Translate

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Never Enough Time



I know you have heard and have said that many times. There never seems to be enough time to do everything. Why is that? is it because we try to cramp so much of what we have to do in one day? Why can't some things just wait? Like most of us women, we always seem to want to do it all. Manage the kids, manage the kids extra curricular activities, be a wife, manage the home, have a job outside the home, have a small home business, and the list goes on and on. Why can't we just want time to ourselves? Why do we feel guilty for wanting to take time to do what you want to do? I don't know, maybe that is just the way we were made. Always thinking of taking care of others and not ourselves. Although my son is grown and out of the house, he is always on my mind. A mothers worrying never stops once he leaves the nest. You always wonder if he keeping himself healthy, eating ok and so forth.

I think us women really need to sometimes just stop and put things on hold. Some things can really be left for another day. Find time to just be with yourself, even if it just to sit and knit for an hour or read a good book on a Sunday evening, watch a good movie, go have lunch with a friend or even by yourself if you have to. But we put so much pressure on ourselves to be this SUPER woman because we just don't want to disappoint everyone. Am I right or am I right?

I have gone to the dark side and don't ever want to go back. I was up all hours of the night, working thinking and constantly trying to cramp everything into one day and not once did I ever say, "this can wait til tomorrow" and then when I wasn't able to get things done in that 24 hour period, I would feel disappointed because I would keep telling myself " I could have done that". This is what I called being completely stressed out. Wondering, over thinking everything, trying to do everything and I just can't. I just can't do it all and I am not Super woman. Once I realized that I can feel the pressure slowly being taken off me. Us women are too hard on ourselves.

I know things are tough for a lot of people but please take some time to enjoy you for a change.

~Michelle

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cold vs Hot Process Soap? What's The Difference?

Is one better than the other? It depends on what you like. Do you prefer soaps with lots of color, swirls and edible looking or do you prefer to keep is simple? I make both hot and cold process soaps and I am often asked, What's the difference? Does it matter if it is cold or hot? The only difference is the method of making the soap.

Here is the best way to explain the difference.

Chamomile Neroli Hot Process Soap





The hot process and cold process but lets start with the hot process. It begins by running your recipe through a lye calculator. It measures how much lye that will be needed in your recipe. The lye is measured and added to your measured water NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND because adding water to lye is dangerous and can cause an eruption. Next, the lye and water mixture is added to heated vegetable or animal fats. Some soapers prefer to use a crockpot and some prefer to use a pot. I use a pot as my crock pot is never big enough and prefer a larger pot which gets put into the oven.

The lye/water and oil mixture gets blended together with a stick blender for a while before adding any desired extras, such as the oatmeal, orange peel, etc. The mixture is then stirred a little more to make sure that everything is evenly distributed. Next, the pot goes into the oven at about 180 degrees I usually go a little bit higher. It then gets cooked. The first 20-30 minutes the mixtures starts to go into a gel phase and you are stirring during this time. Then it goes back in for another 20-30 depending on how it looks because you have to go by how it looks. Once it has reached the gel/applesauce look, it then morphs into a kind of mashed potato look. Then the soap is almost done.

Ok so how do you tell if the soap is done? Good question. As I said before it will begin to look like mashed potatoes but to be really sure I take just a tiny bit of of the soap and do the tongue zap. If it stings a little then it needs to go back in. I try not to do that very often and just use my eye and test the soap under the water to see if it starts to lather.

The soap is very thick like mash potatoes and it will be hot so I let it cool down some before I start to add my fragrances. I then add the color. I tried adding color before I put it into the oven and it was not good so I know better to use coloring after the soap has come out of the oven.


True Lavender Soap






The cold process is very similar to the hot process, except that the lye/water and the oil fats area blended together, fragrance, color and other additives are added when the soap gets thick like a pudding and then poured directly into the mold. No heating in the oven. So you just bypass the heating the mixture in the oven. It just goes straight to the mold. A plastic wrap can be put over the mold to keep from ash forming on top of the soap and then a towel or blanket to cover it. I would say within an hour or two the soap will begin to heat up in the mold. This is where the heating process stage begins for cold process. This can last for a few hours depending on the size of the mold and the soap. Sometimes soapers will blend their colors in the pot before adding to the mold and some add color when it is in the mold to swirl and give it a little pizzaz. Many soapers have their own way of coloring their soaps so it is up to the individual. I usually like to add the color before adding to the mold as my swirling techniques really suck.

Both the cold and the hot process rely on lye, which is a very dangerous chemical that can burn skin on contact and is fatal if ingested. Therefore, people who use lye to make soap need to be very careful and follow detailed directions. Many people have tried to find a way to make soap without using lye, but this is impossible. Even the soap in the melt and pour soap kits was processed with lye, although people using these kits do not have to handle the lye themselves.

Traditional soapers might prefer the hot process, which is the oldest method that humans have used to make soap. Some prefer the cold process method as some claim to have more conditioning properties and the smooth texture vs the hot process which can have a more homemade rustic look. I don't think one is better than the other I just prefer the hot process as it is much quicker for me.

The curing time for hot process soap is hardly any. I like to let mine cure still for about a week so they are nice and firm before using where as cold process soap is cured for 4-6 weeks to expell any extra water from the soap and to hardened.

Which method do I prefer? I prefer the hot process soap as it is quicker but I do like the smooth look of the cold process method as well.  Hot Process looks natural to me and don't have to deal with trying to make the soap look to pretty. I want people to use them not marvel over how pretty they look. And I don't like to make my soaps look edible (even though some turn out that way) So I try to keep them simple.

There you have it. My best way to explain the difference between the two methods.

~Michelle

Friday, April 2, 2010

Look New Items :-)

First I want to wish everyone a lovely Easter Holiday. This weekend will be so nice and the weather will finally be warm for a change. We sure do deserve it around the country as this was a really rough winter for just about everyone in the US.

I just released a new newsletter this week for all my mailing list members. 15% every item in my Artfire studio just for my mailing list customers. So if you haven't signed up, here is your chance to do so. Every now and then I give out special discount codes just for my mailing list customers. Plus 10% off your total order at my Etsy shop til next week. See shop announcements for details.

Ok so do I have new for you? I have been working on new body scrubs. I have new line of Signature body scrubs. They have been a very big hit lately. Plus a few new soaps that are now ready and listed in both Etsy, Artfire and Zibbet.

Dead Sea Mud Soap

This soap was made using the hot process soap method. I added wonderful skin loving oils and blended together and cooked in the oven. It has cured for a little over a week and is now ready for your shower or bath. This has a light orange, grapefruit, clove and lemon essential oil blend

This Dead Sea mud soap is made up of pure vegetable oil. It does not contain animal ingredients and has a blend of essential oils added. We added 100% pure dead sea mud directly into the soap batch and blended to this rich dark color. Everything you want in a mud can be found in this soap. This is the real deal. We added a lot of the mud to give you all the benefits of soap and the benefits of the mud.

Benefits:

The Dead Sea mud soap works by gently cleansing the skin. Our Dead Sea mud soap works great on acne, psoriasis and many other skin disorders. Dead Sea mud soap, when applied to skin, opens the skin pores. It allows vitamins and minerals to penetrate deep into the skin, since both vitamins and minerals work to keep the skin moisturized and hydrated. I have used this soap at least twice a week for the past week and I have already seen a tremendous improvement in my skin.


All Natural Organic Shampoo & Body Wash

I have been holding out for a long time with this item. Since I make my own labels, trying to find the right design for this item was difficult. I have decided to get this one listed finally after several months of procrastinating. This is a all in one body wash and shampoo. All organic ingredients, great for the entire family to use including the little ones. Very gentle to the skin. This can be scented anyway you like or left unscented for those with delicate skin types. A must have item.


Tropical Mandarin Coconut Sugar Scrub

This sugar scrub is amazing. It is our no drip sugar scrub. It is made with shea butter and cocoa butter so it stays firm and not drippy and messy. I think you will love this sugar scrub. It will make your skin feel alive and fresh. And the scent we used for this is Mandarin Coconut which has a lovely tropical scent of mandarins and coconuts. Our sugar scrub is made with the finest ingredients. We added Pure cane sugar, Cocoa butter, Shea butter, sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, castor oil, stearic Acid (vegetable fats/oils that helps bind and thicken),emulsifying wax, vitamin E, Orange zest, and a non paraben preservative Optihpen

Green Tea Sugar Scrub



This sugar scrub is made similar to our Tropical Mandarin Coconut Sugar Scrub. The only difference is this is made with Green Tea leaves and scented with one of the best Green tea fragrance that I have tried. Very light fragrance and sure to please the nose. This is also a no drip or messy sugar scrub. Stays soft to the touch and works wonders in the shower without the mess.

Lemon Ginger & Sage Hot Process Soap

This soap was made using the hot process soap method. I added wonderful skin loving oils and blended together and cooked in the oven. It has cured for a little over a week and is now ready for your shower or bath.

This soap was made with and essential oil blend of Lemon, Ginger and Sage. It has a light to medium scent and a wonderful rich lather. The color is a cosmetic grade color suitable for hot and cold process soaps. I added a hint of Bentonite clay to give it a really soft feel to the soap when you use it. I think you will enjoy this unique blend of essential oils for this soap. Great lather and a nice size bar.

Cocoa Butter Body Cream

This Cocoa Butter cream is very rich and thick. It is made with real cocoa butter. No greasy feeling, very smooth to the touch, blends into your skin quickly leaving it soft to the touch. You will smell a hint of the cocoa butter after a few minutes after it is applied. I love the smell of cocoa butter. It is also made with Shea butter. We all know how wonderful cocoa butter and shea butter is to the skin so you know it will work wonders.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out some of my new items.

What is on the curing rack for April?

Citrus Clover Field

Moonlight Path

Monkey Farts

Wild Orchid

Fresh Cut Rose with Pink Kaolin Clay

~Michelle