Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now For Some Good Clean Fun

If I was pushed to name my favorite find on Etsy it would have to be soap. I've purchased enough different kinds of soap to last me at least a year, and I've been giving handmade soap to everyone I know on all gift-giving occasions. Sometimes I even celebrate the lesser-known gift-giving occasions, like Happy Soap Day. Or Smell Like a Poundcake Day. And my personal favorite, My Bathroom Smells Like a Spa Day. I "met" Janell of Mooney's Market through Entrecard, and she has such beautiful soaps in her shop that I asked her to share some information. Her enthusiasm really shines, and I hope you enjoy her response as much as I did:

A few years ago my family and I had decided to make all 'handmade' gifts for each other for Christmas. I've always loved making gift baskets, so that year I decided to make bath baskets for all the ladies in the family. From that I went to the craft store and bought a soap making kit. It was so much fun, but I never did anything seriously with it after that. Until about a year ago when I found etsy, and started buying handmade soap online.

I've always wanted to try my best to live a healthy lifestyle, and using natural products on my skin fit perfectly with that. After trying several different types of soap from various etsy sellers, and loving them all!!! I decided to give it a try myself--learn more about what's good for your skin, and start making my own.

At first, I was just making soap for myself and my fiance, but once you've got so much of it around, you can't possibly use it all within a reasonable amount of time, so I decided to really educate myself and start selling soap on etsy.

There are a few different ways of making soap, and some day I want to learn the cold process method, but for now, I'm happy working with batches of natural soap base, and creating my own special blends.

What I love about working with soap base, rather than mixing the base from scratch is that for starters, it's much safer. Creating cold process soap means working with lye which is not only combustible if you mix it incorrectly, but it's also very hazardous to your health if you breathe it in. Also, cold process soaps take weeks to cure, while working with natural soap bases and adding my own special ingredients, I have fresh new bars of soap within a day's time.

It's a matter of preference as a soap maker really. There are benefits to both ways of making soap. The cold processed soaps are a bit more expensive, naturally, because they are made truly from scratch.

But, I tend to lean toward working with soap bases because I have more flexibility in presentation, it's a bit more affordable both as a soap maker and as a buyer of bath and body products, and it's safer to work with as well.

I've always loved to cook. I love trying new recipes, and blending different flavors together. I also love to decorate, and I'm inspired by a variety of crafty things. I also have a jewelry shop on etsy, but to be honest, I really feel like I may have finally found my passion in crafting. Making soap for me, is a great way to blend so many of my hobbies and interests into one project.

I get to play with color. I get to play with fragrance, essential oils, and I'm learning so much about aromatherapy and other natural ingredients that are great for your skin. I get to play with the presentation of my soaps by using pretty molds and packaging, and I get to learn and educate others about natural ways to care for your skin and your body.

For me, making soap is so much more than simply making soap. It's about living a healthy, natural lifestyle, and I love being able to share that with others. I know that I still have a lot to learn about soap making, as well as the benefits of different things that can better your skin, but I'm loving every minute of it, and I'm SO enjoying the ride!

Visit Janell: