There are times while doing anything that doubts creep in – business might be slow, negative comments come your way or simply, you ask yourself, “is this what I should be doing?”
This doubt has a way into your home. Did you know? It’s true, you may have unwittingly invited this in, even offered it coffee.
There is a knock on your door and you, being the curious and welcoming-being that you are, answer.
This creature pushes past you, walks right in and makes itself comfortable on your sofa, then asks if there is coffee brewing. This guest asks in that manipulative way some beings have of slithering into another’s graciousness, knowing just by asking that what they ask for will be produced.
Not wanting to appear rude, you make a pot of coffee.
While you are making coffee for your new guest he asks, “what are you doing today?”
You answer from the the kitchen, “preparing to make soap this afternoon,” matter-of-fact yet still friendly.
While the coffee brews you sit with your guest and see a sneer creep across his face.
You shrug his odd grin off as just his way, and ask, “what is your name, my mysterious guest?”
“Oh, I’m here to see if you are ready, my dear.” He answers, picking up a baubble from your coffee table, examining it like an antique expert.
“Ready for what?” You ask.
“Ready to welcome his highness.” He replies as he sets your glass heirloom back on the table.
Your heart catches, and now you are truly curious, which is the response your guest wants. He can feel your curiosity and that, my dear reader, is what he was after all along.
“His Highness.” He says as he settles his bottom deeper into your sofa.
That is the moment it dawns on you who this creature truly is, as if a veil is lifted, you see his green face. A memory of the grasshopper landing on your hand the night before surfaces along with the enticement to eat one more cupcake, as if it wouldn’t matter; the feeling to drive just a bit faster and sneak through the yellow light taking up time from those waiting their turns; the idea to take a spoon to your last soap to make it just a bit better but only to muddy the bright colors.
You realize this is the Ambassador of Soap Chaos, and Chaos comes with many faces.
This Chaos comes as Loki, the Wild Crouch, the Trickster. Many cultures, many people have known this Reckless Wrecker who have been enticed, enchanted to do just a bit more, ignoring their own internal guidance. Forgetting about the Fates who always have a hand in creations.
We in the soap world know this creature, his highness the Reckless Wrecker as the Soap Gremlin. That mysterious thing that knocks that bucket of oil held securely by your deft and skilled hands to the floor; that being that whispers it won’t matter if your measurements are off just a tick; that being that coaxes you to take a chopstick to the beautiful natural soap tops the Muses have gifted you.
All this time you had no idea you invited this gremlin’s ambassador to chaos into your home, you dear gracious hostess.
Now you do!
The next time you think “just a bit more” while you make soap, hesitate and ask, what or who is guiding me?
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Welcome to the Hobbit Home Where the Soap Witch Lives
Sorcery Soap has moved! Thank you to all those who helped us move with your orders, well wishes and good luck spells this past month. Although some spells need a touch of work. Keep reading and you’ll understand.
I’m happy to report no more stairs! Our new home is a one story. Truman-dog seems pleased to walk out the door into the yard. This home is more than we allowed ourselves to dream. It is not large, which I love, but roomy enough to give us breathing space. Happy to report all fragrance oils made it safely to their new home where light cannot reach their delicate little souls.
Our neighbors are lovely, we’ve met both on either side and they are older and quiet; a single woman on one side and a couple on the other and both, on first few meetings, are pleasant.
The main living area has been dedicated to our work, blogging, research and, of course, soap making. Our home is not set-up traditionally, we dedicate our living and dining room to what we like and utilize our spare room for our movie nights. No worries, if you stop by we have a comfy lounge area lit up with fairy lights.
The lighting in the main area is quite interesting and varied with two large windows and a patio slider. There is a built-in book shelf that holds most of our books, however, my mate stacked them to all fit, not to find. There is no dewey decimal system here! I like the randomness of it. I have already run across books I’d like to read again.
On the outside, a private yard runs the length of the house with a covered veranda.
Before we moved we had a few days so the family came over to do laundry, hang out and see how the house felt. The second night we were waiting for the laundry to finish when J walked into the hall and said, “why is there water on the floor?” The coupling for the cammode came loose and was running. Water poured onto the floor creating a small river. (Ok, that was dramatic.) It truly was everywhere! The hall was flooded, into the living room, soaked the newly remodeled bedroom closet carpet and even outside on to porch. Which was probably to the good. We jumped-to and utilized all available towels to sop up the water, not having a mop. It was cleaned up – no harm, no foul.
Two days after we moved in there was a storm. The winds were dramatic and we had a bit of rain, oddly only on one part of the yard. It was high contrast from the static hot weather we generally have in this part of the desert.
The old apartment still had to be cleaned. The next day, we opened the gate and to our astonishment there was a tree on my car. Ok, it wasn’t a whole tree but a huge branch.
We quickly discovered Palo Verde Tree’s have thorns. The car could not be moved without attending to the tree that was loving my car too hard. J made short work of that tree with his handy saw. He went into the house to get a towel to better grab the tree without getting further torn up, as we didn’t have gloves. I continued to cut the tree up and cut through a large branch the entire tree was resting on. I attempted to save my side mirror with no idea the weight of the branch was supported not by my mirror, but the very branch I cut through. Once it fell on me I had no choice but muscle the main tree branch off.
With a dent on the roof of my car and a scratched window, a few thorns in our skin and some scratches on my mate, all was well. We finished the job of cleaning our old apartment, removing our energy and setting our sights on the high levels of creativity floating about in our new hobbit home where this soap witch now lives.
We have moved on from the mischievous goblin and gremlin shenanigans, and discovered I’ll need a bit of refinement for my protection spells. It all could have been much worse, so difficult to say how much they worked. 😉 There is no accounting for the ridiculousness of naughty faeries and troublesome goblins and gremlins. It seems these beings float in on streams of creativity, so I’ll take it all!
I can taste Sorcery in the air. This Soap Witch can feel it growing and tickling to manifest, so new Sorcery soaps are on their way to being in this world from the other world.
In order to properly thank you I’d like to offer you this coupon for 28% off your next order. Use “SorceryThankYou28” at check out for this discount on your next order. It will become invisible (expire) at the end of this month. (9/30/2017)
What does is say for our self worth, to agree with the idea that natural is superior to man-made? This is a tag line, propaganda, an under current, a reductive idea that has been promoted for too many years. I wonder what the motive is… To say man made is less than, not nature, unnatural, and all we touch is inferior. Are humans not natural to anywhere or just our planet?
I find it a mistake to think only plants have intelligence, and that intelligence of form (remember, we do not instruct a plant, it has it’s own agenda) is lost once we reconstruct that form into another form. Aren’t we, after all, reconstructed form from an egg and a spermatozoa into our shapes? Don’t our bodies replace all cells every seven years? Do only our cells have some form of intelligence? What of other beings, other substances… ?
It has been my mistake to think humans are not natural and all things that are “natural” are superior to human influence or humans at all.
Granted many people who instruct the form-based world are not honorable alchemist. That doesn’t diminish the idea that if something is heated, treated or altered by humans mean that the intelligence is gone entirely. What if, instead of “create your reality,” the truer truth is work with your creations and honor the intelligence in all things, regardless if one understands fully?
What if the ancients understood far better than we do by honoring the earth in celebration, by blessing objects of importance, making offerings to an idea, asking the world and all that is for aid in survival?
What if natural is not superior, and man-made is not inferior?
Would you have more self-respect and self-honor?
Would you see yourself as part of the natural world? How would your interactions change?
What if you stop believing the company line, which is fact-less and groundless once examined; what if you forget the idea that man-made is inferior and that anything man touches is ruined and inferior to what nature produces.
How does entertaining the idea that you are part of nature change how you see yourself?
Thought I’d catch you up on what’s going on in this soapery.
Made a few bunnies for this Sweet Pea fragranced soap. This Sweet Pea fragrance oil from Fillmore Container, although lovely, needs to be treated with care as it accelerates so fast you could have soap on a stick blender. I forgot and used my stick blender.. Yes, indeed I did and was swiftly reminded. Thank goodness I chose a solid, one color, soap base.
Each little bunny has been hand crafted by Sorcery Soap Dough. You’ll be happy to know more Sorcery Soap Dough has been made and will be available in a few days: White, Yellow, Orange and Brown; next colors, Purple, Bright Pink, and Green.
Between keeping up on soap preparation for next months big soap release, soap photography, Soap Interviews, posting, keeping up on Sorcery Creations group and a million other things. Take a peek at the newest soaps when you get a chance.
Writing the next Master Soap Dough and Molding Book is moving along fine. Some of the topics that will be covered in the next Soap Dough and Molding book are:
Soap Dough insights
Soap Dough History
Fondant Tool Use
Tips and Tricks
If you need help with Soap Dough making and insights, see the books already available. Soap Dough Books.
There is something subtle and magical about the desert.
How can this be, you ask, when all there is are cactus, faded colors and dirt? That is what the casual observer will see. There is a deeper beauty.
I have lived in the southwest for 22 years. I first moved to Sedona, Arizona, an area with obvious beauty, tempered seasons, dramatic weather changes and majestic rock formations.
At first, after a trip to Estes Park, Colorado I was enamored with the emerald greens, abundant wildlife and rich smells of that area. I was moving.
I didn’t move to where I thought but to even lower desert, where rich greens are rare and the land doesn’t offer its fragrance until after the rain.
On a hike, standing on a small hill (a few hundred feet) I let my gaze settle on the landscape. At first it all looked washed out under the bright sun. The beginning of spring, all things are faded, beginning to wake. I looked more closely and saw the subtle bloom of purple flowers dusting the area, the brilliant crimson fruit and flowers of the cactus and heard the territorial clicking of hummingbirds. The more I looked, and softened myself, the more I heard and saw. Quiet bees going about their business, small chipmunks running from unseen predators and quail calling for a mate.
Eventually I made my way to my meditation rock. It’s not hidden so, it makes it a good practice when noisy hikers walk past. I looked over the landscape, saw more blooming plants, felt the soft warming wind, and was quiet. Looking down, I saw what looked like a carrot. Not a carrot, but a large blackish lizard with an orange carrot-like tail. This lizard, being about a foot long and as big around as my wrist, was a creature to watch. Eventually, Truman spotted the lizard too. We sat, still as rocks, watching. Truman, so very still he was drooling, which he only does for dinner. He’s an honorable being and would not attack this lizard but was as curious as I was. The lizard hid when it saw our shadows, but eventually grew brave to flick it tongue and eat invisible bugs. He moved from under his rock and ate the lower vegetation. Extraordinary!
A raucous group was making its way up the hill; a group of 7 young kids (about 8 years old) and two moms. When they arrived I looked at them, put my finger to my mouth and whispered, “want to see?” Mom’s agreed and they all cambered on the rock. Swarmed with little kids, they settled right away and studied the lizard along with us. The moms began taking photos. I turned around and asked if they were okay with Truman, and by then most of them had a hand on him and Truman was in his version of heaven, tail wagging and sniffing, being petted by kids.
They all sat quietly and watched the lizard. When the lizard darted off that was my moment to finish my hike. As I walked, I realized that is a version of humanity I enjoy. It brought it full circle, what I heard on the Mind of the Chef, “when you cook, you cook for other people. When you like the people you cook good.”
I thought if these moms and kids received a bar of my soap… I imagined their curiosity and delight. This is why I make soap.
*Males on South Mountain in Phoenix have bright “carrot orange” tails.
Most soap makers take such great care in their creations that understanding how our ingredients are sourced, researched and affected before they arrive adds to our pool of knowledge.
Last month I had the opportunity to interview Carrie Thornsbury from Nurture Soap Supply. Nurture Soap Supply supplies almost everything. This interview took a month to complete, not just because Carrie has a business to run, but also because she gave measured, but still enthusiastic responses. (Read the entire interview to receive your sorcery coupon for Nurture Soap.)
What prompted you to look into how micas and fragrance oils were made?
I’m more concerned with how they perform in certain mediums – particularly soap. I had started testing micas for soaps many years ago, when there were no bright mica colors available for them. I carefully sourced suppliers around the world and tested hundreds of colors. This was the way I learned about different color additives and how they performed in high pH. There were no other companies to follow and no one to guide me, so I learned through trial and error. I am still convinced that this is the best way to learn, even though it can be very frustrating at times!
I started get interested in fragrances about 2 years ago; At first my interest was out of necessity. Many other companies were starting to sell colorful micas, and I knew that to remain a viable competitor in the marketplace I would have to diversify my offerings. At that time our business was dependent on micas and molds, but we needed to offer something more so our dependence on these products was lessened. When I first started buying fragrances I was more concerned about the smell than performance. This was a huge mistake!
Some of the fragrances didn’t perform well in soap at all, and I had to get myself together and start researching and testing more. I started sourcing from several different companies and testing the fragrances very thoroughly in soaps.
Fragrances at that time bored me and didn’t look forward to testing them like I did colors. It wasn’t until a customer sent me a sample of 25:43 (Lush Dupe fragrance) that I really started to love fragrance. It was the perfume that changed my life! Before I received the sample of 25:43.25:43 was like a concerto for my nose! There were so many notes and once the perfume was on the skin it developed into something more wonderful than out of the bottle. It had depth and richness and it was beautiful. This fragrance sang to me! It wasn’t until then that I developed a deep appreciation for scents.
What do you look for when researching a micas and/or fragrance oils?
There’s so many things to look for! The first thing I look for now is stability in soaps. I test everything very thoroughly and make sure it will perform in a way that is satisfying for other soap makers. I also verify the integrity of the suppliers. If I start seeing rapid changes in ingredients on the MSDS sheets I am alarmed. One supplier even accidentally sent me an MSDS with animal testing results, even though they have a no-testing claim on the front page of their website. For Nurture Soap Supply, it’s not just about how the colors perform but how they are sourced and the stability and trustworthiness of the manufacturer. We are very choosy about who we work with.
Fragrances are the same. We have a very close relationship with the fragrance lab and we help each other as much as we can. To build trusting supplier/client relationships is so important to Nurture Soap Supply. When this kind of relationship is strong the communication is also strong and this is important to product stability and development.
What are some things to be aware of when purchasing a new mica?
This is a great question!Depending on the product application, you should be aware of how the mica will perform. If your bright blue mica contains ferric ferrocyanide as the coloring agent, your beautiful blue soap you planned will go tan or fade completely almost immediately. The same is true for carmine. Carmine makes a beautiful pink color in micas, but will fade to nothing in soaps. We don’t carry carmine-containing micas because it is not vegan or cruelty free. Many people believe that reds used in soap might contain carmine. This is just not true. If you have a mica with carmine as the coloring agent, it will fade in soap in about 5 minutes. Reds that stay bright in soap don’t contain carmine or they would fade.
There is also a lot of misconception about mica being natural. 99% of the micas used for coloring soaps are naturally mined. For some reason there are many that believe that micas are lab-created. If a mica is synthetic, the label information will contain ‘synthetic mica’ or ‘fluorphlogopite mica’ or other common synthetic mineral compounds. However, just because a mica is naturally mined does not make it natural. The color additives used to color micas are lab-created such as ultramarine blue and several colors of oxides. This, in my opinion, makes them not natural. As we all know, the term ‘natural’ is up to interpretation, since there is no regulated use of the term.
In purchasing micas for soaps, it is important to read the description to see if the mica is soap stable. There is nothing worse than make a masterpiece in soap and having it fade to an unwanted color. Also, be sure to verify the mica is approved for the use that you are intending. For example, if you are making lip balms be sure that the mica is approved for use on lips. The best resource to use if you’re unsure is the FDA color tables located here: https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/IngredientNames/ucm109084.htm
How do you choose a fragrance oil?
It completely depends. First, I will smell the fragrance and see how I like it. Then I pass the bottles around to the employees and see how they like it. It’s good to get impressions from other people, because smell is so subjective. There are times that I don’t like a fragrance, but will carry it anyway because I know other people will. A great example of this is fragrances containing indole an ingredient in Jasmine fragrance. I can’t explain how I much I abhor indole, but other people love it. Some people think it’s the greatest thing in the world.
The second thing I do is test the fragrance in soap. I use our 25 cube mold for testing and had my husband build a wooden surround with a clear lid for me. I love this mold. It makes 25 testers at a time weighing about 3 ounces each. I take notes on discoloration, acceleration, etc. and when I un-mold the soaps I place them in a special spot to let them cure. If the fragrance passes the cure test and still smells great they eventually make it on to our site. With that said, however, I do choose to carry a few fragrances that accelerate or might act wonky because they are that good.
These fragrances should be used in melt and pour or bath bombs. These are the scents that have many layers and depth just like 25:43 I mentioned before. They are magic in a bottle. I love, love, love them! If a fragrance is like this, I note it on the site and on the label of the bottle as well.
Can a fragrance oil or mica or oxide go bad?
Yes they can. If wet ingredients are added to a mica it can grow bacteria just as anything else would. It is important to keep micas dry to prevent any nasties from growing in them. As long as they are sealed and stored properly there will be no issues. Fragrance oils are a different story. Oils can go rancid, including fragrance oils. It’s important to keep them in dark containers and in a cool place. Good places to store fragrances are in a cabinet that remains closed unless you are taking something out. The darker the space and the cooler the place the better. My fragrance oils for personal use are stored in my basement in a cabinet. This kind of place is ideal. If a fragrance is getting more than a year old, you will want to check it often to ensure it’s not rancid. It’s also important to buy only the amount that you will use within one year to prevent any issues.
Why are some fragrance oils not body safe?
Oils that are not body safe have a high level of aromatic compounds that are irritating to the skin. The IFRA rates will often be low on these fragrances, even for soap. Often these fragrances have spicy elements such as cinnamon or clove. These types of fragrances are best suited for products that don’t come into contact with skin, such as air fresheners or candles.
What is your favorite part of soap making?
Everything! When I was young and other girls were asking for dolls, I was asking for chemistry sets. I would stand in the kitchen and mix different ingredients together just see what would happen. I’m probably lucky I haven’t blown myself up by now.
Soaping incorporates all the things I love dearly: nature, chemistry, and creativity. When I first started making soap I was in a miserable spot in my life. Making soap was incredibly healing for me. It gave me something to look forward to and I would get so excited.
There is something spiritual for me about making soap and that’s the thing I love most about it. It’s the aspect of creation and making something beautiful from seemingly random ingredients. To me, soap will always be amazing. It’s something I will never grow tired of, because it’s always different.
What do you want the readers to know about you or Nurture Soap Supply?
Nurture Soap is my life, my heart, and my everything. It encompasses everything dear to me – Family, close relationships, giving back to the soaping community – Everything! Nurture was started out of a 10 x 10 room, and was started because I need a good mold and wanted pretty colors for soaps. Upland Soap Molds had recently gone out of business, and there was no place to buy a mold at a reasonable price. I had a little 2.5” x 9” mold from Upland. I wanted another one and couldn’t get it! When Nurture very first started, this was the first product we offered- Our 2.5 pound soap mold.
At the same time, I started testing colors. I was using neons at the time for bright soaps, but I didn’t really like them. I wanted bright micas because they performed better. I started sourcing micas from all over the world and testing to see what worked and what didn’t. The first colors we offered were the Rainbow Mica Set – 7 colors for soaps.
Soon more companies were seeing that we were selling a lot of our colors, and others started selling them as well. We saw the need to expand our product line and started offering more micas for soaps. My little 10 x 10 room wasn’t cutting it, and I expanded into a 13 x 13 room! Yay Nurture! We also started offering our 5 pound mold.
Soon after this I realized I needed to hire an employee or two. I also needed a bigger commercial location. Nurture was growing at an exponential rate and had become a force of its own. “I” wasn’t Nurture anymore. Nurture was something that we cared for and became like a child to me. I was watching my baby grow up! I still equate Nurture to a child. I cherish it and nurture it and watch it grow into something more beautiful than I ever imagined.
Our company is completely grassroots. It was built from the ground up with innovative ideas born out of necessity. There were no other companies selling similar products at the time and countless hours of research and dedication went into sourcing what we had to offer. Many other companies followed in our footsteps, but we were the original. This does give me a sense of pride, and having to test so diligently also gave me a depth of knowledge (of colors especially) that many don’t possess. When you have to work hard for something it tends to be more and mean more. Perhaps that’s why Nurture means so much to me!
Behind the scenes, Nurture is run much like a cooperative. My husband and I don’t get paid more than our highest-paid hourly employees, and we get paid for 40 hours when we often work 60-70 hours per week! We know happy employees means more productive employees, and this trickles down to customers and translates into better customer satisfaction. It’s very important to me to keep Nurture Soap a happy company. In my eyes, a happy company corporate culture with a family-like atmosphere equates to success.
Nurture is my dream come true!
Carrie of Nurture Soap Supply offers this coupon:
Use ‘sorcery’ for 10% off all items in our store. The coupon may be used 1 time per customer and is good indefinitely.