Soapsmith's Christmas Traditions
Wesolych Swiat! Bozego Narodzenia! is the Polish Merry Christmas greeting.
Among Polish people, one of the most beloved and beautiful of all traditional Christmas gatherings is Christmas Eve. The Feast of the Evening Star, the Wigilia, is the time honored Christmas Eve Dinner. This solemnly celebrated occasion arouses deep feelings of kinship among friends and family gathered to honor the birth of our Lord. Christmas Eve is my birthday. My family gathers at my home for the festivities.
We spend a lot of time preparin... » Read More
Hello friends,In this hectic time of holiday preparation, we are called to pause, take in the purple of the Advent season and savor the quiet serenity of this sacred time. We wait, we watch, we are still in this holy season of prayer. A quote from Edward Hays:"Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent.If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer.Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our so... » Read More
Published: 11-26-2011 08:58pm Posted In: Sharing with you...
Hello friends,I want to share this morning's sunrise on the lake at Prince Gallitzin State Park, Glendale, Pennsylvania. Another beautiful day in the Allegheny Mountains, no wonder I love it here!This is the actual photo taken with a cell phone so the quality of pic is not great but there is no color enhancement. Mother Nature's color palette is magnificent. Enjoy!Bonnie... » Read More
Published: 11-18-2011 05:34pm Posted In: Handmade Soap Information and Tutorials
I often do demonstrations at soap making conferences. One of the most popular classes is for making
my gemstone soap rocks. Today's blog
post is drawn from the handout notes that I offer to soap makers who attend my
presentations. Through the years, I have emailed these notes over 700 times to
soapers who have requested them. Today I
share them with you.
make gemstone soap rocks
Yes, these are truly easy to make. Even my very first attempts came out
great, yours will, too. Here's how!
... » Read More
Published: 11-18-2011 05:33pm Posted In: Handmade Soap Information and Tutorials
First in a series of educational and informational blog posts about handmade soap by Bonnie Bartley, soapsmith.
Handmade soap is true soap in its purest form. True soap is
the result of a chemical reaction, called saponification, between fatty acids
and an alkali. Each oil, butter and fat has its own fatty acid profile
that lends unique properties to the soap. For example, olive oil is high
in oleic acid that is gentle to the skin, the lauric acid in coconut oil
provides for a fluffy lather but can be stripping to dry skin conditions, palm
oil offers palmitic acid that contributes to quality lather b... » Read More
Published: 11-18-2011 05:33pm Posted In: Handmade Soap Information and Tutorials
Handmade soap vs soap from pre-made bases
You will find two basic types of handmade soap. The handmade soap that I discussed in part 1 of my blog is soap formulated and "made from scratch" by the soapmaker. The other genre of soap is pre-made bases. What is the difference?
True soap created by the soap maker by formulating the recipe based on the attributes of the different oils, fats and butters can be made using many different processes. Cold process and hot process are the two main procedures for handmade true soap.
In cold process, we combine our meticulously measured ingredients: oils... » Read More
Published: 11-18-2011 05:32pm Posted In: About Allegheny Hearth Soaps
I get a lot of inquires about my soap making equipment. Today, I will share a few photos of my studio work space.
This is part of my collection of soap making essential and fragrance
oils in the first shelving unit and my colorants, micas, oxides, fdc lakes and dyes,
and some natural herbs in the second unit:
Another cupboard with more essential and fragrance oils. I try to keep them separated by natural essential oils and fragrance oils, then either alphabetized or organized in groupings such as florals, spices, herbal, fruity etc. The colorants are separated in order of their use, i.e. mica... » Read More
Published: 11-18-2011 05:31pm Posted In: About Allegheny Hearth Soaps
Hello Friends, In response to requests about my soap making studio, equipment and supplies, here is part 2 of some photos of my workspace:
These are some of my six storage closets with some base oils and butters used in my cold process soapmaking
This closet houses my labeling supplies, recipe library, file notes etc.
This is my sewing area with dried herbs, some from my garden & cherry pit warmer supplies:
Packaging supplies, bottles, jars etc.
I hope you enjoyed ... » Read More
Published: 11-16-2011 05:22pm Posted In: Soapsmith's Product Information
Hello friends,This charming little poem was found in an ancient Scottish Traveler's Inn. I like to place a beautifully printed copy on the pillow when guests come to visit my home:Oiche Mhaith(Good Night)Sleep sweet within this roomwho ere thou artand let not dreams of yesterdaydisturb thy heart,Nor let tomorrow, with its fear of coming ill.Thy maker is thy changeless friend,His love surrounds thee still.The stars are watching overheadPut out each earthborne light. Sleep sweet,my friend, good night.Good night. The herbal aroma therapy fragrance of lavender is renowned for its relaxing properties. Allow this delightful scent to lull you and yo... » Read More
To continue with my homemade Christmas cookies posts, today - instructions and recipes for homemade fudge.
I always include homemade fudge with my cookie deliveries. I make the classic Chocolate Walnut Fudge, my own formulated Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanutbutter Meltaway Fudge.
To make fudge from scratch, there are techniques that I use for that perfect creamy delicious fudge. These procedures can be used with any fudge recipe you want to use. The results will always yield success.
Tips for perfect fudge:
-Always use a candy thermometer. You cook the fudge to soft ball stage, which is 234 degrees.... » Read More
We make these traditional delights without a formal recipe. I have estimated the amounts to give you a good starting point. As with most ethnic foods, the recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to substitute to meet your own tastes. Makes 4 to 5 dozen.
4 cups flour – plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons melted butter
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk or water
Combine all ingredients. You can work the dough with your hands or start in a mixer with dough hoo... » Read More
Published: 11-09-2011 02:07pm Posted In: Soapsmith's Product Information
Preservative vs All Natural
The great debate in skin care products seems to center around preservatives and all natural. All natural is a hot button item. What constitutes "natural"?
As a long time soapmaker, I have many times heard things like:
"I want all natural."
"I don't use chemicals."
"I want a preservative free lotion."
Today's subject will deal with the truth about the various bath and body products I offer for sale. You can refer to my other blog posts about handmade soap and glycerin soaps and the great natural preservative free debate. In... » Read More
Published: 11-09-2011 02:06pm Posted In: Handmade Soap Information and Tutorials
I will be creating a series of blog
posts about the soap, bath and body care items I offer for sale. These articles will be educational in nature
to offer my customers an insight as to why I choose certain ingredients and
their benefits, as well as more detailed directions and suggestions for use of
my products. Today's entry is about my pure natual shea butter.
Shea Butter Information
Butter is 100% natural and absolutely no chemicals are used in the processing.
This shea butter is processed by a fair trade women’s co-op in Ghana Africa and
is shipped fresh, ready ... » Read More
This week is cookie baking week at Soapsmith's. I gift homemade cookies to many friends, family and co workers each year at Christmas.
This tradition began decades ago. As a single Mom of 3 boys with limited income, I was blessed by a large group of benefactors who came to my aid that first Christmas until I was able to secure a strong financial status. During the holidays, I wanted to thank those who were so generous.
I used to bake cookies for weddings so I have a great spacious kitchen and professional equipment. I put that to good use returning the favor to my extended family, especially my fantastic in-... » Read More
I received such positive feedback from my traditional Polish Christmas blog that I decided to share with you our Polish Easter traditions.
Much of our Easter celebration centers on the Holy Week services of the Catholic Church. Beginning with the gloriously triumphant Palm Sunday mass, through the Holy Thursday commemoration of the Last Supper, institution of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, recalling Christ’s perfect example of humility and service in the washing of the feet, the solemnity of Good Friday with the recollection of Our Lord’s horrific passion and even... » Read More
Published: 11-09-2011 02:05pm Posted In: Handmade Soap Information and Tutorials
When I teach soapmaking, I am often asked about wrapping handmade soap. Here is a tutorial on how I wrap my soap.
My cold process soaps are simply packaged in cotton muslin bags with a hang tag. The folded business card size tags allow plenty of room for all the ingredients and details required for proper soap labeling as well as giving me space to tell the story of my quality formulated soap.
I cure my soap between two and three months because I prefer the results I get from a long cure time. Handmade soap continues to lose moisture throughout its shelf life so I like to use cotton muslin because it allows the soap t... » Read More