New creation in the Etsy Shop: Peppermint lover’s sample pack

Peppermint lover

Do you love the eye-opening scent and cooling sensation of peppermint? Now you can stock up on your favorite scent and save money with the new Peppermint Lover’s Sample Pack, on sale now in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy shop.

For $15, you’ll receive the following 4 bars of our handmade soap, all featuring the exhilarating scent of peppermint:

  • Peppermint – Straight up peppermint essential oil will give you the revitalizing kick you need to wake up in the morning.
  • Exfoliating Rosemary Mint – This soap makes the perfect foot scrub to use after a long walk or run in the park. Pulverized juniper berries work to exfoliate rough patches and smooth your skin.
  • Revitalizing Rosemary Mint – Moisturizing olive and rice bran oils soothe and moisturize your skin without the exfoliating juniper berries.
  • Eucalyptus Lavender and Mint – Soothe yourself into the day with the pretty blue and purple swirls of this amazing smelling soap. Skin loving olive, rice bran and avocado oils will keep your skin silky soft.

Know someone who loves the scent of peppermint? Why not let them know about the Peppermint Lovers Sample Pack? It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

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!

 

 

 

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.

Christine’s big (soap) adventure: Episode 2

Editor’s note: To celebrate Emmet Street Creations’ first anniversary, we’re reposting the series Christine wrote detailing her journey to bring Emmet Street Creations to life. Enjoy!

The day I set aside to work on my first soaps felt like Christmas. I had my new supplies lined up on the kitchen with the soap base wrapped up tight—the only thing it was missing was a big, red bow on top. I took that hunk of soap, unwrapped it and cut it into pieces to melt down.

Then something magical happened.

Monarch Butterfly

Image credit: Monarch Butterfly, El Rosario Sanctuary, by Luna sin estrellas, on Flickr CC by 2.0.

For five hours, I was transported to a different universe. No, The Doctor did not come to take me away in the Tardis—I wasn’t quite that lucky.  I was immersed in watching the soap melt, stirring in the colorant and scent, and pouring the soap into different molds. I didn’t think about my worries once. Not once. I was happy. I was content. I was relaxed and enjoying myself. When I finally emerged from my kitchen, I was hooked. I needed to feel that feeling again and I needed to feel it soon. The next day, I went back to the craft store, bought more supplies and started all over again.

Plotting the ruse, an idea takes hold

 As I was wrapping the soaps I made, I thought it would be fun to label them as if they were soaps I had bought in a store. I wanted to fool everyone for a while, then pop the surprise that those were soaps that I had made.

I had to think of a fake company name for my homemade soaps. It didn’t take me long, really. After on a few minutes, Emmet Street popped into my head. Emmet Street is the street I grew up on in a tiny, little town in north central Ohio. I haven’t lived there in 20 years but when I think of home, I think of the house on Emmet Street—not the house I currently occupy.

Lively and lovely...

Not my childhood home, but a reasonable facsimile. (Image credit: Lively and lovely… by Wonderlane, on Flickr. CC by 2.0.)

Emmet Street was an idyllic place to grow up. In the summer, the grown-ups would gather on our front porch and shoot the breeze as the kids ran around the yard trapping fireflies in jars. I felt relaxed and happy and loved on Emmet Street. I didn’t have a care in the world most days. I had the same carefree feeling as I was making those soaps. I knew I wanted to honor my street by using it in my company name.

I toyed with some ideas: Emmet Street Soaps? Nah, that would restrict me to soap and nothing else. What if I wanted to branch out? Emmet Street Sundries? Emmet Street Things ‘n’ Stuff? Emmet Street Creations? Yes! That was what I was looking for. I printed up fancy labels and, come Christmas, gleefully handed out all of my presents.

They were a hit. Everyone was so excited to receive the colorful little gems and impressed to learn that I had spent the time to make them.

Go bananas with Banana Soap!

Banana SoapSee those speckles? That’s because Banana Soap is made with real bananas!

You probably know that bananas are a delicious and healthy treat. They contain antioxidants and potassium which help keep your body healthy. Bananas also help skin retain moisture. Banana Soap from Emmet Street Creations is unscented and doesn’t smell like bananas, but don’t let that fool you. It’s packed with real bananas, skin loving olive and avocado oils. Instead of distilled water, this soap was made with pure coconut water, another antioxidant powerhouse.

Bonus tip: Banana peels make great compost, but before I give them to the McWormersons to work on, I give myself an instant facial. It’s so easy to do. Just rub the inside of a banana peel all over your face. Wait 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse off. My skin feels tighter and looks less dull after this treatment. Want more tips? Check out this article.

Welcome to spring and the loofah soap experiment

I don’t know about you, but I am done with winter. Weather-wise, it has been winter since early November here in northern Ohio. By my count, that’s four months. Four months of extreme cold, gross black snow on the sides of the roads, treacherous driving and high heat bills.

I’m over it.

So, I’d like to announce that here on Emmet Street, it is officially spring! And the opening of spring means planning for my vegetable garden. This year, I’m going to attempt to grow loofah. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that loofah is not a sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. It’s actually a member of the cucumber family. It‘s edible when harvested early, while the fruit is small and green. As the fruit matures, it become fibrous and, from the looks of it, a choking hazard. At the end of the growing season, it’s possible to remove the skin and dry the fibrous insides, making the familiar loofah sponge.

I’ve read that growing loofah in my region of the country is challenging, but not impossible. It has a very long growing season and needs up to six months to mature. I’m up for the challenge. If all goes according to plan, I will start my loofah seeds inside in early April, transplant them into my garden in May, and by September, I should have at least one fully mature loofah to dry.

What will I do with the loofah once it’s dried? Make soap, of course! I’ve made loofah soap before and it was wonderful for scrubbing away dirt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My first attempt at loofah soap. It was scented with orange essential oil. 

I’ll post updates of my progress here on the blog throughout the growing, drying and soaping process.

Have you tried growing loofah or any other odd vegetable? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section!