Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tonight, me and my family are staying home, just the three of us. We're going to have a big dinner of chicken and stuffing, and pie for desert, then we're going to stay up and watch Anderson Cooper on CNN! It will be a small and simple celebration, but it's the way we want it! Plus, my toddler seems to be getting excited, since we've been telling him about the party tonight!
2011 was a fantastic year for us! My son turned 1 back in July, my husband began his pathway program through King College and is on his way to graduating in August of 2012, and I officially started my soap shop in September! Lots of milestones! We are all very excited to see what will happen in 2012.
Happy New Year!! How will you be celebrating tonight?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Right now (yep! right now!), I am prepping for both Valentine's Day and St. Patty's Day. A few weeks ago, I made some new two-colored soaps in great scents (lilac, honey/almond, oakmoss and sage...), and they will be going live online in just a few days! I've picked up some new yarns as well, for some crochet swag to go along with the holidays!
Oh, and debuting just in time for St. Patrick's Day... Beer soap! Beer soap is made with beer (no way! really?) for some great additions for your skin (barley, hops), but with no beer smell! So, dont worry, you wont be heading to the office smelling like you are coming off a bender.
Exciting news in the world of lip balms!! After many requests (a lot of them from my own sister), I am transitioning from round tins to the traditional lip balm tube! Whoo!! I'll also be adding lots of new flavors, such as a triple berry blend, peppermint, clove, lemon, and (drum roll, please!) chocolate!
There's even more surprises coming... new bath salts, new crochet accessories, and the addition of bath bombs!
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
We talked about 5 different social media sites: facebook, twitter, foursquare, linkedin, and youtube. Now, I am already on facebook and twitter, but I was very interested in the other three, as well as learning how to better communicate to (and with!) you guys through the sites.
One thing that I am very interested in is creating a YouTube channel! Back when I was really getting into the art of soap making, I would search youtube for hours, and was very inspired by other soap artists who posted videos of the soap making process, as well as follow-up videos once the soap was ready to cut!
So one of my goals in 2012 is to start a YouTube channel featuring my soaps! My husband and I are currently tinkering around with his iphone's video capabilities, as well as my own camera, and I want to start shooting and uploading videos by January or February! That way, you guys can get sneak previews of what will be coming up in my shop!! :oD
One interesting note that I learned today was the different in posting on Facebook and posting on twitter. On facebook, I try to only post once or twice a day, so my posts do not jam up everyone's newsfeed, so I was doing the same on twitter... Nope! I was doing it wrong! I learned that on twitter, people post more often in order to be seen in the real time feed! So, if you follow me on Twitter, look for me to start posting more often!
And of course, I'll still be on facebook! I love linking my blog to facebook, talking about new products, and uploading photos! Look for more polls and questions about what YOU want to see in new soaps and lip balms, as well as peeks into new products that I am developing for 2012!
Remember, to catch great (free!) classes like this one, and the one I went to a few days ago, contact your local SBA chapter! New classes start up in Tennessee in January, and I am looking forward to taking a few more!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
My goals for winter break are ready to be fulfilled... I've got to finish some last-minute handmade Christmas gifts, make loads of cookies and candy, I'm planning on making new crochet wash cloths and soap savers with men in mind, I've already started creating heart-shaped soaps for the valentine's holiday, and I picked up some light reading from ETSU's Sherrod Library!
I grabbed two books. The first is the "AMA Complete guide to small business marketing." This boo seems great, and has lots of space for interaction, quizes, and self-reflection. The second book is "Successful Marketing for Small Business." I am already in love with this book! When I first opened it and started reading, I realized quite quickly that this was a book I would be taking notes from!
What great resources!
What are you doing over winter break?
**PS: If you are interested in purchasing from my etsy shop for holiday gifts, make sure to do so by tomorrow!!**
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Wait... what is the TSBDC?
It is the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is associated with my university AND the SBA! They offer courses and counseling for people who run, or want to run, small businesses. They are also associated with ETSU's college and business and technology!
We also got some cool swag!
My swag also included a yearly calendar (this is going to be great for tracking my mileage!), a magazine about computers (an interesting read if you are looking to upgrade your devices), and a pamphlet from Google on how to best use Google to your advantage!
So, for all of my budding entrepreneur friends out there, looking to start up their own small businesses, make sure to check out your local SBA branch for classes! My two classes were free to attend, and I gained some very valuable information, as well as getting an opportunity to network!
My second class is next Wednesday, and we will be covering social media... So remember, you can like me on facebook, as well as follow me on twitter! ;o)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
So, I got to thinking about it... maybe others out there are curious as to why I chose this name for my soaps!
"Second spring" actually comes from a quote I stumbled upon over three years ago by French philosepher Albert Camus. The quote reads:
So, I clung to the name for over a year. I've always wanted to make my living by creating things with my hands, and a friend directed me towards Etsy.com. After a few ideas at shops, one of which included knitted items (never got off the ground) and hemp jewelry (I worked hard for 6 months before deciding to rethink my shop), I finally settled on soap making, and Second Spring Soaps was born!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I will he heading to the Johnson City Farmer's Market on December 17th to sell at their Christmas Market!!
Here's a link to their web page if you are interested in learning more about them.
And make sure to go and "like" their Facebook page to get updates!
I am a huge supporter of our local farmer's market, and my plan is to be a full-time seller next season, starting in May! So, I am super excited about the Christmas Market... I am calling it my "test run!"
So, if you are in the area between 9am and 2pm, stop by and check out all of the wonderful handmade goodies made by local crafters ad artisans! And say "HEY!" to your favorite soapy gal! ;o)
Sunday, November 27, 2011
My husband, son, and I have lounged about for most of the weekend... We spend Thanksgiving day with both of our families... My in-laws for lunch, and my parents for dinner! My sister-in-law was in with her adorable family, and Benjamin (my little kiddo) got to sit at the kids table for the first time!
And yes, that is my niece on the right in a bikini top and pajamas... she was a mermaid for Thanksgiving! Love those girls so much!!
We also found out that one of my cousins is expecting a baby in May! Another new baby to add to this mix!
In soap/Etsy news, my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale is still going on, and will be active until Monday at 11:59pm. Make sure you stop by my shop to check out all of my stock at 20% off (and all of my fall-themed stock at 35% off)!
Have a wonderful week, darlings!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
This year, I will be holding a HUGE sale in my soap shop!!
From 11/25/11 (Friday) through 11/28/11 (Monday), everything in my shop (!!) will be 20% off!
That includes all of my fall leaf sets and pumpkin sets... I've discounted them to 15% off, but over the black friday weekend, they will be 35% off!! Wow!
So, remember to think of me when doing some holiday shopping!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Now, most people that I have spoken with consider kudzu to be a nuisance plant, something that needs to be cut back every now and then... However, when I was a kid visiting my grandparents in northern Mississippi, I learned that people made jelly out of kudzu! As a kid, I thought Wow, how amazing! And as I grew older and grew craftier, I began to rack my brain about how to use this seemingly-useless plant.
And, a few weeks ago, it hit me... SOAP! Kudzu is supposed to have wonderful medicinal properties, and is used frequently in Asia to help with ails, so why cant I use it in soap?
I started off by picking a few vines of kudzu a few weeks before our first frost hit, and I dried them in the darkest part of my closet. Now that they are dry and good and crunchy, I will be grinding them down into a powder to be added in my basic soap base...
Look for pictures coming soon!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
This delicious-looking soap cupcake is scented with warm vanilla and topped with pink and blue soap sprinkles! (And there's a hint of sugar for a bubbly kick!)Our traditional lavender soaps are now in heart shapes! They come with embedded lavender buds and are a beautiful, pale purple color.I have more soaps sacks debuting this month, including this lovely brick-red soap saver! (It is photographed with a decadent bar of Japanese Pear and Ginseing soap!)And last but not least, here is my lovely cream and green bar scented with the refreshing scent "da Lime in da Coconut"! It will make your mouth water!
Make sure to check out my etsy shop this month for all of my new items, as well as gift bags for the holidays!!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
However, my husband has some concerns about fluoride found in toothpaste and in our city's water supply. For the most part, our son drinks spring water or breast milk, but we are wanting to eliminate fluoride as much as we can.
So, I've done a bit of research, and today, I made our first batch of homemade toothpaste!
Here's what you need to make your own:
-1 cup baking soda
-1/8 cup fine salt (You can leave out the salt if you want. I have seen other recipes call for 1/4 cup of salt, but I found that to be a bit too salty.)
-water (enough to give the mix a paste-like consistency)
-flavoring (a baking flavor, like peppermint, cinnamon, strawberry, lemon, etc.)
Combine your ingredients and store them in a clean container with a seal. Rubbermaid food containers work well, and are cheap! I found a nice, glass container with a seal lid for under $2.
In the end, you will have a liquid paste (about the consistency of glue) to brush your teeth with! It will not be foamy like commercial toothpaste, but it cleans sooo well and leaves your mouth feeling really fresh! The baking soda naturally eliminates odors in your mouth! Just make sure to use a soft-bristle brush...
Now I am not worried about my son swallowing toothpaste anymore! :oD Plus, we are lowering our impact on the environment by using a product without any unnatural chemicals and we are not producing any waste from the traditional toothpaste container and box. Bonus!!
Friday, October 14, 2011
Image courtesy of itsfordinner.com
Olive oil is also an excellent cleanser! I mean, soap is there to get you clean, right? Olive oil will adhere to dirt, which can be rinsed off, getting you cleaner! And olive oil will not clog your pores as it cleanses!
Olive oil is common in beauty regimens. Olive oil can be smoothed onto hair to create shine!
All of our soaps contain a base of olive oil, and we are working on a formula for castille soap, which is pure 100% olive oil! Make sure to check out my Etsy shop to see my olive oil based soaps.
For more info on olive oil, check out:
The Olive Oil Source
Happy Creating, everyone!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Well, I am here to tell you why!
Handmade soap is amazing! It is made using real oils, butters, and waxes, so you know that the stuff you are rubbing on your skin is natural! And when lye (sodium hydroxide) is added to these oils, a chemical reaction takes place that turns the oils into glycerine!
Wait, what? Your soaps have lye in them! I know what lye can do to someone! I've seen Fight Club!
Actually, once the chemical reaction takes place, and the soap has had ample time to cure, the lye is gone! All that is left is the byproduct, glycerine, which is a natural cleanser!
But, my soap from the store is working just fine.
Actually, did you know that most commercial "soaps" are actually not soap at all? If you look closely on most labels, your "soap" bars are actually called detergents or washes. These cleansers actually use synthetic chemicals to clean the body, rather than natural glycerine. In fact, most cleansers start off with glycerine, but the glycerine is removed! And most commercial cleansers contain paraffins and petrolium byproducts, which can be harmful to sensitive skin. In fact, doctors and midwives are now starting to sugest that pregnant women avoid cleansers with chemicals in them, like paraffins and propylene glycol.
So, now what?
Well, look into handmade soap! Always make sure to check the labels for products that might be irritants or cause allergic reactions. For instance, I have some soaps that are made with sweet almond oil. Folks allergic to almonds may need to steer clear! Handmade soaps can also contain colorants, both natural (like cocoa powder or parsley) or synthetic (such as micas or dyes). Scents can range from fragrance oils (synthetic) to essential oils (plant derived). (Caution: always check out a fragrance oil before using it! Certian ones can cause bodily complications! For instance, citrus EOs are known to make the skin more sensitive to the sun's rays, and rosemary EO is supposed to be avoided by folks with blood pressure problems!)
And many folks with various skin conditions, from mild sensitivities, to eczema and psoriasis have found that handmade soaps made with natural ingredients have helped ease their symptoms!
For more information on the benefits of handmade soap:
My Health and Fitness.com
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Do you want to make one, too?
Then good! You are in the right place!
A feather (I used a big fake one from my hobby store.)
A quill nib (found in the calligraphy section, near the paint supplies)
Hot glue gun with glue sticks
1. I first started by measuring out my feather's ends to "feel" like a pen in my hand, which turned out to be about half of the wire at the end. I folded it over using the pliers and used the electrical tape to tape the ends together.
2. After wrapping the tape down most of the wire, I attached the quill nib with hot glue and wrapped over the top with more tape.
3. I wrapped the tape over the wire about 3 more times to get the approximate thickness of a regular pen.
4. Using hot glue, I wrapped my ribbon over the tape.
And that's it! Super easy, and the pen works great! You can find loads of ink in a variety of colors in your local hobby store, or you can buy ink on Etsy! Here is a store that sells scented ink... Guess who might be getting some of it in her stocking at Christmas?!? :o)
Friday, October 7, 2011
In the world of cosmetics, cocoa butter has always been reccomended for pregnant women to help reduce stretch marks. It's also found in lip balms and products used to heal dry and cracked skin. It is a fantastic moustiruzer, and a pot of it can last for years!
When used in soap, cocoa butter helps to add hardness to the bar, as well as creamy lather when used. Its lovely moisturizing property can be found in soap when used to superfat, and it helps to create a barrier between the skin and the envorinment. And in regular cocoa butter, the cocoa smell will sometimes come through! Yummy! (Unscented cocoa butter can be found as well!)
You can find cocoa butter at most stores, but I buy mine from my local health food store. I actually try to look for the "Fair Trade" logo on most special oils that I buy. "Fair Trade" simply means that companies are committed to buying products (like cocoa butter and palm oil) from developing countries at fair prices. Fair Trade is also applied to other items, like fruit, wine, coffee (probably the most well known fair trade product), and gold, among others.
As of this writing, I have only used cocoa butter in one soap, which is currently in the "curing" stage. In the curing stage, cold process soaps are losing water and becoming hard. This soap (see right) was made with cocoa butter, colored with cocoa powder, and is scented with a fragrance oil called "Chestnuts and brown sugar", which is a sweet, rich, warm smell that goes along perfectly with the undertones of cocoa!
Happy creating, everyone!!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Coconut oil has been used as a moisturizer for the skin, scalp, and hair for centuries. It can be used to make hair shine, and straight oil can be massaged into the scalp to help relieve dandruff!
When used in soap, coconut oil is beneficial by making the bars hard. The coconut oil in my soap usually consists of around 30% of the total oils. Some people find that higher percentages of the oil tend to be drying, but lower percentages can be moisturizing! Coconut oil usually consists of 100% of the oils found in salt bars, because this amazing oil can actually create suds in salt water!
Coconut oil, which is found in the bakery isle of your local grocery store, is also excellent to cook with. It can be used to grease, cook, and fry, and can be beneficial for people with sensitive digestive systems. When ingested, CO aids the body by helping with the absorption of minerals! This helps strengthen the bones and teeth. It is also a healthy and economic alternative to cooking with animal fats, and is a good substitute for people looking to lose weight.
For more information on coconut oil, check out these sites:
All of my soaps contain coconut oil, and it even makes up 30% of the base of my lip balms! Check out my shop to see my products!
Friday, September 23, 2011
One of the ingredients that I find myself using a lot in my soaps is a wax called Jojoba oil. Pronounced ho-HO-ba oil, the liquid wax comes from the jojoba shrub in warm climates like Southern California and Mexico.
Jojoba oil has many benefits to human skin. Jojoba absorbs well into the skin, and is a fantastic moisturizer. Jojoba will not irritate the eyes, so it is safe to use the plain oil as a make-up remover! Jojoba can be found in shampoos, lip balms, and lotions! I like to use it in my soaps because it will not go rancid after a period of time, and is one of the more stable oils on the market. I usually add my jojoba oil towards the end of the soap making process as a superfat (extra oil not consumed in the soap-making process).
For more information on Jojoba oil, check out this website!
You can buy Jojoba oil at most health food stores, and at vitamin shops.
I currently have a few soaps on the market which contain Jojoba oil... Make sure to go check them out!
Unscented Tallow Soap with Jojoba Oil, in Purple, Green, and Yellow
Set of 3 CP Soaps, Fall Leaves scented with Apple and Mint jelly, Vegan
Happy Soaping, everyone!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
So, after much brainstorming, my husband and I set out for shelving for my crafting corner...
And here's the results!
On the top shelf are my soaps ready to wrap and photograph, and my finished crochet projects.
Farther down are soaps that are curing. I found these excellent kitchen shelves at Wal-mart, and they are wonderful for making my tiny space a little larger!
In the middle are my soap gloves, my utensils and sharp objects (gotta keep them out of baby's reach!), my additives and herbs, and my fragrance oils and dyes.
Towards the bottom are my molds and mixing bowls (my toddler has already discovered them and has learned that he can throw them around!).
And on the bottom shelf are my large bottles of oil and my shipping envelopes.
And here's a sneak preview of soaps to come!
On the left is my batch of rosemary and patchouli soaps, which I colored green and brown using a column swirl.
In the middle is a batch of hand-molded vegan oatmeal soap.
And to the left is a batch of vegan lavender soap, with lavender buds embeded in it! (And you can see some more fall leaves curing as well.)
Look for these awesome soaps on sale in my Etsy shop in about a month, once they are ready to use!
Hooray for breathing room in my craft space! Happy creating, everyone!
Monday, September 12, 2011
And on my first day back at Etsy,my shop already has 51 views (!!) and I was featured in 3 treasuries!! Wow, what a welcome back!
If you have a moment, take the time to go see these three fabulous treasuries, and visit some other artists and view their work.
Leaf on Fire, curated by cielorosa
A Squeeze of El Limon, curated by kittyloobg
Fall Leaves, curated by ElvenGrove
I just wanted to take out a moment to thank these wonderful artists for featuring me!! Whoo! What a great first day back on the job!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I decided to compile a list of tips from other Etsy members that have helped their items appear higher on relevancy searches. I originally did this for my own benefit, but I decided to post them here was well, in case any Etsy members needed the help as well!
Here's just a few things that I have learned:
- When titling your item, make sure that the exact phrase of your item is actually in the title. For example, the title "Crochet Cotton Washcloth Set in Pink" is a better title than "Baby Pink, Hand Crochet, Washcloth, Organic Cotton".
- When titling, the first few words of your title will count towards relevancy more than the words at the end of the title.
- Use your item tags and categories very carefully!! Try to use all 14 tags for your item, and repeat key words from your title in your tags. Also, many people have had success with making their key word from the title of the item the FIRST tag. So, if my item is "Bath Tea Set with Rosemary, Mint, and Salts", then my first tag should be "Bath Tea".
- In tags, Etsy is now allowing sellers to use "phrases" in tags. For instance, a seller can now tag an item as "short sleeved tunic" instead of "short sleeved" and "tunic". However, sellers have noticed that they get better search results when all one-word tags are used first, then the remaining tags are filled with phrase tagging. Also, be careful not to stuff tags!! Tagging a rainbow item with "red yellow orange blue green purple" is still against the rules!!
- One of the first changes that has came to Etsy since their new CEO has arrived is the "Shop Stats" feature. It allows a seller to see where their views are coming from, on which items, and what key words were searched. Use shop stats to your advantage! Use your top key words, and variations of these key words, in your titles!
Monday, September 5, 2011
If you are interested in making these great, economical, and eco friendly, here is the simple pattern that I created:
Simple Cotton Washcloth
Need: Cotton yarn, size I crochet needle
DC: double crochet
SC: single crochet
1. ch 20, turn
2. DC in each stitch, turn, ch 1
3. SC in each stitch, turn, ch 2
repeat sets 2-3 3 times, for a total of 8 rows
Or, if you are not interested in making your own, these washcloths will be available for sale next week on my Etsy shop! They will be sold in matching groups of three!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The first is a new soap of my own design. I call it "Bergamot Eclipse."
I started off by creating a half-circle loaf of bergamot soap, colored a rich gray by using powdered activated charcoal, which has a wonderful detoxifying effect on the body! After letting that set for a few days, it was removed and trimmed. Over the top and sides, I poured a lovely bergamot-scented accent soap colored with powdered tumeric, giving the soap a lovely, pale yellow tint!
Before letting the soap completely set, I gave the top a little swirl, which seemed to give the soap a life of its own!
Well, last night, I decided to venture in to very familiar soaping territory... Oatmeal and Honey! Nearly ever soap maker has made their own version of the classic Oatmeal and Honey soap, so I decided it was high time for me to head that way as well!
I started off by using regular old oatmeal (not the quick-cook stuff, the real oatmeal!) and I ground it up into powder using my Magic Bullet. I added the oatmeal to my soap batter once the batter had reached a nice, medium trace, and I added pure honey as well. I did not add any scents or dyes... I tried to keep this batch as natural as possible!
I am so excited about this batch, and I have not even cut it yet!
I added whole oats on top to give it a nice, country feel! And I had enough batter left over to make a 6 ounce teddy bear bar (one of my favorite molds! And a great thrift store find!)
They will be all cured up and ready for purchase at my Etsy shop by mid-September!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I have been hard at work for the past 3 months, creating beautiful, bubbly soaps, crocheting handsome washcloths, sewing up muslin tea bags for bath teas, and now, I am focusing on my blog and my facebook page!
I recently uploaded pictures of the soap making process. If you are interested, check them out here. I start with my lye, water, and oils, and end up with beautiful yellow and orange swirled soap!
Make sure to "like" my Facebook page while you are there!