Thursday, August 22, 2013

Curing Racks

As I'm making more and more soap, the need for curing racks has surfaced.  I'm not at the place in my soap journey to get those big curing racks...  I do not have the volume of soap nor the space.  I've been struggling with an organized method of curing, because as a few weeks ago, soap has been curing on every surface of my office, making it impossible to work in there anymore.  It wasn't until I went to my mom's house a month ago, that I found the solution.

My mom and dad have been on the paleo diet for the past year.  The have stumbled on a way of baking  paleo, and the day I went over to visit, they were going to town making paleo muffins and breads.  They were cooling everything on stackable cooling racks.

ME:      "Those are so cool! I didn't know you can stack racks! Where did you get those from? "
MOM:  "A garage sale!  Why, do you need them for cooking?"
ME:      "No...  I can cure soap on them!!!!  Have you seen my office lately?"

Two weeks later, a big box was at my front door, the contents of which were three stackable cooling racks!  My mom, knowing I would not have the time to research and order them online, took it upon herself to make the curing process easier for me.  Now, I can have my office back!  Thanks MOM!!!!

From Top to Bottom:  Curing IPA, STOUT, and Abbey Ale Soap

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Festival Booth: Getting My Soaps Ready For Oaktoberfest

Oaktoberfest is an annual festival in the Dimond District of Oakland.  In the 1900's this area of Oakland was known for Beer Gardens and German Resorts.  This year, I will have a booth there!   My first booth!!!  Yes, my first booth!  I am very excited... and a little nervous...

I had to submit a picture (with my application) of my booth to the organizers. That gave me a deadline to get things together.  So after a banner and display was purchased, this is what I submitted.  Let me know your thoughts on the booth.  I would love to hear tips on selling soaps at a festival too!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

History: Black and Tan

What is a Black and Tan?  I know they serve it at Fenton's...  an amazing ice cream dish...  but what is it really in the beer world?  Traditionally, it a drink made from a blend of pale ale and a dark beer such as a stout.   But the term, Black and Tan, is not commonly used in Ireland, as the term is associated with the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, nicknamed the Black and Tans. The term "Half and Half" is therefore used for this drink.

To prepare a "Half and Half," a glass is filled halfway with pale ale where the stout is then added.  To honor the tradition of the "Half and Half," I have prepared a soap that combines home-brewed chocolate stout and an ale. The result is a uniquely colored bar of soap that is unscented, yet the esters of the beer remain including malts and chocolate.  It has a deep lather, and is moisturizing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let's be "Transparent"... the truth about parchment paper, wax paper, glassine and vellum!

Let's get real here peoples.....  I'm breaking it down, cause I haven't found a post that REALLY explains the above title and how it relates to soap packaging.  Below, are two versions of my discovery story... choose at your own risk!

1) Get to the point:  Use glassine paper or printable vellum if you want your soap bands to be somewhat transparent...  You can print on both types!  I prefer vellum!

Where to get it:
  • Glassine Paper:  You can get get cheap glassine sheets or pages from Uline.   
  • Printable (affordable) Vellum:  I recommend Kelly's Paper off Grand Ave. in Oakland.  It's local!!  
  • Anyone know of other places???

2) Long Winded Version:
We've all seen beautiful soap packaging...  let's say, the "transparent" look appeals to you (it does me!)

So you think hum....that looks like parchment/wax paper...  hey, I've got that!... and you start to wrap your soap in it... Ahhh... so cute!

Then you use it on bigger soap...  hum...  what's going on... it worked on the small soap... but not now...  Then you realize that it's the sticker that is sticking to the soap (not the parchment paper, duh!).  And then that genius moment hits you...  THE STICKER STICKS TO SOAP !!!! (who knew?)

So, what is this transparent paper all about????  Bottom line...  to package soap... scroll back to the top, and GET TO THE POINT!!!

You got to admit....  The title's clever... I'm so proud of myself!

Hope this "clears it up" for you!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

History: Wheat Beers

My Husband brews the beer...   and I make soap with it.  He brews at his leisure and impulse.  If he's craving an ale, that's what he'll make... if a Hefeweizen sounds refreshing, you get the picture.  My palate has grown as I'm introduced to new flavors, yeasts, hops and grains... And just when I think I "know" my beer families, another term is thrown at me.  For example: Would you like a white beer.... what the hell?

So after some very long winded research.. I would love to thank Beeradvocates for this simple history, for someone who is learning about beer !

During the middles ages, Germanic tribes brewed, using the resources they had including wheat and barley.  These grains where lighter than the traditional beers brewed at that time.  These light beers where termed "white beer" aka weisse.   Today their are four main styles of white beer:   German Weissbier, Berliner Weisse, Beligan Witbier, and American Wheat.

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