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 hemp seed oil

Soap making secrets: The benefits of hemp seed oil

Before I start, I need to get something out of the way. This post is not about pot or drugs or getting high. It is about the mighty hemp plant and what it can do for your skin.

You’ve probably seen products like clothing and paper made from hemp fiber. You might also know that this versatile plant has been used to make things like bikes, cars and even houses. But, did you know hemp has another benefit locked away in its seeds? Hemp seeds are rich in the essential fatty acids, Omega-3 Linolenic Acid and Omega-6 Linoleic Acid. These fatty acids are thought to be beneficial antioxidants and they can help protect the skin from moisture loss, something that those of us in northern climates contend with during the cold winter months.

Unlike the strains of cannabis plants used for marijuana, hemp strains contain negligible amounts tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the stuff that gives marijuana its psychoactive kick. This means that products made with hemp, including food and bath products, are safe for those of us who like to “just say no.”

I’ve had a desire to use hemp seed oil in my soap for a while. I’ve used other soap made with hemp seed oil and I love the way it makes my skin feel. Around the same time the Grateful Dead where having their reunion concerts, I found a fragrance oil called, “Cannabis Flower.” I knew right away that I wanted to combine that fragrance with hemp seed oil in a soap bursting with psychedelic swirling colors. After a couple of tries, I finally perfected the look I was going for.

Feelin' groovy handmade soap

In addition to hemp seed oil, this soap it also has the skin loving combination of olive and rice bran oils that leaves skin feeling ultra moisturized. It smells green and herbaceous with a touch of floral notes like violet and gardenia.

Want to give this soap a try? It’s available now in the Emmet Street Creations store!

 

 

Soap making secrets: Color inspiration

Soap making secrets: Color inspiration

Last weekend, I took a trip to the Sandy Ridge Reservation in Lorain county. I love going to this reservation because of the number and diversity of birds I can see. But, in the late summer, the colors interest me as much as the birds. Late summer wildflowers, like tickseed and goldenrod, are on full display. On a stormy day, I love the contrast of the bright yellow flowers with the dark grey of the sky.

I often look to nature to find inspiration in my soap making. I gravitate towards the color blue. It reminds me of the summer sky and I tend to use it over and over. But, after my trip to the park, I posted a picture of a monarch caterpillar on Facebook. One of my followers mentioned that its colors would look great in a soap and I couldn’t agree more! So, I’m planning a new soap that will incorporate these amazing black, white and yellow stripes. I’ll be sure to provide updates on my progress!

Monarch caterpillar

I didn’t find a lot of birds at the park during this trip but I did find a lot of inspiration so I thought I’d share some of my favorite pictures from the day.

Yellow tickseed sunflowers

 

Yellow and white wild flowers

 

Yellow and purple wildflowers

 

Yellow flowers against a stormy sky

 

Where do you find inspiration for your art? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Don't forget to see us at the Cleveland Bazaar

This week I’m busy prepping for the Cleveland Bazaar at Market Square Park. I’ll be slinging soap on Saturday, September 5 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Stop down and stock up if you are in the area!

Handmade soap

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

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. Labor Day is right around the corner here in the U.S. Are you planning a barbecue over the long weekend? Impress your friends and family with some tasty burgers, hot off the grill. Pair them with patriotic (and healthy) potato salad made with a tasty vegan mayo

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Air plant

Have you ever seen an air plant? I’ve seen them at different flea markets and on Etsy and I finally decided to buy one for myself. Air plants, or epiphytes, are plants that grow on other objects. They don’t need soil to grow and they gain their water and nutrients from the air. If I don’t kill it first (I have little luck with indoor plants) my air plant will flower and then produce “pups,” which are little offshoots that can be removed and grown as a separate plant. Air plants typically grow in heavily shaded rain forest environments so they are perfect for houses that don’t get a light of light. I’m excited to see what this little plant will do in the next few months!

Handmade soap

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

  • Easy melt and pour polar bear soap tutorial – Melt and pour soap was my starting point in the world of soap making and I still love the versatility it offers. This easy to make soap from Soap Deli News would make a great stocking stuffer for a nature-loving child!
  • Cool yule peppermint loaf – This DIY from The Soap Queen is a bit more advanced. I’ve made this design and it’s a lot of fun to do. It looks and smells amazing!
  • Sea glass – This DIY from Marte Ravn Tovik couldn’t be easier and the results are so pretty! Wrap these up in a nice cellophane bag, tied with a pretty bow and you have a cute gift for your beach-loving friends.

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Take a cute break – Check out a gorgeous Shar Pei and his cat posing in the most adorable ways. The pictures are guaranteed to make you smile at least once.
  • Extreme waste reduction – Is this woman for real? Less than a jar of trash in a year? What does she do with her worn out underwear?
  • 11 problems music can solve – And now I know how to get those kids off my lawn!

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Have you thought about making your own soap? A great place to start is with melt and pour soaps, which are pre-made soap bases that you melt in your microwave and then pour into a mold. This type of soap is safe and easy to personalize with scent, color and molds. Sometimes a batch doesn’t go as planned but melt and pour soap is very forgiving and there are ways to salvage a failed batch. I’ve messed up more batches than I like to admit but when things go right, it’s very rewarding! Why not give it a try?