Thursday, September 29, 2011

Know your Oils: Coconut Oil

Coconuts are great in pies, cakes, pina coladas, and perfect for making radios on deserted islands, but did you know that Coconut oil has tons of benefits for your skin?
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

Know your Oils: Jojoba Oil

Psst! I am starting a new series called "Know your Oils", where I talk about the properties of the beneficial oils I use in my soaps! Tune in weekly (Thursdays or Fridays!) to learn about how your skin can benefit from these amazing, earth-based soaps!


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

Soaping Corner and Soap Preview

I've always had a crafting desk in my apartment, where I (tried!) to keep all of my crafting supplies and finished products... but when I began preparing in earnest for my soap shop, I quickly outgrew my little desk! If you came into my place, you wouldnt see a kitchen table, but storage for totes of supplies, fragrances, and oils. You wouldnt see a miniature bookshelf, you would see two or three batches of soap curing in their molds. And you definetly wouldnt see my crafting desk, but you would see soaps curing by the dozens!

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

Second Spring Soaps on Etsy is LIVE!

What a first day it has been! I have posted 20 listings (and let me tell you, those listings were tedious, especially while juggling a toddler!), I have all of my photos ready to go, the soaps are weighed, and all of my hard work and perperation over the last three months is finally paying off.

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

Etsy and Relevancy

Although I have been absent from the Etsy scene over the past few months while preparing to open my bath and body shop, I have tried to stay current on any changes that the Etsy staff, and its new CEO, have been making. One of the big changes was to searches, making "Relevancy" searches the default search, instead of "most recent", the old default search.

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!
For more tips, you can check out this admin post, or search through the forums at Etsy!

Happy Hunting!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crochet Washcloth Pattern

One of the series of items that I will be offering in my Etsy shop will be sets of 3 hand made washcloths. I have been using 100% USA grown cotton, and I've even kept a few for myself! I was my toddler with these nightly!

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
ch: Chain
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!

Happy creating!!