Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Fragrance of Early Autumn

Coming home this afternoon, I took a moment to catch a whiff of the air around me. A smooth smell of wood smoke was in the air with a hint of the sweetness from leaves just starting to decay on the ground. A fresh, rain smell still lingered from the deluge we've had all week and expect more of shortly.
I wonder if I can find a woodsmoke fragrance? Though, it might smell too artificial and pale sadly in comparison to the smell of real woodsmoke that clings to your clothes and hair.
Unfortunately, the reason I am back so early is that I'm a bit ill. Hopefully nothing viral, it's probably just a bit of my low blood-pressure acting up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lush Winter Soap Fragrances

I have four soaps curing on my counter at the moment: a sand soap brittle (highly exfoliating for serious grime with a touch of tea tree), my creamy pumpkin soap, and two brand new scents. My new fragrance oils arrived yesterday as well as my Shea butter base to use for solid perfumes, I'm still awaiting my tins to contain the perfume unfortunately.
Still I made two scents that I originally intended to be a his and hers set, but now I'm not sure if the one is manly enough.
The hers scent is currently called "First Frost"- a combination of heady leather scents with some sweet vanilla and cool peppermint.
The his scent is, by the suggestion of my brother, currently called "Mukluk"- leather, spiced plum oil and ground cinnamon. The soap is colored a deep, rich brown from the cinnamon, I have a no artificial colors policy.
I have to get things together for a photo shoot this week. Someone convo'ed me and asked if my soaps could be used for facial cleansing. In good conscience I couldn't say yes, I've never tested them for facial use and know that glycerin isn't usually recommended for facial use. Oh well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp Pledge

Even though I don't celebrate the winter holidays, almost all of my customers (and potential customers) do! I want my shop to be ready and hopefully come under the radar of new buyers. So, I'm taking the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp Pledge (things called a 'boot camp' that don't involve wearing camouflage have always peaked my interest).
"I, MorningValleySoaps/CraftingBirds, pledge to participate in the Etsy
Success Holiday Boot Camp to the best of my abilities. I vow to check in every
week, do my homework, and support my fellow Holiday Boot Campers. I will read
weekly newsletters and blog posts, check in on the weekly forum thread, read the
weekly blog posts, check off the checklists, and salute the mascot.* I promised
to share what I've learn with those who need it, support my fellow
indepreneurs and, most of all, have a positive and persistent attitude. I
understand that together we can spread the word about our handmade and vintage
goods, making this holiday season a more unique and meaningful one to gift
givers and give-ees everywhere!"

*Note: I don't make a habit of saluting things, so whatever silly mascot they choose, I'll acknowledge it and show proper... respect (?) to it, but that's all.
I've been working on more autumn/winter jewelry for Blackbird Crafts and creating a recipe for Pumpkin soap for MVS. Also, I just order some soap/solid perfume supplies! They should be here soon and then I can make up some new scents. I have an idea for a "Pamper Your Man" three soap set. Also, for ladies I want to sell a set of a soap with a matching solid perfume.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Soap Pictures!

Above: Eucalyptus and Exfoliation Soap Brittle

Above: Winterberry Soap Brittle
Next project is to make some really great unisex soaps and to make some solid perfumes that match some of my soap scents. That way, you can layer scents from the shower in a more long lasting way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soap Brittle

After making cute little "soap muffins" as I call them for a while, I've been experimenting with a new form, "soap brittle." Instead of filling individual little molds to create each bar, I've been making loave of soap (yes, I use an actual loaf pan to form it) and then cutting into slices once cooled.
My friend Faith (a fond user of my soap) suggested I call the creation a brittle, it refers to the homey, slightly imperfect nature of the shape and continues the "Almost Good Enough to Eat" theme I've been using.
My new Winterberry soap is the first of this new composition that I've listed, but I made another batch of soap last night. On the top of the bar I had poured dried oats, so one side is slightly exfoliating while the other is just a gentle, soothing side. The bar has eucalyptus oil in it which is great for clearing up sinuses as well as having an relaxing aromatherapy effect. It also has fresh aloe juice from my own plant for moisturizing properties.
In the near future I would like to move into lye soap and solid perfumes (hopefully by early next year). I love the creamy texture that a lye soap can have, but will still continue making some of my glycerin soaps, especially if I build up a customer base that will continue by their favorites. right now I'm stocking up for the Craft Fair in about a month.

Because I have run out of most of my fabric, I haven't started any new sewing projects, but I'm hoping that the season's demand for costume pieces will move some of my inventory out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crafting as Stress Relief

I have a habit of feeling too much, thinking too much and keeping things that really bother me to myself. Unhealthy overall, but something I've been trying to keep in check by journaling and crafting. Having something to do with my hands is helpful, it makes me focus on something solid and achievable instead of over-analying. Being creative gives my brain something to solve other than the incalcuable meanings behind words and gestures from friends and strangers.
This semester I've really packed my schedule, some of it inadvertantly. I'm only working my off-campus job for maybe 18 hours a week, but I have some upper level classes that require alot of outside work, a campus job, several extracurriculars (some needed to keep scholarships), I'm involved in my bible study group, as well as trying to maintain personal relationships, and run my Etsy shops. I hate wondering when I'm going to have time to do laundry again next (since I have to use the laundromat).
There is so much I want to do and need to do, it's hard deciding what might have to go. In the end, though I love having money that doesn't all have to go on textbooks or gas for my car, it will probably be my off-campus job. I'm hoping the manager can work with me and let me come back for the holidays or the occasional weekend and then pick up a fuller schedule in the summer, it was hard to find a job in the first place, so I don't want to give it up. I also feel like I might let them down, they're a bit short-handed at the moment. I'm going to give my new schedule a few more weeks to see how I settle in before I talk to my manager- I just might be initially overwhelmed.
I wish my Etsy would take off a little more, then I wouldn't be so worried about the money. Today I went and stocked up on soap and jewelry making supplies since I still have an income. I made a Winterberry Soap Brittle (long strips of soap cut from a loaf) after work tonight. It has vanilla, juniper berries and a hint of cinnamon and ginger.
I did come home to a sale which cheered me up a bit, my bottle-cap necklace has been purchased. That makes my third sale on "CraftingBirds." I guess I'm technically not an undiscovered newbie anymore. I hope this leads to more discoveries very shortly.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bath Teas

I'm working on a new line of bath products called "Bath Teas." They are comprised of dried herbs and spices along with dried tea leaves. I saw a vendor at a recent festival I visited selling something similar and it inspired me. The idea is to pour a few spoonfuls under hot bath water and let it turn your tub into a soothing, fragrant place where you can steep yourself.
I think it's fairly unique- not a soap or a salt, but will be equally healthful for skin and pleasing to the senses.
I'm making a few small batches so that I can debut the teas at the crafts fair I'm organizing in mid-October, we're still not 100% sure about the date yet, we have it narrowed down to two days. I'm working on advertising and finding vendors.
Tomorrow I have to go into town to the home and garden shop to buy some more terracotta pots for my indoor winter herb garden.

Friday, September 3, 2010

And Speaking of Treasuries...

I just made one as MorningValleySoaps, it's called "The Changing of the Season". You should check it out! I included alot of things from sellers in my favorites as well as new items that popped up when I did searches.
As CraftingBirds I made one last month called "A Guide to English Literature." Mainly because I am a geek, you'll see a reading/writing/literary theme in both my treasuries.
Now, I have had a long week and I need to spend tomorrow doing tons of laundry and homework before work, so I'm off to bed.

Treasury Lists

I accidentally posted this entry on my other blog yesterday:
"I've found it's a very good idea to do a search for yourself on Etsy Treasury.
It turns out I've been featured in three different Treasuries, only one was to my knowledge. That's encouraging.
Things are still painfully slow on both my shops. I am a bit discouraged, and don't really have the money to buy more supplies or list more items until I sell something else. The craft show for this October looks like a go, at least that's good news. I have to work on recruiting other crafters now. So, any Pennsylvania crafters should be sent my way.
Now I must finish my chai tea and get to class. I also have to get to work on the hat I'm knitting for my professor's new baby."

Oops. Well I finished the hat last night anyway.