Spring 2015? Where?

It’s been a long, trying, freezing, dismal winter for everyone.  My heart goes out to those who’ve had the record-breaking, bone-chilling cold on record topped and worsened by the extreme snowfall amounts that are also headed for the topmost spot in the  record books.  It’s been brutal for sure, to put it mildly.  We all keep believing that it will end.  It has to end. It will, won’t it?  It never seems to end.  But it has to.  Right?  Well, I’m going to play the optimist today and say yes indeed this terrible, horrible, no-good rotten winter will finally curl up its toes and go quietly into that good night and we can go back to breathing milder air, slightly tinged with pollen.  Once again the lawnmowers will get cranked back up and husbands, sons, brothers, and uncles across America will grumble over the onerous duties of once again cutting the grass.  But that scent!  Oh the smell of fresh-cut grass!  You know the one.  It smells like watermelon to me, but then whenever I smell watermelon,…… yes, I think of fresh-cut grass.  Fresh-Cut GrassWatermelon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But until those glory days filled with dandelions, the hum of birds and bees buzzing flower to flower, and warmer sunshine filled days arrive, we have to think of spring while we create wonderfully soothing soaps, body butters, lotions, and fizzies that bring spring & summer to mind with every breathe we take.

We’ve loaded up with a new selection of fragrance oils, from Fragrance Laboratory, one of our favorite suppliers of fragrance oils, and are ready to send senses reeling this year!  We have a delectable array of tea fragrances like the succulent Hibiscus Tea, a resplendent blend of hibiscus tea, woody notes, spices and hibiscus nectar.  Are we drooling yet?  Hibiscus Tea

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Jasmine Neroli, a voluptuous floral, purest white, softly sexy, almost ethereal yet far too worldly with the additions of bergamot, orange blossoms, bamboo & lime to be entirely innocent.  Jasmine

Our third one is a Nectarine that is a far cry from your grandma’s nectarine.  Gone is the drippingly sweet and here to stay with a fresh green note thanks to the a hint of lime, plus a woody oak, then it’s all nectarine.  Sweet but not too.  It’s just right.  Nectarine Tree

 

More fragrance are also here that I will list and describe in the next post, but to prevent overload, I’ll save those for later.  We ‘re also await the arrival of Himalayan Pink Salt in 3 sizes for a line of bath soaks.  We all need to unwind after the winter we’ve been through, don’t you agree?  What better way than a hot soak with something soothing, detoxifying and aromatic.  Pampering is always needed.

 

So until next time, stay warm, stay dry and keep thinking spring-like thoughts!

 

Spring anyone?

Are you yearning for some warmth that isn’t coming from a space heater?  Pining with mole-eyed wonder for a single tiny ray of sunshine?  Spring is coming, no doubt about it, the days’ gradual lengthening is testament to that already.  The temperatures & precipitation levels, however, are not so easy.  Many places are having what seems to be an endless train of storms ripping across the region, dumping growing piles of snow to be dealt with by plows, trucks, blistered hands & sore backs. It’s been pretty evenly seen as a repeat of last winter, which is exactly what the almanac called for, unfortunately.

 

February is typically where hope begins to spring eternal for some.  The longer days are more easily noticed.  The temps, on average may climb a degree or two.  Some of those eager-beaver flowers begin to peep out from the cold soil to give a little whisper that better days are coming.  Our yard has a patch of snowdrops that I’d saved from my late grandmother’s backyard before her property was sold.  This is now the third winter in their new home and they’re now about an  1 1/2″ above the ground.  The buds will begin to appear at the tips of those slender green blades at around a height of 3″ and I can hardly wait to see them.  They’re a welcome sight after the cold, the blustery winds, the dead leaves, and the wintry mixes that plague the long dark days of winter.  I’m not a fan of cold weather.  It feels longer every year, not to mention harder to get through.

With the increasing light, slowly warming earth, our hearts and thoughts turn towards spring and summer and the fragrances of these warmer seasons in the northern hemisphere.   There are scents a-plenty in our fragrance cabinet, but who can resist the siren song of a new one begging for a bit of attention.  Certainly I cannot!  So in this year 2015 I’ve discovered, through the in-depth descriptive powers of my favorite supplier of fragrance oils, Fragrance Laboratory  has an All-Star line up of Spring & Summer fragrances ready to make their timely debut.  I can barely wait to get my greedy fingers around these new fragrances!  They’re offering some truly luscious, mouth-watering temptations to stock your FO shelves with this year and of course, they’re always tested thoroughly before offering them to us. Here’s what they’ll have in store for us this year …..

Hibiscus Tea  – a new sort of twist on a tea fragrance with a base offered and built on Oud.  It’s just barely sweet, leaning more towards the tart side, with hints of spice and floral, though not in heavy amounts.  Hibiscus nectar is there blended with violet & iris over myrrh, lava rock, and of course the Oud wood. What a truly unique turn this one takes and it should be an adventure to work with it in our product line.

Jasmine Neroli –   fresh, clean, light, with notes of white florals, a subtle touch of green to complement, bergamot, lime, and neroli coupled with jasmine at the heart of it all.  All this beauty is based over orange blossom and bamboo.  What a olfactory treat this is going to be to work with!  It would be great in the bath & body line, but think of the wondrous possibilities for home and household freshening.  A laundry powder?  Room freshener, linen spritz, natural home cleaning products?  Just heaven!

Nectarine - This one is nectarine, without a doubt, and just for the fans of juicy peaches and nectarines!  It’s refreshing, juicy, and built alongside notes of currant, lime, over oak.  No herbal notes, no floral notes, just that summer-fresh, mouth-watering scent to make your taste buds tingle – nectarine!

Green Tea – A calming, soothing blend of top notes lemon, mandarin, bergamot, over sage, nutmeg and cardamom with violet leaf and clear florals harmonizing perfectly with clear, clean green tea, oakmoss and musk.  (Is there a trend in this year’s fragrances with all these teas?)

Hana No Kaori –  is from a Japanese wisteria flower, light, pink, and subtle, over ozonic notes, baby’s breath, freesia, blush rose, delphinium, osmanthus, fern and a floral musk. This just whispers to you softly in your ear, begging, no demanding attention in an understated way.  It’s regal, subtle beauty stands up to any type of use you’d care to try.  I’d love to see this in a pastel bar of solid colour.  A barely-there pink with tiny blossoms on the top.

The last one in our lineup for additions to our line is a very popular one used often in salt bars.  Salt bars are great for detoxifying the skin, lightly exfoliating, and keeping your skin slowing all summer long.

Mineral Salt Spa -an indulgent, elegant marriage of water lily, lotus, cyclamen, over bamboo, white cedar and musk.  It’s an enigmatic blend that will have you coming back just to sniff the bar, particularly after a stress-filled day.

I’m looking so forward to having some time to play with these fabulous fragrance this year and  try them in some new products we’re adding into our product line this year.  We’ve been tweaking, re-working and planning out new products to give our customers the best possible experience in bath & body their money can buy.  It’s going to be an exciting year for us and we’re hoping everyone is looking forward to short-sleeve weather as much as we are!  Keep a watchful eye on our Facebook page, our Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and in here for all the great new things we’re bringing to our web site soon!

If you too are a soap maker and want to learn more about these and other great fragrance visit Fragrance Labs today and discover these fragrances for yourself.  I promise,  you will NOT regret it!

http://www.neecysnecessities.comGreen Bubble with N

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have had a wonderfully joyful holiday with loved ones near at hand to share the happiness & togetherness!  I wanted to pop in a post a quick note to mention a fun swap I participated in recently, a Secret Santa swap amongst a group in Facebook called Lye Masters.  We’re an eclectic group who’ve had at least two year or more experience in soapmaking and either sell publicly online or in some other manner.

We exchanged names several months ago and kept it simple.  Just three items.  Only 3 and they should include at least one bar of soap.  The rest is up to us to decide.  I was sent two bars of soap and a small jar of a salve that the maker described as a drawing salve she’s known for. Penny Krier, a very talented soaper and herbalist who has many skills to offer as a soaper, not the least of which are bath & body care classes, teaching Beginner Yoga, and runs her business, Back To Eden with an extremely high level of knowledge.

Of course, I’d already dipped my fingers into the salve, drawn immediately to its earthy scent, enjoying the intensely herbal fragrance – that of resins, tea tree, and rosemary, though there are other ingredients to contribute to make it a drawing salve.  I love the scent and would likely use it whether I needed something like that or not.  I know my cuticles loved it when I tested it out on them!  The two bar soaps are equally herbal in tone with Rose Geranium in one and an ale, Black Bavarian Ale, with Aloe in the second.  They both are fragranced with essential oils, something I definitely enjoyed receiving.

These lovely bar soaps are a treat I’m genuinely looking forward to trying out as I’m no different from all other soapers I know in trying out others’ soaps to see what they’re like.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what other soapers expect to achieve from their formulations when they craft their own soaps & recipes.  Many have specific criteria or goals that all must reach with few exceptions. For example,  I like for all of mine to be moisturizing.  That’s excepted by those soaps I formulate for cleansing extremely oily skin types.  Oily skin types would be higher in cleansing oils & include one or more clays.

I’d also like to branch out a bit and have a more natural line in 2015. It would include soaps crafted with milks, silk proteins, clays for their detoxifying effects as well as subtle tinting, using botanicals-infused oils, no micas, and fragranced with essential oils if any.  This year will be a fun one of discovery and stretching  my creative wings, broadening our selection and product line as much as possible.  This Secret Santa has helped me to see what else is out there, try new things, enjoy the variety that others techniques offers and we’ll see what happens from there.

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Penny Krier’s soaps of Black Bavarian Aloe Artisan Soap, Cranberry Seed & Rose Geranium Artisan Soap and Herbal Soothing Salve.

Her web site is http://www.backtoedenpw.com

Happy Holidays & have a fun, safe New Year all!

And the cut view of Frankincense & Teak/Smoke & Mirrors Blend

Temptation is now cut!

Temptation is now cut!

This one heated up quite a bit unfortunately, plus the woody reddish colour morphed into an ugly-ish brown colour, not exactly what I had in mind, but the scent is outrageously sophisticated, earthy, woody, just wonderful!  Love it and it would be a great unisex scent.  The hanger swirl was modified somewhat increasing the intricacy of the design so it doesn’t look so chevron-plain.  No offense to those who love the hanger swirls. You can see that the colour heated up.  I’ve noted this happened in two separated batches, so this particular colour will not be used again in cold-processed soap.  The black is from a mica plus a bit of activated charcoal.  The blue is Key West Blue mica from Mad Oils.  I hoped to achieve a wispy look to these and it’s there, so I’m happy with the overall results of this one.  And the scent is in a class all its own.

Frankincense & Teak + Smoke & Mirrors = warm & sexy!

The project today was to use a blend I’d put together using an FO from Mad Oils called Smoke & Mirrors plus one from Fragrance Laboratory called Frankincense & Teak (not currently available) plus a portion of the olive oil being infused with frankincense tears.  This is a fairly new thing for me, infusing oils, as I rarely had the botanicals around to do it, but these came to me serendipitously with an order placed with Mad OIls and this FO from Fragrance Labs just screamed to be used with them.  So, The infusion was done a couple of weeks ago, then set aside in a sealed jar for future use.

The blend of the two FOs was something that was achieved due to the light, elusive scent of the Smoke & Mirrors FO. It’s a glorious scent, don’t get me wrong, but very light and hard to pin down.  With the base notes being smoky, it seemed ideally suited to a blend with something that was wood-based and earthy, which is exactly what the Frankincense  & Teak boldly states. I absolutely love this fragrance and it blended perfectly like a long-lost lover with the Smoke & Mirrors.  So onward & upward we go.

IMG_2079 (1024x768) Here’s the emulsified state so it’s now ready to separated out into individual pouring pitchers for the colours. Those turned out to be Key West Blue from Mad Oils, Cancerian Heat from TKB Trading, Pearl White Mica from TKB, and Blackstar Blue, also TKB’s,  with a dash of activated charcoal.  The base colour is the white.  I’m in a rut, I know using the white part as my base all the time, but it’s my comfort zone.  One day I’ll be bold and break free, but that’s not today.  I used very little of the black colour in this loaf so as not to overwhelm the other colours which were also dark.   It still had plenty of contrast despite the deep colours, and swirled very easily throughout.

I tried a modification on a hanger swirl.  The standard was always, and this is just me, so don’t shoot the messenger for having their own opinion, a bit boring and rather plain.  Yes, it’s unique, but just doesn’t really say “Bazinga, look at me!”  So I tried something a bit different. Not even the butterfly technique.  Something else entirely.  I’m not sure I even did it right for what I was shooting for, but once I see how it turns out, I’ll alter it based on what this one’s results are.  I apologize for being cryptic, but in swirling techniques when trying out new moves, cryptic is all you have until you slice up the loaf.  Hopefully that can be done tomorrow and I’ll edit this post to show what it looks like inside and if anything needs to be changed with the motion used in it.  Hope you like!  Bubble on! (Pics of the wet soap are below….)

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The holidays are coming!

With the holidays just around the corner, gift giving has been on every soaper’s mind and the fragrances they want to use for their products this year.  Fragrance oil suppliers go all-out to bring us the best of the best, something that speaks in volumes to each soaper and their customers of what the holiday means, those scents that make our homes welcoming in subtle or not-so-subtle aromatherapy sessions.  This year’s fragrances are certainly worthy of note and trends are pretty obvious.

One of my favorite suppliers of fragrances is FragranceLaboratory  run by a very dear lady by the name of Cindy Gooding.  She picked up the reins from a soaper who’d passed away, buying the remaining oils from the soaper’s widower, resuming business under a new name with his blessing, and running with it.  She’s made a lot of very positive changes, runs the business like a seasoned pro who’s done it all her life, and has one overriding requirement for her supplies – quality & performance above all else.  Her fragrance oils cannot be surpassed for reliability and they are vetted through her own testing and/or that of an outside source as well to determine whether they will accelerate trace, rice or seize, discolour the soaps at all, even a little,  and how well they scent the soap, including ‘sticking’.  Some fragrances will smell perfect in the bottle, dead on in what they are trying to convey to the user, but fade over time.  That’s not acceptable in her books.  She is demanding and we all benefit from that insistence on providing only the best.

Another source is Mad Oils for many of my mica colours as well as fragrance oils.  Again, yet another very demanding supplier, Joanna Abbott Schmidt, runs this tight ship with mad skills for getting what you needs exactly when you need it.  I love the micas she provides for their dependability for colouring without morphing, causing soaps to heat up or create glycerin rivers, unless you want them to appear that is.  I can rely on her fragrance oils to be unique to the industry, something that no one else has or can come close to duplicating, they perform like a dream, allowing us to soap with confidence and create a bar of soap that clearly shows what  we soapers are capable of doing with a soap swirl.  And those designs are legion!

My line of Christmas soaps are these:

Winterfell – (Snow Witch from Mad Oils)

Winterfell

Winterfell

Humble Pie –  (Home for the Holidays from Mad Oils)

Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays)

Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays)

And as yet unnamed made with Ultimate Christmas fragrance from Fragrance Laboratory –

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Mad Oils warns that Home for the Holidays would discolour to a light tan and it did despite adding some white colour to the main background portion of the soap batter, but it really doesn’t bother me overly much as it just gives it that homey, welcoming warmth that most of us associate with the holidays.

Winterfell (Snow Witch from Mad Oils) is a glacial fragrance, like snow crunching beneath your boots while you hunt for that perfect Christmas tree in the grove where only the best ones grow.

Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays from Mad Oils), well, you can probably guess what that one smells like.  It’s the perfect apple pie fragrance!  Cinnamon, apples, with a hint of berries, and sugary notes.  Love this one! Grab a scoop and add some ice cream!

Ultimate Christmas (from Fragrance Laboratory), which is keeping me up at night trying to name it, is that resin-y freshly-cut Christmas tree scent accompanied gently by sweet sugarplums, tart cranberries, sweet orange, bayberry from a nearby candle, and the spicy warmth of cinnamon & cloves wafting up from your mug of hot tea.  Every home should smell like this at Christmas time, but why limit it to that short span of time.  Keep this one around all year and savor it even in the depth of summer because it’s just that  amazing.  It takes your mind back to joyful times, great memories, lots of laughter and way too many sweets!

All of these fragrances soaped beautifully, no troubles with acceleration at all so I was able to employ some new swirl techniques in these.  Winterfell and Humble Pie were done with a modified hanger swirl.  This technique is done with a bent piece of wire, something non-reactive to the high pH  of a freshly made batch of real soap that will lie flat against the bottom and span the entire length of the mold.  You move, in this particular technique, in ever increasing ellipses from the bottom up.   Once you are near the top you move just beneath the surface forward and backward then rise out of the batter near the center or near where you went in.  You actually go in slightly off-center, where one of your layers of colour lies.  It works best with three colours – the base colour, and two other colours that coordinate well without being too close together in shade.

The latest batch, fragranced with Ultimate Christmas, is done with a wooden dowel rod.  I found a 6-pack package of pre-cut dowel rods about 12″ in length with two of each in 3 different widths.  These were wide, medium and small with the widest being 10 mm. the medium is 8 mm and the smallest is 5 mm.  I used the 8 mm dowel rod.  I started at one end of the loaf and went in an infinity pattern the length of the mold, turned the mold around and went back in the other direction in the same pattern.  The result gave me the above mirror images throughout the loaf and these are always interesting, lots of fun to photograph and provide truly amazing in images for your web site!

I have completed all of the Christmas soaps for this year, but I’m not done creating soaps for this year and into the early part of 2015!  There are two fragrances, one from Fragrance Labs, the other from Mad Oils, that I plan to combine to create one breathtaking fragrance for a batch that I want to do very soon, but first comes the decision to be made on colours.  The rest will follow after that.  There are a couple of others that are custom blends that are also waiting to be soaped as well as a fragrance from Rustic Escentuals that I’m looking forward to trying out.     But more on those later.  I’ve got to leave something as a surprise, don’t I?

Soaping with Black Cashmere fragrance oil

This fragrance oil, Black Cashmere, if no one has heard of it before is an enigmatic one.  It has to grow on me over time, I have to admit.  At first I was not a fan even after allowing it to mature on a test strip.  But that was then.  This is now.    I had my Fall Fragrances all lined up and test strips attached to the bottles. as usual, but the one that kept tickling my nose all week was Black Cashmere.  The review of how it performs on the site Fragrance Laboratory states a discolouration to yellow initially then tan as time passes and the soap firms up.  The tester’s soap is also shown and it’s definitely tan.  Still, I didn’t want tan.  Despite it being a fall scent, I wanted a white, a pearly white actually so I used a Pearl White mica from TKB Trading. The other two colours are Sweet Tea, also from TKB and Metallica from Mad Oils.  These two warm earthy tones were the perfect offset to the white and brings to mind fallen leaves, warm days spent fireside with wine and a really absorbing book. Which is exactly the way it’s described in the Facebook page.

If you are also a soap maker, you’ve got to give this fragrance oil a try.  It might not strike you as one you’d like initially, but it will definitely intrigue you after some time has passed and haunt you until you give it a chance.  It’s completely worth it!

 

The soap has Kaolin White clay incorporated into the rest of my usual goodies to add some slip for men who’d like to use this for shaving, though it’s not really formulated for shaving.  Still, it has enough lathering potential to create a nice lather, give superior slip, plenty of sexy scent over the oils I use that are touted as non-clogging, light, easily absorbed (though since it’s a soap and will wash away, that doesn’t factor in this case) and moisturizing.  If I come up with an actual shaving soap formulation that meets my standards for performance then I’ll definitely add this fragrance to the line.  It’s a winner for either gender.

So here’s Sweater Weather.  Stay warm everybody!

 

A Silk & Milk Soap

A Silk & Milk Soap

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The Truth: Bar Soap vs. Liquid Body Wash

Neecy's Necessities:

A terrific explanation of the reasons bars of real good old-fashioned soap are far better every possible way to the liquid soaps from store shelves.

Originally posted on Go Green Hong Kong:

I remember as a child, my whole family used the same bar of soap. Gradually though the bar of soap seemed to disappear and was replaced by liquid hand and body wash. Using bar soap had come to be considered to be unhygienic and a source of bacteria. The strange thing is even though we shared soap, we seldom got sick and had no diseases. In the last five years, I’ve switched back to bar soap again and am still reasonably healthy. So I am just incredibly lucky or have makers of personal care products been masterfully manipulating of our fear of germs?

The switch from bar soap to liquid has been driven by a fear of bacteria lurking on bar soap. Companies encouraged the notion that using liquid soap was more hygienic.

This NY Times article which asked “does each member of the family need an individual bar of…

View original 708 more words

Champagne Pear is cut

Not quite as swirly as I’d like for my bars to be.  I like lots of swoops, sweeping flowing lines, but the speed at which this FO accelerates is prohibitive to sweeping or swooping. *sigh* Still, it doesn’t change the scent at all, still that decadently juicy, sumptuous ripe pear fragrance!  Love the way this one just fills the room with sweet fruitiness!  These are listed on my main web site, neecysnecessities.com and on the Etsy site –
etsy.com/shop/NeecysNecessities  These 9 bars are currently in Pre-Order status, to be shipped out after October 15.  Great time to start your Christmas shopping started!
Here we go –

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