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Topic: Bath and Beauty Featured Member~ Nymeria!  (Read 4884 times)
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« on: July 02, 2009 10:36:23 AM »

The latest Craftster Bath & Beauty Featured Member is~ Nymeria!

Nymeria has been a member of Craftster since March of 2005, and is a frequent poster on the Bath & Beauty Boards. Not only is she especially helpful to newbies and seasoned soapers alike on the Discussion and Questions Board, but she has compiled many useful lists such as the FAQ List, the EO/FO Thread, and the Colorant Thread. She also helps me keep on top of editing and adding to some other popular threads like The Getting Started and Supplier Links thread!!  

Nymeria makes wonderful cold process soap as well as other bath goodies, and a couple of my personal favorite posts of hers are Eggs and Chocolate and My Dream Hand Cream. And, of course, Next Step Baby Soap, her winning entry in the 1st B&B Challenge, made withbaby formula? Grin

She is also the Cupcake Queen, but the kind you eat, not the kind you wash with while sadly wishing you could eat it! Check theseMargaritaville Cupcakes out!

A little intro by Nymeria:

My name is Jen and I make soap. I live in Denver with my husband, our beautiful daughter and a spazzoid cat. I describe myself as the epitome of nerddom; I like Warhammer 40,000, am a hardcore video gamer, and get excited talking about baking and soapmaking. I also spend way too much time on Craftster...

Im constantly experimenting with crafts and cooking alike and have discovered many hidden talents and no-so-hidden non-talents. Grin Im still trying to learn to crochet and sew (other than just basic stuff) and practice my paper crafts whenever I get the chance.

But obviously my love is above and beyond: soap. Smiley

Q: Why (and when) did you begin making Bath and Body items?

A: I started years ago because I have very sensitive skin and was tired of wasting money playing the Will this bother my skin? game. I started playing around with a few recipes and was hooked. I managed to get my hands on The Soapmakers Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch, and Soap: Making it and Enjoying it by Ann Bramson and those two books were my bibles for years. I soon discovered that I knew a lot of people with similar complaints and started sharing my soaps and it just kinda grew from there. Smiley

Q: What is your B&B philosophy?

A: Dont knock it til you try it! I totally admit to using both beef tallow & shortening in my soaps. Both items get a lot of slack from people as being subpar or whatever. I love them both. I like artificial fragrance oils, but I like essential oils, too. I use whatever I think makes the best for me and encourage others to do the same. A soap made with artificial fragrance oil & shortening can be every bit as luxurious as a bar made with essential oil & palm oil. And yes, I WILL take the Pepsi challenge on that!

Also, research, research, research. Never just take someones word for it, and yes that includes me, lol. Did someone tell you to not use x ingredient because it causes your skin to sprout blue fur? Do some research!! (and I read on Wikipedia, or Someone told me, does not count as research!) Also, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I had a lot of trial and (mostly) errors in my early work because I fell victim to the old wives tales.

Q: We know you make fabulous soap, what other B&B items do you make?

A: Lotions, lip balms, salves, bath fizzies (easily my weakest area Im still new to those), butters, etc. Really if it can go on your skin and means its one less product I need to buy at the store, Ill try to make it! Lotions are probably my big obsession right now. I love making them and experimenting with them. Lip balms are my other tried and true favorite. I make on that is uncannily similar to Burts Bees formula which is awesome in the Colorado winters!

Q: How did your first soap making project (or lotion, bath bomb, etc, insert word) go for you?

A: Actually my very first soap project went pretty well. A gal I knew had given me everything I needed and it was all weighed for me. The only problem was that I took her advice on scenting and put way too much lemongrass EO in. Oh my god it smelled like Lysol! (which is ironic, if you think about it) My second soap attempt was horrible. I didnt have a digital scale so I was trying to estimate where 7.65oz was on my scale it was a disaster. But it smelled great

Q: If you could only use one specialty oil, what would it be?

A: Jojoba. I just like saying the word, ho-ho-bah!

Q: Do you have any favorite techniques?

A: Not really. My least favorite is definitely layering. I think because Im not good at it. And Im not good at it because I never practice with it because I dont like it. Its a vicious cycle.

Q: If you could only make one soap recipe, what would it be and why?

A: It would be the modified castile soap recipe from Ann Bramsons Soap: Making It & Enjoy It Its like 70% olive oil & 30% tallow/palm/shortening. It makes a great hard bar that is moisturizing and lasts forever. Being a castile soap it doesnt make good lather, but Im not a lather girl. Smiley

Q: Whats your one best piece of advice for beginning soap makers?

A: Do your homework and start slow. You want to go in with a good knowledge base; check out some books, read some threads on here and feel familiar with the process. Start slow and simple; I know the soap recipes with the fancy shmancy oils sound really awesome, but you want to have some experience under your belt first. Nothings worse than a failed batch with expensive oils, and because youre a beginner, you have no idea why it failed (or can even begin to take a guess).

Also, dont get totally frustrated by failures. They happen. Even advanced soapmakers get a bum batch every now and then. Just go back and analyze every step you took and everything you did. Did you forget something? Make a note of it so you wont next time. Its all part of the learning process.

And speaking of that, keep a journal/notebook/scratch pad on your soaping adventures. Did that fabulous FO not smell to fabulous when combined with another? Did it fade? Was there too much, too little? Write it down!! Smiley

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that you posted? And why?

A: My lavender swirls soap. That is the above recipe from Ann Bramsons book (I think, lol) and I just like how calm it looked.

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?

A: Sparklecookies puzzle soap. Its irreverent and makes me smile every time I see it. I think its the bright colors.

A close second is almost any of Malibukaseys nails. Im not a nail girl (the last time I had a manicure was for my wedding, 6 years ago), but the amount of time and skill involved in her projects blows my mind.

Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that you have posted?

A: That would be the Debbie Bliss Pinafore I knitted when I was pregnant. Yes that is all seed stitch. Yes it was on size 4 needles. Yes that thing is going to be preserved for all time!!!! I like it because my daughter looked adorable in it and it was one of those holy cow, I actually did it sort of projects.

Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?

A: Macksters Jayne Cobb hat. I have made a few of these following her pattern because who can resist the awesomeness?? Like other favorite things, it just makes me smile. Grin

Thanks so much, Nymeria, for answering my questions and sharing about yourself with the Craftster community!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2009 10:51:33 AM by MareMare » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2009 12:06:14 PM »

Yay Nymeria!! I also have super sensitive skin and was also playing the "will this irritate my skin?" game until I found Nymeria! Now I use her products religiously. Grin

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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2009 02:38:03 PM »

I love reading up on how everyone started their love affair with soapmaking. 
Thanks again MareMare for featuring another awesome soaper!!

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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009 10:55:51 AM »

mcook..i totally agree..i too love to read how people got started and their fave projects..i love nymeria..shes so talented..

its ME!!
Soap licking is dangerous..please dont try it at home

will trade some soap for a superhero cape which will be used by the kid in my avatar ^^
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009 10:12:12 PM »

I still think that baby soap is beyond hilarious and pure genius and then some. Congrats Nymeria! You deserve this so soo much - all of your threads have helped me out a LOT. What you said about tallow really clicks with me too, and man... your egg soap makes me drool. I SO am going to have to try some of that, someday... Mmm.

Btw, that's a brilliant flavor of cupcake. I can't stand super sugary sweet cupcakes, that one might just do it for me...
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2009 07:04:50 AM »

Nymeria!  What a great write up!

and thanks SO MUCH for pointing to the Cobb hat!!  I've been looking for a pattern.


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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009 03:19:11 AM »

This question is too complicated for me
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