Monday, June 2, 2014

Caribou Coffee Gardening Soap - step-by-step photos

I was in our local Caribou Coffee, buying a much needed Mint Condition,
when I spotted this near the checkout.
Ahh....what perfect inspiration for a new batch of herbal soap!
I'd like to create something special to use on my hands, and perhaps all over, after spending an afternoon working out in the garden.  I'm one of those people who start off wearing garden gloves, but always end up slipping them off for one reason or another. I need a scrubby bar of soap, and coffee grounds I know, will be perfect.  Look closely, I love that the label says, "Even your garden needs coffee after a long slumber. These free used coffee grounds will wake your plants up with essential elements they need!"

So my daughter and I left Caribou not only with our coffees, but with a special package of gardening coffee grounds to sprinkle in the garden and more importantly, stir into a batch of soap.

Here's a look at the finished bars of Caribou Coffee Gardening Soap. Most of the flowers in my garden are pink, so this is a perfect color combination for me. And the scent is amazing. It's a blend I created using berry vanilla and adding a bit of strawberry to bring out and enhance the berry notes more.
Following are all the how-tos and step-by-step photos.

I couldn't wait to get home and get started. First, I measured out Cocoa Butter.

Next up was weighing the Coconut Oil. Coconut is my favorite oil. I use it in each and every batch of soap we make because of the fantastic bubbles it helps to create.

 I weighed out a small slice of coffee butter. What's coffe butter you say?  It's a blend of coconut oil and coffee seed oil (coffea arabica seed oil) and smells just like a cup of coffee.

And some pure unrefined Shea Butter.  I love Shea Butter on my skin!
I added some Olive Oil to the mix and then melted all the oils together.

Then I set aside the melted oils to cool, while I prepared the water and lye mixture.

 It's important to measure the water.  It's more exact.

After measuring the lye flakes out on the scale, I carry them outside and add them into the weighed water.  I like to do this outdoors, even during our freezing cold Minnesota winter months.  That way, all of the fumes created when the lye dissolves into the water are not inside my house, but outside.

After the lye water had cooled some outside, I bring it in and add it to the melted oils.

This is what the soap batch looks like as I'm stirring.

Sorting through and getting the coffee grounds ready - looking for any stray beans.

Adding the finely ground Caribou Coffee beans.

Stirring the Caribou grounds and some berry vanilla scent into the soap.

Getting the mold ready by lining it with freezer paper.  This makes the soap easier to unmold.

Pouring the first layer of coffee soap into the mold.

Getting the second layer ready!  I colored it with a touch of bright berry and scented it with strawberry and berry vanilla - yum!  This smells delicious.
Adding the second part to the mold and then swirling it with a spatula.

Perfect!  It's all ready to cover and set aside for 24 hours.

I unmolded the soap after 24 hours. It looks good, smells wonderful and is ready to cut into logs.

Soap logs ready to cut into bars. I like the swirls already but know they will look even better when they are cut into bars.

Happy Gardening!
Christine Kennedy

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring in Minnesota

The winter will pass, and surely Spring WILL come to central Minnesota.

There is some melting happening in the garden already.

And, the swans are back and enjoying some open water.

As this winter slowly leaves us, I eagerly wait for the arrival of Spring.  A few nights ago I fell asleep to the sound of thunder, but awoke to four new inches of snowfall.  I don't recall a winter that has tried our patience more.  So many days in a row of frigid temperatures with lots of snow & ice that created treacherous driving conditions has all made for a very l-o-n-g winter. I'm looking forward to Spring and working with fresh herbal scents helps to bring it all that much closer. 

Just cut bars of Lilac Explosion Soaps, they will need to cure and wait for Spring too.
If you visited on this soapmaking day, you might think that I had carried armfulls of lilac branches into our home. This specialty bar, Lilac Explosion is a limited edition and offered just in the spring and early summer until it's sold out.

Here I'm holding a log of our Irish Heather Herbal Soap.  I'm cutting the newly made soap into logs and then into bars.  Irish Heather is one of my all-time favorites and we offer this soap year round.  The scent is such a beautiful fresh green and reminds me of what walking into a florist shop smells like.

"The slow dark months crept onward
Upon their icy way,
'Till April broke in showers
And Spring smiled forth in May."

I have always loved the saying "April showers bring May flowers", perhaps because April is my birth month.  But also because the natural cycle of renewal in nature is a sweet reminder that even unpleasant things, like heavy snow and April rain, all help bring about very beautiful things - an abundance of fragrant flowers in May.

May's birth flower is the Lily of the Valley which means, in the language of flowers, humility, sweetness and hope.  .

"April showers bring May flowers" is also a lesson in patience.  Many of life's greatest things come to those who wait, and by patiently and happily enduring the snow and clouds of April we can more richly enjoy the sights and smells of May.  After this past winter, I am eager to embrace the thunderstorms of April, and patiently await the unfolding blooms of May!

Happy Spring!
Christine Kennedy

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Soapy Holidays and a Soapy Deal!

Holiday Shopping with All Things Herbal

Through Monday Only:  
Get FREE SHIPPING with every order of $30 or more!

It's the time of year for All Things Herbal's annual Cyber Monday Sale.  This year we are offering Free Shipping on orders of $30 or more when you enter a secret code at checkout.  Also, receive a bonus gift when you include a special phrase in the comments section.  These rare codes begin NOW and are good through Cyber Monday, December 2, at midnight.  To be sent the email, including the code and special phrase,
sign up for our newletter at this link:

Check out our ribbon wrapped soaps HERE, dressed up in a variety of ribbons, perfect for holiday gifting or as a treat for yourself! 

Everyone loves to open a present.  And, when I uncover my soap molds and cut the batch into bars, just seeing that sea of wavy soap tops is for me like opening a present!

A holiday classic - a Cinnamon Oatmeal bar.  Swirls of cinnamon and oatmeal with our blend of cinnamon, apples, and berries...makes this soap almost good enough to eat. 

The perfect little gift of cheer.  Mint-a-sota, layers of green & white with a generous sprinkling of peppermint leaves and scented with our minty blend of spearmint and peppermint.

And,we can't forget Cherry Almond Oatmeal, a holiday blend of black cherries and toasted almonds.

Enjoy this beautiful season.  Merry Christmas!
Christine Kennedy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soaps for October

Now that we are smack dab in the middle of Fall, it's about time I shared some pictures of soaps & scents appropriate for the season.  Autumn Splash is a new soap this year in deep orange with dark vanilla chunks.

A fall assortment of herbal soaps.
This one is a cutom order in a variety of our bars - cut in half & labeled for Autumn.

So there you have it!  Some great colors and scents for Fall.

Christine Kennedy

Friday, September 27, 2013

African Hope Soap

It's always fun to share a passion with your family!  My youngest daughter, Colleen, has always enjoyed helping me with our family business, whether that's wrapping soap, making labels, bouncing ideas off of each other or helping out at craft shows.  She's also notorious for taking many, perhaps too many pictures with her camera. Just for this post I had almost a hundred pictures to choose from!

In December, Colleen will be graduating from college.  Even more exciting, for her, she will also be leaving for a 3 week trip with six students from SquareOne to Kenya and Uganda.  SquareOne is a student run nonprofit group seeking to empower local economic development by creating lasting business ventures in rural communities in the developing world.  As a fundraising adventure, Colleen and I created a soap specifically for raising funds to help the communities in Kenya and Uganda. 

Colleen in our soap workshop holding a few logs of our African Hope Soap.

Here are a few of the soaps, just cut into bars.  Dubbed "African Hope Soap", the square bars feature a very warm fragrance that we created and blended together. It's a spicy-sweet, musky blend with hints of deep sandalwood, cinnamon and orange and soft notes of vanilla, patchouli and lemongrass.

When we were talking about colors for this new soap, we decided to add in some chunks of vanilla bars that I had made earlier.  We love the deep brown colors.
The vanilla in the soap turns darker brown the more it is exposed to air.

This is a shot of the soap still in the mold.  You can see the brown and orange chunks peeking out from the soft, pale green soap.  A few swirls with our spatula and we left the soap to rest overnight.

Colleen, cutting the soap into logs.

Eight logs ready to cut into bars!

Designing the labels, printing and cutting them out with a paper cutter.

Colleen and her group will be selling these soaps this weekend at the Saint John's and Saint Ben's Homecoming Football Game in Collegeville, Minnesota.  Stop by and see the SquareOne booth if you are in the area.

  The finished soaps!
You may also support their trip by purchasing a bar from our site:  We've donated all the bars of soap to SquareOne, so 100% of the proceeds goes directly to support their trip.  To learn more about Square One, follow them and cheer them on at: Thanks for your support!

Christine Kennedy