You make me hot

You make me soooo hot and steamy. “You” would be the flu. Yup, our house is riddled with influenza.

I slept a lot yesterday and today but I’m feeling better. Hopefully my flu shot will nip this in the bud and instead of a week of misery I’ll just have the one day. The kids weren’t so lucky. Being old enough to choose “no” has consequences, as they learned this year. “They” would be my son.

I did get up today and make lip balm. You read that right. I couldn’t find lip balm from my orthodontist, which are my preferred “chapsticks”. Honestly I don’t know where he gets them but they are really great. I love what I made and it’s working miracles on my lips, but his lip balms never melt in the car or your pocket, they give me 2-3 free every visit, and so on. Still, I didn’t have time to hunt for something that was clearly not going to be found. My lips were cracked, raw, and peeling from 12 solid hours of feverish sleep, and the resulting dehydration. I also did not want to add Carmex to that hot mess. So I perused my favorite DIY sites until I found ideas and wrote out a recipe.

My recipe called for cardamom oil, which I didn’t have. No worries. I happen to have two jars of cardamom in my spice cabinet due to a miscommunication between J and me.Into a shallow metal bowl, I measured olive oil and 1 tablespoon cardamom. It went on top of a pot filled with 2″ of water-a modified double boiler, essentially. I kept this at the warm setting for about an hour then set it to cool.

Then, into the double boiler went the coconut oil and shea butter, and set on warm again for about a half hour. Simmering shea butter and/or coconut oil after you melt it for at least 20 minutes insures that the results will never be gritty, even if they should unfortunately melt and solidify again in the future (say, in a hot car). Then I added beeswax and shredded cocoa butter. After the beeswax melted I pulled it from the heat and added the strained cardamom oil. I strained it through a coffee filter, which took quite a while. Having the essential oil might be necessary or I might need to consider using allspice next time. We have whole allspice on hand and coarsely ground it would be easy to strain and still pleasantly aromatic.

Finally, as the oils were cooling I quickly stirred in the contents of one vitamin E capsule as a preservative and for healing,  and approximately 1/2 tsp honey for its healing and humectant properties.

It made enough to fill four chapsticks or two carmex containers, for point of reference. Pictures are lacking because, well, I was sick and not actually planning to blog today. Silly past me.

The result is a creamy lip balm that goes on a little thick, which is exactly what I needed today. It’s heavier than my orthodontist’s chopsticks, which is great. I didn’t need light and silky, I needed the iron fist of lip balms.

Tomorrow I hope to make clay shaving soap, shaving cream, coffee body scrub, and hair conditioner. I have two orders to fill!


The grunt work

There is this image that people have when you say “I make soap and sell it on Etsy”. They think that you tinker around, and that you really don’t work very hard, and that from time to time you whip up a batch of soap like making a boxed cake mix. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Right? Am I right?


There is SO MUCH WORK. I’m not complaining. Please don’t think I’m complaining. I don’t mind the work, because I really am enjoying this new enterprise. However, learning about everything from how to actually make the soap and beauty products to the laws about how to label them and then there’s marketing to learn about and then there’s actually doing the marketing…it’s a lot. Oh, and record keeping. And eventually, bookkeeping. So much. Plus clean up time, because crafting anything is messy. I’m logging the hours lately, compared to what I usually do in the winter (read, sleep, read, watch TV, wish it was summer, dream about summer, sleep; in other words, turn into a bear). But there are no cake mixes involved and my Etsy shop won’t run itself.

I realized today that I need to be taking photos of all my products, all pretty and ready to sell on Instagram and linking them back to the Etsy shop. Apparently that’s a thing now. So I’m trying to get my Instagram account to let me back in since I lost the password and it refuses to believe I’m me. I may be creating a new account, which is fine, since it will be strictly for soap and not for personal stuff. Also spent some time with a good friend yesterday who wants to go in as partners on this. She’s a natural at marketing and has some great ideas. We had a good talk and I’m considering taking her up on it. I need to think about it, though. I’ve poured a significant amount of money, sweat equity, and mental energy into this already. I have a vision and I know where I’d like to see it go, which isn’t exactly the direction she has in mind but could be “in sync” with hers if we both compromised a  little. However, this is my baby and I’m not sure I want a partner. I’m certain I don’t want to risk losing a great friend over a business venture.

So many things. As usual, I need more coffee right now. This weekend I hope to make a sea salt spa soap, and two facial soaps; french green clay for acne prone skin, and one with kaolin and rose clay for sensitive and/or mature skin. I’ll share my toner recipes, and start developing both a moisturizer for acne prone skin and a serum and balm for mature skin. I like the balm I have now, but I think I could add a little something to it that would make it really fabulous, and I think I could make a vegan friendly serum. Eye cream is down the road.


Age gracefully? I can’t even walk gracefully.

As I’ve started making beauty products for my Etsy shop, I’ve learned that there is very little DIY skin care advice out there for women my age or older. Or for men, for that matter, but that’s probably another post.

I’ve made an excellent toner, and I like the oil cleaning method for washing my face. I am working on a scrub and today I think I have a mask ready.

Here’s the mask in its shelf stable, condensed form on the left, and here’s what it looks like when you take a spoonful and mix it with water on the right: 

Finally, after I rinsed it I applied my new tallow/grapeseed oil face balm and wow! My skin is smooth and so so clean. This may be a new weekly tradition.