Sunday April 13, 2014
There are so many different waxes to choose from - paraffin, soy wax, gel wax. I go through phases where I use one or the other.
I had some soy wax leftover from a big project - four different wax blends - one is a basic traditional soy container wax, one a pillar/votive blend, and two new "modified" waxes that have been "molecularly blueprinted" to reduce polymorphism. (They both contract a bit when they cool, so they are awesome for clear glass container candles.)
Here are photos, tips and instructions from my day of soy candle making!
Thursday April 10, 2014
Hopefully you remember the story of the Lovin Soap Project which has been traveling to Haiti to teach women in tent villages how to make soap - and through it, transform their lives. Amanda Gail and Benjamin Aaron are back in Haiti today, working with the women of the OFEDA tent camp. Talk of body care products was weighed down with heavy news that the women are going to be evicted from the land the camp is on. So not only are they losing their homes, but the community they have built.
There are still glimmers of hope, however strained it may be. As Benjamin wrote to me today, "Soapmaking and bodycare production are the vehicle in which positive and fruitful change will come to pass. Under the circumstances of today's events, which aren't anything we can really grasp, they showed up. The women we teach have complete faith in the process, in themselves and us. They know they will be successful."
Take a minute to read the whole story at the Lovin Soap Project website. You can learn more about the project and how to lend your support.
Tuesday April 8, 2014
May and June are great months for soap and candle conferences!
In addition to the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's conference, the Tennessee Soap and Candle gathering is also in May. It's an annual gathering of soapmakers and candlemakers from Tennessee and the Southeast region, and this year's lineup features some of the best and brightest teachers and soap/candle making personalities in the country including Amanda Griffin, Benjamin Aaron, Kayla Fioravanti, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Marla Bosworth and more.
June 13-14 is the Lone Star Soap & Toiletries Seminar, deep in the heart of Texas and will feature the wonderful Elin Criswell, Stacy Durham, Theresa Mendez, Pat Potter, and Kathy White. Also in June is the Alabama Soap & Candle Association's gathering featuring Lela Barker, Kenna Cote, and several other great speakers. I've been to both the Texas and Alabama gatherings and they are truly wonderful!
A "gathering" is a truly marvelous place to share ideas, share tips, visit vendors and see in-person demonstrations. If you have not been to one you are really missing out! If there's not one in your area...create one. It just takes a few (two or more?) soap makers in a kitchen or recreation center to make a gathering. It just take a gathering to make a basket full of great soap and candle making memories!
Photo: Trinette Reed / Getty Images
Sunday April 6, 2014
Original Artist: Stradamus - Hulton Archive / Getty Images
I'm doing some cleaning and organizing in my essential oil closet. I find myself sniffing every bottle and just reveling in how lucious all of these scents are! I've stated many times how much awe and appreciation I have for essential oils. They are amazing and powerful natural elements! We may know that they come directly from the plant's "essence" - but how do they get extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots or other parts of the plants? Here's more information about water and steam distillation of essential oils.
"When we peel an orange, walk through a rose garden, or rub a sprig of lavender between our fingers...what exactly is it that we can smell? Generally speaking, it is essential oils that give spices and herbs their specific scent and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume." - Julia Lawless inThe Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils