We All Speak Soap Bubbles: Spending Time With An International Soap Maker

Hello everyone!  Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend the day with Ivie and her niece, Christina which served as our translator. Ivie is a Soap Maker from Taiwan and is spending time visiting her family here in Texas.

Ivie @ Wandering Thistle Studio

Ivie is has been creating soap for 7 years and works with the Spa & Hotel Industry providing them with soap for their guests and retail in their upscale boutiques. She has an avid business and employs several people to assist her with production. Yay Ivie!

Ivie shared with me that she loves seeing all of the artistry of swirls and color, something she doesn’t  have the opportunity to experiment with. “Since there is so much pollution  in the air, the people in China only want soap made with natural colorants (plant-based) and essential oils.” She indulges her creative mind by making beautiful soaps using layers of natural colorants. After further discussion, utilizing the language skills of 16-year-old Christina, we discovered Ivie is wanting to expand her target audience to include the hipsters, 20-30 year olds.

She came to me wanting to learn to make Beer Soap. As the creator of Texas Beer Soap Co., I was feeling honored to share my love of Craft Beer and how to incorporate it into a luscious skin loving bar of squeaky clean fun. As we began our journey deciphering her questions.

We discovered she did not like the smell of hops. Humulus lupulus the flowering cone of the Hops plant that is used in brewing beer. No need for a translator.. facial expressions communicated quite clearly. But she did like the idea of being able to create a product using an ingredient she could locally source. Something most handcrafted soap makers have in common.

deweyhops

The use of a stick blender was fun! Ivie creates her soaps by hand stirring but was eager to play with some of the tools Western soap makers keep in their arsenal. Her tentative look was soon overtaken with a beautiful smile as she whirled the oil mixture to a light trace, a very thin pudding consistency, in a matter of seconds.

After an hour of long pauses with translating back and forth, we had found our soapy rhythm and we were two soapy peas in a pod for the next few hours. Ivie created her desired beer soap with great success and a BONUS log of coffee soap with freshly brewed espresso. Something else her future Hipster Customers may like.  And I have a standing invitation to visit Ivie in Taiwan at her production facility. Road Trip anyone?

Want to read more about my love of teaching?

Nurture The Teacher Within

Nurture The Teacher Within: Part 2

Theresa @wanderingthistlestudio

Until next time… Wander.Explore.Create.Enjoy.   ~Theresa

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Infused Vinegar Tutorial For Green Cleaning

Hi everyone, I hope your day was lovely. Today in Texas began overcast with misting rain, but soon to share the glory with the golden sunshine.

I have something I would like to share with you, reminds me a lot of sunshine. In fact it requires the use of the harnessed energy of sunshine, both in the beginning and the end.

Many of you like to use green cleaning and I want to give you a high five for that. Let me add something to your arsenal just in case you are not already doing this, if you are please share so others can go green( or Orange).

Vinegar is one of my favorite products to use around the house. It has such wonderful properties for disinfecting surfaces. It doesn’t clean so well, unless you want to expend a lot of elbow grease, but it does deodorize. It is great to use after a basic castille soap & water wipe down, but do not use it on marble, stone, or hardwood floors.  It can etch the surface and remove the protective coating if there is one.

We are using plain white vinegar, and will create a lovely orange infused vinegar. The aromatics are so much better once it has had a chance to marinate. So be patient.

Gather your items:

  • White vinegar
  • Organic oranges, lemons, or grapefruit
  • Jar of your choice (reuse one you already have)

Let’s begin:

  • Wash and peel the fruit
  • Pack the peels in the clean jar
  • Pour warmed vinegar over the peels, just to cover the top.
  • Place the lid on and set the jar outside in warm weather months or on the south facing window during the cold weather.

lemon vinegar wanderingthistlestudio

  • Allow the energy of the sun to extract the essential oils and impart in the vinegar. You may want to shake it around every once in a while, but isn’t necessary.
  • After 1 week, pour off the infused vinegar and store in a glass jar until ready to use
  • Use the peels to clean your garbage disposal (only a few at at time or it may clog) freeze the remainder peels in ice cube trays with water for future disposal cleaning.

lemon vinegar 2 wanderingthistlestudio

Use this lovely vinegar as needed. I like having a sprayer handy to use after wiping anything down.

When not to use vinegar for cleaning: Never use vinegar to clean up a raw egg, it will actually be counter productive. As stated previously, do not use on stone or marble

What type of green cleaning product do you like to use?

As always…

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~TheresaTheresa Wandering Thistle Studio 1459x1469

 

 

Day 29…Of 30

Oh my goodness Y’all, this is day 29 of the 30 day challenge! One more day!

I really appreciate all of you that have supported my attempts to participate in this grueling challenge. Along the way you have posted encouraging words, liked my posts, shared them with your readers, tweeted and retweeted, and chose to follow along. I am truly humbled with a grateful heart. 

Participating in this Blog Challenge, hosted by Blog Your Brand and Indie Business Network commandeer Donna Maria Johnson, has opened my eyes to see things differently.  I have many friends that blog and do so very well. The idea of blogging always intimidated me. Today, I can honestly say I feel better, more in tune, and as ease with this process. 

Here is a post I did about stepping out of the fringe.

Was it hard? Yes and No.  Sometimes it was challenging to pick a topic to write about that would be of interest to you. Sometimes the deadline to get it in on time was stressful. It was fun and amusing as well. I also learned how to make some cool graphics to use with the blog. 

SMILE

Will I keep blogging? You bet, probably not everyday, but at least 3 times weekly.  It was actually fun, so I will be looking forward to visiting with you

Would I recommend this to others? Absolutely! In fact, I wish to challenge anyone that has been pondering the idea of blogging …yes…do it. I did and you can as well. 

So when are you going to begin your journey in blogging? 

 

As always…

 

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~TheresaTheresa Wandering Thistle Studio 1459x1469

 

Keeping Family A Priority

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope your weekend was fantastic, and overflowing with love, family, & friendship.

As a small business owner, working long, sometimes lonely, hours is par for the course.  The drive to succeed, the passion to make a difference in the lives of others, often leaves us exhausted, wiped out, and brain dead.

Purpose wandering thistle studio

Now let’s replay this, take out small business owner and add in your place in life. Maybe you are a single Mother or Dad. Maybe you are a grandmother raising your grandchildren, possibly a college student, or family man. The fact is, most of us strive for the same things in life; to make a difference. For others to know we care, we love, and that we work hard to impact the lives of those around us for the better. Sometimes it finds us feeling disconnected and out of sorts.

It can be overwhelming, and downright scary at times. Making sacrificial choices that may prevent us from experiencing some of life’s lovelier moments.  This is temporary, or it can be. We have the opportunity to create special moments with our loved ones. Just pencil them in your planner like you do for everything else in your life. Yes, sometimes we do have to schedule fun into our daily lives. This works great if you are the type that needs structure. If spontaneity is your game then, you should have no problem, just get after it.

We have all heard the saying,  All work and no play makes for a sad day… or something similar. Couples are encouraged to have a date night. I have seen others plan a special outing for some quality alone time for each child when there are multiple siblings. It is a chance to stay connected, it is important to remain connected.

It is hard work keeping those family priorities, along with everything else we do, but oh so worth it.

Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but improves it’s chances.

~ B.L. Gupta

I added this one because I really like it.

To be successful, the first thing to so is to fall in love with your work.

~Sister Mary Lauretta

What do you do to remain connected with your family?

As always…

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~ TheresaTheresa Wandering Thistle Studio 1459x1469

A Smattering Of Saturday Trivia

Hi Everyone,

It’s Saturday evening and just returning from dinner with friends. As I sit her in front of this computer screen, scrolling through memories of today, to find something of value that may be of interest to you today. Several things have crossed my mind and I may have a smattering of little things, trivia of sorts.

  • There are 5 more Saturdays until Christmas. Don’t panic. The stress isn’t worth it.
  • Small Business Saturday began in 2010 to help bring recognition to small businesses during the Christmas gift buying season.  Sandwiched between Black Friday sales, the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, for online e-commerce shop owners. This year it is November 28th. Be sure to support and shop at your local community establishments.
  • Saturday was named after the planet Saturn, which was named after the Roman Mythology God Saturn.
  • With the Rhyme of Monday’s Child, “Saturday’s child works hard for a living” So I reiterate to please support your local shops. We all will thank you.
  • Saturday is considered the party night: Saturday Night Live, Saturday Night Fever.
  • Years ago, Saturday was the time in the week to take a bath. Sure glad this practice has changed.

I love Saturdays. It is the time of the week I have the opportunity to meet my community. Everyone is out walking, shopping, running errands, etc.  The day is usually full of fellowship, laughs, catching up with neighbors about their lives and events.

Most people clean their homes on Saturday, attend their children or grandchildren’s ball games, or work in their yard and garden. Possibly all of the before mentioned activities. Regardless of what your routine is, it is a day to be busy, get things accomplished, so you can enjoy the evening and the remainder of the weekend.  Here is my Mango Smoothie Recipe to help jump start my Saturdays.

So back to that Saturday night bath; draw yourself a warm tub of water, add your favorite aromatic soaking salts, bath oils, bath fizzies, or any other of your favorite treats. Slip in and soak. Make a mental note of doing this every week to help manage stress during the holiday season. This is supposed to be a season of love, not stress.

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Here is a previous Blog about Saturday Night Baths

As always…

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~TheresaTheresa Wandering Thistle Studio 1459x1469

Weather Changes, Brings Skin Changes.

Hello everyone! How was your Friday? Super excited to have the weekend to enjoy. I hope you have something fun planned.

The weather here in Texas has begun to change, with it comes the dry, sometimes cracking skin.  I usually get it on my right thumb between the two joints. Since my hands are in water a lot, and yes, I wear protective gloves but it still happens from time to time.

I love using our Body Souffle, it is a little bit heavier than a lotion, but not as dense as a body butter. The sweet spot somewhere in between.  I formulated this product several years ago and actually look forward to the cooler months so I can  begin using it again. I know that sounds silly, but I usually don’t need a lotion after bathing. But this is  so creamy and luscious, with Shea & Cocoa butter, Avocado oil, and other yummies, that I find myself wishing for cooler weather.

IMG_1810

The difficult challenge is choosing which essential oil blend. You must be thinking, use them all, you make them; I could but our Souffles last a good bit, so I try to control  myself and switch between two.  Now, if we are talking soap, I have been known to have 12 different varieties in my shower. I like to test them out, and I many soapmaking friends and we trade bars or rather have an organized soap swap. It is always fun to see how others create soap and their decorative spin or finesse. And don’t get me started on packaging. Love everything about those tiny little, wrapped nuggets of goodness.

I am wondering, do you prefer to buy naked soap, raw and no package. Or do you like them to be a in a box, hand wrapped, or shrink wrapped?  There are pros & cons to each one and how the end package impacts the environment. I am very much interested in your opinion. Myself, I prefer them to be hand wrapped, even though it is time consuming, but they are so lovely that way.

Tomorrow is Saturday, be sure to get out there and enjoy life. You deserve it.

As always…

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~ TheresaTheresa Wandering Thistle Studio 1459x1469

We Believe In 2nd Chances

Hi everyone! Was your day beautiful?

Each day I think about you and ponder what to write that may be of interest or entertaining to you. You more than likely have posted a few “Throwback Thursday” pictures on social media. I always find them entertaining.

Keeping with the tradition, I scrolled back to my very first blog since opening the Studio.  Thinking it may be fun to revisit and add a bit more to keep it fresh.

May 2015 Blog Post: Securing a storefront not far from our home, because it is important to us to be an active part of our community, while establishing an environment that is peaceful and calm was high on the list.  A place to come visit, chat about life and share a few laughs. We want to be your local go to place for gifts, and your handcrafted bubbly body treats. A destination that is inviting, where you can embrace your own creativity via our classes and fun events. 

Settling in and adding special touches to the Studio has been exhausting, exciting, and exhausting. Oh, I said that already. 😉  We believe in second chances and want our fixtures to be unique, those that have been repurposed, reused, and reloved. Scouting for family loved furniture pieces, and the stories that go with them has become a passion. Seeking from estate sales, garage sales, and The Coat of Many Colors, our neighbor store that serves Mission Central for the homeless, has allowed us to create just that  a warm environment.

Wandering_Thistle_Studio_Cash_Wrap_2_3095x3097_large

For instance, our cash wrap/check-out counter is at least 100 years old. A well loved piece from an Italian family in Jersey. A wedding gift to the Bride from her Groom. Her son shared his memories with me, stating it was where his Mother kept her dough bowl and roller for making pasta for their family. Ha… maybe a little subliminal that I chose it for our checkout station. After refinishing the top, we added castors for ease of moving it as needed, otherwise the years of love and memories remain across the grain. I love knowing the history of a piece and enjoy honoring it in our studio. 

Every piece in the studio has a story, some more interesting than others, but loved just the same. 🙂 (I see I need to stain the kick front used to reinforce the castors.)

Since writing the above post, we have met so many wonderful people in our community. I posted a blog earlier in this 30 day challenge about this and feeling grateful for my community and the little things in life. And of course as an avid creative soul,  several other wonderful pieces have come to life. I will post a few before and after pictures.

This cute little castaway was on it's way to someone's curb. It reminds me of the huge taco critter on Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
This cute little castaway was on it’s way to someone’s curb. It reminds me of the huge taco critter on Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
A little paint and refinishing the top, was just what this little jewel needed.
A little paint and refinishing the top, was just what this little jewel needed.
Using some vintage graphics from the Graphics Fairy and some help from Alex.  My friend Celeste popped over and finished when Alex  needed a break.  So blessed!
Using some vintage graphics from the Graphics Fairy and some help from Alex. My friend Celeste popped over and finished when Alex needed a break. So blessed!
She is a lovely piece. All she needed was to be reloved.
She is a lovely piece. All she needed was to be reloved.

Do you enjoy reloving furniture pieces? I would love to hear about them.

As always…

Wander. Explore. Create. Enjoy. ~ Theresa