My Scented Serenity...

Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find the humble musings of a novice Aussie soap and candle maker. I hope you'll join me on my learning journey and feel free to leave comments, give advice and ask questions. I hope to be able to share with you my learnings, and inspire others, as much as so many talented people have inspired me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

M.I.A & Catch Up!

OMG!!  I just looked at the date of my last post - 28 July!  What happened to August and September?!!
 
I have been MISSING IN ACTION!!
 
Since moving into my new workspace, I've been totally distracted from this whole blogging thing.  I've been having so much fun setting up, arranging and rearranging my craft room that I've kind of forgotten to journal the process.  Oh dear!  I really do have some major catch-up time to log!
 
So, I guess I should fill you in a little on what I've been up to. 
 
If you've read the first post or two on my blog, you would have read about my major side-step from a career as a teaching primary school principal, to basically being self-employed...or at least on a mission to become so.  You also would have gleaned from my posts that I'm a bit of a perfectionist who likes to have things 'just so' and to have things proceed in my own prescribed manner.  I think it's called OCD!!  I'm often told I over-think things and need to learn to just do things without thinking them to death first!  Well, I've been working on it, but I'm afraid it's going to be a rather long and strenuous battle..,with myself!!!
 
Anyway, the plan was, after getting my new workspace created and in effective working order, to start creating and working towards establishing my own little business.
 
Well, that's been happening, but of course, it's not just about creating and maybe selling a few bits and pieces and building things up slowly.  My mental jigsaw just doesn't work like that!  I need to see the whole picture and know where it is I'm headed before laying the first piece down.  So, as you would have guessed, I've not just been working on product development, but of course the whole gamut of things that go with starting a business.
 
However, I won't bore you with a long-winded diatribe of my step-by-step plan to launch my business.  I will however share a few snapshots of my beginning steps...product development.
 
With the plan in mind to use our local markets as a launch pad for my new business, I set out to develop my soap range with a few tried and tested recipes (from my Christmas marathon!) and some new ones.   Funnily enough, I kicked off with something new for me - Goat's Milk.  I actually went back and reviewed my list from a previous post and decided I'd start my new adventure by dabbling in something I had never tried before.  I had been fascinated reading other people's tales about Goat's Milk soap and so decided I'd have a go.
 
Did I mention that I bought my first wooden log mould at Christmas time but hadn't yet had the opportunity to use it?  Well, now was the time.  But of course one has to line it first don't they?  That was another adventure in itself!  Gee how I love YouTube!
 
Not bad for a first try!
 
 
Once that task was out of the way, and all the gear was organised, it was time to suit up and get soapin'!
 


 
 
After reading about others' adventures with goat's milk I was a little edgy about mixing the lye solution and possibly having the ghastly ammonia smell that occurs when the goat's milk overheats.  However it wasn't to be!  Luck was on my side that day and thankfully, with using the milk in frozen form, I ended up with a beautiful creamy texture.
 


So, onwards and upwards!
 
My first-ever Goat's Milk soap  - Lemon & Poppy Seed! 
 



Lemon & Poppy Seed Goat's Milk Soap

 
Off to a great start!  I was so pleased with how this turned out, I just had to try more!  The next effort wasn't quite so great.  In my anticipation to get cracking on another goat's milk soap, I was impatient and didn't quite allow the milk to fully freeze before using it.  With a slushy mix, I attempt another soap but this time my hastiness was rewarded with the bright orange glow and hideous stink from the lye container!  Despite the initial foul smelling concoction, Strawberry Milkshake, complete with dessicated coconut, turned out not so bad. 
 
Strawberry Milkshake
 
As goat's milk is reputed to be good for anyone with sensitive skin, I decided I should have a truly dedicated bar for those who are sensitive to additives such as colourants and fragrances.  So along came a very simple, straight-forward, no-frills addition to my new goat's milk collection.
 
Plain Jane
 
Emboldened by my recent successes with goat's milk, I decided to be really adventurous with my next creation.  With goat's milk, oatmeal and about six tablespoons of organic, unrefined honey, I was really getting into the swing of the whole 'additives' thing!  Meet 'Goat's Oats & Honey'...
 

While this turned out to be a beautifully rich and heavily fragrant soap, I soon came to understand the trials and tribulations of working with goat's milk, and honey for that matter.  I have come to learn about what happens with overheating during the gel phase, and the resulting crumbling that eventuates when cutting the new soap.
 
However, after about three goes at it, I think I have it just right!
 
My first attempt - crumbly bottom but beautiful to use with 6 tablespoons of honey in it!

Modified version with only 3 tablespoons, but no crumbling.
 
 
 
So, I am proud to say that I can now tick off the 'attempt goat's milk soap' note from my list of things to do.
 
I have to say it wasn't as scary as I expected it to be - in fact, I am really enjoying making my little range of four goat's milk soaps.  They are simple, straight-forward  soaps to make but they are so nice to use.
 
Another notch on my soaping belt!
 
This is just the beginning of the list of things I've been wanting to try, and of what I've been up to in my new workshop. 
 
Now I need to add 'become a regular blogger' to the list of things to do!
 
Until the next post...in the not-too-distant-future!
 
Happy suds and bubbles!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transformation...Complete!

Welcome to my new craft studio...












Now that I have a new workshop, and a great view, it's time to get busy!  Time to get crafting!

With an area dedicated to beading, an area for planning, a spot for relaxing and some serious thinking, and my work table set up for soap and candlemaking, where does one start?  Hmmm, decisions, decisions....




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Transformation...in progress (Part II)

I cannot believe it is nearly three months ago that I began the photographic journal of the transformation of our dank dungeon into a craft studio!  Where does time go?

So to continue this long and painfully drawn out story...

Day 1 ended like this...


Walls, ceiling and floor all undercoated

Come Day 2 and it's on with some colour!

Colour on the walls...




Colour on the doors...


Some colour on the frames...

And some on the floor.








By this stage we were just itching to see the completed picture.

Are we there yet?
Not quite.

Are we there yet?
Nearly...

Are we there yet?!
...

And so ended Day 2.

Day 3 of our Easter weekend was the day for a well earned rest and time for the paint to dry and harden up enough for us to come back and complete the second coats.

By the end of Day 4 we'd well and truly farewelled that forgotten, neglected room.

It was time to say 'Hello' to the new craft studio...






Mission complete!  Well almost!  What about the furniture?  What about some storage space?  What about some window coverings?

So near and yet so far!  However the day would come...soon.

At this point I'm still having a hard time believing it's the same room! 

It might not have been a quiet, relaxing Easter weekend, but it sure was worth all the hard work.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Transformation...in progress (Part I)

This Easter was certainly different to any others we have experienced!  It was labour intensive, but very, very worthwhile. 

Here's a little photographic evidence...

Goodbye dank dungeon...







Let the transformation begin...

Prep work

My personal professional painter!

~Meet "The Husband"~

Cutting in

Undercoating

All walls and ceiling completely undercoated.  Stage 1 complete!






But before moving on to the next stage, a little test patch of colour was applied and left to see how it would settle overnight.



Now to seal the floor.  Commencing Stage 2...






Stage 2 complete!

Not bad for a day's work!