Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Start off small.

I first began making soap on a whim, while perusing my local JoAnn Fabrics, I saw a chunk of soap base and some assorted soap scents in a display at the very back of the store. Already a fairly crafty person, I enjoyed knitting, sewing, painting, sculpting with clay... but had never quite found a medium that came out the way I really wanted it to. I can only knit in squares or rectangles, and still don't know how to purl properly. I make an awful lot of scarves and potholders, and the occasional simple hat. My sewing looks like something a kindergartener would bring home. I love to paint, but often felt I was the only one who liked my art. Sigh. And so I see this brick of soap base, and some scents, and think... well, for $15 I can try it, and it, too, will be exiled to the back of my crafting closet, or squirreled away amongst the beads and sequins in my drawer, tucked between the tigertail wire and my hot glue sticks. I bought a flimsy mold, a green apple scent, and a block of olive oil glycerin soap base and brought it home. I took out an old battered pot and began melting squares of base on the oven.

It was relaxing, watching the glycerin melt into a puddle on my stove as I stirred absent-mindedly. I kept a close eye on it, and when it was just melted, I pulled it off the burner and added some scent. Hmm. It smelled kind of nice. I realised then that I needed some colour. I grabbed my food colouring and added a couple of drops of green to it. Ooooh, it tinted up quickly! I poured it into the waiting molds with little trouble. I cleaned the pot and wandered into the living room to play on my computer for a while.

About an hour later, I peeked back into the kitchen. There they were, four soaps, setting up very nicely in the molds. So green! They smelled like apples. I got impatient. I tried to unmold them quickly. I had to see them! The first one came out okay; the next one had a funny dent on the top from where I had pushed it out too hard. But I had success! I was amazed! For the first time ever, something had come out exactly as I had envisioned it!

I carefully bagged them up and brought them in to show my then-manager at the store I worked at. I got many oooohs and ahhhs from my co-workers, and was allowed to set the soap at the sink in the bathroom. What an honour! I wondered what else I could do.

After exhausting all the scents I could find at JoAnn, and adding herbs to my mixes willy-nilly, all to great review from friends, family, and co-workers, I decided it might be time to look into a cheaper soap base; the stuff at JoAnn was only 2 pounds of base for nearly $10. I was addicted, and it was starting to eat into my pockets. I started looking online.

I found, possibly the very best place ever - Brambleberry! I could get much more soap base, many more varieties, in bulk for sooooo much less! Hooray! And they had amazing scents - these scents go much further than the little bottles from JoAnn. I began getting my molds, bases, scents, etc from them. And up, up, up went the quality of my soaps! And suddenly it was more than friends and family who were interested.

I lucked out in that I had VERY supportive friends - a guy who was in marketing before I met him and who LOVED my product (THANKS JULES!), and ANOTHER rockin' dude I worked with (and still do, currently) who is a graphic designer - and he made my logo for free. One day, John, I will pay you very handsomely for your work! I am working on putting together a contest to name the penguin - there will be a gift basket as the main prize, and runner-up prizes, too. :)

It's been two and a half years since that first bar of green apple soap - with base that hardened up and scent that fled after about a month - and I'm now licensed and a member of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild.

So welcome, one and all, to my humble blog! My name is Stasia, and I am the Sole Proprietor of Tubbles Bubbles Co, and I will show you how to make soaps and other fun bath and beauty items for yourself, with little tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way.

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