I forgot to blog yesterday and I was going to leave it until next week, but then I would be letting myself down by being inconsistent. So here’s an easy post. A bunch of food. I’ve been cooking up a storm, trying new things, trying to be healthy. I’m also keeping to a once a week shopping schedule that helps me budget my food dollar more effectively. I’m not COVID rich anymore so I have to be careful.
I’ve been trying to lose weight (and succeeding! I’m ten pounds lighter now and still working on it) so salads are big go to. They’re also a good midnight snack if have some pre-chopped veggies and salad in the fridge. If I fall off and eat something crazy, I run back to salad.
I basically go to the grocery store looking for adventure. Today I’m marinating lamb chops, last week I was cooking artichokes. I saw lemongrass at the store so I made a Thai influenced chicken stew. I finally perfected my chicken liver technique. I make amazing fried rice, and I found out that gnocchi tossed with asparagus and Parmesan is delicious. Burnt the corn? Toss it with more corn and serve it anyway. You’d be surprised.
Last week I made two loaves of bread from an old cookbook. Then I made farmers cheese because I was scared of the milk going sour. I’m wild now. I might do anything. Pickles and sausage are no longer off limits.
I went out to eat once I started back working. Not all the time, I just need a treat now and then. I dropped by Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken for a hot honey tender sandwich and Milk for cereal milk soft serve. I had to have a grilled chicken bowl from Dig Inn, stir fry from Sakura and I couldn’t miss out on the spicy chicken nugs from McD’s. I didn’t know they were a limited item and got stuck with regular nugs when I went to re-up. I got them anyway, tossed them in chili garlic sauce and seasoning and had them for dinner. I can’t be stopped.
I was despondently scrolling though instagram on Tuesday morning with no energy and I saw an ad for a sample sale. It was about 8:30 or something and aside from working on my side hustle, I had nothing to do. I had credit cards and cash in the bank and nothing to do and there was a sample sale… it took a minute but the light finally went on and I was out.
Well, two hours later after a shower, some basic eye makeup, a natural hair untwist and fluff, an underwear search, a bra search, a leggings or nothing debate, an outfit switch, a sock search, a shoe debate it was time to leave. Typing this I feel like I should have worn my denim jacket, but this is all in the past. But it would have been more downtown, Soho, punk chic cool. Next time.
I got to the city from Brooklyn at about 10:45 and managed to walk in the complete wrong direction. I always get turned around in this neighborhood. After stopping to google map myself, then realizing that I came out of the train station pointed in the right direction, I stomped off to Wooster Street. Got to Wooster Street and started walking down the line of fashion mobbers waiting for bargains. Kept walking past West Broadway. Two and a half blocks later I fetched up on the end of the line and stopped. I didn’t even think about going home. This was the most exciting thing I’d done since quarantine.
As with anything fashion related, The thing you think is cool will make you look kind of stupid to passers by. People kept asking what the line was for. Someone made the mistake of asking me. I said the line was for food stamps.
So time passes and I’m still outside on the line. But! I have a ticket, which roots me in place like a paper anchor. I have a claim now, a real stake in line real estate. I cannot be dislodged. With my newfound air of privilege I ask the woman behind me to hold my spot while I grab a tasty beverage. I didn’t even wait to get a drink made, just grabbed chips and a bottled tea and went back to my spot.
So it’s been three and a half hours, but now I’m look ahead and I can see Wooster Street, a big improvement. They were only letting in groups of twenty five, and the line handler said that we would be in the next group. People were dropping out, and it made me naively believe that it was only another half an hour.
I felt a tiny frisson of excitement at this point because I could count how many people were ahead of me and I was definitely in the next group of twenty five. I didn’t fantasize about what I would buy, I was just excited about being outside for so long.
So now I’m so close that I got a wristband. This is where things got dicey because while I was quietly happy and ready to move on signal, the people ahead of me were mad and wanted to fight. The entitlement kicked in and there were questions about how long people really got to shop. Why were we still out here? What? Why? How come? And then It was 5:15 or so and they waved me forward and I forgot about taking pics because I had half an hour to hunt for treasure.
So after five and a half hours my line cohort moved forward into the promised land. A bare bones store front with racks of extra small clothing, tables of luxe handbags and shoes and bins of purses and smaller accessories. Plus a jewelry counter. I had already made a mental budget, and once I saw that the clothes were a no go ( I can’t do anything with extra small, plus the clothing was already picked over), I went straight to handbags, then hopped to shoes, then dug around for purses and phone cases and hit up the jewelry counter. Rung up and checked out and back on the streets in twenty minutes.
There were some nasty cats hanging around the door, mad because they couldn’t get in and making comments and trying to peep in people’s bags as they passed by, so I beat my feet to the train station in case they were the type to snatch and grab. I’m not usually carrying large shopping bags of designer merchandise so I was nervous all the way home. I was not trying to lose my $550 investment. I got a decent amount of stuff and I kept a phone case and super cute purse for myself, and the rest goes into my side hustle inventory. Now I feel brave enough to hit the thrift stores again.
During quarantine, when everyone was getting murdered, I was in my apartment trying to think of a way to earn money since my job is retail based and it looked like stores would never open again. I don’t sew, so masks weren’t an option. I already have a reselling side hustle selling new, used, vintage and upcycled fashion items (links on this page so you can buy stuff), but I wanted something more basic. Something that would be deemed essential. After brainstorming and searching social media, I decided on soap. I felt like that gave me a lot of room to be creative and its something that makes people’s lives better. Washing your hands is imperative, but a nice fragrant and moisturizing soap makes it a self care event, too.
I have wanted to make soap for years, and I took a soap making class to learn how to do cold process soap a few years ago. Cold process takes weeks to cure (I never even got my soap back from that class, tbh) and I wanted to get in there and start producing right away. Thanks to the massive unemployment check I was getting every week, I could invest in different melt and pour soap bases, fragrance oils, molds, dried flowers, coffee, sea salt from Malta, essential oil, packaging, etc. I bought a big sketch pad to keep track of my recipes and methods. I fucking love making soap. My bathroom is full of soap.
And … it’s been selling! Since July, in addition to tucking soap samples into every package, people were actually purchasing my soap samples and bars. That has been such a major blessing. I haven’t made back all the money I spent, but it was a healthy number for $4 samples and $8 or $10 bars. My job came back a little and I still have to rely on unemployment, but making money from this gave me some hopeful feelings.
So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of blogging the last few weeks. Just trying to get a handle on life in late 2020 and trying to be loose in anticipation of 2021. I’ve been tie dying, reworking items with sashiko mending, and working on relying more on my creative skills as a way of life. You can’t rely on anyone else to give you a vision for yourself or to care about giving you anything. It’s imperative to try and carve out some space in the world were you can do something that fulfills you, regardless of race or gender or religion or political affiliation because at the end of the day, it’s your life. Like voting. People say Trump, people say Biden- but after all the twitter fights and ig comments, it comes down to who or what satisfies your ideology and beliefs. Make soap, draw pictures, sing songs, and don’t get caught up in other people’s agendas.
Feel free to buy some soap. Buy a bunch, I need the money. Plus, you’ll probably get free candy or something.
I was super happy yesterday because some supplies came in for a project I’m working on and then I talked to my little bro and my mom and THEN I made a big sale of my handmade soap and soap samples. I was busting. Then I was checking my twitter to see was arguing and what new Trump outrage people were overreacting to and instead I got the shit knocked out of me. It was like a beat down.
The death was bad, but finding out that this man was suffering from cancer for four years. Filming arduous action scenes, acting his ass off, doing press rounds. Appearance after appearance, interview after interview, photo shoots, traveling all over the world for premieres and the whole time he had cancer. That is heroic. The amount of time and energy that it takes to prepare for and make movies, do deals, make travel arrangements is intense and he did it all while he had cancer.
Some people are already demanding that fact not be romanticized…but fuck that. I have days where I don’t feel like doing anything because I’m a little inconvenienced or annoyed. But I’ve never worked under the shadow of impending death. It takes a great deal of mental strength and right now, while watching Get On Up, I see the strength and dedication to craft. Chadwick Bozeman was an amazing actor. He set a high standard for himself and met it, then surpassed it. He played men like himself, who let nothing stop them. Black icons and role models. He gave us the thrilling and soulful Black panther performance that enthralled audiences everywhere and let little black kids see themselves as the hero.
I had a whole other blog post in mind, and I normally don’t care about celebrities, but I was teaching an afterschool class when Black Panther came out and I saw for myself how excited the kids were after seeing the movie. They needed that representation. They needed and wanted and loved Chadwick Bozeman as T’Challah. I needed to see this film. I needed to see black men and women being more than just victims or criminals. It was important enough for me that I paid full price to see it three different times, and one of those times was a pricey IMAX showing.
I’m sorry he died so young. I’m sorry he died during this horrific year. I feel like he deserved a blog post.
New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.
Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.
It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.
Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.
Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.
Enter the pandemic!
When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.
Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.
I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.
But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.
Creative Sunday interview:
SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?
Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂
SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?
Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.
SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?
Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon.
SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?
Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!
You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.
I started following Jerelyn Tavarez of DresslikeJ on instagram after participating in a #consistencychallenge led by lifestyle inluencer The Mattie James during quarantine. I got to witness her work at stayI got creative when we were all stuck inside and slowly I started looking forward to her fashion styling magic. It’s not just about looking at some random person wearing clothes? It’s that she messes with her stuff so that it completely expresses her personality. At this point, I cringe at them word fashion (honestly) so it takes a lot for me to like personal style bloggers. But how can you dislike someone who will turn her clothing inside out, upside down and backward?
You can’t. It’s impossible. She makes dressing up look like fun, plus she will have you running to your closet to play with your own stuff which can either lead to a lot of compliments or just a fun evening drinking wine and dressing up. What I like about DresslikeJ is that she leaves her followers room to be delighted, both with her ingenuity and their own possibilities. Who doesn’t need that? So I sent Jerelyn a few items from my online shops to work her magic on.
Jerelyn chose a Farm patterned kimono top dress that slimmed down to a pencil skirt, bold statement earrings and an upcycled denim jacket that I designed. I can’t lie, I was really excited to see how she would work with these pieces. She did not let me down.
Perfection! Jerelyn gives off a casual but glam summer vibe, and I love how she puts a red and blue dress with a bright yellow shoe and gold bag. It’s a subtle nod to the gold flecks in the earrings, and brings a shot of surprise to the outfit that makes it a head turner.
True to her style, she turned the dress around and it’s stunningly sexy. The tie across the front is reminiscent of a harness bra or a lariat necklace. It’s sensational. Jerelyn told me “I loved the dress as is! Wanted to add a pop of yellow to feel a little vibrant. Then I thought of wearing it backwards. Instead of hiding the strings figured I would create a cute little detail in the front. Voila, a different outfit!”
Here’s how Jerelyn styled my upcycled piece: “The jacket was the main focus so I didn’t want to take away from it. Decided to do something different and align the jacket a bit uneven. Paired it with a pair of blue track pants and wore my strappy sandals. Decided to wrap the straps around the pants for a more stylish look!”
Of course I had to get Jerelyn to give a little interview for the blog.
The DresslikeJ interview:
SEBMarketBK: What got you into fashion blogging?
DresslikeJ: I would always get compliments on my style. People would ask me, “where did you get that?” I would tell them it’s just a top I wore backwards or a dress I wore as a skirt and they would be shocked. Social media started becoming such a huge source for information so my friends started pushing me to start expressing my love for clothes and style on IG. In November, I started with Fashion Tip Fridays then during quarantine, I was able to dedicate more time and work on new ideas. I also have to thank Sidewalker Daily. I was taking a group coaching class and they played such a huge role in me creating the newsletter.
SEBMarketBK: You have such a fun, sexy style! Where does your inspiration come from?
DresslikeJ: Thank you! My inspiration comes from everywhere. I get ideas from anything and I also like to switch up the way we might normally wear a specific item. I love both Solange & Tracy Ellis Ross’s style. & I love combining different patterns and prints. Accessorizing is key to me.
SEBMarketBK: If you had to pack a bag for a mystery trip leaving in an hour, what would you grab?
DresslikeJ: Giiirrrlll!!! I’m going to assume this is a summer trip and it’s for the weekend haha! So I would grab two swimsuits, sunglasses, 2-3 head wraps, a maxi dress, a bikini top to pair with some dressy pants, Nike sandals, two pairs of biker shorts, two tees, one sexy fitted dress, a pair of dramatic earrings. Oh and a pair of cute flats that go with everything plus a pair of sexy heels! Oh and can’t forget my liquid highlighter!!! Need to have that glow where ever I am!
SEBMarketBK: Have you picked up any new styling skills from quarantine? I’ve been able to be more creative with my own fits and recycle pieces I never thought I’d wear again. I’ve also been trying to learn how to use safety pins correctly! Sounds crazy but I would always have my friends do it for me.
SEBMarketBK: Where do you see DresslikeJ in five years? What do you want for yourself and your brand?
DresslikeJ: Wow! I am hoping to have my own fashion consulting business and an online boutique where people can buy my pieces!
When quarantine hit in March, I had to recognize that everything that I was procrastinating about was related to transportation. I had put off renewing my passport, learning to swim, learning to drive and buying a bike. The cold reality of my situation as that I could not outrun a zombie with my little fat self and I had no wheels to ride on and if someone said swim to the vaccine I was gonna be assed out.
That’s some harsh shit to realize.
I sent off a passport application (finally) but the DMV is closed so I can’t get the permit to drive yet. The place where I want to take swimming lessons is closed until September. So… I bought a bike. It took two months to arrive, but I bought a bike.
I got ripped off on the first bike I chose, then I found this beauty. The Adventurer 6 speed folding bike, $169.99 on the Camping World website. I thought that a folding bike would be better for someone living in a studio apartment, but I found out that that bike was heavy for me to carry folded, so it’s been set up like this since I got it. I did some group bike lessons with Bike New York, but I didn’t take the street riding class because the lady who ran it was nasty. Yes, I will avoid using a free service if I’m treated badly. Surprise. So technically I could ride, but I was very nervous about going out in the street on my own. It took some googling but I finally found someone who would trade money for bike riding lessons.
I stalked their website until they finally posted lessons were available and I pounced. By the power of my enhanced unemployment check I paid $150 to have another human being coach me on how to ride in the street. One misty early summer morning I met my teacher in Prospect Park and for an hour and a half I got tutored on how to feel like I wasn’t going to die the minute I wheeled my bike into the street. I’m not being sarcastic or dramatic. This was the only thing keeping me from riding the bike I had sitting in my apartment, and it was worth every penny to have someone professional to ride with that first time.
I don’t ride every day (yet), but I can go riding with confidence now. My arms are starting to relax and when I go I stay out longer. I went from doing one loop around my block to turning up and down unfamiliar territory, albeit within six blocks of my building. I fell down one morning and got back on the bike. I have to stop and rest because this quarantine weight is kicking my ass. But I love the joy of coasting down the road on two wheels, with the breeze on my face. I love having the choice of walking or riding. It’s a process, but I have wheels and I can finally be out there using them.
PS, don’t forget to wear you’re helmet. This is the free one that I got at a street fair from the D.O.T. a few years ago. If you need a helmet look here.
Hope you guys are getting through quarantine, phased openings and re-lockdowns ok. It’s a wild situation, so do your best.
I don’t usually feature other photographers, but I have a soft spot for perfection and I had to do a post about an amazing woman who makes art out of old clothes, bedsheets and her gorgeous daughters Jayla, Jada and Ella. I’m usually super jealous… but her work is so good that I had to get over myself.
I started following Alissa Bertrand’s page during quarantine and it kept me engaged with the old. I started waiting for Alissa’s posts. They’re like a portal to a fairy tale world where all the princesses are black with beautiful natural hair. Her work reminds me of old Ralph Lauren ads, or Sally Mann’s revealing body of work that starred her pre-pubescent children. Every image is stunning. The lighting is soft, the girls are self aware and graceful, and the clothing is everything a girl or woman wants in her wardrobe.
I studied photography at Parsons and Columbia College Chicago, and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a cohesive body of work or such consistent excellence. Enter the fact that she is doing all of the styling with clothing that she designed, and all of the hairstyling and grooming for the girls and you have a one woman fashion army. If she decided to sell prints, I’d buy them. And I wouldn’t mind a grownup version of this stunning white cotton dress with eyelet lace, either.
I got Alissa to answer a few questions about her images and her plans for the future.
The Jabella Fleur interview:
SEBMARKETBK: What inspired the photographs that you take of your daughters? Was there an artist or designer or magazine that informed your distinctive photography style?
Alissa Bertrand: What inspires the photographs I take of my girls is just simply trying to capture them and the clothing I make for them! It’s also a way for them to have some really amazing pictures of themselves as children, to look back upon and remeber all the times we spent together along with all the fun adventurous stories too. I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style.
SEBMARKETBK: Did you study photography or take any lessons?
Alissa Bertrand: I’ve never studied photography! I wish I had some more knowledge in photography. I simply know the basics of what I like and what I want to capture along with the feeling.
SEBMARKETBK: When did you start designing clothing? Do you remember your first garment?
Alissa Bertrand: I started sewing from the 8th grade, and designing and repurposing about 10 years ago! The first garment was a maxi dress for the girls.
SEBMARKETBK: Do your daughters take pictures or create clothing like you?
Alissa Bertrand: My daughters don’t take pictures. They’re just my mini-muses. They do enjoy sewing and creating little things.
SEBMARKETBK: Where do you see your artwork taking you? Are you interested in being in galleries or museums?
Alissa Bertrand: I see my fashion and photography taking me to the next level in fashion. I’m currently working on a fashion collection for girls, hopefully coming out SS21! I hope my work will end up in magazines and introduce myself and designs to the world!
So as a way to thank Alissa for helping me hold onto sanity during the horrible weeks of quarantine and then the first weeks of the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, I’m doing this blog post. She reminded me that art has the power to heal, and that consistency is key in creating a successful art process. Her work reminds me to look towards my family for inspiration and savor the small pleasures and victories available to me.
Please follow Alissa and her girls on @jabellafleur (and tell others!) so that she’ll be a mega-success and I’ll get the coffee table book I keep begging her for. Any requests for collabs or publication should be directed to her on instagram.
As shelter in place mostly ended and I looked at a future of reduced work and spotty assignments (this week I sold masks and no contact keys and for the last few weeks it was packing up merchandise to return to a fashion vendor), I have to look at my side hustle and think of how to extend my brand. I have a list of things that I’ll be doing, but today we’re going to talk about soap. I like soap, I use soap quite often and spend a lot of time looking for soap to buy. So making soap was a no brained option…then I realized that I can’t just randomly make it, I need to practice and plan out an actual collection that makes sense.
I bought a variety of molds (amazon) and started experimenting. One idea was using a mold that looked like a faceted jewels, but when it hardened it didn’t look as cool as I’d hoped it would. It kind of reminded me of an eraser. The problem was that while I had driven myself crazy melting, mixing and pouring, I had failed to realize that swirling and color gradations are mostly done in loaf molds, so the effects wouldn’t be noticeable until you cut them. So the big purple lump actually had some fun things going on, just not on the outside. The next step was cutting up the lump (photo 2) and then I just reheated it and swirled it with a pink soap that I made for the occasion. This time, the effects are more noticeable.
I swirled for a good two hours. Starting with the purple and pink, moving to gold, peacock blue and white. This put me in a state of meditative joy that I haven’t achieved since art school. I love making soap. There’s the potential for artistic expression, the fun of experimenting and mixing colors, and the achieved goal of creating something useful. Soap is always useful. I don’t have an in-depth story about making soap, though. I just think people should reward themselves and one great thing to splurge on is some pretty, skin moisturizing soap.
Since I started creating my soap works, I’ve been dropping samples in when people make purchases from my online shops. I’m also going to start selling half bar samples since they are starting to pile up. I got the cutest little pillow boxes that the samples fit into perfectly. So I’m kind of excited about that. I’ll be selling samples on aliwazas, etsy, poshmark and depop, and there will be a buy button on the bottom of this page. Looking forward to spending the rest of the summer experimenting and creating a cohesive line of just plain pretty soaps.
Unique half bars of handmade soap. Various colors. May be a mix of honey, goat’s milk, glycerine and olive oil soaps and will be colored with micas. Can be used for bath or hand soap.
Coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerine (of vegetable origin), purified water, sodium hydroxide (saponification agent), sorbitolpropylene glycol(made from vegetable glycerine)sorbitol O’Leary (emulsifier), oat protein (conditioner). White soaps contain titanium dioxide.
Varieties of soap used:
Clear, olive oil, honey, white, oatmeal, goat’s milk, shea butter
*Price includes postage, within the US only.