Thursday, 27 October 2011

The packaging solution

As I mentioned previously, I didn't have much luck getting any packaging companies to provide me with any pricing, so we had to come up with something ourselves. Hubby is creative and enjoys a challenge, and so he designed gift boxes for my soaps.

He's not one for the typical, so instead he decided that the boxes should be designed for each type of soap. The kids soaps will be made according to the type of soap that will be placed in them.

This, for instance, is the "aquarium" for the fish soaps. A "starfish" soap will be added to the box, as well as "sand" to complete the look.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I was going to post about the boxes that hubby's been making for me to package my soaps, but I haven't taken a picture of it yet. It has to be done during the daytime to really show how good it looks with light shining through. So instead, here's another thing I'm making for the craft show: crayons. I love the fact that I can pour one colour and then let it do its thing. I did give them all different scents, yellow with pineapple cilantro, purple with moonlight pomegranate which has the scent of cassis, and so on. And since the mold comes has 5 molds in it, I end up with 5 sets pretty quickly. The crayon soaps do still need a paper wrap around them like crayons usually do, but that should come together pretty quickly. We (the royal we of course) are going to make a Crayola type box to hold these crayons.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

To Infinity, or at least to the craft shows

Instead of trying to stick with a few products for the trade show, I decided to try out even more molds, just because I like to challenge myself. That or I'm too ADD to stick with any one thing, you pick.

This time, it was the spaceship and alien craft. I had put off trying it because I wasn't sure how to make it really interesting. I could've just followed Soapylove's directions, but I don't have any superclear soap, so I didn't want to put the little alien guy in just yet. So instead, I thought I'd make the spaceship first and try playing with colours.

My first attempt at the spaceship. The red and blue look nice, but the green sparkle didn't make the body pop like I wanted.

So, to make the body more bright and showy, I decided to make it out of goat's milk soap instead. I knew the labcolour red would bleed into the body, so I used the non-bleeding red instead.
The non-bleeding red turned pink, not quite the colours of NASA.

Hubby said the spaceship should be more metallic in colour, so I added some grey and sparkle to the body and came up with this

Hard to tell from the picture, but believe me, the spaceship is more grey in colour.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Baking Season

Fall is that time of year when I want to bake. Okay, I want to bake quite often, but in the fall and winter is when I especially want a warm, nice smelling kitchen. Bon Appetit tweeted the other day an apple galette based on the one by Chez Panisse. It looked so good, I just had to try it.

I had a couple of nectarines left over that were as hard as a baseball, so I figured they would make a good substitute for the apples. Other modifications included using the jam I had in my fridge rather than using the apricot preserves as suggested, and adding a dose of apricot brandy along with brown sugar to sweeten up the tasteless nectarines.

For some reason I couldn't roll the dough into a circle. And no, I hadn't been imbibing prior. 

Folded in the ends. Guess I should've paid more attention to the picture they had to see how it's done.

Fresh out of the oven
 I think if I had made it to their specifications, it would've been great. As it was, I didn't fold up the dough well enough and ended up with a bit of a mess in the oven. Good thing there's no smoke alarm in the kitchen,

Monday, 17 October 2011

Countdown to Panic

Thanks to the organizers of the first craft fair I'm going to be attending, I'm keeping track of how much time I have to get all my soaps made. Of course, since this is the first show I'm attending, I'm not sure what's going to be a great seller versus a good seller. (I'm thinking it's all fantastic, but I'm biased that way).

Hubby had told me to keep track of the formulas I use in each of the soaps, and I know that's what I need to do, but I continue with my deluded belief that I can remember what colours I used and the proportions for each soap. Well the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the monkey.

Obviously, my formula keeping skills needs to be improved.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Packaging Design

I'm very grateful that I have a husband who can conceptualize ideas and put them onto, well in this case, foam core board and matting material. As mentioned yesterday, we had to figure out a way to package up the soaps in a way that would be different and enticing. Since the holiday season is coming up, we thought it would be good to have soaps all packaged up so that people could purchase a gift box without having to put in too much thought.

This is his conceptualizing with the soaps.

Bevelling the edge so that it can be folded at right angles.

The completed box with the top being formed.

A completed prototype

Second prototype completed

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

If you want something done, do it yourself

In keeping with proper practices, I had contacted 3 different packaging companies for quotes on packaging. Two contacted me, one even came to my house to talk about the specifics of what I wanted. After a follow up email immediately after the visit, saying he'd be in touch soon, nothing. Nada, Nil. Zilch. Same with the second company that returned my call, took down the specifics then said they'd be in contact soon. Again, haven't heard a thing. Is there a rash of alien abductions of packaging salesmen that the news isn't telling us about, kind of like the Wall Street occupation when it first started?

So, today, hubby took me down to an art store where we looked at all our options on how to build our own boxes. We finally decided to try using foam core board to make the basic box and then using mat board as a lid. Pictures to come.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A different take on a visit to the optometrist

Is there such thing as the perfect soap for everyone? I don't think so. It's like going for an eye exam, which one works better for you, picture A or picture B? Personally it gets to the point where both diagrams they show look exactly the same to me, and it feels like I'm supposed to guess the right answer.

Just like at the optometrist, there's no right or wrong answer here either, just which is your preference?
Monkey see, Monkey Do
(I know which one Michelle prefers)

You can't hide, your lion eyes 

No contest with this one.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Adopt a Critter (Soap)

I have two sets of critter molds and I'm trying to perfect the colouring for both. Since they are obviously aimed towards a younger set, I need to make them look more fun and inviting. These are two more that were made today.

I tried to swirl brown and white soap, but it didn't work as you can see. Next time, maybe it'll have a white ear and a white tip on the tail.

 This lion was made using a clear yellow soap and I tried to scratch out spots for the brown soap to show through. Again, not quite the results I wanted. I like the pads though and I think I'll have to do the same for his whiskered face so it stands out better.

Any thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The new microwave

It's amazing how we get used to something and when it breaks down, we're just lost. Usually that's my computer I'm talking about, but this time it was the microwave.

We bought a new and improved version the day the old one died, but we had to wait until the next day to pick it up. This thing is huge! 2.2 cubic feet, enough to fit 4 lap dogs in it comfortably, or at least 3 large measuring cups full  of soap for melting. I can't wait to use it for melting two different types of soaps for making a swirly soap.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Not everyday's about making soaps

Today was a productive day, not in the soapmaking sense, but in the I have clean laundry and clean floor sense. My microwave oven finally bit the dust after 19 years of service. Pretty darned good if you ask me.

Since I didn't have a microwave to melt soaps, I had time to start other parts of the soaping business I need to do, like make sure my inventory is correct and start writing down more details about what materials I put into each soap.

I did have one more critter soap completed, and here he is.
Pretty cute huh?