Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Why is Some Handmade Soap More Expensive Than Others?

This is my Mom and my Grandma----two people who are/were very influential in my soap making endeavor.  I make soap the very similar to the way my Grandma did years ago.  

There are 3 basic types of handmade soap, and many many MANY opinions on which is the best way in which to make it.  The following is my description of a culmination of a lot of resources and reading all of them. 

Melt & Pour---Basically you buy a block of soap that was made by a company and you melt it down and add scents and color to it and pour it into a mold. It can be used as SOON as it hardens. This particular way of doing it is fine, however, the companies that make these types of glycerin based soaps have to add many other ingredients to it to maintain shelf life and stability.  Most of these can be drying to the skin and some of the ingredients are not nourishing to your skin---in fact may be quite the opposite.  

Hot Process---Hard oil and liquid fats along with sodium hydroxide or lye melted together in a crockpot and heated up.  It is then poured into a mold after it reaches a certain stage called saponification.  This stage is where the hydroxide molecules attach themselves to the ions in the fats and make a thick batter of soap. This particular way of doing it is not bad per say, but to me, it speeds up the process too much and can cause it to lose some of its skin nurturing integrity in my opinion.  If the essential oils are added too fast at the higher temp, it also will lose some of the scent load in the process.  This soap can be used within less than a week when it hardens.

Cold Process---This is why I have my Grams picture up top.  This is the way she used to make it---
Hard Oil Fats (usually rendered fat--I do NOT do that part YIKES) ie: Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Lard, Vegetable Shortening, Palm Oil, Jojoba Oil..(all examples of great hard oils) Liquid Oil Fats, Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Castor Oil etc....melted to a certain temperature.  Sodium hydroxide (Gram used to use Potash) or lye added to purified water and cooled down to a certain temp range that is around the same temp range as the melted oils.  They are added together and stirred until they come to Trace---which has the consistency of gravy.  The ions connect with each other in the saponification stage.  Colorants and clays and micas and scents and dried herbs can be added at this time and returned to the stirring stage. After it becomes slightly thicker it is then poured into a mold and covered with wool blankets for 24 hours. It then gets unwrapped and taken out of the mold to cure for 6 weeks.   Where in it is still WORKING to make the best damn bar of totally natural soap and the lye has been dissipated  into the fat molecules and is no longer harsh or toxic.  This process is sometimes tedious, but the wait is worth it.

I do not want to sound like some kind of soap snob---because I truly am not.  The soap that I make, and the price I charge for it, is reflective of this cold process way of making soap.  I have been making it this way for almost 30 years--hate to tell ya how many batches I messed up and then actually figured out how to fix it---I just want people to have an understanding of the different types of handmade soap and why some is so vastly different from others in price and I hope this little 'read' helps.  Always, Renee :-) 

Monday, July 23, 2018

From BOURBON to BABIES---it's Finally HERE!

Hello All----just a brief note to let ya know that I listed a bunch of stuff on Etsy---it's my whole new bath and body line---I am so excited to present it to you!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oh Gosh

It's been a while since I have been on here---and no excuse----it has been a whirl wind here.  I am in the process of trying to figure out where I belong with my soaping craft.  There has been a few doors that have opened.  It is a shifting of what I actually know, to this new adventure of doing the things that are in sync with what's in style and what's actually sought after----

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

First Big Project---and I Mean BIG!

Good Morning Peeps-----All is good here in MN---a beauty day on the 21 of October---especially for these parts of our small world! I have several Irons in the fire---as per usual---One big one is that I cracked 3 ribs and ruptured the cartelidge between my rib and sternum---COUGHING---so DUMB---just found that out yesterday---been sitting on that one for almost a month---toooooo busy to go in to the doc---oh GOSH! 

At any rate---look what I have brewing here----these guys are exactly halfway done---a sneak peek as it were---there are 5 of them---but I am not showing the prototype ---just the unfinished---these santas all have their very own personality---it has been a great pleasure of mine to throw myself into this very large project----and yep---they are large---at 3 feet or more tall---stayed tuned! Later peeps!

Monday, November 4, 2013


I am into getting rid of a bunch of items so I can make room for more of the new items---I am busting out at the seams!  So I put all of my Fall Items, which are listed in the SALE SECTION of my Etsy shop, at 50% OFF----Swing on by and check it out!  PS. This is Harley---she is our daughters pup---what a doll!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Hi All~~~~ and Happy Fall~~~~ in honor of Halloween in 15 Days I have added a promotion code to my Etsy Listings in my BirchBerry Farms Shop. The coupon allows you to take 15% off of any Fall or Halloween Items now until the 31st of October! Shipping is a one day turn around! 
Coupon Code: happyfall15   
use it when you check out----if you are buying soap and fall items you will have to do two transactions!
Thanks to all my loyal customers!
Remember----I always do combined shipping and the overages are returned to you if they are over $1. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

All of My Friends are Such WITCHES!

HeeHee----What a way to get back into the swing of blogging again---well---I went and did it---I finally added some items to my Etsy site and I have pictures downloaded for tomorrows listings---I am feeling pretty accomplished today---My Fall stuff is moving quite well at the Round Barn and I am happy to report that I am making some progress at getting my time management skills back in check---seems since we last spoke I had fallen in to the abyss---gonna try harder to get back to the things that made me happy and the person to whom I once used to be---not so very long ago---Got my bearings down and rubber boots on---so lets ROLL!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Great Give away----you should head over there and check this out!  Dee Duncan is an absolutely favorite go-to person when it comes to the center of Prim crossing vintage country style---I truly think the world of her work!
Click onto picture and it will take you there!!  Good Luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Christmas Wish

It was merely by chance...a glance from a dear friends face that caught my attention. I went to Vollyball, like I do every Monday night.  It was playoffs for Championships...a flury of fun to say the least---we won and after the game we all sat and giggled about certain things that had happened during the game. I looked over at my friend whom I have known for over 12 years and she is an awesome person as well as a player. Kind of heart and willing to help anyone in need ALWAYS. She didn't look as happy as we all were. I asked her if she was ok---never did I even for one second prepare myself for what she had to say.  You see, she and her husband had been struggling financially for a while. We didn't even know it. To no fault of their own---it was a number of circumstances beyond their control that caused this to happen to them.  She began to cry---now---knowing her as I do---I have never seen her like this in all those years----she told me that she didn't know what she was going to do about Christmas---her children are 6 and 8yrs old---and they still believe in Santa---it broke my heart to hear her telling me this----Well----I gave her a big OLE HUG and told her that she could just take that off of her plate---and that it was going to be taken care of---I felt her shoulders drop as I was hugging her as a great wave of relief came across her.  I put out the word---to everyone in all of my circles---and I am happy to report that the out pouring of help was amazing to me---and humbled me to believe myself---to believe that there is truly indeed a Santa out there and that by the Grace of God he crossed my path with her sad eyes----we are getting them their gifts this next week and going to try to swing enough to buy her some groceries---much needed groceries I am told.  So my Christmas wish---and my biggest wish to date is that you all take the time to open your heart and your eyes to see and hear and feel someones pain that is around you---to know where there is hurt and to be there to help as best as you can---the circle always completes itself---it absolutely does----and in this time of great celebration of the birth of Jesus---let us all remember---let us all remember that we have all been in the depths of despair from one time or another---and the simplest of things to us---can mean the World to someone in need.  Bless you all this Holiday Season and Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

HUGE SALE on My Yummy WARM Mittens!

I think I may have fallen off of the crafters wagon with this one!  Seems I can't stop making these mittens and I have a bit of an overstock! So I am offering these at a Buy One Get One FREE through my BirchBerry Farms Etsy Shoppe! These are recycled upcycled and repurposed wool with matching polar fleece linings and are super warm and luxurious----a GREAT Christmas gift and you can keep one pair for yourself!!!  Hurry in for best selection as the sale is only running for a short time! I also have been working hard on some new dolls and Winter/Christmas items in both Etsy Shops---so do check that out!  Happy Holidays to you all and enjoy this beautiful Fall we have been having!  Always, Renee :-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Listed on WSOAPP Market Street

Hi everyone---yes---why yes my pretties---it has been a LONG time since you have seen the likes of me around these parts! Busy Summer for me and I am just getting done with my job at the Garden & Landscape Center----I loved every minute of being there---It is an awesome thing when you work with people who enjoy doing what they do and it shows---besides---who could ever be cranky around beautiful waterfalls, plants and impeccable landscaping----NO ONE!! LOL  Here are a couple of sets that I listed on the WSOAPP site---just finishing up with Halloween for the season---put alot of focus on the shop here in town and also a bit more on Etsy as well----things are going fabulously!  Happy Fall everyone--- I am glad I am back!  Look for me to be listing more items soon---I have a TON of Vinitage items that are going on my Birchberry Vintage Etsy site and some Shabby items that will be listed on my WhiteBirch Boutique Etsy site very soon----I also have some great deals on my soap in Birchberry Farms on Etsy---5 for $20 and 3 for $12 on the 6oz size of allllll the scents!  The new Fall scents are to die for!!!

Why is Some Handmade Soap More Expensive Than Others?

This is my Mom and my Grandma----two people who are/were very influential in my soap making endeavor.  I make soap the very similar to th...