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1  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Fragrant Woods Cold Process Soap on: November 28, 2011 01:08:32 PM

I have been making some men's scented soaps for my son for Christmas because he's finally decided that body wash is not kind to his skin. This is one of the first I made for him. I was thrilled by how easy it was to create a decorative touch by simply layering a bit of powdered cinnamon between pouring layers of the soap.  I like to think is reminiscent of the hiking trails local to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where I reside. And the scent? Well, it's equally amazing. I scented this masculine soap with a blend of Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Cedarwood, Lemon, and Petigrain. I decided to name this one Fragrant Woods.

I also used the same layering technique with these soaps.

This one is eucalyptus and tea tree. I layered it with fine ground, green colored loofah.

And this one is scented with cedarwood and sage essential oils. I layered it with ground apricot kernel meal.
2  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / New Cold Process Shea Butter Soaps - Citrus Cilantro and Vanilla Bean on: October 09, 2011 12:02:01 PM

I've just unmolded and cut two new handmade shea butter soaps - Citrus Cilantro Shea Butter Soap and Vanilla Bean & Clove Shea Butter Soap.

My handmade Citrus Cilantro Scented Shea Butter Soap is a fresh, clean smelling blend of Lemon, Cilantro, Cut Grass, and Green Tea. It is colored a decorative yellow and green and contains bits of loofah for light exfoliation. My handmade Vanilla Bean & Clove Scented Shea Butter Soap - which will turn a solid dark brown once it cures - smells like crushed vanilla beans enhanced by clove & cinnamon on a dry down of musk.
3  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Mango & Papaya Cold Process Soap on: June 28, 2011 08:24:26 PM

Handmade Mango  & Papaya Scented Luxury Shea Butter Soap by soapdeligirl, on Flickr

My newest soap I just unmolded. This moisture rich shea butter soap is handmade specifically for those with normal to dry skin. The scent of this soap is a fruity blend of ripened mango and juicy papaya. It contains shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, rice bran oil and other skin loving ingredients.

I used yellow oxide and red oxide pigments for the orange color and added soaps bits from my last several batches of soap for visual interest. The red is from my Red Currant Soap and the yellow from my Lemon Mint Soap. I like the way it turned out.
4  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Natural Peppermint Foot Cream + Recipe on: June 26, 2011 09:09:02 AM

I sold an all natural foot cream down on the Roanoke City Market for years. It was highly popular year round, but I could only sell it during late fall to early spring because it would melt during the summer while I was vending outside. Since I have decided to no longer produce this product despite its popularity, I figured I would pass the recipe on to my faithful readers. It's rather easy to make and yields about 2lbs. of product. You can divide this up into eight 4oz. jars or four 8oz. jars and keep them stored in the refrigerator for longevity or gift the extras. Or, simply halve the recipe to make less.

My Peppermint Foot Cream is comprised mainly of natural shea butter. It's a great, all natural moisturizer with peppermint oil to refresh your feet and anti-fungal tea tree oil to keep your tootsies in tip top shape.
Shea butter is a natural fat that is extracted from the fruit of the Karite Tree found in West Africa. It is a wonderful moisturizer and emollient, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Apply liberally to the skin to treat scars, eczema, burns, rashes, acne, severely dry skin, chapped lips, stretch marks, and wrinkles.

Peppermint Foot Cream Recipe

4oz. unrefined cocoa butter
16oz. unrefined shea butter
8oz. fractionated coconut oil
3oz. Japanese peppermint essential oil
2oz. tea tree oil
.02oz. Liquipar Preservative (optional)


You'll want to weigh all of your ingredients using an accurate scale. Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter together in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. Once melted, stir in your fractionated coconut oil, peppermint essential oil - I use triple distilled Japanese peppermint oil because it has more of a peppermint candy smell than a medicinal smell, tea tree oil, and liquipar if using a preservative. Mix well with a spoon, then pour into your final containers. Screw on the lid and set in the fridge to cool until hardened.
5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / How to increase business by increasing traffic to your blog. on: May 17, 2011 11:18:16 AM
If you have been blogging for your business for  some time, do you feel it's helped to grow your business and bring sales. I do blog and have not found a way of tracking sales through my blog except through contests where I offer a coupon code. However, I have noticed a direct correlation between my blogging activity and sales. The more I blog, the more sales I get. And I feel it's because my blog brings in so many different eyes because of the variety of contest I post. In fact, I feel that blogging #1 and facebook #2 are my two best marketing options that don't cost me anything but a little time.

Much of my blog traffic comes from google - which is great. But I've recently increased by readership to over 20K unique visitors a month - that's over 400 unique visitors a day - with a few tricks and submissions. I've been playing around with a lot of different options like kaboodle, craftstylish and blogher blogs to pull traffic back to my own blog. I also share my posts on facebook and twitter. Additionally I have added several options for following my blog - google friend connect, networked blogs, email subscription, and blog lovin'. My top traffic sources, however, for my blog come from the following:

Google - make sure you've submitted your blog and use lots of keywords in your content and your title.

Stumbleupon - Stumble your posts. Have others stumble your posts. It works.

Pinterest - They're still new, but when you pin something crafty and fabulous a lot of repinning goes on and your work gets shared over and over.

Craftgawker - They're picky about photos, but if they like what you've got, they will send you a good amount of traffic. Don't just share posts about your products, share other content as well. Your blog should have an obvious link back to your shop so you shouldn't feel you just need to promote your stuff with them. If you have wedding lovelies, check out weddinggawker.

IShareCrafts - Very similar to craftgawker. Less picky about photos. But it must be a craft project of some kind. They also have spin offs like craftgawker does for food but also for printables.

OnePrettyThing blog - If you have craft tutorials this is a great place to submit them. They'll link to your project and send traffic your way. It must be your own original project though - not a link through to a tutorial on another blog.

Blog Lovin' - A blog directory that also lets you follow your favorite blogs and check out the daily feed of your favorites in one handy location.

Giveaway sites - If you run a giveaway and submit it to giveaway sites, your traffic will soar. You can also use giveaways to grow your social networks and blog followers.

Tumblr - I don't use tumblr as my main blog and I was VERY reluctant to give it a go. But now that it's established I've found it can work. I often blog a photo from my main blog with a short description and a link back to my blog. Be sure to TAG with keywords. I've gotten a lot of hits to specific articles through tumblr from people doing a key word search ie. DIY While it's not consistent, if your article gets featured in a keyword search the traffic surge is obvious.

Hopefully you will find these sites as useful tools as well. Also, if anyone else has had success in bringing traffic to their blogs using specific sites or techniques, I'd love if you would share them here!

If you don't blog and are reluctant to blog on a consistent basis, I would recommend starting with tumblr. You can simply reblog content on days you are not feeling motivated. I read an article not long ago that says blogging increases inbound links for businesses by 55% or something like that. And I believe it based on my own personal experience.
6  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Launched solo shop. Would love feedback. on: May 17, 2011 10:46:18 AM
I am freeing myself up from being tied to etsy - I haven't decided if I'll stay or go completely solo or not yet - but I recently launched my own web shop. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on it. It feels a little bland to me, but I don't know what to do to "spice" it up. I use bigcartel so the featured products are not optional - I have to show at least one, so I chose three since they fit nicely in one row. I made product category descriptions on my main page and chose to have the featured products on top. I'm not sure if I need more of a description or not on the main shop page. My main website http://www.soapdelicatessen.com kind of says it all but I'm concerned about those who may be just entering from my shop - though I do have an about page on my shop just in case as well as customer testimonials. My shop is here: http://shop.soapdelicatessen.com Any suggestions or things you would do differently? Or is it sufficient. Thanks!
7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Rosemary Mint Soap on: May 09, 2011 01:38:22 PM

I have two new soaps curing. I made these last week. Both are Rosemary Mint. However, one is just a plain jane bar scented with rosemary mint fragrance and sprinkled with rosemary leaves. The other is a shampoo and body bar created for my friend Leah. It's scented with rosemary mint but then also has natural rosemary, peppermint and tea tree oils added. I added unscented goat milk soap balls added for extra love and decoration.

The shampoo and body bar is specifically for my friend Leah who suffers from seborrheic dermatitis. I used essential oils known to help aid in the relief of this problem.

Rosemary essential oil is used often for aching muscles, arthritis, dandruff, hair care, and poor circulation. While tea tree oil is great for acne, oily skin and even athlete's foot and cold sores. It's touted as being anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Peppermint essential oil is often used for  skin irritation and itchiness as well as dermatitis and acne.
8  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Solid Shea Butter Sugar Scrub Cubes - Now with TUTORIAL! on: April 06, 2011 09:32:13 PM

Strawberry Champagne Solid Sugar Scrub Cubes

I love making solid sugar scrub cubes! They're quick and easy and a whole lot of awesome in the shower. I made five scents the other day. Pina Colada, Lavender, Chamomile Neroli, Strawberry Champagne, and Cucumber. I make mine with extra moisturizing shea butter, fine sugar, fraction coconut oil, and an all natural glycerin, shea butter soap base and then add either a fragrance or essential oil for scent.

Natural Chamomile and Neroli Solid Sugar Scrub Cubes

How to make solid sugar scrub cubes.

Solid Sugar Scrub Cubes have become the new trend and are now taking the place of traditional sugar scrubs. One of the main reasons is that these scrubs are in a solid form so there's no separation and less mess. It also means it's less likely that you will transfer water into your sugar scrub during usage since you are simply removing one or two cubes at a time for use and then resealing the container before use.

While there are a handful of recipes for solid sugar scrubs floating around, I came up with my own recipe that I'd like to share with you. It's not greasy when applied and easy to make.

Solid Shea Butter Sugar Scrub Cube Recipe
Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen - For Personal Use Only

2.5oz Natural Shea Butter Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap
4oz. Refined Shea Butter
16oz. White Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fractionated Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Fragrance Oil (or 1/2 Tablespoon Essential Oil) of Choice
Pinch of ultramarine or oxide pigment (optional)

I use my soap molds to make these. One batch fits into two molds. You can use a square baking pan or two disposable tin loaf pans instead. Line your molds with plastic wrap or food service film taping the film at the top of the mold. (Alternately you can use decorative silicone molds for this.)

Weigh out your melt and pour soap base using a scale, then melt in the microwave or a double boiler. Weigh out your shea butter and melt. Stir the shea butter into the melt and pour soap base. Measure out your fractionated coconut oil and fragrance if desired using a Tablespoon measurement and stir into the melted shea butter and soap base. In a separate bowl, weigh out the sugar. If using a pigment for color, cut in a pinch of color using a butter knife or spatula. (Keep in mind if your fragrance oil contains vanilla, your sugar scrub cubes will darken and turn brown depending on amount of vanilla content.) Finally, quickly pour the sugar into the shea/soap mixture and mix well. Scoop into your mold and level with a spatula, then place in the refrigerator until solidified.

Once your scrub has solidified, gently remove the scrub from the molds by lifting it out of the mold with the plastic wrap from the top edges of the plastic wrap. Then remove the plastic wrap from the scrub. Use a Chef's knife to then cut the scrub into cubes. Place cubes in an airtight container until use.

To use these scrub cubes, simply crush one or two cubes in your wet hands and slather over your body.
9  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Honeysuckle & Morning Glory Handmade Shea Butter Soap for Spring! on: February 20, 2011 12:30:06 PM

My new honeysuckle and morning glory scented soap. Smells heavenly. Still trying to figure out a name for it. I thought about something cool like Bird Crap on Buttered Toast but Ill probably opt for something cheesy like Sunshine Fields.

I made this cold process soap with a combo of shea and cocoa butters, olive oil, rice bran oil, palm kernel oil, and palm oil. Colors are from yellow oxide and blue ultramarine.
10  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / All Natural Banana Oatmeal CP Soap on: February 17, 2011 11:02:10 AM

This is a photo of my new all natural unscented, banana oatmeal shea butter soap that is currently curing. It's a twist off my classic oatmeal and shea butter soap that I usually make. It has rolled oats and fresh banana added into each batch. I didn't add any scent so it smells very natural.
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