Monday, December 23, 2013

The North Street Bubble For Christmas

Marianne Rice of The North Street Bubble sent me an array of gorgeous soaps about a year ago to try and possibly review and I just loved them.  I loved the way each one looked and smelled.  They each had a distinct look about them, and were mindfully handcrafted and sent individually in paper bags ink stamped with the TNSB logo on them.

Sadly, I waited so very long to actually get into my shower with them.  Why did I wait so very long to use them??  Have I been so consumed with my own life that I could not muster unveiling one of those suckers for my own use?  Ugh, I kick myself!  You know why??  Because they were pretty darn stunning soaps, I say!

I am choosing one to talk about.  The prettiest one I had in the bunch.  Layered with red?? 
O h  y e a h .  Two thin red lines of perfection.  Absolutely stunning and that baby performed seamlessly.

This soap had huge bubbles and it felt smooth as silk on my wet skin.  And it wasn't like the huge bubbles cancelled out moisturizing qualities, either.  In the past, I've received soap bars that produce big, big bubbles and when I've gotten out of the shower, my skin feels like I've been shrink-wrapped in plastic and THEN, I bend and my skin feels like it cracks.  Not so with Marianne's soap.  I have no need for lotion afterwards, which is my telltale sign that a soap is well balanced.

Sadly after a year, her soap's scent faded and I didn't experience the BOMB smells that I initially got when I opened her package, but her soaps did not disappoint.  She is spot on with her recipe and graceful artistry.

Thank you, Marianne.  Sorry it took an ion to get to it.  Well worth the wait.  Peace out!

The North Street Bubble. (FB)    Web

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Naked Tops

I created a challenge on Soaper's Retreat to photograph their soaps in natural light (as I always do).  But this time the soaps needed to be naked: no sprinkles, glitter, seeds, nothing on top!  Colors were acceptable, but plain Jane - NO toppings. 

They were all stunning, and I just love all of the creativity these people have brewing inside of them.  It consistently amazes me.  Every. SINGLE. Time.

There were many more I wanted to include, but there were issues.  Some needed more light.  Some were not using natural light.  Focus is a big issue in a lot of entries.  Imagine as you are shooting your photo..... that there is nothing else that exists in the world than the screen that you see out of.  Move your position until what you see through the screen MEANS something, tells something, or makes you feel something.  Can a piece of soap make you feel something?  Absolutely.  A sense of peace, or solace....perhaps remind you of a moment in time.  A quiet second that once was.  It is possible to move people with your photos.

So I urge you to take these photo challenges more seriously, because your photos are going to make people want your soap, or at least treasure the look of them.  They become precious commodities, not just a surplus.  Even a chunk of very rustic looking soap can look gorgeous and precious.

Perhaps I will share some of my own series of soaps as an example of different ways to get across different emotions with a hunk of soap someday.  With different lighting, different backgrounds, etc....

Here was a photo I took years ago of a chocolate soap:

Here are some of my favorites from the challenge......

Michael Kitney

Jeannine Jonas

Lina Vilniskyte

Jennifer Jansen

Emma Frost

Kerry Sylvester

Kendra Cote


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Halloween Soap Porn

We love Halloween at our house!  Love it love it love it!

We haven't done any straight up soap porn lately so I thought we needed a little inspiration and good clean fun over on this here blog.  So we start with some yummo looking soap and end with some fun decorations just to get into the mood right before October.

Hangman Soap - Halloween 2013 by Sugar and Spite Bathery

Black Licorice by Daily Repose
Crystal Skull by Sky Rain Soap
Homebrewed Pumpkin Ale Beer Soap by Redbeard Brew Bars
Then there were some really cute NON-soap related Halloween cute things I found in the world that I thought I'd share - ALL HANDMADE.....
A Bat Garland:
Couture by Ayca

Orange Felt Light Garland:
Ursula Shop
Creepy Stickers: 
The Package House
Got in the mood?  I know I have!  Now I feel like going shopping for goodies.....
xoxoxox jo

Monday, September 23, 2013

Shampoo Bar Challenge

Last week we did a Shampoo Soap Challenge on Soaper's Retreat and there were some very lovely submissions.  I have decided, after many years of being disgruntled with my shampoo options and my aging hair situation, that I need to go au naturale.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  This makes it easier for me to browse options!  ;)

Here were just a few that were submitted..... They were all beautiful!!!

Nicole Sullivan

 Natalia Mijnzeep

Miranda Pollack-Raymond

Hayley Heke

New challenge will be posted by Friday...... :)

Please leave comments on what you would like to see more of on this blog!!!

xoxoxo jo

Friday, September 13, 2013

Petrified Wood Soap Challenge

On Soaper's Retreat last week, I asked the group to take a look at a picture of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona.  Something I had never seen before. 

 photo credit:

I asked the group to create a soap INSPIRED by this photo. There were very few entries for this challenge as I had suspected there would be.  Everyone is very busy preparing for the upcoming holiday season, so we will stop having soaping challenges until after the first of the year.

Here were some of the soap inspirations created by some in the group.....

Louise Vargas
Aissa Ong Babinski
Jane Leebeck
Janet Schreiner
Paige Bowser
Robin Duncan Hasty
Linda Wisniewski Morris
Thank you to everyone who participated and gave this a "go".  You all have inspired me as well as others who look at this blog.  Enjoy your colorful soap!!!
xoxo JO

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Crab Challenge - Soap Inspiration

What a crazy month it has been!  I recently moved my home (just a few miles away) and had a Crohn's flare-up....both no fun at all.  I was MIA for quite a bit dealing with it all, but I am feeling fantastic now and slowly getting back into a routine.

Before I went missing, though, we had a soaping challenge on the Facebook Soaper's Retreat group.  I shared a photo from Bing of a gorgeous crab and asked everyone to capture the beauty in a batch of their own soaps. 

Here is Crabby, Mr. Inspiration:

We had some amazing results and I am so proud of everyone who attempted this challenge. Here are some of my favorites...

Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soaps


Sarah Withnell


Amy Warden of Great Cakes

Tanya Rasley of Baby Duck Soaps

Michelle Rhoades of Mossy Creek

Mary Ann Forehand

Shelly Cleveland Morris

Tanya Chappell

New challenge coming soon!  So get over to the retreat and think outside the box!  ;)


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Guest Tutorial: Creating Soap Swirls with Mica & Glycerin

Michelle Rhoades, of Mossy Creek Soap, so graciously offered to share her incredibly cool technique that almost makes the soap look like gilded stone.  She does it flawlessly!  Thank you, Michelle, for your time and energy and lovely photographs!!  I will, of course, need to try this.  I think it is perhaps one of my favorite "looks" of all time.

Creating swirled soap tops are not all that hard but it does require practice. With this method you need to keep in mind the consistency of your newly poured soap. Some techniques require your soap base to be thick enough to be able to fluff up the soap base and remain stiff but not too stiff you cannot manipulate it.  This soap on the other hand requires it to be softer so the swirls you are creating will flow.

To begin I suggest to make your favorite recipe for heavy swirling.  Maybe one high in olive oil and/or one without a water discount. Mix them at a lower temperature than you would normally.

This technique is similar to the mica oil swirl--- but with glycerin instead.  Yes, you can also make beautiful swirls with mica & glycerin. The cool thing that happens is the soap absorbs the glycerin, creating a cavern and leaving behind a beautiful mica indention kind of like travertine stone.

left: 1st poured                                                       right: 2 days after unmolding

I like to use 14k Gold Mica and Sparkly White Mica because these seem to show up the best. Mix the mica into the glycerin pretty thick.  Use just enough glycerin to make it fluid.


Here are some photos of the newly poured soap (left) with the glycerin mica swirls. The day after picture with the mica absorbed (right)


You can clearly see the glycerin mica sitting on top.

This soap is made with a combined mica oil and mica glycerin swirl. You can see where the mica oil swirl is fluid and the glycerin mica beads up.  This is what you are looking for because in a few days the beads will disappear and leave behind a cavern.

A few things to keep in mind: less is more. If you can add too much glycerin, it will become soupy. Also, the main photo was flatten with a lid that was placed on top of the soap after it was poured.  

Thank you, Michelle!  What a dreamy tutorial you have shared! 
 Please go visit Michelle's website and gaze at her lovelies!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Macro Art Soap Porn

This week we had another Photo Challenge at Soaper's Retreat (my Facebook group).  What amazing and glorious photos they posted!!  The challenge was MACRO photo:  Get as close as possible to your soap and shoot.  There were more entries, I think, for this challenge than any other.  One thing to keep in mind when posting entries for these challenges:  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE IT IN FOCUS.  There were gorgeous shots that I couldn't include because it just wasn't in perfect focus, so be diligent and keep trying.  The art in this group in mind blowing.

Thanks for playing.  I appreciate all the photos you all posted.

Feast your eyes.....

Tianna Schlabach of Shabby Anna Soap

Vito Halagic

Marianne Rice

Michelle Rhoades of Mossy Creek Soaps

Tanya Chappell of Titania's Dreamy Delights

Kenna Cote of Amathia Soapworks

Heidi Bott

Chris Erkine of Wax and Soapy Water

Robin C. Herz

Tiggy Fiander of Future Primitive Soap

Andrea Gurlach

Hepzi Amelia Evans of Cleanse With Benefits

Juli 'Apthorpe' Denike of Inspiri Body

Lysa Luna of Sugar & Spite Bathery

Lina Vilniskyte

Merilyn Konnerth