Tag Archives: soap

Back in the Day

This weekend’s Craft Fair was the first one I’ve participated in since probably about 1996.  When I had my consignment craft store in the mid-90’s, and even before that, I had a table almost every year.  The first time I put in these cool harlequin clowns I had made.  I sold out and made about $700 that day.  I was flabbergasted.

In subsequent years I had all kinds of different products, with varying levels of success, but I always did pretty well.  I stopped going though.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t just that I wasn’t doing much “crafting”.  It wasn’t even that “crafting”, as such, had gone out of vogue a bit.  It was that I just started feeling that there was a lot of…. well, here’s me being totally honest…. a lot of junk out there.  Things that were over-priced and of poor quality.  Things that were ugly.

It was like everyone on the planet had decided they could build stuff because they bought a hot-glue gun.  Problem was, they could.  And they did.  And it was not a good thing.

Having participated in  the Trade Shows here, however, I knew that you couldn’t get much better advertising.  Advertising was what I was really after, both to introduce the bath line and to let people know where the jewelry is now that I’m building again.  For a $50 table fee, you just can’t beat it in terms of being able to communicate with people.

The most important thing I want to stress in this entry though is that things have changed at the Creston Craft Fair.  Boy have they changed.  As I wandered around checking out the other booths, I was extremely impressed with the calibre of the products being offered.  Gone were the ticky-tacky, lace and ribbon-ridden froofy-thingies.  No more rose-embellished toilet-paper holders.  No more crocheted necklaces and knitted-skunk bathroom-spray covers.  Not at THIS craft fair.

Instead, there were lovely photography displays, warm felted slippers, wreaths made of fresh pine and balsam.  Chocolates to make your mouth water and your fillings ache.  Hand-blown glass and lots of sumptuous soaps, lotions, and salts….not just mine.  Gorgeous original artwork. And the pottery.  Oh wow.  The pottery.  Raku pieces to die for.  Innovative glaze applications, intricate pressed-patterns, glass frit on porcelain.  Literally To. Die. For.  And yes….I came home with some.  I had to.  It was talking to me.  It would have been wrong to leave it there.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show it to you.  You’ll be glad you did.  In the meantime, here’s another shot of my table.  Thanks for visiting.  See you tomorrow….remember….tomorrow is Pottery Day!!

Pure Decadence

There is an amazing bath & body company out there that is a 4-letter word in my house.  Yes, its name has 4 letters, it begins with an L and ends with an H and I have a love-hate relationship with them.  I loooooove their products.  All their products.  Haven’t found one yet that I didn’t fall head-over-heels for.  But……..

I HATE that in order to get their stuff I have to either drive to a major center to stand in the middle of their store inhaling so deeply that the dust-bunnies come creeping out from under their shelves or I have to do mail-order.  I don’t want do mail-order.  I want to sniff it before I buy it.  I want to touch it before I plunk down $8 for an itty-bitty bar of soap.

So to heck with it.  I just made my own.  You’ve seen the soaps already.  I’ve been using them in the shower.  My skin is soft, they lather like crazy, they’re creamy, foamy, and downright delectable.

Today was the bath salts.  “Bath Salts” is such an inadequate term for these though.  They’re all enriched with skin-loving oils or butters to leave you soft and silky even in the horror we call winter.  My favorite is the Pure Decadence Spa Bath line.  These are also enriched with my own blends of Pure Essential Oils and smell divine.  The Rainforest Pure Decadence Spa Bath is a blend of Patchouli and 2 other Essential Oils.  It reminds me of the West Coast Temperate Rainforest.  My favorite part of living in Vancouver was wandering through the forests of UBC and just BREATHING it all in.

The Island Blossom Pure Decadence Spa Bath takes me back to Hawaii.  With Neroli and 2 other Essential Oils it has a rich, heady fragrance that I find flat-out intoxicating.  Just ask my husband…he laughed, shook his head, and walked away from me when he saw me sitting there with my face buried in the bag opening for this stuff.  Sniffing.  No…..snuffling, really.  I may not take this to the Craft Fair on Saturday.  I may hide it.  For ME.

Hubby to the Rescue

I am married to the most patient man on earth.  Seriously.  Not only is he patient, but he’s all about problem-solving.  If I’m going to complain about something, he’s going to look for a solution.

And I was.  Complaining, that is.  I need packaging or labeling for my soap for this weekend’s craft fair.  I’m fussy though.  I don’t want the packaging to be fussy.  Or cute.  Or tacky.  Please, oh please, not tacky.  Something simple that doesn’t cover up how pretty the soap is.  Only one problem:  labeling regulations.

Here in Canada, there are very strict rules around labeling for cosmetics, which is how soap is classed here.  Certain names for ingredients, certain size of fonts, and, of course, the ever-present French-language requirements.  Excuse me for a moment while I cuss……#$%^&*()_)(*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%&**!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There’s just so much that needs to be on there.  I wanted a simple little square tag in black and white on nice paper with my pretty logo.  Unfortunately, this was going to be nowhere near that simple.  I knew I needed to add the other info but simply drew a blank on how to go about it.

Hubby to the rescue.  After letting me yell at him that “I DON’T WANT A BOX!!!!” after he accidentally suggested a box a second time and dealt with my almost-hysterical “it can’t be tacky, country, froofy, frilly, or another stupid piece of paper wrapped around the bar like everyone else”, he struck gold.

“So make the tag a little fold-out pamphlet”….like the ones that used to come attached to my Murano Glass pendants.  Lots of room for everything inside but just what I want showing on the outside.  Pure genius.

He really is….you know, a genius.  My hubby, my hero.

So Ends Soap-Week

Almond Oatcake Bars

It looks like it should be eaten, doesn’t it?  It smells like it should be eaten too.  This Almond Oatcake soap is my absolute favorite scent ever.  I had a bar of soap given to me about 20 years ago that smelled like this and I never forgot it.  After years of searching and experimenting, I finally have what I remember.  Sweet and warm, enriched with Colloidal Oatmeal for dry, itchy skin and Shea Butter for its skin-loving properties, this bar is a must-have for our dry winter months.

I simply couldn’t develop a soap line without Lavender in it.  Lavender is like the Goddess of soap scents.  While we may tinker around experimenting with other fragrances, Lavender is always there.  Reliable and constant, the earthiness of Lavender can calm and soothe away the stress of my most crazy day.  I’ve added Sweet Orange for a bright counter-note to the Lavender’s depth and love how this scent can lift my mood and make me feel like it’s a brand-new day.

Lavender Sunrise Bars

So ends Soap Week here at Just Make a Mess.  My house could not smell more heavenly and my hands are as soft as they can get after playing with all of those emollient-rich oils all week.  Other things are calling me, other messes are waiting to be made.  What shall it be next?  Earrings….Bath Bombs….Tub Truffles…..that unfinished painting in my studio?   Decisions decisions…….

Dare to be Decadent

We ended up having to go out of town today, which meant that I didn’t get the last batches of soap I made cut or photographed.  Soap Week here at Just Make a Mess has been a total blast, even though it ground my jewelery-building to a halt.  Had to be done though.  Soap HAS to cure.

Curing soap does a couple of things.  It ensures that all of the lye in the soap has been completely saponified; that is, rendered harmless and non-caustic by converting fat to soap.  Properly cured soap is much milder than fresh soap, as well.  No one wants sandpaper-skin.  Lastly, curing allows some of the water used in the soapmaking process to evaporate, making the bar harder and longer-lasting.

Once it’s ready for sale, though, it’s going to need a name.  And packaging.  Branding is integral in marketing and I wanted something unique that really represented how flat-out DECADENT these products are.  If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll already know I’m on a Swirly kick these days.  Swirls make me happy.  They’re pretty and whimsical but also, for me, they represent “Flow”.  Flow as in a melody line.  As in life.  As in art.  As in the creative process in general.  Getting things to flow is really what most of us strive for.  We’re looking to eliminate bumps, have things roll smoothly along, and sometimes to make things just a little prettier.

© Jan Mac 2010

I’m also into symmetry.  Black Swan Bodyworks is symmetrical.  BSB.  Swans are elegant and posh.  Black swans are unique;  unique makes me happy too.  If we were all the same life would be so incredibly boring.  This swan’s swirly and it flows.  It’s black and white; basic and sophisticated.  It’s all good.

Now…..Truth or Dare?  When it comes to your bath-time, do you reeeeally want to smell like an Irish countryside or a deodorant?  Do you reeeally want to grab just whatever’s handy, whatever your children or dear hubby have left behind, soaking in a puddle of water until it’s all gooey and pulls off the soapdish like hot mozzarella cheese?  Or do you want something chock-full of yumminess?  Something that makes you slightly delirious because you’re inhaling the scent so deeply?  Something just for YOU.  Something so Decadently Good you stash it away so the kiddies don’t *gasp!* use it to wash the dog?!?  Now tell the truth…..I Dare Ya.