The Last Three Arts & Craft Festivals For This Year

This Fall is flying by so fast, and I’ve already finished my 1st four arts and craft festivals.

Here are the links and important info for the last three I’m attending this year.  Later this month, I will post the Christmas soaps I will be featuring.  I will also have a special limited edition Fall/Owl-o-ween themed soap and the last of the Fall and Jack-O-Lanterns available in the next few days in my Etsy store.

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Don’t forget to check my Facebook page for updates since I always post everything there first.

Owl-o-ween-Artist Alley
Oct 25th 4 pm-10 pm & Oct 26th  3 pm-9 pm
KSU Stadium
http://owl-o-ween.com/    &    http://vimeo.com/96622289

Chomp & Stomp
Nov 1st 11 am-6 pm
Cabbagetown Park
177 Kirkwood Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30316
http://www.chompandstomp.com/

Christmas in Lithia 
Nov 8th 10 am-5 pm & Nov 9th 12 pm-5 pm
Lithia Springs High School
2520 East County Line Road
Lithia Springs, GA 30122

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Why I “Polish” Almost All My Soaps And Other Soapy Musings

This past week, I was doing some research on a cosmetic issue I was having with my Citrus Flame soaps.  The edges were crumbly, but the soaps were not lye heavy (the usual problem with crumbly soaps).  I tried a salt water solution and sodium lactate, but both made the problem worse…ugg!

I finally stumbled across the answer.   I do what’s called room temperature cold process soap making since working at lower temps gives me more time to complete the complicated patterns/swirls in the soaps, but with the Citrus Flame soaps, I have also been preventing a process called gel phase.  I do this since citrus essential oils are more volatile (ie, heat sensitive) than many other essential oils, and they can disappear in the high heat situation of soap gelling.  Since I’m not gelling my soaps (making them initially softer), I found I will need to let the soap sit in the mold longer and then wait an additional 48 hours after unmolding to cut the soaps.  I tried this on my latest batch, and no more crumbly edges…YAH!

While doing this research, I saw another American soaper’s blog and really, really wanted to give her some advice on cleaning up her soap, but I wasn’t sure how it would be received.  She had worked really hard to create beautiful swirls on her bars, but during the curing process, they developed a thick layer of soda ash that was hiding her beautiful swirls.  She was a pretty new soaper (according to her blog, she’s been making soap for a year), and I don’t think she knew she could wash the ash off (I didn’t for the 1st few years of making soap).

Here’s a picture of one of my Citrus Flame soaps before I washed it.  Sorry for the low quality of this picture. My hubby is my normal photographer, but he had surgery last week and is recovering plus I took the pic with my phone instead of his fancy, smancy camera.

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And here is the after.  Much better don’t you think?

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Soda ash is completely harmless, but it’s an unsightly cosmetic issue that is easily resolved.  I don’t have a steamer, but I have found the easiest way to deal with it, is to give your soaps a scrub with a tooth brush (one that is dedicated to just this purpose, of course) about 2-3 weeks after unmolding and cutting.  Before two weeks, it seems to make the soap softer, and increase the time needed to cure and harden.  Also, use cold water (tap is fine) to decrease the amount of bubbles on the bars.  Lastly, don’t forget to wear your gloves so you don’t leave finger prints.  I had to rewash almost 80 bars to get rid of my finger prints the first time I washed my soaps.

Now I’ve tried every method suggested to prevent soda ash-spraying with alcohol and adding beeswax, but I’ve not had any luck since I work at very low temps and emulsion instead of trace.  So for now, my bars will continue to get a “bath” before they get to you, but it does “polish” the soaps making them pretty and shiny.

What I did during Atlanta’s Snowpocalypse

Although last week’s winter storm was terrible for many people in the Atlanta metro area (kids trapped at schools overnight, kids trapped on school buses, people stuck in their cars overnight with temps in the low teens), I’m a Missouri girl at heart, and made sure I had a well stocked fridge and pantry so I joyfully looked forward to the snow.  Since we this was the first significant snowfall in a couple of years, I was excited my kids would get to play in the glorious winter weather.

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Since my hubby was home from school all week during Snowpocalypse, I also used this time to make soap, lots, and lots of soap!  I had recently seen a technique on the Soap Queen’s blog called the impressionist swirl, and I was dying to give it a try.  I made two batches using this technique.  The 1st one was scented with lime and lavender (sorry no pics of that one yet), and it came out great.  The 2nd one I did was scented with a certified 100% natural fragrance oil Vanilla Black Currant from Lebermuth.  I love this scent since it’s sweet and creamy, but the vanilla content is low since it does not discolor much in soap, and it doesn’t accelerate trace.

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This technique is very time consuming so make sure you use a recipe that is VERY slow moving since it does take a while to squirt out the soap, and it’s really messy too.

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But, it’s SO worth it!

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Here’s the final cut bars.   What do you think?

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I think this is a really cool new soaping technique, and I will do it again soon!  My only regret is I didn’t think of using this color combo (cream, pink, and cherry red) about a month sooner.  This would have made a perfect Valentine’s Day soap.

How buying Evelyn Rose Soaps helps support other small, local, and family owned business

Small Business Saturday got me thinking about how every purchase of Evelyn Rose Soaps helps to support other small, local, and family owned business, and I wanted to tell you how and spotlight a few of these companies.

All Evelyn Rose Printing (business cards, banner, T-shirts, labels, etc) is done by Crazy Native in Douglasville.  They are owned and operated by a great husband and wife team, and they do awesome work.   I just ordered new soap stamps last week, and once they come in, all of our future soap packaging will be 100% recyclable.   We are really excited to phase out the old labels and have these beautiful stamps for our back label (ie the ingredients in each bar) in addition to the front logo stamp and contact info stamp we already use.   Since our soaps are 100% natural and green, we really wanted our soap packaging to be the same.  Plus they just look so great!  Even if you are not in the Douglas or Paulding county GA area, you can still check out Crazy Native on-line.   They go to show you don’t have to use a large national printing company to have beautiful and professional printing done.  Support mom and pop companies!

A great local Atlanta soap supply company is Soapgoods.com.  I have seen this company grow from just a one man operation to several employees.  This was the very first company I ever bought soap supplies from, and a few years ago, after badgering the owner for months (I’m sure I wasn’t the only one), he allowed for local pickups…yah!   This works out great since their warehouse is just a few miles from my chiropractor’s office, and this means I don’t have to pay for shipping.  Then I can pass the savings on to my customers.  A win-win!

Next on my list is Lebermuth Company.   This is a family owned and operated essential and fragrance oil company that has been in business for over 100 years.  This is were I get all those great certified 100% natural fragrance oils, and I also use their essential oils too.  I just love them.  Not only do they have a extensive selection of natural products (I only use natural ingredients), but they also have a great customer service team.  Brynne Spiritoso is my favorite customer service rep there….I just love her, and she is great!  It’s also great that they have small samples you can purchase and try out in a small batch of soap since they sell all their oils by the pound.

Last, but not least, is Brambleberry.   They are another small company with great customer service, and not only do they have a huge selection of raw ingredients for soap makers, the company’s owner, Anne-Marie Faiola, runs a helpful blog with great ideas and solutions for troubleshooting soap issues.   It’s always great to get new ideas, and even if I don’t end up using what’s in her post, they still help to get the creative juices following, and help me to think about other designs I want to do with my soaps.  Their site also contains helpful (and free) soap and scent calculators that you have to pay for elsewhere.  This saves me money, and I can pass it along to my customers.   

I just can’t say enough about these four small companies, and I really love doing business with them.  Every time you purchase one of my products, you are indirectly supporting them too.

Below are some of my soaps I have created using products from the companies I bragged on above.

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Don’t forget to check out my Etsy store to purchase your soaps today! 

Also, “like” my Facebook page (not just the posts, but “like” those too since it gives me feedback on what you want to see more of) to get an entry into our Facebook give away contest.  We are giving away a $20 box of our soaps once we get 200 “likes” for our page(not the post).  You can get up to 3 entries for “liking” our Facebook page, following this blog, and making a comment on this blog.  If you have already done this, don’t worry your are entered into our contest, but please send me an email (evelynroseproducts@gmail.com), with your contact info in case your win.  I want to make sure I can contact you if you do.  

Here’s the soap we are giving away for our Facebook contest.

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Testing the new all natural fragrance oils

It’s been a busy day.  I made 3 batches of soap, and drum roll…I also tested the 4 new all natural fragrance oil samples I received on Thursday!  I have high hopes these will work in my soaps.  So far my two favorites are the lemon creme and coconut ginger almond.  I’m hoping they won’t turn too brown during the curing process, but they sure smell great!

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I also had a chance to make some more Christmas guest sized soaps.  I love these cute little holiday themed molds and decided to purchase some more after a very successful trial run with the snowflake shaped soaps at the craft festival I did in late September. I now have a variety of Christmas, Fall, Halloween, football, Mickey Mouse, and Hello Kitty guest sized molds.  It’s a little too late for the fall and Halloween soaps to have time to cure, but I will have the Christmas ones in my Etsy store in late November.  The Christmas stocking and gingerbread man soaps are vanilla-mint, and they will turn brown as they cure.  The Christmas tree and snowflake bars are my Jack Frost essential oil blend which my proprietary blend of Siberian Fir, peppermint, and a touch of vanilla.  They should cure to a sparkly brown, white, and blue.

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These molds are also great if you would like a personalized or custom soap for yourself or as a gift!  I can do a customized batch of soap as small as 1 pound with the recipe, scent, and colosr of your choice.  If you are interested in your own custom soap, please email me at evelynroseproducts@gmail.com.