Monday, April 16, 2012

Outlander-Inspired Soaps

When I first began making soap, I would say that I was largely inspired by my kitchen.  Lately, I find many of the soaps coming out of my soap kitchen are inspired by the books I love. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have become a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon's series of Outlander books since picking up the first book just over a year ago.  So it should come as no surprise that Jamie and Claire, the main characters in the series, have inspired their own soaps.

Claire's Soap
  Claire's soap is a rustic , earthy soap.  The ingredients were specially chosen to reflect Claire's status as a medical woman, her knowledge of medicinal herbs and her love of gardening.  I infused the olive oil with comfrey, a plant that Claire put to good use when treating her patients.  Rhassoul clay represents the earth from which she gathered her plants.  Since Claire understood the healing power of honey, I added a good helping of honey.  I finished it off with a fresh blend of rosemary, lemongrass and cedarwood essential oils.

On to Jamie's soap . . .

Jamie's Oatmeal Soap

Oh Jamie.  I have a little secret.  I have a crush on a fictional character.  His name is Jamie and he is a red-headed Scotsman from the 18th century.  Okay, so it's not actually a big secret.  Even Mike knows and has come to terms with the fact that if Jamie should suddenly walk out from the pages of the book, I would have to leave him.  Yep, Diana Gabaldon is that good when it comes to making characters come alive.  (I have a feeling I am not the only woman in the world who would compete for Jamie's attention.)  She is also wickedly good at describing physical attributes and smells.  I knew I had to make a Jamie soap but it took awhile to design it, more specifically, its scent.  I knew it was going to be a beer soap with a good helping of oatmeal or  "parritch".    But the scent?  I couldn't just throw anything together.  It had to smell like Jamie, you know?  After weeks of thinking, I decided upon an earthy blend of patchouli, rosemary and orange.  I couldn't be happier witth his soap.

Both Jamie and Claire soaps are sold out at the moment but new batches are curing as I type.  However, there is a chance for you to win a bar of each soap.  Theresa of Outlander Kitchen is hosting a giveaway on her blog.  I encourage you to visit her and not only for the soap.  Theresa is a professional chef who develops recipes based upon the food found in the books. It's a brilliant idea and a great read.  Her latest recipe :  hearty Sheperd's Pie.   Giveaway ends 9 pm PST, Wednesday April 18.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Take that, Man

To phrase it nicely, I am frugal.  I hate adding to shipping costs by buying  bubble wrap envelopes.  I especially don't like it if I think there is a chance that I can do it myself.

Well, I found a link and I am trying to make it myself.  If it works out, I'll share it with you.  Not only am I upcycling and saving money, I also feel like I'm sticking it to The Man.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Peek at my Table

Last Friday, I did my first craft show of the year.  I thought I would show a few photos of my display.

Before Christmas, I noticed at busy shows that my soaps were getting a little man-handled.  The brown paper packaging was my attempt to protect the soap but I actually really like the look.  The brown paper is the perfect background for the bird stamp.  When possible, I am recycling/upcycling brown paper.  On top of each soap pile is a little sample, available for smelling.  It should be noted that children love, I mean, love smelling soap.

For months, various friends have recommended placing a little dish of coffee beans on my table as a way to cleanse the sense of smell for those who like to smell all the soaps numerous times before making their decision.  It was a great idea but each show, my table would remain bean-less. . . until last Friday.  maybe I was just waiting for the perfect little blue cup.

My favourite addition to my table is my new chalkboard mirror.  New to me, that is.  The mirror is a $10 find from a local thrift store.  A couple of coats of paint, some chalkboard paint and a little swipe of sandpaper.  (More to come on the process at a later date.)  Have I mentioned how much I love this mirror?  Held up by my vintage suitcases, of course.