Thursday, January 31, 2008

Let it snow....

I don't remember it snowing so much last year as it has this year. While that cold white stuff causes inconvenience, it sure is beautiful. Yesterday was a "snow day" for the kids in town. We took a break to play...we got home just in time, check out the storm on the horizon!

Today the snow has started falling again. I'm in the office where its warm and I have easy access to hot beverages, a nice window on the gently falling snow, and I'm busily packing boxes of soap to be shipped later in the afternoon.

What a nice winter day...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Our TV Spot

Last November, I contacted NCTV (Grass Valley's local television station) about the possibility of doing a soap making demo on one of their programs. I love sharing my craft, even though I may not be the most polished speaker, I love what I do. At the market, many people asked me how soap is made so I thought it was time that I got something down on tape to refer to.

So here it is, my soap making demo and second tv appearance (the first appearance was a segment on local Comcast and a visit to my workshop). During this demo, I didn't give away my soap formula (sorry, it's confidential) or any tricks of the trade, but it's a basic demonstration of soap being made in it's simplest form which is still pretty interesting. The second half of the segment is just the host and I yaking on about personal stuff. Feel free to skip over that part if you like!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Taking a quick break for lunch

I've been very busy in the workshop, but I'm taking a quick 5 minute break to rest my muscles and grab a bite to eat. I'm making my large batches now. Each batch is about 50 pounds. Whew!

Anyway, I often get questions about the shea butter that I'm always going on and on about. Many people don't know what it is or where it comes from. In a nut shell (no pun intended), shea butter comes from the nut of the fruit that grows on a karite tree. These trees cannot be cultivated and grow naturally in Africa.

A friend of ours took a trip to Ghana last year and brought back some wonderful pictures of the native people processing the shea butter by hand. I'm posting a picture of the karite tree, I think they are quite beautiful.

The shea butter we get comes from Ghana and is not refined in any way. Any time you buy a product that includes shea butter, be sure that it's *unrefined*. Solvents are used to refine most shea butter, which means that all the skin loving goodies are stripped out, along with the golden/greenish color and natural nutty scent. So basically, its a waste of money to buy a product that uses unrefined shea because all the beneficial nutrients are gone. Along with the possibility of lingering traces of solvent. Yuck!

So that's a little quick blurb on shea butter. Oh, did I mention that our shea butter is fair trade also?

Ok, break over. I made 'Pacific Blue' and 'High Sierra' today because I'm out of stock on these. I'm also breaking in a new new lime soap...I think will be named 'Persian Lime'. This one is my current favorite and it should be up on my website in about a week.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Aloha from my workshop!

Why aloha? Well, the sun is finally out today...or more correctly, it atleast made an appearance, which is really nice after all the rain we've gotten. It put me in a "beachy" mood. I put some surf theme music on the cd player and went to work. There's nothing like some Dick Dale to get things moving in the workshop!

Just a few pictures of what I'm working on today. A couple batches of my goat milk soap and a couple small batches for a private label.

This picture shows everything all weighed out and ready to melt. These are the hard oils, liquid oils are added later. And my soap tools; a knife for carving up those hard oils (like cocoa butter), spoon, and my indispensable stick blender for mixing everything together in a nice homogeneous blend. To the extreme right, you can just see a couple of my soap molds. They're way cool...wood box with a silicone liner. Today, it's 'Chilled Lavender' and 'Mineral Mud' going into these molds. The other two batches go in small molds (not pictured). Easy stuff today, it's Friday after all.

Happy weekend!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back at work

The holidays are over...I don't know about you, but I'm kinda relieved. Don't get me wrong, I *love* Thanksgiving, Christmas and New years eve, but I'm very excited to finally be starting 2008.

To me, the new year means a fresh slate, a new 'to do' list (both personal and professional), brainstorming new products, and snow...all very fun things.

So what's new in the workshop? I've got 2 new soaps coming out very soon. One is 'Cold Snap''s an in-your-face mint soap, stark white with eucalyptus, menthol and peppermint. It might be a tad early for that one...all you have to do around here is take a step outside for a bracing cool down! But come summer, this one will be awesome after a workout or just being out in the hot summer weather. It's ever so slightly tingly on the skin.

Soap #2 is my new "guy bar". It's a blend of lime, vetiver, patchouli and spruce. It smells very manly to me, but I personally adore it and I've been using that one exclusively. Only problem is, I'm having a heck of a time naming the soap. Usually, the name, color and essential oil blend all come together in this cohesive mix in my head...but the name for this one eludes me. Got any ideas? If someone can come up with a creative name that I like (and use), I'll send them a free bar.

A couple other soaps are in the works. Another citrus and a floral, both are still just ideas on paper.

I spent the morning putting my website back online. I've retired a couple soaps, but they'll be replaced by new ones. A couple soaps I'm out of stock on (sorry! it's been a very busy holiday for the company), but tomorrow I'm back in the workshop getting things made. Check out my updated website:

Frontier Angel Soap

I don't have any pictures from the workshop to share with you. But aside from making soap, I love exploring the out doors. We have some of the most beautiful areas to hike in Nevada County. Up top is a picture I snapped a couple weeks ago while climbing the mine tailings at Empire State Park, the sun was setting. See the little "survivor" tree growing out of the rock pile? Nature makes something beautiful from man's industry...amazing isn't it?

Have a good week!
Diane @ Frontier Angel Soap

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!

December 2007 marked our 5th year in the soap business! I'm planning to celebrate our 5th anniversary *this* year because the holiday season was so busy for us, I just didn't have time to plan a proper celebration. I have this idea to make something special...can't share the details now, but I'll post about it here and in my newsletter (subscribe to my email newsletter from our website).

Stop on by my website (re-opening Monday, January 7th) to see what's new. I've got a couple new soaps that I'll be launching very soon, along with most of my offerings from last year.

You can also watch a video of me making soap on our local tv station. Check it out!