Just for fun, here is a video showcasing some of the soaps I've made so far this year. I enjoy the creative process from start to finish - formulating soap recipes, making soap from scratch, playing with color and texture, unmolding the soap loaf, cutting and setting the bars out to cure, taking pictures, printing labels and wrapping the soap bars. Making this video was just another part of the creative process. Enjoy!
An elegant little soap shop recently opened near Tampa, Florida, and since I happened to be in the area enjoying a girls' day out with a friend, we stopped in to "smell the roses."
Sharon Johnson, the owner of Rose of Sharon Soapery, is as lovely as a rose, and her shop reflects her gracious style. I met Sharon a couple summers ago at a weekend soap conference that I helped organize. She was one of our special speakers and demonstrated her hot process soap making technique. Earlier this year, I participated in a group class that she taught, and I wrote about it in a previous blog post here. I've enjoyed watching her soap making journey and was excited to hear that she had opened a storefront soapery
Sharon's new shop is conveniently located at 210 South Parsons Ave. #1, just a few minutes off 75, in Brandon, Florida east of Tampa. Sharon's smile and the delightful fragrances of her handcrafted soaps greeted us as we opened the door and said hello. Tastefully decorated in her signature style of damask black, crisp white, and red, the cozy shop is a feast for the senses. A sparkling chandelier hangs over a table where bowls of hot process soap are displayed. There are glass jars filled with colorful bath bombs or bath salts, bowls of made from scratch glycerin and loofah soaps, jars of luscious body butters and sugar scrubs, bottles of flower infused oils, and other luxurious products.
Sharon graciously showed us around, answered our questions about her products, and encouraged us to treat our hands to her Spa in a Jar and Body Meringue. A pretty hand washing station and plush wash cloths are located near the display of these wonderful products. With several fragrance choices, it was hard to decide, but our hands enjoyed the gently exfoliating sugar scrub and moisturizing meringue. Mmm, afterwards our hands felt so soft and smelled so good!
Sharon's products are hand made with natural ingredients that are safe enough to eat, although she doesn't recommend it! No unpronounceable chemical names are on the ingredient listings. Her motto is, "If you can't put it in your mouth don't put it on your skin! What you put ON your body is just as important as what you put IN your body." On the shelves are attractive displays of many ingredients she uses so that her customers can see just what goes into her products. I was impressed that the Body Meringues included three butters, Mango, Shea, and Cocoa. Pure luxury. A jar of Sparkling Pear Body Meringue came home with me!
Bath bombs make a fun gift, and my friend bought a few to give away. And she got a Lavender and Vanilla Body Meringue for herself.
We spent a lovely hour with Sharon in her shop, trying and buying some products, and getting an inside look into her shop work space in the back where she creates her wonderful products.
So if you are ever in the Tampa, Florida area, be sure to stop by to see the Rose of Sharon and her fabulous Soapery of bath and body delights.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend one of Sharon Johnson's soap making boot camps. Read about it here: www.thelatheredlamb.com/blog/making-soap-with-sharon-johnson
Thanks for stopping by!
Sugar scrubs. A simple mix of sweet sugar and silky oil. Easy to make. Easy to use. Another simple pleasure to enjoy along with handmade soap. And everybody needs a "little sugar" now and then. Especially seniors who have given so much to others. A lifetime of sugar.
I've watched enough old episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and lived in the South long enough to know that to give someone "a little sugar" is to give them an expression of love, usually a kiss. One definition from the Urban Dictionary states that sugar is "a Southern term for kiss. Often pronounced as 'suga' or some variation thereof." So a Southern senior has most likely given and been given a lot of sugar over the years. And most seniors are plenty sweet!
This week I had the opportunity to demonstrate how to make sugar scrubs at a local assisted living facility, Atria Park of San Pablo. Carrie Walle, the Engage Life Director, had approached me a few months ago at a craft show where I had a booth set up to sell my handmade soaps. She asked if I might be interested in doing a demo at Atria Park, and without hesitation, I agreed. What a wonderful opportunity to give a little suga to some sweet folks!
I think the smiles on their faces says it all.
At the time, I didn't realize that the director had taken a short video. You can view it on The Lathered Lamb's Facebook page. Carrie also took the photos and brought many of the supplies for the demo. The participants had a good time trying the different types of scrubs that I made and then each made their own. I had brought several different fragrances and additives that they could add to their sugar scrub. Then they scooped their scrub into a mason jar and topped it with raffia ribbon. Pretty sweet.
Below are a couple basic scrub recipes using both oatmeal or sugar. Just mix the ingredients together, adding more or less oil to get a consistency that isn't too oily or stiff. Use caution in the shower or bath as the oil can make things slippery.
1 1/2 Cups finely ground oatmeal
1/2 Cup light oil like sweet almond, olive, or sunflower (I used the calendula infused light olive oil mentioned in the video.)
a little bit of fragrance or essential oil, maybe 1/2 ounce
Basic Sugar Scrub
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup Coconut oil, melted (or whatever oil/s you'd like)
1 Tablespoon dry milk powder, optional
body safe fragrance or essential oil - lavender, tea tree, peppermint, whatever you like
Additives can include ground lavender buds, jojoba beads, coffee, loose leaf tea, spices, pureed strawberries or blueberries, honey, salt. Try different sugars - brown, rapadura, raw cane.
*For personal use only. Avoid getting water in the scrub. The scrub should be used within a couple of months, otherwise, please use a preservative.
The possibilities are endless for customization. The next time you need a gift idea, consider making a sugar scrub and give "a little suga" to someone special.
When I started making soap, there was a handful of quality books on soap making and limited information on the internet. YouTube had only been around for a few years. Since that time the ages old craft of soap making has exploded in popularity, and thousands of soap makers have entered the fascinating world of Saponification. Videos, online tutorials, classes, books, and blog posts about making soap are now readily available. More and more men and women are carving out a niche in the market for making, buying, and selling handmade soap. Other soap makers have created their own signature style and their handcrafted soap is admired and recognized by many. Handmade soap making has skyrocketed, and I've been enjoying the ride!
Like many, I have a love of learning. History, art, science, photography, knitting, and soap making are just a few of my interests. There is an old adage which states, "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know!" I can identify with that, and so I continue to enjoy learning about many things. The craft of soap making has changed over these past years, as soap makers have experimented with different ingredients and techniques. Many have shared what they learn with the soap making community. One such soap maker is Sharon Johnson, the owner of Rose of Sharon Essential Skin Care, whom I first met at a Florida soap gathering two years ago.
Sharon has explored hot process soap making and has perfected a technique called, Stick Blender Hot Process. Although variations of this technique have been used by other soap makers, Sharon put her own spin on it and after countless test batches developed an effective method of making hot process soap in 10 minutes, by utilizing controlled high temperatures and a stainless steel shaft stick blender. She first demonstrated her method at that soap gathering two summers ago, and shortly thereafter published an ebook with detailed instructions and recipes. She has a group Facebook page, Hot Process Soap Making with Sharon Johnson, and teaches her soap making process at various "boot camps" around the country.
Although I primarily make cold process soap, I love learning about the many ways to make handmade soap, so I took the opportunity to attend her HP Extreme University boot camp when it was held in Orlando. And what a fascinating time it was!
Some of Sharon's boot camps are hosted by individuals in their home. This one was set up in a hotel conference room, which gave us plenty of room. Goodie bags filled with product samples made by Sharon, custom tee shirts, notebooks with tips and recipes, snacks, lunch, and drinks were included. As introductions were made, Sharon gave us tips and encouragement about growing our soap making businesses. The 16 participants came from many places, including Atlanta, Georgia, Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando, Florida. Several raised goats and specialized in goat milk soap. There was a mother/daughter soap maker business and an engaged couple who hadn't made soap at all yet. By the end of the day, everyone had made soap using the Sharon Johnson Hot Process method.
Sharon discussed Masterbatching and demonstrated her 10 minute hot process technique with a large batch. It was fascinating to see the soap batter rapidly go through the various stages as it turned into saponified soap which was fluid and pourable after only 10 minutes. After the soap was poured into molds and frozen in a cooler for several hours, it was ready to cut! We all took a bar or two home with us.
Sharon is currently working on a quick and easy method of making liquid soap and introduced the method to our group. It was a very similar process, and we each got a small bottle of "liquid gold" to take home. It is suitable to be used as a body wash or shampoo.
Piping a wonderful topping onto soap is another, newer popular technique. Similar to decorating a cake, the soap has to be thick enough to hold its shape yet liquid enough to pipe through a decorative cake tip. Typically cold process soap that has thickened is used to decorate soap loaves and cupcakes, but hot process soap can also be used if it is fluid enough. Sharon demonstrated how to thicken up a fluid hot process soap enough to pipe. Pre-mixed colorants made it easy to quickly color the soap batter for these soap cupcakes.
By late afternoon, it was time for us to make soap! Working in pairs, each team had a work station and worked together to make a small batch of soap utilizing the technique that Sharon had demonstrated earlier in the day. For many of us it was our first time using this method. For others, it was the first successful time. For this technique to be successful, there are certain conditions that must be met and followed, including a proper mix of hard oils, correct temperatures, covering and resting the soap, and knowing what the stages look like as the soap cooks. After pouring the lye water into the oils, stick blending the batter, watching the soap stages progress, resting, coloring, and pouring the soap - we were finished in about 10 minutes. That is crazy fast soap making, and I admit that I had a bit of an adrenaline rush!
In all, it was a fabulous day of learning another way to make soap. As a soap maker, I appreciate the men and women who experiment, work hard, and add what they have learned to the craft of making handmade soap. I applaud those who are developing different styles and techniques, writing books, or making videos to expand the growing library of soap making information. Thank you, Sharon Johnson, for your contribution!
If you have attended a boot camp with Sharon Johnson or made soap using her method, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!
Update: Sharon has opened a soap shop in Brandon, Florida. Read about it here:
If you read my earlier post about the BrambleBerry 2016 Spring Fragrance Collection, you will know that I wrote about two of the four fragrances I received in a give away from Lovin' Soap. Today I will write about making soap with the last two fragrances from that collection, Blueberry Jam and Blooms and Berries.
For both batches, I decided to use clays for the primary colorant - blue clay for the Blueberry Jam, and rose clay for Blooms and Berries. I knew that Blooms and Berries would discolor somewhat, so using the rose clay would hopefully keep the soap from turning tan. There were no issues in making the batches,and I was curious to see how the bars would look once cut.
First up was the Blueberry Jam fragrance.
Notice the blueberry seeds sprinkled across the middle layer of the soap. They will add a gentle scrubbiness to each bar of Blueberry Hill. I turned the soap loaf on its side to minimize drag marks from the seeds when it was cut.
The blue and purple layers reminded me of the children's storybook, Blueberries for Sal, and the adventures of a little girl and a little bear on Blueberry Hill. This soap is currently on the curing rack and will be ready in July.
The final fragrance oil in the 2016 Spring Collection was Blooms and Berries. I used black oxide for the contrast swirl and then sprinkled Hawaiian Black Salt on top. The rose clay was affected by the fragrance discoloration and turned more of an orange red clay pot color instead of the usual rosy pink color that rose clay imparts.
It took me some time to think of a name for this soap, but the name, Lava Rose, seemed to fit. When cut, the black swirl with the rusty red reminded me of lava flowing from a volcano. That sprinkle of Hawaiian Black Salt on top, completed the imagery. This soap will also be ready next month.
Trying out a new fragrance oil is always fun, if you remember to expect the unexpected. I was happy that none of the four fragrances from Brambleberry misbehaved. Of the four, I think that Clover and Aloe is my favorite. To my fellow soapmakers, if you have soaped with any of these fragrances, which is your favorite?
If you are interested in purchasing a bar of these limited edition soaps, please visit me at www.TheLatheredLamb.com They will be available for purchase in July.
Thanks for stopping by!