Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CPSIA and the threat to handmade

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html

To the American Economy:Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy: Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses. If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes


And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law


Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Voting is open

Get out there and support soapers. Vote for the best swirl.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

6 Color Swirl, In The Pot Method, with Log Mold Tutorial

So I when needed to get another 6 color swirl batch in stock, so I thought I would take pics for a tutorial. With the swirl contest upon us, I wanted to share this with other soapers.


For those that can not see pics here is a link to my photo bucket.

WARNING: I know this works with my recipe, and this scent. Each formula is different, as is scent, so try this at your own risk.

For this, set up is the most important. I have all my containers for colors set up ahead of time. I am making a 64 oz (of oils) batch. Approx 1 tsp of mica is in each cup. I have my oils melted, my lye cool, and my mold all ready. My Fragrance is already mixed into my oils.

For this soap, I have used the pop micas from TKB Trading. My base is uncolored.

I then mix my lye into my oils. I mix until everything is just emulsified. I do move quickly, and start separating just after emulsified. Maybe the lightest trace. If you are not confident with your fragrance, or recipe, I can not guarantee you will not experience separation.

I quickly pour off my base color into each of the cups with the waiting mica. For this soap, I am pouring about 1.5 cups of raw soap into each cup.

I stick blend each color to combine. Yellow then orange. Then rinse. Then the pink. Rinse. Etc. After mixing, I am still at a light to medium trace.

I then get ready for the In-The-Pot Swirl. For 6 colors, I will pour each color around the bucket, clockwise in rainbow order. If using similar colors, like reds, oranges, and yellows, have each color next to a contrasting one so the colors don't blend. Here I start with the pink, pouring from about -8 inches above the top of the bucket so that the color sinks all the way to the bottom. At this point, I pour about two thirds in the pot, setting the rest aside.

Here you can see the pink, orange, yellow, and green. I am pouring the blue:
After pouring the purple (between the blue and red), I then go back and pour about half of what is left of each color in the center:

To get the colors to actually swirl, you will need to stir the pot. Taking my spatula, I put it in the pot near the red, and go around the pot clockwise 1-2 times. I follow the same path, about 1.5 inches from the side of the pot, right where the color is. I don't head to the center. But, since I am using a larger spatula to stir, it does move the colors more then going through them, so I probably do catch soap toward the middle.The more you stir, the finer the swirls will be. Too much swirling and you risk mixing the colors too much, getting grey.

Next, you will pour into the mold. Try to pour from one end of the mold to the other, you will probably need to do more then one pass, but again, if you pour in too many passes, you risk overmixing:
After pouring: You can leave the soap at this point, but I like to swirl on the top too. So, sow, I take the rest of the soap we saved from the swirl colors and pour on the top. By now, you are probably at a thicker trace with the left over soap, so you may have to spoon it on, or if you can, pour on the top from 3-4 inches away, so the color does not sink down and ruin the swirls below. Here I start with the pink:
And continue with other colors: When done with the pouring, before swirling, it will look like this:

I like to use a thin wooden stick with pointed end to swirl the top. Here you can do lines, circles, what ever your style is:

And when done:
Here is what it looks like cut:

I hope this inspires a lot of soapers to push with log mold swirls using the In The Pot method. I love it!

‘Best Swirl’ Photo Contest

For soapers out there, you know that swirling is truly an art form that takes practice, and takes many forms. That is why I was so excited to see a contest for the best swirl!

Saponifier Magazine is holding a contest for the best soap swirl. Please check out the entries to drool over beautiful soap, or click here to enter!

Stay tuned, I will be posting the tutorial on how I did my swirled soap later this evening.

Monday, January 12, 2009


What a crzy world we are in when we want to read updates from people. Updates about nothing sometimes, but I tell you, it is fun.

Check out Twitter and follow me :) http://twitter.com/kbshimmer

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Two new soaps and a restock

I love making new soaps, deciding what scent to soap, what colors to use, how I want the colors to interact in the soap, that is what makes this fun for me. But, even better, is having to restock a scent, as that shows I got it right! Here are three soaps I have been working on.

Sweet Lust is a sweet floral scent I blended to celebrate the season of love. Reds and pinks accent the scent. Green notes and a slight fruitty note complete this fun, lushish soap. Still on the curing rack, look for this soap in a few weeks.

Right now the scent of citrus fills the air at my house. First from my newest soap, a great combo of lemon and lime. Show here in full gel, I can't wait to cut this soap!!

Molten Lavender is my restock. Lemon accents the sexy scent of lavender while swirls of dark purple and lemon yellow pop against the light purple background. Shown here in full gel, this soap should be ready to cut tomorrow! I can not wait!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Whew, long time, no posts!

I am a bad blogger, I admit it! I have good intentions to post, but them something always gets in the way.

Some of those things have been new soaps! I want to share a few of them with you, kind of a sneak peak before the hit etsy.
This soap is scented with a wonderful lilac scent. It is colored with 6 different shades of purple, blue, and pink, colors that I remember from the lilac bushed outside my childhood home. This is really one of my favorite scents so far, so fresh and spring like!

This next soap is Very Berry Vanilla. A dupe of a popular Raspberry scent found at mall Bath and Body stores, this scent is sweet, fruity, without being overpowering. This scent is a best seller both in my soaps and in my sugar scrub.

One of my best sellers is my 6 color swirl. To me it smells like a tropical vaction, sitting on the beach, fruity drink in hand, the sweet smell of mango, banana, pineapple. This is a restock batch, the colors are a bit brighter this time, but still lovely I think.

Be on the look out, soon I will share my tutorial on how I created this soap!

Christmas has come and gone, and the last soap I am going to share was the special batch made just for gift giving. But, it was so well liked, I think it will join my holiday line up next year! Frosted Mint, a fresh blend of peppermint, spearmint, and other mints, this is a cool scent that just screams holiday! I enjoy this scent in my matching bath bombs and mint foot scrub. Both are a great way to cool down during the hot summer days.

Stay tuned. I have a few more soap I will share, a tutorial to post about swirling, and some sales coming up that my blog readers will get to enjoy early!