Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Sale and Blackout Dates

Happy Holidays, my soapy friends!  I'm running a sale for your last-minute gift needs.  For $25, choose any 5 full-sized bars, and I'll throw in a free washcloth.  These cloths are hand-knitted (or crocheted) with 100% cotton yarn, so you can throw them in the washer and dryer.  They also make great dishcloths.

You can head to the shop, or just order here!

Which 5 Would You Like?

This sale runs from now until December 19th.  Shipping should still beat Santa's sleigh up until then.  I will continue to take orders through December 21st, but I cannot guarantee delivery in time for Christmas after the 19th.

The Shop will be closed December 22, 2011 - Jan 5, 2012.  Many thanks and a Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Hello, local friends!

I want to let you know that there's a nice Art, Craft, and Antique Show at Wesley United Methodist Church this Saturday, October 22, from 8am-5pm. I'll have a table there, so come see me! The location is on NW 23rd Avenue between 13th and 6th Streets.

For those who want to get a head start on holiday shopping, soap makes a great gift. ;) I'll have my new Holiday Scents available. You know you want to come take a sniff...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas...

...which is discombobulating, because it's still 95 degrees outside.  C'mooooonnnnn, Fall!

Here's a sneak peek at my holiday themed soaps, which will be available in late October:

ooo, shiny!

That's We Three Kings in the back and O Tannenbaum in the front.  I'm quite pleased with how the color turned out in O Tannenbaum -- I was going for a "blue spruce" effect, and chromium oxide blended with some blue-grey mica turned out really nice.

Now, you've heard of "comfort food?" Next up is "comfort soap":

Pumpkin Pie

Click on the picture to make it bigger -- see the little speckles throughout?  That's ground oatmeal.  It soothes the skin, provides gentle exfoliation, and because of its natural linoleic acid content, the lather is that much fluffier!  Don't worry, Jess, I'm saving you a bar.

And now for the party shelf:

On the left, Apple Cider.  On the right, Cranberry.  The guest linen closet smells AMAZING, I have to tell you.

Just don't expect to find any linens.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Win Free Soap!

Y'all, check it out, I'm a GUEST BLOGGER.  It's a new experience, and I'm so flattered to have been asked!  Go to Abigail Sharpe's collaborative project, Chicklets in the Kitchen, for an inside look at what goes on in my kitchen these days.  You can comment on the post for a chance to win 4 sample bars and a washcloth.  Woo-hoo!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

4 Down, 1 to Go

The Pumpkin Pie batch has just been insulated and put to bed for the overnight gel stage.  The ground oatmeal in it smells like comforting carbohydrates, ha ha!

The Apple Cider bars turned out fantastic -- it's the coolest swirl I've done yet.

The Cranberry soap is still in a 10-pound loaf, waiting to be cut into bars.

Monday I'll make the pièce de résistance -- O Tannenbaum, which smells like a blue spruce with the color to match.

I'll have pictures for you Friday!

Now, where on earth am I going to store another 160 bars of soap?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gearing Up for the Holidays

"The holidays?  Woman, are you mad?  It's barely September!"

I know, I know, but I like for my soap to cure at least 6 weeks, so I have to start making my holiday-themed batches now in order to have them ready for prime shopping season.  They'll make their debut at an art, craft, and antique sale hosted by Wesley United Methodist Church on October 22 (see side bar for details).  Last night I made a batch of We Three Kings, scented with frankincense and myrrh, colored with gold mica. I can't wait to see how the "ore deposits" turned out.  It should be ready to cut into bars by tomorrow.

Last week, a friend asked if I'd do sampler packs, and I thought that was a terrific idea.  I just added them to the shop -- choose any 12 quarter-sized bars for the same price as 3 full-sized bars, and mix and match to your heart's content.  It's the perfect option for those of us with short attention spans!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Heart in My Hand...

Otherwise known as, Why You Need Kathy Swift's Jewelry in Your Life.

Earlier this month, I got to meet Linda's friend Kathy at the Hen Party.  Kathy makes bright and whimsical jewelry from resins, plastics, and cleverly recycled materials.  Go take a look.

Let me say up front that I'm not much of a jewelry gal.  I wear my wedding rings, and I have two pairs of earrings that go with nearly every outfit I own, so when I first wandered over to the table where she had colorful pieces scattered in a variety of moods and themes, it was mostly to be polite.  The glossy recycled Scrabble Tiles made me smile, though.  They featured everything from leaves and flowers to Elvis, and a few of them had dictionary-style inspirational words with their definitions.  I picked up "Grace" to look more closely...

...and I was gone.  Once you pick one up, you have to pick up another, and another, and soon your hands are full of gleaming little squares of joy.  The tactile experience is unexpectedly soothing.  The wood of the Scrabble Tile carries warmth and the memories of soundly trouncing your brother on a Triple Word Score (*ahem!*), and the slick resin offers just enough friction to keep you rubbing it like a "worry stone."

Kathy was sweet enough to trade a pendant for some soap, and this is the one I eventually chose.  I wear it constantly.

T is for Triple Word Score

That heart is my heart:  not bright, not flashy, and a scattered, drippy mess more often than not.  Yet it's there for all to see, surprisingly durable, and easily touched.

Thanks, Kathy.  :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Open for Business!

The Hen Party in Linda's art loft was great fun yesterday, and I'll blog more tonight about that and upcoming events.  In the meantime, though, I'd like to announce that online sales have gone live!  Click on "Shop" above to order from anywhere in the United States.

If you're in the Gainesville area, my soap is available at Paddiwhack, so you can save on shipping costs and browse some amazingly artistic merchandise while you're there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Closer Look...

Here are some details and close-ups of the bars that I have curing right now.  You can click on any picture for a larger view.  First up is the White Ginger & Amber:

This bar smells warm and sweet and gentle, like a good friend that always listens and never judges.  The amber-colored swirl is done with turmeric powder.

Next up, Lime-Basil:

This bad boy is not so gentle!  It turns out that a little basil essential oil goes a long way, and I used more than a little.  This soap packs an olfactory punch, but it's the first bar I'll grab for our next camping trip.  Basil EO repels insects, soothes bug bites, stings, cuts, bruises and minor burns, quells motion sickness, and provides mental clarity.  However, it is contra-indicated for those who are pregnant or have liver disorders, so please lather responsibly.

Next, I made Lemongrass:

The lemongrass essential oil naturally gives the soap that warm, yellow hue.  This has always been one of my favorite soaps to make, the scent is so delicious and uplifting.  I considered adding chopped lemongrass from my garden, but even though it's lovely to look at, those blades are sharp!  I'll stick to using it for herbal tisanes; lemongrass is highly nutritious.

And the pièce de résistance, Lavender-Rosemary:

I've been making Lavender-Rosemary bars since I first learned to make soap -- it's just a classic, and everyone loves it.  I use pure essential oils, a bit of violet ultramarine for color (I do love to swirl), and rosemary needles from the garden for gentle exfoliation and visual interest.  I will try to keep some of this in stock at all times.

The soaps which are already cured are a bit harder to see in their packaging, but here's a peek:

That's the Hope Chest, a natural pale cream color with no bits or pieces in it.  It looks just like the Sandalwood-Rose, which is here:

And finally, the Creamy Cocoa:

I used actual cocoa powder to color it that rich, chocolate brown.  Next time I make it, I'll add cocoa butter to make it feel as decadently delicious as it smells!

Forty Pounds of Soap

Want to see what I made last week?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wish Me Luck

Well, this is it -- my first attempt at glory.  The owner at Paddiwhack Gallery has graciously agreed to give my wares a trial run, and this is what I'm bringing him tomorrow:

A great deal of my heart and soul went into that little basket, and I hope it appeals to someone.  There are three soaps and washcloths bundled together as a package deal, then three of each to be sold individually.

I have the invoice all printed out and ready to go.  I feel so legitimate!  ;)

Now I'm off to cut the White Ginger & Amber loaf into bars, then I'll cast on for a new washcloth.  Something red, I think.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Busy Busy

I've been working hard this week!  I have another four batches of soap to get ready for the Hen Party at Linda Blondheim's art loft at Paddiwhack Craft Gallery on August 6.  Check out the two varieties that I currently have curing:


The top shelf is Eucalyptus-Mint with mint leaves from my herb garden.  They're mostly peppermint, but a few leaves from my chocolate mint plant are mixed in.  I'm really delighted with the way it turned out.  Indeed, the results inspired me to see what other botanicals might work well in soap.

My Rosehip-Jasmine oil was patiently waiting to work its magic, so I went out to see what else the garden had to offer.

Tea roses smell lovely, but the shade of pink was too delicate for what I had in mind.  The hibiscus bushes, though...

Now we're talking!  I couldn't wait to see that vibrant color flecked throughout the soap.  Alas, though, it seems that hibiscus petals are not as sturdy as mint leaves:

They're an interesting rust color now, which is nice if you like earth tones (which I do) -- it's just not what I'd envisioned.  Oh, well!  The soap smells like heaven, and this batch should be particularly mild to the skin, due to an extra high percentage of olive oil in the base.  I could feel how silky it will be as I cut the bars.

What exactly is that cabinet, you ask?  Actually, it's an antique ice-box.  My mother acquired it when I was a child, and I've always loved it.  I've been Strongly Hinting for years about how much I'd like to have it one day.

"What would you do with it?" she asked.

"I'd cure soap in it!" was the ready reply.

So now it's mine.  :)

The left and bottom sections hold my supplies and ingredients.  The right section holds 2 batches of soap -- any more than that, and I have to cure it in the bathroom linen closet, which is not nearly as picturesque.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


My name is Ashley, and I'm very pleased to offer home-made soap for sale.  Please excuse the slow start while I get things up and running.

The soaps I have currently available are:
  • Hope Chest - a lovely blend of cedarwood essential oil, rose, and lemon verbena.
  • Sandalwood Rose - sensuously decadent.
  • Creamy Cocoa - for external use only, no matter how good it smells!
I'll have some pictures up soon, and more varieties will be available later this summer.  I currently have a Eucalyptus-Mint batch curing that smells divine, and it's garnished throughout with mint leaves from my own garden.

I also offer 100% cotton washcloths, hand-knit or crocheted by yours truly.