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Friday, December 30, 2011

Spunky Violet Spring Soap

Ever since I was a young girl my most favorite color combo has been Green and Purple.  I even had matching green and purple riding gear for my horse!  To this day it continues to be a favorite combination of mine.  I have many different items in my home that combine this amazing color combination.  

I was inspired by spring (yes I am ready for spring already) and my love for all things purple and green.  I have had this soap project in my mind using this color combo for a while now...and I finally found the perfect fragrance to go with this project.



This fragrance is beautiful and is described as:  The sensual and luxurious aroma of violet blends with crisp, clean lime to produce this sophisticated fragrance.   I think the blend makes is feminine yet spunky!



Spunky Violet should be ready February 1st 2012.  It is also available in our Everyday Elegance Soy Candle. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Barter for the Holidays...




At every market, after I'm all set up and ready for the day, I try to spend at least 20 min checking out my fellow vendor's goods.  I am a handcrafted artisan, so naturally I am always trying to support other handcrafted artisans and their amazing talents.  There are a lot of artisans out there who are incredibly talented individuals. 

I am always excited when a fellow vendor wants to barter for goods...and why not...they want something of yours you want something of theirs...it's a win win!!

This year's markets were a treasure trove of amazing things from handmade jewelry to up cycled scarves.   I had just as much fun shopping as I did selling my own goods. 
As I put together all of my amazing finds I realized that I really scored on some amazing things...and I was a little selfish this year, everything is for me!!!! Santa can cross me off his list!!!

I wanted to give credit where credit is due: however, I have lost some of the business cards that went with some of my goods..so I will put at which market they were bought from and if it's yours..please email me and I will get you your credit.  I am hopeless when it comes to miss-placing business cards...next on the list for a barter is a business card holder that will fit into my purse.


Handmade Glass pendant necklace.  Love this necklace.  The Green is less blue than the picture shows, it's a beautiful lime green (my favorite color BTW).  I can't for the life of me remember the name of the company I got this from.  I got this one at the Washington Public Market in Snohomish in November, I think opening weekend.  I got the necklace and the pendant from the same vendor.  She had some amazing stuff and I had the hardest time choosing just two things. 
 
The purple pendant looks fantastic with just a small silver chain.  Very plain, but elegant. 



My favorite score of the year.  I did not barter this one, this is one I just had to have.  If you know my stuff, you know that this tree looks incredibly similar to my company logo, and of course I just had to have it.  Have you ever had something just speak to you..or call you from a distance?  I was at the other end of the building getting a mocha before the show and out of the corner of my eye caught a glimpse of a vendor putting out this necklace on the table.  I was so focused on my coffee..who isn't at 8am...that I almost missed it.  I literally did a double take, picked it up, and bought it in the same breath.  This one I scored also at the Washington Public Market, I don't remember the company/vendor but she was right across from the coffee stand. 


Another great score from the Washington Public Market.  This is an UP CYCLED T-shirt scarf.  It's kinda funky, kinda fun, and actually surprisingly warm.  It's really fun to wear and can be used to dress up a plain jean/t-shirt ensemble or to dress down something you don't want to be too fancy.  I love scarves and am aware that I have way to many...but that's OK. 
This one was made by: Creative Design, you can find them online at www.mycreativedesign.com


My last score from the Washington Public Market comes from Sheila @ Handbags Gotta Have It. This purse is so much fun! It's sparkles in the light and has a ton of bling.  The front belt flap is my absolute favorite part of the entire purse!  You can find your Gotta Have it Handbag @ www.handbagsgottahaveit.com



Last but not least I got this adorable hair clip at the Abba's Sanctuary Craft show.  It's a beautiful gray and looks fabulous with my favorite ruffly gray shirt/sweater outfit.  I have become a girly girl as I have aged and LOVE that flowers have become fashionable to wear even for us grown ups. 

I got some amazing tasty chocolate from a few of the shows too..(White chocolate Egg Nog Truffles r to die for BTW) but of course that was long gone before I even left each show! 

Thanks to every vendor for putting out amazing products.  I love all of my goodies and look forward to the next show season where I can score some more amazing new stuff from local vendors/artisans! Not only do I get to score...but I get to support fellow artisans who want to share their creativity with the world!
Happy Holidays and Keep Creating! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

A (very late) S.O.A.P. Saga ending


It has been so busy in the GLC candle lab that I haven't had much time to check in with my favorite blogs, let alone keep up with mine.  So my sincerest apologies for this very late ending to my S.O.A.P'y Saga. 
We got the email a while back stating which fragrances that Brambleberry decided to keep as regularly stocked scents...but I of course wanted a little more.  So I shot them an email, and the responded immediately (as they always do) with the names of ALL of the fragrances...because I was dying to see how well my sniffer did. 
I am excited about the fragrances that they decided to keep, and a little sad that they did not choose to keep my ultimate favorite, guess I will have to go looking for that one somewhere. 
I'm sure I will be able to find it.

I am going to list the fragrance #, then my name for it, followed by the original name.

#1-Mulled Wine/Napa Valley - this one has been chosen as one of Brambleberry's fragrances to keep you can find it on the website, they call it Bordeaux Blend

#2-Autumn Harvest/Tea Party - this fragrance has also been chosen as a keeper fragrance, they call it Plum Tea

#3-Blackberry Marmalade/Pino Noir - I knew I smelled some sort of berry in that one

#4-Santa's Workshop/Pinot Grigio - I was way off on this one, it smelled way spicier to me

#5-my cupcake disaster so I never did name it/Red Apple Salsa - hmmmmm.

#6-Frosted Spruceberry/Aloe - this one is really fresh

#7-Winter in the Northwest/Hinoki - My Ultimate favorite of all the fragrances, and for me the best seller.  Was hoping to sell all of these in December and was super excited when they sold out at my first show!  Now I have to find this scent somewhere.

#8-Wicked Witch/Antique Treasure - way to musky for my tastes.

So I did fairly well for my first S.O.A.P panel.  I had a ton of fun and want to thank everyone over at Brambleberry for choosing me to be part of their amazing panel.  I would also like to thank all of the other panel members that gave amazing feedback and had some awesome ideas for soap!  There are some amazingly talented soapers out there!  Best of luck to each and every one of you this holiday season. 

To see the Soapy round up Blog post on SoapQueen you can click here
and then for the final pick blog post click here

I promise to try and keep up with updates this holiday season.  I have some amazing things I'm working on including cupcake soap...yes I am not going to let the cupcakes win.  I will conquer.
Happy Holidays to you all

Monday, November 14, 2011

Busy little worker Elves

The busy little worker Elves have been a buzz with activity here at the Green Lady Workshop.  With the busy season in full swing, and a show every weekend..we have been rockin' and rollin'!

The Big Elf made me some fantastic new shelving for my candles.  He rocks! They are so sturdy and display my product beautifully, plus not to heavy and easy to tote around (which is always a plus).  The back and inside is all open to tuck away the business clutter! LOVE THEM!!


Have used them at two shows so far and they really get the product up to eye level and in your customers faces!  He is going to make me a baby version for my lotions/scrubs!

The baby elves have been so understanding of moms busy season..My six year old says to Dad when I have a show.."Mom has a show Dad..so you get to be Mr Mom today" I love it, it's so cute!

As for this elf..well I have been busy creating, going to craft shows, re-stocking, and doing it all over again!  This is my first holiday season on the show circuit, and while I have a lot of things to organize for next year, it has been great so far! 


Last weekend's Winterfest show was my favorite show so far! It was put on entirely by community volunteers, and every penny of money they earned for the event went back to the community.  The High School Jazz band and show choirs sang, as did the elementary school music programs.  It was a fantastic holiday show and I can't wait to do it again next year!

So while I keep the worker elves busy, and the workshop buzzing, I hope the rest of you have a fantastic holiday season as well.  Remember as a business owner/crafter we run ourselves pretty ragged this time of year..so remember to set aside at least a few of your favorite products...and treat yourself as well!  Oh...and coming next post....I scored on a bunch of trades from fellow vendors that I can not wait to show everyone! 
As always Have a Happy Funtastic Day!
The Green Lady

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall is my most favorite time of year.  I was picking up my son from school the other day and saw this beautiful tree all ablaze with the colors of fall.  I just had to shoot a pic.  Thankfully this time of year I carry my camera with me everywhere..did I mention I love fall? Anyway...just had to share it!  Just look at those beautiful colors! 

We have been working hard in the studio...I will have lots of fun stuff to show you soon!  Since it's busy season for us we are doing a ton of craft shows...so far we have 3 scheduled for Nov..plus on waiting list for 2 more! and 3 scheduled for December! 
Have a Happy Fall Day!






Monday, October 17, 2011

A Fantastic First Show


My first show was this past weekend.  The weather was beautiful, although it was brisk.  I did not know what to expect, since this was my first "show", and I was pleasantly surprised how the day turned out! 
Although it was brisk outside, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day in Washington!  The festival was fantastic, especially since it was their very first year.  I loved how they had the whole thing set up.  The food vendors were on one side of a building, and the vendors on the other.  They had activities for the kids, a root beer garden, wine tasting, dancing, and of course a bier garden. 



I got amazing feedback from new customers, and some of my wonderful customers came by to see me.  My favorite part was when a customer would walk by and do a double take because they could smell the candle that I was burning.  I burned an Apple Jack jar candle, and Pumpkin Souffle melts, the combination was great, and since it was Oktoberfest, it was a fitting fragrance.



I was extremely thankful for my helper, I don't know what I would have done without her.  We made a great team.  Sadly she does a lot of the same shows as me, so I will not be able to utilize her as much as I would like to.  Maybe I could clone her!!

I've already got a list for my hubby of things that need to be fixed.  My shelves need a bit more support and a piece of wood on top so there are no slats.  I also have a list for myself of things to remember for next time....like bring hand warmers or gloves. 
But overall a fantastic first show!  I am so lucky to be able to do what I LOVE, and I am looking forward to the next show...especially since it's an indoor event!!

As always have a Fantastic Day!!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Great Product Photography




I love taking pictures, it's one of my other most favorite hobbies...yes, I have a lot of favorite hobbies.
I have a wonderful hubby that bought me a fantastic new camera for my birthday this year, which has substantially increased my LOVE for taking pictures and photo editing. 

I thought for today's post I would share some of my tips and tricks for taking fantastic pictures.  I am no professional photographer, so please remember that these tips and tricks are just me playing around with my camera.  The products featured on this blog post are some of my soaps and candles, and Hand Built leather accessories from Huaracha Studios.  (She is amazing)


Step One:  A Light Box.  I purchased 3 sheets of the thick poster board at my local Fred Meyer for 2.99 each, then cut each of them in half.  Using four of the sheets, put together a box (a bottom, two sides, and a back) without a top or a front.  I used duct tape to hold them together, but you could use whatever works.  You could even use Velcro, and make the entire box collapsible if you wanted, mine is not.  And now you have a simple light box.  Tip #1: make sure when you assemble your box that you get the seams nice and tight so that no light can get in between the cracks, recruit a helper if you need to. 


Step Two:  Lighting.  Lighting is crucial.  Natural lighting is the best option for taking pictures.  Going outside will give you the most bang for your buck.  I take all of my pictures outside on a nice/but not too sunny day, early morning/or late afternoon.  If you have some lamps (with natural light bulbs) I'm sure you could get amazing results inside...I just prefer to use natural light.  If you are using lights, make sure you don't have any shadows, and that the light is not in your face bright.  Tip # 2 you don't want it too bright, a really sunny day, or a light that's only 12" away from your product will make your pictures turn out harsh, we are going for a nice diffused soft light. 

Picture above was taken inside with just household lamps to show you what it looks like.  Plus she used the flash.....bad girl....see step 3.
The picture left was taken outside with natural light and no flash. See the difference.

Which brings us to Step Three:  Staging/and taking pictures
#1 rule I use when taking pictures of products:  Don't ever use the flash.  Ever.  I use the macro setting on my camera when taking pictures of products (the little flower) This allows you to focus on what you want, and blur the rest if you would like.  Take your time, and take a ton of pictures from every angle possible.  The beauty of digital...you can delete them later. 

Get up close and personal on a few of the pictures, focus in on the different textures, and colors.  When customers are shopping online...they don't get to feel it, smell it, or touch it.  A great photograph can allow the customer to see the texture so well, they can imagine what it feels like to hold it or use it.  The more pictures you have of different angles and depths...the more options you have to choose from.
Staging...remember odd numbers look best.  I like to keep it simple, but this is where it really gets to be all about your own personal style.  Some people like to add props and bit of color to make a picture pop, or backdrops to add interest to your item.  I like to keep it simple, and let the product shine through.  Just like each handmade product has a little of the person who made it's personality crafted in to it, each picture has the photographers personality built right in.  Do what feels right, and try out different things.  Tip #3 don't delete a picture until you see it on your computer, sometimes they don't look good from the camera, but can be fixed in the photo editing process.
The photo on the Left was a terrible picture...the sun caught the conch on the left cuff and gave one heck of a glare.  Because of my rule of no deleting....this picture came out as one of my favorites post edit.  With a little cropping and touching up you can remove the parts that you don't like!
Step Four:  Editing
One of the other most valuable assets is a great photo editing program.  These days every new camera comes with a program, some are good, some not so much.  Of course Photoshop is the best program out there (or so I've heard), but most of us small hobbyists don't have that kind of dough to fork out (at least I don't), so photoshop pro remains on my wish list along with the ipad, laptop, and new hardrive for my good old desk top.   I received Arcsoft Media Impression with my new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 (btw..a great camera), it has proven to be a fantastic program.  There are a few things that it does not do, and it is sometimes a little on the slow side, but it is a great all around program that is super easy to use. 

When editing I fiddle around with every single photo, yes even the blurry ones, I may be able to use it in some aspect, a close up perhaps.  Now if after playing around for a while I still can't get it to look the way I want, well then I delete it, no sense keeping a crappy picture. I always begin my editing process with cropping the photo to get the shot I am looking for.  Do I want it close up, or farther away, more detailed or less.  Editing by far takes up the most amount of my time.  Then I adjust the brightness and color aspects.  More blue...more red..more light..and so on.  Get it just the way you want it.  Remember to SAVE.   Add a watermark (if desired), and you've got a fantastic photo to showcase your fantastic products!

  It's really a lot of fun to take pictures and edit them...well at least I think it is!  But if you are reading this and thinking...wow that is just way to much work for me, well then there are a ton of highly talented photographers out there that would probably LOVE to take pictures of your products.  Worried about the cost of professional pictures, well,do your homework, and talk to a variety photographers, see if you can work out a barter..goods for goods....or find yourself a new and upcoming hidden talent that wants to get their name out there, most of the time they are super affordable. 
And of course if you have any questions at all you can shoot me an email at greenladycreations@yahoo.com, or if you live in the Snohomish/Skagit county area in Washington State and are looking for someone to take product pictures, email me.  I may be able to help you, or give you the name of a few fantastic photographers in your area!

You are eyeballing all this beautiful leather...right...I know it's amazing.  Check out Huaracha Studios online at www.huarachastudios.com  her stuff is simply fantastic, plus you can see a bunch of the other photos that I took of her amazing products. 
As always, have a fantastic Day!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Re-Batching Experiment

Re-Batching...oh how I dislike you. 
I've never been much of a re-batcher, I don't really like to do it, it never turns out right, and it just irritates the crap out of me, but sometimes it's inevitable and must be done.


I made these cupcake soaps with one of my mystery fragrance from the Fall S.O.A.P panel, and if you kept up with my testing posts you know that the fragrance morphed into a floral fragrance that doesn't at all go with a cupcake.  My plan was to leave it, but as it sat the floral got more pronounced.  I realized that I didn't even want to give them away, so re-batching was my only option.
I usually re-batch with a boil bag, but I scored this fantastic little crock pot at a garage sale for a dollar...that's right a dollar!! 


I have never used a crock pot for soap, so I thought it would be a great experiment for me.  I grated up all the soap (resulting in a chance to catch up on some of my shows for a few hours, and one very sore elbow)
Then I stuck the lid on the crock pot, and let it go.  One thing I liked about the crock pot vs the bag method, I didn't have to check it near as often.  I was able to work on other things while the soap was cooking in the pot. 


It was definitely easier to do than the bag method.  I decided to use my small wood log mold, very simple and easy to plop the soap into.  Once it was all melted and clumps where gone, I plopped it into the log mold.  I did see some clumps that didn't get melted all the way when I scooped the soap into the mold. 


It's rough, but better than some of the re-batches that I have done in the past.  I had so much going on that I forgot about it and waited way to long to slice it up, it was as hard as a rock when I tried to slice it, but I finally managed to get it sliced up!


So not a terrible experiment, and it turned out OK.  I was happy to notice that it didn't loose any of it's scent during the re-cook.  It does have some chunks that didn't get melted as you can see, so maybe next time it needs to cook a bit longer.  All in all it was a great experiment, and I am super excited about my $1 crock pot!  I also got a bunch of silicone molds at the same garage sale for $5!  Looking forward to more practice with soap cupcakes!!
For today...Have a Happy Soapy Day!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Not so Beautiful...


Black Canyon is making me want to pull out all of my hair. 
I love this fragrance it's masculine and soft at the same time, and I really think it will be a great seller in soap (especially for the guys).  It was requested by a customer to put this scent in soap (I prev only had it in candles), so I made a batch right away.  I did a black, uncolored, and red.  At first I thought, wow this is going to be awesome, until it came time to test it out.... so sad when you make your hubby use it only to find out that the black oxide didn't get mixed in all the way thus resulting in nasty black bubbles. 
I immediately thought, OK I can re-batch this right?  So I cut off all of the black, shredded up the plain and proceeded to re-batch. Did it turn out...of course not.  Don't get me wrong, it's usable and no longer bubbles black, but man is it rough looking not to mention way to small.


So into the freebie pile, or the sample pile these go and on to try it again, because I really wanted to get this scent in soap.  This time I opted to leave out any black, used just a little UM blue to give it some color, and did a swirl. 


I was excited the next day when it looked like this.  I thought yes, now this one will turn out!
Wrong...upon cutting, the fragrance or something affected the edges in a weird way and some of the bars were crumbly and yellowing, while others were fine.  I'm thinking the lye/water amounts were off, but I'm just not positive what went wrong.  It could have been the fragrance as I have used this soap recipe many times, or I could have had a brain fart moment and mis-measured something.


After a week, it has discolored pretty bad.  I was able to save about half of the soap in this batch, but I have yet to test the pH levels for safety.  Just in case I made a mistake and it wasn't just a bad reaction with the fragrance.  It also has these funky flecks..so I am thinking that this batch is a throw away batch...we'll see what the pH testing shows. Sigh...am I ever going to get this fragrance to work right?  After all these years of soaping...this is my most puzzling batch so far.  It just went all wonky (yes, wonky is an official soaping term..LOL..)
On my list for the next batch of soap is to try this fragrance yet again, maybe I will do no color and leave it plain.  I figure third times a charm, right?
Needless to say my week in soaping hasn't been the best.  I attempted some more cupcakes too....nope..still need some more practice.  Sorry folks I am not sharing my ugly little cupcakes, trust me, you do not want to see them.

Since all of my soap is ready for my shows in October, I have been taking this time to finish up Winter stuff, work on candles, get the displays ready for the shows, and play around with new ideas (because I just can't turn that part of my brain off).  Thanks for reading my latest soap nightmare....next time It WILL turn out right!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shameless rave about my favorite Photographer


That's right, those are my adorable children, call me bias, but they are pretty darn cute.   Besides making candles and soap, one of my other favorite hobbies is photography.  I'm not as good at it as I would like to be, but I love to take pictures none the less. There are some talented photographers out there and I just love to look at all their work. 

I have recently fallen in love with a local photographer's work and wanted to tell everyone I could about her amazing abilities.  I took my kids to her for the first time in the spring of this year, and I was blown away by the quality, especially since I paid more for my son's pictures a few years ago at Target and didn't get near the quality nor did I get the amount of different poses.

Sweetpea Memories Photography is based in Burlington, Washington.  She has the cutest studio, and does a lot of outdoor shoots as well.  Shannon is a self taught photographer and has this amazing talent for capturing the personalities of each of her subjects.  She does everything from weddings, pets, to her smash the cake one year old sessions.  (yep your little one gets to get down and dirty smashing a birthday cake, and she captures it on camera, it's adorable)  Her sessions have a mix of candid and posed moments, and she is fantastic at letting the children just be themselves. 


See..that's his personality right there, and she was able to capture it on camera for me to remember always, who needs a video camera when you have such an amazing photo!


 I loved so many pictures from the photo shoot I had trouble choosing only 20 shots (that was my package).  For my package I received 40 pictures total on a CD with 20 different poses in color an black and white.  It's a very generous amount of pictures for the price. (for more about sweetpea memories pricing you can click HERE)













Isn't she talented!  So if you live in Washington (skagit/snohomish/watcom) and are looking for a friendly and talented photographer who is excellent with kids, you should definitely check her out.  She's AMAZING!



And of course my Bragging rights as a mom.....the pictures turned out even better because my kids are so darn cute!!



 













Information about Sweetpea Memories Photography: