Hello From Portlandia

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Mar 21, 2013
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Hello everyone!

My name is Amy and I live in Portland, OR.
I've been reading and learning from the board for quite a few months. I finally got around to joining! I had been buying handmade soaps for about two years at Whole Foods --and then discovered that the Oregon based company thatmade the soap I loved sold the remnants ends for a fraction of the cost at alocal Co-op. I bought the end pieces for about a year and it was the only soap I would use.

THEN, I got the wild idea to research making it myself. This was back in October or early November. I read this forum and other soaper blogs and watched YouTube videos feverishly in every minute of my spare time! By mid-December Ihas started collecting everything I would need from a scale and utensils tooils and lye.

Fortunately, I discovered a Portland, OR based company that sells soapmaking supplies mostly over the internet, but has a nice little sales room and have been able to get my lye and soft and hard oils without having to incur shipping costs.

I started out with coconut oil, palm oil, macadamia butter, cocoa butter, Sheabutter and castor oil. I got my olive oil at Trader Joe's. My first batch was HP right after Christmas and it turned out awesome. I got brave enough to attempt CP and made my first batch on 12/29/12 AND I am addicted. I have gone NUTS with making soap. I absolutely LOVE it! It truly is addicting!!!

I went through my 2 gallon size bottles of coconut and palm oil in weeks and moved on to buying it in the 50 lb. box for my palm oil and a five gallon bucked for my coconut oil. Fortunately they have sustainable palm! I am more than half way through those now.

I started experimenting with all sorts of natural things for colorants. So far I have been able to find things local, like pink clay and French green clay at a local homestead store, here in Portland. I also got kaolin clay from the local soap supplier. I really love using the clays. I wanted to try milk and decided to use buttermilk powder and it is fantastic. I use Bob’s Red Mill buttermilk powder and mix the powder with some of my olive oil and add it at light trace. I got that idea from someone here.

There is a local herb shop, too, where I've got organic dried peppermint, tomato powder, lemon grass leaves, annatto seeds and lots more. I’ve ground coffee beans and also bought bulk things like ground wheat, corn meal, poppyseeds and brown mustard seeds for exfoliates. One day I ground up some Mrs. Dash sundried tomato and basil seasoning, added fresh ground coffee and sweet basil essential oil. It's a fantastic garden soap :)

I have had so much fun experimenting with all sorts of additives. I made an outlandish number of soap batches. It truly is addicting. I have tried all kinds of combination of oils and I’ve just about got my basic recipe perfected. At first I was adding all sorts of oils. But now, I’ve narrowed it down.

As my batches reach 4 weeks, I add a bar of it to the shower supply. It’s crazy howmany bars I have in the shower. Now I rotate them in and out of the shower. I use at least three different kinds of bars when I shower. I’ll soap up with one and then rinse of and then another… I just bask in the different scents and enjoy how different bars lather and feel… some bubbly, some more creamy. I’ve absolutely gone nuts over CP handmade soap. Once you’ve used it, you’ll never use store bought again! And once you've made it, you'll be hooked on your own soap!

I can’t begin to tell all of you how ABSOLUTELY helpful this forum has been.I have been on here every day for several months ---reading everything I could andsoaking it all in like a sponge…. Learning and enjoying trying things I’ve learned here!

My goal is to eventually start my own soap business. I’m going to call itPortlandia Soaps.

I’ll post some pictures soon of my soaps. So far, I’ve been giving them awayto friends and family. But I am excited to eventually sell my soaps at a coupleof the Farmer’s markets in the area that also have non-food items.

I owe you guys a great big thanks for teaching me so much. I thought it wasabout time I introduced myself. Wanna hear something funny!??!! I am always onmy phone or on the computer reading about soap and looking at soap pics. Well,my significant other teases me and says, “Are you looking at soap porn again,sweetie?” I was telling him just the other day that you guys call soap pics,soap porn. LMAO!!!

We have a spare bedroom where I cure my soap. I am in there all the time,turning bars, checking on how batches are curing, checking scents, trimmingedges on bars… blah, blah, blah…. AND he teases me and hollers down the hallwayfrom our bedroom, and says, “Sweetheart, are you in their fondling your soapagain!” I just love the smell and feel of my handmade soaps. I can’t keep myhands off of it. And if I can’t make a batch every day or at least every otherday, I feel frustrated and can’t wait to experiment again…. LOL

Amy From Portlandia & Creator of Portlandia Soaps
AND Soapmaking addict... ya, I'm addicted!
Welcome to the forum. I would wait until I had a year or two of soapmaking under my belt before selling.
Welcome to the forum and the wonderful addiction of soap making!
I hear ya, Isg. I'm just going to keep working on my soap making skills and creations with small batches and experimenting as well as getting my ducks in a row to sell my soap. I'm not in any big hurry and want to go out there prepared!

Thanks Isg, Ruby61, Badger and hlee for the welcome messages :)

Ruby61, I can't help but wonder if 61 stands for a year?!?? and if so, uhhh humm --it WAS a very Good year! wink * wink!!!

I spend a lot of time here, on SMF, learing new things to try everyday! It has become my creative outlet.
Welcome Amy! I can tell youre addicted, no one ever posts such an I depth intro post. So glad you did, you have a wonderful story. Don't forget to share your soap porn with us too!
Thanks, Melissa!

I might need to start searching for a 12 step group for my soap addiction! lol

I love your blog! it's awesome. I've enjoyed reading through a handful of the articles. That chocolate soap looks sooooo good!

Thanks, Melissa!

I might need to start searching for a 12 step group for my soap addiction! lol

I love your blog! it's awesome. I've enjoyed reading through a handful of the articles. That chocolate soap looks sooooo good!


Aw thanks Amy! I'm just glad someone reads my blog. It's fun to write down my experiences and who knows, maybe I can help other newbs like me learn something! :D