Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Cocktail Hour at the Turbot's, October 29, 2009

I have had a busy day here today. First up was a dentist appointment at 8 a.m..  Then I had to sign a couple friends into Disney--I was late but I encountered a talkative dentist and road construction.  I made it by 10 a.m. 
Then Rod met me at Walmart to do our weekly shopping.  This has become a weekly "date" for us.  Can I just add that since he has been coming with me, our weekly shopping budget has grown to well over $100 every week--today it was $131.  He has a way of sneaking things in the it was a new headlight for my van, but, some weeks it is snacky stuff!  LOL  But that's ok, because this week I snuck a couple things in too!

This afternoon I had a new wholesale order to get out and one of my longtime customers came to stock up and sniff the new soaps.  The day is not over, but, I did try a suggestion one of my customers mentioned to me at Mount Dora this past weekend.  A Pomegranate Blueberry Martini!!!  Yummy, right. 

Can I just add that I don't drink often.  Maybe a glass of red wine a couple nights a week.  That's not often, right?!!?  Hm, this may countermand my suggestion for eating healthier like I talked about last night...but maybe not.  First, I am talking about SUPERFOODS--both pomegranates and blueberries are full of antioxidants.  So, that is healthy.  The liquor of choice tonight was Rum for me--vodka for Rod--and if you were sticking with the whole martini theme, it should have been gin. BUT, that's all we had. 

So, just add about 4 ounces of V8 Fusion Light Pomegranate Bluebery juice to one ounce liquor and ice and shake, shake, shake!!!  I made mine very light...maybe one ounce split between the two drinks I have had--and may I add that I am flying right now--so use a heavy or a light hand as you please.   They were very good and maybe a little easier on your tooth enamel than the typical orange juice.   All I know is that I have a couple trays of soap to wrap tonight and I am feeling a strong inclination to procrastinate now. 

OH, and ROBIN...I got a bag of that very dark chocolate Dove Promises today.  Gonna make some good, healthy (!!!) cookies for Rod and I tonight.  I like leaving him with a goodie when I will be out of town.  This recipe I think came out of one of Jodie's Juvenile Diabetes magazines...but I will check and maybe post the recipe another time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dinnertime, October 28, 2009

I know many of you probably struggle with making good decisions about your diet--I certainly do.  I have come up with a couple ideas that have helped me make better health choices.  Here's one--take a favorite recipe and make some substitutions to make it healthier.  Case in point tonight is my cousin Pam Turbot's (Colorado Pam, not Alabama Pam) Cole Slaw recipe.  Yep it's mainly cabbage, so how bad can that be!  Well, you add in a big glob of mayo and a few spoonfuls of sugar and pretty soon, it's gone from healthy to hazard!!  LOL

So, what I do is substitute skim milk for the mayo and since we have diabetes in my family, I switch from sugar to sweetner.  My family loves Kentucky Fried Chicken's cole slaw and I think this is pretty close!  Here's the original recipe with my changes in parenthesis:

Country Style Cole Slaw
1 cup mayonaisse (1/2 c skim milk--I gradually switched from part mayo/part milk to milk)
3 T sugar (I use Splenda instead)
3 T apple cider vinegar
1.5 t. Salt (I use my friend Lynn's Seasoned Sea Salt herbal blend--just a couple shakes)
3/4 t. dry mustard
8 cups red and white cabbage (I use one bag prepared cole slaw mix)
1.5 cups shredded carrot (I peel and carrot and then using the peeler, slice in some for color)
1 cup sliced green pepper (I use only part of one as Rod isn't a huge fan of green pepper)
1/4 cup sliced green onion (again, Rod's not a big onion fan so I slice up two stalks)
1/4 t. celery seed

In large bowl, combine mayo/milk and all spices and mix well.  Then add all veggies and toss well.  Chill before serving.  Stores well for a couple days.

I would love to have anyone leave comments or other recipe ideas! 

The Great Pomace Experiment, October 27, 2009

Alright, Class!  Everyone ready for a tutorial on olive oil?  Aside from shea butter, it is the most expensive fixed or vegetable oil I use in my soaps--and it comprises the biggest part of my soap recipe.  So, if I can reduce my olive oil cost, I can make a big impact on the cost, right? 

Well, the answer is YES!  My local Sysco saleswoman recently sent me a variety of olive oil/olive oil blend prices to compare to the Bertolli Olive from Sam's Club I have been using since I first started making soap about 12 years ago.  So, I started researching.  Here's a short Wikipedia version of the different types of olive oil:

Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. Used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.

Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.

Pure olive oil  is labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.

Olive oil (like I have been using in my soap) is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.

Olive-pomace oil is refined pomace olive production oil possibly blended with some virgin production oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants.

The great thing about Pomace for a soapmaker is that it has a high percentage of unsaponifiables in it.  This means the soap goes to trace faster--so for my hot process soapmaking, it gets in the mold that much quicker.  The other thing about unsaponifiables...they don't turn into soap when the lye is added.  So, they remain in the soap as free-floating pockets of moisture.  Who doesn't need more moisture?!?

So, after doing the research, I decided to test pomace olive in my soap recipes.  The top picture above is my men's shaving soap, "Pirates Booty Bar", and the picture directly above is my 100% Natural Patchouli "Earth" soap.  The bars on the left were made with pomace and are very slightly more yellow in tint.  I think to the untrained eye, you would not even notice a difference. 

So, I think the experiment was a success!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mount Dora, October 24 and 25, 2009

We had a sunny, hot weekend in beautiful downtown Mount Dora this year.  Saturday it was a huge crowd out, even when the temps were approaching 90.  We all just were breathing a sigh of relief that it looked like we might make it out of the weekend with NO RAIN.  Yea!!!  Sunday's crowd was pretty light from my viewpoint, but, the temperature was mid-eighties--and with low humidity.  The crowd count is no where close to 250,000 people, but, it's still one of the bigger attended shows in the area.  What a nice treat--only in part because I was still in my same FLAT booth across from the Cupcake Delights shop!!!

I am always surprised when people travel a good distance to come to our shows.  I talked with several groups of women who had come on a Girls Weekend from south Florida to shop, eat and have fun.  They all seemed to enjoy the new scents--the Pomegranate Mango, that's "Yo Mamma" for those who may remember that catchy name--went over really well.  The more sedate but all natural, "Clarity", with Sage, Lemon and Lavender was doing well too.  Not too many were buying for Christmas.  I think they know they have about three more weeks of me in the area before they have to buckle down and buy????  I know most of us are stretching things out a bit, right?!

The HOT topic of the weekend was the changing of the guard on the promotor's end of things.  The show has been run for years, arguably pretty successfully, by the town's Merchants Association.  This year the new people's stamp was all over everything.  New check-in procedures were a pain--they had the parking lot CLOSED at the vendors had to park other places and walk over.   Add to that the sign that said "Dealer Check-In"--which confused those of us who are actual artists and crafters.  I can say it really annoyed me--it's not like I place a call on Monday morning to restock.  I actually stand in a hot kitchen making this stuff, folks.  :)

The actually load-in went about as usual--chaotic, with tempers on most vendor's parts--so no big deal there.  I did however have to work alone as my Mount Dora helper had his days off changed by Disney from Friday/Saturday to Thursday/Friday--which ruined our date night at Jeremiahs after setting up.  BOOOOOOOOOO!

The price of the show is going up over 10% and as always when this happens we wonder if that means the advertising budget will go up or just the promotor's profits.  They are also going to charge a premium for being on certain streets AND if you have a corner, which is fairly typical for shows.   And, they increased the show hours.  What all this means, is that we work longer hours, with less return!  Oh joy!!!  LOL  All the artists were in "a mood" the whole weekend.  The vibe was bad, but, I ended up doing more than the year before, so all ends well in the Turbot household! 

On, a good note, I turned another friend onto the Bazi drink.  He was having knee trouble...and after a day it was better.  LOL  It is so simple!  I hope he continues to have good results, as I have had with my arthritus and soapmaker's shoulder.  The other gal I turned on last weekend, bought a couple bottles and she SWEARS by it!!! 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas Soap Bars! October 22, 2009

Well here it is, "Christmas Memories" all it's glory! 

LOL  Just kidding--they actually turned out nothing like I envisioned.  Well, actually the two samples on the bottom didn't.  Those chunks are the gold angels, the green trees and the red bells.  I don't know if they will ever show up nicely, but, I guess the color is alright.  The soap on the top with the red and green marbeling turned out nice.  Will it matter--nope!  They are all the same scent!!  Slightly spicey, cinnamon note--very nice and seasonal.  The next batch will be with just the marbeling as all the chunks are gone, and I am not making more this year!!!

On another front, I found a guy who was looking to unload a bunch of these smoking bottles.  They are beautifully done--the picture above is just three of the colors I have available.  Much nicer than the plain ones I used to make.  :)  I will be selling them on the website's incense page along with three packs of incense (that's 30 sticks) for just $12. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lady Lake Florida, October 17-18. 2009

So I did a little show in Lady Lake, Florida, over the weekend.  It was the first weekend of COLD (for Florida) weather.  Even though I knew that when I checked the weather, the weather-masters had forecast that it would be in the low 70's/upper 60's once it warmed up Saturday afternoon.  But during setup I was really regretting wearing my standard shorts and t-shirt.  Luckily I had a jacket in the car, but, it was COLD after coming off mid ninety degree weather since I got in Florida in September. 

As far as the warmup...when you are sitting on the north side of the show with no wind break in the SHADE, it stays cold all day.  The eight of us that were in the shade all day were little popsicles by the time 5 o'clock roller around.  The people that came out were very nice (although they looked at us funny wearing hats, gloves and coats all day!  LOL  The downside is that the show was very poorly advertised and thus--no crowds either day. 

I did however give out lots of sample soaps.  Since Mt. Dora is just around the corner, so to speak, I hope to see many of these gals at the show next weekend.  Cross fingers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christmas Soaps Finis, October 14, 2009

Here's the little packs of Christmas Memories guest soaps.  I think they turned out great!!  The price is $4.00 for the five soaps that weigh approximately 2.0 ounces.  There are only a dozen sets available. 


And then here is how the half bar size octogon Christmas Memories turned out.  I have several dozen of these (all those candy boxes are now gone!) and they weigh out at 2.0 ounces and will retail at $3.00 each. 

I added a show in Lady Lake, The Villages, this weekend October 17 and 18th!  Come out and see me if you can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Peppermint...Arghhhhh, October 8, 2009

Well, today I spent some time doing the last minute odds and ends that come with having a weekend show.  Oh, and making sure Rod has some food in the house for while I am gone to Georgia.  So after my Mammogram, we went to get groceries before heading home. 

I got some ribbon at Walmart to finish off the Christmas octagon soaps, but, I will show you that later when the Candy Box Christmas guest soap set is done too.  Mainly I had to finish packing up the incense and then wait on the dropper bottles to arrive via UPS to package my oils.  It was all going great--I got everything bottled and was going to clear off the table before I started printing the labels I was missing.  Then...disaster!!!

What you are seeing is the remains of a two pound bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil which was emptied all over my work table, when the bottom gave out when I went to pick it up!!!  Can you believe it?  I now have very clean floors, make that minty clean floors, in this corner of the living room.  Luckily I like Peppermint, but, this is ridiculous!!!  I am just so thankful it wasn't the new 2 pound bottle of Patchouli Oil (I would have had to move out of the house!!!)...or one that was super expensive. 

Clean but Minty Floors!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christmas Soaps Part 2, October 7, 2009

Here's the first of the Christmas Guest Soaps.  These are done by Hot Process, then colored with mica or oxide when cooled and then rolled out--almost like doing really thick sugar cookies.  Just don't bite into one!  I am still working on the candy box labels for these.  I may do a small batch of white angels--again all with the Christmas Memories scent to add to the "set".  Someone asked me to describe it--I would say slightly spicy from a cinnamon note with a ribbon candy mixed in! 

The second part of the Christmas soaps is done using these white truffle boxes--I have always loved these boxes.  These will cure out to 2.0 ounce guest soaps. 

I am going to finish these off with a 3/4 - 1" red/green ribbon around the boxes.  That should make them perfect for a quick, easy grab gift!  I will pull out my glass cake stand to display them at shows once they are ready to sell. 

Tomorrow is Mammogram day!  Don't worry, no pictures of THAT coming!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Christmas Soaps, October 6, 2009

Today after Cindy and Mo came over to discuss the business end of the Bazi business, it was time to get moving on this year's Christmas soap.  Usually it is something I start working on toward the end of the summer.  This year, I just didn't have time to do it with all the trips to the Midwest.  So...what to do?!

The scent I had decided on was Simple Soothings "Christmas Memory" which I had ordered on the last fastbuy Lezlee ran.  The first part was to do a small batch of soap in the crockpot.  Once it was cooled, I added the scent with a teaspoon of "Bordeaux" mica to give a red tint to the soap.  I made up a couple of piping bags out of freezer paper to get the soap into the cute little candy boxes I was going to use.  Then with the extra I used a little Christmas Bell cookie cutter to make some guest soaps.  I forgot to take a picture of those...maybe tomorrow!

So, the plan for tomorrow is to do some more candy boxes with a green tinted soap base using the same fragrance oil.  Then with the extra to do some little Christmas Tree cookie cutter guest soaps.  Sometime next week I will do two other little shaped guest soaps to complete a limited edition set of four Christmas guest soaps.   Oh, and I will do several big batches of the Christmas Memories in a full size bar--with red and green marbeling!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn in the Park, Vero Beach, FL, October 3 & 4, 2009

Riverside Park, Vero Beach

The first Florida show of the Fall...and it was 90+ degrees down in Vero Beach!  It was humid, but, it never rained and for that we are all so thankful.  I am especially thankful for all my wonderful customers down there.  Some of you have been with me for just about every one of the ten years I have been selling soap.  I am so grateful for the blessings of having a good business and great customers who continue to be there when I need you.  This was one of those weekends--I have had three weekends off and orders were trickling in ever so slowly and then....BOOM!!!  Another great weekend in Vero Beach.  Again, thank you each and every one of you. 

Incense sales were through the roof.  This is one of those shows I should just about do double the sticks I do for any other show because they are going to be gone in a blink.  Soap and oils sales were pretty steady.  I just wish I had my Christmas soap ready.  Several people were asking, but, I just haven't had time to put it together yet.  Maybe a small batch this weekend to test the "concept" and then full size bars the following week.  Hopefully!

Next weekend it's up to Saint Simons Island, Georgia at the park by the Pier.  Another one of my favorite places.  Hopefully it will be cool enough to camp out, but, I may have to get a hotel.  I hope all of you have a great week.  Come see me up there if you are close by!