2016 Birthday Giveaway Winners!


What's good, LoveBuds?

Thank you all so much for the birthday love and the biggest giveaway turn out ever with over 2100 entries!  I'm excited to give away this awesome batch of prizes!

What was even more awesome were some of the responses to the giveaway question "When did you know you were a soap addict?"  Here are just a few of the great responses I received:

"When I started buying everyday!"

"When I had to start hiding it from my husband..."

"When my friend was using my bathroom and I had run out of soap, I told her to look in the cabinet for more and then I heard her laughing. That laughter was my indication. :)"

"I knew the addiction was real when I would save up coins for releases BEFORE saving up for lunch money..."

"I will never admit lol"

You guys are the best!  Now for my


Prizes are awarded in the order listed
 
It's My Birthday Giveaway
 
 
Congratulations to all my winners!  Thank you everyone for participating.  There will be more giveaway fun soon.
 
Until Next time~
 
Peace, Love & lots of awesome BUBBLES!
 
A. 

More Great Handmade Soap for $5 or less


Hey LoveBuds!

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a few great soapmakers who offered soap for $5 or less.  Today, I have a few more to add to that list.  So let's get right to it!

First up today is Emily's Soap.  Emily believes in pure, natural ingredients and the simple "pioneer" spirit of home soap making.   Her line is mostly naturally scented and colored soap, but Emily also offers scented creams and other items.  This soap is just darn good.  I receive a bar of her lavender soap and if you know me, lavender is one of my favorite fragrances.  It had a creamy lather and my just enough lavender to make my shower wonderfully refreshing experience.  All of her 4 oz bars sell for just $5 each.

Visit Emily's Soap 
     website
     facebook
     instagram


Next up is Ladybug Suds & Sundries. Astarie (I love her name!), sent me two soaps to try out Fairy Floss, which is a playfully sweet cotton candy scent and Independent (2015), a sparkly fruit scent reminiscent of fizzy fruit punch and and ode to the 4th of July. I personally tried Independent and loved the great lather, fresh clean feeling and effervescently fruity fragrance of it.  Fairy Floss will be gifted in a giveaway, not because I don't like it, but I don't want to be selfish and I love sharing the #bubblelove with my readers.  Ladybug (the owner's nickname) started making soap like many other momtrepreneurs, looking for a way to deal with her baby's sensitive skin.  Normally, bars from Ladybug Suds & Sundries run $6.00 each, but she is currently have a HUGE stock reduction sale and the soaps I listed as well as many others have been reduced to just $2.00 each!


Visit Ladybug Suds & Sundries
     website
     facebook
     instagram
     twitter
     YouTube

I've also posted some brand new soaps for sale.  All soaps are priced at $5 or less. Each of my small batch soaps are made with fresh, natural oils and ingredients.  I love trying new things, but I don't have room nor enough days in my life to use them all, so I'm offering them to you.  Free Shipping is now always available on all orders of $20 or more.  There are even some leftovers from my special birthday gifts at reduced prices.

Do you know of any other great soaps for less than $5?  Email me and I'll work to do another review of awesome soap for great prices!  I'm off to study for and finish up my midterms and get to cracking on the August Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club project.  What are you working on this weekend?

OH! Don't forget, there is still one more week to enter my Birthday Giveaway which includes a new KINDLE PAPERWHITE!


Until next time,

I bid you Peace, Love & Lots of amazing and affordable Bubbles!

A.

It's My Birthday! My Soap Dish and Awesome FREE GIFTS FOR YOU!





It's that time of year again....MY BIRTHDAY!  I officially 45 tomorrow.  Yup, the big four five.  Crazy, I have the spirit of a 30 year old, but definitely the knees of a 55 year old, so I guess that's about right, lol.

Usually, I do some introspection and give some insights on what I've learned or how I've changed or the world... but not this time.  This time, I want to just chillax both mentally and physically, I just want to take it easy.  One thing is that I absolutely love life and I am truly enjoying the journey.  I just feel that sometimes we spend too much time trying to document what's going on in our lives versus just living and being present in the moment.

So without further adieu, here it is ~ My current soapdish situation!


Yeah, don't judge me...

On to the my gifts to you.  Along with the free gifts I made to go with any purchase from my website, I will send an additional FREE full sized bar of soap (from some of my favorite artisans) and you can receive FREE SHIPPING!  Whichever free promo code you use (BIRTHDAYGRAINS, BIRTHDAY SOAP or BIRTHDAYGEL) will also apply the discount for the product and free shipping.  Valid THIS WEEKEND ONLY!  


Next, check out my giveaway where one winner will win a KINDLE PAPERWHITE and others will win bountiful prizes of soapy awesomness!


It's My Birthday Giveaway
 
Thank you for sharing my birthday with me!  I will soon be preparing for a major surgical procedure at the end of August.  As such, I need to double up on my school work so I won't be as active on the blog, but I will still be posting soap loveliness on Instagram.  Once I'm back on my feet, I'll be back with more of my #soapchronicles.
Love to you all and until next time,
Peace, Love and loads of birthday cake scented Bubbles!
A.

Pamper yourself without breaking the bank! Fabulous suds for $5 or less!



Hey Love Buds!

We're coming down the stretch to my birthday.  Later this week, I'll give you a peek at my current soap dish situation and an awesome giveaway for my birthday.  But today, I want to talk about soap ballin' on a budget!

My need for an extensive soap collection has necessitated a need to be thrifty.  Quality handmade soap can sell for over $10 a bar and though I love to treat myself, there are lots of soap artisans who don't sacrifice quality while still providing a reasonably priced product.

This statement by no means discounts the hard work and craftsmanship put into creating handmade soap.  It takes a keen scientific insight and creativity to create great soap.  But for those of us on a tight budget, there are still some great options to be found.  I've personally tried all of the soaps I present today and none of them disappoint. Each was provided to me without charge in exchange for my honest opinion.  Here are a few options for finding great handmade soap for $5 a bar or less:

LOVE YOUR SUDS
 This company is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, so for those of us in the US and other countries, shipping may be an issue, but I highly recommend this soap.  The bar pictures is Mocha Mint and it is truly TO DIE FOR!  It sells for $3 Canadian and is about the size of a half to a third bar of soap (just about 2.5 ounces).  I know, for 4.5 to 5.5 bar, the equivalent price is not as thrifty, but if you have tons of soap like me, this is the perfect size.

Even if this was a proportional priced 5 or so ounce bar, I suggest you give it a try.  Not only is it gorgeous, but it is filled with ground espresso beans giving it scrubby, tingly, chocolatey, invigoratingly awesome bathing texture.  With my sensitive skin, I'm not for overly exfoliating bars.  Though this bar is just a bit rough for my skin, I kept bathing with it because the lather and fragrance are intoxicating.  Check out Love Your Suds on Facebook and Instagram.

 

CAST SOAP CO.
 The nice people behind Cast Soap Company create awesome soap in Dublin, Ohio. The magnificent 4 ounce sudsy creations sold by Cast Soap are priced at just $4 per bar.  You can grab these locally in several shops in Ohio and Cast Soap can also be found on Etsy.  These bars are hot processed with great lather and leave skin feeling great.  I tried the Oatmeal Scrub, which was nicely exfoliating, but not overly so.  I also received the sweet honey almond to try and though almond is not one of my favorite scents, my mother really enjoys almond and loved this soap.  Check our Cast Soap on Facebook and Etsy.


I've previously reviewed these soaps and absolutely love the natural soap bars offered by Unearth Malee. These bars are Asian inspired, delicately scented and beautifully crafted.  While the regular price of these bars is $6.50 each (4.5 to 5 oz bars), every month, one bar is marked down to $5.00.  For July, it is their Dead Sea Minerals Salt and Mud Bar (pictured left).  I highly recommend these amazing bars which are made without palm oil to support orangutan habitats.  Visit Unearth Malee on Facebook and Etsy.

I still have a few more vendors to cover and that will be in part 2 of this series, later this month.  The other creators I will review include, Emily's Soaps, Ladybug Suds and Sundries and A&M Soap.

In the meantime, check out my creations here!  All soaps are always $5 or less and for my birthday, they are marked down to $3 plus every order of $6 or more receives a free gift of your choice. 

Until next time,

Peace, Love and lots of affordable yummy Bubbles!

A.




Feature Friday: Dandelion Zebra Swirl



Hey Love Buds!

Today's Feature Friday video is by Kevin Devin of Devinely Designed.  This gorgeous soap has a contrasting pattern similar to the Great Cakes Soap challenged I have been working on this month.  Enjoy!





Check out more by Devinely Designed on:
YouTube
the Web 
 Facebook
 Pinterest

My birthday is next week and I've got some special stuff coming your way including my 2nd annual look at my soap dish, some really good soap for $5 or less and a great sale on my products.

Until next time,

Peace, Love & lots of pink zebra striped Bubbles!

A.


 

July 2016 Great Cakes Soap Challenge: Pipe Divider Swirl







Hey Love Buds!

I'm so excited, my first official entry into soap challenge.  This month's Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club challenge is called the pipe divider swirl.

In a nutshell, using a slab mold, you stick pvc pipes to the bottom with melted cocoa butter to create a kind soap within a soap effect.

The criteria was simple, use cold process soap and exactly 4 colors.

As you may know, I've only been back at cold process soapmaking for about 6 weeks, but I felt I was up to the challenge.

My first attempt at this challenge was with a very unique fragrance oil I purchased from Wholesale Suppliers Plus called "Rosewater Lemonade".  I thought the contrast of the fragrance would work will with this project.  

I decided to use Really Red mica from Mad Oils and a very faint pink created by mixing the Really Red with Snow White mica, also from Mad Oils.  For the contrast, I decided to use Yellow Raincoat mica from Mad Oils and 24k Gold from Nature's Garden.

I ordered some pvc couplings from Amazon, sight unseen and when they arrived they were MUCH smaller than I anticipated, so I ran to the local hardware store and purchased a couple of 1 inch ones and a 1 1/2 inch one to go with the 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch ones I received.

The beginning pour went smashingly.  However, when it came time to pour into the pvc pipes, I realized that they were way too small for this project.  I dripped yellow and gold soap batter several times on the red and pink.

I also wasn't really feeling there was enough contrast between the yellow and gold, especially after it dried and was covered in soda ash.  

My defeat becomes more evident with the fact that I have no skills at finishing bars.  Things like beveling, steaming, planing, etc have not been my strong suit, but could kind of be forgiven with a loaf mold.  This slab mocks me with my horribly crocked cut bars.  Even worse, it smells TO DIE FOR and the gold on this soap in some places looks like little puckered up lips and I love that effect.

ROUND TWO:

First, back to the hardware store for some 2 inch and more 1 and 1 1/2 inch pvc pipe couplings.  Next, the fragrance, I still wanted something that would provide for contrasting colors.  As I looked through my stash, I found Energy fragrance by Bramble Berry and thought with a little mint added, I could do something that resembled leaves on an orange and yellow base.  So I added a dash of peppermint and spearmint EO and the blend was perfect!

The larger pvc pipes worked like a charm, the fragrance behaved beautifully and I could not have asked for a better result.  For the swirls I used a chopstick whereas with the first attempt I used a bamboo skewer.  With the thicker chopstick, I really think I was able to do a more controlled swirl.  With the first attempt, I believe there is too much swirl work and it got a bit too busy in spots.  I covered this pan with a thin cutting mat after pouring.  I hope that will cut down on the soda ash.  I've been spraying my soaps with 99% isopropyl alcohol, but that has not seemed to help much with ash.

After careful unmolding, some calculated cutting and trying my best to clean them up, this is the result:


 The colors faded a bit more than I would have liked, but all in all, I'm pretty proud of the result.  The bar on the right is what the bottom looks like.

This was fun and I look forward to next month's challenge!

What new recipes/concepts are you working on?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Peace, Love & lots of energized BUBBLES!

A.      
 

What is Bathy Taffy? I'm not sure yet...


Love buds!

I can't even describe the fun I'm having creating yumminess in my soap lab!

I decided to try out a few things other than cold process soap.  Most of us use handmade soap because we are looking to use more natural products.  The level of adherence to the natural ingredients runs the gamut and each person feels.  Personally, I definitely want to live a healthier life and minimize my carbon footprint, but I consider products on a product by product basis, if it looks interesting, I'm not bound to a code that would make me not use a product just because it is not 100% natural.  I do know that some ingredients cause irritation for me and those I do try to avoid.

That was a ramble for what, I think I'll get back around to it...I go off topic often.

In bringing Bathy Taffy to fruition, I wanted to create a new lather experience for myself.  Most liquid, cream  or other types of soaps irritate my skin.  Many have quite a bit of proplyene glycol which I am pretty sure is the culprit.  It is hard to find natural liquid or other forms of non-bar soaps mainly because they do not lather well.  When you add things to a soap that are non-lathering (extra glycerin or butter or other moisturizing additive) it greatly affects the lather.  Proplyene does not, so it is added as a humectant to many of these products.  For product makers who chose not to use it, the result is good soap but not great lather.

Recently, as I have gotten back into creating soap, the desire for a different soap texture arose again.  My attempt was to create a kind of cream soap and I tried by making a butter and adding liquid soap first, but I never achieved the lather I wanted and still had some level of skin irritation.

With some research, I found that adding sugar to your lye water really boosts lather in the final soap product.  Seasoned soapers know that dodium hydroxide is used to create bar soap and potassium hydroxide is used to create liquid soap.  When I combined the two with my process, an elasticy soap was the result, even when fully diluted!


Bathy Taffy Recipe 

I apologize, I did not take pictures of this process, I wasn't sure it would work out.  I am really trying to do better at that!
If you are unfamiliar with cold and hot process soapmaking, please do not proceed.  Find a local soapmaking class or find some video tutorials.  Working with lye can be hazardous if you are unfamiliar with how to maintain safety while doing so.

TOOLS:
Crockpot (Some people make hot process soap on the stove or in the oven, if so, you will need the essential tools for heating your soap via that method.  I used a crockpot)
Stirring utensils
Stickblender
Safety googles
long rubber gloves
apron
thermometer
Stainless steel pot (to heat glycerin and lye up)

INGREDIENTS:
I will share my ingredients by percentage of batch.  I did a 16 oz batch with a 10% superfat.  The key to this is the use of glycerin instead of water to create the lye bath.

Use a soap calculator to figure the amounts of lye, lye bath glycerin and dilution liquid amounts.

You will need:
LYE WATER
.87 oz Sodium Hydroxide (40% of calculated lye amount)
1.84 oz Potassium Hydroxide (60% of calculated lye amount)
5.75 Glycerin (36% of the weight of oils)
2 TBSP Sugar

OILS
2 oz Castor Oil (12.5% of oils)
2 oz Olive Oil (12.5% of oils)
4 oz Coconut Oil (25% of oils)
4 oz Palm Oil (25% of oils)
2 oz Rice Bran Oil (12.5% of oils) 
2 oz Shea Butter (12.5% of oils)

DILUTION
2 oz of additional Glycerin for dilution bath
11 oz of liquid for lye bath (I used coconut milk w/aloe vera)
2 oz of additional butter (shea or mango) I used shea for after dilution

DIRECTIONS
Warm oils in crockpot on high.  In the stainless steel pan, add glycerin and dissolve sugar in it.  Once completely dissolved add Potassium and Sodium hydroxide.  Continue to warm until all lye is dissolved.  Solution may be cloudy, no need to warm until clear.

Once oils and lye are within 20 degrees of each other (between 130 and 160 degrees), add glycerin/lye to oil (never add oils to lye) and stick blend to a heavy trace.  Turn the crockpot down to warm.  Let sit about 10 minutes and stick blend again.  Repeat until you can no longer stick blend and then continue to cook batter until translucent, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.  Once translucent, test via your chosen method to ensure it is fully neutralized.

Add 2 oz of additional butter and stir in until melted.  The batter should start to have a taffy-like consistency.

Add dilution water to batter and gently stir to incorporate.  Try to ensure all of the batter is covered with solution and let it warm for 4 to 6 hours stirring occasionally.  

Once all of the batter is incorporated, it will have the consistency of thick shower gel and may develop a layer of foam.  At this point turn off the crockpot.  Let set at lest 24 hours.  It will then take on a taffy consistency again, just stir in the foam and it is ready to use.

Carefully add the fragrance oil of your choice.  You could probably do this with the dilution bath.

I am considering adding a little color to make it look a little more palatable.  

If you try this, tell me how you like it.  I took a shower with it last night and my skin felt great, though the lather is not as great as bar soap, I felt it was a bit more than most handmade cream soap options.

Until next time Love Buds,

Peace, Love and lots of gooey, bathy taffy Bubbles!

A.