Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Too much of a good thing?

Some say you can never have too much of a good thing.  But do they say that when a large bottle of fragrance oil has arrived at your home broken, the box and its contents are completely soaked, and the scent of Sugar Plum Fairy is wafting throughout the neighborhood?  I was so excited yesterday when I arrived home from work to see my box from Brambleberry sitting there.  But as I pulled in closer, I could see half of the cardboard box was actually soaked through.  My excitement quickly changed to nervousness.  Fearing the entire shipment (containing several bottles of oils) was destroyed, I carefully opened the box outside to find out what happened.  Thank goodness it was only the one bottle that was broken and not the others.  However, the resulting spill resulted in quite a sticky, stinky mess!  I must imagine the package handler was happy to get that box out of his truck.  After washing all the bottles and containers, and hosing down the back porch, everything was clean but the bees were flying around looking for this big sweet smell that was EVERYWHERE! On the bright side, I'm sure the fragrance our yard was emitting was much more pleasant than the time we put down corn gluten meal throughout our yard, which after a few days didn't smell much better than a manure farm during summer.

I must also note how great the staff of Brambleberry is.  I called to let them know what happened and they are sending out a replacement right away. I'm glad to do business with such a wonderful company!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Retail products

A delivery of Nutmeg Naturals' handcrafted soaps have been delivered to Bayberry Quilt and Gift Shoppe in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Please stop by and check them out!

Mom did all the packaging herself...isn't she amazing?  Not only does she cut the burlap by hand, she also hand frays each piece of burlap to create the fringe on each side.  Those tags you see on each bar...the majority of those she has also cut by hand.  We don't have a die cutter, so she has been creating those pretty scalloped edges with a pair of scissors from the dollar store!  You're awesome mom!

Below are the packaged soaps before we packaged them up to bring them to Bayberry Quilt and Gift Shoppe.

We were thrilled with how they came out!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Guild!

Today was a very special day for Nutmeg Naturals.  We joined the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild! We are beyond thrilled and excited. Everything is starting to come together and we are on our way to world domination....well, maybe not world domination, but we sure do hope our little Connecticut start up company will be very successful!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Soap-making weekend

So Friday I packed up my car and went over to mom's house to make some soap.  The plan was to make a batch together for her 4 lb. mold and then make a batch for my 4 lb. mold.  I think we cranked out 8 lbs of soap in a shorter amount of time than it took me to pack up my car.  The batches we made came out great.  The first batch we made consisted of 4 different colors - definitely a two person job in my opinion. We did a mix of red sparkle, yellow, green and purple and planned on doing an in the pot swirl.  But when it came down to crunch time we forgot what we were doing (despite laying out detailed plans first) and we ended up pouring the base mixture into the mold. After panicking a little, we then began pouring the colors in as fast as possible, using a skewer to mix the colors.
 After these shots were taken, we had a little time left so I pulled out another skewer and made a nice looking top on the molds.

The following day, we cut some pretty cool bars! Every single bar was slightly different, but we were happy for our first attempt at using 4 different colors.

Finished product is below.  We're calling it "Groovy."

After Groovy was complete our next attempt was a blue and white swirl soap using Soapy Clean fragrance. This fragrance accelerates trace so it was a race against time to get this into the mold. I think we barely made it! One problem, however.  Although I packed 6 boxes of soap making stuff, I forgot to include the wood divider for my mold, so we ended up making the blue and white Soapy Clean soap in slab form.  The final cut bars are not my favorite shape, but still turned out pretty nice.

Other soap babies from last week:
Our Tiramisu soap.  OMG, this smells so good, I have to remind myself this is not food!  Has a scent of cocoa, coffee and a little bit of spice. We added a little bit of gold sparkle mica about 1/3 of the mixture to create a faint gold vein running through the dark brown soap.  Love, love, love this one!

Coconut Lemongrass:
This just smells fresh and clean.  It smelled more like Lemon to me at first, but now that it is drying a bit, I'm picking up more of the coconut.  Smells like summer in a bar of soap!

In the mold today: a double batch of Old Lime!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

South Glastonberry Soap

If you live in Connecticut, then you probably are wondering why I’ve spelled this special town’s name wrong.  It is actually South Glastonbury, but the town has so many strawberry fields it is easy to think about strawberries when South Glastonbury comes to mind.  South Glastonbury is on the banks of the Connecticut River and is the home of many wonderful farms and pick your own strawberries.  This is my creative version of  South Glastonberry; this soap has a mild strawberry scent and a gentle pink color.

Old Lime Soap

Old Lyme, Connecticut is a quaint shoreline town that holds a lot of memories for me. Although I was pretty young at the time, I remember several family outings to a cottage we rented in Old Lyme. We shared the cottage with another family that lived on our street, and the time spent in the cottage was fun and carefree. Kids running everywhere, cookouts on the beach, and sand in everything. My most vivid memory, however, was running up from the water towards my mom and dad with a giant crab hanging from my big toe! It had latched on and was not about to let go :) Someone (mom, dad) detached the crab from my toe, but boy did that thing really tear through the skin! I can't think of Old Lyme without thinking of the happy time we spent together is our little rental cottage.  My Old Lime soap is tribute to those memories. This soap has a wonderful, sweet and zesty lime scent with lots of green swirls.

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Soap

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Chai Latte Soap

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Cranberry Bog soap with handmade 100% cotton facecloth

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Old "Shea"brook soap with handknit 100% cotton facecloth

Old “Shea”brook – this is my take on one of my favorite places in Connecticut; Old Saybrook.  Old Saybrook is located along the Connecticut shoreline, right where the mouth of the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound. Old Saybrook is also famous for being the town where Katharine Hepburn lived. Our Old Sheabrook soap contains plenty of Shea butter, known for its moisturizing and healing properties.  This lovely soap is scented with a wonderful salty, beach air fragrance, and smells just like the salty air as you near the beach.

Here's a picture we took a year or two ago on a trip to Old Saybrook:

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chai tea soap

Yesterday I removed my Chai Tea soap from the molds and cut it into 18 beautiful bars.  Chai Tea base with a swirl of unscented soap on top, embedded with chunks of oatmeal, milk and honey soap cubes.  Smells and looks great.  Hubby calls it the "marshmallow" soap, as the topping looks like mini marshmallows.  Feel like soaping tonight, but off to a late start.  Left work late, followed by phone call with the insurance agent, and a visit to mom's house.  Hoping to get some new soap in the molds tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New to Blogging

Hello - my name is Jennifer and this is my first ever blog! I am in the process of starting a natural soap company called Nutmeg Naturals.  We are located in Connecticut and we will soon be selling our soaps in a retail store in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  We are a family owned business - my husband is our web designer, editor, and all around Jack of All Trades.  My mom is my soapmaking partner in crime!  Mom and I were trained in soapmaking by a professional soapmaker in Connecticut. When I'm not making soap, I work part-time and am an Accounting student at Central Connecticut State University.  This is my second degree and I guess I'm now what would be considered a "non-traditional" student.  Other hobbies include knitting, baking, and spending time with our 2 cats, golden retriever and very rambunctious miniature schnauzer!