Neecy's Necessities

I wish for all of you a safe journey if you must travel to another family member’s home and many joy-filled moments that will bring you memories to smile about in the years ahead.   Coming from a large family myself, there were many opportunities to gather at one family member’s home or another and saying there was lots of laughter is a gross understatement.  I now have a large family of my own and the fun, laughter, memorable moments are countless as well as priceless.  I am truly grateful for every child of mine and every child they’ve had to continue on our family into future generations.  We are truly immortal when grandies begin to arrive to fill our hearts, lives, and homes.


Have a wondrous day and thank you, followers, friends and readers, for keeping up with us at Neecy’s and with me, Denise, as well.  It’s a blessing that I deeply appreciate!


Happy Thanksgiving!

So as if I really needed another avenue of time-consumption, I’ve begun (finally!) making videos of what my soap-making day is like.  Many a soapmaker loves to binge watch other soapers and how they create their beautiful soaps and other B&B products, so this is just a natural progression for us.  Honestly I’d forgotten there was a camera on the laptop and thought there was no way for me to record the steps when I made soap, but recently thought “Oh Yeah!  That’s a good use of that little all-seeing eye!” and began the learning curve of recording then editing videos.

Each one has gotten easier and though I’m still learning and there’s much to grasp, it’s been fun trying this new thing and I’ll certainly keep working on it since graphic design is something I love working on.  I’m a font ho and love to find intriguing ways to use the latest acquisitions.

If you’re wondering what the first long one looks like, check out my YT video on the Making of Snow Queen.  That was such a blast to make and though time-consuming to edit, totally worth the effort! New soapmakers out there should seriously consider making videos and creating a channel of your own.  It’s a perfect tool for letting the buying population see your process, what you do if something doesn’t go quite the way you’d planned (keeping cool under pressure), what your inspiration is or comes from, and why you do what you do.  I’d love to see where my B&B products come from.  Is it clean, is it a smoke-free environment, a pet-free environment, are the ingredients fresh and stored appropriately?  These details can help your customer decide on their suppliers of product and/or ingredients.

For what it’s worth, I’ve used Windows Live Movie Maker software for the editing of the videos.  It’s the one readily available and frankly, it’s paid for itself. I tend to do all of the graphics design for labeling, video editing, business cards, logo design, and with the help of my son whose talent shines in graphic design, the branding is working very well for our products.

Drop shadow image (1024x768)












And a link to my YT channel – YourTube channel

Mischief in the mold 6 Framed with text

Thought this would be something slightly naughty, did you?  Sorry to disappoint, but this is about a fragrance that honestly makes me think more of Christmas time bad behavior with its name, but in fragrance it’s all about the beach.  Ozonic notes, clean, airy, lightly floral and just a hint of musk to make it appealing to both men and women.  That’s what this one is all about.  Some think beachy fragrances are more like a freshly opened bottle of Coppertone, but if you want to know the truth of it, I’ve never like that smell.  Not appealing to me at all.  Even the briny scent of low tide is better to me than Coppertone.  Still some love it and for those who do, this is definitely NOT your scent.

Mischief is a new fragrance oil available from Fragrance Laboratory and you can find it here.   I love everything & anything beachy so this was a Must-Have even if I had to do without dinner for several days to buy yet another fragrance oil.  This one is light, fresh, clean, subtle without fading away too much and soaps like a dream come true.  It’s a colourless oil, too, so you don’t have to use TD to compensate for the discolouration of it being added into your recipe.  It doesn’t accelerate, rice, seize, or heat your soap either, so if you try no other beach scents but one, this is the one to reach for.

I’ve also begun trying – emphasis on that operative word there – to make videos for YouTube in my soapmaking adventures and while I can’t say they’re a raging success, it still gets the task done.  Sort of.   I really need a better camera and more than that a tripod to hold it.  Trying to soap with one hand while recording my activities is awkward to say the least.  I tried to eliminate some of the shaking but there’s little do be done about going out of frame. Oh well.  My Christmas Wish list just grew by at least two items.  A camera & tripod.  A SIM card probably wouldn’t hurt either.

The final video has not been uploaded and I’m not sure I want to after viewing how blurry the loaf looks in it.  Maybe the cutting video will turn out better….though only if the camera is placed on a stable surface, not my left hand.  Now if I could only figure out editing….any tips or hints you can offer or send my way, please do so.  I’m far more comfortable editing still photos than videos.  Until then, see ya later!

As of today, the wine bar soap loaf using a blend of the Sparkling Plum + Champagne Kisses fragrance oils (WSP) is still a bit too soft to cut.  It was made at nearly full water, so this softness is not unexpected, just really annoying as I’m always anxious to see what the swirls look like inside.  Guess it will be a few more days yet. *sigh*  The top’s swirling still looks very nice.  Ashiness tried to start, but a quick spritz of alcohol sent it packing.

The wine soap in liquid form turned out very nice though dark, which also was to be expected given the darkness of the wine itself.  Cooking out the alcohol can also darken it further, which is why I try to keep it low & slow rather than boiling it off.

So now the Lambrusco wine soap, bottled up and nearly ready to show to the prospective wholesaler looks like this –

Lambrusco Silk Hand & Body Wash bottled and labeled (1024x768)


For those who might be interested in knowing where I found the pumps, collars and jar lids, you can click here to find them. has many styles & colours to suit nearly every taste, budget and need.  Their prices are competitive as well. These brushed pump tops are bit pricier than I’d like so they won’t be repeated, but these make for a clean look to something new to the public. Factory Direct ships very quickly with sturdy packaging so nothing is at risk for damages during shipping time if handled properly.  We all have had our expereinces with shipments arriving crushed, mangled beyond all hope, or even lost completely.  That isn’t due to FDC’s poor packaging for sure!

I’m still on the lookout for the next bigger size jars, maybe even in a tinted colour that would suit me, but not entirely sold on that idea.  My store’s web site does not sell glass jars so these would need to be redone in a safer type of bottling when placed on the site.  I love boozy soaps in all forms, so these are keepers.

Glass jars have their uses, but they also have large drawbacks as well, once of which is breakage.  It’s scary to think you might be held liable for someone buying your product then breaking it and blaming you for their injury. I’d really prefer a plastic bottle but this particular wholesale customer wanted Mason jars which are not made in plastic. So, there we are.  Glass jars.

Another drawback is labeling.  These jars have raised designs on the outside plus a tapered shape.  Neither of these features are conducive to easy labeling.  The labels are difficult to put on and look reasonably straight.  They’ll always arc upward on the sides.  The raised designs also create gaps into which a drip can sneak in and cause the labeling to loosen & come off. >:(   These are customer specific obviously, but they’d be very cute for gift-giving occasions, wedding gifts or showers, at parties as prizes, or use at the sink when clean up is the next order of business.

One last thought on the wine post- when that stubbornly soft wine loaf is finally ready to be cut I will post pics of the results and let you know when it can be purchased.  Meantime keep it clean, folks!






Liquid batch after the first dilution

Liquid batch after the first dilution

As a change I’m posting the picture first in order to show the label of this particular wine.  It’s a new name to me but then many are as i’m not a huge red wine fan.  I prefer a light rose or more often a sweet white.  This one, however, was at the request of a local business, Pompieri Pizza of Durham, NC, which offers these wines for your enjoyment with your favorite pizza for a robust culinary experience, or perhaps to take home for a meal either enhanced by its sparkling effevescence or complimented by it.  I however, had much different plans for this lovely bottle of bubbly beverage.  This was destined for the greatness of a lush, rich, luxury hand & body wash.

To begin in working with an alcoholic beverage for a soap, either liquid or solid bar, there’s one particular thing to remember.  Lye doesn’t play nicely with anything containing alcohol of any amount.  Whether it’s 5% or 95%, the first thing you must remember is that it’s safest to use heat to remove the alcohol, as much of it as possible, prior to use in a batch of soap made with lye.  I do know some soapers who do not cook off the alcohol but will allow it to sit out to go flat prior to use, some also will freeze all or part of it for use with lye soap batches.  I’m of the school of safe-rather-than-sorry and allow it to go flat, then cook off the alcohol and used frozen with bar soaps and the chilled portions with liquid soaps.

The wine was placed into a Mason (quart sized, with a ring, but not the disk) jar with cheesecloth over the top and the ring to close it down, keeping anything airborne out while allowing it to breathe and go flat, for three days.  After this was completed, the wine was then heated, low & slow, for several hours, to avoid as much evaporation as possible while still removing the alcohol as much s possible.  It was then returned to the Mason jar, now washed out and sterilized, closed up with a new layering of cheesecloth and ring, and chilled overnight in the fridge. A portion of this wine was also frozen into cubes for use in a solid bar batch at a later date.  The chilled liquid wine was then used in the liquid soap paste and in the dilution phase as well.

This results in a very dark liquid soap as the wine was a deep purplish red about the colour of a fully ripened plum, which seems pretty appropriate as the wine has notes of plum, cherry, and berries in it’s original form.  it’s a sparkling wine, so it’s very bubbly straight out of the bottle, which would make it a fabulous wine for celebrations, parties, or other special occasions.  If any of my readers have had the opportunity to savor a glass of this full-bodied wine, please post a comment to tell us what you thought of it.    The chilled wine was enough to make both a liquid soap (unfragranced) and a small limited edition bar soap batch fragranced with a blend of Champagne & Sparkling Plum.  Tomorrow, I plan to make another small batch of bar soaps with the frozen wine cubes for the Tomato & Basil blend and use more of this blend in a few bottles of the liquid as well.  I plan to have several bottles of each fragrance blend available as soon as the dilution is complete, which should be done in a couple  of days.  Liquid soap is NOT for the impatient soul.  It takes at minimum a week or more for thid to be completely ready for bottling in the method that I use.  Still, it’s completely worth the effort & the wait!  I love making liquid soaps and love using it just as much.  The batches are left unfragranced and only scented as they are bottled up.  This ‘masterbatching’ of liquid soap batches is much more economical as it allows one batch to be scented in a multitude of ways or left unscented as desired.

I also chose to use some fragrances that were requested by the owner of Pompieri, tomato and basil, and these will be blended together into a harmonious mix for a few bottles of the hand & body wash.  The fragrances used in these soaps are for the most part new ones in our collection with the exception of the Basil which we use in our Bugs Me Not.  We used Champagne Kisses blended with Sparkling Plum from and Tomato*, an herby, green, fresh scent that blends lovingly alongside the basil for a herbal garden-fresh blend ideal for use in the kitchen.  I wasn’t exactly that enthusiastic to get a whiff of this fragrance but loved the mellow herbacious tone of it upon trying it out on a tester strip.

A small limited edition of the Sparkling Champagne & Plum bar soaps is now chilling. These two fragrances soaped beautifully!  No acceleration, discolouration, ricing, or anything else we soapers can sometimes suffer through when trying out a new fragrance.  It’s a gem of a scent combination you have to try when you get the chance.  You will love it!

Sparkling Plum Wine Soap Bars (7)

Written by the same author who brought us the series Brotherhood of the Black Dagger, J.R Ward, the name was intriguing enough to capture my attention and the book held it ruthlessly in its white-knuckled grip throughout the story, beginning to end.  There are damaged souls contained herein, just as there are in the Brotherhood series, but this one is a family, the Bradfords.  They are THE family of bourbon crafters, the BBC, Bradford Bourbon Company.  A dynasty begun with a grant of land from 1778 in the South and family run throughout its long, storied & lucrative history.  The family is definitely a prime definition of dysfunctional and steps that up a notch as the story unfolds with reckless abandon, tension tight as bow strings, though those who were destined to be together will have many an obstacle to overcome.

If you like or even loved the Brotherhood series by this writer, you’re going to love reading about the deceitful twists and ruthless turns of the Bradford family.  You’ll be left wondering why money seems to corrupt and amazed at how thoroughly it does.

I’ll give nothing away as to the plot here.  You ‘ll have to discover that for yourself.  Suffice it to say, it’s worthwhile.  Completely worthwhile to grab this one, lock the doors, grab a chair that’s extremely comfortable and put out the Do Not Disturb sign.  Do not expect to sleep until it’s done.  This isn’t one to read to put you to sleep at night – ask me how I know.

The Bourbon Kings

The Bourbon Kings

“A rose by any other name….”. so the saying goes but what’s in a name really.  Well, everything!  It’s one of the first things people see when they pick up your product to get a better look at it.  Sure, sure, they’ll take it straight up to the nose, who doesn’t, but the name has to appeal to the masses as well or they might reconsider.  Who’s going to get their guy something with a Frou-Frou name, you know the ones, like Pucker Up, Powdery Sweet, Dew Drops, or Sugar Kisses?  I mean, a guy has got to have vast stores of confidence in his masculinity to buy and/or use a soap with a name like any those.

So let’s think about names and what goes into the naming of a new soap or some other B&B product that has a scent that’s out of this world, knocks your socks off, makes you swoon & weak kneed all at the same time. You’re settling in for a good night’s sleep right? It’s about obscene:thirty at night and you should’ve been asleep a few hours ago, but if you’re like most creative types, your brain doesn’t know that it’s time to knock it off for the day.  It’s still churning away, thinking about what’s next on the agenda for your store front, your web site listing, etc.  But you try to lay down, close you eyes, pull the covers up to your ears the light’s off and slowly your body begins to relax.  Then suddenly like a bolt from out of the blue, a name pops into your head and will not stop hammering away at you until you sit back up, turn the light back on, and write it down.  Here’s where a bit of forthought comes in handy.  Put paper and pen by the bed and LEAVE IT THERE.  You won’t regret it. You never know when these brainstorms are going to strike and they should be appreciated for their arrival, celebrated even, when they do.

Now you have this magnificent name rolling around inside your whirring-like-mad brain, so what now?  Keep that list with you or have several lists everywhere you spend a great deal of your time, no matter what you do there.  Skip the bathroom, btw.  At the end of the week, pull these lists together, compile them into a group of your best choices, or your top 5 or 10 names.  Who knows when you’ll need them, so keep them handy.  Another idea would be to pick up some of those adorable journals you find everywhere, even in Walmart of all places!  IMG_2481 (1024x768)I love this little cuties and get a new one every now and then even if there’s no pressing need at the moment.  It’s always nice to have some around for different things.  One has all my blends in it.  Another is divided up into section with page post it tabs in different colours for different types of notes made in researching soaping oils, infusions, FO blends, EO blends, additives,etc.  Honestly I really don’t believe you can have too many of these kicky, colourful little helpers!  Mine are all ruled journals, which is a good thing because my handwriting tends to slope.  Upwards generally.  (I’m an optimist?) And I like to keep things neat, so the ruled pages make everything look much neater.

My butterfly journal in this pic is almost full, so the purple will take over when it finally reaches maximum capacity.  Recipes, plans, major plots, etc will go in the big yellow one.  The purple one is now placed by my bedside at night, too, just in case a sudden lightbulb moment occurs and I must write it down.  I really must because even if I say it several times, it can still be lost overnight through deep sleep.  But that’s just me.

Maybe you struggle with naming your soaps once they’re made or perhaps you have an idea for a name, but it just doesn’t fly with others.  Hm, well, save it for another batch.  One you’re really fond of, that you’ll love hanging onto for yourself.   Or maybe name it that name you love and don’t tell anyone until after the fact.  Once it’s on the ‘net, it’s a done deal.  Of course, the next time you make that soap with the same scent, there’s no reason why you can’t name it something else to appease the minions (or yourself if your line, style, or something else has changed).

Some name their products/soaps according to the colours used, or something that brings the notes of the fragrance(s) to mind, but you don’t have to be trudging through that regular list of possibilities.  Try branching out and thinking like a guy to name a mens product.  What do guys like to do in their spare time (besides that), what sorts of colours are they typically drawn to, what fragrance notes appeal to them best.  Take a wander through a mens cologne display in one of the finer department stores (NO, Walmart does NOT count!).  Write down the names of the ones you like best, bring that list back to your computer and look up the notes in a web site like  It’s an amazing place that huge, complete, and so extraordinarily helpful when it comes to building a custom blend or identifying notes that are the most popular.  Look around at the names used for the most popular mens fragrances for inspiration.  Not to copy completely mind you, but to give you a sense of direction to take you on your own journey in naming your Can’t-Live-Without-It products.  This same technique applies to the naming of womens soaps/products as well, so have two pages set aside – one for the girls, one for the boys.  you could possibly for for a third and have one for the littler ones in our lives.  They like fun sounding names and their shopping mommies & daddies do, too.

I’ve recently struck naming gold and now I have to come up with soaps to match those magnificent monikers.  This isn’t always the order of things.  Some soaps are made first then have gone unnamed for days until I finally hit on something that halfway pleased me.  Other times I’ve asked for help within Facebook groups for ideas, but a pic should be included to help nudge those helpers along in their name brainstorming.  A scant few have had names I didn’t like that much and they’ll be changed with the next batch of that soap to make them more appealing to the shopping public. It isn’t always easy to name a soap, especially one that has odd colours, patterns, or a very common fragrance in it.  At least that’s been my own experience.  Yours may differ.   But don’t dispair, something will hit you when you least expect it and now you know to Be Prepared!

I have my soap names now, and the recipes will be built over the next few days, so keep a weather eye on this blog site for pics of what my midnight ramblings produced.  They’ll also be found in my faebook page, Twitter Feed, G+ and Pinterest page.  Yeah, social media is my ‘other’ job. And my hubby will divorce me over them one day.  Not!

Keep it bubbly ’til then!  Later!


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