Balm, butters, and rain, oh my!

When it’s a rainy weekend, with only enough sunshine to work outside sporadically at most, it’s the perfect time to do some different things indoors.  Slightly different from the typical soaping adventures.

Now that summer is rapidly approaching, it seemed logical to begin adding in the lip balms and cuticle balms into the list of things to make now.  That treacherous labeling bridge can come later, though it’s still the object of dread it always has been.  Ever tried to label a lip balm tube with all the things required and still be legible?  It’s not as simple as soap bars and they alone can take the better part of a day.

I’ve made lip balms before, really didn’t like the texture, since the shea butter can be a problem child when heat’s applied, creating a grainy texture, so I tried something different this time that I read elsewhere.  Heat to melt, cool, reheat, cool, reheat.  That works!  Not a single grain of grit to be found.  From this batch I got 13 lip balm tubes poured & flavoured with raspberry flavour oil, & sweetened with liquid sucralose, kept 1 for myself as a tester, of course, and 3 tins, 0.15 oz. of watermelon flavoured balm, also sweetened with sucralose liquid.  It tastes lightly berry and subtly sweet.  I used a liquid form of sucralose since the granular tends to not dissolve completely and with the shea butter not getting gritty on me, I was reluctant to risk getting grit again due to the sweetener.  I’ll look for a liquid form of stevia or something similar next time I’m out restocking for supplies.  I’d prefer to keep it as natural as possible.

The texture is divine!  Smooth, soft, easy to glide over the lips in an even coating of moisture, wonderfully light, sweet flavour, no tint this time (but I plan to make some with tints soon – the tints are on order – so this is a very successful formula, one to be repeated for sure.  It stays firm in the tube, doesn’t get too soft in the warmth of the of spring/summer days, which can result in great gross globs of balm on the lips.   I haven’t pocket tested it yet.  We’ll soon see how that goes.  I really wouldn’t recommend leaving anyone’s balm in a hot, parked car with the windows up though and definitely not a good idea to leave it in your pocket while you’re washing your clothes.  I don’t even want to know how many tubes of balm I’ve lost to the dryer!   Nothing will withstand that.

tubes - raspberry; tins - watermelon.  both are sweetened with liquid Splenda.
tubes – raspberry; tins – watermelon. both are sweetened with liquid Splenda.

The next batch made, just this morning, in fact, was  abatch of cuticle balm, which is wonderful for use during the summer gardening months.  This was something I wanted to add to the Gardener’s Gift basket for the Adult Summer Reading program at our library.  This batch was made with horsetail butter from WSP, which is the reason for the green colour.  I also added cocoa butter, and beeswax, to give it thickness, a firmness in the tin while also lending the nutritive elements of the wax to the balm itself.  The horsetail butter contains silica, due to the horsetail essence that’s added to the oils in the creation of the butter.  Horsetail, with its high silica content is great for hair, skin & nails.  It would be very nice added in a melted form of course, to a shampoo bar or liquid shampoo, though in small amounts since it is a butter.

I use my hands a lot during the course of a day at work and at home, and the nails, cuticles and fingers can get really sore, ragged, and inflamed from all the rough abuse.  A soothing balm would go a long way toward alleviating these sore spots, help in healing, and get them back to their happy place once again.  I might try other formulations in future, but this one is a strong start. I made 2 small tins and set the rest aside in a small tub for storage until I can find some more tins to pour it into.  It’s an unscented balm, by the way.  Why scent a cuticle balm?

Cuticle Balm (1024x768)

So for now it’s the fun part – labeling.  yay  :[

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Web site tweaking

Today’s work on the trellis was delayed. The web site needed serious work and today was the best time to do it while I wasn’t too worn out from the outdoor work yet or too grubby yet to get into the computer.

My poor web site, and come to that, this poor blog , is nearly dead in the water, due to a lack of attention.  I’ve neglected both seriously, between working elsewhere, being worn down physically, and getting engrossed in other activities.  The web site looks much better, at least I think so anyway.  It was re-organized, cleared out from things that were not going to sell, or were too tricky to list just yet in the manner I’d had them listed.  They’ll be added back later when the best way to list them is decided on. PowerPoint of web site changes

 

I didn’t like the overcrowded look to the pages, nor how long it took to scroll down each one to look at all of the items listed.  Now the pages are short, but there the same number of pictures are there, just initially smaller.  Clicking on each image, should enlarge it for better detail if shoppers are interested in seeing what things look like a bit closer up.

Now, I really need to get outside and work on the trellis and get the last 50 years worth of paint removed so it can be redone, before the moonflowers start climbing up the front.

 

Lesson learned for cart & hosting

What an ordeal!  The hope was to find a way to drive sales to my web site in Weebly.  Good idea, but there was a glitch in the system.

I began innocently enough.  I’d pretty much given up ever getting any traffic to my web site and making any money from it since it had been up for nearly a year and I’d had no sales from it. None.  The few sales I had were from just one or two people, friends of mine, and they placed pre-orders via email or asked for a special soap to be made that they could use in their favorite fragrance.  So, after checking the stats for the site, I was really dismayed to see what low numbers  it was showing.  Very low and it was just so frustrating , so someone said, they could built a cart for me with a domain that would send people to my site based on a search engine’s search term based on the domain attached to the cart.  Great idea technically  but the host choice was a bad one.  They’d been recommended by someone I trust implicitly and they said they’d build the site around the name, attach it to a particular phrase and include Zen cart.  Okay.  So, for the next 3 days we went back and forth between our conversation and the hosting site’s tech support trying to get it set up properly and the hosting site dropped the ball. Without getting too technical, I’ll just summarize by stating they left things orphaned that ruined the possibility to be able to use the site and the cart properly. Ever.  So after 3 days of trying, being placed on hold for hours between the three of us – myself, my tech guru, and the hosting site’s tech support person, nothing worked out at all.  Long story short.  I’ll be requesting a refund of the use of the domain name, and the the cart it rode in on.

I was nearly in tears, to be honest.  I’ve tried so hard to get things straightened out with this place, so did my guru, yet it was out of our hands as to what to do next that would salvage it.  I’m hesitant to say the hosting site’s name because it is a well-known one, one that many people are using and is nationally recognized through various media markets’ advertising, including NASCAR.  I have no problem at all with my web site and Weebly with the exception of the cart being attached to Paypal or Google only.  Let’s just say, I’m not a huge fan of PayPal.  I’ll use it, but only because it’s the only option I can see using efficiently at the moment.