Monday, November 23, 2009

A Soapy Siesta

Hi Soap Lab enthusiasts! As you may have noticed, it's been a looooong time since I have posted. I've been really busy and I decided, alas, NOT to launch my modern soap line.

I had so many designs that I was excited to make but they all required custom silicone molds and I was having some technical difficulties. Although I was extremely passionate about the new collection, I realized that it was taking my focus away from my bigger projects - the Let's Get Soapy eZine and my Soapy Pop line.

So over the last couple of months I worked on making Soapylove better than ever. The website has been completely redesigned and incorporates every facet of my business: from the book to the supply line, from a class schedule to all of my social media. Plus the design is fresh, colorful, and even allows shop owners to order online. I'm super excited!

So even though I feel like I just dumped my new friend, I am confident that I'm doing the right thing for my business. Sigh!

Make sure to stay tuned to my Soapylove blog and become a fan at my Facebook page to stay up to date on everything in Soapyland. There's never a dull moment!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Show Off Your Gorgeous Soaps with BPR Designs

While developing my Little Althea line, I met Beth Reiman of BPR Designs, who makes extremely beautiful handmade glass soap dishes (and other designs as well).

She combines stripes of complementary colors and textures to create one-of-a-kind soap dishes in a few different sizes. I especially love the bubbly clear glass and her interesting free form scribbles. There are many color combinations available and every soap dish has raised glass ridges to keep the soap dry between uses.

To see her soap dish collection, click here. I can certainly recommend her work - I have one of her dishes at my sink right now! Add one to any soap gift and make it truly special.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Tutorial Over at the Soapylove Blog!

Looking for a quick and stylish soap project? These Gothic Pumpkin Soaps fit the bill! Head over to the Soapylove Blog for the full tutorial! See you there!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Please Say Hi to Charles and Marie!

Charles and Marie is a gorgeous, modern, and eclectic shop. They just relaunched their site, and you should check it out.

Definitely a high end shop, it's titled "The Quintessential Lifestyle Navigator." Pulling from around the world, their items are unique and striking. When you're in the market for a gift that will leave a lasting impression (like that interesting soap at the bottom of the page...), definitely ask Charles and Marie!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Soap Blog du Jour

Today I am featuring another international soap blogger: Sapo-Onis. This beautiful blog is in Spanish but it is all photos, so you don't need to be bilingual! Check out the amazing assortment of styles and effects featured here, including some great packaging. There seems to be a combination of glycerin and cold process soaps so there's something for everyone!

Not only will you be inspired by their photos, but the blog roll is an incredible resource for other soap blogs. They really did their homework!

If you would like to see even more (and I strongly encourage you to), check out their Flickr soap photography set as well. It's a feast for the eyes!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Soap Blog du Jour

There are so many amazing and inspiring blogs from soapmakers all over the world. I love looking at designs from other countries. I will try to post about some of my favorites regularly because there are so many of them!

Today I chose suku.suku, "Handgemachte Japan-Seife." I love the fresh, clean, and artistic feel of this blog. The soaps are mostly CP. All of the articles are in Japanese but I have a feeling that the author is Japanese and lives in Germany (if you know, can you enlighten me?). There are many interesting soap projects including an amazing carved rose necklace!

Make sure to click through to some of the older posts to see packaging, travel, and of course soap photos!

Is there a soap blog that you love? Or would you like me to take a peek at your blog? If so, please leave a comment and your pick may be the next Blog du Jour!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goodbye...and hello!

In May of last year, I began The Soap Lab blog as a way to indulge my love of modern and progressive soap design. I knew that now and then I would create some soaps to sell or write about, too.

And then... the Typography Soap happened. This one design has really gotten around and I've had several wholesale inquiries for it, too. Fred Flare and "Charles and Marie" both carry the Typography Soap, and I've had to turn away a few requests just because I wasn't prepared to make them in quantity.

But where there's a will, there's a way. I have decided to create an official collection of modern, 3 dimensional soaps. This new line will be named "Little Althea" Modern Soap Designs, after my baby daughter. I will start with 4 designs that will be offered in a few core colors and scents. The new prototypes are being developed right now, and I hope to get them posted in time for your holiday shopping. Expect truly unique styles presented in equally special packaging.

So now I am closing the Soap Lab shop I had on Big Cartel and will be launching a brand new site for Little Althea. I look forward to sharing the progression of the new shop with you. Make sure to follow this blog so you'll be the first to know when it's complete. And if you're a shop owner and would like to be the first to get the wholesale catalog and price list, please email me here.

Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for the Typography Soap and I hope you will like the new styles as much if not more!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Designs are Cooking in The Soap Lab!

After much pondering, meditating, and marinating, I have decided to expand The Soap Lab line into a wholesale collection. So far they have been small experiments but the response has been very positive and it's sad to turn away shop owners who have inquired about larger orders.

Sooo... I have many supplies on the way and ideas in my head, and will be working on them gradually. No timeline planned or anything, but just a mental commitment to move forward with it. The Typography Soap deserves some company! :)

I'll keep y'all posted!

Oh, and make sure to check out my more active blog - Soapylove Daily Ditties. There are classes, events, and even a radio show posted there as well as very regular articles. Thanks!

And the Winner Is....

There were 6 entries and by using, #1 was chosen. So thank you so much everyone for entering and congratulations to Anne-Marie Faiola! The soap dish and cup set will be sent directly to you from All Modern. Woo hoo!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Contest ending Monday!

Make sure to leave your comments if you want to be entered in the drawing for the beautiful toothbrush cup and soap dish! Check out the previous post for details.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Awesome Giveaway from The Soap Lab!

The Soap Lab and All Modern have collaborated to bring you a chance to win some beautiful accessories for your bathroom!

This very cool toothbrush cup and soap dish set is by Alessi. They were designed by Emma Silvestris, an eclectic and versatile jewelry designer by trade. She combines soft, feminine lines, the precision of geometry and classic elegance, as well as the use of ancient symbols, to create seemingly weightless designs. The red set is offered in this giveaway, but you can find the silver set and many more coordinating pieces here. I especially like the paper towel holder!

All Modern has a fantastic selection of modern furniture and home accessories from many leading designers. Part of CSN Stores, All Modern is just one of over 260 retail sites that offer a diverse array of products from Herman Miller’s popular Aeron Chair to cookware by Rachael Ray. Check out their popular Modern Design Blog -

If you would like a chance to win, just leave a comment telling me about your favorite modern designer or modern item, and make sure to include your email address. A name will be randomly drawn by That's it!

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tutorial: Rustic Chevre Soaps

Inspired by handmade fromage de chevre (goat cheese), the rustic texture of these round soap bars is created using cheese cloth. This easy project uses only natural ingredients (with goat's milk soap of course!), and the lather is super creamy thanks to a healthy dose of real honey. Add tea, herbs, or crushed dried flowers for an attractive and slightly exfoliating texture.


10 oz Goats Milk Glycerin Soap Base
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed tea, dried herbs or flowers
8 squares of cheese cloth, cut 4" x 4"
Standard muffin tin
Pastry brush


Layer 2 squares of cheese cloth and put them into 4 muffin tins.

Melt the soap base in the microwave (30-45 seconds should be plenty). Stir in honey and tea.

Dip pastry brush in soap and paint the cheese cloth, so it sticks completely to the muffin tin.

Before filling molds, make sure soap has cooled enough so the herbs are suspended in the soap, not floating or sinking.

Fill molds generously. Spray surface with alcohol to pop any surface bubbles (optional).

Allow to harden completely.

Unmold soaps by tugging on the cheese cloth. Peel cloth from bars.

Wrap in fresh cheese cloth and tie with twine for a nice presentation.

You can certainly use any kind of fragrance you like, but the honey adds a nice subtle sweetness that suits the roughness of these bars.

For some great chevre inspiration, search "fromage de chevre" on Flickr.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Video! Finding Inspiration for New Soap Designs

I hope you enjoy this new video about finding inspiration. I took a trip to Architectural Salvage of San Diego in the Little Italy neighborhood and went browsing in this wonderful shop full of antique treasures. Enjoy lots of tips and design suggestions as I show you how to translate beautiful details into soap ideas.

Where are some places you feel inspired? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Lights Just Got a Little Brighter in The Soap Lab!

Have you heard of The Bright Side Project? If you receive the Daily Candy emails, maybe you remember seeing their feature. It's a really neat blog that picks an artist and gives readers a chance to win something from that artist by answering a nifty question. It's a fun and easy way to look on the bright side!

Today they chose Soapylove as the artist du jour. Get a chance to win a Typography Soap of your own here. I'll be picking the winner myself, so make your answer a stand out! :)

BTW, more Typography Soaps will be available June 1. We're making them as fast as we can!

Thanks for the love, Bright Side Project!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Come and Get It! Early Bird Discount This Week on New Issue.

The new special edition of Let's Get Soapy is now available! You will love this issue, dedicated to the look of The Soap Lab. Find out how to:

make custom texture sheets
use them for melt & pour AND CP soap
engrave these gorgeous Wood Grain soap bars
get inspired by an amazing packaging design page
learn how to make some great new non-bleeding soap colors
and a lot more

There are 20 pages packed full of great info (21 if you include the printable wood grain template).

As usual, if you order your issue this week you get the early bird special - $12 instead of the regular price of $15. Special price goes up June 1!

For more pictures from inside the issue, you can go straight to the shopping cart page here.

I hope you enjoy it! I think you will! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Amazingness!

Erin Pikor, of Naiad Soap Arts, is contributing a great article for the special June issue of Let's Get Soapy. The above photograph is from her tutorial. She shows how to use the custom texture sheet project, the featured project in the eZine, for cold process soaps. A recipe and great tips are included. It's amazing the amount of depth and detail she was able to get, and it was her first try!

I'm really excited about this issue. It will be available starting on Monday at If you get yours by June 1, you'll get a special early bird discount, too. Don't miss it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Psst! The Soap Lab Shop is Now Open!

Since I'm all the way over here in California, I decided to open my shop today so anyone in the rest of the world will find an open shop when it's Monday there. :)

I have added the Writer's Block Soaps and my custom Black Walnut soap dishes to the shop as well. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.

Thanks and happy shopping!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

If I Only Spoke French...

I found this wonderful soap making eZine today and I wish I could read French! I think it is written by the author of Mais Kes Ka Fee, who has a gorgeous blog as well. Even though it's all about CP soap techniques, the photos are eye candy for everyone to enjoy.

I plan to spend more time on her site and use Google Translator to read the articles, but I wanted to quickly share the eZine with you first. I hope you like it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie

I was doing some YouTube research on stop action videography and came across this stunningly beautiful music video by Oren Lavie. I love both the video and the music. I hope you do, too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good News for Typography Soap Fans

The Soap Lab is a small little blog with a teeny tiny following, so when I see a jump in my hits, I know something is up.

Well, lately I've been seeing a few of these jumps and it's all because of the Typography Soap. Thank you to these sites (mostly graphic design sites!) that are fans of my letter covered bar:

Desktop Publishing Forum
We Love Typography (I think the hits are from a forum that's login only, but the site is so cool!)
Graphism (France)
Phinney on Fonts
Quipsologies - Finding the Creative in the Everyday
Steve Mehallo on Twitter
Aaron Bell on Twitter
Stylehive under "Typography"

I am going to produce a limited edition run of these soaps. Starting next Monday you'll be able to buy them in my Soap Lab shop. I will produce as many as are purchased within the next week or two, and then close The Soap Lab doors again (I would love to have it open all the time but with 2 kids, an eZine, my Soapylove biz, etc, I just can't).

So stay tuned and get ready to grab one before they're snapped up by all those letter hungry graphic designers! :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interesting Lighting for Photos

Mondays are my "work days", when my husband stays home with the kids while I dedicate some focused time to my projects. One of my favorite Monday tasks is taking photos. When Jim isn't around, the kids are so fascinated by what I'm doing that I'm constantly telling them, "don't touch that!" So I took advantage of my protected workspace today and shot some pics for an article in the upcoming June issue of Let's Get Soapy.

I have learned a lot about taking pictures from trial and error. Lighting is the most important and most challenging thing about good photos. I still haven't made a true light box, but was really excited to find a pair of really inexpensive frosted glass lamps at Ikea that I used in the above pic. For $15 I got 2 of them - tall rectangular boxes with lights inside. Simple and easy to use for uplighting or background lighting.

The article will be about how to create these non-bleeding colors for your own soap projects. I wish you could see the pretty and subtle shimmer they have, but you'll just have to try them yourself and see! :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Special Issue is Coming Along!

The cover is done and many articles have been written! The upcoming special edition of Let's Get Soapy is packed full of tips, great inspirational collages for both texture and packaging ideas, cystal clear photos, and even a guest article from Erin of Naiad Soap Arts! You will love what she has done with the featured technique - how to make your own texture sheets.

I have 2 more full tutorials to go: the Peace & Quiet Bars and a beautiful (yet unnamed!) soap featuring a hand painted design within the bar. The eZine will be ready by late May, so make sure to sign up for the Soapyclub to be notified of the special early bird discount, which only lasts one week before the eZine is at regular price.

To see the current issues available, go to the Let's Get Soapy shopping cart. There are even lots of a la carte tutorials!

I'll keep you posted with new photos from the articles being written, so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Special Soap Lab eZine Coming!

Scheduled to be available June 1, a special edition of the Let's Get Soapy eZine will be available, focusing exclusively on modern and sophisticated soap making techniques from The Soap Lab. You will learn how to
  • create your own custom texture sheets which work for both MP and CP soap making (see example in photo above using an antique batik stamp),
  • engrave soaps for beautiful encased relief designs,
  • find inspiration in fashion
  • and much more!

There will be full tutorials with step by step photos, loads of tips and techniques, and the complete supply directory to tell you where to find everything you see. Make sure to join the Soapyclub so you won't miss the special early bird discount. I will be posting sneak peeks of the articles here as well, so check back often!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Amazing Soap Artisans

Flickr is one of my favorite resources for examples of gorgeous soap creations. There's a group simply called "Soap" with over 1000 members from all over the world. Today I want to show you some of the images that have really stuck with me.

First is from Bathing in Luxury. Hiromi is the artisan behind these cold process soaps, and she calls this creamy bar "Downfall", which smells like a sparkly Gin and Tonic. I love the snowy white color and the beautiful iridescence that she added. See more of her pics in her Flickr set or you can buy one and see more in her Etsy shop.

Next is a very striking line of soaps from Gloi Locks Bath and Body. With names like Satyr, Envy, and Depravity, her soaps are dark and mysterious. The labels are stained with coffee and her boxes are also completely hand made. Check out her gorgeous photos in her Flickr set or shop for some of her creations on Etsy.

Last, but not least, are these amazingly realistic soap stones. Each one is handmade by Soapmystic in Deutschland. She puts these stones on ropes for a very pretty presentation, and has many other very eye catching and beautifully simple designs. To see more, check out her Flickr set or find these stones as a gift set on her website.

Do you have some favorite soap designs or soap makers you would like to share? Please leave a comment here! Thanks!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The 1st Video Tutorial from The Soap Lab!

You asked for it, you got it! I hope you enjoy this tutorial on how to make the Parson's Soap Blocks. Try it - you'll like it!

If the video is getting a little cut off on the right when you view it here, go to YouTube to view it in full size.

If you have any questions, please leave it here in the comments and I'll reply. You might be helping someone else with the same question! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Parsons Soap Blocks

This weekend while my husband was out of town, I was able to hit the kitchen once the kids went to bed and make some new soaps. This idea has been knocking around in my head for so long, but I wasn't sure how to execute it until just last week.

These soap blocks are inspired by Parsons tables. I read that this style is actually from the 1930's. A professor at Parsons challenged his students to come up with a piece of furniture that would look equally beautiful in wood, gold, mica, plain, or embellished.

Making these soaps took a bit of head scratching, since I couldn't build it like the tables are. Instead, I created the clear centers and cut away the "legs", then created a 3 layer soap (white, clear, white), and let the liquid white soap fill the cut out columns. Once I unmolded the soaps, I had to do a little plaining (planing?) to clean up the sides, but it was quick.

I'm thinking about making a little video about how I did this. Leave me a comment and let me know if you'd like to see that. Thanks!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Finding Inspiration

One thing I learned in college was not to look at other fashion designers for inspiration. This is a problem for a few reasons:
  • You are not thinking creatively enough
  • You are looking at what was designed a year ago
  • You will inevitably copy what you're looking at, intentionally or not.

So when it comes to new soap designs, I definitely keep up on trends by looking at other soap makers, but I like finding new ideas in other places.

My all time favorite source of inspiration for The Soap Lab is looking at modern furniture and interior design, and since I'm a mom of 2 little kids I thank god for catalogs or else I would never know what's going on!

Interior design is a great source of ideas since it focuses on textures, color, shapes, and light. These are all elements that are perfect to interpret with glycerin. I have chosen some pictures that translate into some beautiful soaps (from

Tomorrow I will show you how I turned a classic Parsons Table into a new soap. See you then!

Typography Soap Bar

A few months ago I finally got enough guts to use my pourable silicone for this design. It was the last of my silicone so I was really hesitant just in case it didn't work out. But luckily I was really happy with the results.

The Typography Soap has raised letters that wrap around all sides (the beauty of silicone!), and is scented with Crushed Peppermint. I know I mentioned that I won't be selling new designs, but in this case an online shop will be carrying this one. I'll let you know which one as soon as it's available. I hope you'll head over and pick one up for yourself or a friend! :)

UPDATE! This soap is now available in my Soap Lab shop. Head on over and check out some other soapy goodies I added, too!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Modern Design in Glycerin

Tonight my husband is camping in the desert, learning about native herbal medicine, and I'm getting caught up on The Soap Lab. It's been a while since I've posted here or listed any new designs. I've just been up to my ears in Soapylove and Let's Get Soapy endeavors, which have been great. But I do miss my Lab!

Part of getting caught up is checking into my favorite modern design blogs. One of them is Oh Joy! Modern Design. This is a very popular blog that you may already be reading, but I love its sweet and short posts which always come with some gorgeous photos. One that really got my attention was about Jean Pelle's Soap Stones (above).

These beautiful soaps are individually cut and shaped, and are designed to be displayed, which is the opposite of what you usually hear from soap makers ("Please use my soaps - don't just look at them!"). They come boxed and ready to give to a special someone. These are the only soaps Jean Pelle offers. Make sure to check out her other creations here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Indie Crafters: Reliving History

One hundred years ago, Europe and North America were suffering from growing pains. Companies grew too fast causing major labor problems, pollution, monopolies, and an even bigger difference between the haves and have nots. Mass production swept the world resulting in cheap and unexciting products. What emerged from this turmoil was a revolution that became history.

The Arts and Crafts Movement began primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles and as a reaction to the "soulless" machine-made production (source: Wikipedia). Sound familiar? It's so interesting that we are going through the same thing right now.

Exactly 100 years after the Arts and Crafts Movement began, Indie Craft has emerged as a reaction to the corporate, mass-produced world we live in. Thanks to the internet, people from all over the world are discovering their own creativity and have a place to display and sell their items. "Craft Mafias" are forming in many cities across the US and Europe, craft bizarres are getting easier to find, and online marketplaces like Etsy are becoming online communities for artists and crafters.

Fortunately, it's not just the crafters that find handmade items so appealing. Many of us are able to leave the corporate world and make a living with our new businesses. TV shows and even movies are embracing this new culture, too.

It's good to know that the human spirit's need for creativity cannot be muffled for long. Just like the pioneers of the Arts and Craft Movement, Indie Crafters are making a big impact on the world, and I know we'll all be in the history books for the artists of the next movement to read about, too!