Monday, December 31, 2007

Move over 2007 because 2008 is coming!!!


As 2007 departs, I can honestly say for the first time, that I'm a little aprehensive about letting it go. I've asked myself why and this is the best answer I've come up with so far.

I think I'm afraid. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of what lies ahead for Morgan Street - good or not, it's scarey not knowing!

I started Morgan Street in November 2006 and joined Etsy in July 2007. This year has been the most exciting and exhilerating year EVER! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined accomplishing so much and meeting so many great people through my passion for soapmaking. I have made many new friends, both in the cyber world and in real life. I now have a following of customers that believe in my products and claim that they will never use anything but my products ever again. Do you know how that feels? I hope so because I can't describe it!

So, yes I'm nervous about 2008 because in my heart I know it's going to be bigger and better than 2007, I can feel it. I can seriously feel it and it's scarey because it's unknown terroritory for me but guess what? I'm going to pull on my big girl panties and I'm going to face it all, so come on with it 2008!

Happy New Year Everyone and thank you all for your support - See you in '08!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Love Santa

Those of you who know me, know that it is damn near impossible to reach me by telephone unless you call me at work! Reasons range from (and they're all genuine) -

a) didn't hear the phone ringing it must be on vibrate or something
b) don't know where my phone is (usually at the bottom of my purse wherever THAT is)
c) my phone's not holding a charge so I'm phone-less
d) my phone's in a zip loc bag in the freezer - it's the only way I can get the screen to work

Members of my family KNOW to not even bother wasting their time dialing my digits because short of a small miracle, I'll not answer.

So - what did I ask Santa for this year? Yep - you guessed it, a new phone. Oh but not just any old phone, I wanted an iPhone. The hottest of all gadgets going. You see, my thinking is that if I have an iPhone, I'll HAVE to answer it because it will always be right there next to me with all my music, photos, calender, access to the internet and everything else I could ever dream of needing right there at my finger tips.

Santa is a good egg - he delivered my iPhone as requested. There it was waiting under the tree this morning when I arose to greet Christmas Day, my favorite of holidays. As I type, my iPhone has been activated and is awaiting phone service. They say it can take up to a day for phone service. I've been checking it every 5 mins all day long just to see. I can't wait to plant this little gadget to the side of my face and start yacking to my family and friends. I reckon they'll be floored to hear from me!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Coconut Lime


Here's one of my latest creations. It's "coconut lime" as requested by a customer.
I also recently did another batch of almond but made it more interesting looking than the 1st batch. That one's already up for sale at Etsy.

Next will be the valentines stuff..............can't wait to get started on those.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Careful what you wish for...

In case you're wondering why I haven't been around for a while, well let me tell you.......it's been crazy mad over there at Etsy. People are shopping and I've been spending every possible minute making, packing and shipping. It's been nuts!!!

Is this not what I wished for? I do believe it is! It's weird bitter sweet though because I'm becoming frustrated, only because my creative mind has already moved beyond Christmas (old news) and is now in Valentine's Day mode. I have so many ideas swimming around in my head but alas no time to create! I've taken to putting pen to paper to satisfy myself temporarily.

I wonder if I should close my shop for a few days just so I can play with oils & butters? Hmmm.....now that sounds like a plan!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You Can't get THIS at the Hallmark Store!


November 29th is my wedding anniversary and usually I'm at the mall on the 28th looking for a card and a gift. BUT...this year, I happened upon this very talented artist on Etsy a couple of months ago. The shop is called StoreyShop. Check out the awesome anniversary card she made for me!
The picture doesn't show it well, but the design is actually "cut out" from the card. You'll never find one of these at the Hallmark store that's for sure!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Great Etsy Artist - Blossombabies


Lynne and I have been "chatting" for quite some time through Etsy and have become fast friends. This entire time, Lynne was registered as a buyer only. She did tell me that she was working on opening up her Etsy shop very soon and that she was working on making dolls. We only discussed these dolls briefly every now and then so I really couldn't envision what these dolls looked like or anything. So a few days ago, she finally opened up her Etsy shop and let me tell you - the Waldorf inspired doll world is about to get shaken up with this woman's marvellous work. Her work is AMAZING!!! I've already told her that I'm getting one. She's only been open a few days and have gotten her first sale already - that has to be some sort of record.
If you have young children to shop for this year, you have to check out her shop. Don't forget she's in Germany so allow plenty of time for shipping.
Check out her shop here: Blossombabies

Rhinebeck NY Craft Fair

This weekend I participated in my first craft fair. It was held in Rhinebeck, NY about 2 hours from home. Leah of GoMonkey organized the entire event and what a grande job she did of it!
I was so nervous and anxious about the show, the day before I contemplated the ramifications of not showing. Thankfully, I didn't entertain that thought too seriously and went on to the fair.

What a joy to find that all the other crafters (bar 1) were Etsyians!!! Everyone was so nice and friendly and "understanding" of my Etsyitus disorder - LOL.
I had such a good time that day, I barely wanted the day to end. I met some really cool artists, awesome customers and even managed to make a few purchases and trades oh and lots of sales too!
One of the vendors there was Charlie & Sarah from NY. I had seen their clothing on Etsy before but when I realized that they were there, I was so excited I felt like I was meeting a couple of celebrities. Sarah is married to Charlie who happens to be British! They sell the cutest little kid clothes with British words screen printed on them. Words like - Lorry, lolly, wellies and a little birdie told me that the "knickers" will be coming soon. I want a "knickers" t-shirt for sure!

An Artful Life

I am so excited right now. My products have found their way onto the shelves of a real brick and mortar shop!
I was approached by Alexandria of An Artful Life, a really cool trendy shop located in MO. They specialize in all things lovely like artwork, furniture, ceramics, paper products, bath & body etc.
To see pictures visit Artful Life's Flicker page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anartfullife/

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Patchouli Gone Wild!


Holy Moly - this looks like Patchouli that's on some sort of "trip" if you know what I mean.
A far cry from the last batch of patchouli I created. This one's the grown up version.

btw - Plain Jayne's in the oven as I type :)

What a pleasant surprise to slice into this loaf and find these lovely circles!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just DO IT Already!!!!

I'm having a crisis of sorts....

First let me congratulate myself on getting my first wholesale account - YAY ME!
Now, said wholesaler and I have been emailing back and forth for a few days and we finally got to the point where she picked her scents that she wanted to purchase for her shop. I think God is looking out for me because I have all but 1 of them (including the naughty Black Raspberry Vanilla) available. The one scent that I don't have made is Plain Jayne. That's right, plain 'ole unscented, uncolored soap (why is it so painful to make that?). So, I can just barely manage meet this wholesaler's deadline if I make that plain jayne batch like yesterday!

This morning, what did I do? I grabbed my soap pot, oils, butters and lye and I get to work. By the time I was done, guess what I put in the oven? WRONG.......it wasn't Plain Jayne, it was something far more exciting and interesting. I made a super duper batch of patchouli. I know, another batch? I hear you shrieking. I couldn't help myself. Honest, it wasn't my intention. I set out to make the boring Plain Jayne and my brain got bombarded with images of these bright psychadelic swirlies with gold dust sprinkled here and there. To save my sanity I had no choice but to obey the patchouli urge. It is one kick arse looking batch of soap too :)

Yes, I'll be making Plain Jayne soap tonight. For real.......I am!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sometimes you just have to accept defeat......

I have a few batches of soap that I make all the time, Black Raspberry Vanilla being one of them. This one's a lot of fun to make just because each and every time it's a challenge. You see I have to get the layers "just right". The consistency of each layer has to be such that it will sit atop the one below it without sinking and not collapse beneath the layer above it. I must admit I still get excited every time I manage to pull it off, I walk around with a big cheesy grin on my face.

So Sunday evening, I attempt to create my lovely Black Raspberry Vanilla layers once more. DISASTER STRUCK! I tried every trick I could think of to get those layers to behave (including a few expletives) but to no avail. Eventually I caved - "layers, you wanna mingle together, huh huh huh? Here's mingling for you!" I grabbed my handy dandy swirling stick and did the only thing I could think of to make the best of a bad situation. I swirled and swirled until I was giddy! You know what? I think I might even prefer the way it looks now AND it's a whole heck of a lot easier to achieve. The moral of today's story is: Sometimes you just have to accept defeat and go with it!


Well Behaved Layers vs. Naughty Layers

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Man Soap


Last night I made more Lime & Black Pepper soap. That combination is so lovely smelling but I can't help but wonder what a dash of Vanilla would do the mix. I think it would blend beautifully. Maybe the next go around I'll try a bit of Vanilla to tone down the tartness of the Lime. I'm so excited about this one. It smells so good and I'm thinking to market it as another "MAN SOAP". Boy these guys are getting some special attention from me lately!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Birthday Sale

So tomorrow's my birthday (Nov 6th) and I think I'd like to hold a special sale in celebration.
I will offer 20% off all orders placed today and tomorrow (not including shipping) at my Etsy shop. Either wait for a revised invoice or I will refund the 20% discount to you.
Happy Shopping !

Ready for Christmas

Yesterday morning although I was suffering a migraine, I was on a mission to put up my new gift sets on Etsy. It meant, catching the sun at just the right time, taking pictures, editing them, uploading, doing write ups yada yada yada. Quite the painful experience I must say, but well worth it in the end!



Anywho, they're up and I'm hoping that they do well. They really are rather lovely :)
Black Raspberry Vanilla, Lemon Ginger & Pumpkin Spice




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Love my Supporters!

I've decided that my Open House was a total success. Not everyone invited showed up but those that did, put quite the dent in my inventory. I LOVE my customers!!!
Most of them were already familiar with my products so needed no product explanation but the friends that they brought along they insisted that I tour the table explaining each and every product including their benefits. They would interject every now and then to point out their own personal favorites. My friends know me - I'm no sales person and if it was up to me, I'd let everyone in and leave to the mall - leaving them to their own devices! Unfotunately that wasn't an option on Saturday.
We ate and drank lots of wine, had lots of laughs and the only time I stopped everyone to make any type of announcement was to thank them all for coming and supporting me over this past year and to encourage them to visit Etsy and support the handmade industry.
Those customers that couldn't make it on that day, were able to shop online and take advantage of the Open House discounts.
All in all, it was wonderful and I plan on doing it again next Spring!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Official


I can make melt & pour soap! Yes sireeee Jim Bob. My first try, I made 60 guest size bars in Pecan Praline flavor. I must say, they smelled divine but the melt and pour thing isn't my bag. It was a lot of fun and the challenge did have me sweating a few bullets but I pulled it off. It felt weird melting, pouring, cutting, wrapping and labeling all in the same day. Talk about instant gratification. The package was mailed bang on time, first thing Monday morning.

YAY me!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's Open House Day!!!

Today is my Open House. It's now a little after 12 noon so I have less than 4 hours before my guests start to arrive. The weather's wet and dreary and I feel the same.Well not the wet part....well my nose is wet. I have a horrible stinking cold and I've totally run out of steam. This morning I managed to put together some bath/body oils and make the labels (laminated no less). But that's as far as I think I can go. I'm totally pooped! I just made a humongous batch of chocolate chip cookies and husband is currently in the kitchen doing his thing! He's decided to be very generous today and take care of all the horses dervs (yes I spell it the way I pronounce it). When I got up this morning he was already studying his cook books and making a shopping list. I feel so loved (gag, gag). Just kidding :)
Anyway, I've taken a few pictures of the set up so far......do bear in mind the displays aren't final, I'm still shuffling things around!




Thanks for looking :)




Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do you feel sorry for me yet?

This Saturday I have decided to have an Open House. I have invited some family & friends to stop by within a 3 hour window to chat, sip cocktails and nibble on snacks while they try out and hopefully purchase products. Today is Wednesday, I'm home sick from work and I have a laundry list of things to do. There's body polishes, butters and bath oils to be made, bottled & jarred and labeled. Did I mention that it's Wednesday today? People are still RSVP'ing so I still don't have a final head count (my fault for sending out a late invitation). I have goody bags to make for X number of people. I raffle drawing gift basket to put together, pricing has to be figured out. I'm giving discount for that day only. Signs to be made, brownies to be baked plus the bean dip (can't forget the bean dip).
I've been up to my elbows in mango and shea and olive and still can't see the light......HELP!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lots & Lots of Soap

Great news & excitement & scaryness rolled into one!
A Fellow soaper on Etsy contacted me last week to ask me if I'd be interested in helping her by filling one portion of a huge wholesale order she has. Of course I accepted the tight deadlined challenge mainly because it's going to be a real challenge for me. I'll be treading in unfamiliar soapmaking territory! The order is for 60 guest size bars of melt & pour soap in one particular scent.
Moi - M & P? Why the heck not?
I accepted said challenge and have less than 2 weeks to deliver. I've ordered soap base, color, mold & scent. The amount of base I've ordered is sufficient to fill the order with not much room for error, so I'll have to hit this nail right on the head first blow! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything comes in by Thursday of this week so I'll have a couple of days to plan my attack. Wish me luck folks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are babies in my future?

So I just found out yesterday that my boss is expecting a little one next Spring. Very exciting news for her and her family! I must admit the thought did race across my mind as to whether this would be a good time to come up with a mommies/babies line of products. When I say the thought raced through my mind, I mean it literally jumped in and jumped right back out. Strangely though said thought has somehow continuously popped it's cutesy face into my head every minute of the day today.
Gawd.....as if I really need another project!!! Best get my handy dandy ideas notebook out :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Man Soap

I'm super excited right now. I got up bright and early this morning (5:00am) and I had it in my head that I wanted to make some MAN soap. That is a soap fragranced in a way that would be appealling to our male species. As per usual, I didn't finalize the actual design until I started the soapmaking process but I managed to "almost" get it together in time. I had to call on the poor spouse emergency style to put my mold together because I had forgotten all about it until oils & lye were almost at trace!!
Anyhows, after much thought I decided on a combination of Patchouli & Bay Rum. I "think" it smells lovely but the truth will be told when I remove it from the oven. There's a layer of crushed poppy seeds in the middle and some seeds sprinkled on top also. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out yellow/black/white as pictured in my head!
Pictures will come later.....


....later: so here's a pic of my man soap. It's not exactly what I'd hoped for (in looks) but at the same time I wouldn't call it bad. I have to say though I'm addicted to the smell. I've been washing my hands with it every day and it just now dawned on me that it smells like "Imperial Leather" soap from England, just like a freshly bathed man......mmmmm!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I have a question

....is it normal to not want to make the same type of soap more than once? Surely it can't be good for business. What do I tell my customers when they're looking for that ONE bar that they've fallen in love with? Ah - sorry, that one's boring so I won't be making it again, but here's something else you might like to try ONCE!
Maybe I need counselling......

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shaggadelic Babeee


Woohoo - I'm celebrating! I got my 500th heart today on Etsy. Said hearter will be receiving a free bar of soap of her choosing as a "thank you". Guess what she picked? That's right, she chose "anything with patchouli in it".

WELLLL, funny you should mention that I says - I just made a batch last night but it'll be a few weeks before it's ready, is that OK? Oh yeah, I'll wait she says. It's scented rather strong (as requested by my Etsy chat room buddy & his family - ArtisticDetour) but I just LOVE it! It's still fresh in this pic so it's soft and hasn't been cleaned up yet. Does it look shaggadelic to you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oh Lily My Love

Armed and dangerous with my new fragrance oils, I decided late last night to make a small batch of soap and scent it with lily of the valley. It's a scent that reminds me of one of my best friend's mom's bedroom. She used to wear lily of the valley when we were kids. I remember vividly the talcum powder sitting on her dresser. ( you know who you are Auntie Joy)

Anyway, I was delighted to see a huge bottle of lily of valley FO in amongst my booty and decided that it would be the 1st soap I made.

Of course I wasn't thinking about the fact that florals can be trifling to soap because they accellerate at lightening speed. (Budding soapmakers take note - always add fo's LAST). So i'm doing my thing, everything's looking real good even after I add the fragrance and stir it all in. Then IT happened!!! I managed to pour the soap in the mold but by the time I sat the pot down to jiggle the mold and allow the soap to settle, it had turned into this stiff mound standing to attention in my mold. I practically had to flatten it down with brut force. So much for the pretty 2 color green swirls on top that I had envisioned in my head!

Not one to give up too easily, I did attempt to swirl and the result can only be described as laughable. I didn't even need to put the bloody thing in the oven, it was rock hard already! So I had this cement block in the mold with a pool of green watery stuff floating on top of it - NOICE!

As you can see from the picture, I did not give up on my little Lily. I put it in the oven overnight and removed it this morning before slicing it up and sitting it out to cure. Can I just tell you, it smells like heaven! I'm keeping each and every one of these hideous looking things cos I love them like a mother loves her ugly kid.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lucky Lucky Me!


So yesterday morning I get wind that a New York based B & B company is closing it's doors and wants to sell off it's supplies, like pronto. Not being one to miss out on a bargain, I make the necessary phone calls, send emails and eagerly await a response from the owner of said business. Within the hour I was chatting with a lovely lady who informed me that they had loads to offer and for me to come down there. Brooklyn is 1.5 hours away by car and I absolutely DETEST driving in New York, but for some oils and lye I'd drive to Hades and back. I jump in my car at around 1:30pm and hit the road by myself. Somehow the husband and kid didn't find a day in New York too appealling and opted to go to the movies instead during my absence **shrugs shoulders**
The owner didn't want to have to pay storage fees for another month so I was encouraged to take as much as my little car could carry. Now bear in mind that these buckets of oils and lye are 50lb each! I also scored a TON of fragrance and essential oils. Some of which I'd been wanting to try for a long time but cost didn't permit. (see pic - those larger bottles are 2lb each)
Anywho, I got such a GREAT deal on my oils and lye that I couldn't get home fast enough to show off my booty. I'd love to tell you how much I paid for it all but I was sworn to secrecy. All I can say is I got the sale of the century.
All you patchouli lovers out there - watch out cos I'm now ARMED and DANGEROUS!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

I've been Tagged

I've been tagged by RainyDayArt . Here's how it works. I need to list 6 things about me and then tag 6 other bloggers.
1. My favorite color is BLUE.
2. I don't drink milk - YUK!
3. I don't like deli meat.
4. I sleep very little (although I love to take afternoon/early evening naps)
5. I LOVE surprises
6. If I could, I'd stay home and never leave - EVER!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pumpkin Pie and Men


Check out this funny story that I happened to stumble across over on the Etsy forums. I think I'm famous!!! It's a shame that I procrastinated enough to run out of pumpkin spice soap. Lesson learned though, lesson learned. I have since made more and the beauties are curing as I type.

Did you know that fragrance researchers claim that the scent of pumpkin pie filling will turn men into helpless love slaves, content to sit immobile for hours while you use their arms as a yarn-winder?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oh No say it ain't so....

....I caught the dreaded COLD!!! Under normal circumstances, I'd welcome the nasty bugger because it forces me to slow down and sometimes get some well needed rest (not to mention a couple of pounds weight loss if I lose my sense of taste). However, the last time I got a cold I actually lost my sense of smell for over a month. I do use measurements when adding my fragrance oils, but if I add and I can't smell anything and I forget that I really can't smell anything then I keep adding until I can smell something.
Ask my co-worker how fragrant my soaps were during that time - they were blow your sox off strong. One batch I swear made her nose hairs curl up!!! We still laugh about that. But come to think of it, that nose hair curling batch sold out pretty darned fast. I guess some people like STRONG! Maybe I should refrain from cooking any soaps for a few days until I'm well again. YEAH RIGHT!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tada!!



I frosted and cut the cake. They're so cute and whoever purchases them is going to have soap for a loooong time because they're huge - over 10oz each! They smell good too. I've already made a couple of different flavors and tonight I think I may do either Orange Chiffon or Ginger.
Reader Poll: What flavor cake would YOU like to see? Let me know, I'd love to know what everyone's tastes are.

Update: Thank you everyone who has responded to my reader poll. Here's what I've created so far:
  • Orange Chiffon (x 2)
  • Ginger (x 2)
  • Brown Sugar Spice (smells like carrot cake) (x2)
  • Butter Almond Vanilla (x 4)
  • Vanilla (x 2)
  • Pumpkin Spice (x2)

As soon as my FO's get here I'm going to add MORE pumpkin spice to the list. Hmmmm, I just had a thought - wonder if I could pull off a red velvet? Now THAT would be cool!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Carnaby Street


I've been rather busy of late and feel as though I've shirked my blog duties. I promise there's loads coming.

First, I'd like to share my excitement about my little soap cakes. I brought one in to work yesterday to show my co-worker/cheer leader how well it turned out after I frosted it. She in turn decides to show it off to another co-worker who takes one look and asks for a dozen of them for Christmas gifts. I'm so elated!!!! I came home yesterday and made 4 more last night and will make more this weekend. I'm hoping I can have some posted on Etsy soon too.

In the meantime, I added the chocolate peppermint and Carnaby Street soaps to my Etsy shop today. They've cured a heck of a lot faster than I had originally anticipated. They're nice and solid already. You could almost crack someone's skull with the chocolate peppermint and it's heavy too! Thank goodness for the cooler weather of fall.

Here's a tidbit of information - Do you know why patchouli was so popular back in the 60's & 70's? It masks the odor of burning cannabis!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yet Another Experiment

Yesterday (Sunday) I was itching to try HP soapmaking. That's where you bring your soap to trace as usual but instead of pouring into your mold, you continue cooking it until all the oils saponify right there in the pot. Basically you shave a good 4 weeks off of cure time. Talk about instant gratification! I made 1 batch of plain unscented and I "think" it was successful but I won't know for sure until another day or so. They feel softer than I imagined they would and I'm not sure if that's normal or not, so I'm hoping they'll harden up over the next couple of days. They're not the prettiest things but in a pinch, they'll do.


Being the mad scientist that I am, I decided that since I was already on a roll with this HP thing, I'd try to create two more soap cakes using this method. That would be HP Rebatching. I did try searching on how best to do it but gave up after a few minutes due to impatience. I figured I'd just jump right in there and hope for the best.

I must say, it seems to have worked. The only difference I can see right now is that the HP cake is lighter in color than the CPOP cake (no big deal once I add frosting). Since these are HP, they can be used right away!! I think I'll try a slice later :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Finally


I posted my Oatmeal Chocolate "creation out of frustration" soap this evening on Etsy. So much for the fancy name eh? http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7009678 . I'm hoping they'll do well over there. I've noticed there seems to be an influx of soapmakers of late (myself included). What does that mean? It means that the more of us there are trying to flog our wares, the better I have to be in order to stand out. I cannot afford to suffer another attack of soaper's block going forward. I think I'll need to start sniffing peppermint oils on the regular - (clears the brain you know).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Rebatching of the Botched

I've spent almost the entire weekend plotting soap projects. Some I've managed to complete with more success than others. One that I'm particularly pleased with, I created last night was a rebatch job, something I've been doing a lot lately.

Rebatching is where you make a batch of soap and for whatever reason you're not completely satisfied with the results ie. the color or scent isn't quite what you'd wanted. Instead of wasting it, I shred it up, and incorporate it into a brand new batch of soap and re-color or re-scent. Many soapers don't like to rebatch because the resulting bar is tends to be lumpy looking but I have a system now where I can get a nice smooth result- (see "what to call it?" post on 8/22) . I only rebatched those because although I LOVE the scent, some fragrance oils will always turn soap a dark brown due to the vanilla in it, this being one of them. It's something you just can't get around. I made a huge 6lb batch of this particular scent earlier this summer and as much as I tried to "pretty it up" with pink swirls on top, it wasn't having it (a bit like putting lipstick on a pig). So I broke down and rebatched some of it which resulted in not only my unamed soap of 8/22 but also, this beautiful cake! The left over soap from that pot was poured into my mini silicone bundt cake mold but because I waited so long to put it in the mold it started to harden and ended up lumpy looking which as it happens was a good thing because it actually looks like REAL CAKE!! Wouldn't this make a lovely birthday gift? It weighs over 10 oz, enough for 4 good sized hunks of soap.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Chillax Bridezilla!



I can't believe I actually managed to meet a deadline EARLY for once!!!


This week's EtsyOWLS challenge is to create something based on a wedding theme. The challenge isn't due until tomorrow (Sunday) evening but I got it done, photographed and posted in the morning before work. The bath salts are made using salts from the Dead Sea and dried mini rose buds. The fizzy bomb is the same scent as the bath salts which is "Pink Sugar" type fragrance. Isn't the "do not disturb" door hanger cute? Here's where it's listed on Etsy:







Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ramping up

There's another challenge coming up this Sunday and I'm participating again. This time it's not going to be a last minute deal. I'm planning on being well prepared this time. The theme is to "Weddings". I've decided to make a gift set specially for the bridezilla to help her chillax before her big day. I haven't decided on a name for it yet. I think I'll start putting it together tomorrow since it's more than 1 item and I want to make sure I take good pictures.
I'll keep you posted so.......watch this space!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Peppermint Patty Anyone?


I see a pattern here. Whenever I'm suffering from soaper's block I end up with chocolate. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining, because I have to admit on both occasions, I've totally loved the outcome.
So here's my creation from frustration pt.2. Scented with peppermint and chocolate.
What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crap....



.....I've got soaper's block again. I've been meaning to make this next batch of soap for days and I'm having issues. I just went upstairs and pulled out all my fragrance & essential oils. I sniffed most of them hoping for a bit of inspiration but nothing. Everything seems boring right now. My original intention was to make a batch of peppermint for Christmas. Freak - maybe I'll just go do that.......alright I'm going. I'll post pics later or tomorrow I guess.
__________________________________________

Update - 9:27pm. (picture added). I must be going through a chocolate phase right now. What is up with that? Maybe the universe is telling me that I need a chocolate line after all which is something I've been considering. Anyway, I ended up making a swirly brown & white single layer soap. The white parts are flavored with peppermint essential oil and the brown parts are flavored with chocolate and vanilla fragrance oils and colored with cocoa powder. It smells like a York Peppermint Patty for sure. I took this picture right before popping it in the oven for the night. Can't wait until the morning to get it out and slice it up.


EtsyOWLS Challenge


Sunday, I told you all how I participated in a challenge with my fellow Street Team members the Etsy OWLS. The challenge was to come up with an item to sell that was family oriented, meaning something that could be used by any member of the family. More info on the challenge can be found here:


The public is being encouraged to vote for their favorite item and the one with the most votes wins. All entries were posted at the same time at 7:00pm EST on Sunday when the challenge began.
My intention was to make some chocolate milk bath which is always fun. I usually make this for my nephew for Christmas every year. He looks forward to his chocolate set which includes chocolate milk bath, chocolate scented body butter, chocolate lotion and some bath truffles.

For whatever reason, I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to make a batch of chocolate scented bath truffles instead (see pic). These things are so much fun and they smell wonderful. The natural intoxicating aroma of cocoa butter with the addition of fragrance and other ingredients makes for a most luxurious bathing experience. Kids love them because they fizz, adults love them because they make your skin feel soft and silky.
BTW - these puppies sold within 24 hours of being listed. YEAH ME!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

All Done


Woo hoo - they're all done, packaged up and ready to be shipped. I pulled it off and I'm a happy girl. Those little 1/2 sized soaps don't look so bad, they're actually quite cute!

....now, if only I could decide on what to make for this Etsy Street Team challenge that's about to begin in a few hours! why is everything always last minute with me???? Oh well, off I go to create again...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Problem Solved


A couple of months ago (pre-Etsy), I signed up to participate in a Bath & Body products swap on one of the soap making online groups I belong to. All products need to be in the coordinator's hands by Sept 1st. As soon as I signed up for the swap I made a huge batch of pumpkin spice soap, allowing plenty of time for them to cure. These girls are gonna love this one, I thought to myself. Unbeknownst to me, Etsy was right around the corner waiting on me to stumble on her. Needless to say since I started selling on Etsy, I have managed to sell a vast quantity of said pumpkin spice soap, thus leaving nothing much for the swap. What to do? I had a dilema. There's no way I was going to pull all the remaining pumpkin spice soap from my Etsy shop. As it is, I only have 19 bars left and I need 15 for the swap and making more wasn't an option.
This morning I said to myself: "Self, you have to either pull out of the swap and face being banned from all swaps for life (not a good thing to happen on your first swap) or you're going to have to hand over all the soap and just call it a day".
I was adamant that neither was going to happen, and as usual, just in the nick of time I came up with the solution. I'll cut each full size bar of soap in 1/2 which will create guest size bars. This means only losing 8 bars as opposed to 15. Then I could make some fizzy bath bombs in this other fragrance I have which smells just like apple pie with spices. So they'll get a fizzy bomb and a small soap.
So, that's exactly what I've done. Well, I haven't cut up the soap yet, but I have made the bombs. They smell rather lovely if I do say so myself. Since I didn't color them, I decided to decorate the tops with dried calendula petals. This picture shows a handful of them but I actually made about 18 and they're HUGE. I weighed one and it's 4 1/2 oz!!! They have sit and harden nicely for a day or so, then I'll clean them up a bit. I hope they like them:)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What to call it?


I'm at a loss for a name for this batch. It reminds me of a full moon. Smells deeelish too - very girlie smelling:)
My daughter just suggested these names
"Venus The Great" or "The Hot Spot".
Any suggestions are welcome. It's set to make it's debut in approx. 6 weeks time and it'll need a name by then!

It's in my blood

Two recent events have led me to come to the conclusion that I was destined to be a soapmaker. And how do I know I was meant to be making soap? Here's how I know....

Recently, I joined a meetup group of soapmakers in NYC. It is highly out of character for me to get on a train and ride to Central Park to sit and picnic with a group of people I have never met before. Even my husband was proud of me. Anyway, one of the wonderfully talented ladies that I met was Lucie. She also sells soap on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5176018
After visiting my website Lucie sent me an email stating that we had similar behaviors as children, because like me, she used to pick flowers and squeeze them to make her own perfume. You see, Lucie's grandfather was a chemist for a bath & body products company and he also made soap, therefore it was in Lucie's genes to make soap. This revelation took me by surprise because I honestly didn't think that anyone else dreamed about making perfume as a child. I thought it was just me.
As you already know, I've been making soap for quite some time and I also make other bath & body products but somehow soapmaking seems to do it for me. I'm in LOVE with anything soap, actually correction - I'm OBSESSED with making the stuff. Anyway, I've often wondered if I had any past relatives that were soap makers because you know how certain talents or behaviors are inherited right? My mother is no longer alive and she passed away before I started making soap, plus I barely have contact with my father.
Well, this past Sunday my 2 sisters and I met up for breakfast at our local diner since we hadn't sat and had a good old fashioned "chin wag" in a while. Out of the blue I asked my older sister if she knew of any members of our family that used to make soap. Her response was "Oh yes, of course - your grandmother used to make soap. Did you not know that?" - No I didn't know that. Then she went on to describe this soap and how it was made using the ashes from the wood that was used to cook the food outside. Well, you could have floored me with a feather. Is this what Oprah refers to as my AHAA moment? I flung myself backwards into the bench seat, mouth agape and just stared at her for a while. Is this why I see nothing wrong with rising from a dead sleep at 4:30 in the morning on a work day to make a batch of soap because I just can't wait until the weekend? I guess so - it's just in my blood, I can't help and I don't want to help it. Now I can soap on in peace, knowing that I'm doing what I was always destined to do. That truly feels good!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Room with a View

Woohoo - we're in Vegas!!! I've been looking forward to this trip for months as I've been overdoing lately and this was going to be my chance to relax and not think about anything but enjoying myself.
It's now Tuesday morning. And what do you suppose I've done? I've brought the bloody laptop with me and here I sit in the room, my first morning in Vegas on the computer. I've checked my emails, responded to some, been on the Etsy forums for at least an hour and now I'm updating my blog. (Might as well, I'm paying for 24 hours of internet access). After this 24 hour period is up, I've promised myself that I will NOT touch this laptop again until we get home on Thursday night.

So, last night DH and I get to the room, drop our stuff and head out to the mall across the street. We promptly visited the liquor store as we planned to have a nice drink up before bed. Captain Morgan was put to work and what a lovely job he did :) If you look carefully, you'll see him on the table. Almost legless, we stumbled down to the casino where I promptly shoved $40 of hard earned dough into the greedy mouth of a wheel of fortune slot machine. All I could think about on my way back to the room a couple of hours later was how much coconut oil or fragrance I could have purchased with that cash. Oh well, it's gone now and today's a new day. My plan today is to win BIG MONEY so I'm off to do just that. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Etsyitus


So it's Saturday afternoon now. I think I got up at around 5:30 this morning (pretended I was thirsty), jumped right on the computer and here I still am. How am I going to kick this new habit? Do I even want to? I have to, today at least. I'm leaving for vacation on Monday and I have to give myself a manicure & a pedicure. I need to get my brows waxed. I need to pack and I need to shop for stuff to pack. Did I mention that I have to do something about this mop on top of my head? Yet, here I sit on the computer. My daughter actually calls me a fiend. But it hasn't been a total waste because I got this great idea that I wanted to have a sale on soap this weekend at Etsy. Buy 1 bar, get the second bar at 50% off. Pretty darned good deal if you ask me!
It's been so much fun. I've had lots of inquiries so far and I've made some sales. At the beginning of August I set a goal that I wanted to sell 10 items for the month. I've already almost hit that goal!!! I'm totally ecstatic :) I got one order for some foot salve from a lady in England and I'm sending soap samples to another in Malaysia. Just the thought of my creations flying around the world makes me smile today.

Oh, and I got one other brilliant idea this morning but I'll share that tomorrow (if I ever get off my butt to bring it to fruition :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Vegas Here I Come

So, I'm off to Las Vegas next week for 4 days and I'm just now getting super excited about it. I haven't started packing or anything yet. If I did I think my husband would keel over dead. My motto is "If it ain't last minute, then it ain't no fun"! I'm one of those who will be still doing laundry and packing an hour before we're supposed to leave. Anyway, I'm having these dreams of winning big money in Vegas, enough so that I can stay at home and make soap all day every day (sans soapers block hopefully). I'm dreaming about how I'd be able to afford all those experiments I've always wanted to try but daren't because of the cost of raw materials. Ooooh, I'd be the happiest woman this side of the globe. Actually, just the fact that I'm going away is plenty to make me happy and we're staying in pretty posh digs too. We'll be here at the Wynn Hotel. Love that place - we stayed there 2 years ago for 3 days. I felt like the queen that I really am!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

No Internet Connection

So tonight I get home from work and as usual I drop my bags and head for the pc so I can check on my Etsy shop and my Morgan St website plus catch up on emails. To my horror, there's no internet. I can't get on. My world has just screeched to a complete halt. My mind races as to what I should do. Hmmm...this is not good, not good at all. After a few moments, I calm myself down and try to think of something constructive to do. I guess I could make that batch of soap I've been thinking about for over a week. But what to make? I just can't seem to decide. I think I've been suffering from soaper's block lately. Usually I know exactly how I want it to look, smell and feel. But this time, it wasn't happening.

The oils get weighed and are sitting in the pot, the lye is dissolving the silk fibers in the water and still no inspiration! What the F is wrong with me tonight? At least by THIS stage I should have this batch already made in my head. Bear in mind, I only have so much time between the oils melting and the lye water cooling, because by the time this all happens, I have to hussle (especially because I used beeswax this time). I certainly wasn't up for wasting 4lbs of good quality oils either due to my indecisiveness.

I open up my soap ingredients cupboards and the first thing I see is a bag of organic oatmeal. In the cupboard next to it, a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder. OK, the picture's coming together now, and just in the nick of time. By the time I figured out how I was going to put this thing together, I had no time to spare. In my haste I splashed raw soap all over my face, narrowly missing my eye.

***WARNING*** Always wear protective goggles, long sleeves & rubber gloves!

Before you ask - No I don't wear any of the above. It's so naughty of me, I know but I like living on the edge sometimes. It's my one time to live dangerously so can I please?

Anywho, after splashing vinegar all over my face, I continue on and manage to get the sucker in the oven before it turned to rock in the pot.

I have to say it not only looks lovely but smells divine. I used a little sliver and the bubbles are so soft and creamy and silky feeling. Hmmmmm, this one's a sure winner! Maybe I should stay off the computer more often...now what to call it, oatmeal chocolate almond cookie? eat your oatmeal? chocoats?

BTW - DH got home from work and was promptly put to work to fixing the internet. A couple of trips between my pc upstairs, his pc downstairs, the modem or whatever that box thing with lights is called and we were back up and running. Such talent in a man is so rare :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Etsy.com is the Bomb

Curiosity finally got the better of me and after reading about this "Etsy" place here and there, I decided to take a trip to the site to see what all the hub-bub was about. What a wonderful wonderful place. Of course I had to sign up right away (as if I needed one more thing to take up time that I already didn't have).

It's been 2 weeks and 1 day since I opened my Etsy shop and boy has it been fun. I've met lots of people, made lots of trades and seem to have become addicted to the place. There are hundreds and hundreds of seriously talented people selling their wares. It's mind boggling to see all that creativity in one place.

Here's where you'll find me trying to flog my wares : http://www.morganstreet.etsy.com/

Monday, January 1, 2007

This thing called food

So last week I happened upon an Etsy seller Hypnotransformations quite by accident who sells hypnotherapy CDs. Out of curiosity I poked around their shop for a bit and and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw that they had a hypnotherapy CD for weight loss. Not one to leave a stone unturned, I decided right then and there to give it a whirl. Here I will attempt to document my results - good or bad.
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Wednesday 11/12/08 – 168 lbs
My weight loss hypnosis CD arrived in the mail this afternoon. Very happy to have received it so fast. I quickly unwrap it, give the instructions a once over and promptly stick it in my lap top and proceed to make myself comfy. I’m not gonna lie – I did wonder if I was going to wake up barking like a dog or even worst, wake up with murderous thoughts . Anyway, I settled into the breathing and relaxation that I was instructed to by the lady with the soft voice. Damn it – right when I was in the zone, the kid comes home from school early. She’s yelling for me and I’m fighting really hard to block out her voice. Then she comes running up the stairs and into my room. I refuse to open my eyes or to resurface from the lovely place where good eating habits are being embedded my brain. I manage (well still semi submerged) to wave her away and she promptly leaves. Damn it! I wonder if it will still work I’m wondering. Nonetheless, I decide to continue on with the session even though I wasn’t completely “under”. The soft voice told me that I would never diet again and I would no longer eat unnecessarily only when hungry. Alrighty then I thought to myself. Not trying to be a disbeliever or anything but really – we’re talking about me here.
8:48pm – Still drinking water, ate dinner as usual (maybe less than normal) and am quite satisfied. Surprisingly I have absolutely no yearning for ANYTHING not even sugar which is a must have for me. This sodding thing may just work after all OR could it be because I’m suffering from a flu like ailment? Dunno. Time will tell. I plan to listen to it again tonight just for real reinforcement since I was awoken from my trance prematurely earlier.

11/13/08 – 166.5 lbs
Since my first session was interrupted, I decided it would be best to listen to the CD again just to be safe. I’m really not sure what happened or how exactly to describe it but I somehow managed to fall asleep. Not a deep sleep but enough to not remember hearing too much of the CD yet aware enough to know when it was time to awaken from the session. That was very weird considering I had just drunk a huge starbucks coffee not 2 hours earlier and I was nowhere near tired. So, did the words actually sink into my brain or no?
This morning I woke up, not hungry but thirsty. Just as the nice soft voice said – you will want to drink a lot of water. I want to drink a lot of water. I feel all warm and fuzzy when I see my big weight watchers 32oz water jug. This is some weird shit but you know what? I woke up this morning 1.5lbs lighter than I was yesterday so I’m not complaining. We’ll see what the rest of the day brings. I’m supposed to only want to eat when I’m hungry and just enough to sustain myself.
9:22pm – the day has gone very well. This evening I went to the grocery store and got some yogurt, frozen fruit and some of those 60 calorie jello pudding thingies. I’ve been dying to try those for ever and they had dulce de leche – my all time favorite flavor in ANYTHING! They have now been in the fridge for 5 hours. I’m waiting for the desire to eat one but it’s just not coming. 2 days ago (pre hypnosis days) I could have easily eaten 2 or 3 of them already.
I’m still drinking lots of water as I seem to “need” it all the time. So far, so good – I’m enjoying this especially because I’m a) not thinking about it b) not on a diet. Life Rocks right now! More tomorrow.

11/14/08 – 164 lbs
So, I must admit. Last night I stayed up so late that I was hungry again. I didn’t eat anything though, I went to bed. Normally, my angry belly would have kept me from sleeping or would have kept waking me throughout the night to remind me it need some sort of filling. Last night, I turned out the light, rolled over and shut my eyes. I slept soundly and woke up with no signs of the previous night’s hunger. Matter of fact, I didn’t make my breakfast sandwich (egg on a toasted muffin with ½ slice cheese) until pretty late. So there you have it. My brain is teaching my body everything the lady with the nice voice told it. I think I like this.

The thirst for water continues by the way.
Tonight I went to a big party which included an overnight hotel stay. The party was fabulous, open bar all night and a scrumptious sit down dinner too. Here’s what happened differently tonight for me.
a) I didn’t clean my dinner plate
b) I didn’t finish my dessert which by the way was D.I.V.I.N.E
c) I almost ordered myself a Baileys to drink and at the last minute thought about the calories and changed my mind to wine. I’ve NEVER done that before!
The best part? All these behavior changes took ZERO effort on my part. I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on anything and I didn’t feel deprived. Life is good!

11/15/08 – 165 lbs
Today is a bit of a blur. Partied a little too hard last night and spent today recovering. Lots of water and tea for me. I’m going to blame my 1 lb weight gain on last night’s dinner. By the way, I brought home a huge platter of lovely looking cookies. Don’t ask me how they taste because I couldn’t tell you. Somehow as lovely as they look, they just don’t look lovely enough for me to eat them.
11/16/08 – 165 lbs
You know what I’ve noticed since listening to this CD? I have loads of energy. Usually in the evenings I’m totally exhausted and falling asleep by 9:00pm or even earlier. Tonight I made soap at midnight, cleaned the kitchen thoroughly and sat down and enjoyed wine while making a to do list for the next day while the rest of the house was fast asleep. Life is Good!

11/17/08 – 164 lbs
Yesterday I didn’t drink as much water as I should have. I think it’s time to listen to my CD again just for added reinforcement. had to buy cough drops today. I ate one because I was coughing so badly. Today I was eating cough drops. I never realized how sweet those things are until today. MAN they’re sweet!!!
Oh I forgot to mention something else I’ve noticed since starting this journey – not only do I have lots of enenergy, I have this urge to go outside and exercise. Yesterday morning I actually stood at the window, curtain pulled back, envisioning myself walking briskly in the cool morning air. I can’t wait until this cold is gone and I can breath properly again, I have a feeling I’m going to be tearing up some sidewalks in Bridgeport!
That lady with the soft voice packs a mighty powerful punch! I think I like her :)

11/18/08 – 164 lbs
Today makes a week since I started this journey. I’ve decided that so far, this is the way to go for me. I am doing all the right things without obsessing. I’m not thinking about food at all unless I’m hungry, I don’t obsess about how many calories or points I’m eating, I’ve automatically cut down my portion sizes and by some miracle don’t find “bad” foods appetizing any more. By the way those jello puddings are STILL in the fridge.
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Week 2 - 163 lbs

It's been a while since I updated since I've been crazy busy with the shop (a good thing). Anyway, I'll make it quick.
Week 2 I found myself down another 1lb - YAY Me. This despite the fact that I did not get the chance to listen to the CD this week
Jello puddings are STILL in the fridge!

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Week 3 - 162.5 lbs

I felt for sure that this week I would have either gained a little bit of weight or at best remain the same since it was thanksgiving and everything. I actually cooked this year (only my 2nd time ever cooking on thanksgiving). I made a cheesecake for my daughter and her room mates, we had ham, brick baked chicken (not too fond of turkey), stuffing, roasted potatoes (ladened with melted butter by the way), macaroni cheese (cooked old school style with rich from scratch cheese sauce), rice, veggies and of course wine. It was a true feast! I really didn't eat that much but found myself drinking a TON of water the entire time I was cooking (in between the sips of wine :) I had just one helping of food, 1 slice of cheesecake and that was enough for me. I actually started to feel nausous when I got close to the end of my meal and had to take a break. That was another first for me.

This week, I found myself craving sweets again. Not bad but just a little. I figured it was because I didn't listen to the CD all last week so I made sure that I listened to it first thing Sunday morning.

As soon as I started listening to it, I seriously saw myself in a 2 piece bikini in my mind. I kept thinking to myself "this is crazy, why am I wearing a bikini?"

All in all - it's been another successful week. Slow and steady wins the race :)