Impression Mat December 2015 Soap Challenge

The challenge this month from Amy Warden and  Great Cakes Soap Works was using Impression Mats with our soap.  We could either buy a mat or make our own, and the coupon from this month’s sponsor really helped so thanks to Bramble Berry too, for being the sponsor for this challenge.

I decided I needed to buy my mats and hit the internet for anything interesting.  Several of the mats and items I bought will not arrive until after Christmas, but that’s ok, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the mats in this challenge and will again add this technique to my growing skills.  I subscribe to Antie Clara’s blog and love reading about her techniques. Her blog on impression mats was very informative and can be found here.

found some  as it was very similar to painting in my opinion.

applying purple
I started out using the Q-tips as Amy did in her video but that didn’t work very well for me. I switched to a small makeup brush the to a small paint brush to apply the mica to the matt and found that was the perfect way to work.  The smaller the bristles the better.  The picture  above shows a small makeup brush and the below image shows one of the small paint brushes.
rubbing tape to pull off excess mica on top
I found that tape worked really well to pull excess mica off the top of the mat and saved me a LOT of clean up.  I used the edge of the paint brush to rub the top of the mat to clean the top.  If I used my finger or a ball of tape, I would pull off mica where I didn’t want, if I fell into a wide spot such as a grape or big leaf.
2nd pealing tape off after rubbing - better
You can see the imprint of the excess mica that would have been on the top of the soap if I had not cleaned it well using the tape.
matt in mold with oils ready to make soap
Here is the mat in my mold, and I am ready to make my soap batter.
Pealing off mat 2
I used  the following micas from Nurture Soap in this batch so I will not be selling this soap: Paradise Purple, Vibrant Purple, Titanium Dioxide, Hunter Green Vibrance Green, Alpine Green, and a custom blend of these greens.  I tried to create shading on the leaves, grapes and vines.  there was a little bleed-through on the purple drop swirl, but i think it came out ok over-all.  The first loaf I made wasn’t as defined in the shading but this second loaf came out better.   In the above picture the mat pealed off really clean during the unmolding.
loaf 2 and frog molds
Here are the two frog molds I painted with mica drying with my challeng soap! My Daughter will love these!
deep angle view
Close up of the shading detail on the leaves and grapes.
cut bars uncleaned
cut bars waiting to be cleaned.
cut bar closeup
Close up
final 2
I used a CPOP process on this soap and will be giving these away to family soon.
Final Photo
Lavender and Vines


I scented my soap with a custom blend of essential oils  that has a light “Lavender and Fresh Air” fragrance.  Slightly citrus, floral, and refreshing.  I don’t use micas in my soaps and the swirl in the main portion wasn’t enough color and I lost the color in the first batch but this second bach is great!

This was a really fun challenge, I can’t wait for next month. Thanks Amy!

Tall Skinny Shimmy November Soap Challenge

Because I am late posting this I have copied the original post from facebook.  In the future, I will be more diligent in posting here each month!

Thank you Amy for hosting this Month’s Soap challenge and Tatiana for teaching us this wonderful technique! I had so much fun with this challenge. It’s too bad my first few didn’t turn out lol! Oh well, my Grandkids and friends will love them! I have decided I will need to invest in a tall skinny mold after playing around with these soaps.

I went out of my comfort zone with this challenge and used micas for coloring from Nurture Soap with all of the batches that I made while playing with this challenge. This challenge wasn’t as easy as it appeared in the video and some of my soaps are pretty psychedelic but not even close to an “S” curve. I actually went back to my 3rd batch for pictures because I went with a holiday theme and it really looks like a Tree! Not quite an “S” shape, but I am happy with what I learned this month! I am already looking forward to next month!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


I want to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving today, and share a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition from my family.   We have practiced this tradition  in my family for as long as I can remember.

We always hold hands for prayer, and while we are still holding hands, each person shares at least one thing that they are thankful for.   Now some of you might think this is kind of corny. But actually, while you’re sitting there thinking about  about what you’re going to say as it comes closer to your time to speak, you get rather philosophical and you begin to dig deep down inside yourself .

So  I thought I would share it with all of you this year, and then I will share this with my family at dinner  this afternoon.

What am I thankful for this year? I am thankful for all my friends and family, and all of you who read and share my blog, so thank you.

I am thankful for all of you who have tried and stood beside me and tested my Skin Zen products as I bug you repeatedly for your opinions on the little tweaks that I give to products to make things better.

I’m thankful that I have a job and can be some-what self-sufficient as there are so many people in this world, and in this country without employment and without homes to live in.

I am especially thankful for my boyfriend who does so much for me such as grocery shopping filling the gas in my vehicle. He does things that I can no longer easily do for myself because of my multiple chemical sensitivity, I really don’t know what I’d do without his help and support.

On a broader note,  I am thankful for peace on American soil, during this time of so much turmoil in the world.   My prayer is that this continues, and I am praying for peace and safety for all of our  men and women at arms.  And I give thanks to all of their families for the sacrifices that they give to each and everyone of us to keep us safe.

Thank you.



Alternative Liquid Soap Challenge

Saturday was the deadline for the Alternative Liquids soap challenge hosted by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks.  this was my first soap challenge and I have to say I am in awe with the creativity displayed in the entries, and amazed at the detailed research provided by these soapers.  There is a ton of reading material to dive into here, and I will be spending quite a few late nights going over all this great information!  I was really excited to participate in this challenge, and quite inexperienced, so I was along for the learning experience, and to soak up all of the wonderful  knowledge from fellow-crafters.

Our challenge this month is really perfect for me as it was an all natural soap. The criteria was: use an alternative liquid instead of plain distilled water; use only natural colorants; and only use essential oil if fragranced.  I posted my challenge entry to my facebook page so this is just for my information and enjoyment, and to add additional pictures of the soap creation process.  I see I need a LOT more research in my soap challenges and will strive to increase my writing to provide more value during the review process.

I created my soap using rose tea, rose kaolin clay, and tussah silk (which I forgot to mention in my challenge entry on FB).  My color was Alkanet root powder infused in olive oil, which I used 2 Tsp. and this was too strong and came out almost black in the finished soap.  I also added 1 Tbsp. rose kaolin clay as a color/texture to my soap and wow did this speed up the trace! The remainder of the soap I left natural.  The alkanet root turned a dark green when added to the soap and I was afraid the bars would come out green but after gel phase the color changed to a really dark purple/black so next time I will use on 1/2 a teaspoon to a batch of soap.

This super creamy bar was an in-the-pot swirl and made using: Rose tea infused distilled water, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor oil, Coconut oil, Mango butter, Rose infused Olive oil, Rosehip oil, and Shea butter. The Essential oil is Rose Absolute and my colorants are alkanet root (infused in olive oil)   and Rose Kaolin clay

Rose oil and hydrosols have been used for centuries to help moisturize and infuse our skin with vitamins and antioxidants.

I did additional research and should have listed it in my submission but ran out of time to post my soap before the close of the challenge.  My other sources and research was on the Rose Absolute I used in my soap: Rosa Damascena.  Rose is known for its beauty and cosmetic treatment but is also used to treat burns, rashes and other skin ailments due to its skin regenerating properties based on the Essential Oils & The Definitive Bible; Aromatherapy book by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) is also known as an aphrodisiac and mild astringent as well as the cell regeneration mentioned above; and is good for all skin types. Rose is especially good for mature and environmentally damaged skin, and powdered petals are used in face cleansers with the whole petals used in facial steams per Stephanie Tourles books The Healing Remedies and Organic Body Care.

I also found where rose and geranium have been used in nerve tonics to help calm and nurture. (The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oil by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.)

Rose kaolin clay is a great additive to soap, not only for the color aspect but for the cleaning, absorbing oils, and skin detoxifying properties.  Clays are beneficial in helping your body to remove toxins from the skin because of the ingredient  montmorillonite.  Rose kaolin clay has iron oxide added to it, giving it the red color. (

Is On-Line Shopping Hazardous to Your Health?

I love to shop on line! It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s addicting!

I can get my shopping done in a short period of time when necessary, or browse when I have leisure time. Currently 80% of everything I buy is purchased on line, with local shopping totals of 18-19% purchased by someone else, and 1-2% actually being purchased by me, so I receive a lot of packages every day!

It has been a struggle to find body care products that were truly chemical free over the last few years, so I went back to my family roots and started making my own products again.  I order items such as essential oils, carrior oils, powdered/dried herbs and micas (fun!), etc, on line and have a great time playing and making all kinds of products for myself, friends and family as well as teaching my grandkids.

And what does this all have to do with on line shopping you ask?  Well, when a new box arrives from and on line purchase, Sometimes you can smell the chemical fragrances right through the packaging! I may have ordered non chemical items but if they are stored in the same warehouse as other items they can pick up the heavy “fragrances” so when the box is opened I become overpowered by the chemical fragrances.  My reaction is limited to coughing and headaches and is very mild compared to some people with this sensitivity!  So far, I have been extremely fortunate that I have only had one really serious reaction to something I purchased on line and I was able to return the product.

One work-around when I can smell a box before it is opened I will have someone else do the honors of opening that box. Or, have the box taken to another location to “air out” for a week or two before I use the items.  Sometimes it can be as simple as washing the items if possible to remove the fragrances faster.   Books on the other hand…well, I just have to wait, and wait, and wait (sigh).

If I know in advance a company sends fragrance oils as thank you gifts, I will write a note in the comments when ordering so they don’t add fragrances to the box. This has helped limit the gifts that I can’t use.

I hope you find these tips helpful in your purchasing or on your packaging!

Happy shopping!


Welcome to my First Post!

Hello readers;

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my first blog.  I hope you will become a regular visitor.  I will be writing  from my heart,  with lots of research, background checks, and knowledge thrown in, and above all else honesty.  My interests are on health, our environment, the world we live in, and how we take care of it. I am passionate about the air we breath, the chemicals we put in our food and products, and living as naturally as we can in a busy, hectic world.

I speak with the unfortunate knowledge of one suffering from severe reactions to our environment, and the chemicals in our daily lives.  I no longer work at an office or eat dinner out at restaurants on Friday nights, because of perfumes and artificial fragrances in the clothes, deodorant, shampoos, hairsprays, etc that other people wear.  We become so obsessed with “smelling good” that we don’t realize we are using chemicals that are made to “smell” like a flower or fragrance, and it is being absorbed into our skin the second we put it on our bodies.  After  years of applying such “fragrances” to our skin your body can build up an intolerance to these chemicals (as mine did), and you can develop sensitivities, allergies,  chronic coughs, or other bad reactions such as rashes to these chemicals and VOCs.

After years of suffering, I have learned to cope, work around, and jump some of the hurdles  in my road and I am hoping this blog will help me overcome more as well as assist others like me, who are just developing sensitivities due to chemical fragrances and  a medical condition named Upper Respiratory Hypersensitivity Syndrome and a “medical diagnosis” of “Chemical Fragrance Allergy or sensitivity”.  There is an interesting article about this sensitivity at

I am not going to be addressing the actual conditions here but solutions and work-arounds to help you live and cope with the changes these illnesses cause in your life.  I will share with you my story (including some of the painful parts), in the hope that it will help you or a loved one get though tough times in your life.

Just to give you a time-line, it has taken me five and a half years to get to a point where I can share this story with you.  I want this experience to be a life-line for you.  There are options available.  There are organic and wild-crafted essential oils that you can buy, but you have to be careful and shop wisely.  I have stumbled upon a few “pure” essential oils that were NOT so pure and I had severe reactions to them just being in the same room with me once they were opened.

I hope to see you again soon, and if you  have comments or questions please feel free to leave them and I will be sure to follow up on them.