Category Archives: handcrafted soap

May
05

Our First Stick Blender

This entry was posted in cold process soap, handcrafted soap, homemade soap, hot process soap, how to make cold process soap, Natures Garden, soap, Soap making supplies, soap supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

our first stick blender

 

This blog is dedicated in remembrance of our first official soap making utensil, Mr. Smooth Operator.

3 years ago, we started to dabble into the wonderful world of soap making. As we learned all about this art, researching the steps, ingredients, and supplies; we welcomed a new soaping utensil into our lives. It was lovingly named: Mr. Smooth Operator. He was our first stick blender.

Today, with tears in our eyes; we lay Mr. Smooth Operator to rest.

Mr. Smooth Operator was an extremely hard worker, who took on each soaping endeavor with vigor and vitality. He was there for us through thick and thin batch, and never blinked an eye when it came to having to put forth extra effort; asking for nothing in return.

Looking back, there were times when we took Mr. Smooth Operator for granted; especially early on when we were new to the soaping game. But, he never held that against us. He was a happy, go getting fellow, who lived a life of sacrifice. He would take on the task of hard labor and getting dirty; all in order for us to be clean with our soap.

He was the best stick blender.

Strongly rooted in a family that strives on performance, the Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender series should be proud. Not only did Mr. Smooth Operator fulfill his calling as a stick blender, but he willingly exceeded expectations every day. And boy, were there some days that he put in the overtime.

Through all of these amazing qualities, Mr. Smooth Operator quickly became a part of our soaping family. He has set the standard of quality work (and easy clean up), leaving behind an awful big pair of shoes for the next stick blender to fill.

Mr. Smooth Operator will truly be missed by everyone on the creative team at Natures Garden.

We hope that in his passing, he is out there somewhere blending huge batters of joy and happiness. Achieving immersions, young and fresh as the day he was first opened and used.

Oct
15

Top 50 Soap Making Blogs

This entry was posted in cleansing, cold process soap, cosmetic recipe, creative, essential oil, handcrafted soap, handmade soap, herb, herbal oil infusion, homemade, homemade soap, soap, soap making recipes, soaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

soap making blogs

Soap making has grown from a hobby, to a seriously competitive trade that attracts new talent all the time. The trick is finding the right soap making blogs to get the best recipes, ingredient list, tutorials, and expert advice to learn the pro’s tips on soap making. What I have created is the ultimate online resource that compiles the best of the best soap making blogs into one post.

I wanted to create a quality resource for people seeking information about soap making so I’ve collected what I believe to be some of the top soap making blogs out there. I endorse them so much that I’ve created a badge for them to display and be endorsed as one of the top soap making blogs on the Internet. The order below is not in any particular order. They are all #1 in my eyes.

Best Soap Making Blogs

1. Evik – The Curious Soapmaker – Evik has been making soap since she accidentally discovered a natural soap making book while browsing her favorite book store. Suddenly, she became more interested in a natural lifestyle and became a vegetarian and started learning more about the products and ingredients she was using in her every day life. Learn from her passion for soapmaking, the importance of selecting the proper ingredients, and basic recipes tutorials and principles.

2. Jennifer Young – Jennifer has a successful business of soaps, lip balms, salves and more. What makes her, and her blog, stand out are the four principles she runs her business by: she enjoys what she does, only uses natural ingredients in her products, supports the local community and economy, and treats the environment well. Kuddos to you Jennifer!

3. Amanda Griffin – Amanda shares her passion for soap making, and her gratitude for being a part of the “soaping” community. She loves all things soap, including talking, sharing, and teaching soap making. Follow her site for handmade soap, bath and body products, reviews, interviews, how-to’s and more.

4. Ruth Esteves – Ruth was trained as a laboratory assistant, and found herself craving more creativity in her life. She fused her passion for soapmaking with a career, and has successfully combined her talents for a business that “feeds her soul,” since 2006. Now she sells, teaches, and speaks about soapmaking and has even recently published her first eBook.

5. Rebecca Dillon – Soap Delicatessen is a one woman operation that has been running since 2001. She started out making soap as an alternative to commercial brands that often irritated her very sensitive skin. Over a decade later, now she creates her own unique recipes for various skin and bath products and sells them on her site.

6. Rene Whitlock – Rene started with aromatherapy and essential oils before she discovered her love for soap making. Now she passionately shares her discovery for better ingredients, natural products, and converting commercial product consumers to products more beneficial for their skin and the planet.

7. TheSoapBar.com – The Soap Bar is a fun spot for the soap makers out there. This site is loaded with contests, challenges, creative new tips and ideas, and wonderful tutorials to keep your soap making fresh and inspired. Follow along for wonderful recipes and a fun community of soap makers.

8. TheSoapMagician – Sharon has done her homework and has plenty of certificates to prove it. She has been making soap for well over a decade, and has no plans on stopping. Share her fountain of knowledge from aromatherapy to holistic uses of herbs, and how she incorporates all that into soap making.

9. TheSoapSister.com – This country gal loves her handmade soap and she can’t deny it! Her soap, Heirloom, is featured in local shops and on etsy. She shares the joys of soapmaking, making a messing, learning the tricks, and more on her oh-so-passionate blog.

10. TierraVerdeSoaps.com – A true self-proclaimed soap nerd, this mom has an entrepenurial spirit and a true talent at that. Follow her exploration of soap making where art meets science. Beautiful pictures are always the end result that you’ll find yourself wishing you could smell through your computer screen.

11. Stacie – Another successful business created as the result of a suffering tale of overly sensitive skin. Stacie’s first line of products resulted in her true love for sharing her results with others and the benefits she discovered in natural soaps. Share her recipes and learn about her new products, and cute crafts, on this charming site.

12. Angela – Angela, and her husband Brian, are the savvy creators of this blog that will educate and inspire you to spend more time together creating healthier, more natural products for you and your family. Browse their recipes and tutorials; it’s a great place to get started at making your own soaps.

13. SoaphisticatedLady.com – Beginner soap makers rejoice; here is the perfect spot for you to try your talent at soap making. Learn the basic process of melt-and-pour (MAP) soap making, and new tips and tricks “not available anywhere else.” A wonderful place to learn recipes, colors, and fragrance tips for your first, or twentieth batch of soaps.

14. Gavin Webber – Gavin’s site is delightfully personal, refreshingly real, and absolutely inspiring. He deems himself an ordinary man that had a sudden epiphony while watching a documentary and seriously overhauled his life. Follow his progressively shrinking carbon footprint, and marvel at his conversion to a green life.

15. TheNerdyFarmWife.com – A true self-proclaimed soap nerd, this mom has an entrepenurial spirit and a true talent at that. Follow her exploration of soap making where art meets science. Beautiful pictures are always the end result that you’ll find yourself wishing you could smell.

16. Tiggy – Future Primitive Soap Co.’ is Tiggy’s blog to share, and sell, her fine bath goods and aromatic oils. With names as catchy as the ingredients list, you will likely be as intrigued as you are curious. Inspire the soapmaker in you, or buy from the creator of soaps like, “Mama Didn’t Listen So I Told The Bees soap.”

17. Annie – Follow Annie’s adventures through soap making and “other things.” Shop her homemade lip balms, custom cupcake soaps, and body butters. She posts her creations on her blog, often swaying reading over to her “shop,” section linking to her good-enough-to-eat etsy store where she sells all of her fabulous creations.

18. Jenny – From melt-and-pour soap making to cold process soap, Jenny shares her hobbyist adventures in all things soapy. Follow her recipes through candle making, soaps of all colors and styles, and even men’s shaving cream.

19. BurntMill.com – This busy crafter may slack on the updates, but certainly not on the content. Follow some amazing recipes for colorful soaps. Learn how to make soap for a baby or bridal shower from start to finish, or give soap to friends and family and save some money this holiday.

20. SoapAndRestless.com – Did you know pictures of soap could literally make your mouth water? If you don’t believe me, check out ‘Soap and Restless,’ and just scroll through the photos. Those soaps are so beautifully made they honestly look good enough to eat. What’s not to love that the recipes, and plenty of tips and tricks, are shared for readers to delightfully attempt to recreate.

21. Erin Nute – Erin has learned the in’s and out’s of soap making and is happy to share her successes, and failures, so that you can create your own natural products. She’ll teach you layering techniques, color tips, and even how to make a long-lasting bar of soap. If you like what you read, you can pick up her new book, “Soap Making Made Easy.”

22. Patrice – Even those that don’t make soaps will fall in love with Patrice’s blog. She shares her passion for soap making, candle making, bath goods, and oil, but her personality is what keeps you coming back for more. Patrice has been at it for years, so share what she’s learned and have fun!

23. Bianca – This Brooklyn-based beauty is a full-time designer and hobbyist soap maker. Her blog is a meeting place for the best of both of her talents; where soap making meets design. Eye candy for the masses here, but definitely visual inspiration for the soap makers and designer readers.

24. Claudia Mold – Follow a busy mom of six through crafting projects, soap making, cooking, of raising her kids. Learn the recipe behind her “happy,” rainbow soap, or her mouth-watering handmade cheeseburger.

25. Erica Pence – Erica’s blog is more inspiration than the secrets of soap making, and if I were you, I’d listen. This business woman is savvy, successful, and passionate about what she does. She shares all of her interests from bath and body, to candles and business advice. Need more? Check out her tutorials and contests.

26. HorseOPeaceRanch.com – What a fun story behind this successful soap making business. After deciding to use some leftover goat’s milk to make some soap, an event 10 days later led to the first selling and teaching of soap making. Business officially began just months later, and has been a success ever since.

27. Magdoline – Addicted to Soap,’ started out of a mom’s need to help her eczema diagnosed children heal their sensitive skin. An encouraging husband pushed her to start selling her beautiful creations, and alas, a business was born. Browse the site, take a class, discover the joy of soap making.

28. LionAndRoseSoap.com – Handmade soap is an art, a hobby, but most importantly a passion. ‘Lion and Rose Handmade Soap,’ has them all. Share in the day-to-day family life behind this soap-making mom, and enjoy her honest opinion, recipes, and delightful creations on her site.

29. Aunt Nancy – Aunt Nancy’s blog is chock-full of homemade soap recipes. From pumpkin soap, to oatmeal & honey goat milk soap, you’ll have enough recipes here to keep you busy for an entire year (and more!)

30. Amy Warden – Amy’s soap is a work of art. If you have a few minutes and want some inspiration, I highly recommend going to her website and reviewing the amazing concoctions she has created. Absolutely stunning!

31. Tatania – Tatania’s soap is so beautiful it looks more like artisan fudge. I’d caution you against making her banofee pie soap as you really might confuse it for fudge!

32. Cee – Cee’s soap recipes are so unique! Pumpkin maple soap… Doesn’t get any better than that for fall, does it? How about a gift for mom of cocoa butter soap with lavender and lemon infused oil? My goodness! A must bookmark blog.

33. Jennifer – Add Jennifer to your list of soap blogs you must follow. From peppermint bark soap to polka dot themed apple, peach & cinammon, her soap recipes will inspire you for hours.

34. HomeMadeBathProducts.com – HomeMadeBathProducts is a site I know you will love! The writers feature great recipes and products from around the web.

35. Angela – Jamaican vanilla café, Hummingbird, Hula Hula… Angela’s soap names are as unique as the soap itself. Great photos and great blog… Just wish she provided more of her recipes.

36. Sabons Carmeta – This Spanish soap blog features beautiful soap recipes… From lavender and shea to Marigold… You won’t be disapointed by Sabons Carmeta.

37. Celine – Celine’s soap looks like it could be decoration in a pop movie. Full of sparkles, ridges & beauty, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more bubbilicious soap photos than hers.

38. Sue – Although the content has rarely been updated over the last few years, this blog features beautiful soap that you just must look into.

39. T.A. Helton – I Just love what T.A. Helton does with her blog. Occasionally you’ll see her featuring ‘soap porn’ so you can admire the greatest soaps she makes on her site, from apples & oak to bay rum spice… we love it all!

40. Elizabeth – Elizabeth shares her soap making adventures on this blog and we love it! She even shares how she uses her Vitamix for soap making (And for smoothies!).

41. Julia – Julia’s Spanish soap making blog is amazing. Beautiful designs, photos, packaging… You get the entire package here.

42. Milla – Milla not only shares photos of her end results, but even creates videos of how she prepares her soap. Definitely worth a read!

43. Super Soapers – Super Soapers is amazing: They feature soap artists every month to help inspire and educate you. This is one you must bookmark.

44. Ana Maria – Ana Maria shares her soap making adventures in this Spanish soap making blog. Just wish there were more recipes to accompany her beautiful photos

Our Favorite Soap Recipes

45. Nina Nelson – Nina shares her recipe for a homemade herbal bar soap here. She uses marshmallow root and calendula petals to make this bar soap very soothing and healing.

46. Allyson – Allyson shares 3 homemade dish soap recipes. They are all natural and quick and easy to make. She leaves out essential oils, but you can easily toss some lavender, cinnamon, peppermint or anything your heart desires in and it will work perfectly.

47. Stephanie – Pink grapefruit soap! Love it! Stephanie shares this unique soap recipe idea here. We definitely encourage you to try it.

48. Liz Marie – Liz has been using a DIY laundry soap recipe for over a year. After a year of refining her recipe, she finally has made it perfect and shares her secrets with you.

49. Clare – Another goat milk recipe! This time with orange and calendula. Thanks, Clare, for the great inspiration!

50. Brandy – Brandy shares her homemade poppy seed soap recipe here… I can’t wait to give this a go. Her photos are beautiful and the end result is even more gorgeous.

Jul
24

Why Does M&P Soap Sweat

This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, cleansing, Fragrance Oils, handcrafted soap, melt and pour soap, Natures Garden, soap mold and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

melt and pour soap

Why Does M&P Soap Sweat?

Melt and Pour Soap Bases contain high levels of vegetable glycerin.  Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the saponification process.   The ingredient glycerin is a humectant.  A humectant is a substance that can retain and preserve moisture, therefore also preventing loss of moisture as well.  Humectants are very important in bath and body products.  Having a moisturizing aspect to your products is especially crucial for the dry skin type products.

Sometimes, during the manufacturing process of melt and pour soaps, extra glycerin is added.  Glycerin is a key ingredient for making clear soaps.  Some types of melt and pour soaps even have up to 20% of pure glycerin in them (this would be why glycerin is listed so highly on the ingredients label).  But remember this glycerin is what gives melt and pour soap some of its highly sought after qualities, easy to color and mold, skin loving nature, mild and gentle soap (good for children and sensitive skinned), and very highly moisturizing naturally.

In fact, it is believed that in theory when you wash your hands with glycerin soap, there will be a thin layer of glycerin that is left behind after you rinse off the lather.  This layer of glycerin then does its humectant job and pulls moisture from the air, keeping your hand moisturized until the next wash.  But, it is also this same ingredient which is causing your melt and pour soap to “sweat”.  Some people believe that m&p sweat is inevitable, but there are some steps you can take to help avoid and reduce sweat.

Because glycerin is a humectant, the sweat that is produced after m&p soap in unmolded is actually condensation from the air that the glycerin drew out unto itself.  This is a very important element to remember if you live in an area with high heat and high humidity, or if you are soaping while it is raining outside.  Humidity is the number one cause for sweat.

How to Reduce M&P Soap Sweat

One of the best suggestions that we have for reducing the amount of sweat on your soaps is to have a dehumidifier in your soaping area.  You also want to keep the temperature of the room where you are soaping constant.  Drastic changes in temperature will also enhance soap sweat.

The first option in reducing sweat on m&p soap, especially if you live in a very humid area, is to store unmolded soaps in an airtight container.  By doing this, you are eliminating any extra moisture to be retained by the glycerin.  One tip we have learned from our customers is to spread a thin layer of aroma beads into the bottom of the air tight container.  Since aroma beads absorb liquid, this will also better your chances of having an air tight moisture free environment for your soaps to dry and harden.

In addition to the aroma beads, you will want to use drying racks in your containers if possible.  Setting your soap directly on top of the aroma beads for long periods of time will also dry out your soaps.  The time limit that the soaps can be in the air tight container is 2 hrs.  The soaps should also be checked and rotated every 30 minutes.

Some soap crafters use muslin bags to lay their soap out to dry, rotating them once a day.  This however will only work if you live in an area that does not have high humidity.

Although there is some debate as to when you can wrap your soap to avoid sweat, the general consensus is to wrap your soaps immediately after unmolding, if you are not storing them in an airtight container.   Regardless of whether you are using, plastic wrap or saran wrap (sealed with a heat gun), or shrink wrap, the sooner you get the soaps covered, the less chance glycerin has to draw moisture to the outside of the soap.

Another way to reduce sweat forming on the soap is to allow the soap to cool and harden naturally.  You want your soaps to harden at room temperature (70-72 degrees).  Even though you can speed up the hardening process by placing your molds in the fridge/freezer, it should NEVER be any longer than 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your mold.  Also, this step should never occur right after you poured the hot melted soap in the mold.  Wait until your soap has already started to harden.  The drastic temperature change from piping hot to freezing cold will lead to soap sweat.  And, you never want to completely freeze soap.  When the frozen soap thaws, you can almost guarantee soap sweat.

On a closing note, soap sweat does not affect any of the soap’s abilities.  Soap sweat happens naturally in humid environments that the soap is in.  Although using the preventative measures listed above will help to reduce the amount of soap sweat that occurs on your bars of soap, soap sweat may still appear.  The humectant agents in your soap are just doing their job, collecting moisture from the air, just as it will to moisturize your skin.

Jul
22

Soap Making: Never Add Water to Lye

This entry was posted in all natural, cold process soap, Fragrance Oils, handcrafted soap, homemade, Natures Garden, soap fragrances, soap oil properties and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

lye volcanoWhy You Never Add Water to Lye in Soap Making

Caustic Soda or lye is a necessary ingredient in the soap making process.  However, it is this same ingredient that prevents most people from attempting cold process soap making.  Most lye solutions consist of lye and distilled water.  When making the lye solution there are a few key tips you want to remember.  They are:

Wear your safety gear: safety goggles, mask, long sleeve shirts, pants, and gloves.

Always mix your lye solution in a well ventilated area (open windows, outside, garage, turn on the exhaust fan).

NEVER use glass or aluminum items for your soap making mixing containers or utensils.  Glass can break, and aluminum does not play nicely with lye.  It will cause a toxic, chemical reaction.

Lye is extremely caustic and can do severe damage.  When water and lye are mixed together this is known as a lye solution.  This mixing will also cause an exothermic reaction, this means that heat is given off as a byproduct of the chemical reaction occurring.  Once the lye and water are stirred to make the lye solution, lye solution will become very hot, sometimes reaching 200 degrees.

When you are ready to make the lye solution, ALWAYS pour the lye into the water.  One of the best tips that we have found to remember the order is to envision “a light snow falling into a pond.”

When incorporating the two ingredients together you want to do it in a slow manner.  You must sprinkle the lye in small doses into the water.  In between each sprinkle, you will want to stir, stir, and stir.  The lye mixture will become cloudy, and may give off fumes.  Do not inhale these fumes.  They are extremely hazardous.

NEVER POUR WATER INTO LYE!!!  And NEVER ADD TOO MUCH LYE TOO FAST!!!  Doing either one of these things will create a violent reaction known as a volcano effect.  This happens because the water starts to dissolve the lye, forming a crust.  This crust then seals in the chemical reaction occurring beneath it.  The reaction can only handle being restrained from its own crust before the build-up of pressure and heat creates a burst or eruption.  Hence the term- volcano effect.

If a volcano effect does occur, immediately spray your work area with vinegar.  Vinegar will neutralize the caustic lye.  Proceed by washing the area down with hot soapy water.  Rinse area, and wash again with hot soapy water.  Use paper towels to dry area.

So, to sum up this lesson in soap making:  NEVER POUR WATER ONTO LYE….YOU WILL CREATE A LYE VOLCANO!!!!  Create your lye solution by adding small amounts of lye to water and stir.

Jun
08

Passionate about Unique Soap Mixture

This entry was posted in bath and body, creative, Fragrance Oils, handcrafted soap, homemade soap, hot process soap, melt and pour soap, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , on by .

fragrance oilsWhat’s your name & Your Company Name:   Effie Blasini,  Energetically Divine

I love anything that has to do with bath and body products. From the time I could actually use them, there was not anything I did not want to try – I would save my money just to go and buy something. Then as I grew older, I tried making simple things. Perfume and fragrance is my life.  I started off making soap the MP way, then moved into HP. I found that no matter what I did, the HP was not moisturizing enough for me and all though the MP base was doing what I wanted, I couldn’t be as versatile with it. So, one day, I had a great thought – why not mix the two together and see what happens. And that is how my particular soap creation was born. I was able to add the fragrance & dyes to the MP base and then after both were ready to go, I would mix the bases together to create a wonderful soap! My soap has the texture of a HP soap with all the wonderful moisturizing effects of the goats milk MP base. It lathers up real nice, holds fragrance and keeps the skin moisturized after use. I love it!!! It sells out every time. And now everyone knows my secret – I hope everyone tries this at least once to see the difference it makes.

Double Chocolate soap – Goat milk MP base, Macadamia oil & Organic coconut oil HP soap base, Chocolate cupcake, German chocolate cake & Gourmet dark chocolate fragrance oil, Dutch cocoa powder, Cocoa butter & Silky emulsifying wax.

Your Website:  energeticallydivine.wordpress.com

Jun
08

Patchouli Essential Oil Featured

This entry was posted in essential oils, handcrafted soap, handmade soap, patchouli essential oil, soap fragrances, Soap making supplies and tagged , , , , , on by .
Hippie Patchouli

This Polyvore was made by Jodi, a homemade soap maker.      If you are interested in purchasing some of her soaps, you will find links to them below.   Natures Garden Essential Oils are frequently used by designers on Polyvore to create their “sets”.  Come join us on Polyvore and design your own!

Natures Garden Patchouli Essential Oil is shown in this polyvore.