Interview with Siennalily Soaps

One of the best things about social media is being able to connect with fellow crafters from around the world. I started the hashtag #SoapShare to help connect soapers, and of course to browse through all the beautiful photos. While looking through photos tagged with #SoapShare on Instagram, I stumbled upon Carolyn of Siennalily Soaps. I was blown away by the gorgeous designs created by Carolyn, who lives in Spain. Read my interview with Carolyn below to learn more about this talented soaper! – A.M. 

10931132_691605397632929_6778515256446460616_nSiennalily Soaps’ show stopping Rio Cold Process Soap. The drop swirl looks amazing!

How long have you been soaping for and how did you get started?
I started about 7 months ago. I decided I wanted to try something different and wanted to make something special for my 4 daughters as a little stocking filler that meant something to us all for Christmas. I looked into soap making and got a little anxious when I read about the lye solution, but I didn’t let it stop me. Next thing was finding supplies! I live in Spain, and the only thing I could buy here were my oils and sodium hydroxide, no fragrance and no colours. So, I hit the internet to find everything.

While I was waiting and itching to get started, I found YouTube videos about soap making and watched them in every spare minute I had. All the lovely soap makers around the world helped me immensely, especially Anne-Marie (The Soap Queen). I loved watching all of the videos to gain knowledge before I started. I was intrigued by all of the intricate swirling and pouring techniques and thought to myself, “I will never be able to do that in a million years!” It took about 10 days for my supplies to start arriving. My first soap was pink, green and white and fragranced with an apple scent. It is ugly and smells awful but I was overjoyed with that soap. Everyone got the photo sent to them. With my first soap under my belt I gained confidence and on 11th October 2014, Siennalily Soaps was born.

[Read more…]

Paleo Egg Salad Recipe + Bramble Berry Barbecue

Paleo Egg Salad Recipe
We love summer because it means we can all eat outside at work AND fire up the BBQ. Bramble Berry supplies the burgers, veggie patties and hot dogs and everybody brings a side dish. It’s a great way to not only enjoy the sun, but hang out in a more relaxed setting than the warehouse (where it is run, run, run!). I like to bring something that I hope is crowd-pleasing and generally healthy. Last year, I made kale salad with ingredients fresh from my garden. This year, I made a paleo egg salad. I decided to go the extra step and make my own mayonnaise for this salad. I think it’s definitely worth the extra work, but store bought mayo works just fine too. =) Below (left to right) Neil, Kelsey, Mariam, Lindsey, Bentli and I dig in!


Kelsey in the social media department loads up her juicy burger with all the fixings, including caramelized onions. Yum!

BurgerI love this egg salad; it’s so full of protein and energy-sustaining goodness. I splurged a little with a veggie burger and dessert. You can also see below a wide variety of veggie platters, and a delicious Mediterranean salad that was full of feta cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers.
AMThe team, (along with Nelly the dog!) enjoys the summer sun and barbecue. It was a beautiful day; 75 degrees and a nice breezy, perfect for the fun event! In fact, the team probably could have used some sunglasses judging from the squinting going on.
I like my egg salad with plenty of mustard and pickles for lots of flavor. A bit of paprika and sprigs of dill are added at the end for color and presentation…it really makes the difference! When making large batches of hard boiled eggs, I have found this method works great. The key is “shocking” the hard boiled eggs by placing them in ice water after boiling. This makes them more easy to peel.

Egg Salad

[Read more…]

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July
Happy Fourth of July! I hope you all are having a wonderful Independence Day. Today, the family and I are spending our holiday in the sun with plenty of good food and some kid-friendly fireworks (we love Pop-Its!) If you’re feeling inspired by red, white and blue, you can find the tutorial for the 4th of July Fireworks Cold Process Soap shown above by clicking here. If melt and pour is more your style, check out the Easy 4th of July Stars Melt and Pour Project. Yesterday, July 3rd, Bramble Berry was closed for the holiday, but will resume shipping orders on Monday, July 6th. I hope your Independence Day is full of fun!

Argan & Ginseng Gel Eye Serum on Soap Queen TV

Argan & Ginseng Gel Eye Serum

I’m so excited about this Soap Queen TV because it’s a little out of the normal soap project. Surprise! It’s an eye serum that also doubles as a great eye make-up remover. Argan & Ginseng Gel Eye Serum is gentle and skin-loving with ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil and ginseng extract. Argan oil is known for its high content of antioxidants, and is popular for a wide variety of cosmetic applications. To learn more about argan oil, click here. Ginseng extract comes from the ginseng root, which is commonly used for homeopathic treatments. The addition of cera bellina wax gives this serum a soft and easily-spreadable gel texture. To apply, use your finger to gently pat the serum around the eye area…a little goes a long way! I recommend applying this serum at night before bed.

What You’ll Need:
1.2 oz. Argan Oil
.7 oz. Jojoba Oil
.2 oz (10 mL) Ginseng Extract
.2 oz. Cera Bellina Wax
.2 Vitamin E Oil
10 Slidey Lip Tins

Click here
to add everything you need for this project to your Bramble Berry shopping cart!



Guest Post: Overcoming Soapmaking Fears

Today the wonderful Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks is taking over Soap Queen to talk about overcome your soapmaking fears. Amy hosts the monthly Soap Challenge Club, and is constantly pushing herself and the soaping community to try new techniques. I have taken part in the club several times, which has resulted in a few tutorials including Misty Maritime Moon Cold Process Soap and the Leopard Spots Tutorial. Because Amy is always conquering new techniques, she knows a thing or two about overcoming soapmaking fears! Read on to learn more about Amy’s soaping journey. – A. M. 

I remember making my first batch of cold process soap back in November 2002. I wanted to make something for my friends for Christmas that year, and after looking for ideas on the internet, I stumbled upon Kathy Miller’s website. I read everything I could about how the process worked and what to expect before jumping in. There was no YouTube, nor Facebook; soapmaking blogs had not yet begun. My only visual references were the few photos on Kathy’s site. I wondered what trace looked like in real life. I had no idea, but I figured I would know when I saw it.

I went ahead and bought all the supplies I needed for my first batch of soap – except for a stick blender and a scale. I used Kathy’s recipe that calculated ingredients by volume – which included an entire 12-ounce can of lye. It was a huge recipe, and I used the full water amount and a spoon to stir it.

You might be able to imagine how the rest of this story played out. I stirred for HOURS, until I couldn’t stand it any longer and thought it looked like soap was starting to form in my pot. I added my fragrance and poured it in the mold. The next day it was completely set up, so I dumped it out of the mold to cut it. Much to my horror, it completely crumbled like wet sand! Not just the edges…the entire batch of soap! [Read more…]

Soaping in the Summer Heat

Soaping in the Summer Heat
Now that summer has officially begun, temperatures are on the rise and in some area of the country, are way way up (Shout out and cooling thoughts to Arizona, Arkansas and Eastern Washington). If you are a summer person like me and live in a more moderate climate, this is great news! I absolutely love spending time in the warm weather and outdoors hiking, biking and swimming. However, the heat does affect how certain soapy ingredients need to be handled. Butters, oils and other ingredients change consistency when exposed to higher temperatures. This is especially true when ingredients and products are being shipped and sit in a hot delivery truck for long periods of time.

If you have ordered from Bramble Berry recently, you may have received liquid oils or butters when you were expecting a firm texture. All solid oils and butters have a melting point where they melt from a solid into a liquid. Once the butters cool down again, they will resolidify. The quality of butters and oils does not decrease by melting and solidifying several times. But remember to always fully melt your entire container of palm oil to ensure your soap receives the proper ratio of all the fatty acids.

Average Melting Point of Common Hard Soapmaking Oils and Butters
Avocado Butter about 90° F
Cocoa Butter about 100° F
Coffee Butter about 104° F
Mango Butter about 86° F
Shea Butter about 90° F
Coconut Oil 76° F
Palm Kernel Flakes about 102° F
Palm Oil 95-97° F
Beeswax 144-147° F

[Read more…]