Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blueberry Soap

Ahhh, the Blueberry. I am simply in love with any berry. I think that they are like candy. I can eat them by the handful, stirred into batter to make muffins and cakes, turned into jam, added to ice cream...should I go on!?

I stirred up a kettle of my Blueberry Cream soap last night. And while I am a "high communicator" (a.k.a. ~ talks a lot), I didn't tell Captain what I was stirring up in the soap kettle this particular time. After stirring in the fragrance oil and adding some light blue swirls, Captain asks "Are you making Blueberry soap"? "It smells like when you make those muffins".

My sweet and creamy Blueberry Cream soap sells fast, mostly to customers from out of state wanting to bring home a bit of Maine with them. I also sell a lot during the Blueberry season itself, which is right around the corner. Look for my Blueberry Cream soap in a few short weeks!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Need Your Vote (Please)

Okay, so remember this great photo of the coast of Maine that I posted of the 4th of July weekend? I recently entered it into a local competition...and if I win, I get a $250.00 gift certificate for a local Gelato Shop! I love this place http://www.gelatofiasco.com/ and that is alot of Gelato!

Check out the contest here (and be sure to vote for me, please!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Busy Busy!

With all this fine weather the Farmers Markets are getting very busy. I am so happy to see so many people out and about! The smiles on their faces are a sure sign of the nice weather that has finally come to New England.

As you can see in the above photo (this market is Freeport) that we are packed in, tent to tent. Generally we have 20+ vendors at market offering everything you wish a market would offer...fresh eggs, local meats, in season fruits and veggies, yarn, candles, aprons, pottery, bread, cheese, spices, fresh seafood, hanging plants, seedlings, perennials, baked goods (cookies, cupcakes, muffins, pies), art, jewelry, Afghanistan prepared foods, cut flowers, and of course SOAP!

I am happy to report that almost as fast as I make soap, you are buying it. It keeps me busy, and I am happy to make both the old favorites and new creations. I generally get several suggestions per market for soap fragrances and when I get repeat requests for the same fragrance I do my best to bring it to you. Coming up soon will be more of Mermaids Garden, Sea Shore Scrub and Lavender. But new will be Tomato Leaf (!) and some fun fragrances for children like Chocolate and Watermelon.

Thanks for coming out to market!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Summer-y Soap

I was itching to make a new light, fun, summer-y soap, so...I did! Yesterday I stirred together 3 parts coconut and a 1 part "paradise". I think that is smells like a fruity tropical drink that is worthy of a tall frosty glass, a brightly colored umbrella and a fresh fruit slice. I haven't quite decided on the name...any ideas? Maybe "Summer"? Maybe "Pina Colada"?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Soap, Soap & More Soap

I have been busy making you more soap...*NEW Lily of the Valley and Casco Bay Rum are ready and will be at market ASAP.

I have curing on the shelves: Sea Shore Scrub, Oatmeal, Honey & Milk, *NEW Mango, Vanilla Bean and Citrus Scrub.

I hope to make this week: Peppermint Oatmeal, *NEW Beach Breezes, and Juniper Sage.

ALL for YOU!

My 4th of July...

I really don't have much to say...this view is just too beautiful for me to describe. I love it here in Maine.

My Lettuce Garden

Do you remember a few posts back that I had my husband build me a lettuce garden box? I blogged a bit about it here: http://cascobaysoap.blogspot.com/2009/03/sowing-seeds.html Well, I planted all sort of lettuce and herb seeds and here it is! I have already had some little "micro" greens and harvested some herbs! Just a little bit, and enough for us to have a salad with dinner, but very cool and fun.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Your Favorites

Many of my customers often comment at the Farmers Market or send me a note when ordering online, on what their favorite fragrance is....your top favorites are:

Lavender ~ a long time favorite and traditional fragrance
Sea Shore Scrub ~ clean smelling and gentle exfoliating action
Vanilla Bean ~ creamy vanilla, sweet and yummy
"Casco" Bay Rum ~ nice old fashion fragrance
Citrus Scrub ~ lemon verbena fragrance with cornmeal and poppy seeds for exfoliation

And I am often asked, what are my favorites:
(while very hard for me to choose, as honestly, I love them all!)

Mermaids Garden ~ "green" fragrance with seaweed, sea salt and clay
Peppermint Oatmeal ~ mmmmmmmmmm, with spearmint and peppermint and oat
Lilac ~ it was a limited edition and a sure seasonal favorite hit among many of you!

So, what are your favorites? I would love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soap Fragrances

Due to all the rain, I have had some extra time to organize my soap making supplies. Here is a great shot of the bottles that hold many of the fragrance or essential oil I use.

I use both essential and fragrance oils to scent my soaps. Many times you simply can not get the fragrance you would like from a natural source and that is when I use fragrance oils. Fun fragrances like "vanilla frosting" would be a man made fragrance oil. Essential oils are often available and I use them with many of my soaps such as Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus. Often Essential Oils are very very expensive and I would have to charge you much more for the soaps, that is also when I use fragrance oils.

As an example, Patchouli oil has experience a huge markup in price lately. A tough year for crops, the yield was not just as large, creating a demand for Patchouli oil. 4 oz. of oil is $48.60, I use about 4 oz. for one batch of soap. Due to this price, I chose to use the man-made fragrance oil. It is much less expensive.

Plants such as Patchouli and Lavender are steam distilled. Patchouli oil is steam distilled from the Patchouli leaves. Before distillation takes place the leaves are partially dried and stacked. Distillation is a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction. Commercially, distillation has a number of uses. Water is distilled to remove impurities, such as salt from seawater. Air is distilled to separate its components—notably oxygen, nitrogen, and argon—for industrial use. Distillation of fermented solutions has been used since ancient times to produce distilled beverages with a higher alcohol content. The premises where distillation is carried out, especially distillation of alcohol, are known as a distillery. I can not do this on my own, I simply do not have the equipment, space or technology to perform this procedure.

After distillation the vapors are condensed, usually yielding a two-part system of water and the organic compounds, allowing for simple separation. There you have your concentrated oil. It is a lengthy process.

I have a great supplier of these essential and fragrance oils. I have used several different suppliers but found through trial and error that one supplier stands out among them all. I am happy to bring you the best essential and fragrance oils I can in my soaps.

Oh The Rain!

Oh the rain!!! It is seriously effecting my Farmers Market sales! I simply can not attend a market when it is raining out, the soap gets wet and "melts" the labels get wet and smudge.

I did attend the market yesterday with a mist hanging in the atmosphere and chanced it. I have some screen sides for my tent and it did help hold off some of the moisture. But, near the end of the market the mist got heavier and the sea breeze picked up. I could see the mist blowing across the market. One sweet little girl was smelling my soaps and simply said to me, "this soap is wet". Uh oh. It was mostly damp on the ends of the bars, as I think the labels "protected" the rest. I had a small towel and dried the soaps off best i could. Today is not any better, it is drizzly.

You may wonder, how many customers attend a market in the rain? Well, I had a very decent day of soap sales yesterday, better than a sunny Saturday market I did 2 Saturdays ago. You just never know. I think that all this rain has people suffering from a large case of Cabin Fever and they just HAVE to get out.

On a misty day, it really is no big deal to do some outdoor activities. If you are out in the mist for a long time, you will collect enough moisture on yourself and your clothing that eventually you feel very wet, but a quick trip in and out of it is no big deal. This is what was happening yesterday. People would jump out of there cars and stroll around the market for about 20 minutes and then hop back in and off to the next activity. But when it is drizzling, (or pouring out!) customer attendance is down at the markets, for sure.

Come on sunshine!