Posts Tagged ‘handcrafted soap’

www.anniesgoathill.comI’ve told stories about my passion for handmade soap to so many people, and I’ll tell it again — it began (here) 49 years ago, and it carried on fiercely into adulthood, right up to this day.

In case you don’t know about me, I have been a soap maker for 12 years. I began handcrafting all natural soaps with pure essential oils and plant-based colorants at that time, and I switched to making goat make soap, including milk from my own herd of goats, approximately 8 years ago.

I joined my husband when he shifted to driving full-time across the United States as a semi-truck driver several years ago. God asked for a change in our lives, and so I made the announcement to close Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps (here).

Change and choice happens in our lives, and then it often comes back around 180 degrees. That is where I am at today. I miss soap making. I miss the small business. I miss my customers. I am still an entrepreneur (a life coach and an author), but I need to make soap again. I need to talk about it, watch it cure, and I need to hold a bar of my silky goat milk gsoap in my own little hands!

My plan is to return to making goat milk soap in February or March 2015. We are in the beginning stage of our initial newsletter here, so those of you that are interested in purchasing my soap, I urge you to sign up and I’ll keep you informed!

Will this be a grand re-opening, or what?

I truly look forward to it!

Mary Humphrey

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps

Where you can smell and feel the goodness!

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Merlot Wine Soap

Annie's Merlot Wine Soap

No, no whining here.  No cheese needed.  Just soapmaking.

I started 2012 with a bit of loss-of-words.  Did I really say that? Yes, you bet, I did! So, I am firing off the new year with pictures.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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It is seasonal…January clearance time!

For each 4-Bar Goat Milk Soap set, or every 3 regular-priced goat milk soaps purchased, we will include a full-sized bar of Pumpkin Caramel goat milk soap (available while supplies last in our online goat milk soap store).

Pumpkin Caramel  – not too spicy, not too pumpkin-like, fragranced just right.  And nothing at all beats goat milk soap made with a generous amount of raw shea butter!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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The holiday season has arrived!

Don’t you just love this time if year? Everything smells so good, looks so pretty, and folks in general seem to be in great spirit!

In light of the season, we discounted our Pumpkin Caramel fragranced goat milk soap in our store to $3.50 a bar.

A customer recently told me they didn’t want to use their bar of Pumpkin Caramel because it made their bathroom smell so good! With the discount, folks like her can more easily double up on their soap purchases and place a bar in all of their rooms (kitchen, bath, or even another room where they might want to enjoy the seasonal scent).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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This week, as I thought of the change in water hardness at our new farm (from well to county water), I realized how much I personally treasure Annie’s Goat Hill goat milk soap and lotion.

The soap simply does not dry out the skin like a “cleanser bar” (the bars that are not labeled as soap in the grocery store, because they are not bars of soap).

A simple definition of soap:  Fats are combined with an alkali (sodium hydroxide=lye), which causes a reaction (saponification).  The saponification process results in soap (fats and salts).  Soap, when added to water, lathers and aids in releasing dirt and oils from the surface of the skin.

The gem of it, it being going milk soap, is that the liquid added to the lye is straight goat milk, resulting in a bar of soap that contains caprylic acids, vitamins and minerals from the milk itself.

As many of our customers have said, and I do the same, bathe with our goat milk soap,  apply our goat milk lotion (or not).  That is all that it takes to feel more comfortable (with less dry skin) throughout the day.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness 

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Milk soaps are so rich!

As I looked at the newly cured simple Buttermilk soap in the studio, I thought about how I used to trek to a town an hour away to replenish my personal stock of natural soaps, purchased from a herb shop.  The bars were generally un-evenly cut, laying unwrapped on a very old and primitive butcher block table.  The deal was to pick up 5 bars, place them in a brown paper lunch sack, receive the 6th bar free.

I was in love.  And I knew I was taking something wonderful home with that rustic purchase.

If I had seen Buttermilk soap on that table I would have bought a bar.  No doubt!

Why Buttermilk soap? It is mild, pure, and great for the skin.  With a thick type of lather, similar to a shaving soap.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use this (colorant and fragrance free) soap on sensitive skin, or for a child.

Buttermilk soap (made from scratch from goat milk buttermilk, started with a buttermilk culture of cow milk), available now in our online soap store!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and feel the goodness!

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Did I hear someone say bargain? Yes!

The “discount section” in our soap store had been empty for a few months.

We got busy this week gathering the 2nds, the oddballs, the oopsies, the not-so-pretty…and now…the special beauties have been presented the honor of the bargain stand.

With fall and winter soaps on the way, more bargains will arrive…enjoy!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel The Goodness!

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Our soapy journey in life has lead us through a myriad of paths, all good, all fun! Some of the paths have been challenging, with much learning and wisdom absorbed along the way (with more to come, no doubt).  Some of the paths have more closely resembled a roller coaster track with ups, downs, and even loops that have tried to throw us off.  The passion for handcrafting soap has stuck like good glue, never leaving our side.

My personal interest in soap is a life-long one, shared via a September 2009 blog post, how my interest in soap began.

8 years ago we began our hands-on handcrafted soap experience.

We started with an idea for a soap mold, and a simple soap recipe, that included 3 main ingredients, palm, coconut and olive oils, evenly fractioned into thirds.  Distilled water was our liquid (no goat milk at that point).

There we stood, in our newly created soap-making space in our formerly empty basement, concocting our first batch of soap.  I was nervous, he admittedly was not.

The next day we had soap! Our glorious soap stuck to the mold badly and it was “ashy” around the corners.  Onwards we went, experimenting and seeking results.

We went through many soap mold designs, my husband created each one on his own, and we dived into several changes to our basic soap recipe, to eventually include shea butter, before we presented our soap to customers for resale.

Through the 8 year journey we began raising goats, and eventually dairy goats, with the reality finally hitting us that we should include our own milk in our soap.  It was a major turning point! By the way, farming is not easy.  It can be a dirty job, one that is completed 7 days a week, on a set schedule, 365 days a year.  Our love for animals has kept us stead-fast in that arena.

What have we learned through our soapy journey?

  • Nothing is constant, expect change.
  • A good idea can be a great one, but there is always room for change.  Always know when to let go, and always know when (and what) to pick up.
  • Good soap does not occur without challenges.  I remember the day I called several suppliers to “ask the expert” about sloppy soaping results that we were experiencing.  The answer ended up being a simple one.  But, guess what? We were 7 years into our journey and still needed to ask! We always will, at some point or another!
  • I am careful with the soap advise that I dispense.  Why? the learning curve makes your own product unique.  When you dig for ideas when creating your own special product for 8 months (or a year…), and then experience the end result, it is yours, and yours alone! You’ve paid well for it, with your own time, while learning as you go.  It is worth the effort!
  • Select mentors, more than one.  Follow.  Watch.  Listen.  Listen well!
  • Do not make numerous business or product changes that will lead to an inventory that you may be stuck with.  Creative is one thing – but it needs to be kept under a seat belt.  Baby steps, one product at a time, leads to success.
  • Never say never.  If a well-versed business leader in your industry says, “This is what works…this is what does not work,” do not write their advice off.  What they say may not exactly fit into your business scheme, but I will guarantee you it will eventually fit in, even at a small level.
  • Follow your own path.  Write your own words.  If you are not creative today, it will come later when you are feeling passionate about your work.  I remember thinking our soaps were ugly, plain, and not so colorful.  So! There is our brand, farm-fresh, simple, yet one luxurious item in the bath!

We like it.

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Farm House Goat Milk Soap

I received an email from a much appreciated customer.   She had been surfing sites that sell handcrafted soap, specifically goat milk soap, and wanted to tell me that she was glad I was not into all of the crazy colors, additives, and other things that deterred away from good-for-your-skin goat milk soap.

I feel soaping is artwork. 

A soap maker has numerous options at their disposal when creating a bar of soap.  If the notion hits, they can swirl color in.  If they feel like being different, they can make a multi-colored bar of soap.  Fragrance is at a soaper’s whimsey.  I even read an article recently about soap painting, beautiful.

I pretty much have followed my heart with soaping.  I do not sway much in any direction with my basic recipe, but I do occasionally move from color to color, or design.  I lean on a rustic cut of soap.  I do keep the weight as uniform as possible,  by the electronic scale.  If you see a wave to the top of the soap, it usually occurs naturally.  Or, occasionally I scrape the soap pot and dribble the fresh remnants onto the soap in the mold.  I love that look. 

I enjoy looking at soaps that others make too, just like my customer said she did.  Personally, my skin is sensitive enough, even with skin safe colorants and fragrances, that I cannot use soap for extended periods of time that isn’t basic (with no colorants, and only natural oils).  But I truly give a “high-five” to the creative soaping artists out there! Seriously…there are a lot of fantastic talented soapmakers!

Me, I started with a dream of farm-house soap, and that is where I pretty much remain grounded.  Farm house goat milk soap…similar to my love of primitive and plaid. 

How about you?

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Lilac is an ornamental flower of a shrub that cannot be distilled or manufactured into an essential oil.

So, in the case of lilac, a soaper finds a good quality lilac fragrance to add to their products.

I do not know about you, but lilac is a fragrance I look forward to each and every spring.

Today I upgraded the Lilac Goat Milk Soap photo in my online soap shop.  Gone is the dark purple, what remains is the different shades of lavender (light to medium swirled into the top of the soaps). 

Silky, smooth, and spring-like lilac.

Time to celebrate!

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