Winning!

Congrats to Vickie A-Morgan for winning a free bar of our newest holiday soap!  You all voted and it was a close race to name the soap between "Elf Farts" and "Elf Magic" but the latter got the most votes.

For all you local people, Cloud 9 has all our holiday soaps and lots of lotions, bath salts, lip balm packs, and other awesome Blissology products for sale. 

We have a lot of family things going on, so make sure you put your Christmas orders now!

The Elf Did It

You could probably tell by the advertisements and songs on television and the radio.  Or by the decorations at your favorite store.  Or, if you happen to live in Colorado like we do or in more Northern states, you could probably tell by the layer of snow melting slower than usual.  Christmas is upon us!

Blissology has been gearing up by restocking everyone's favorite things (like Footsie Bars - no matter how many I make, we always need more!) and cranking out our holiday edition soaps.  We already have some Cinnamon Spice Soap made (we stock that one all year now since you all love it so much!) and a lovely new one called Christmas Memories.  Both of those will be ready in a couple more weeks.

Pam is about to mix up another new holiday soap, but there's a slight problem.  We don't know what to name it!  She keeps accidentally calling it "Elf Farts" which is hilarious for many reasons, but one of which I should probably explain.

See, there's a popular tropical fragrance that is mostly banana called "Monkey Farts."  You know, since they eat bananas all the time, only I'm quite sure monkey's don't pass fruit-fragrant gas.  Our supplier calls our new holiday fragrance "Elf Sweat" for the same cute novelty effect.  Only Pam merges those two together and gets "Elf Farts."  I'm not sure that it's so cute then!

Anyway, we need your help naming the new soap!  It isn't made yet, so I don't have pictures, but the plan is to make it a white soap swirled with bright happy green and blue.  It smells like candy, sweet sugar, peppermint, and effervescent soda pop.

Over there on the upper left hand side of the page is a poll.  Vote and let us know your favorite!  Also, if you comment here on why you like the one(s) you picked, we'll enter you in a drawing.  The randomly selected winner will get a free bar of the new soap as soon as it's ready!  Share this on facebook or twitter and we'll enter you again.  (Make sure to follow/like us and tag @Blissology (for facebook) or @blissmistress (for twitter) so we can be sure to count all your entries!)

The poll and contest closes on November 20th at midnight so get going!

Soap Cures

Pomegranate Soap freshly poured and swirled.
I don't mean that soap cures diseases.  I do mean that soap has to cure, or age, before it's good to use.  When we make a batch of Blissology soap, we can't just sell it the next day or even the next week.  How long soap cures depends on a few factors.

 
When soap is poured into molds, it's a thick liquid consistency - ideally.  Sometimes particular fragrances will speed up the process and make it get thicker faster so sometimes we're glopping in soap that looks more like mashed potatoes.  Even though it would still be okay to use, soap that moves too quickly sometimes ends up being cosmetically challenged or downright ugly. 

Large block of Angel of Shavano soap.
In either case, we wait for about 12 hours before we try to unmold the soap.  If we're using particular molds, we can often pop the whole thing in a warm (not hot) oven to make sure the saponification (making of soap) reaches the "gel" stage.  We prefer to do it this way because the soap seems to become usable faster.  We can shave off several days of cure time and get soaps back in stock sooner. 

Sometimes soap is still too soft after 12 hours to get it out of the mold or cut it without risking damage to the bars so we'll give it another day before trying again.  What is best is after the first twelve hours, the soap is firm but not so hard that cutting is difficult.  Once soap is out of the mold, it gets put into a tray to cure.

Beautiful Life soap cut and ready to cure.
Blissology soap ages for about four weeks before it's ready to use.  Some soap cures longer and some soap, like our Beautiful Life Spa bars, are ready much sooner.  As the bars cure, they get harder and more mild.  Very fresh soap hasn't completely finished saponifying so it can be harsh to skin.  The longer soap ages, the more gentle it becomes. 

We wait as long as possible before packaging Blissology soap because it loses water as it cures and shrinks.  If we wrap them too soon, the paper slides right off the bar.  For this reason, we generally package days before a market or show and as orders come in.  That in itself is a whole 'nother process!

Spring Favorites

Warmer weather, bursting buds, fresh new flowers.  Spring is certainly here!  Of course, here in Colorado those beautiful warm days are interrupted with snow storms and blizzards on occasion too, but we don't worry - it will all be melted in a day or two!

Every spring we plan to have a few new scents in our soaps and other products, but for now, I'll just stick to what we have ready and in stock. 

In this season, most people are ready to put aside the spicy, foody, and more winter-related scents and opt for fresh and floral.  (In soapmaking, floral fragrances are the most challenging because they are often responsible for "acceleration" which basically means that the soap gets really thick really fast and we have to rush to mix in additives and colors and swirling pretty can be very difficult.)

Here are some springtime favorites from Blissology:

Grass Soap
You'll be amazed how much this soap really does smell like fresh green grass, freshly mowed.  We've added finely ground cornmeal to give it some scrub so it makes a great gardener's soap.  Time to get those seeds planted!

Lavender Footsie Bar

It's almost time to break out the sandals and flip flops!  And sometimes our feet need a little help to really be ready to show off.  Footsie Bars are the absolute best moisturizer to take care of tootsies with rough, dry, and calloused areas.  It's a hard lotion bar without the mess. 

Lavender Lemongrass Lip Balm
 This lip balm speaks to the promise of sunshine and fields of flowers.  It's also great for kissing goodbye dry wintery lips!

Mountain Showers Soap

Fresh, clean, cool rain.  This soap is a favorite year-round but surely it should be mentioned for April Showers!

Vita-Skin Lotion

Winter is rough on skin.  So now, it's time to rehydrate and condition it.  Blissology's Vita-Skin lotion has extra vitamins and extra-good-for-you oils to treat skin right. 

Acai Berry Fizzy Bath Salt

No matter the season, a hot bath can be extremely therapeutic for body, mind, and soul.  This salt fizzes briefly in the water releasing a wonderful berry scent.  Highly recommended!

Beautiful Life Salt Scrub

This is another much needed step to rejuvenate winter-tired skin.  Salt scrubs away dead and dry skin while oils replenish and moisturize the new skin.  If you do only one special thing for your skin this season, it should be a salt or sugar scrub!

Yuzu Soap

Fresh, bright, and like a kiss of sunshine!  Yuzu (or Japanese Grapefruit), is such a delicious way to welcome spring. 

Blissology Home Party

Last weekend we packed up the car and drove to Canon City for a home show.  We brought the baby and my sister to help and ended up having a great day.

Our gracious hostess, a friend of my Granny's, had snacks and plenty of chairs for all her guests.  Most had just enough time to change out of their church clothes and were ready to hear all about Blissology. 

We talked briefly about all of our products and how they could really help them or those they know.  And then we played a fun game which tested their memory and noses.  We chose 8 soaps and sent them around so everyone could have a sniff.  They were all labeled and they needed to remember the name that went with the scent.  Then, a short time later, we sent out 6 numbered bags, each with one of those soaps in it.  They had to guess which one was which (and could refer to the tray of 8 soaps to make it a little easier).  Only two people got all 6 right - the two youngest!  The girls got a prize, of course, but we didn't leave anyone out.  Everyone that made a purchase got free soap too.

It was a lot of fun and we realized that we really do like doing these home shows.  This was only our second one, but both were certainly successful.  Our hostess got credit for products too and I'm in the process of sending her a thank you card with a coupon for 18% off.  It seems like a strange number, but she had 18 other people attend so that's how we came up with that number.

If you live in Colorado and want to host a home party, let us know!  We'd love to meet your friends and you'll get some great products and deals for yourself.  Now is a great time to do it because everyone's looking at buying for Christmas.  Let us know how we can help you spread the Bliss!

What's in Your Shower Right Now?

That's the most recent question a reader has asked me.  Normally I'm not one to invite just anyone into my shower, but in this case, I'm happy to show and tell! 

Now, I just recently moved so my shower stock is very small compared to what it was a few months ago before the move.  So this is going to be a short list!

First, I have a big bar of Dragon's Blood by Blissology.  I was a little unsure when I chose that one a couple months ago because it was still very much summertime and I'm one of those people that just must match my scents to the season.  So even though it wasn't a "Dragon's Blood" sort of day when I chose it, it is now!  The rich, sweet, spicy, and smoooooth notes of it really make it a fall and winter kind of soap for me.  Of course, my sister and dad will gladly use it all year long regardless of the weather.

You won't find any bottles of shampoo or conditioner (or anything!) in my shower.  We use shampoo and conditioner bars made by Get Lathered! on etsy.  Some of you have no doubt heard me talk about how awesome they are.  My hair and scalp are so much healthier and feel so much better since I started using these about a year and a half ago.  Right now for shampoo I have just a sliver left of my favorite Vanille de Framboise and a new bar of the Willow scented shampoo.  My husband is using Nor'Easter which I love too.  And I have a Thai Coconut conditioner bar that has lasted me for months and months now.

For my face, I use our Au Natural soap made with goat milk and oatmeal.  It's unscented, super creamy, and very mild.  Store-bought facial cleansers completely wreck my complexion.  They're just too harsh for my sensitive face and cause me to break out.  I also used this soap exclusively when the baby was first born so she wouldn't be overwhelmed with extra smells.  Now I use it on her too but I use a washcloth to apply it to her skin because she doesn't need the extra exfoliation from the oatmeal.

My husband has another soap bar for his face.  It's a really old Christmas soap my mom made years ago for her soap business (Anyone remember Mountain Homestead Soaps?).  As soap ages it becomes more and more mild.  Often after several years the oils in soaps will start to go rancid, but not with this one!  It still smells, albeit more lightly than when first made, and my husband has found that it makes a superb shaving soap!  Since he's been using it, his face is smoother after his shave with much less irritation and bumps.  I don't have a picture of this one since it's not for sale.

That's it!  I'm sure in a few months I'll have twice as many soaps.  Now I want to know - What's in Your Shower Right Now?

Working at Home with Kids

One of our favorite readers, Cheryl, wants to know how I schedule production with two little ones at home. 

It sure isn't easy!  I have two girls, one is 3 1/2 and the other is 2 months old.  As one might imagine, they (happily) take up a lot of my time.  Getting anything done on *my* schedule can be difficult.

Since so much of our day is sporadic and unplanned, I have to fit business in whenever I can.  Instead of saying, "This morning I have to make 3 kinds of lip balms and this afternoon I have to make footsie bars," I say, "Today, I hope to get this stuff done whenever I can."  And sometimes, I can't. 

I've found that setting daily and weekly goals helps tremendously.  Also, I try to set aside time especially for answering emails and doing the online parts of business that need to get done every day.  I can feed and dress the baby to make her happy, get the older child set up with breakfast, and then have a good 15 minutes to shoot off a few emails.

The most difficult thing is that I'm always interrupted.  It's rare that I start and finish something all in one sitting.  A few years ago this would have drove me crazy and I probably never would have completed anything.  I've had to learn to adapt and find different ways of working.

So far, while typing out this post, I have had to stop to feed the baby, stop to read a story, and pause countless times to answer questions.

To make matters more challenging, the things mom and I used to do together we now have to do apart.  My little family recently moved a couple of hours away so we've had to redesign how we get things done at Blissology. 

Mom works on the things that cannot be easily interrupted - soaps and lotions being the primary products. Meanwhile, I have products that I call "meltables."  These are ones that I can measure ingredients for, pause, melt and pour.  And if I get interrupted before pouring, it's okay - I can just re-melt them.  Lip balms, footsie bars, hard lotion bars, and shea butters are all on my list.  To balance it out, mom also does massage candles and oils.


The main thing is not getting discouraged and trying not to be in a hurry.  Having small children means that everything takes longer than you think it will.  Be patient, consistent, and work in small intervals whenever you can.

About

A mother-daughter duo in Colorado building a business from home with handmade soap, bath, and massage products.

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