Soap Making – How To Fix Your Messed Up Soap

soap making school videos to fix your soap

When is it okay to lose hope in a batch of soap?

At what point do you admit to yourself that the batch of soap you made is just not worth saving?

I don’t think any soap is beyond repair.

About 13 years ago I made a batch of soap and was in the middle of doing a few things at once.  When I returned to the batch, I forgot that I had already added the sodium hydroxide to the water.

I added another dose of sodium hydroxide to that same water and carried on making the batch of soap.

When I cut the soap the next day it just crumbled.

Instead of throwing the soap out, I put it in a container and put it away for a few days.

I have a very obsessive mind and I thought about it for a few days.

This was the birth of my “fix your messed up batch of soap”method.

In my mind it made sense and on paper it made sense.  I was able to fix that messed up batch of soap and several after that.

I have passed this method on to the members of Soap Making School and have witnessed some pretty fantastic batches of soap that came from a total mess.

I have learned never to throw out a failed batch of soap. Soap Making can be unpredictable sometimes, but if you keep an open mind and give yourself some time to think about how to solve the problem, you could come up with a natural soap that comes together beyond your expectations.

 

soap making school you can learn to fix your soap

Here is an example of a batch that needed saving.

I made a 100% coconut oil soap.  It was meant as a fishing soap since coconut soap is the only type of soap that can bubble in salt water.

 

I made the soap and because I was busy the next day, I didn’t get to the studio to unmold and cut the soap.  If you are familiar with coconut oil soap, it is as hard as a rock.

 

I couldn’t cut it at all after leaving it for 2 days.  I tried but ended up chipping it and cracking it.

 

Those chips and cracks went into another batch of 100% coconut oil soap that I was able to cut the next day.  I like it more than the original turmeric coloured lime lemongrass soap.

I scented the new batch with lime to preserve its light colour because lemongrass essential oil is quite yellow.  The scent is wonderful and the soap is fun.  I called it “Go Fish”.

 

 

fixed a batch of soap that needed to be rescued

Here is another soap that was rescued.

I started out with the stripped soap, adding the layers and hoping for the best, but when it came time to unmold and cut it, I was less than happy with the results.  I let it sit and let it sit then it came time to do something about this unimpressive soap because I needed the space it was taking up.

I woke up in the middle of the night (told you I was obsessive) and the idea of implanting the stripes into another batch of soap was stuck in my head.  I pictured what I wanted to do and early the next morning I rushed off to the studio to make this soap.

When I came in the next day I unmolded it and cut it.  I was so excited by the results.  It was even better than I imagined.

So there you have it, do not throw out your soap.  There is always a way to save it.

If you are a Soap Making School member, you can download the video for “fix your messed up batch of soap”.  There are also other videos that use up your soap scraps so you waste nothing.  This includes the video for another soap making method I created that allows you to make cream soap with all the same ingredients as a traditional cream soap but without the fuss and time it takes.

If you are not a Soap Making School member yet, what are you waiting for?

www.soapmakingschool.com

 

 

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Palm Oil Free Soap Making Challenge

This Post is dedicated to everyone who has supported Soap Making School and Karma Suds.

 

Soap Making School woulkd like to thank all of the support they received for their Palm Oil Free Soap Making products and classes.

By purchasing the Rainforest Series Soap and taking Palm Oil Free Soap Making Classes in Vancouver Canada, I was able to send a few donations off to Camp Leaky.

 

Camp Leaky is an orphanage for Orangutans who have lost their mothers to the Palm Oil Industry.

If you received this card with your soap during the holiday season, you are one of the many contributors of the donations:

Palm oil free soap card for Karma Suds rainforest series soap

Thanks Everyone!!

 

 

For all of you soap makers who have committed to
Palm Oil Free Soap Making,  here is a challenge for you.

If you have been wondering how you can contribute in a real way,
but did not know how or when to begin, here is the door way.

Camp Leaky Challenge

Through the months of March and April, I challenge you to raise money
for Camp Leaky through your Palm Oil Free Soap Making efforts.
The 3 soap makers who contribute the largest amount will be featured on
the Campy Leaky Challenge Page of my website:  www.SoapMakingSchool.com

You can post your site information, promotions or whatever you like, within reason.

You will also win a permanent link to your site, facebook or blog on the
right side of each of my pages on Soap Making School.

This is a call to action and an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

This planet belongs to all of us.  Isn’t it time to help our friends who do not have a voice?

You can make your donations on the Orangutan Foundation International website

http://www.orangutan.org/

Good Luck Everyone.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I will post any updates on the Camp Leaky Challenge Page

Rene

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How to Make Your Own Water Proof Labels

Professional Looking Waterproof Labels From Your Own Printer!

So many natural soap makers and lotion makers have struggled
with the problem of waterproofing their labels.

This has been one of my problems for many years.

I have never wanted to commit to ordering my labels
from a label printing company for several reasons.

You usually have to order 10,000
or more to get a decent price.

You are usually charged a set up fee for the custom
plates and film (I have been quoted $300 and up).

You are stuck with the labels until they are used up.
You can’t change the ingredients, packaging or logo.

 

So what about the waterproof label paper?  Yes, the paper itself is waterproof.
But the ink that you need to print from your printer is not.

I have tried leaving the labels out to dry for a week but the ink still ran and smeared.
I have tried running the labels under water to take the initial top coat of
ink off (this is what the 1 800 help line suggested), but it just looked bad and faded.

Another help line person told me to spray the waterproof labels with an acrylic coating
after I print on them.  No thank you.  It will smell like spray paint.
Not exactly something I want to try to explain as someone picks up
the tester and comments on the smell.

At just under $1 per sheet  (I bought 250 sheets), I found waterproof
label paper to be a waste of time and money.

So what do we do about containers that are going to get wet?  Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Sugar etc.

I have found the solution.  Make your own professional looking waterproof labels .

It works like a dream.

Your labels will cost pennies.

You can change your labels any time you like.

No set up fee

Professional looking

Watch my latest video  and tell me what you think:

Waterproof Label Video

Happy labeling

Rene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I have made part 3

Part 3 Mistakes I Have Made While Selling Soap at Craft Shows

Here is part 3 of the Craft Show Mistakes I have made.  These are pretty important ones and have made a huge impact on how well I have done at Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets in the past.  I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

 

Too Many Natural Soap Choices on Your Table Can Effect Sales

 

It’s great to give your potential customers lots of different natural soap
options to choose from, but can you offer too many choices?

I have so many different types of soap in my stock that
I could offer an entirely new display for every show I attend.

The problem with this is too many choices can actually
lower your sales.  I have witnessed this at my own table.
By experimenting with the amount of soap on my craft show display,
I have concluded that 13 types of Natural Soap works best for me.

This includes 8 core soap and 5 Rainforest series soaps
(dedicated to the Orangutan orphans that I help support).

My core soap includes:

Lavender (or lavender blended with other essential oils)

Citrus

Pure olive

Unscented

Lemongrass

Peppermint (or mint blend)

2 different art soaps

The soap bars may change each show.  For example I have 4 or 5 different straight
lavender soap batches that are all different (color and special oil) so I might choose from a different batch each show.

I will often bring a few untypical bars of soap and keep them under the table in case there is a special request for them.

The point of keeping your soap selection small is to help your potential customer make a
quick decision.  I find if a visitor at my booth has to think too long about which soap they
really want, they may decide to walk away.

 

Do Not Underestimate The Importance of Good Lighting.

I was recently at a show with very weak lighting.

It was a very old, beautiful heritage building with an extremely high ceiling.

The lighting was so dim that you couldn’t tell the difference between navy blue and black.

Personally I love this type of lighting for craft shows.  It gives me the opportunity to
illuminate my booth and highlight a few of my art soaps on display.

I felt really bad for many of the vendors who depended on the lighting of the venue instead
of looking after the lighting themselves.  It surprised me because this was not a cheap show
and many of the vendors were higher end jewellery artists.

I know how they felt because I was in their situation before.  Never again.

If you are in an outdoor setting, in the daytime, this will not be an issue.
You can rely on the daylight for all of your lighting needs.

 

 

 

Inside a building is another matter.

I was at a venue where I thought the lighting was great.  I set up the booth according to the
lighting in the building.  When the organizer announced that the doors were to open in 15 minutes,
he dimmed the lights for ambiance.

I didn’t have nearly enough light.  I spent the next 2 days practically invisible while the other booths
around me had track lighting, spot lights and pin lighting to highlight featured products.

I am grateful for this lesson and learned from it.  Good lighting boosts your confidence at indoor shows.
It makes you look professional and shows off your products like nothing else can.

Before you pack up your products for an indoor show, I recommend you set up your display first.
Complete with the lighting you intend to take,  then turn off the room lights.

Does your lighting  illuminate all of your products?  Can it stand alone without lighting in the venue?
Can you help your display by adding a few clip on pin lights or spot lights?

Answering all of these questions is important.  Think of the venue as a blank slate with an electrical outlet,
table and chairs (if supplied) and that’s it.  Do not depend on the venue to supply your lighting.

Before you take down your booth at home, take a few pictures of your set up.  This will help you when you are
setting up at the show.  The direction your lighting is aimed, the area that you clipped the light to, the display
in general will be right there for you to look at.  No guess work, no challenging your memory.
This allows you to get into your zone, bond with your products and your surroundings, chat with your new
neighbors at the show and not waste time tweeking  your display.  It is all there in the picture.

With your lighting and your display picture in hand, you can give yourself enough time to be ready
and shine at the show with the right attitude to face your return customers and any new fans that you acquire at these shows.

One more thing about lighting……  Bring lots of extension cords and power bars.  You never know how far
the outlet is from your display and you never know when you are going to be next to a neighbor who thought
of everything except an extra extension cord.

Next week I will continue with this series on mistakes I have made with my natural soap in
Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets.

Happy Soaping!

Rene

 

 

 

 

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Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I have Made Part 2

Booth Display For Natural Soap at Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets

 

 

 

I have made many craft show mistakes over the years since I
started on my soap making path in 1997.  The best part is that I have
learned from them.

I shared 2 with you in the last post, and here are 2 more.

One of the biggest mistakes and the one I have repeated the most
is my booth set up and style.

For some reason I decided long ago that every show should have
a different booth set up. Change it around, keep it creative.

Now I realize when it comes to selling natural soap in a craft show
or farmer’s market, there is only one successful booth set up style.

This is what I would describe as a deli counter set up, where everything
you are selling is in plain view for the visitors to see without entering your
booth or tent.

The visitor never has to leave the path that they are traveling on.

 

 

 

I was in denial because I like the interaction of the boutique style booth set up.

My potential customer walks in, they are greeted, and the soap and natural skin care products
are on display in a u shape set up along all 3 walls.

The visitor is free to walk around and browse.

I thought it felt inviting, but it only works in a mall or at a trade show.
Not at a craft show or farmer’s market.

People at craft shows and farmer’s markets walk along a safe path with the rest of the visitors.

Stepping off the path and entering into a booth is a commitment.
The visitor has now left the safe zone of browsing and has moved into an atmosphere
where they are expected to purchase.

I am not a pushy sales person.  I quickly greet the visitor
and let them know I am here to answer any questions.  I am almost too passive, but while in my own booth
I hear a lot of sales pitches and insincere compliments coming from other booths.

I don’t blame visitors for not wanting to enter into a booth.

I have watched visitors avoid stepping into my booth by contorting their bodies into strange positions
to see something on one of my shelves.  They probably don’t even realize they are doing this, it’s very interesting to watch.

My lesson is the only booth style that works for natural soap at a craft show or a farmer’s market is the deli counter style.

I will never use another type of booth setup again.

I leave a small space so I can slip out front for personal interaction with people who have questions
and I bring a tall stool to perch on while I am in the booth so
I am never below eye level of the visitor even when I am behind “the deli counter”.

 

What Type of Natural Soap is Best
for a Craft Show and Farmer’s Market

 

Another mistake I have made at Craft shows and Farmer’s markets was my perception of my soap.

My soap is beautiful!
Everyone is going to want it.
Not true.

I make a lot of art soap.  It’s beautiful yet natural and great for skin.

It’s also too fancy for the average customer.

For the longest time I watched people gravitate to my display,
spend 10 or 15 minutes just smelling and looking at my soap,
telling me how beautiful it looks and smells.  Then they walk away.

I would then see them go to another soap display and start buying.

How disturbing!

They left  my beautiful , natural,  Palm Oil Free soap behind to go to another soap maker
with boring soap filled with chemical fragrance oils and palm oil.

I get it now.  Just because I am willing to hop in the shower with my beautiful soap and use it without thinking twice,
doesn’t mean everyone will want to do this.  Some people like simple no frill soap for everyday use.

 

 

 

I now accommodate both types of shoppers.

I have a good mixture of both everyday natural soap and art soap.

The art soap brings them to the table to browse
and the everyday natural soap goes home with them.

 

 

 

My lesson is that not everyone wants beautiful soap in their everyday routine.

Keep them coming back for the basics and they will pick up the art soap for special occasions.

 

I will be back next week with a few more mistakes I have made and learned  while participating in  Craft Shows and Farmer’s Markets.

 

Thanks for reading this post.  I would love to hear what you think!

 

Happy soaping

Rene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I Have Made – Part 1

Mistakes I have Made Selling Handmade Soap at Craft Shows

 

 

Selling your handmade soap at a Craft Fair, Craft Shows
or Farmer’s Markets is a great way to build your business.

You are not only exposed to a target market of consumers
who love natural and handmade products,
but you also gain experience with both success and failure
when selling your natural soap in this setting.

There is absolutely nothing unusual about
having a disappointing show.

It is going to happen and you need to learn from the experience.

 

 

I have learned many lessons  in the last 15 years from shows that don’t turn out.  There is always something good that comes
out of the experience.  For instance, I have earned the right to tell you about those mistakes in my blog, since I have lived it and
survived to pass on some advise to you.

 

I would like to tell you what I have learned from these less than profitable shows, hopefully it will save you a bit of grief one day.

 

The Big Show – It’s not your typical Craft Show

If you are planning on going into a big show, with huge attendance
and major advertising and sponsors,  remember it is going to be pricey.

These shows can be as expensive as $2000 to $5000
for your booth rental alone.

Don’t take this on unless you are willing to spend the money
on your ingredients.  Many people will tell you to plan on
selling 5 times your booth rental.

I think this is an exaggeration.

 

Big shows bring a lot of traffic, but traffic does not always translate into sales.  Many of these big shows
are 4 to 5 days long.

The shows can be rather overwhelming in size and most guests will walk through your booth
once or twice before they commit to purchasing, unless you have something completely unique
that they have already decided they want.

 

One thing to remember is that you are not only competing with several other natural soap and skin care booths,
but you are competing with every single other booth.

There are several vendors in these big shows.  There could be  300, 400 or more booths to visit.

Because of this,  every visitor in your booth who shows the slightest interest in your products
should be given your business card with your booth number written on it.

This is important because they will forget where you are by the end of their first walk through.

 

How did I learn this lesson?  I had a huge rush of return visitors at the end of the 5th day within 2 hours of the show closing.
A few of them said they have been looking for me for 3 days and finally had to visit each soap maker again to find me.

The lesson I learned – put myself  in my  visitor’s shoes and make it easy to find my booth.

It’s a jungle out there!

Though I did very well at this show, imagine the revenue I lost from visitors who could not find my booth again
and couldn’t remember the name of my company because I didn’t give them a business card.

I am very lucky that the ones who did return told me about putting my booth number on a card for them.

Both you and I can benefit by listening to their advise.

 

Expecting too much from a Craft Show – Working Against the Universal Law of Attraction

You pay your table fee or booth rent, it’s pretty expensive,
you have heard so much about this show,
you are so excited because you are
expecting to sell out…….  You have very high expectations for
this show and are looking forward to your big profits.

Part way through the show you realize you are not even
close to where you thought you would be in sales.  Your mood turns sour.

 

 

 

 

Does this sound familiar?  This is something you need to stop doing if you fall into this trap.

I was there and I learned to get past it.

Nobody wants to waste time and lose money by not making their booth rent.

I made that mistake.  I don’t do it anymore.  I have learned that once I got into this funky mood, it showed.

My booth visitors saw it and I almost seemed desperate in my selling style.

Here is what I do now:

Each time I start the show I say.  I have paid $200 (or whatever the fee was)  to advertise my products at this venue.

Every business card I give out is worth $5 (or the equivalent of my lowest prices product).

One day I will sell $5 worth of product to every business card I have given out.

Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but I put it out there
that the card I just gave out has a specific value.

By the time I give out 40 cards ($5 x 40 = $200), I have made my booth.

Maybe not today, but it will come back because they have my website, they have my phone number and
they took the time to stop by my booth which means they felt there was something of value there.

Sounds weird, but you need to intend it, ask for it, pray for it, whatever works for you.

Know you will be seeing that $5 from each card come back to you.

In the meantime, as you wait for that $5 to return to you (it has its own schedule, don’t rush it),
you might experience other sales happening at your booth.

My friend Wendy has reminded me that these sales are actually “gifts”.

I am not entitled to this money, just because I showed up with my stuff
doesn’t mean I  have earned it.  Remember, I  am here to advertise.

Every time you get a “gift” of someone purchasing from you, then act like it was a gift.

Thank them.

When they leave your booth, then show gratitude through a little prayer, or however
you choose (not out loud, this is a private moment between you and the faith you practice.
It does not need to be religious, it could even be faith that you are in the right place at the right time).

How do I get the ball rolling? 

Each time a card goes out, get excited.  It will give you an adrenaline rush and make you feel happy.

When I am shopping and snooping around at a craft show, I am automatically attracted to vendors who look happy.
I don’t mean those who have a smile frozen on their face for looks.  I mean genuinely happy.

The body language, the glow on their face.  These vendors are always nice to visit and I notice other vendors, when there is a slow period in the show, seem to gather at the happy vendor’s booth or table.

The lesson I learned:   Like attracts like, you feel gratitude, you get more of what made you feel that way.

You feel sad and disappointed, you get more of what made you feel that way.

It’s the universal law.

 

This is part 1 of Selling Soap at Craft Shows – Mistakes I have made.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming next week!

 

I would love to hear some of your comments!!!

 

Happy Soaping

Rene

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Natural Exfoliants in Soap Making, Face Scrubs and Body Scrubs

Keeping your soap and skin care natural is getting easier and easier.  All the new ingredients
available to us is growing all of the time.

Here are some interesting natural exfoliants that are available to natural soap and skin care creators:

Baking Soda or sodium bicarbonate is very easy to find and cost effective, this is particularly good in
hot process soap when you add it to the batch just before you put it in the mold.
You can use it in a scrub and microdermabrasion formulas.

Quinoa Seeds are available from health food stores and bulk foods outlets.
These seeds can be used in both soap and a body scrub or face scrub.
It makes a very gently exfoliant for skin care.

Powdered lemon peel gives you a great kick of vitamin c and is an antibacterial ingredient.
It is especially nice in a face mask or face scrub.

Coral Powder is an exotic exfoliant .  This can be combined with spirulina or kelp to give
you a very luxurious deep sea face scrub.

Fig seeds are wonderful for a body scrub or as a soap exfoliant.  This can be used in both
hot and cold process soap making methods.

Angelica Root Powder makes a perfect, gentle face scrub and mask.

Bamboo Charcoal Powder is very detoxifying and looks beautiful in both soap and a face scrub.

Hibiscus Flower Powder is loaded with vitamins and can be used in a face scrub, body scrub or even a face mask.

Chia Seeds are nice in a face scrub or soap.  Both hot and cold process soap.

Dead Sea Salt can be used in face scrubs and soap.  Be careful not to add too much to your soap
since it tends to make soap crumbly.

Natural Mineral Zeolite is mined here is Canada and other parts of North America.
It is a fantastic detoxifier, antioxidant and ph balancer.  Here is a great source for this mineral:

www.fresh-n.com

Wendy, who creates the Fresh-N Home Products has made every effort possible to
find the purest zeolite available.

The mineral is ground, but to get the finest graduals, she recommends you use an organza bag to
sift the finer powder from the larger particles.  The powder can be used in a face mask or scrub
while the larger particles would make fantastic foot scrub soap.  Use for both hot or
cold process soap making methods.

Here is the recipe she recommends:

Wendy’s Organic Zeolite Foot Soap

7.2 oz organic coconut oil

14.4 oz organic olive oil

2.4 oz organic cocoa butter

3.4 oz sodium hydroxide

8.7 oz distilled water

2 Tablespoons ground Zeolite

½ oz peppermint essential oil

 

You can make this soap using the hot process or cold process soap making methods.
Full videos classes and information on how to make cold, hot and liquid soap are available at Soap Making School.

 

Happy Soaping!

Rene

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Taking your Soap To a Farmer’s Market or Day Market

 

Surviving the farmer’s markets and day markets as a soap maker
can be a challenge.

Choosing the right ones and where you set up your tent is essential.

 

 


After talking with several market vendors who have been doing the markets
for several years, they all say the same thing.

You don’t want to be set up as one of the first vendors the attendees see
because they are not quite ready to buy.

They may intend to come back to buy from you, but the chances
of them reaching their daily spending budget limit gets more and more
likely the further into the show they get.

You don’t want to be set up as an end vendor because the attendees
may either be out of spending cash, or they have already purchased
their soap from another vendor,
or they may have spent time at another vendors booth asking
all of the questions they had about soap.

Having all their questions answered, they are likely to just
glance and walk by.

The best position to be in at a market is in the middle.

By this point, the attendees have already opened their wallet and have spent a little money.
They are more likely to reach for their wallet once they have done it already.

There seems to be less psychological conflicts with deciding to buy something or not.

They may  have also had a chance to see a few soap vendors already
and might be warmed up to finally purchase some soap.

Selecting the proper market to go into is also a very important decision.
Though I personally find each and every market I have attended
has had something important happen.

If you are looking at the money aspect alone, you might just miss the real reason you are there.

For instance, I have found a few amazing shows that the organizers
have approached me to be in.

Many high end show organizers scope out small craft and
farmers markets to find the right fit for their own show.

Many of these organizers do their jury process right there, and
may not be open to other applicants.

It’s a perfect opportunity for you as a potential vendor,
to connect with the organizer.

If this happens, be prepared to ask questions to help you make a decision.
Have your show schedule with you, and be ready to commit if it feels right.

Ask how many vendors  the show had last year, ask how many
vendors they will allow in the soap category.  Make sure they tell you
both soap, skin care and spa products.

Some skin care and spa products vendors will be bringing soap too, be sure
you count the other categories as “soapers”, because you will likely be
bringing along spa and skin care products.

Find out how much the entry fee is.  This will also give you a pretty good idea of how much
you can sell.  I like to use 5 to  10 times the amount of the entry fee as a guide for how much
I will make at the show.  This also depends on the amount of Soap Makers at the market.

Another factor in determining how well you will do is if you have done the market before.

I have experienced past customers coming up to my tent and whispering “you are going to love her
soap” in a potential customers ear.

This is a great experience and it sure helps sales.  At one market that I had participated in,
I had a return customer come to my booth and once I informed him that it was my last day
at that market, he bought the whole basket of his favorite soap.

There are many other intangible  benefits to being at these shows.

Some of them are to make contact with other similar vendors, get exposure for future sales,
and most importantly teach the community about the benefits of hand made
soap over commercial soap.

Remember, you are representing your company even at the smallest shows.

Be proud of what you make and sell.

I will be talking about the best strategies to sell your products in another blog post.

Until then, keep soaping and keep selling.

Take care

Rene

 

 

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A Weekend in an Enchanted Forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A month ago, while I was selling my soap at a day market, a lady approached me and invited me
to be the soap vendor at an art festival.  She told me I would be a perfect fit.

I had not heard of this festival before and I was already booked into a day market for the 2 weekends of the festival.

For some reason I changed my mind the following week.

 

I called Mary, the coordinator and owner of this festival and told her I was interested.

She sent me all of the vendor information I needed and asked me to come take a look at the venue.

When I arrived at her home and Art Gallery, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful forest and garden on her property.

She showed me the spot where I would be setting up and I could hardly speak.

The spot was along a path inside a forest of her 3 acre property.

She told me I would love my neighbours and I fit right in.

 

This last weekend, July 14 and 15, was the first weekend of the festival.  It was like being in a dream.  The whole setting was perfect and the people who attended were wonderful.

I could not ask for better neighbours. Here is a bit about them:

Jack Prasad – He is an artist and teacher.  He taught me how to paint a tree and showed me a few techniques that even I could do.  I will be looking into lessons with Jack in the future.
www.jackprasad.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Hamelin- Neil and his beautiful wife Cheri were such wonderful neighbours.  I had great conversations with Cheri.  Neil was very busy the whole time.  I hope he is resting up for next weekend.
Neil’s paintings were so detailed, they look like photographs. He has only been painting for 2 years.
www.neilhamelin.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terri Elverum  – Terri and her husband Darrel were right next to me and her display caught my eye right away.  She has rocks that were painted to look like strawberries and all kinds of other painted rock animals and houses.
Very talented lady.  I had lots of fun with her and she used to be a soaper too.
http://terisart.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivian McMillan – Vivian makes wonderful pottery that is nature inspired.  She starts out with the actual leaf or plant and creates the pottery from it.  All of the profits from her art goes to children’s charities.
Her dedicated son Andy was helping her out at the show.  What a great guy!  Vivian does not have a website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s so hard to describe the setting.  As you go further into the forest, you come across each individual vendor.  The artwork is spread out in their own areas.  As you go along the path, you meet the next vendor and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The festival is filled with over 100 vendors and artists.

You really do need at least 2 full days to see everything.

If you are in the Vancouver / White Rock area, it is really worth it to come to the festival.

There are 2 days left, Saturday July 21 and Sunday July 22.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the website:

http://www.mindandmatterart.com

July 29………..

As a final note regarding the festival.

I had the most wonderful time.  The weather was not great but I will never forget the 2 weekends I spent in Mary’s Forest.

 

It is going to be very difficult to top this experience and show.  I will see everyone next year.

 

Mary,  thanks for your amazing effort in keeping the show running smoothly.  You are a fantastic organizer and an

incredible woman.  Can’t wait for next year!!!!!!

 

 

Take care and happy soaping!!

Rene

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Using Natural Gums to Thicken Soap and Natural Cosmetic Products

Natural Gums are a great way to thicken your natural liquid soap and cosmetics.
This ingredient has been used for centuries.

Most natural gums are Carbohydrates and they help to improve the stability
of your products.  Some sources for these gums include plant seeds, marine algae and sap.

Acacia Gum also known as Gum Arabic is one of the most ancient of the gums.
It comes from the sap of the Gum Arabic Tree and
is an edible gum used to make gummy candies and edible glitter
along with many other edible products.

In skin care it is useful as a soothing ingredient and helps alleviate inflammations.

Tragacanth also comes from a sap.  This is a water soluble gum that can be used to form a thick gel.
The maximum viscosity (thickness) will happen after 24 hours of sitting at room temperature after
the gum is mixed with water.  This is one of the most stable and thickest natural gums available.

Guar Gum, another popular natural gum, can form a  thick mucus when mixed with water.
It’s a great thickener and comes from the Indian Cluster bean.

The most useful gum in cosmetics and liquid soap is Xanthan gum.  It can be used to stabilize water and
oil mixtures, it keeps particles suspended, and it has high viscosity (thick).  It is a great gum to use to
thicken shampoos; natural liquid soap and body wash because it also helps with the foaming action.

If you are looking at becoming a certified organic cosmetic formulator, it is important for you to know
that Xanthan gum is the only natural gum that is allowed in registered organic products
if you are registered with the USDA for Organic products.

So now that you know a little about these gums, how do you formulate with them?

The first thing to be aware of is what the formulating industry calls “Gel Block”.

Gel block is that effect you get when you put a powder into water.
You might notice this if you put cocoa in water or flour in water.
It forms this type of barrier around the powder and doesn’t immediately melt into the water.
It basically floats on top.

If you start to stir it, some might blend into the water, but generally you get a lumpy mixture
that is pretty challenging to mix completely.

 

In order to prevent Gel block when using natural gums, we can do 2 things.

  1.  Mix it like crazy with a high speed blender to cut into the lumps and get a good mix.
  2.  Premix the gum with a wetting ingredient.  I use vegetable glycerin.

You always want to mix the gums into cold water.  This is because once heat is added,
the thickening begins.

If you are not ready at that stage for the thickening process, then your formula will probably be ruined.

Since we probably already know how to mix the gums at high speed in a blender,
let’s move on to the second option.

Wetting your gum.

Start by measuring out you gum.  Either by weight (scale) or volume (measuring spoon).

Add a small amount of vegetable glycerin to the gum.  Mix the 2 together until the gum is no longer dry.
You might need to add more glycerin.  You want to get the gum to a thick but runny consistency,
so the gum is no longer a solid.  A thick honey or molasses is a good goal for the consistency.

Once you reach this consistency, the gum can be poured into the cold water little by little.
Blending well between adding more of the liquid gum.

Your gum is now able to be used as a thickener since you have broken down the barrier
between the gum and the water.

Enjoy exploring this wonderful natural thickener.  There are so many different applications for it.

This is just another natural ingredient you can use instead of the chemical thickeners that are
so abundant in most beauty products.

I will be doing a Soap Making School video soon on how to use these gums in your very own formulations.
This will include the amount of gum to the amount of water needed (every gum is different).

You can join Soap Making School today!

www.soapmakingschool.com

 

 

 

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