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Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Items Available

Yes I have a few new items available in both my Etsy shop and the Website.

Fist on the list is our new Whipped Soaps are now available. What is whipped soap? Well it is the same as cold process soaps but made slightly different. Solid oils and liquid oils are whipped til they are a consistency of whipped cream, then the water/lye solutions is added to the whipped oils slowly and whipped, whipped and whipped. A stick blender is not used to achieve this whipped texture. No need to hurry along as this soap batch does not heat up but the saponification process is much slower and no gelling phase. I have to say it took me a long time to make the first batch and I did mess it up so by the second batch, I pretty much got the hang of it. Although I love making soaps using this method but no matter what color you use, it will be a opaque color because of the whipped texture of the soap. This soap is fantastic. I got to use one of them the other night and love how it just floats on top of the water and the lather is fantastic. Yes I am tooting my own horn here :-)

First up is the Monkey Farts Whipped Soap. I have already posted the pre curing stage of this soap but it is ready to use. This is one of my most popular scents that is requested when a customer wants to customize their products. So I decided to use this scent in one of these fabulous soaps.

Next up is Love Spell Whipped Soap. This is the soap that I tried the other night and oh my does it smell terrific. I am a fan of Love Spell by Victoria Secret and just decided to just finally do a soap with this scent. I love the lather and yes this floats too in water. :-)

I have a few more that will be ready in a couple of weeks. I know you will just love those too.

Other new soaps I have available



Sage & Citrus Handmade Soaps. This is back by popular demand. This is my second batch of this soap. I didn't realize how well this would sell and it did quite well. I have been asked to make another batch and here it is back better than ever.


Natural Oatmeal Handmade Soap. This is also back too. This did extremely well. Although I use a fragrance oil in this soap, I did not add any color to this and loaded with a lot of oatmeal. More than I did the first time so not only does it lather very well but it is rich and creamy due to the oatmeal. Excellent for the skin.

And last but certainly not least. New Pure Herbal Handmade Soap. This was originally a test batch to see how the scent was going to react. I had no intention of selling this batch but since it came out so nice and the scent held up very well, I decided to just make it available but it is limited because I only have a few of these available. Approx 8 of these. Although I make my soaps in small batches because they just don't go flying off my shelves I only did this batch limited quantities. My batches are usually about 12 to 14 bars per loaf.

So it you are interested in any of these lovely soaps, please stop by our website or our Etsy shop.

Friday, February 22, 2008

TGIF :-)



Well the weekend is finally here and it has been such a long week. Between the weather going from 72 degrees earlier in the week to the high of only 30. All the freezing rain and cold blustering weather, its time for a nice warm up. I have to admit that our winter here in the DC area has been mild compared to the midwest and other parts of the country getting hit with really bad winter snow storms and winter winds and hurricanes. It has been extremely bad for a lot of areas but we sort of skated right through it with barely 2 inches of snow all season. But I will take it. Although I am a snow person being from Phila and love the snow. But being here in the DC area the storms seem to really bypass us and heads up north.

So the weekend is finally here and this is my weekend to just relax and take it easy. It has been a very busy week for me. Orders coming in left and right and has kept me on my toes. But this my anniversary weekend and me and hubby are gonna spend all weekend to ourselves. Yes it is our 2 anniversary and I married a wonderful guy. :-) So I hope everyone takes some time this week and smell the roses.

~Michelle

Monday, February 18, 2008

Famous Black History Figures




W.E.B. Dubois, who was born on February 23, 1868, and who was a Civil Rights leader and co-founder of the N.A.A.C.P.

The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed on February 3, 1870 which gave Blacks the right to vote.

The first Black senator, Hiriam R. Revels took office on February 25, 1870.

The N.A.A.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded in New York City of February 12, 1909, and

Malcolm X, the militant leader who promoted Black Nationalism was shot and killed by Black Muslims on February 21, 1965.

Harriet Tubman, an outstanding lady who worked tirelessly on the Underground Railway.

Frederick Douglass, the life of the former slave, abolitionist and journalist, who emerged as a major anti slavery force, and supporter of women's rights, and who was an outstanding orator and writer.

In 1822, a man named Denmark Vesey planned a slave uprising in Charleston, South Carolina. Was his plan successful? Learn about the man and his plan here.

Dred Scott was a black slave from Virginia, who ended up in Missouri, and who made legal and constitutional history by suing for his freedom. Here you can learn about Dred Scott, his case that went before the United States Supreme Court in may 1857, and the Missouri Compromise.

James Baldwin

ames Baldwin (Aug. 2, 1924-Dec. 1, 1987) was a very important American author who wrote about the struggle of being black in America. James was the oldest of nine children and was born into poverty in Harlem, New York. He spent much of his youth reading. James' mother was a domestic worker (a maid) and his strict, cruel stepfather was a factory worker and preacher (who died in a mental hospital in 1943). James was a preacher himself for three years when he was a teenager. The author Richard Wright was James' early writing mentor. Baldwin's first book, the semi-autobiographical Go Tell It On the Mountain, was published in 1953 and is considered to be a classic American novel. Baldwin lived in France for many years, distancing himself from American life in order to examine it; Baldwin wrote, "Once you find yourself in another civilization, you're forced to examine your own." A pacifist, Baldwin participated in the Southern school desegregation struggle of the 1960s and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin wrote extensively about the Civil Rights Movement, including The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son. Throughout his life, Baldwin used his enormous writing talent to work for racial equality. Baldwin wrote, "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." and "Artists are here to disturb the peace." Baldwin died at the age of 63 at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
Maggie Lena Walker (July 15, 1867-December 15, 1934) was the first woman in the USA to become a local bank president. Throughout her life, Walker worked for civil rights and other humanitarian causes.

Maggie Mitchell was born in Richmond, Virginia, to former slaves. In 1886, Maggie married Armstead Walker, Jr. She worked first as a teacher, and then as an agent for the Woman's Union Insurance Company, quickly rising to become the executive secretary/treasurer of the company. She founded the newspaper, the St. Luke Herald, in 1902. In 1903, she started the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and was its president. In 1929, at the start of the economic depression, her bank bought all the local black-owned banks in town and renamed itself the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.

George Washington Carver (1865?-1943) was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans; his discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers. Before this, the only main crop in the South was cotton. The products that Carver invented included a rubber substitute, adhesives, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments, and many other products.

Thats right the very things we use today was discovered by a black slave. Go figure

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm (Nov. 30, 1924 - Jan. 1, 2005) was the first African-American woman elected to the US Congress. Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in Brooklyn, New York. After being a teacher and serving as a New York state assemblywoman, Chisolm was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives. She served in Congress for seven terms, from January 3, 1969, until January 3, 1983. In 1972, Chisholm was the first African-American woman to run for a major-party presidential nomination. During her long political career, she fought for the rights of women and minorities.
Maggie Lena Walker (July 15, 1867-December 15, 1934) was the first woman in the USA to become a local bank president. Throughout her life, Walker worked for civil rights and other humanitarian causes.

Maggie Mitchell


Maggie Mitchell was born in Richmond, Virginia, to former slaves. In 1886, Maggie married Armstead Walker, Jr. She worked first as a teacher, and then as an agent for the Woman's Union Insurance Company, quickly rising to become the executive secretary/treasurer of the company. She founded the newspaper, the St. Luke Herald, in 1902. In 1903, she started the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and was its president. In 1929, at the start of the economic depression, her bank bought all the local black-owned banks in town and renamed itself the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass (Feb. 7, 1817-Feb. 20, 1895) was an abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women's rights. Douglass was the first African-American citizen appointed to high ranks in the U.S. government.

Jean-Baptiste-Point Du Sable (1750?-1818) was a Haitian-French pioneer and trader; he founded the settlement that would later become Chicago.

Garrett Augustus Morgan

Garrett Augustus Morgan (March 4, 1877 - August 27, 1963), was an African-American inventor and businessman. He was the first person to patent a traffic signal. He also developed the gas mask (and many other inventions). Morgan used his gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, 1914) to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine. Soon after, Morgan was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army.


Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker (July 15, 1867-December 15, 1934) was the first woman in the USA to become a local bank president. Throughout her life, Walker worked for civil rights and other humanitarian causes.

Maggie Mitchell was born in Richmond, Virginia, to former slaves. In 1886, Maggie married Armstead Walker, Jr. She worked first as a teacher, and then as an agent for the Woman's Union Insurance Company, quickly rising to become the executive secretary/treasurer of the company. She founded the newspaper, the St. Luke Herald, in 1902. In 1903, she started the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and was its president. In 1929, at the start of the economic depression, her bank bought all the local black-owned banks in town and renamed itself the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.

Celebrating Black History

Yes there are so many things in our past that Black Americans have contribute to this country. Here are some interesting facts about black history

Did you know that in 1619 the first African slaves arrive in Virginia.

In 1787 slavery is made illegal in the Northwest Territory. The U.S Constitution states that Congress may not ban the slave trade until 1808.
1793 Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin greatly increases the demand for slave labor.

Who is is Eli Whitney

Whitney, Eli, 1765–1825, American inventor of the cotton gin, b. Westboro, Mass., grad. Yale, 1792. When he was staying as tutor at Mulberry Grove, the plantation of Mrs. Nathanael Greene, Whitney was encouraged by Mrs. Greene and visiting cotton planters to try to find some device by which the fiber of short-staple cotton could be rapidly separated from the seed. Whitney, whose creative mechanical bent had been evident from boyhood, completed his model gin early in 1793, after about 10 days of work, and by April had built an improved one. With Phineas Miller, Mrs. Greene's plantation manager (and later her husband), he formed a partnership to manufacture gins at New Haven. He was unable to make enough gins to meet the demand, and although the partners received a patent in 1794, others copied his model and soon many gins were in use. After much litigation the partners received (1807) a favorable decision to protect their patent, but Congress in 1812 denied Whitney's petition for its renewal. His invention, which had immense economic and social effects, brought great wealth to many others, but little to Whitney himself. In 1798 he built a firearms factory near New Haven. The muskets his workmen made by methods comparable to those of modern mass industrial production were the first to have standardized, interchangeable parts.

In 1800 Gabriel Prosser, an enslaved African-American blacksmith, organizes a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia. The conspiracy is uncovered, and Prosser and a number of the rebels are hanged. Virginia's slave laws are consequently tightened.

In 1822 Denmark Vesey, an enslaved African-American carpenter who had purchased his freedom, plans a slave revolt with the intent to lay siege on Charleston, South Carolina. The plot is discovered, and Vesey and 34 co conspirators are hanged.

In 1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.


What is the Underground Railroad?

Underground Railroad, in U.S. history, loosely organized system for helping fugitive slaves escape to Canada or to areas of safety in free states. It was run by local groups of Northern abolitionists, both white and free blacks. The metaphor first appeared in print in the early 1840s, and other railroad terminology was soon added. The escaping slaves were called passengers; the homes where they were sheltered, stations; and those who guided them, conductors. This nomenclature, along with the numerous, somewhat glorified, personal reminiscences written by conductors in the postwar period, created the impression that the Underground Railroad was a highly systematized, national, secret organization that accomplished prodigious feats in stealing slaves away from the South. In fact, most of the help given to fugitive slaves on their varied routes north was spontaneously offered and came not only from abolitionists or self-styled members of the Underground Railroad, but from anyone moved to sympathy by the plight of the runaway slave before his eyes. The major part played by free blacks, of both North and South, and by slaves on plantations along the way in helping fugitives escape to freedom was underestimated in nearly all early accounts of the railroad. Moreover, the resourcefulness and daring of the fleeing slaves themselves, who were usually helped only after the most dangerous part of their journey (i.e., the Southern part) was over, were probably more important factors in the success of their escape than many conductors readily admitted. In some localities, like Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Wilmington, Del., and Newport, Ind. (site of the activities of Levi Coffin), energetic organizers did manage to loosely systematize the work.

In 1863 President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free

In 1865

Congress establishes the Freedmen's Bureau to protect the rights of newly emancipated blacks (March).

The Civil War ends (April 9).

Lincoln is assassinated (April 14).

The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee by ex-Confederates (May).

Slavery in the United States is effectively ended when 250,000 slaves in Texas finally receive the news that the Civil War had ended two months earlier (June 19).

Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting slavery (Dec. 6).

In 1905 W.E.B. DuBois founds the Niagara movement, a forerunner to the NAACP. The movement is formed in part as a protest to Booker T. Washington's policy of accommodation to white society; the Niagara movement embraces a more radical approach, calling for immediate equality in all areas of American life.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
The U.S. government's 40-year experiment on black men with syphilis


For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for “bad blood,” their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all.

The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctors involved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

I was just tagged :-)

I was tagged by wholesalesuppliesplus.blogspot.com

Ok I had no idea what this was and was flattered to be tagged. Whole Sale Supplies plus is my addiction to supplies for my soap addiction. So when I first read the rules I was like, hmmm 4 random fact, goals and habits. I am not one to talk about myself and I really had to think hard on this.

Here's how you play: once you've been tagged you have to write a blog with 4 random facts, habits or goals about yourself. At the end choose 4 people to be tagged; list their names and why you tagged them.

Don't forget to leave them a comment saying "you're it!" and to go read your blog. You cannot tag the person that tagged you, so since you can't tag me back let me know when you are done so that I can go read your blog answers.

Ok finding 4 other people will be hard too. Ok here are my 4

1. After many years not knowing what I am good at, I finally found something that I love making which is soap. Its my passion.

2. I am a HUGE 80's music fan. Some of the best music was in the 80's.

3. My husband is my best friend. He makes me laugh and inspires me everyday. He lifts me up when I am down and carries me when I am up.

4. I love eating sunflower seeds. Its my way to be calm and to think because my mind is always on too many things, so I grab a small bag and start munching.


I didn't know too many people that had blogs. I am tagging these: Ladybug SF Designs, Auntifranni, Midnight Creations, JuliaCatherines Designs

I have chosen these people as they are my fellow sellers at Etsy and I have bought items from them or I have been featured on their blogs.


Michelle
Pegasus Handmade Soaps
Esty Shop

Friday, February 1, 2008

This Is Why I Enjoy What I Do


Well I was just informed earlier that a customer of mine featured me on their blog. A Etsy Seller that recently bought one of my Body Washes. I was so flattered and happy to know this. This is why I enjoy what I do. Not only to make my customers happy but I want them to enjoy what I have to offer. I make my products available to everyone because I also use them myself. I'm not out to make a quick buck. I actually really love experimenting with different recipes and using them myself. I use all my soaps, all my lotions, creams, etc etc. So there are not just made for customers use but for myself and for my family to enjoy as well.

Please take the time to read up on what my customer had to say about me at Heart Hugs Designs blog

She is wonderful and you can also take a look at her lovely shop at Hearts Hugs Designs

I so do appreciate her taking the time to feature myself and my products. :-)

My New Whipped Soap

Ok I have had some trials with this darn soap. My first batch lost its color and texture due to some steps that I missed but it is still a good smelling soap but it is not whipped texture. But this soap that I just recently did came out perfect. I did miss a step and now that I fixed it, I have been making soap like crazy the past few days.

What is whipped soap? Well I think I tried to explain what it was in a previous post but to reiterate what it is, it is soap make from scratch but made a little differently. It has very light whipped texture and the soap will literally float on top of the water. You may have seen these soaps before but for me this is something new for me and creating a recipe for this type of soap was a challenge. Trying to get the right solid oils and the right liquid oils to combine together. But I did it and I have already made two batches of whipped soap.

This is what the soap looked like once I mixed the solid and liquid oils. This takes a little while to whip as I am using a hand mixer. I don't have one of these fancy blenders. But this did the trick.





This is what it looked like once I got it in the mold. Usually within a 10-15 or so it will start to harden a bit and this is when I make the design whipped look on the top of the soap. It is a bit sticky but easy to make patterns as it is thick and not a pudding like consistency. Plus I can take as long as I want coloring and doing what I want to do with it as time is not a issues with this soap as with the traditional way of heating the oils and getting it in the mold. Usually the saponification process in the traditional way takes up to 30-45 minutes to start heating up. This soap does not heat up but the curing process is shortened due to the whipping process. The only draw back to this soap is that it will go faster than the traditional soap as it is very light and fluffy. But all so good and worth using.




I like to show the whole loaf just to let you know that this is my soap and not bought from someplace else. I make my own soaps. The first batch is the Monkey Farts. Since this was my most popular fragrance, It thought I make this into a soap. What is Monkey Farts? LOL I know you are expecting to read a disgusting description, but this unique complex fragrance is anything but disgusting! This unique fragrance begins with top notes of fresh bananas and juicy grapefruit, middle notes of kiwi, juicy bubblegum, and strawberries; and a hint of vanilla as a base note. I thought about changing the name of this fragrance but I thought it was so funny so I just left the name.


This what the soap looked like once I cut them into slices. They weren't suppose to be this big but because the soap gets whipped it increased in volume. I wasn't sure how the layers would look but now that I have sliced it. I like how the outcome turned out. My table smells so good where I have them drying out. My drying rack is literally full so I am having a hard time finding room to dry the new batches.

This soap and my other surprise whipped soap will be available in about 3 weeks. :-)