Soap Swap Spring 2016

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The Spring Soap Swap with Brambleberry has been even more exciting than I had expected! I’m blown away by the awesome soap I received- it’s so cool to see what other soapers make.

Most exciting of all, my soap made it into Anne-Marie’s box at Brambleberry and was featured in this Periscope video! My heart was beating so fast listening to Anne-Marie talk about my soap- she’s such an inspiration for me and to hear her say that my soap is great (and that she loves the URL for this blog!) is a huge boost to my confidence.

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My soap for the Soap Swap

I bought all of the ingredients from Brambleberry for my entry except for the water and lye. I used Sunny Herb Garden fragrance oil. For colorants, I used: Hydrated Chrome Green Pigment, Fired Up Fuchsia Colorant, Titanium Dioxide, Ultramarine Blue Pigment, and Black Oxide Pigment. I split the batter evenly and colored them according to the suggested usage rates. I did a faux funnel pour design, like in this blog post on Soapqueen.

I made another soap for the Soap Swap which I don’t have a picture of unfortunately. It was colored with Indigo powder and cut with a crinkle cutter. It’s been one of my favorite soaps I’ve made yet- I’ll try to get a picture up soon!

I’ve only used about half of my Soap Swap soaps and have loved all of them so far. The swap has been such an amazing experience and I definitely want to do it again next time! 😀

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Spring Has Sprung!

20160319_161614One of my favorite parts about living in the Bay Area is the seasons. We do have winter, but they are mercifully short and mild. No snow, no freezing temperatures. Spring has been here for about 6 weeks now. Flowers are blooming and trees are growing their new leaves.

20160319_183106Getting the garden going this year includes building a temporary garden box in the middle of my yard, which has been a project to say the least. I’m using straw bales as the sides of the box, and filling the middle with compost, straw, and potting soil.

The center of my backyard gets the best light. The back portion of the yard needs some landscaping, not a lot but enough that I would need to hire a professional. That’s not quite at the top of the budget yet, so it’s a project for fall.

There’s no way I was going to let overgrown lawn and weeds get the best spot in the yard this year. I came across straw bale gardening in my research on temporary planter boxes. Although the straw bales are not as water-wise as I would like, they are cheap and conveniently sold at my corner bio-diesel gas station/urban farming store (so Berkeley).

 

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Before the straw bales were placed

There’s still a lot of work to be done. But getting the cardboard and bales in place only took about 2 hours and as you can see from this ‘before’ picture, it made a big impact!