Back to Basics Handmade Christmas Gifts

I know some people make fun of the notion that “it’s the thought that counts” – but there is truth in it. Even though a gift may be slightly imperfect, if it was chosen or created with love and heart, it’s all the more wonderful. I feel the same way about handmade soap and candle gifts at the holidays. Though your creations may not be absolutely perfect…you can wow your friends and family with your gifts this year. Here are some super basic projects for you to try.

Basic Grocery Store Recipe Soap

Basic Container Candles

Basic Bath Salts Recipes

Basic Melt and Pour Soap

Back to Basics Handmade Christmas Gifts originally appeared on Candle & Soap Making on Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 18:32:52.

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Open Question: Back Acne Questions??? (not gross)?

Hey Friends! I’m 13, almost 14. but i have really bad acne on my shoulders and upper back. and a bit on my chest. and of course it looks bad, and of course i want it gone! i bought good soap but i also want to do something else. my sister said sitting in the sun and tanning will help. but i don’t like doing that, plus its raining all week, and school starts soon, so i was wondering if there are any home remedies, that i can do myself, that doesn’t take hours, kinda like a face mask for your back. something easy that any normal person can make at home, especially a 13 year old girl home alone for the day. thank you!!! please no harsh comments. love you! and THANK YOU!!! <3 :)

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Open Question: how do i get rid of bumps on the back of my thighs?

my whole body is very soft except i have bumps that never go away on the back of my thighs. i already use soap like dove and lever 2000 because i have eczema and i also use Eucerin cream/ lotion. i don’t know what to do to make them go away, but hopefully you can help me because it feels and looks ugly!

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Back from the Conference

Well, I’m back from the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild conference safe and sound! It was a fabulous conference full of fun, information, fellowship and soap talk. The range of soapmakers from beginner to advanced, from young to not-so-young, from west to east coast was truly amazing. It is so wonderful to have an organization like the HSMG supporting our craft and our industry. It’s so hard to focus on “real life” when you come back from one of these events – I just want to spend all day in the kitchen making soap and trying the new things I learned!

I’ll be putting together a full report in a day or two…stay tuned for all the fun details!

Back from the Conference originally appeared on Candle & Soap Making on Monday, May 14th, 2012 at 17:08:26.

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Open Question: My shower anxiety is back?

I posted a question about this probably a few months ago, I seemed to have conquered it but now it’s back with vengeance.

A lot has happened since my last question, I don’t use the same shower anymore, I use a totally different bathroom.

About a month or maybe two ago, I made a verbal agreement with my parents that if I were to get a special showerhead (nothing specific, just handheld and not lo-flow, I have longer hair, and a standard showerhead doesn’t get my hair 100% clean) that I would use the shower in my bathroom, which I didn’t use originally, because it had a lo-flow head that didn’t get the soap out of my hair at all. Anyway, about a month ago they got me a really nice showerhead, and installed it. Now, I use the shower in my bathroom.

Now that that’s out of the way, I had some adjusting anxiety (I’ve suffered with anxiety basically my entire life up to this point) at first, but got over it and I got to the point to where I’d get in, shower, enjoy it, and get out with ease. Now lately, for maybe the past 2 weeks, I’ll walk into my bathroom slowly, get my hair all brushed, set my clothes down, get out everything I need for the shower, walk over, turn the water on, and I’ll start shaking. When I do get in, I’m okayish for the first few things, then I’ll suddenly get really shaky, my vision will blur, I’ll get a bit dizzy, and I have trouble breathing, which is all part of me being anxious. It’ll make me rush, so I’m not all the way clean, I’ll about slip and fall trying to hurry up, I’ll drop things, etc.

When I scare myself into rushing, finish, and get out of the shower, I’m shaky for a bit but then I’m perfectly fine, and I get mad at myself for rushing and freaking out.

When I get nervous, I immediately start telling myself I’m okay (usually in my head, but sometimes I’ll catch myself speaking out loud) and then I’ll tell myself to slow down, and I’ll peek my head out the curtain to get some cooler air and to look around, then I’ll continue, but sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s the dizziness that scares me, I’ll end up backing up into the backwall of the shower, or leaning against the sidewall and just sit there silently panicking.

For me, it’s getting ridiculous, because I know that nothing can harm me and I know that I’m not doing something I’ve never done before. But it’s really getting to me.

At one point I thought it was claustrophobia, but opening the curtain a little bit didn’t help very much. I also kept the bathroom door slightly opened to keep the bathroom cooler, so the steam wouldn’t make it hard to breathe, but no luck.

I need to stop panicking, I love my shower, and I would feel bad if I would scare myself into not using the shower, because my parents probably paid $ 50 for my showerhead.

Can I have some ideas on how to calm myself down?

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Madder Root Soap – Reporting Back…

If you are an avid Soap Making Resource follower, you may remember a tutorial from a while back explaining how to use madder root in soap making for coloring homemade soap red.  Click here to review that full tutorial.  By the way, you can sign up for the newsletter here if you still need to do that.

As promised, I would like to report back on how our madder root soap is doing.  Did it fade?  Did it discolor?  Did any mold or other rotting develop?  I think it’s important that as I demonstrate how to use each colorant to also show how it changes over time.

I’ve been keeping the soaps from our natural colorant tutorials in a cardboard box behind one of our shelves in the warehouse.  Away from all light.  You can see me below opening the cardboard box to take a peak at what lied inside… I was actually pretty excited to see whether or not the color produced by madder morphed.  And if it did change, what did it look like now?

Opening Madder Root Soap Box

next is a picture that I took, of one of the madder root soap bars after pulling it out of storage.  It’s a pretty color, isn’t it?  I love the red produced by madder root!  In fact, the red heart that I used to demonstrate the tray mold was also colored with madder root.  You can see that picture on this page of

Madder Root Soap

Well, it’s been about 3 months since making this soap colored with madder root, and I am pleased to say that they look exactly the same as they did when first created!  I went through all the batches and all the shades.  So far, after a quarter of a year, they are identical in color with no noticeable changes.

Well… Actually, when coloring soap with madder root, the color will have more of a violate shade for the first few days.  So, more accurately, it looks the same as after day 3 or 4 once the PH levels settled down and the red hue appeared.

So, I think it’s safe to say that madder root is a natural soap colorant that is not prone to quick fading.  Pretty cool!

I will tell you… the key to retaining the vibrant color of all colorants, both natural and synthetic alike is to keep them in a dark area away from all light.

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