Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Woodchipper Soap


Today I'm showing off one of my favorite soaps: Woodchipper!

It's made with beer from the Fargo Brewing Company.  They have a beer called Woodchipper.  
When I was designing this soap I though about the movie Fargo, woodchippers and the delicious scent of the Woodchipper beer.
It smells like pine and grapefruit!

So I made soap "woodchips" from a soap that included rhubarb root.  The rhubarb root lends a slightly pinky red color where it touches the white layer.  Anyone seen the movie Fargo??  Yeah, that's what I was going for ;)

I used black spruce essential oil and grapefruit essential oil to scent this soap. 
Wow!  It smells SO good!  Yum, yum!

The combination of the sugars in the beer and the olive oil in my vegan recipe creates HUGE bubbles in the shower or bath.

I love this soap!

You can find Woodchipper in our Etsy store here: Woodchipper Soap


Monday, December 15, 2014

Last Show of 2014

Wow!  What a year!  
So many exciting things happened this year that I feel like it should really be 2 years, or at least much more than only 365 days.  There's no way for me to pack the entire year into one post, but I would like to share a few pictures from my last show of the year.  This was at the Women's Art Festival in Minneapolis on Sat.

As usual, my Mom and I had a blast together!  
At 4 am when we were driving into the cities (in a thick blanket of fog) I was contemplating making this my last show ever.  But my Mom talked me out of it.  It's a lot of fun for us to spend 8 hours of uninterrupted time together.  When and where else do you get to do that?!  
So I will be applying to shows for 2015.
Maybe not quite as many shows....but we'll see what happens in 2015.  Last year I never would have guessed the leaps and bounds that my little business would make one year, so you just never know what will happen!


With every show that I did this year, I felt more prepared and it was less work and more fun.
At this last show, I added little toothpick signs to each of the soaps.  The signs helped customers to see at a (quick) glance which soaps were made with Minnesota goat milk, MN beer or vegan.  We still explained the products to the customers, but this way, if we were helping a customer, people could still shop and have some idea of which type of soaps they were looking at.

I need to remember that not everyone can look at a bar of soap and know what I put into it!  I made them all, so that's why I know each of them - like they were my babies! 


This is the first time (this year) that we brought the shelving unit to a show.  This little shelf has been hanging out in storage since 2013 when I used it at the farmer's market.  I stopped using it there, because of the wind and its propensity for tipping over!  
It was AMAZING at the show on Sat.  Worked great!  People could see all the lotions and easily access them.  My Mom loves to talk about the lotions, so she was able to stand behind the little shelf and answer any questions or offer lotion samples to anyone walking by.  
I sold out of almost all of my lotion!  I brought home a lot of empty boxes. Yay!
One of our best sales 'tricks' for the lotion is to offer a sample and tell the customer to walk around the show.  We tell them if they walk around and they think the lotion feels good, then they should come back.  Almost 100% come back to buy and they bring their friends.  Of the percentage that don't come back, some of them will message me the day after the sale and ask where they can get that wonderful lotion!  LOL!  
I really like the lotion recipe that I have created, so of course I'm a fan of my lotion, but it sure is fun to see that other people like it too :)


This year I made over 100 different type of soap.  This meant that at all the shows I did this year, I was able to bring a few new soaps to every show.  I think it's important to always be developing something new.  Not only for the customer, but I do it for myself too.  I didn't start making soap to be UN-creative.  I want to BE creative and have fun.  If I just make the same thing over and over again, I will very quickly lose my joy and interest in my products.  If you don't love your own products, how can you expect other people to love them?
So I make crazy soaps and stay happy!


This is our booth after the show.  Clean up time!

Thank you to all of the wonderful people I have met this year through my little business!!!
All my fun customers!
And all the amazing other crafts people!
Thank you for a perfect year!  
Can't wait to see what happens in 2015!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!


Today is the first day of Spring and also the international day of happiness.  I wanted to show you my newest soap, because it is making me happy :)  and also it looks like Spring!

I bought 2 new molds that I love!  
I had to wait a long, long time for them, but it was totally worth it!


These soaps will be part of a luxury line that I'm releasing for spring.  It's not actually spring here LOL!  They are forecasting more snow for tomorrow :(  For me Spring is May.  These soaps will be ready around the middle of April, so that will be perfect!

They are made with grape seed oil, avocado oil and cocoa butter.  I love to use cocoa butter in the spring.  I'm not sure why??  Maybe it's the yummy scent - mmm raw cocoa butter smells SO good.  Sometimes I just want to eat a piece!

They are scented with strawberry, kiwi, apple blossoms and a blend of berries.  It's a really nice soft and gentle scent - perfect for spring!

And I made a video!  You can find out the secret of the pretty rose mold ;)  




Saturday, March 15, 2014

Soap Making Video! Punked Sugar

I made a soap making video!  I thought it would be fun to make a video of one of my new spring soaps - Punked Sugar.  I used colors that I thought looked like punk neon colors.

It's been a week since I made them and they are already turning black, instead of the forest green weird color (you will see in the video).  Chemistry is amazing!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Food In Soap

I was going to title this post Food In Soap: A Journey, but I thought that was a little too serious :P



If you have read this blog before, you know I love food and I love making soap, so it's not a big jump to putting food IN soap.  There are many reasons to put food in soap, antioxidants, minerals and skin soothing or smoothing or purifying.  I put food in soap, because #1 it is fun and #2 it's a challenge. 

So here are all some of the soaps I have made with food ingredients.  These are only the recent ones, because I got tired of looking for pictures. 

Pureed Organic Banana

Fresh crushed gooseberries.  These gooseberries were from the bush I planted in my yard a few years back.  I can't wait to try currant soap with some of my currants this summer.

Honey, propolis, bee pollen.


Crushed frozen lingonberries. 

MN goat milk.  I make a lot of goat milk soaps - not that unusual, but I included it anyway :)

Beer.  Also, not that unusual.

Dried, crush kumquats.  I LOVE kumquats.  

Dried, crushed dandelions.  Some people eat dandelion salad, so I thought this one could count as a food ingredient ;)

Pureed Organic Cucumber.

Black tea and goat milk.

Fresh pureed avocado.

Organic carrots.  These carrots were from my Dad's garden and they must have had EXTRA beta carotene, because they made the soap very yellowy-orange. 

Hemp Milk & Beer

Venison tallow and sunflower oil.

Coconut Milk and ground Jasmine Rice.

Buttermilk.

Almond Milk.

Organic Egg Whites.

Chamomile and Oatmeal.

More Organic Carrots.

Cow's Butter. 

Organic Pumpkin.

Coffee (espresso) & oatmeal.

Hard Cider.

Rhubarb leaves and stem.

Rhubarb root infusion.


Want to try a food soap?  You can find my little shop here Kiyi Kiyi

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When Good Soap Goes Bad


The Soap Queen had a really interesting post today about Soap Behaving Badly.  I recently had a fun (not) experience with overheating soap.  Let's all look at my beautiful soap with lovely very time consuming embeds.  Ah, so beautiful.  LOL!

So I tried out a new Black Raspberry Vanilla fragrance and everyone (everyone!) said it was the best behaved, most perfect, easy to work with fragrance.  Ok then!  Let's make a super fancy soap with that untested (by me) fragrance.  It started out normally.  I did a pretty drop swirl with my fun colored soap batter.  It smelled AMAZING.  Started putting my embeds on the top and I noticed it was getting pretty firm, very quickly.  I was happy that I had gotten my drop swirl done before it firmed up.  Ah, what sweet innocent oblivion.  

So I wanted to take some pics of this gorgeous soap.  I brought my camera into the workshop.  Took some pics.  La, la, la.  Just fiddled around admiring my work.  

Now my soaping room is very cold at this time of year.  On a good day, it's 65F.  On a normal day it's below 60F.  This was at night and it was -30F outside, so it was waaay cold in my soaping room. 

After the photo shoot I set my little baby soap on a shelf.  I didn't insulate it, because I didn't want to mess up the lovely raspberries.  I went upstairs, edited pics and uploaded them to FB, because I was so proud of my creation and I wanted to share it with everyone!!

30 mins. later I returned and the soap was overheating!  Oily slick on top, cracking in the middle.  The raspberries were sinking into the soap like Atlantis into the ocean.  HELP!  My poor soap!

So I moved the soap loaf down onto the very, very cold cement floor and turned a fan on.  I had the fan blowing over the top of it all night.  Even with the fan and the cold floor and the cold room - the damage was done.  I gave it 3 days, because I was hoping by some miracle that the oil would reabsorb and it would look better.  Most of the oil did reabsorb, but it still looked like Frankenstein's uncle.

So one last look at my pretty soap.... 


I had to rebatch it.  All my pretty colors!  Sad.
So I chopped it up and put it in the crockpot.  Melted it down, beat the ugly out of it and remolded it.


I don't think it looks too bad.  It still smells amazing.  I put a little gold dust on the top, because gold dust makes every thing look better.


Of course, now I am terrified to use the fragrance again.  It might not have been the fragrance's fault.  Maybe I put too many raspberries on top and this insulated the heat too much.  I have to try it again, but I might wait a little bit.  I have to regain my courage!




Thursday, November 21, 2013

My 2nd Craft Show!


My 2nd craft show!  Minneapolis Craft'za!  Whoo Kiyi Kiyi goes to the big city :)
It was a very successful day.  Let's just say that I made enough money to get me hooked.  I want to do it again!
I left my house with a car packed to the ceiling with soap and came home with a small box of soap. 
 So much fun! 


We had an amazing spot.  Right inside the doors and a corner spot.  How big do you think our booth is?  Someone on FB said they could sell as much as we did if they had a big space like us.  Um, that is a tiny, tiny booth.  The tables are 4 feet long.  The TOTAL booth space was supposed to be 5x8, but it felt much smaller.  
For weeks I was freaking out about our spot - Will it be too close to the doors?  How will I set up?  Corner?!  Where will I put the tables?  Too many tables?  Not enough!?!  
It was perfect.
People at least saw the booth when they first came in.  They would look and listen to our spiel (if there is one thing I have learned from 4 generations of sales people - you gotta sell it) - then they would either buy on the spot or circle around and come back after they looked at everything else.  It was a great spot, because it had some open area around it.  It got really crowded....or so I heard - I never left the booth!  




My Mom was amazing!  She helped me so much!  
Just having her there to tell me to calm down was great!  I was so nervous before the sale that I was shaking.  Standing in the bathroom, shaking and telling myself I didn't think I could do it and it was a mistake.  My Mom was like, "Nah, you'll be fine."
She also helped me wrap the last 75 soaps 2 days before the show, helped me load and unload the car, set up the booth and is a great sales person.  She's really good at bragging about me ;)


So here is the booth!
I did not set it up at home and practice (like all the people say to do), because I had no idea what our actual booth size would look like.  It just came together perfectly.
We got to the show site 20 mins. before it was supposed to open for set up, but they were starting to let people set up any way.  The TV crew was there!!  No, we didn't make it on TV.  The back of my display was on the edge of one shot.  Does that count?  ha ha

We had plenty of time to set up.  Lots and lots of time.  And again after the show opened we didn't sell anything for 1 hour.  What is up with that?  I can't decide if the first hour or the last hour of a craft show is the longest hour in the world. 




So many hours of work in these pictures.  And so many fun memories of creating these soaps.  And so many little soapies that went off to new homes!  I feel like the adoption coordinator for soap :P  I hope all my little soaps are behaving in their new homes.


These gnomes were a great idea.  I painted them to match the color scheme and they each held a sign with prices or info.  SOOOO many people stopped to look at them.  Some people thought they were soap.  I had some actual gnome soap and I sold them all!  
So I bought the gnomes at Walmart....which makes me feel bad as a hand crafter, but I AM a hand crafter, so I usually can't afford hand crafted items.  Starting a business takes a bit of capital and at this point in my enterprise I am sometimes choosing fragrance oils over food.  So yeah I bought them at Walmart and yeah I feel guilty about it.....But the big blue dish is vintage!    


It was so fascinating to see what sold at this sale vs. the last sale.  Such different things were popular!  At the last one I sold out of Almond Milk and Honey & Oatmeal and Honey & Pumpkin Spice Beer.  At Craft'za I sold only a few bars of those, but I sold out of Psycho Citrus and anything with patchouli.  Speaking of patchouli.... I custom blend all my fragrance oils and I think it is really funny when someone says they HATE patchouli....as they are clutching to their heart 4 bars that all have patchouli blends.  Good aged patchouli is delicious and blends amazingly.  




The little lotions sold out really fast.  I wish I had had more time to make more lotion, but I only make 16 ounces at a time, so it is a slow (but high quality!) process.


This was the most amazing craft show I have ever been to!   It just made me giddy to see so many amazing hand crafters!  Or maybe I was high on adrenaline LOL!

The quality of the products and displays was just wonderful.  I was so impressed and felt like such a newbie :P


I met some really nice people in the booth across from me.  The husband and wife team of the Elixery.  They were SO amazingly nice.  I did not expect any one to be so nice...and they are kind of celebrities.  I saw them on TV before the show and I was totally intimidated that they would be across from me.  They were very complimentary about my product and display.  It meant so much more coming from someone like them!  Because they have an amazing product themselves!  


Anyway,  I learned a lot and had a lot of fun hanging out with my Mom :)
And I found out that I love my Paypal credit card swiper!  Money, money!  LOL!  And fun!  And creativity!  :)
That's what it's all about!