Monday, June 30, 2008

Farmers Market Report - 6/28/08

This week at the farmers market ( Rincon Valley Farmers Market ) was .... about the same as last week, with maybe just a few more customers. It was not quite as hot, only got up to 101 degrees. I had a few repeat customers - two gals that had tried my shred soap, and my facial serum, came back for more. Best sellers this week was the shred soap, Sandalwood Vanilla, and Island Coconut.

I met another Tucson soapmaker, which is always nice! We both belong to the Soap Dish Forum , so we had already met online. It's always nice to put a face to someone you have talked to on the internet! She bought 3 of my soaps. Hope she likes them!

Didn't sell any jewelry this weekend. Just lots of soap, and some body oil and facial serum.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Monsoons Are Here!

Thunder and lightning storms, micro bursts, flooded streets. I'm not crazy about the monsoon here in Tucson. Last night was our first real lightning storm on this side of town. And now there is a huge storm moving towards me from the east. AACCCKKKK just saw some lightning!

Yesterday I took a break from soap and housework, and did jewelry. I made a 3 strand green turquoise necklace. The turquoise is from the Kingman mine here in AZ.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Of Lizards and Quails

I'm not doing too much with soaping today, mostly doing housework from which I need a break! :)

Even though we live in a development with houses fairly close together, we still see quite a bit of wildlife from the windows. At this time of the year, mostly we see lizards and quails.

The quails have done a little better this year as far as reproducing. Last year we didn't have very many baby quails around here because it was SO dry. This year, there's a few more. On almost a daily basis, I see at least one family of the three that are in the neighborhood. One family was just mom, pop, and one baby. They started pretty early because by the time I saw them, the "baby" was a teenager almost fully grown. I haven't seen them lately, although I have been seeing just a male and female without young'uns, so I wonder if that is the mom and pop of that family and the youngster is missing. :( Another family I see started out with 8 little ones. The last time I saw them there was only 7 little ones. They are still pretty small. And the third family I see, just started coming around this neighborhood. It is the pop, and 5 teenagers. The mom is missing.

It's a hard life for these quails!

As for the lizards, well, you can't take a walk without one of the little fellows darting across your path. The cute little zebra tail lizards seem to be the most plentiful, but there are plenty of other larger (6 to 10 inch long) lizards. I haven't tried to learn the different kinds of lizards, so I can't id them at this point.

The little guy on the rock is a zebra tail.

Monday, June 23, 2008

This Week at the Farmers Market

It was HOT ! By closing time (1 pm) it was up to 108. No lie. Fortunately we have a vendor stall inside the barn, complete with overhead fan. Plus we brought a floor fan. So it was at least bearable. Not too many people out and about, although there was actually more then I thought there would be. These Tucsonians are a tough lot! We didn't make a killing, but I don't expect to through the summer months. But I want to keep a presence there to help build up a customer base. I did have one lady come back this week for more fragrance free for her husband. She had been there last week and asked if I had anything he could use, every soap she tries just gives him a rash. I pointed her to my fragrance free, which is a very simple, nice soap. And it worked for him! :)

It was pet day, and there was a vet there to give shots to dogs and cats for a discounted price. Pet day happens once a month, and is always entertaining. One woman had two Italian Greyhounds which were about half the size of a Greyhound and where really cute! Lots of other dogs, all of them happy to see each other.

My best sellers this week - Fragrance Free and Black Raspberry Vanilla. One extreme to the other.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Out of the Mold

It was very easy getting the soap out of the mold. Loosened the wing nuts, took out the two sides. Folded the edges down. Lifted the logs out. Nice! Here are the logs out of the mold:

And here's the soap, all cut up into 42 nice consistant bars

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photos - Soap in the mold

Here are a couple of pics of the soap in the mold. You can see in the first pic a little bit of leaking on the left. Just needs a little bit of tightening up!

I didn't cover the soap, or otherwise insulate it. I usually don't, and usually have no problem with the soap going thru its gel stage. I didn't notice this batch gelling. Not that that's a bad thing. But I just wonder why. Do we need to use a thicker wood?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A New Soap Mold ! Yay!!

Ray has been talking for a while about doing a wood working project. So I said Make me a soap mold!! or two or three!! And he did. In fact, I just finished filling it with soap.

It's a two log mold, inside dimensions of each log are 21 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/2 . He used oak. The ends are held together with threaded rods tightened with wing nuts. The long edges have piano hinges to make it easy to fold down to remove the soap logs.

Here's a couple of pics:

Here's a pic with the center divider removed:

And this one is with the rods taken out and one of the ends removed

This is with the long sides folded down

And now with one of the long sides folded down over the table to show off the piano hinges

I just poured the soap about 1/2 hr ago. I am a happy camper! I lined it with craft foamy. I usually pour at a medium to light trace, so I always expect a tad of linkage. There is just one area that it leaked, but I think that if I just tighten the wing nuts a bit more, I'll be ok!

The soap I made ..... Berry Minty ! :) It's a recipe with shea butter. This is only the second time I have used this recipe, but is similar enough to the cocoa butter recipe I use a lot, that it gave me no problem or surprises. The scent is a combo of Black Raspberry Vanilla fragrance oil and Peppermint essential oil.

I will now get my camera and take a few pics of the mold full of soap.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's get started !!

I think it's time for me to blog!

This blog will, for the most part, be about soap and soaping, with forays into jewelry making. Me and my husband, Ray, currently live in Tucson, Arizona (shall I tell you how HOT it is ??). We moved here almost 3 years ago, from Maine. We are New Englanders. Born and raised in Massachusetts, lived most of our married life (36 years ! ) in New Hampshire, spent some time in Sheepscot, Maine.

When we lived in New England, I bought and sold antiques - then called Goodwin's Seacoast Antiques, now changed to Goodwin's Antiques in the Desert . But when we moved to Tucson, antiquing just was not the same! I needed to try something else. So while I was thinking about what to do, I went to the big Tucson Gem Show. My oh my! and again, my oh my! I flipped! Beautiful shiny things everywhere! So ...

I started making jewelry ! Yeah! I started another website for selling jewelry - Jewelry From Tucson - and started selling jewelry on Etsy and locally at the Rincon Valley Farmers Market. LOVE playing with silver and turquoise! But ...

Do you have any idea how many jewelry makers there are ? Just in Tucson alone, the number of jewelry makers is astounding! I needed to find something else I could make. So while I was thinking about what else to make, I bought some handmade soap at the farmers market. My oh my! Smelled so nice, felt so nice! So ....

I started making soap! Yeah! I started selling soap on Etsy - Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap - and at the farmers market. So far so good! Between the soap and the jewelry, I'm having fun!

So be sure to check out my jewelry shop and my soap shop! And if you live in the Tucson area, be sure to check out the Rincon Valley Farmers Market on Saturdays 8am-1pm ! Stop and say hi to me in the barn.