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A Quick Catch Up

So my poor blog has been sorely neglected again – six whole weeks since my last post!! I think that’s probably the longest I’ve ever gone without posting, so I’ve had a word with myself, am suitably chastened, and will not be leaving it so long again 😀

Ok, lets get the inevitable out of the way.  No, we’ve still not moved into our new home, and no, the website isn’t ready yet. Both still trundling along though, so I should be able to share good news on both fronts at some point 😉

The great news is that two local retail outlets have now agreed to sell The Soap Mine soaps. Woop!  They’ve each taken a dozen soaps to display in their shops, and if they sell, they’ll take more. Fingers crossed!!

I’ve been busy building up stock levels again – sticking to the plan of ITP Swirls for FO soaps and Drop Swirls for EO soaps I wrote about last time:

Welsh Rose
Welsh Rose (ITP Swirl)

Welsh Rose is actually made with an FO called English Rose, but living in Wales, what else could I call it?!  Coloured with TD and pink mica.

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey ITP Swirl
OMH (ITP Swirl)

OMH (or Oatmeal, Milk & Honey) FO is so popular in the soaping community, but this is the first time I’ve used it. To me it smells very sweet, almost like marzipan, and I LOVE it.  Coloured with TD and three different brown micas.

Wake Up! (Drop Swirl)
Wake Up! (Drop Swirl)

This is a restock of my very popular Wake Up! soap.  Fragranced with Rosemary and Peppermint EOs and coloured with TD and green / blue micas

Parisian Flora
Parisian Flora (Drop Swirl)

Another redesign / restock. Parisian Flora proved very popular in its last incarnation, so although the fragrance is exactly the same (a blend of Lavender, Rose Geranium and Ylang Ylang EOs), as are the colours (TD and three pink micas), it’s now made using the drop swirl technique

Luscious Lavender
Luscious Lavender (Drop Swirl)

Luscious Lavender, simply fragranced wth Lavender EO, is by far my biggest seller. It really surprises me to be honest, but there’s no doubt about it, when I look back over my records, Lavender is definitely the one that I’ve made the most often over the years. This one thickened up on me a little quicker than normal, so the drops aren’t quite as delicate as I would have liked.

I also have a Marshmallow FO soap that was cut this morning, and isn’t yet ready to meet its public 😀 and tonight I made Black Jack – a blend of Aniseed and Spearmint EOs. That one’s still in the mould, so pics to follow sometime soon.

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A Range? Really…?

So, as work continues on my website (I know, I know, that’s another thing I’ve been banging on about for ever) my Web Designer and trusty assistant (aka my husband) has informed me that I need to develop ‘A Range’. Apparently I can’t keep making random batches of whatever I want to, with whatever ingredients / fragrances / colours I fancy trying and using a near infinite variety of design techniques. Nope, I need ‘A Range’…

Now I’ve read enough on Soap Business Best Practice over the last couple of years to know that this is true.  The main reason I guess is that I’ll lose business if I don’t have a range of bestsellers which are always in stock. I also think the website’s going to look a little crazy if there’s too much choice (and of course keeping a website up to date with an unlimited number of different products will be (I was told, sternly) a ‘nightmare’).

So, despite my misgivings, I’ve had to narrow things down a little and make some decisions.  I’m still going to make both Essential Oil soaps and Fragrance Oil soaps, though they’ll have their own separate categories, with no more than eight in each category to begin with.

To simplify things even further, Essential Oil soaps will all be made using the ‘Drop Swirl’ technique:

 

Enigma - Clary Sage, Rose Geranium and Lemon essential oils
Enigma – Clary Sage, Rose Geranium and Lemon Essential Oils

 

Spice Island - Aniseed and Orange Essential Oils
Spice Island – Aniseed and Orange Essential Oils

And Fragrance Oil soaps will be made using the ‘In The Pot’ (ITP) Swirl technique: (this first one is the soap that was in the mould in my last post – my first ‘post-move’ soap!)

Delicious - a dupe of the popular DKNY Be Delicious fragrance
Delicious – a dupe of the popular DKNY Be Delicious fragrance
Lemon Meringue - An intensely lemony yet sweet fragrance.
Lemon Meringue – An intensely lemony yet sweet fragrance.

The two techniques can sometimes look quite similar, and I might decide in time that that’s not such a good idea, but I’ll wait and see.

I’ll should still be able to indulge my creative streak as I’m hoping to make more seasonal soaps – I’ve missed a trick in the past by not making specific (for example) Christmas, Summer or Valentines Day soaps so that’s where I think I’ll be able to try out different fragrances and designs.

What do you think of my plan?

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…and two months later…

Wow, I realised on Monday that it was exactly two months since I last posted on here.  TWO MONTHS!! I knew I’d take a bit of time out while we packed up our home and made the move to Wales, but I didn’t realise I would neglect the blog so thoroughly – so sorry!

Anyway, we’ve left the big city and are now settling into a much more rural way of life. This is the amazing view from my bedroom window:

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Not bad eh? We’re still staying with my mum, who has kindly allowed her peaceful home to be invaded by our family of four (thanks mum!) but we’re in the process of buying our new home – in the same village – yippee!

Needless to say the majority of our belongings are still boxed up and in storage and I’ve not been able to make soap BUT I decided last night that enough was enough – I had to get back to it. Mainly because a) I miss it, hugely and b)The Soap Mine is getting seriously low on stock…

So, I dug out all my soaping gear, whisked up a simple 3 colour ITP (in the pot) swirl (and oh oh oh loved every minute of it :-D):

photo 2(1)

  Delicious is scented with a dupe of DKNY’s Be Delicious fragrance, and smells utterly gorgeous. Coloured with two shades of green mica and titanium dioxide. Cut pics to follow soon.

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I missed one…

I don’t know about you, but I go daft for reading Soapy blogs. I use bloglovin, which I love because even though I don’t always get to read posts as soon, and as often, as I would like, it keeps me up to date with all my fellow soapy bloggers and I never miss a thing. In fact, it was fellow soaper’s blog that reminded me last week that I had actually missed something – I’d forgotten to post about my most recent Lavender soap.

Ruth Esteves over at The Sirona Springs Blog posted a great tutorial on creating Mica Oil Swirls on the top of soaps, and invited readers to link their own attempts in the comments section. So I though I would. Only I didn’t have anything to link to, ‘cos I’ve not blogged about it. <Ahem…>

So here it is – a reincarnation of Luscious Lavender, but with a mica oil swirl.  The soap itself is coloured with violet ultramarine, but the closest mica I had was ‘Patagonian Purple’, and it’s not really a good match colour-wise (at all, lol). Never mind – I love the effect anyway (and I’ve just placed an order for ‘Grape’ mica which I’m hoping will be closer to the ultramarine colour and more ‘lavender-like’ for future soaps 🙂

Pure Lavender Essential Oil with a Mica SwirlI didn’t take any photos of the process, but all I did was mix about half a teaspoon of mica in a small container with about a teaspoonful of olive oil, and then used a disposable pipette to drop the mixture all over the soap once it was in the mould. I then used a wooden skewer to create the swirls. Easy peasy 😀

If you have a soapy blog please feel free to share it in the comments below. If I don’t already follow you – I will!

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Recent Makes

A very quick update with some recent creations.

First up is a restock of Luscious Lavender – an ‘In the Pot’ swirl fragranced with Lavender Essential Oil and coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Violet Ultramarine. It always surprises me how popular Lavender still is – this one’s already sold out!

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This next one is Orange Sherbert.  The batter thickened up VERY quickly but I still managed to do an ‘In the Pot’ swirl.  I really like the resulting folds, but I’m not sure I would ever be brave enough to try to replicate it as I was <this> close to getting the proverbial ‘Soap on a Stick’ :0) Fragranced with Orange Sherbet FO from Gracefruit and coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Orange Mica.

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Finally for today: Parisian Flowers.  A deliberately uneven layered soap, fragranced with a heady blend of Ylang Ylang, Rose Geranium and Lavender Essential Oils. Coloured with Titanium Dioxide and a range of pink micas, with a mica oil swirl on the top.

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