Monday, December 30, 2013

Peppermint Wake-Up Soap

peppermint wake-up handmade soap
Peppermint Wake-Up Soap
I made this soap with some help from one of my nieces while they were here for Christmas.  I started with the same recipe that I used for the Peppermint Stripe.  Of course, before I could start making soap I had to gather all of my supplies from the shed and my bedroom.  All of my soap making oils were put in the shed which at this time of year means that the olive oil had solidified and the coconut oil was extremely hard. The olive oil liquefied fairly quickly.  However I had to soften the coconut oil in the microwave.

swirls on top of handmade peppermint soap
Top swirls
I started by brewing peppermint tea.  Then I added the tea to my pitcher for my water and then I added enough ice and water to make my soap.  After measuring the lye I added it to my liquids.  It surprised me by turning orange.  I measured out my oils then added the lye water to my oils.  Of course, since my lye water was orange it made my soap mixture somewhat orange as well.  Since I was looking for white and green, this didn't really suit my plans.  I poured off a little less than half of my soap and added zinc oxide mixed with oil to the smaller half.  To the large half I added a little extra comfrey infused oil.  When this did not help turn the larger half any more green I added just a little bit of green pigment mixed with a little oil to the mixture.
side view peppermint wake-up handmade soap
side view

Once I had everything mixed so that there were no noticeable lumps.  I started by filling my sample mold.  I do this first so that I know that all of the remaining soap can go toward filling my mold.  I started with a layer of green, then white, then green, then white, then green, then white.  Next I used a skewer to vertically mix the layers.  After I was satisfied with the swirl, I layered another layer of green then white.  After that I let it sit for about 30 minutes in order to thicken up before swirling the top with a spoon.

I let the soap sit for about 20 hours to set up and finish saponifying.  When I pulled the soap out of the mold, I was very pleased with the colors and the swirl that I found.  I think that my customers will be pleased as well.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Korker Bows

bright silver lined mini korker bow
4" lengths of ribbon
I started my shop with hair bows.  I started making them as a favor to my sisters-in-laws.  And of course, since I love anything little I just had to make some corkers that were made from skinny ribbon.

small burgundy korker bow
Combining patterns
I started by researching how to curl ribbon.  I found two methods.  One method involves painting ribbon that is wrapped around a dowel with fabric stiffener.  The second involves wrapping ribbon around a dowel and baking it for 20 minutes at 200*.  I don't like the fact that grosgrain ribbon is stiff and scratchy when heat sealed.  So I decided to go with satin ribbon.  Satin ribbon will only get stiff and scratchy if over melted.  

Christmas mini korker bow
3" ribbon lengths
I started by curing my ribbon on the same size dowel as the ribbon width.  I clamped the ends with alligator clips to keep the ribbon fastened to the dowel during baking before placing the dowels in the oven on a baking sheet.  I didn't want to put the ribbon directly on the oven rack to prevent the ribbon from getting stained by anything on the racks.  After 20 minutes I pulled the ribbon out of the oven and left it to cool.  If you remove the ribbon before it has cooled it will not hold as tight of a curl.  

After removing the ribbon from the dowels it must be cut to the proper length for the hair clips.  The size of the ribbon governs the lengths that it needs to be cut into.  I have a guideline that I use personally for making clips.  

side view christmas mini korker
I use a loop of ribbon through the clip to mount the bow.
For 1/8th inch ribbon I cut into 3 or 3 1/2 inch lengths.  The 3 1/2 will give a more "leggy" clip.
For 3/8th inch ribbon I cut into 3 1/2 or 4 inch lengths.  The 3 1/2 will give you a very tight clip.

I haven't tried any wider ribbon than 3/8ths although I am sure that it would be possible. I have used both sizes of ribbon in the same clip in which case I cut both sizes to the same length.

Christmas ggld rimed mini korker bow

I am linking with the following blogs:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Plans for this Weekend

My ornament and hair bow table

Last weekend I did my first Christmas show.  It was rainy and nasty weather wise, but we were inside and it could have been a whole lot worse.  We have a small but fairly steady stream of people through.  I had really nice vendor around me to chat with when it got slow too.  All in all it was a worthwhile weekend.

My soap table
This is where I will be this weekend.  It looks like it will be a great show.  Come out and have a look.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lady Grey

lady grey all natural handmade tea soap
Lady Grey
This soap did not go as planned.  To start with I tried to fill my mold with squirt bottles.  Let me just say, NEVER again.  It took forever and all of my soap thickened way too quickly.

making lady grey soap
Adding the soap coloring
I made a nice recipe and separated the soap into 2 medium containers and 1 large.  In the large I added madder oil to make a pink.  To the mediums I added titanium dioxide and activated charcoal respectively.  I mixed everything by hand so as to not accelerate trace.  After filling my squirt bottles, I started filling my mold.

I started with a layer of pink, followed by alternating black, pink, white, pink and so forth.  I finally gave up on using the squirt bottles when the soap got too thick to squeeze out of the bottles.  At this point I just made thin layers with a spatula.

After getting all of my soap in my molds, I insulated the whole thing.  After checking on it I found that I had some water pooling from adding water to the squeeze bottles to get as much of the soap out as possible.  This water was added after the soap had been at trace for about half an hour so I wasn't worried about lye being in the liquid.  I put the soap in the oven at 170* for about a half hour.  After an hour it still looked like it had too much liquid so I did another half hour @ 170*.  Then I left the soap in the oven without opening it for the night.  I got busy and forgot to take it out.  BIG mistake!

lady grey all natural handmade tea soap
All trimmed neat & tidy
I made this soap on Saturday.  Sunday morning I woke up with a migraine.  My husband came home from church and started pre-heating the oven for biscuits, at 475*.   And yes my soap was still in the oven!  Yikes!!!!  He had asked me to come help him in the kitchen for a minute, and I was wondering what I was smelling.  I decided to check the oven.   I found the soap.  I had lined my mold with a small trash liner and it had melted.  So did the bungee cord that I had used to secure the mold closed.  Not only did it effect my soap, but my oven was a mess also.

We promptly carried the soap outside to cool.  After the soap had cooled completely, I started unmolding it.  I started by cutting the bungee cord off.  Next I took the soap out of the mold.  The liner had melted to the soap.  I cut all six of the sides off of the soap.  I took about a half inch off of each side.  I sliced the remaining soap in half length wise, before slicing it into bars.

I know that I will do a different design next time, and hopefully I won't loose any soap.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that all of you have a wonderful time with your 
friends and family
on this 
Thanksgiving Day!  

I hope that each and every one of you
have a safe and happy
Holiday season.

I thought that I would include a funny.
After all we can all use a laugh every now and then.

This is borrowed.  It is not my own.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Musical Lemon Lavender Soap

musical lemon lavender handmade all natural soap
Musical Lemon Lavender
This soap was inspired by a candle from Yankee Candle.  I stopped in this summer and fell in love with the Lavender and Lemon candle.  However I wanted to keep the soap all natural.  I also have friends that are musicians and so they are the inspiration for the top of the soap.

music notes cut from soap
Music Notes cut out of soap
Placing the music notes
I started out by making a 1 pound batch of cold process soap colored with activated charcoal.  This soap I left unscented.  It took more charcoal than I thought it would to color this soap.  I then poured it is a silicone 9 X 9  cake pan that I got for soap.  I put  it in the oven for just a minute to make sure that it gelled because I knew I was going to use it the same day.  After about 5 minutes in an oven pre-heating to 170* I put the mold in the freezer to speed cooling.  After about 2 hours in the freezer I pulled it out of the mold.  I cut the soap into three strips of 9 in X 3 in X 1/2 in.  From there I cut the strips into smaller strips about 3/4 in X 3 in.  Next I cut out little music notes out of the strips.  I set these aside until the base soap was done.

Top is all full
 For the base soap I started by measuring out my water and lye and making my lye water.  Next I measured out all of my oils.  I have found that when I am not working with milk I prefer to not melt my oils, but to let the lye do it for me.  In my personal opinion this leads to the soap being a little more silky.  Of course, this is just my personal opinion.  The oils I used meant that my base soap was fairly light in color.  I poured off equal amounts of soap, about 2 1/2 cups in 2 different containers.  I colored one with turmeric oil for yellow (although in hind sight I should have gone darker) and the other I colored with alkanet oil for a purple.  Next I added zinc oxide mixed with a little oil to the remainder of the soap for white.  Zinc oxide has the added advantage of being very good for your skin.

As you can see placement of the
notes is random
After I got all of my soap ready, I started by filling my sample mold using just a little yellow and purple in with the white.  After I had the mold filled, I took a wooden skewer and did a figure 8 swirl through each cavity.  This give a hint of swirl to even my samples which I like.  I am a very detail oriented person.  You can ask anyone in my family and they would gladly confirm that fact.  ;)

Unfortunately the yellow doesn't show 
The music note are level with the
top of the soap bar
I frequently start with my samples so that I don't run out of colors for the samples or have too much of a color for my design.  After my samples were finished I started filling my mold.  I started with a nice layer of white soap, followed by a layer of the remainder of the yellow.  Next I added another layer of white followed by the remainder of my purple.  I stopped at this point and used a spoon to swirl the soap from the top to the bottom of the mold.  This gave me a nice swirl throughout.  Next I layered the remainder of the white on the top, smoothing it out for a nice canvas for all of the music notes.

Once I got all of the little music note placed I used a wooden skewer to nudge each of the embeds down into the soap.  I did not insulate this soap and it does not appear to have gelled.

I sliced the soap after 24 hours.  It behaved very nicely.  The embeds did not splinter or fall out when I cut the bars.  Although inside the bars the purple is more purple, in the samples it is still almost blue.  We'll see what happens after it has had some time to cure.  Well, have a wonderful thanksgiving everyone!

I am linking with the following blogs:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Crazy Life

Things have been incredibly crazy lately.  For one thing I decided that I would host some spa parties to boost holiday sales.  I have also added some new products for my local customers.  These are not limited to locals for any other reason other than an intense desire not to deal with shipping glass jars.

Of course, I ended up with a massive migraine during the last two weeks.  This always complicates things because I do not have insurance and absolutely do not want to go on any medications.  However, my migraines can be downright difficult to deal with.  On top of that I also came down with a vicious sinus infection.

Lip Balms
On top of getting all of my products ready to present, I also had to get my house company ready.  Part of having three kids is the fact that my house is rarely completely company ready.  I am a firm believer that while it is important to keep a clean well organized home, it is equally important to spend time with your children.  So when my youngest son needs some extra attention or snuggle time, I try my best to take the time with him.  And of course goes for my husband or my other two children as well (even though the older 2 kids are mostly past the snuggle stage).

Bath Salts (old fashioned kind)

For my local customers, I have added several products.  I added two bath salt types, Lavender and Peppermint stripe.  I have two sugar scrubs, Vanilla & Brown Sugar and Pink Grapefruit.  I have two lotion bars, Warm Vanilla and Lavender.  I have also made some lip balms mainly for family and close friends, Chocolate Mint, Lavender, Lavender Sparkle, and an Herbal.  I am re-doing the packaging of the lotion bars, but the rest of my products are packaged in a way that I am satisfied with.

So due to the amount of time needed to make the new products, computer issues and about 3 days spent trying to recover I have not spent any time working on my blog. I have not forgotten about my readers and I am very grateful for all of you.  I will probably not be posting on a regular schedule again until after Christmas.

Lotion Bars
Among other issues I have to find a way for all of my soap making stuff to be out of the house but still accessible.  My husbands family is coming for Christmas and we will need the space inside.  I was already looking for a shed or small building to move my soaping into, but I have not found anything ready made.  I have some ideas, but for the time being I will probably be emptying out the shed that is already here and putting everything inside.  Of course this involves sorting through a bunch of stuff that I have not gotten around to looking at since we moved into this house.  As usual this requires a lot of time.

Sugar Scrubs
Also if you  live in middle Tennessee I will be in Livingston at the Elves Bazaar on December 7th (9 A - 5 P) & 8th (1 - 5 P).  I will also be at Brotherton Missionary Baptist Church in Algood from 10 A to 8 P on Dec. 13th & 14th.  I am also considering doing some home parties as well.  I am not sure how all of this is going to play out, but I am sure that it will be a bit of a wild ride.  


I am linking with the following blogs:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Earl Grey

Ready to go
I have been frantically making soap in preparation for a craft show. I wanted to make this one for part of a his and hers gift set along with Lady Grey.  Earl grey is a very nice fragrant tea and therefore will make a mildly fragrant soap all by itself.  I had decided to go with a black, cream and of course brown color scheme.

I started with making about 10 ounces of tea with 5 tea bags to add to the water for my lye.  I moved next to my usual preparation of measuring and mixing my oils and mixing my lye water.  I have sodium lactate to help make the bars harder, but I frequently forget to add it.  I mixed the lye water with my oils and brought it to a thin trace before separating into three containers for coloring. 

 I wanted equal amounts of the black and brown soap mixture.  I only needed a little bit of white for the design I wanted to do.  I started with the black.  I had premixed my activated charcoal with enough water to make sure that it was not clumping, I added this mixture to one of the larger containers of soap.  I didn't add anything to the brown because the tea had already colored that portion.  I added just a little bit of titanium dioxide to the small portion of soap to be white.  Each color was blended just a little bit to make sure that the colors wouldn't have clumps.

Nicely swirled
I had prepared the mold with two dividers down the length of the mold.  Since I get 2 bars from each slice this way I get the same pattern on both sides.  I started by filling my sample mold.  Next I poured the outside edges  in the brown while holding the dividers steady.  I did get a little leakage though.  Next I poured the black in the middle.  After I got the black into the mold I mixed everything in the center section since I had some leakage from the outside section.  At this point I pulled out the dividers carefully and scraped the soap off of them and back into the mold.  Next I poured the white down the line where the divider had been.  I was hoping that the white would go a little deeper than it did, but it worked.

After getting all of the soap in my mold I used a skewer to do the swirl.  I inserted the skewer all the way to the bottom of the mold and proceeded to do a tight figure eight pattern in each half of the mold.  This gave me the swirl in the soap.  This particular swirl is know among soapers as a Mantra swirl.

The scent of this soap is very mild.  It is fresh with just a hint of citrus.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sleigh Ride

Finished Bars
My newest soap addition is called sleigh ride.  The idea came from a sample fragrance I received this summer from  For those of you who don't know, Brambleberry is an awesome soap supply company.  ( No this is not a paid endorsement, just my personal experience with the company.)   The fragrance is called Woodland Elves.

Filling the mold
I didn't have enough of the fragrance oil to make a full batch and I really didn't want to make a small batch.  So I added some cedarwood essential oils and just a touch of wintergreen for a coolness to the scent.  I started by mixing my oils as usual.

Olive oil 40%
Coconut oil 30%
Sunflower oil 20%
Palm Kernel oil 7.5%
Castor oil 2.5%

I did not melt my oils.  I just used the lye water to melt the coconut and palm kernel oils.  After adding the lye water I used the stick blender only until I had a good emulsion going.  I knew I needed to add my colors at a thinner stage in order to manage the swirls like I wanted.  I pre-mixed each of my pigments with a little bit of water so that they would be ready to mix up.  After I poured the soap into 2 other containers (about equal amounts eyeballing it), I added the pigment stirring by hand to start with before mixing very briefly with the blender to make sure that my colors were smooth.
Swirling the top

 I started out with a nice layer of white on the bottom.  To that I added a layer of green and then red before starting over.  I ended up with 2 layers each of the white, red and green.  By the time I was ready to pour the second layer it had thickened to the point that I could tell I wasn't going to be able to get a second smooth pour.  I had filled my sample mold in between.  After topping the mold off with a nice smooth layer of white, I mixed about 3 .15 cc scoops of gold mica in about 1/2 tsp of glycerin.  I dropped it on the top and proceeded to do a very shallow swirl.  I knew I didn't have much room without being in danger of pulling up some of the color.
After 24 hours

After getting everything situated I left the soap on the table overnight to work.  I have stopped doing extra insulation on my soaps unless it looks like I am going to get a partial gel.  My mold is made of wood and it seems like anytime I insulated quickly I end up overheating and cracking.  I do think that this one gelled, but it didn't crack!

After about 24 hours I checked to soap and it was still a little too warm to un-mold so I put it in the freezer for about half an hour to speed up the cooling process.  When I pulled it out of the freezer it was cold but not frozen.  I pulled the soap out of the mold and pulled the liner off of the soap so that the sides could start drying just a little bit.
Cutting bars

After letting the soap sit for about 2 hours I went ahead and cut the loaf in half.  After about another hour I cut the bars.  I don't have my curing rack anymore (It died :(  ) so I had to make do.  I was trying to figure out what I could use to support the shelves that I still had, when I though of using Duplo blocks.  So I snagged the kids box of Duplos and started building.  I had to add one layer at a time, building the support, adding the shelf of soap, then adding the next level of supports.  ( If anyone tell you that they are too old for blocks like this, then they just haven't pulled them out recently.  Even my grandmother will play with them if the blocks are out.    ;) )

As you can see it worked quite well until I ran out of blocks.  I kept the "rack" for a couple of weeks before I gave the blocks back to my kids.  And before you start thinking that I am a cruel, heartless mother, let me tell you that my kids thought it was awesome.

Makeshift curing rack
The only issue I have with this soap is that I am not fond of the scent.  Everyone else has loved it, but I am not fond of woodsy scented soaps.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Monday, October 28, 2013

My First Craft Show

I am sorry for going AWOL for the week last week, but there are limits to what a body can manage sometimes.  Unfortunately last week blogging was over the limit of what could be accomplished.  I was incredibly busy last week getting ready for a fundraiser/craft show.  It was a fundraiser for HLH which is rare and therefore not studied as much as some of the other more prevalent diseases.  (For more information go to

I had lots of soap made and ready to go, but it still needed to wrapped, weighted and labeled.  So I spent a lot of my time weighting and wrapping soap.  And of course, there was the inevitable changing of plans that is pretty par for the course in my life right now.  Among other things I went to a ladies meeting on Friday night and didn't get home until 11 PM.  It was definitely worth attending, but definitely crowded the schedule.
My soap table

Saturday morning started out COLD.  It was 28* when I left my house to pick up the friend who went with me.  You have to understand that this is a marked difference from the 50's lows that we have been used to.  Mind you I am not really complaining, just noting that it is a shock to the system.

My other table
It had warmed up to about 38* by the time we made it into Crossville, TN.  We found the courthouse where we were supposed to be, unloaded and started setting up for the day.  Unfortunately it was also fairly breezy so we had to make some accommodations for the wind that I had not counted on.  I took almost my full line of products.  The only things that I did not take were my hats and the pacifier clips.  I totally forgot about grabbing the pacifier clips.  OOPS!

My 6' and 5' tables were not enough space.  I used my totes to put my samples and baby blankets on.  Unfortunately we were there on the same weekend as the last car show of the year.  Just about the time we got everything set up and situated, the guys from the car show showed up to set up the speakers for their thing.  Unfortunately we were right in the path of where they put their speakers, and they refused to move them at all.  I was really tempted to go and ask them if their mother's would approve of their manners, but I restrained myself.  Maybe, I got so upset because I am working very hard to instill in my children the same manners that they did not use.  It was very frustrating, but such is life.  We were also informed that the spot we had set up would be loud.   ARGH!  

So we moved to a spot down the block that did not have any speakers.  It ended up being a better place, but the process was frustrating.  As you can tell from the soap table picture, we ended up set up along the front edge of the bouncy house people.  We didn't block them we were just squished onto the edge of the lawn.  However we had sunshine and we were far enough away from the music that it wasn't too loud for customers to converse with us.  After about 2 PM it started getting cloudy so we started packing up a little early.  Needless to say, my product line would not do well in the rain.

Home and unloaded
Now to get everything put away.
After getting everything packed up, driving back to Cookeville, dropping off my friend at her house, dropping off my mom's table at her house and driving home, I was absolutely whipped.  R, my ever so sweet husband, was in the middle of making dinner, so my son, P and I unloaded everything into the living room.

It may take me a week to figure out where to put everything.  I didn't realized I had this much in the way of stock.  WOW!  I didn't make a lot of money, but I made enough to cover the donation with a little left over.  I did however make some good contacts, and that is equally important.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Maple Pumpkin - Awesome

Finished Bars

My favorite part of fall for the last 10 years or more has been going to pick apples at an apple orchard in Michigan.  They make awesome doughnuts too.  My favorite is pumpkin with a maple glaze.  I decided to try to reproduce it in a soap.
With everything but maple syrup

I started by mixing up my oils and adding the pumpkin puree to the oils.  I have discovered that I really like to use un-melted oils.  I mix the oils with my stick blender to break them up this way the oils get broken up and the pumpkin gets thoroughly mixed with the oils.  I then add the lye water to  my oils which melts them.  I have found that it seems to work really well unless my lye water gets too cool.

After getting the lye water mixed in I realized that I had forgotten to discount the water from the pumpkin and the maple syrup.  Oh well, live and learn.  The soap did trace well though.

Adding maple syrup
After I got the soap to trace, I added the maple syrup to the mix.  After I mixed the syrup in and got the soap to the thickness I wanted I poured it into the pre-prepared mold.  After the soap was all set in the mold I mixed cappuccino mica with some glycerin for a glycerin swirl.  Unfortunately, I added a little too much glycerin and so it didn't absorb completely into the soap.  I did have to do a little cleanup afterwards.

I added a brown mica swirl since the
maple syrup won't show up color wise.
I didn't have to deal with any soda ash on my soap bars, but I did get some on my sample pieces.  I half expected to get some due to the extra water in this batch.  Soda ash is not a huge deal to fix though.  I will just have to scrape off the ash before I wrap them.  I did however get some partial gel on the bars.  Fortunately it only effected about 6 or 8 bars.

This soap smells very, very mildly.  There is literally only a hint of scent.

I am linking with the following blogs:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Desperation Leads to Results

A wonderful addition

I have been desperate for a better way to organize my soap recipes as well as other things in my creative area.  To start with since I have samples of my various soaps I needed a practical way to store them.  Since they are small and numerous I also needed a cheap option.  Thank you Lord for clearance buys.  I found pencil boxes for $0.33 each on clearance.  I don't even know off hand how many I got ( a lot! ).  They are wonderful for storing all of those little sample slices, as well as my shaving soaps.  This allows me to store each scent separately so that the scents do not combine.
$5 yard sale find - Thank you Mama!!!!

I started dressing up the bookshelf by giving it a good sanding.  After I sanded the bookshelf, I wiped everything down so that there was no paint dust to mess up the new paint.  I used the paint from the table to give the bookshelf two coats of paint for good coverage of the rough spots.  Now it looks all "spiffy" to quote a friend of mine.  It's amazing how much of a difference a coat of paint makes.

Another area that I was getting a bit desperate in was storing my recipes.  I started out keeping them in folders divided into categories.  This arrangement worked just fine for a while, but it got rather cumbersome pretty quickly.
My less than stellar original storage for recipes

After carrying around the file folders and dropping them once or twice it became pretty clear that I needed to find another way to keep all of my recipes organized.  The idea of using a three ring binder was a pretty easy solution.
As you can see I have a lot of papers to deal with

I started by sorting all of my recipes and my sketches out.  This was not any easy thing, but definitely doable.  I had stacks all over the place before I was done.  It doesn't help that I have multiple sizes for most of my recipes.  This allows me greater flexibility in my soap making, but keeping up with the papers is complicated.

After dividing up the recipes into sections, I started putting recipes into page protectors.  I put all of the recipes for each soap into the same page protectors.  This way when I need a recipe I can go to the soap and pull out the right size recipe.  The new arrangement is definitely saving me a fair amount of time.  It is much easier to find what I am looking for.

New solution
All in all, these changes have definitely helped me to stay more organized.  As much soap as I am making, being organized is a necessity.  Since I have sketches for most of my soaps I put the sketches in the front and the recipes behind.  This also makes it a little faster to flip through the binder and find the desired soap recipe.

All together 
I am linking with the following blogs:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

How Things Work

So I have been soaping for almost 10 months now.  I have had to make some changes along the way.  I have also discovered a whole new world of creativity.  I thought that I would share my production process with you.  Not that I have a huge production or anything, but I thought I would share.

Soap cut into logs

Cutting bars with cheese slicer
To start with I have a bunch of recipes already worked up through the lye calculator on  I keep them in folders so that they are ready to go when I have time to make soap.  I even have them separated into categories since I make several different styles of soap, among them tea and bakery style soaps.  I write each date when a batch was made in a list on the bottom of the sheet.  This helps me keep track of which soaps were made when.

After I get a batch of soap made and it has hardened enough to un-mold, I let the soap sit for a couple of hours with the liner off of the soap.  This allows the outside of the soap to dry enough so that it is not so sticky to the touch.  If you have never made soap before, I assure you that this is normal as the soap still has a fair amount of water that still needs to evaporate.

"Icing" applied
When I have time to cut the soap, I start by cutting the soap down the length of the soap.  After I get the soap cut into 2 logs, I trim the ends and clean up the sides.  At this point, with my bread soaps, I use my homemade melt & pour (tinted with titanium dioxide) to pour over the top to look like icing.  After the "icing" sets up, or if there is not "icing", I use a cheese slicer to cut the soap into individual bars.  For those of you who follow my blog, no I am not using my soap cutter that I made.  I need to make some modifications to it.  In the meantime I have a cheese slicer with a blade that I am using to slice bars.
Bars sliced

 After the bars are cut, I trim the edges and add a slight bevel to them by hand with a paring knife.  Next I put them on the curing rack for a few days.  This allows the cut sides to dry enough for the soap stamp not to stick to the soap.  I usually try to allow between 3 and 5 days between cutting and stamping.  I have stamped up to a week and a half after cutting though.  After I stamp the soap it is returned to the curing rack for the remainder of the 4 weeks needed for curing.  Although I will admit that if I get busy it sometimes stays for a little longer.
Trimmed, stamped & ready
for curing rack

After the curing period is over, it is time to wrap the bars.  During the curing period I prepare all of my labels so that they are ready for me to use.  I also have a stack of paper cut and punched for wrapping.  As you can see from the picture at the top, I use a simple kraft paper to wrap my bars.  As you can see I have made little hanging tags from pieces of milk carton.  I use these to make the cure date on so that I don't forget.  Also I found a bow paper punch as someone recommended and I am now using it on my soap wrapper.
The curing rack

The bow detail on my wrapper

I have to send my laptop in for repairs and I don't know how long it will take to get it back.  So if I disappear for a while don't worry.  I will return.

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