Rhinebeck is Imminent!

It’s here, it’s here! Rhinebeck weekend is here! If you’re in the Kingston area tonight (Friday 10/16), be sure to check out the IndieUntangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show occurring in the Best Western Plus, 503 Washington Ave. from 5pm – 9pm. I created a limited edition Rhinebeck! scent available in both sheep-shaped goat milk soap and lotion bars just for this event.

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Rhinebeck! soap by Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

I tried to capture the essence of a great fall festival in this scent. It’s autumnal and fruity, with notes of fig, apple, cinnamon, fallen leaves, and mahogany. There are less than a dozen of each, so grab them at the show while you can (any leftover from the festival will be listed in the shop next week).

Rhinebeck is Imminent! | Woolen Diversions

Kelp-y Kelpie shawl

My new Rhinebeck goal is progressing at a steady pace. Thank you for all your kind words on my last post, I appreciate the solidarity and encouragement! I’m one stripe further along than the photo shows, which means I have one final stripe, a garter stitch border, and a top edging to finish before tonight so that it can block and have it ready to hit the road with me tomorrow. We have a lot of driving to do today for Nana’s funeral, so I’m still hopeful that I will finish in time, but it is certainly down to the wire.

If you’re heading up to the festival this weekend, I hope I get a chance to see you there, and if not, I promise to take pictures!

Sweet Sheep In Da House

I realized when I posted a picture on Instagram of a nearly-finished lotion bar, that I’ve been in business for over a year and have only one other time actually finished a bar. The first scent I ever made, Sweet Almond, is the only one I’ve completely finished using up. Why is that? Yeah, the bars are really long-lasting because you only use a tiny bit at a time, but it’s also because I literally have lotion bars in different scents all over the house.

I keep a sample-sized bar at work (Pumpkin Spice), in my purse (Kumquat), in the desk in my office (Coconut LIme), in the yarn bowl in my knitting corner (Basmati Rice), and on my bedside table (Lavender EO). When I tell shoppers at fairs and festivals that it’s handy to have one in multiple places, I’m not just selling them a line,  I mean it, I live it! That old adage of the shoemaker’s family going barefoot apparently doesn’t extend to handmade body products, because my skin is never, ever dry. 🙂

In addition to that silliness above, I wanted to let you know that I’ve restocked some soap!

First, I’ve made more of my popular Lavendar Vanilla soap. This version is made with a honey soap base (purple) and topped with whipped goat’s milk and castille (olive oil) soap (white). These went quickly at my last market so I was eager to make some more!

And second, I used slivers from the edges of the Lavender Vanilla soap as embedded pieces in my new Summer Fields soap. This contains the honey and goat’s milk goodness of the Lavender Vanilla soap within an aloe vera gel soap base. It’s scented with a new-to-me fragrance oil that I can’t get enough of called Grass Stain. I know, the name sounds crazy, but this fragrance is totally delightful. It’s herbal and sweetly floral, while being refreshing and not overwhelming in the slightest. It reminds me of rolling around in the grass on a warm, sunny summer day.

I have so many more soap plans rolling around in my head but only limited time to make them lately so that’s all I have for now. What’s your favorite summer scent?

Soap for Sale!

I was super surprised (and excited!) to see all the love for handmade soap that my Sweet Sheep product survey results reported. I thought I was one of the odd ones who got excited over soap-y goodness, but I’m thrilled that I’m not alone. I’ve had lots of fun experimenting with a variety of soap bases and have created three new soaps for sale. I was inspired by the recent cheery spring weather we’re having here in RI (finally!) and I think these beauties reflect that!

Lavender Vanilla Shea Butter Soap:

The first soap is comprised of Lavender Essential Oil-scented soap (purple) layered with Vanilla Bean-scented shea butter soap (white). The top layer is shea butter and castille (natural, olive oil-based) soap whipped into frothy goodness. Whipped soap has a great spongy texture and makes a luxurious lather. The whole thing is topped off with a sprinkling of jojoba beads and culinary-grade lavender buds.

Frosted Lemon Cake Honey Soap:

This second soap looks (and smells!) good enough to eat! It’s comprised of a Lemon Cake-scented honey soap base (yellow) layered with Cream Cheese Frosting-scented white soap. Like the lavender soap above, the top layer is a whipped soap mixture sprinkled with colorful jojoba beads.

Citrus Surprise Hemp Seed Oil Soap:

Last but not least, this soap is a fun mix of soap bases and fragrances. It contains slivers of the Frosted Lemon Cake soap engulfed in orange-tinted, Kumquat-scented hemp seed oil soap. The orange has a bit of a shimmer to it, and the combination of bright citrus and sweet frosting scents is delectable. And I must admit, I love the way the embedded soap peaks out from the surrounding base!

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll give handmade soap a try. Are you a fan of unique soap? What does your favorite bar of soap look/smell/feel like?

Sweet Sheep’s First Soap!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely already had some glimpses into my recent soap-making experiment.

Sweet Sheep's First Soap! | Woolen Diversions

Whipped soap!

I had a ton of fun playing around with a few high quality melt and pour bases, and created a perfectly delightful batch of soap that I think you’ll love.

This first batch is composed of a green-tinted aloe vera gel base and topped with a soft, creamy layer of whipped goat milk soap, all finished off with a sprinkling of fine jojoba beads. The bright, herbal, Green Tea fragrance of the base mixes beautifully with the softly sweet, citrus scent of Lemongrass essential oil in the topping. Whipped goat milk soap has a light, spongy texture and creates a lovely lather. It will dissolve more quickly than the aloe vera base, allowing the Green Tea scent to emerge from the more dominant Lemongrass over time. The color and scents are perfect for spring (and incidentally, St. Patrick’s Day)! As a bonus, this first batch is offered at a discount, as I plan to make my bars a little bigger in the future, so snag them while you can!

IS #78: Good Clean Fun

Today’s Inspiration Saturday post veers away from the realm of yarn and knitting, and towards a newer obsession that’s been piquing my interest lately thanks to Sweet Sheep: handmade personal care products. Specifically, handmade soap.

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Champagne soap by Calise Soapworks & Such. Click for Etsy shop.

Soap is made by an interesting chemical reaction (called “saponification“) that occurs when you mix together fats/tallows/oils and lye in certain quantities. There are a few benefits to using handmade soap. Firstly, handmade soap retains all the natural glycerin that is produced during the saponification process so it is extra moisturizing.

IS #78: Good Clean Fun | Woolen Diversions

Salt soap by e.l.m tree suds. Click for Etsy shop.

Secondly, one can custom blend the types of oils used to produce specific results (such as using olive oil for a harder bar, sea salt for extra minerals, or shea butter for additional moisturizing properties). Of course this also means one can control whether they use soap made with organic ingredients or particular fragrances and colorants.

IS #78: Good Clean Fun | Woolen Diversions

Sweet Lemon Creme soap by Royalty Soaps. Click for Etsy shop.

Thirdly, they’re really beautiful! The prettiness factor can’t be ignored. You will never find a mass-produced bar of soap that looks so delicious. You likely won’t find any that feel or smell nearly as good, either.

IS #78: Good Clean Fun | Woolen Diversions

Peach Pie Soap by Toil and Trouble Bath. Click for Etsy shop.

Finally, and most importantly, I love the creative aspect of handmade soaps. Some soaps (as proven above) seem practically edible! I think there’s something really special about taking a humble and unassuming bar of soap and turning it into something delightful and extraordinary. Why not add a little whimsy to your day, amIright? Speaking of extraordinary: that pie soap was made by an 11 year old kid, and he donates half his proceeds to a supportive housing coalition! You can check out his story on the Soap Queen blog. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is!

Within the last 6 months or so, I’ve gone from a plastic-poof-and-body-wash kinda gal to an artisan bar soap user, all the way. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll venture into cold process soapmaking territory quite yet (there’s a fair bit of equipment involved and lye is pretty nasty stuff to work with) but there are some amazingly creative things you can do with pre-made soap bases, which I’m hoping to explore soon. What kind of soap do you use? Had you ever thought about handmade soaps before? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us and link up you post in the comments!

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