I want I want I want!

I want I want I want!

I’ve just seen these dresses on Gorgeous Couture, and I want them immediately!!

Why oh why do they have to be so expensive? – it’s so unfair 😦

Alas, I am DETERMINED to have one, if not both of the red ones!! Moo hahahaha Moo hahahaha!
The ruched red one is probably my favourite overall as I really like the detailing on it: It looks very chic. I am a fan of the one sleeve look and I love the way the red one with the cut out detail contours the body.

The nude pink one I love too but I don’t know if it’s very practical! – I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking around with my chest hanging out to that capacity. Plus, it has a train so it’s obviously not meant for walking or dancing in. What else can you do in it? – not much methinks.

I want
I want 2

I want 4

Advertisements
Just 2 weeks to go!

Just 2 weeks to go!

British-Vogue-Logo

Yes, tis a mere 2 weeks to go before my debut in British VOGUE Magazine and gosh am I excited!
My plan to replace all of the pictures on my NotOnTheHighstreet page is in process (a work in progress!) in preparation for lots of views (and hopefully, sales!)
It’s far from perfect but I think that finally I’m getting the hang of this photography thing, which is a relief I can tell you.

I have pre warned a few friends that I may be requiring there assistance should things get a little crazy following the VOGUE release and I’m giving away my very first batch of cold process soap to some specially selected friends and family with a prompt for them to review it and give me there honest opinion. I think this will be really helpful in order to improve on my next batch of soap, listening to there very honest advice and taking into account all of the things that they think constitutes a good bar of soap! I intend on doing many more soap tests to get the perfect bar before I release any for general sale.

I’m continuing to market my products on Etsy, though I’m not getting many bites. To be honest the only reason why I bother staying on there at all is for my presence on the internet, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. Despite my products being cheaper on there then on notonthehighstreet sales are still excruciatingly slow, almost non existent.

The feature in VOGUE is out on Monday 7th April so do pick one up! It’s called “Best Kept Beauty Secrets”

Also, if you haven’t already done so, do follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook and I will follow you/like you back! Links below.

Happy Wednesday! 🙂

Photography Pt 111

Photography Pt 111

Photography, as I’m sure you know by now, isn’t my strong point. I have seen so many handmade products with amazing photography and it makes me feel very frustrated indeed that I can’t seem to manage to take simple, professional shots of my products.

It isn’t simply a matter of buying the best camera, and it just about having the “eye” for taking pictures. It’s a combination of both. And good lighting. Always, always good lighting!

Alas even when I bought myself a professional light tent, with special daylight lamps to use to illuminate the shadows my pictures still didn’t come out the way I wanted them too. Sure they were an improvement on the previous, but they still weren’t clean enough, they weren’t white enough, and they were still very shadowy in places. To make even matters worse, it seemed as though I was at the mercy of the sun – everytime it moved I had to move. Reading forums about taking photo’s of your products, the advice of the majority was to use as much natural light as possible. But for me it just wasn’t possible. The natural light was too changeable, it wasn’t consistent enough and thus I was finding the quality of my photo’s diminishing as the day wore on. Frustrating.

So on Sunday my boyfriend and I spent the entire day working on finding the perfect camera set-up, the perfect setting on the camera, and the best position in the house to take the most simple and effective shots. Thankfully we found it. The decision after taking lots of pictures using different settings then comparing them all on the computer told us a few things: That we needed to turn the light tent the other way round (so that it had it’s back to the sun), this gave a less intense light but a more fluid light. And most importantly: It was no longer shadowy!

Also, we decided against using natural light. When we viewed them on the computer they seemed more grainy, less perfect, and unlike jewellery, or clothing, where it’s always better to see the texture of the materials used, imperfections in glass, isn’t so great. Using flash eliminated those imperfections, and made the product really come to life. Nevertheless it was a very subtle difference between the two, and that’s what I was looking for.

Over the next few weeks, before my article in VOGUE goes live (can’t wait!), I need to redo all of my photography so that it is in keeping with this new updated style. Up until now good photography has alluded me but not anymore!

Meadowfoam Soap

VOGUE 2

Hair Perfume

I would love to hear your thoughts on my photography! And if you know any trade secrets that could help me make them better I would be very happy to hear them, and of course, if you make your own products then I’d love to have a look at yours too!

And it went a little something like..

And it went a little something like..

THIS

Meadowfoam Soap 2

Meadowfoam Soap

I’m quite chuffed with the way it’s come out and it smells gloooorious! It’s a little bit wet at the moment – the rich oils I have used in it definitely need to be dried out so it might take a little longer then 4 weeks for the soaps to cure. But we’ll see. Cleaning up all of the equipment however, was a little more technical then I would have liked. I had to wait a day for all of the soap to dry up and then using gloves (as the soap is still caustic at this stage), I got rid of as much soap in the pots and pans and cutlery as possible and rinsed out the sodium hydroxide with water, then I put all of my soapmaking equipment into the dishwasher. There were lots of suds! But I had it on an intensive wash so I just let it run it’s course and when it was finished the suds had gone. I’m not sure whether or not this cleans the dishes entirely so that there is no poisonous residue and I don’t want to take the chance and get burnt so for now I’m going to continue to wear my gloves when handling both the clean and dirty soap equipment.

Tonight, I’m thinking of trying out another recipe, and another soapmaking technique.

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’

As frustrating as it was for me last night having to work quickly to pour my almost pudding like soap batter into the mould (and forgo my kaolin clay in the process), since then I have found some very interesting techniques that will possibly help the whole process go a little easier for me next time.

When I began to mix the lye water with the oils at first it didn’t seem to emulsify much at all. Even when I began to use the hand blender to mix it all together (and I made sure to stir it first), there still wasn’t much of a trace but as soon as I poured in my fragrance oils (lily of the valley and iris), it started to turn. In my eagerness to avoid it turning lumpy I immediately used my hand blender to blend the mixture which seemed to improve it momentarily but then soon after it began to get really thick and clump like. I realised then I couldn’t wait much longer – I had to pour it into the mould.
Doing the texture as I had wanted, on top of the soap was near to impossible as it was by then so thick that I was unable to manipulate it easily.

There are a few things that I’m going to try in my next batch, namely, soaping at a lower temperature. Last night I was following a guide of soaping between 80 degrees farenheit to 110 degrees farenheit, but a conflicting process said that you could soap all the way up to 145 degrees farenheit so long a both the oils and the lye were within 10 to 15 degrees of one another. My oils and lye water was taking aaaaages to trace, I even resorted to putting the bowl of lye on a table near to the open window to try and cool it down but it was still taking an age, so in the end I combined the oils at around 130 degrees farenheit each. I know now that this was perhaps too hot, so in future I am going to wait until the oils come to almost room temperature and either pop the lye into the fridge and wait for it to cool down to almost the same temperature or into a cold water bath.

The fridge option isn’t so encouraging for me as I soap at the very top of the house (3 storeys up), and the fridge is on the ground floor so going up and down the stairs with scorching hot lye solution isn’t the safest option.

Also I’ve just recently found out that fragrance oils accelerate trace so that’s something to bare in mind also. I wonder why that is?
Anyhoo as this is as much a science experiment as much as an art experiment I will have to try these variations using the same recipe and see what happens. One solution for working with potentially trace accelerating fragrance oils is to add them to the melted oils first which I think is pretty smart.
If I get into the habit of adding the fragrance oils to the melted oils first it should give me a bit more time to work with the soap once the mixture has been blended with the lye water and hopefully more of an accurate estimation in terms of the best combining temperatures.

There is so much to learn about soapmaking – lots of potential disasters that could occur, and indeed what to do if you ever experience any of these disasters. Once you know all of the potentials it’s probably becomes much easier to identify and correct over time.

I prefer the look of simplicity with an artistic edge and there is lots of techniques that I want to try out but until I get that perfect trace (and some people have recommended doing only a very light trace for such experiments), then I think it’s best to wait to try to do these.

I am a huge fan of this girls soaps. She is based in Australia and makes some utterly beautiful yet simply designed soaps and I would love to learn her technique. I could never get sick of using or looking at her soaps – they are totally beautiful and unique!

Vice and Velvet

I’m about to take the plunge!

I’m about to take the plunge!

Tonight, I’m going to make cold process soap! Pray for me!

I have been doing LOTS of research on soapmaking over the last couple of months, watching lots of video’s, reading lots of articles and forums and I bought this highly recommended book on soapmaking a couple of weeks ago: The Soapmakers Companion.

The idea of soapmaking is exciting but equally terrifying. I LOVE the science behind it: Choosing your butters on oils based on there properties and health benefits, researching the various ways ingredients behave in soap, and working with strictly raw ingredients found in nature. Then there’s the unlimited ways of decorating and fragrancing your soap: The possibilities are endless!

Slowly I have been acquiring the ingredients to start my very own first soap batch, processed all of the necessary safety information and now I feel I am ready to begin. I really feel as though this is just the beginning for my soapmaking ambitions. I want to make the best bar of soap you can find! A bar of soap with the best, most luxurious and exotic oils available on the market.

In order to make soap the first step is to choose your oils and then work out the quantities of all of your ingredients using the calculations for your mould volume and including the sodium hydroxide for the lye and distilled water which you eventually mix with the sodium hydroxide to create lye water. The butters and oils that you intend on using are then melted down and then the lye water is added to the oils once the temperature of both the oils and the lye water has reached approximately 110 – 120 degrees each. The fragrance/essential oils, colourants or herbs and clays are added to this mixture at trace. Sodium hydroxide is an extremely dangerous substance so I have got my goggles and gloves prepared for when I’m working with it.

There are so many different soapmaking techniques that I love that it’s hard to decide what to try first though I know that they say you should start with something simple first, but I’m not sure that I will as unfortunately I’m too impatient, lol.

I also just received my custom soap stamp which I was hoping to use on my M&P soap favours but I think it would also be perfect to use on my soaps too.

Fingers crossed everything goes according to plan and do let me know if you’ve made any soap yourself!
If it comes out reasonably well then I will post a picture up, but if it’s a complete and utter disaster..well then…!

This is gorgeous..

rose soap

VOGUE

VOGUE

****NEWS FLASH****

I have been beside myself with excitement today, BESIDE myself I’m telling you!

Yesterday afternoon I was contacted by a representative of none other then British VOGUE magazine.
Now naturally my initial reaction upon seeing an email from VOGUE was to think that this was perhaps some kind of hoax, as from past experience I have seen just what people are prepared to do (and say) just so’s they can get there grubby little mitts on my products! and why on earth would VOGUE be contacting lil ole me anyway?

BUT once I read the email in a little more detail I saw that it infact wasn’t a fake at all, a representative of VOGUE had seen some of my products (in particular my luxury candles and body souffle’) and want my products to be included in there special May edition.

Well, however can I resist?!

I will provide more details on this potentially seriously amazing development as soon as I know more but needless to say this is a very exciting opportunity for The Secret Scent Societe’ and a real chance to reach the demographic that my products appeal to. VOGUE is a well respected and successful publication that reaches millions of people so this could be amazing for my brand and me.