very prone to sweating (or beading).

CP soap

Cold process soap is generally accepted as the most commonly used process by soap crafters.  The term cold process is actually attributed to the fact that there is no outside heating source required for saponification; the lye mixture itself heats and saponifies the oils.

The CP process includes making a lye water mixture, melting your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, and molding.  For the first 24 hours, your soap molds need to be insulated with towels or blankets.  After 24 hrs, the soap can be cut and laid out to cure.

If you are not a patient person, then one downfall of CP soaping is the cure time.  This averages 4-6 weeks before the soap is safe to use.  During the cure time a lot occurs.  Any residual lye is counteracted by saponification. This cure time is needed to make soap milder on your skin.  Any excess water is evaporated out, allowing for a nice hard bar of soap.  The soap bars have to be manually rotated and flipped so that air touches all of the sides.  It is also during this time that soda ashing occurs.  This ash is not harmful, but it can be unsightly, especially if you have decorated the tops of your bars.

The biggest and most rewarding benefit of cold process soap is that you make it completely from scratch.  You control each and every aspect of the soap from beginning to end.  Because cold process soap directly relies on a chemical reaction to occur, ingredients and measurements have to be exact.  Each component of your cold process soap has a specific SAP value.  This value is the amount of lye needed to saponify each oil in your recipe.  Therefore, it is impossible to swap out anything or add anything once your lye water ratio has been figured out.  Adding a little too much lye can result in soap that is lye heavy.  This means that the ph level will be very high, and it could result in burns or irritation to your skin.  On the opposite end, adding too much oil can result in bars that are soft and greasy due to the unreacted oils.   CP recipes usually contain either palm oil or coconut oil, or both.  Their values in any recipe are generally 20-30%.  This is because these oils provide for a bar of soap that is gentle, lathers, and cleans.

With CP soaping it is very important to know how a fragrance oil will affect the mixture.  Some fragrance oils cause soap batter to accelerate trace, rice, discolor, or will seize the batch (become soap-on-a-stick).  Vice versa, there are also fragrance oils that do not adversely affect the soap batter, and allow for plenty of time to decorate.  Swirling is one decoration technique that requires soap batter that is slow to trace.  Trace can be affected by the actual soaping oils used in your recipe, the temperature of your lye solution, the temperature of your soaping oils, and by the fragrance oil you select.  This type of artistry provides an exclusive look that is almost impossible to duplicate again.  Columning and funneling can also be used with cp soap batter for a very unique look.

Since CP soap must undergo the saponification process, color morphing can become an issue.  FD&C or D&C dyes tend to morph (change color) in the presence of lye.  Oxides and ultramarines can withstand the high ph environment of the saponification process, and are much less likely to morph in CP soap.  Depending on the ingredients found in mica pigments, you will find some micas that do not morph in CP soap, and some that do.  To easily test to see if your color choice will morph in CP soap, you can always add a small amount of your color to a small amount of lye mixture and observe any changes.  This will save you the frustration of ruining an entire batch of soap that is colored a color you do not desire.

HP Soap

HP soaping is the second most popular process of crafting soap.  With this process you now have the control of what goes into the soap like CP provides with the ready-to-use-now element of M&P soaps.

Hot Process soap has steps very similar to the CP soap steps, but varies in that you are adding heat to the equation to speed up the saponification process.  The HP process includes: making your lye water mixture, adding your oils to the heat source, blending the lye water and oils together, stir, cook, stir, stir, stir, add fragrance/ additives, stir some more.  With this process, it is not until the soap batter is closer to a solid than a liquid that it is scooped and packed into a mold.  Since the saponification process has already completed from the heat, there is no need to insulate your mold.

This process is done in a crock pot or on a stove top.  Crock pots are recommended over stove tops because a crock pot allows for slow, even heating of the batter and it is less likely to scorch.  The most important key to remember when doing this method is to stir and stir often.  One of the biggest benefits of this heat addition is that it does not require a curing period.  Although, for harder, milder bars that will last longer, Natures Garden suggests that you allow these bars to cure for at least a week before using.

The finished soap bars of the hot process have a very rustic appeal.   The soap bars individually are not completely uniform in shape nor are they completely smooth.  This is due to the scoop and pack method of filling the molds.  Color morphing, like experienced in the CP method, can also be a problem.  Therefore, choosing colorants that can withstand high ph environments is a must when making HP soap. Getting uniform coloring throughout your bars of soap will be more challenging with HP than with CP.

CPOP Soap

Often dubbed as the best of both worlds, CPOP, or cold processed oven processed soap allows for cold processed soap to saponify quicker with the extra step of heat and therefore directly shortens the cure time.   This is a very good method for soap crafters who love to do CP without the long wait of cure time.

The CPOP method includes:  preheating your oven to 170 degrees F, making a lye water mixture, mixing your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, molding, baking for 1- 2 1/2 hrs, turn off the oven, and let it sit for 24 hours in oven.  Finally, remove, cut, and start the cure time of 4 weeks.  This cure time allows for milder, harder bars of soap that will last longer.

Visually, CPOP soap bars are very close to that of CP bars.  The only slight difference is that the tops of CPOP bars are not as smooth as CP ones.  CPOP soap can appear dry on top, but this can easily be remedied by spraying the tops of the soap with rubbing alcohol.

In summary, the first step to soap making is deciding which type of soap making process is right for you.  Natures Garden will have two different soap making kits that will further help you.  We currently carry a melt and pour soap kit, and very soon a CP soap making kit.  Each of these kits will allow you to experience soap making first hand.  How fun is that!

Kid Friendly Craft

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Thanks to the eyes of a child, something as simple as adding a few Spring stickers can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your product.

Anytime I get out all of my goodies to start crafting, my little ones are all about helping.  Sometimes I think that they love creating and crafting just as much as I do!  (Yeah for me, I passed on the right genes!!!)   This past weekend I thought it would be fun for them to help me make and decorate some smelly jellies for our Spring baskets, and as it turns out, they even taught me something.

Having two small children, I can count on family members showering them with gifts around any holidays.  As a thank you to them, I always make sure that the girls help me to make them something to give in return.  I love this concept for several different reasons.  They are learning to become crafters themselves, we have lots of fun working on these projects together, and people love to receive gifts that the little ones helped to make.

There we were working away on making a dozen or so smelly jellies in my kitchen.  All of the smelly jellies were completely finished absorbing, and I had just finished packaging them.  The fitments and lids were on tight.  My final step was to tie the festively colored pastel ribbons of white, pink, blue, and yellow to the tops.  (Secret Frugal Tip:  The Dollar Tree is a wonderful place to find lots of cute, decorative, and perfectly priced items (Everything is $1.00) to add that extra element of love to your products.)

I swear, and as I am sure that you all know, I only turned my back for a second which was just long enough for my youngest to swipe a jar.  When I finally found her, she had already gone to town adding her own decorative touch to the jar.  As it turns out, she said she wanted to make one special for her Grandmama.  Riley had used some Spring stickers to “decorate” her grandmama’s smelly jelly.  It was just so adorable that I thought that I needed to share this with everyone!

So, moms and kids, get ready to have some fun and get crafty!  CAUTION:  Anytime you are using fragrance oils around your children or pets, keep a close eye on your children so that they do not drink the fragrance oil.

Here is the list of items that you need:

Here are the Instructions:

  1. Clean your work area and prep it by setting up all of the smelly jelly jars that you are going to use.  For this project, we are using 3 fragrances, so I selected to set my jars up in 3 rows of 4 to allow for no fragrance confusion.
  2. Take 2 level teaspoons of smelly jelly crystals and carefully add them to each jar.
  3. Using room temperature distilled water. Add 10 ounces to each jar.
  4. The next step is to add the soap colorant to the jars. Since I was striving for a pastel color, I only added 2-3 drops of color per jar.
    1. Here is the cheat sheet that I used for the coloring:
  • Easter Bunny Burps- Neon Green
  • Lilac- Fun Soap Colorant Ultramarine Violet
  • Jelly Beans- Fun Soap Colorant Yelp Yellow

5.  As always, feel free to be creative and swap out the colors and/or the fragrance oils.

6. It is fragrance time!  Using 1.5 Tablespoons of fragrance, slowly pour your fragrance into each jar.

7. Add the Diamond Dust Mica- the amount of sparkle is all up to you!

8. It is time to get your mix on!  Using a mixing spoon, carefully mix each jar.

9. Let the smelly jellies work their magic and swell away.  This will take about 15-20 minutes.

10. Finally place the fitment and lid on the jars.

11. The last step and most fun… get your decorating on.  Use stickers and ribbon, or whatever you want!

Smelly jellies are by far one of my favorite projects to make by myself or with my girls.  If you have not tried them, you need to try some today.  Your best bet, although I know you are going to love it… is to try Natures Garden Smelly Jelly Kit.

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

 

New Body Butter Recipe

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Trying the homemade conditioner recipe 2 weeks ago has kick started my crafting gears into full force.  I had so much fun making my own hair conditioner from scratch that I decided that I was going to ride this wave for awhile.  I mean, making your hair smell like Monkey Farts, now that is a conversation piece.

Made from scratch, there is something about that statement that just makes me feel proud.  To create something from scratch and have it actually work is such an amazing feeling.  Items that are created this way almost take on a life of their own.  In fact, I am nearly tempted to slap a huge giant sticker on my containers screaming… “Yes, I made this from scratch.  I know, sometimes I don’t believe it myself but it is so true!”  I do realize that this is a lot to have on a sticker, but I want to shout it from the roof tops anyway.

Seeking bragging rights over my sisters, I shared my new homemade recipe delight with my mother.  She was very pleased and quite impressed.   To let you in on a little secret, I must admit that I haven’t even made dinner from scratch in 2 years.  The last recipe I tried was a homemade chicken paprikash that did not really turn out.  It was more of a chicken cream soup with dumpling like foam.  And, in case you are wondering, being members of the clean plate club, I did make my family eat it anyway.

Well, this week I wanted to give a from scratch body butter a try.  I turned to the bath and body recipe link on the Natures Garden’s Homepage to find something that was not too daunting, yet still contained elements of a challenge.    The Depth of Winter Body Butter caught my eye.  To give you a little background on why, my skin lately has been very dry even though I lotion constantly.  I have struggled to find a good quality body butter that will quench my skin’s thirst.  I was hoping that this recipe would solve my skin’s issue.

Spoiler Alert…Oh yes, I am in love again!  Hey, what can I say, the heart (skin) wants what it wants.

The recipe has a total of 4 ingredients and of course the plastic containers.  As a side note, I would suggest the low profile jars for these body butters.  They are the perfect purse size, and they just look so adorable on the bathroom counter.  I even hot glued a fake flower to the top of the straight smooth lid for an added touch of cuteness; showboating my anticipation for the spring season, HOLLAR!

The overall ease of the recipe, I would have to say, is simple.  The hardest part of the whole recipe is to watch the clock and remember to whip the butter every 20 minutes.  Staying true to form, I found the perfect song to listen/dance/sing while you prepare this body butter; the 1980 hit Whip It, by Devo.  It will have you rocking your new body butter all day.

Now, I realize that this is a Depth of Winter Body Butter, so I playfully renamed mine “Spring Fling Body Butter”.  My intention is to prep my skin to seeing the sun again.  I know that they have missed each other profusely.  Feel free to use the name too!

I used Smiley Face fragrance oil in my body butter.  However, you may use any of Natures Garden body safe fragrance oils, but get a fragrance that you know that you love, because once you start putting this butter on your body, it is going to quickly become a ritual.

On a final note, my favorite aspect of the body butter is how quickly it absorbs into my skin, and how smooth and gorgeous I look after applying it.  This is one 5 star recipe that you are not going to want to miss out on.

If you are interested in other fun recipes, check out the recipe box on Natures Garden Homepage.

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

New Homemade Conditioner Recipe

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I am a huge advocate of trying new things.  Recently, I had the chance to expand my knowledge and crafting skill to a new level.  Spoiler Alert:  I am in love!

With all the fun and exciting recipes that are filling up Natures Garden’s recipe box on the homepage, I decided that I would take a chance and try something new myself.  I was quite intrigued by several of the recipes; however, I wanted to choose something that was going to be a little challenging.  It was while I was looking over the various recipes that I realized I have actually never made anything bath and body from scratch.

We have been working with Kim (our CP tester) from Natures Art for the last few months, so I decided that I was going to try one of her recipes.  As I am sure that you can already tell by the picture, I selected the conditioner recipe to try my hand at.

Embarking on a new creative journey, I anxiously prepped my crafting area, read through the directions (another spoiler alert… super easy), and grabbed all of the supplies that I needed.   Wow, making homemade conditioner is quite rewarding.  The most time consuming part of the whole recipe was the boiling aspect.  After that is was amazingly simple.

As soon as I finished, I rushed to the bathroom to quickly wash my hair and give the conditioner a try.  The silkiness and warmth (since I had literally just finished making it) was heavenly.  Not only did my hair smell amazing (I used Vandra Orchid Fragrance Oil), but I was really taken back by the lack of tangles.  My hair is quite lengthy and on the thin side, brushing it after a shower has been something that I’ve hated to do since I was a small child.  However, with this new conditioner… I was able to comb straight through, no brush required.  Not wanting to count my chickens before they hatch, I waited to see how my hair felt after it had dried… my results were that my hair had never been so shiny and soft.

Mad kudos to Kim Sanchez of Natures Art for the fabulous recipe.  I was so excited about this new product that I decided to share it with all 5 of my sisters; and needless to say I will be hosting a conditioner party at my house this weekend. I am even going to make special conditioner for my girls scented in the fun Fruity Rings Fragrance Oil.  They are going to love it!

This recipe is one that I highly recommend to everyone.  It is easy, has very few ingredients, and is definitely worth the time and effort.  Plus, for an added bonus, after you are finished testing your new hair conditioner; may I suggest jamming to Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair for added fun!  It is a blast!

Have hair that is sleek, sexy, sassy, and smells sooooo good.

To view the recipe (you know that you want to), click Aloe Cucumber Hair Conditioner.  Feel free to swap out the Cucumber Aloe fragrance oil for another, just pay attention to the IFRA percentage for safe recommended usage.

If you are interested in other fun recipes, check out the recipe box on Natures Garden Homepage.

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

2012 Color Trends

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Wild Animal Prints, Bold Flowers, Lime & Hot Pink

Every year the corporation Pantone Inc forecasts a color trend.  The headquarters which is located in New Jersey spends countless hours researching through various worldly mainstreams, seeking the next “it” color.  They are quite literally looking for the color that will be a worldwide attention grabber.   The two main things that Pantone looks for is what they think the public will want and need.

The 2012 Pantone Color of the year is Tangerine Tango.   It was selected due to its energizing and encouraging elements.  A huge factor in this year’s selection, as well as the colors selected in previous years is the economy and spending habits.  Knowing that consumers are responsible for reviving the economy, this makes Tangerine Tango a perfect color to call shoppers to action in spending.

Now, although this color is vibrant and screams energy, let’s take the financial gain out of the situation and present to you what we at Natures Garden think is going to be the
hot color trends of the 2012 year.  With so many negative things that are occurring in the world:  violent protests, economic uncertainty, famine, poverty; the list seems to be never ending.  Our focus this year was to find colors and trends that will not only stand out, but will keep the positive energy flowing.

Our 2012 Color choice is Lime.  If lime had to be described in a single word it would be amazing.  Lime is the perfect choice because being of the green color family it is a combination of blue and yellow.  Hues of blue colors are calming, refreshing, and peaceful.  Yellow hues are energizing, hopeful, and happy.  Put these two together and bam… beautiful and breathe taking greens.  What a combo!

The color lime green represents many things.  It is a color of balance through means of the body, mind, and emotion.  It represents both change and growth while still maintaining a youthful and playful tone.  On an interpersonal level, lime signifies an open mind to learning and a non judgmental perception.  The color lime initiates the clearing of negativity and reminds us of hope.  Lime is a natural peacemaker.  A color that evokes a healthy anticipation of possible potential while still allowing for
openness to new ideas without any of the angst associated to demands of outside forces.  Lime is a self respect color.  On a final note, the color lime is a mental signifier of luck.

Another strong color that we believe is going to rock this year is hot pink.  You probably saw that one coming.  The color hot pink is fun and exciting.  It contains qualities that
are both passionate and sensual.  Hot pink is confident.  The color radiates feelings of encouragement and unconditional love.  Hot pink also decreases stress levels and
anger.  Hot pink can be a color that provides for very insightful energies.

This year as well we would like to forecast a theme that will surely remain a constant in the spotlight.  Wild, crazy, savvy… animal prints are HOT.  Let your wild side out, unchain the savage beasts.  This is a trend that cannot be trapped.  Whether it is zebra, leopard, tiger, or giraffe; making a statement with a little fierceness is never going out of style.  Bring on the safari!  If you are not sure which print best suits you, feel free to take this animal print quiz:  http://www.blogthings.com/whatanimalprintareyouquiz 

Not only do we feel that lime and hot pink will be the hot colors for 2012, we also feel that these colors will influence the following markets:  fragrance, candle, soap, and cosmetics.  For many years now, people have used orange scented cleaning products to clean their homes.      Tired of the “same-ole same-ole” scent, we believe consumers will be looking for alternative citrus notes to make their homes smell clean.  Imagine a Pink Grapefruit fragrance infused with fresh Kaffir lime.  This is a perfectly, refreshing, clean smell, and it screams hot pink and lime!  Natures Garden just added this wonderful fragrance to our line, and we call it HOT PINK LIME; any coincidence?   Additionally, we
see sugary lime fragrances becoming hot.  Fragrances like Frozen Margarita, Mojito, Coconut Lime, Agave Lime, and Keylime Pie will be hot in 2012.

Fragrances that focus on hot pink will be equally hot; Hot Pink Pomegranate, Pink Watermelon, Pink Sugar, Fluffy Pink Candy to name a few.

Our conclusion:  2012 is going to be a wild and fun time filled with lots of HOT PINK and Lime.  Embrace it, and have fun with it!

Natures Garden Candle, Soap, Cosmetic Supplies

Love of Learning

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

This Valentine’s Day show some love to your creative side.

That’s right folks, it is time to extend our boundaries and experiment with some new products.  I know all too well how exciting it is when Natures Garden carries new fragrance oils, bases, additives, colorants, etc.  Something new, anything new, I love it all!

What is it about change?  Change is good.  Change allows us to hit the refresh button and bask in the glory of new and all its possibilities.  The thought of expanding our knowledge and know how of homemade goodies seems to revitalize everything for the better.  So, as we settled into the New Year let’s welcome the newbies by giving them a try.

In case you missed it, here are some of our newest products at Natures Garden:

Lip Tints:  These are awesome.  With 6 different colors to choose from all things lip just got a whole lot sexier.

Activated Charcoal:  A great way to add a detoxifying agent to your homemade soap.  This additive has a dual purpose as a natural black colorant too.  That’s two, yes two things for the price of one.  I guess that makes it a deal and a steal.  HA!

Vegetable Glycerin:  This has been on my wish list for a long time.  Finally here, this amazing liquid has tons of uses in bath, body, and home.  Once you get your hands on this, you will definitely be coming back for more.

Fractionated Coconut Oil:  Talk about being a multi-purpose, there is almost too much to mention.  Whether you are using it as a carrier or a substitute, in toiletries or cosmetics; the capabilities are endless.  Bonus, this fractionated coconut oil stays a liquid in relatively low temperatures.

Cream of Tartar:  It’s not just for the kitchen anymore!  This is one ingredient needed if you are looking to make fabulous bubble bars.

Fun Soap Colorants:  Although these colorants are super Fun… I refer to them as blast in a bottle!  These non-bleeding vivid colors will make a bold statement in your M&P or CP soap line.   If you are looking to add a little wow factor to your soap products, this is an excellent item to start with.   PS… No color morphing!

Titanium Dioxide Oil Dispersible Powder:  This natural mineral is an excellent whitener; perfect for soaps, toiletries, and so much more.

White Beeswax Pastilles:  Straight from the honeycomb, this naturally bleached beeswax is a splendid addition for everyone’s line.

Cookie Cutters:  Whether you are looking to bake some cookies, make hanging air fresheners, or get cleverly creative, these cookie cutters are a must have.  They are just too cute to pass up!

Finally, I do have an honorable mention to the new products.

Welcome Back Mica Pigment:  Oh how I missed you while you were gone.  If there is one thing that is never going to go out of style, it is shimmer!  This product is a love it, gotta have it in both colors diamond and 24K gold!  Bling me up Scotty!

So everyone, let’s get a little messy, broaden our horizons, and test some new products.

I was given some wise advice when I was younger.  Although then, I didn’t quite understand it, now I find that it applies to almost everything I do.   I am now going to pass this wisdom onto you: “Don’t sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by.  Get out there, make mistakes, and take chances; for this is the process of learning.  With age comes wisdom, and what is the purpose of your life if you don’t live, laugh, and love.”

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

 

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

 

Sparkles!!! Nicole

 

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

 

www.naturesgardencandles.com

 

 

Valentines Day Bouquet

Friday, January 6th, 2012

VALENTINE’S DAY BOUQUET

A fragrant assortment of soap on a stick, aroma buds, and aroma bead ornaments on a stick.

INGREDIENTS:
Aroma Buds (2 dozen total)
Aroma Beads (2 lbs)
Natural Goat’s Milk Melt and Pour Soap
Diamond Dust Mica Pigment
Red Liquid Candle Dye
Neon Pink FUN Liquid Soap Colorant
Victorian Heart Soap Mold
NG Angel Type Fragrance Oil
Fresh Cut Roses Fragrance Oil
Dare to be Sexy Fragrance Oil
Transfer Pipettes
Glass Vase
Kabob Skewers
Babies Breath
Heart Shaped and Cupid Cookie Cutters
Metal Baking sheet that you do not plan to cook food on again
Large Glass Pyrex Measuring Cup with spout
Ribbon for Decorating
Small Paint brush for applying mica pigment

1. Prepare the Aroma Bead Ornaments:
A. Pour ¼ cup Angel Type fragrance oil into the Ziploc bag. Add 3 drops of Red Liquid Spectrum Candle dye. Never use food coloring or soap dyes to color aroma beads. Seal the bag. Gently shake.
B. Pour 1 cup Aroma Beads into the Ziploc bag. You will want to shake the bag until all of the liquid is evenly dispersed among all of the beads. Allow aroma beads to thoroughly absorb fragrance oil (this may take days). Add a
pinch of Diamond Dust mica pigment. This will make your heart ornaments look like rubies.
C. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
D. Place 6-7 metal cookie cutters (hearts and cupid) on the cookie sheet.  Take the prepared aroma beads and carefully fill each cookie cutter approximately 1/4 inch. You will want to spread your prepared aroma beads evenly throughout the cookie cutter.
E. If you would like to have a hole in your air fresheners (for hanging purposes), you will need to use screws/nails. Place a ¼ inch diameter screw/nail head-down in the spot where you want the hole to be located. Leave the
screw/nail in during the whole cooking process.
F. Bake aroma beads in oven for about 5-6 minutes (or until the beads have melted together). It is normal to experience some smoking.
G. When the beads are melted together, remove the cookie sheet from the oven.
H. Allow the air fresheners to cool. Remove the cookie cutter and screw/nail from the air freshener.
I. Carefully peel the air freshener off of the cookie sheet.
J. Poke the pointy end of a kabob skewer into the base of each ready made ornament.
2. Prepare the Aroma Buds:
A. Using a transfer pipette, place 2-3 drops of fresh cut roses fragrance oil on the very tips of the aroma buds. Do not spray aroma buds, and do not place fragrance oil close to the base of the bud, or the petals may fall off.
3. Prepare Victorian Heart Soaps on a Stick:
A. Each block of Natures Garden Natural Goat’s Melt and Pour Soap is perforated into 40 cubes. Each cube is approximately 1 oz. Melt a total of 15 cubes of soap in microwave. Heat the base for 30 seconds at a time until it is
completely melted.
B. Once soap is completely melted, add 4 drops of Neon Pink FUN liquid soap color, plus 1 Tablespoon Dare to Be Sexy Fragrance Oil. Stir.
C. Pour mixture into Victorian heart soap molds. Spritz with some alcohol to remove any air bubbles. We allow our soap to set up in the refrigerator or freezer so that it releases more easily from the molds.
D. Once soap is set up, pop out of molds.
E. Using a small paint brush, apply a small amount of diamond dust mica pigment to the detailed areas of the soap. This will give the soap some bling bling!
F. Poke pointy end of kabob skewer into the base of each of these soaps.
4. Add some unscented aroma beads to your vase before adding your arrangement parts.

Add your aroma buds, aroma bead ornaments on sticks, babies breath, and scented soap on sticks to the vase. Decorate vase by adding a bow.

 

Natures Garden Candles and Soaps Supplies

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/

Thinking Outside the Box

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Let’s think outside of the box with gift baskets for the any occasion.

Gift baskets, especially ones filled with candle goodies are hot commodities particularly around the holiday season.  What is really intriguing about this is the fact that now candles are being sold in stores that typically would not highlight homemade items.  Places like hardware stores, gas stations, diners, and even doctor’s offices now have special stands set up to promote these items.  So, let’s work on extending our customer base and maybe even finding new retailers for your products.

I can already fill the excitement of embarking on a brand new journey, so now, I am going to challenge you once again to start thinking outside of the box and explore some new aspects of candles and candle like items to put together in a gift basket.  By embracing change, you are opening yourself up to new surroundings.  The changes can be very little things, and anything counts.  Maybe it is as simple as changing up the color scheme of your candles, or it could be offering a new and different shape of candle.  Maybe you want to explore the world of new fragrances, and try a few that you normally would not carry.

In a quick little breakdown, here are some new “hot” ideas that you can use:

  • Get well baskets using uplifting scents, or aromatherapy scents.   These are great for hospitals and Doctor Offices.
  • Try a flameless route.  Do a gift basket that allows for clients who may not be able to have an open flame due to small children, pets, or living arrangements ex. Dorm rooms.
  • Gel candles are a great way to really get creative on a new transparent candle spin, especially when you can explore the
    fun avenue of embeds.
  • If you are a pillar crafter- octagons are different and hot, as are square shaped ones.  On top of offering the new pillar shape, you may also want to include a festive plate to burn the pillar on.
  • Layered candles can be made with complementary scents, a different scent for each color.  This is also a great way to promote some of your top selling fragrances as a combo candle.
  • Find some funky shape containers for your candles.  Different shapes are alluring visually.   Try some “funky” weird fragrances!  Natures Garden has an entire section of “weird fragrances“.  How do scents like Monkey Farts, Elf Sweat, Snowman Balls, and Easter Bunny Burps sound to you?  Have fun with it!!
  • Tart warmers are really on the rise.  So, have some fun and do embed tarts of holiday shapes.   You can even stick with the traditional colors of the holiday.
  • Votives and tea lights are the perfect size to sample out new fragrances.  You can create a basket of just these items are call it a “smorgasbord of scent”.
  • Find the interest of the community.  It is very easy to type cast your baskets to the likes of the public.  Maybe there is
    a big game at the high school… you can create some really cool candles using the school colors.
  • Let’s not forget our love birds.  Engagement and Honeymoon baskets are great gifts.  These do very well at bridal
    stores and tuxedo rental businesses.

Any or all of these hot ideas can be used to create an amazing gift basket.  One final suggestion that I can give is to print off business cards to include with the baskets, as well as some business cards to place by your items.  This allows for potential clients to contact you if they have any questions or would like to special order items.

 

I do want to remind everyone that when trying new ventures, it is always important to test first before jumping in.

 

Finally, remember, changing it up not only adds a little spice and variety to your life, but it also provides for inspiration.

 

Fragrance &
Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create,
and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

www.istockphoto.com

Recycle Reduce Reuse

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse… all great ways to cut costs and save money!

Recycling is something that was ingrained in me from an early childhood.  Thanks Dad!  I like to recycle because it makes me feel good.  I get the feeling that I am actually doing my part in ensuring my children’s world and future.  After all, aren’t we just borrowing Mother Earth for the time that we are here?

We are recycling.

Reducing our footprint was something we just recently started.  Although as of right now, we are working on being more proactive in this, but it is still a work in progress.  This is one thing that we do that is really simple and rewarding.  Whenever we make trips to the grocery store, we always bring along those cloth tote bags so that we do not need the plastic bags to haul our groceries home.  I actually keep several of these bags in my trunk, especially for those unplanned store stops.  What I really love about bringing my own bags besides the reduction of waste is the additional fact that the bags never break or rip.  It always seems that by the time
I get home and start unloading, it is a guessing game as to whether or not I will make it in the house before all of the groceries spill in the driveway.

We are reducing. (Well, starting to anyway!)

Reusing is something that really appeals to my frugal side.  Lord knows I love saving money.  I constantly invent reasons to give items dual purpose before recycling them.  We use shoe boxes to organize all of our craft supplies.  We also use old margarine tubs to house Barbie’s wardrobe and accessories.  It is also true that I have sent left-overs home nestled inside empty food containers.  (I love this because I never have to worry about trying to track my Tupperware down!)

We are reusing.

It was Sunday night’s dinner that preempted me to look at the glass spaghetti jar and think, “This would make a really cute candle.”  That was all it took to get me started.  I was on the hunt for reusing!

Here’s what I found on my kitchen quest.

Candles

Baby jars- excellent ideas for cute baby shower candle favors

Cans

Plastic Lunchmeat containers- perfect for storing votives and tea lights

Jelly jars

Mugs

Glass cups

Glass bowls

 

The possibilities are endless.  In fact, these “previously used” glass containers can be really cute when decorated with some tissue paper, a little ribbon, and some glue.

 

But, do not feel that reusing the containers in your kitchen is your only option.  If you would like to reduce your packaging costs, especially on the candle glass, you can always offer your customers a refill option for them at a reduced price.  All they would have to do is bring their own containers, or their original candle container back to you (cleaned, of course!), and you can refill it.
Don’t you just love being cost effect… it is an AMAZING feeling!

 

In the realm of wax, whenever I have wax left over from candle making, I pour it in an old cookie sheet and let it harden.  Then, I use an old pizza slicer to and cut up the wax into funky shapes.  Sometimes it is confetti style, although most times it is free style.  I then put my wax pieces into an old plastic lunchmeat container and store.  Then, whenever I have unexpected guests, or I am feeling like my mood needs a little pick me up, I just toss some in my tart warmer and start sniffing away.

 

Reusing your containers is only the tip of the iceberg.  Any small changes add up to have huge results.  Get creative, and remember… “Waste not, Want not.” –Ben Franklin

 

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of

Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

Candle Company Success Story

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

 

Ashley & Erica From Ashka Candles

Our names are Ashley Sanatore and Erika Mutschelknaus and our company is Ashka Candles. The meshing of our first names.

We were tired of always buying candles that had amazing cold throw but didn’t smell up a room at all when lit. And the only candles that ever seem to have a great hot throw are far more expensive than they should be. We wanted to create a wonderful product with high quality and still be affordable for everyone.

Our favorite part of business is seeing the customers’ faces light up when they smell our products. Everyone always seems shocked that we are just two 26 year old girls who hand-make all of our products. It gives us a great satisfaction to know that we are making something that everyone can enjoy. It doesn’t matter if they are young, old, female, male…. EVERYONE loves candles. And being able to make amazingly scented candles that everyone can afford just makes all the work worth it. The most difficult part of our business is maintaining our low prices as the cost of all supplies rises. It is also difficult at times to juggle our full-time everyday jobs with this expanding “hobby” but we always find a way to make it work!

There are so many great products from Natures Garden Candle Supply, but the fragrance oils are just amazing! And we love the review feature! We always look at the reviews of a fragrance before we buy it to see how it has sold for other customers.  It is a great feature that we haven’t found with any other company. Our goals for the coming year are to expand more into other beauty products. We currently sell candles and lotions, but would like to add body spray and perhaps bath gel. We would also like to possibly get into a shop in the very near future. 

 

Website: http://www.ashkacandles.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashkacandles