New creation in the Etsy shop: Blue agave handmade soap

Blue agave handmade soap

Blue agave in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy

A few months ago, I wrote about using indigo powder to color soap naturally. One of the batches I tried used a scent called “blue agave.” Unfortunately, the soap design had some issues that I wasn’t happy with. As it cured, the indigo color bled into the white portions of the soap and I just didn’t like the way it looked.

Despite this imperfection, the batch sold out quickly because the scent was out of this world! Blue Agave is a zesty unisex scent featuring notes of citrus, apple, black currant and lily of the valley. One loyal customer says it has the same citrus notes as “Be Delicious” by DKNY.

I decided to remake the soap using a much simpler, one color design and I’m so happy with the way it turned out! It’s made with my favorite blend of olive, rice bran, coconut, palm and avocado oils to leave your skin gently cleansed and feeling pampered.

Want to give this soap a try? You can find it, along with many other tantalizing scent options, in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy.

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! I started the year on a high note by seeing my 373 life bird on January 1st! This was an incredibly special bird because it really has no business being in Ohio. It’s called a Brambling and it’s a very long way from home.

brambling

Image credit: Brambling by Kev Chapman, on Flickr. CC by 2.0.

This small finch is typically found in Europe and Asia. Occasionally, it crosses into Alaska and can travel into the western United States. More rarely, it can travel east with flocks of other migrating birds. Ohio has seen only one other Brambling. It arrived 28 years ago less than five miles from the location of the current bird. You can read more about the current bird and its location here. Special thanks goes to the owners of the property the bird has been frequenting and to their neighbors across the street who have patiently allowed dozens of birders to stand in front of their house for days. I hope they know what joy they’ve provided to the members of the birding community.

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire me. Check out some of my favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

  • Soap behaving badly – If your New Year resolution is to learn how to make your own soap, I recommend learning all you can about the things that can go wrong with a batch of soap and how to prevent problems before starting. The Soap Queen blog is a great place to start.
  • Troubleshooting – From cracking soap, to soap volcanos, a lot can go wrong when making soap. Lovin’ Soap Studio breaks down several common issues and provides great tips for how to handle them.
  • 5 top mistakes when working with color – Color can be one of the hardest things to master. Soapmaking Made Easy breaks down how to get the best color with 5 easy tips.

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following Emmet Street Creations on Twitter, here’s some of my tweets, retweets and comments you’ve missed over the last month:

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Last year I started a series called, “Soap Making Secrets” to help educate my readers and customers about the many different components that go into making a batch of soap. If you’re new to the blog and want to learn more, I recommend starting with “Why buy handmade soap,” “Is lye safe to use in soap,” and Why is handmade soap cured.” These three posts answer the most frequently asked questions I receive about the soap making process. Look for further secrets to be revealed throughout 2016. If there’s something you’d like to know about the soap making process, leave your question in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it in an upcoming post.

Soap making secrets: The benefits of using essential oil in handmade soap

Soap making secrets: Essential Oil

What’s the first thing you do when you pick up new bar of soap? If you’re like most people, you pick it up and smell it. (Or, if you are like one person I encountered, you stick your fingernail into it. Don’t do that.)

Scent is a critical component of most soap and one of the tools a handmade soap maker uses to add amazing scent to their soap is essential oil. Essential oil is a natural oil that is extracted from a plant, fruit, root or other source that smells like the source it came from. For example, orange essential oil smells like oranges because the oil is extracted from the rind. Peppermint oil is distilled from the leaves of a peppermint plant.

Essential oils have the benefit of being a completely natural way to add scent to soap. While I do use fragrance oils, which are synthetically produce in a lab in some of my creations, I like being able to offer soaps that are 100% natural.

Looking to try handmade soap made with essential oils? The Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy can hook you up.

My natural Lavender soap made with soothing Hungarian lavender is the perfect soap to help you relax before a stressful day in the office.

Hungarian lavender handmade soap

Lemongrass essential has an uplifting scent and this Lemongrass and Green Tea soap will get your day started on a high note.

Lemongrass essential oil handmade soap

Get the benefits of three essential oils in one bar of soap with my Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint soap. This pretty soap has an eye-opening scent that is sure invigorate your senses.

Eucalyptus, lavender & mint handmade soap

 

Do you have a favorite essential oil scent? Tell me about it in the comments or on the Emmet Street Creations Facebook page. Your idea just might spark my next creation!

 

 

 

Freshly stocked: Crisp apple and rose soap

Crisp apple rose soap

Crisp apple & rose handmade soap from Emmet Street Creations

Fall is quickly approaching and with it comes apple season. I love picking apples, eating apples, cooking with apples, and taking pictures of apples. I’m pretty much an apple fanatic. Give me a peck of freshly picked Honey Crisp apples and I’m in heaven. It’s only natural that my love of apples inspired me to make a crisp apple and rose scented soap.

This customer favorite soap features a blend of olive and rice bran oils to treat your skin gently. The scent is a perfect blend of fresh crisp apples and soothing rose petals.

I’ve restocked this soap in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy, just in time for the fall season. Give it a try today while supplies last!

Soap making secrets: How using a stick blender saves time

Soap making secrets - Stick blender

So far this year, I’ve revealed several soap making secrets. I’ve told you about lye and I’ve explained the different properties of common oils like coconut and olive oil. Now I’d like to explain the secret behind how lye, water and oils become soap. Be ready for your mind to be blown. The secret is…stirring. A lot of stirring. OK, maybe that isn’t exactly mind-blowing but without properly mixing the ingredients, a batch of soap is doomed.

Once the oils are melted and the lye water is cooled, the two are are mixed together and stirred until the batter begins to emulsify and thicken. Depending on the recipe, it can take an hour (or several) of stirring for the soap to fully emulsify.

For millennia, soap makers sported arm muscles like Popeye’s after a spinach binge thanks to hours and hours of stirring soap batter. When the stick blender became a common household product, soap makers quickly figured out how to use the technology to make their jobs easier. A few short bursts of mixing with a stick blender can bring soap batter to the desired consistency within minutes, not hours. The extra time saved means we can make more soap!

There are some precautions that I take every time I make a batch of soap with my stick blender. I always wear rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and goggles to protect myself from any splatter that might happen. When I insert the stick blender into the batter, I tap it several times on the bottom of the bowl. This helps any air bubbles trapped under the blender to escape. Air bubbles can show up in a finished bar of soap as tiny little holes or spots and aesthetically ruin a design. I always unplug my blender before attempting to clean the soap out of it. I really like all of my fingers. I’ve known them my whole life and we’ve become quite close. I would hate to lose any of them because I accidentally hit the power button while wiping soap batter off of the blade.

I credit my aunt for getting me started with soap making. During a visit several years ago, she gave me a stick blender that she no longer used. I was researching how to make soap at the time and I looked at her gift as a sign that I should stop dreaming about making soap and start doing it.

If you are interested in learning more about the soap making process, you can catch up on past installments of soap making secrets here.  Once you’re caught up, be sure to stop by the Emmet Street Creations shop on Etsy to try out some of the soaps you read about.