Thursday, October 15, 2020

SOAPY TIME!

 I've been working on a few batches of soap for autumn but got sidetracked on the designs. I really need to be making soaps with colors like orange, black, yellow, green, and using embeds like fall leaves or ghosts but I ordered some new and interesting fragrances, molds and glitters so I wanted to give them a try and my design ideas didn't fit the season very much. I have one batch of soap that screams autumn and that's this one (below). It smells like pumpkin souffle. 


This what the 2nd design idea. I coveted the honeycomb mold for a while and was finally able to get it so of course I had to use the honey, milk, and oatmeal fragrance with this.


I finally ordered some eucalyptus spearmint fragrance which I love, love, love. I wanted to make the design simple since all I see when smelling this uplifting scent is a spa and what color fits spa better than a light calming sage green. 


This batch idea came after the glitter arrived. Little stars just seemed to fit perfectly with the autumn fig fragrance and dark grey/blue mica. My daughter named it starry night because she said it reminded her of Vincent Van Gogh's painting by the same name.



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

THE JOY OF VISITING NORTHERN MINNESOTA & GOOD FRIENDS

 Spent a day visiting a dear friend in northern Minnesota a week ago. My friend lives completely off-grid on over 80 acres of land in the middle of the forest surrounded by the most diverse wildlife (plants and animals) you will find in the state of MN. It truly is a little piece of heaven at his place. It was a great place to escape to for the day.

Here is my daughter and my friend checking out a wolf den.



We found some bobcat scat.


My friend showed us how to identify wild ginger by sight and taste.


We explored around all the beautiful trees growing on his property; sugar maples, aspen, cedar, white pine...

My favorite part was walking for hours in the woods taking in the awesome autumn smell in the air and learning about our surroundings.


Thank you, Barry. 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH SIBO

 I've wanted to talk about my experience with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) on this blog for a long time but every time I start I find it just takes way too long to explain and no one wants to read all about my medical tests and every misdiagnosis so in short I will say I nearly died from SIBO. Some people say that dying from SIBO is not possible but they are wrong. You can die if you don't get the proper medical help and that is what I faced for months. I saw 14 medical doctors, 2 Psychiatrists, a Psychologist, 2 surgeons, 3 naturopaths, 2 functional medical doctors and even made a visit to the Mayo Clinic before I was on my way to recovery - and no, Mayo didn't help me recover.  The only other person I've come in contact with that had SIBO has awful as I did was a woman who was misdiagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and she was confined to a wheelchair for months. Once she received a proper diagnosis and was treated for SIBO she was back hiking mountains again. So yes, you can be severely ill from SIBO and you can die if no one will help you. I nearly starved to death, lost 25 lbs in two months, could not get out of bed for more than few minutes each day and no one would help me or knew how to help me until I found the RIGHT Naturopathic doctor. 

Today I am so much better. I'd say I am 100% better but I have SIBO again. I had kidney surgery a year ago (an issue caused by SIBO) and about 6 months later was diagnosed with SIBO again. Not sure if the surgery was the cause, the antibiotics given during surgery, or the probiotics I was put on following my first successful treatment of SIBO. It's hard to say, but I back on treatment again and doing really well. One major change I made this time around is sticking to the SCD diet. I stuck to it 80% of the time before but I cheated by eating oatmeal to maintain my weight and I ate buckwheat flour and maple syrup not knowing at the time they were not SCD legal. Now I know what is and isn't legal so I stick to the SCD diet 100% of the time and it makes a huge difference in how my gut feels and the response I am having to the SIBO treatment. 

One of the biggest challenges for me when I was diagnosed with SIBO was finding the right foods to eat so I am going to post on my blog recipes I create or recipes I find that are SCD legal in hopes of helping others with SIBO.  You will be able to find all SIBO related posts under the SIBO tab across the top of this blog. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

TIME FOR AUTUMN SOAPMAKING!

It's that time of year again. I love Halloween and autumn, it's  my favorite time of year.  My first batch of soap is Halloween Harvest, scented with Bramble Berry's pumpkin souffle, my favorite pumpkin fragrance oil. I used Van Yulay's cute little jack-o-lantern soap mold. 



 

Friday, August 14, 2020

ANOTHER REVIEW - BRAMBLE BERRY LYE

On May 17, 2020 I purchased more lye from Bramble Berry. I've not had very good luck with their lye lately, hit and miss on whether it ruins my soap recipe. It took a long time for me to figure out what the problem was because the problem was so inconsistent so this time I purchased a brand new container of lye and this is the result after mixing the lye and distilled water and of course my tried and true recipe came out soft!!


Lye should never be this weak. Even Bramble Berry admits this on their website.

https://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/expired-lye/

I've had terrible luck with Bramble Berry products lately and considering I've been buying from them since 2007 it is really a shame to have this experience. All of the fall scents I purchased also smell very weak for the first time EVER and I'm hoping that is not the case when I make soap and candles with them.

I definitely won't be purchasing lye or silicone molds from them again in the future, I'll post about the fragrances in a couple weeks. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

PRODUCT REVIEWS - BUYER BEWARE

 I am pretty angry right now. Like most people I get really frustrated when I spend a lot of money and I get junk. A year ago I posted about a mold I purchased from Bramble Berry.  I bought their 2 lb mold with 2 silicone liners. When my package arrived I opened it to make sure I received what I ordered and then I stuck everything in a cupboard for future use. When I finally got around to using the mold which was months later I discovered that neither silicone liner fit properly. They were both narrow on the ends and the weight of the soap didn't fix it. There was no way to tape the mold to sides because the liner was actually smaller on the ends than it was in the middle.  Here is a photo:

I wasn't happy about this but too much time had passed for me to complain (so I felt). I figured I'd use the liner anyway and just slice off the ends. 

I rarely use the 2 lb mold but because I liked the simpleness of having a silicone liner (my other molds are 5 & 6 lb molds and they don't have silicone liners) I bought a 2nd mold. I didn't need to buy a 2nd liner because I had purchased two the first time around and one was unused. I decided to start using both 2 lb molds more often. I made about half a dozen with the first mold I bought and today I was on the 3rd use of the 2nd mold (and liner) I bought. 

Keep in mind that I wash the silicone molds by hand, using warm water, careful not to stretch. I've read quite a bit about silicone liners and wanted to make sure mine would last. 

Here is a photo of what a Bramble Berry silicone liner looks like after using only 3x.

No matter how hard I tried I could not get the liner to straighten. I poured the soap in thinking the weight would straighten the liner out (like it does with the other one) but it didn't work. I tried to tape it but that failed too, I then tried using vaseline since I've read other Soapmakers have done that with liners but it didn't work either. Measuring the liner shows it has completely warped. 

I am not the only person this has happened to. Bramble Berry Reviews.

I decided to post about it here because reaching out to BB is useless. I've tried contacting them about orders or items in the past and I never hear back.

If you have a silicone liner from Bramble Berry, how did they work for you? Also, if you know of a good company to buy a silicone liner from please let me know.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

NEW SUMMER SOAPS

Sharing some new soap creations that I am really happy with.

I've had this little fish tail for a while now and had an idea how I wanted to create the soap but I was using a fragrance I'd never worked with before so wasn't sure how the process would work out. The base of the soap didn't exactly become what I wished for mainly because I used shredded luffa, something I now know I hate, but the rest of the soap turned out great.

The little pearls and the eco glitter were exactly what I needed for this project. So cute!!


My daughter wanted me to make some Pride Soap for her friends. I find working with multiple colors challenging when trying to create the perfect layers so I kept putting this project off. Finally I made it. I didn't get the perfect straight layers but what I did get I thought turned out awesome! :-)