Tag Archives: lotion bars

Back to Crafting

The shop soap supply was getting low, so 4 batches of soap have been recently made.  Two of them are the same scent, as eldest son and family will get a full batch of one of those scents.

A decision was made recently to change the name of the shop to Cabin Crafted Soap and Yarn Shop and to be more creative on my balms and salves, identifying them by use, not by name.  The new logo requires a huge THANK YOU to my artist daughter-in-law who drew it for me.  I really didn’t want to keep using clip art of unknown origin.  Last fall just before the Holiday Markets, I tried new packaging for the soaps, using cello bags sealed with ingredient labels with the soap type on a front label and putting one of each scent in mesh bags so they can be smelled.  It bothered me to have all of the bars bare and handled by many people as they tried to decide on a scent.  This choice seemed more professional and still attractive.

New business cards are being designed using this new logo as well.

IMG_20170628_193313

 

There are still some of the old lotion bars, Citrus, unscented, and Cedar/Rosemary/ Thyme that will be offered on sale reduced to clear the stock.  Also there are some pure salves, comfrey, arnica, and calendula that will be reduced as well.  They are in the 2+ inch size tins and can be purchased on the shop site.  The shipping cost is per order, not per item and is priority shipping in the USA.  International shipping unfortunately is higher.

Lucky Day

All week, I have been monitoring the weather for today.  This week has been so very cold, and today was to dawn with a very high chance of freezing rain or mixed wintry precipitation mix and a high mid afternoon only in the upper 30’s or low 40’s.  Yesterday, the forecast improved, though there was still a chance of freezing rain overnight.  Today was the second Holiday Market at the Blacksburg Farmers Market and I was prepared to set up my booth, clothed for a very cold, wet day and worrying that the foot traffic would be sparce.

When I awoke this morning, it was overcast, but the temperature was already 42ºf up here on the mountain.  I had packed the tables, weights, canopy tent, and my chair last night.  This morning, I loaded the huge plastic box of soaps, lotions, and salves, the smaller plastic totes of yarn and knitwear, bags, wraps, and all of the other items needed to set up my stall.  When I arrived at the market, it was a bit cooler and raining lightly, but like other markets, everyone chipped in and helped set up tents and tables.  I have been fortunate at all 4 Holiday Markets to have Beth and Chuck of Dashing Dogs Pottery as my neighbor and they are so helpful with my tent that I lack the strength to erect alone.

We had periods of light rain offset by sunshine during the 5 hour market, the temperature warming into the 50’s and great foot traffic.  Many folks were out looking for their weekly purchases from the market and much shopping for holiday gifts. It was a very successful day for the vendors and we were all grateful for the much improved weather situation.

Stall

 

It is interesting to see how the items sold vary from different markets.  Today was knitwear, some yarn, and lots of beard oil and moustache wax.  Handcrafted bar soap was also popular today.

This was my last show for the season.  I will wait and see what develops for spring and summer.

Daughter and grandkids dropped by after having breakfast and I was able to send them home with some pasta, sausage, and salad to help with this week’s meals.

Now it is time to finish preparation for Christmas at our household.  There are still some gifts to wrap and a few very small items to purchase, Christmas dinner to plan and a grocery run.

SHOP NOW:  https://squareup.com/store/cabin-crafted/

 

Changes

After the most recent craft show, I determined that I had too many choices of my products which resulted in people either walking by the “clutter” or coming in, sniffing each soap and lotion bar choice and leaving without a purchase.  It wasn’t that this particular market was over saturated, as I was the only vendor of such products, especially natural, organic, no chemicals added soaps, lotion bars and salves.

As a result of this, I have decided to have a major clearance sale of all but 4 soap scents. There are many choices available right now in my shop for $3 per bar or 4 for $10 with a flat domestic $3 shipping rate on up to 4 bars.  The jumbo lotion bars are also going away and the remaining ones are discounted to $7 per tin.  There will be no more than 4 scents of the 1+ ounce size.  The salves will stay but the lip balm, sleep balm, Biker Bum balm, and Brigand’s Oil and salve will not be made again once they are gone.  If you have wanted to try some of my products, or wanted to replenish your supply, now is the time. If you private message me on the Cabin Crafted Facebook page, email me at 1cabincrafted1@gmail.com, or through the shop messenger, I will put together the package of your choice and will calculate the most economical shipping or arrange to meet you if you are local.

I did add the best selling Citrus Soother Lotion Bar into the shop today as well as two of the Beard Oils that I make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The display at shows will be much simplified as well.

If you read the blog post yesterday, the broody hen refused to return to the nest, even when I put another hen in with her.  I removed the eggs at dark and hoped that she would start over today, but neither hen in the brooder laid an egg today or sat on the nests.  I opened the door and the run gate and both hens rushed back into the flock.  Broody hen went promptly into the coop and sat on the nest she had been on onto the eggs that had been laid today.  I guess that I will just leave her there and if she hatches any chicks in 3 weeks, I will move her with her new family to the brooder coop to isolate them from the rooster and other hens until they are old enough to be introduced.

Gifts of Love

And appreciation. T’s family were the first recipients of my handmade products. I had been buying them handcrafted soap at the Farmers’ market after their move to Northern Virginia. When I started making soap myself, they received a batch. Then on a visit home, one of my Lotion bars was offered and that too became a product they used and the Beard oil for wild and wooly facial hair . Baby clothes, knit headbands, scarves and hats, a vest or two and a sweater to two left my needles for their home. They appreciate the handcrafted goods and I enjoy making them.

They have skills beyond my level in so many areas. Last Mother’s Day, knowing that I was reaching a point where I was going to have to start paying to keep my blog up, T developed my format on his server and presented me a link. I now know that my blog is secure and that I can post pictures without wondering if the next one was going to be the one that required me to pay for the service or seek sponsorship, not a route I desired.

W is an artist and my home displays many of her paintings, prints, and sculptures. A couple of decades ago, Mountaingdad presented me a beautiful hand thrown pottery platter.

14515711680671549997538 1451571286392-895267654

 

This huge 16.5″ diameter beauty has never had a display place in our home as there is no rack to hold it safely on the wall. It did live in the middle of the dining room table in one home, when we had a separate table in the kitchen used for most family meals, but our log home has but one table, used daily, so the platter sits on the pine and cedar shelves above the refrigerator nesting a large wooden bowl and often hidden by the bags of chips and tins of cookies blocking the view of the shelves and their display of little used pottery and the wok that is too big to go anywhere else in the kitchen.

W is in the process of carving a platter rack to mount on a log wall just above my jelly cupboard in the dining room. Tucson, as the platter was named by it’s creator, will finally have a home where it can be seen and admired more than the two or three times a year it is put into service. You see, wood working skills are another of her talents.

Because of my desire to have a couple of wooden soap molds of dimensions that will hold my favorite recipe for soap,  T put his carpentry skills to work and with a couple of red oak boards, he built me two lidded molds for Christmas.

IMG_20151231_085146

And to encourage me to keep making my products, the first installment of several large jars of organic Coconut oil for use in soap and lotion making and for cooking.

Each day we live in and admire their talents, as they were the builders and finishers of all of the finish carpentry, cabinets, and interior doors in our beautiful log home, and their craftsmanship makes this a wonderful place to live, as well as being decorated with much of their talent.

I love my home, my family and their talents and skills. Tomorrow I will use my new molds for the first time to start replenishing my soap supply after the holiday markets. I am indeed a fortunate woman.

I’m in, I’m in!

Late last evening, I received an email letting me know that I have been accepted for the Holiday Market in November and again in December.  This weekend, K will help me set up my display for a dry run.  I have been working a bit at a time to improve the curb appeal with the purchase of a few small crates and some small chalkboard signs.

IMG_0348[1]

IMG_0349[1]

IMG_0350[1]

 

I felt that my hand printed paper signs and lack of labeling contributed to my low sales at the previous festival.  The little clip on blackboards, were easy to make with wooden clothespins, hot glue, a paint pen and the small blackboards.  It has allowed me to identify the scents available, and each bar has a paper band with the shop logo and soap scent.  I purchased two of the small square trays and glued dividers in them for the lotion bars and salves.  The little soap crates will each have one or two varieties of soap and each of the two beard oils have their own little box.  Testers will be out for the Beard Oil and Lotion Bars.

This left me with a challenge on how to display the handspun yarn.  I have tossed various ideas around for a few days while I waited for decision.  To facilitate carrying the small boxes, crates and trays, supply box, sign, bags and table covers, I use wood fruit box type crates.  T suggested how to reinforce the bottom of those boxes so that I don’t have the bottom fall out when fully loaded.  Those boxes are stapled together, so attractive, but not too sturdy.  My idea was to use these boxes to my advantage in my display and today, I bought 16 Shaker style pegs, dug through my scrap wood supply for a 1 x 4 cedar board and set to work making a yarn display.

IMG_0347[1]

Out came the circular saw and the power drill, some wood glue and furniture clamps and the peg boards were fastened to the bottoms of two crates when stacked on two more crates it make a great display and the pegged crates can still be used to carry the yarn, table covers and other light weight, non breakable items.

IMG_0346[1]

After we set up the tables within a 10 X 10 foot space to see how it will work, we will determine the most appealing appearance to display the soap, lotion bars, beard oils and yarn on the tables.  I am hopeful that the investment in the display items will attract buyers and the market will be a success for my fledgling hobby business.

The Great Soap Dilemma

A couple of years ago, I began making cold process soap and handmade solid lotion bars so that I knew what the contents of the products were.  The soap that I was making was being used in our household and by some of our children and their families.  The lotion bars have been used by me, given as gifts to knitter and spinner friends and family and all were well received.  This encouraged me to continue to make more and varied products and soon I was stockpiling much more than we could use.  A couple of months ago, I opened an Etsy Shop, hoping to make a hobby business out of my passion.  I signed up for a folk craft festival.  Both the shop and the festival have been or were largely unsuccessful, however, my friends who have been given soap, lotion bars, or beard oils or who have purchased them from me have encouraged me not to give up.

In this vein, one friend suggested that I apply for the Holiday Market at the Farmers’ Market that will occur on two Saturdays, one in November and one in December.  I contacted the market manager and received an application.  The application was completed and promptly returned with the necessary photos of products.  October 15 was the deadline to submit the applications and I am sitting on pins and needles awaiting notification of whether I was accepted for either or both of the days.   As soap can be made in a couple of hours, it requires 4 weeks to cure to sufficient hardness to make it marketable.  My supply is fairly good right now, especially of the ones scented with essential oils, but 3 of my 4 signature unscented soaps are in a fairly low supply. For the past week, I have debated with myself, whether I should make more soap, knowing that if I don’t get in the market and if my shop business doesn’t pick up, that I would be adding 27 more bars of soap to my supply shelf.

This morning, I decided that the soaps that were in short supply are also the ones that we are most likely to use here, so I hauled out the scale, pot, immersion blender, oils, lye and other accoutrements of a morning of soap making.

IMG_0317[1]IMG_0315[1]IMG_0316[1]IMG_0318[1]

I ended up making 3 batches of signature soaps.  My Coffee Scrub, Lavender Oatmeal, and Rosemary Oat soaps wrapped in insulating towels on a wide window sill until they can be unmolded and cut tomorrow or the next day.  These soaps are all natural soaps made with food grade oils, no preservatives, no artificial colorants and no scent oils.  They are all mild castile soaps.

Now my fingers and toes are crossed that I am admitted to at least one of the market days and that my soaps, lotion bars, beard oils, Comfrey salve, and handspun yarns sell. I would love to keep indulging in my love to make these products.

Folk Festival

Application was made and accepted.  An opportunity to be a vendor at the Meadow’s of Dan Folk Festival tomorrow.  My soap, lotion bar, and beard oil making for my Etsy Shop has generated crates full with llittle activity on the online shop, so I decided to try this sort of venue to see if it is worth my time and effort.  If not, perhaps, I will return to just making products for us and the extended family that likes and uses the products. In the mean time, I am also looking for a way to reduce the shipping costs for the Etsy Shop to make it more appealing.

The soap making has been ongoing for several months as I make all of my soap the old fashioned cold process method and that soap must cure for at least 4 weeks to be hard enough to not dissolve into mush when you get it wet. What good is soap if you can’t get it wet?  Lotion bars are a quicker product as is beard oil.

The car is partially loaded with the non perishable items such as the canopy, table, my chair and the crate with table covers, bags, business cards, banner, and bright colored pinwheels to attract attention.

IMG_20150814_144651

The three crates of trays containing the soap, beard oil and lotion bars, along with the bins of extras await loading until the afternoon cools.  They will be loaded this evening so that all I have to do at 6:30 tomorrow morning is hop in the car and drive the 90 minutes to check in and set up.

IMG_20150814_143449

The canopy is borrowed from a friend who got it from a mutual friend and it had never before been erected.  Daughter and I broke it out and set it up in the yard one day to make sure it was all there.

IMG_0164[1]

It is all there, but had a small seam that was miss sewed that was repaired with a bit of duct tape as I didn’t want to try to get the canopy upstairs and sewed on my little home sewing machine.

The 8′ folding table is borrowed from daughter and SIL, a new folding chair purchased at Lowe’s end of season clearance sale; a couple of old Indian print cotton twin bed spreads that served as temporary doors in our house when we first moved in, will serve as table cover and hang from the back of the shelter as a backdrop for the banner and to give the stall some direction.

I don’t know if this will be a successful venture or not, but I’m game to give it a go.  If you are a local reader, this is a Folk Festival with vendors of food, yarn, jewelry, 31 products, my products and more; as well as inflatable fun, wine tasting, music, a play and a square dance.  Come on out and visit, the day is supposed to be gorgeous, a great day for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Hope to see some of you there.

A Day In The Kitchen

In mid August, I will be a vendor at the Meadows of Dan Folk Festival. My Etsy shop is not selling products as I had hoped and I have a hefty supply of soap and some lotion bars, but will need more for the festival, so today was soap and lotion bar day.  I made 4 different soap recipes, my Coffee with Oatmeal Bar, Jasmine Green Tea Bar, Lavender with Lavender Buds Bar, and Rosemary with dried bits of my homegrown rosemary Bar. Once they were set to cure, I made 25 lotion bars in 4 scents and unscented.  I still have to make some Tree Hugger and Mountain Man Beard Oils, but I’m still looking for 1 ounce bottles that have an orifice diffuser instead of having to use a dropper.  Half ounce ones are available locally but I have to order the one ounce size and to get a good price, the order must be larger than want.

IMG_20150629_164839

IMG_20150629_164722

 

I have about 150 bars of soap and 50 lotion bars to take with me.  If I don’t sell there, I am going to have enough soap and lotion bars to last a lifetime and provide gifts for everyone I know forever.

Another Chick Watch

Last night when I went out to lock up the chooks, I found two Buffy hens sitting on the day’s eggs in two nesting boxes.  I decided to leave them alone and see if they would still be there this morning.  Buffy Momma #2 is the one who tried to go broody last November and she is feisty and protective of her nest.  She left long enough this morning to grab a bite of food and came right back, puffing up if I approach and pecking at my hand if I try to check under her.  Buffy Momma #3 is less dedicated and can easily be chased off her nest.  Late this afternoon, I ran them both off the nests to see how many eggs were there and put 10 under Momma 2, labelled with today’s date to begin the chick watch.  Momma 3 only has one under her at the present, but will get any laid today and enough of tomorrow’s to put 10 under her as well and they will be labelled with tomorrow’s date.  If these two Buffy Momma’s can each produce 6-8 chicks, and with the fall cull scheduled to reduce the hen flock to 8 plus Romeo, we should be able to put about 25 birds in freezer camp without having to purchase any chicks this year and without having to set up the brooder, heat lamp and related mess.  We will refresh the flock with a couple of new pullets, keep a couple of the better Mommas and cull out all cockrells and older hens.  This year is an experimental year to try letting our heritage girls raise all of our eggs and our meat.  These birds will take at least 16 weeks to reach a size to be usable and 22 weeks to lay eggs and we will have to improve our second coop situation to make it doable, but it is another step toward producing and growing our own food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Momma 1 brings her littles out of the chicken tractor each morning and the littles wander back and forth through the fence into the big girl’s run, out into the yard and anywhere they want, but quickly return to Momma when she calls them back.  They are about a week and a half old now and very active and still curious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the midst of chicken and garden chores this week, two more batches of soap were made for the August festival to give them time to cure.  A batch of Plantain and Comfrey infused oil was made and 8 tins of Comfrey salve prepared for our use against scrapes and insect bites and a few to sell at the festival.  During the week, I also used the “Each one, Teach one” method to teach a friend soap making and lotion bar making and she went home with a mold of soap and a lotion bar of the summer recipe, one that I hope will not melt in the summer heat.  Ten more tins of lotion bars are added to the festival supply as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dinner tonight, even though we didn’t make it to our usual Saturday Farmers’ Market run, included fresh kale from the garden.

Away, No Not Really

Have I been away?  No, just focusing on other projects at the moment.  Last month when I attended the Fiber Festival, I took 2 bars of homemade soap with 2 homemade lotion bars as my gift exchange and gave my roommate another bar of soap and lotion bar.  They were well received and the conversation turned to whether I should be a vendor at the next Festival.  The trouble with this is that several of the participants are sensitive to scents and the smell of raw fleece, so if you vend those items, they must be kept in your room, not in the Festival area.  This prompted more discussion and I began toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop through which to vend soap, lotion bars and handspun yarn.

After arriving back home, my daughter and I discussed it more and with her business knowledge, we began the process of setting this project in motion.  A shop name had to be selected and my first choice was already taken.  Labels had to be created and business cards designed and ordered.

LLY group

As my supply of soap is limited right now to the last two batches that we made together about 6 weeks ago, we started making more cold process soaps as they must cure for about 4 to 6 weeks to dry enough to not dissolved too quickly in a bath.  First we ordered 2 more loaf style soap molds and 2 molds that will make 2 1/4″ disc shaped soaps or can be used for the lotion bars that fit in a tin.  We ventured down to the local Michael’s and used 2 coupons for 40% off to purchase 2 more loaf style molds.  That will give us 5 to work with. Yesterday, I experimented with a batch of hot process soap as they can be used right away, but benefit from a curing period to harden as well.  When cutting the soap from the loaf molds, there are always ends that are too small to sell and some of them we use at home or grate to use in our homemade laundry detergent.  The rest of these slivers and small bars collect in a jar and this afternoon, we played with two different recipes of rebatched soap to create Oatmeal and spice scrubbing muffins and flower imprinted bars of Lavender scented guest soaps.  These will be usable immediately and will be packaged creatively to add to the shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DSC_0131 DSC_0136

Last evening and this morning, photos were taken of the soaps and hand-spun yarns that are ready for listing.  A learning curve as I set up a business Paypal account and began to populate the shop.  A spreadsheet was developed to track the supply purchases and the sales when they happen.  Many more batches of soap will be made.  Lotion bars will follow as soon as the molds arrive.  As yarn that I am not planning on using myself or making for my daughter is spun, it will be added to the shop.

Late last night, my shop went live.  This will help me indulge my love of the old homestead crafts and hopefully earn a little money that can help me continue making more.  If you want to check it out, it is http://www.etsy.com/shop/CabinCrafted.