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Our Inspirations – Part 2

Michelle

Inspiration. It’s a word with so much meaning that it would be hard to describe it. It is much like passion which consumes our thoughts and takes over our very lives. Even the definition cannot do it justice. After all, the quality and state of being inspired still has the word in it. Saying what inspiration actually is seems a bit pointless to me, so instead I will tell you where I get my inspiration from, regardless of what the definition says.

I work in a place where inspiration is sometimes hard to come by. I have no windows and the harsh fluorescent lights does this place no favors. The one thing I do currently have is a partly painted wall. It is green, like the green you would find on a ripe lime. It is not quite the correct color to gain inspiration from, but it is all I have during my time at my day job.

So, what about this green wall that gives me passion? It reminds me of the outside. I love the color green. After all, green is life. It is the color of grass, leaves, stems, and all sorts of natural things. Nature at its very essence is my inspiration. Give me a cool autumn afternoon with not a cloud in the sky. The wind is sharp with the scent of winter on the way, but the sun is warm and is the perfect weather for the lightest of cardigans.

Nature lends itself to mystery and to magic. I have stood in the forest next to what looks like ruins and have felt my mind open to so many possibilities. I have taken midnight strolls through a local park and have felt a niggle of promise in every step. Nature is where passion gains its wings like fairies as it flits about whispering into ears that are willing to listen.

Nature also gives us a bountiful harvest. It is where food comes from and even that can draw inspiration and passion. It is my belief that nature is at the center of everything. Without it we would not be here and if we were our imaginations would be dull and lifeless.

“The Breakfast Bar” is one such inspiration that is drawn from food. It’s oat overtones mixed with warm cinnamon is an inspiration taken from a simple breakfast and this video which gave me the idea.

My “Midnight Encounter” soap is also taken directly from food as it is filled with rich, fatty cocoa powder along with the detox effect of activated charcoal.

One scent that I have been trying to recreate from the images of my mind is “Roses in a Midnight Graveyard”. Morbid? Yes. However, it is still fascinating where my mind can go and I do like following it, so please bear with me.

Close your eyes and picture this. The smell of roses hangs fragrant in the air. Their smell is almost overpowering. Trees linger on the edge of a plot of stones, their scent so faint as to be almost non-existent. Cold stones can barely be seen from the light of the stars as the moon turns her face away, shedding no light. Each slow step you take forward brings another smell. Damp earth from an earlier rain shower can now be smelt. The wind plays with your clothes, beckoning you forward while underneath all of that is the scent of something almost foul, or perhaps sickly sweet, maybe even putrefying, so faint you can’t trace it. Can you feel that? Now open your eyes.

That is the kind of scent I aspire to create. Something that takes you somewhere and makes you feel something. It might not be something you want to feel, but it is a visceral reaction to the stimuli of scent.

Nature is the gateway to everything for me. It is my ultimate inspiration and as I grow mentally and even as I travel it will always be with me. I will always be inspired and I am ever so joyful about that. After all, it can change lives, move mountains, and even create miracles. And it all comes back to a partly painted wall which started it all.

If any of what we’ve said has resonated with you, then please reach out and contact us, or buy something from our store. That will be inspiring in and of itself, and even if it isn’t, it will help us to continue making things that we love and have a passion for. Your support will help us change the world, one bar at a time. Thank you.

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DIY soap cutter update August 2019

Update August 10, 2019

So after using this wonderful cutter for about 3 weeks, Steven helped me cut some soap and was concerned with the amount of “wiggle” that the cutting arm had. He then proceeded to redesign the cutting arm pivot point. We went from a single point of brace in a block of wood, and being able to remove the cutting arm for transport; to a double point of contact HINGE that removed most of the wiggle in the cutting arm, but means we can’t take the cutting arm off anymore (no big loss there, in my opinion).

While Steven is still not satisfied with the final piece, it does what it was intended to do. Make it easier and more efficient for us to make goodies to share! Honestly, if I let him, he would continue to tinker and make more items for our workshop until he was happy with what he came up with. (I just might let him! I love you dearheart!)

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Making our DIY wire soap cutter

July 2019

BIG shout out to my wonderful husband Steven (thanks dearheart!) for using his wonderful brain and super mechanical/carpentry DIY skills to save us some money!

So when Michelle and I started this adventure, my husband was somewhat leery of what we were doing (understandable, as it takes money to have a hobby, much less start up a business), and was also less than enthusiastic…But once I asked nicely for something that would help us in our endeavor, he started to  ask questions and to plan.

First questions were, “what does a soap cutter look like? What do you need it to do?”

Well dearheart, this is the best example of a “do it yourself” soap cutter I could find…..https://soapdelinews.com/2013/06/diy-soap-cutter-a-simple-guide-for-cutting-your-soap-into-bars.html. He looked and did some more research (not really liking what he saw, I guess), and came back to me with the next set of questions.

“What did we want the soap cutter to do? Did you really want something that simple? Are you really just going to cut your soap with a knife?” 

Well, no, Michelle and I really wanted something more like the YouTube channel we watch uses (props to Ms. Julie Fain from https://www.osoapery.com, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClN5CUhtWenxWs8eD0qGlkg), but they are really kind of expensive (like $90-$120 with shipping). It kinda looks like this picture here:

(https://www.workshopheritage.com/collections/soap-cutters/products/soap-cutter-single-wire-12-inch-adjustable-for-all-cp-hp-soap-styles)

He took this information and spent about a week thinking, sketching, and drawing out various ideas. I then took these ideas, and sent them to Michelle (love you Sis!), so we could discuss the various pros and cons of each possible idea. When we were done, which took maybe 2-3 weeks or so, we ended up with something close to the cutter shown above, with a few little tweaks of course.

Next, came the fun task of figuring out what type of material we wanted this cutter made from. In the last few years, my husband and I have done various renovations (mostly small) to our house that have resulted in some reclaimed lumber of various sizes and conditions. Out to the garage we went! After looking at everything we had saved, we decided to use a few pieces of a waterbed frame that we had replaced this year due to water damage. This had the bonus of not only being hard wood, but also having already been varnished! 

Cutting these pieces to a workable length, that we needed to assemble, was a challenge. While we don’t have a large workshop with larger tools, I know someone who does (shout out here to my mom and stepdad for letting us use the table saw and other various tools!)

After we cut out the base, side, handle, offset block, and stop block pieces, we then headed home to the husband’s workshop.  Once we were home, he proceeded to mark out, and then chisel out, channels for the all-thread piece we had bought. Next, he drilled holes for the dowel pieces (runners) for the stop block. When that was done, he used locking nuts and washers to secure the all-thread piece to the base of the cutter. He even treated it so that it will A) never rust and B) never loosen. The stop block allows us to have the ability to do variable length cuts, but also keep the edges (and our cuts) straight.

(Just a note, that while I could have helped him, usually the best help I can give is staying out of his way! ESPECIALLY when he is being creative. LOL!) 

(See I do help!  LOL)

Next, came the cutting arm assembly. One of the issues he had was a concern that the tension of the guitar string that we are using for a cutter, could possibly cause too much strain on the arm. This was because we chose to make it from multiple pieces of wood, rather than the solid wood piece we had originally planned. After talking about it some, we decided to send me to the local Walmart to buy braces for the inside of the cutting arm. This lent stability without adding too much weight or awkwardness. 

Next, he created, and installed, a custom tension system (I love you dearheart!) to allow us to be able to adjust the tension on the guitar string. This means longer wear time as the guitar string will not be under constant tension when we are not using the cutter.

After attaching the side piece, he then fiddled with the offset block for the cutter arm. He drilled, checked alignment, found washers, played with spacing and generally tinkered (yes, I said tinkered) with the cutting arm until he was happy with the placement and action of it. This meant an easy to use motion, both up and down cutting; the cutting arm is easy to attach and detach; as well as lining up correctly to the groove he had cut into the base piece. We then tested it! We decided to place a guide for the guitar string mounted to the backside to help keep our cuts straight.

After all of that, which was almost 6 ½ hours of cutting, tinkering, running to Walmart, and assembling, we had our cutter finished! It looks AMAZING! Not only did my wonderful husband make an awesome design, he also told me that he can add an attachment to the other side of the cutter for when we get to the point (hopefully!) that we will be wanting to make larger batches and splitting them into thinner logs before cutting them.