Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ghosts, Goblins and Candy Corn!

I am maybe a bit fanatical about my Candy Corn but this time of year is my favorite because of it! Did you know that October 30th is National Candy Corn day? It's a day set aside for others like me who can't get enough of the sweet candy treat. I really can sit down and eat the whole bag ;)

So this months project is a simple one but one you can sell starting now through the end of October and even until Thanksgiving, Candy Corn Melt and Pour Soap. This a simple project and when Halloween is over, you can change your scents and make them for other holidays as well. Layered soaps have always sold well for me and attracted a crowd.


Melting the Soap Base:

  • Microwave Method: Cut the Melt and Pour Base on the score lines and place it in a microwave safe dish. (Pyrex measuring cups work nicely) Place the dish in your microwave. Using full power, heat the base for one minute at a time until it begins to melt. Once it has started to melt, decrease this to 30 second intervals until it is fully melted stirring often.
    *The melted soap should be between 130-140̊ F.

Adding the Dye:

  • Once your soap is melted, just add the dye a drop at a time, stirring after each until you reach your desired shade. The amount used will vary. For the yellow part, just use the yellow the white can be left uncolored and for the orange, two drops of yellow to one red until you reach your desired shade of orange.

Adding the Fragrance:

  • For Melt and Pour, it is safe to use up to, but no more than ½ Weight Ounce of fragrance per pound of soap base. Each block of Melt and Pour Base is Two pounds. For one full block of soap, you would use up to 1 ounce of fragrance. Stir well after adding the fragrance oil to the melted & colored soap base.

Pouring into Molds:

  • Pour your scented and colored soap base into the molds in layers. Use a fine mist spray bottle filled with Rubbing Alcohol to lightly mist the tops of each of the just poured soaps to remove any bubbles. Allow to cool, then re-mist the tops with the rubbing alcohol jsut before pouring the next layer and again spritz after to remove air bubbles and repeat. Allow the soaps to cool at room temperature until completely cooled, about 4-5 hours then remove from the molds. You may need to pull the edge of the mold back to get the soap to release.
    *You can place the mold in the freezer for a few minutes if removal is difficult but I typically suggest waiting longer instead before resorting to this method.

    This fun theme can be carried into jar candles, wax melts, pillars etc! Its fun to layer different scents into jars that coordinate well too! Have fun with this project and enjoy a handful of candy corn for me!
Happy Candy Corn Eating!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Apple For Teacher!

It's that time of year again, back to school! That means fall and all of it's fantastic fragrances. This month I will be making a few simple gifts for the teachers in your lives scented of course in Apple, more specifically Enchanted Apple which is also on sale in September at BCN!

I am always looking for $5 gifts for teachers, something to say "Thanks for what you do every day!". In the past I have found lip balms, room sprays, hand sanitizers, lotion and  sachets were great little gifts!

We will make two products this month. Corn Cob and Aroma Bead Sachets. Both are great but as you will see they are totally different. 

Supplies List:
Crushed Corn Cob

Aroma Beads
Liquid or Powder Red Candle Dye

BNL Enchanted Apple Fragrance Oil
Sachet Bags
Cello Bags for packaging
Envelopes (I got these at a local Scrapbook/Stamping Store)

How to make Corn Cob Sachets:
  1. Put 1 cups corn cobs into jar and add 1/4 oz fragrance. This ratio is just a good starting point and can be adjusted according to your desired strength.
  2. Cover the jar and shake it often for a couple of days to allow the corn cob to absorb the oil and to give the fragrance time to cure.
  3. Once the corn cob is dry, you can place it in the Sachet Envelopes and package in Cello Bags. DO NOT DO THIS BEFORE THE CORN COB HAS ABSORBED ALL THE OIL! It will leach through the paper and make a mess. :)

How To Make Aroma Bead Sachets:

  1. Weigh out 3 ounces of Aroma Beads
  2. In a Mason Jar, with a lid weigh 1 ounce Enchanted Apple Fragrance Oil.
  3.  Add 8 drops Red Fragrance Oil or a half a Smidgen Spoon of Red Powder Dye. 
  4. Pour the beads into the Mason Jar with the Fragrance, seal well and Shake to distribute the oil and beads. 
  5. Shake often as you walk by the beads to speed up the process. Once the beads are done, they should be dry to the touch. 
  6. Place in Sachet Bags, package in a cello bag and they are ready for giving!  

I hope you will make some of these for teachers this year weather it be to sell at shows or to give as gifts. Both will let the teachers know they are the apples of our kids eyes!
Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The perfect pedicure, at home!

The perfect pedicure, at home!

A trip to the nail salon is fantastic but often, it’s not in the budget! I worked in a full service spa for a few years. You can do your own salon quality pedicure at home, any time, for a fraction of the cost. You can also make the kits to sell to others for the same! I spend average with a tip, of about $55 each time I get a pedicure. Imagine being able to get 4-5 for the same price! It’s possible and I am going to show you what you need to be able to make a kit for you and your customers alike!

The Soak: This part is actually more important than people may realize. It does more than soften the feet, a foot soak, of Epsom Salt and warm water soothes aching feet, reduces swelling, removes odor and other impurities and softens the skin!
  • To make a foot soak, use 2 cup of Epsom salts. Add fragrance (or essential oil, but be sure to research your EO choice or contact a reputable Aromatherapist to suggest the best and safest choices!) to this to scent. You can also color the salts for visual appeal in the package. I recommend our Lavender Fragrance for this, lavender is very relaxing!
  • To use the soak, fill a foot bath, wash pan or professional foot spa with warm water. Add ½ cup of the Epsom Salt Mix (Foot Soak). Soak feet as long as you want, about 10-15 minutes is typical. Rinse feet and dry. A foot soak precedes a pedicure to cleanse and soften the skin.

Prep the Toes: After the soak and drying off the feet, you will want to take off any remaining
nail polish. Be careful doing this if you have acrylic or gel nails and only use non-acetone remover. That will only remove the polish, not damage your expensive manicure!  Include in your kit a bottle of non-acetone polish remover & some cotton balls or cotton pads for this. Once this has been done, trim and file the nails. It may seem like something we should all know but many people in fact do not know how to trim nails correctly here are the basics of doing the job right!
1.      Cut straight across
2.      Use appropriate toenail clippers
3.      Leave nails a little long
4.      Cut nails when they're dry, not wet
5.      Make a few small cuts
6.      Try filing
7.      Don't cut cuticles
You may want to include a nail file (Files are not all created equally. try various ones to find the ones you prefer.), and an orange stick as well as a small bottle of cuticle oil. This product is generally made from Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Avocado or even Macadamia Nut or Sesame oil orblends with any of these great oils! If you can find small nail polish bottles online, this is the ideal packaging but any small bottle, even a 1 oz PET bottle will work fine. Just blend the oils with a bit of fragrance, I will again use lavender. 

Exfoliate: This part can be done two ways. First by taking a bit of the Epsom Salt and rubbing it directly on the skin OR by adding some oil, (I recommend Rice Bran or Grapeseed) to the salts and making a Salt Scrub and applying this to the legs from below the knee down to the tip of the toes and massaging it around to remove any dead skin. Once this has been done, wash the legs & feet using our Aloe Body Wash and rinse. Follow by massaging the legs again from below the knee down to the tip of the toes using our Hand & Body Lotion. This will leave the legs looking and feeling their best!

Finish: Now add the oil to the cuticles and using the orange stick, push the cuticles back to
make the nails look their best. Give the nails a quick buff to remove any ridges and finally wipe the nails off with a bit of nail polish remover to remove any residual oil. Now apply a base coat, two coats of nail polish and finally a top coat allowing each coat to dry between layers.


Bitter Creek South has Stand up Pouch Ziplock Bags that are EXCELLENT for packing the Epsom Salt. There is also a cute Wooden Scoop that they sell which is perfect for that finishing packaging touch as well! The Bottles & Caps for the Aloe Body Wash and Hand and Body Lotion as well as for the oils can also be found there. Bitter Creek North has Jars for the Salt Scrub, the Fixed Oils for the scrub and the Cuticle Oil. They also carry a good variety of cute Frosted Gift Totes to package the finished kits in and Loofah and Pouf Scrubbies to fill in.

If you have never had a professional pedicure, I strongly recommend having one done at a quality salon to show you how they do things. In the long run, there is no reason to spend the insane amount that they want every few weeks. Hopefully this kit will help you to save a few bucks and pamper yourself like you deserve! Even men can enjoy a good pedicure, your feet are every bit as important as the ladies! Just skip the polish. Nice looking feet look good on everyone!

Enjoy your pretty feet!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pretty Palm

Pretty Palm Pillars. What more can I say? Palm makes some of the most visually appealing candles I have ever in my lifetime seen. 

Looking for a wax that is sustainable, eco-friendly and virtually soot free? Do you want that same wax to be unique looking with excellent hot and cold scent throw? Our palm waxes may be for you! Our Feather Palm wax creates a unique crystal structure within the candles interior and exterior during the cooling process that creates patterns that look similar to a feather. Our palm waxes come from RSPO sources and are made from 100% natural palm based raw materials and contain no paraffin/polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. Feather Palm Wax 5601-A comes in granular form for easy weighing and storage and can be used to make pillar candles, votive candles, wax melts and taper candles. A very versatile wax with an exceptionally unique look!

Since the "Wick Your Wax" fragrances are on sale this month at Bitter Creek North, I choose to use the Perfect Storm fragrance for my project. 'Looming clouds cast a dark shadow over windblown fields of green. Budding hyacinth, captivating cyclamen and entrancing jasmine come together in the heart of the anticipated storm. Gentle moss lies at the base with petals of newly bloomed violets.' A hauntingly beautiful fragrance!

I have put together a list of all of the items you will need to create your own beautiful Feather Palm Wax Pillar Candle. This is one candle you don't want to skip creating yourself! :)

Supplies List:

Wax: Feather Palm Pillar WaxDye: Liquid or Powder is preferred and does not interfere with the crystal structure.
Mold: I used a 3 x 6.5" Seamless Aluminum Mold and Auto Wick Pin
Wick: #1 Square Braid Cotton Primed in IGI 1260 and tabbed with tab wta37791

You will also need to use a Presto Kitchen Kettle or similar to melt; Pouring Pots; Thermometer and Mold Sealer Putty and Plugs depending on your wicking process.

Instructions for use:

Palm wax is best suited for use in seamless aluminum molds. Liquid, chip and powdered dyes seem to work best in palm waxes. Other dyes may interrupt the crystalline structure and appearance of the wax.
Heat wax to 205-210* add dye, blend well and then add fragrance and blend well. Feather palm wax will hold up to 6% fragrance by weight. Pour the wax between 200-205* into heated molds for best results. This wax will require repours. Wait until the surface of the candle has crusted over, poke multiple relief holes through the surface of the candle around the wick and about 3/4 of the way down the candle, the candle center will still be fluid at this point and fill with reserved wax heated 10* hotter than the first pour. Repeat this process as needed. Palm waxes should be cooled a slowly as possible to inhibit the crystal structure to form fully. This can be done in a Styrofoam cooler or other insulated box. It is advised to use mold release when making palm candles in any mold.
For this particular candle because of the layers I did things a little differently. First I used a seamless mold with a wick pin versus pre wicking the mold. Either would work fine.
This particular mold holds about 24 weight oz. So for each pour I used 5.9 oz. wax and .2 oz. fragrance. (remember when using Wick Your Wax fragrances, you use half as much!) 
Heat your wax as recommended above and pour into your clean mold at about 205*. Because you are pouring layers, you will NOT be heating the molds. When your layers become crusty and crystal like, it's time to pour the next layer. DO NOT LET THE WAX START TO SEPARATE FROM THE MOLDS BETWEEN LAYERS! Repeat the process for the first layers to the last layer.
When you get to the last layer, it will look crusty crystal and have some holes. Poke relief holes down into the candle all around about 3/4 of the way down the candle to remove any possible air pockets!  
Then heat your wax back up (you will have a small amount reserved after the last pour) to this area. This will fill in any gaps, holes etc. in the candle interior so that there are no air pockets within.

Once you are finished with this, allow the candle to fully cool, remove from the mold, and insert your wick into the hole left by the wick pin. Allow Palm candles at least 48 hours cure time (scent can take up to two weeks!) before burning. 
There are tons of fun ideas when making Palm Candles.

Elya in our office made these a while

back from the feather palm. They are simply beautiful even in a single color! Palm just is unique and customers are attracted to things that don't look the same! :) 

These are very "sparkly" and will make excellent candles for the Christmas Holiday season! Try a red in Old Fashioned Christmas or a Green in Mistletoe. I will guarantee your customers will embrace them!

Happy Candle Making!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Saving Time = Making More Profit!

With “Silly Season” just around the corner I thought this month I’d share some tips on the most efficient way to make your products to minimize the time spent making them. This should help you to maximize your profits. I also will provide some tips on displaying product for retail sale. I personally do about 95% wholesale and I no longer do craft shows but I did them for many years. This will help the person doing smaller shows, larger shows, home parties and especially those wholesaling their products.

To start, master-batch everything you make! This will save SO much time in the long run it’s crazy! The second thing is never make a single one of anything. I have what I call the rule of three. If I am making anything, whether for wholesale or retail, I always make three. That means three of the exact same product. For example when I sell my candles wholesale, I require a full case purchase and you must order in multiples of three. That rule of three has saved me so much time I can’t begin to tell you!

For soap making, I master batch my oils. Instead of measuring & melting a batch worth of each of the oils in my recipe, I FILL a bucket that has a lid (I got this from soap oils years ago) and I fill it with enough of the blended oil to make 16 batches of soap at one time. Think about this. If I were to weigh & melt oils for one batch of soap, the time spent wouldn’t be much different than doing it for 16 batches and then when I go to soap, the oil is ready. I just have to scoop and weigh what I actually need. I also do the same when making my lye solution. Instead of weighing out for a single batch, I take one to two full 2 pound cans per pitcher and make them up so I have plenty of lye for each soaping session, not just for one batch! This really speeds things along when making soap! The photo above shows a single session of soaping for me, on this particular day, I made 23 logs of soap that each have 3 pounds of soap oil in them.

When making candles and melts is is the same thing, I make everything in three. If I am making pillars, jars, melts. It's three of the same size in the same scent. It really takes no more time and then I have the extra on hand OR in the case of wholesale I saved time by NOT making one of a kind. Big companies don't let you buy ones and two of an item wholesale and small companies should be no different. You will end up spending far too much time making and not enough earning a profit! Profit is the name of the game! For candles, to best maximize time and profit be sure you can melt enough wax quickly enough. For the small crafter, a few Presto Kitchen Kettles will do a fine job. They each melt about 7-8 lbs of wax every 15-20 minutes. If larger, you are best off with a commercial wax melter ranging from 80-300 lbs depending on your daily volume. (Bitter Creek South sells a full range of commercial melters!) Here is an average batch of pillar candles for me. Note, three of each size/scent and two sizes of each. It makes it SO much easier to be able to do this in volume! So much faster!

Now that we've got the how to make it it's about how to display it! When you walk into a store, have you ever noticed how appealing a "FULL" shelf is versus an "EMPTY" or picked over shelf? It's true, people LOVE to see more, not less of an item. A full store is a happy store and happy stores make for happy shoppers! The same rule I have for three's also applies to stocking your product for craft shows and in stores. Always make in threes, sixes etc. and display the same. Full shelves! It also helps to use sales tactics to get people to buy in three. For example, if you have ever been to the large chain bath and body store...they like to sell a buy three get three free. Use these same tactics! They work! I always did jelly/mason jar candles and found that if I did buy one for $10, two for $9 or 3 for $8 each I 95% of the time sold three. Now I made a few bucks less but I made up for it on volume! The same applied to lotion, body wash, soap...everything! It really works great!

I hope all the BC customers are all having a safe summer and that the current show circut is doing great for you all. Remember to order you supplies for the Christmas rush early! We don't often run out of things but it's hard when we do. Ordering early will ensure you and your customer always have what is needed!

Happy Crafting!