Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Visit To A Friends Studio

 
My Aunt and Uncle were visiting from Alaska and we always try to finds some interesting fun little day trips to do while they are here.  They are originally both from New England and are very familiar with the shore, the coast, the water etc. so we often have a chance to find something new and different that may not necessarily be Maine or "Coastal" every time they are visiting.  I contacted my friends Terrill and Charlie of Tandem Glass and asked if they were blowing glass on Thursdays...yes!   They are Tandem Glass of Dresden Maine, a wonderful husband wife team creating all this beautiful art in their Salt Box barn.   They sell at the same farmers market as me on Saturdays in the Winter. 
 
We were soo lucky to get to see them work!  Here are some pictures from our trip.
(Please forgive me for not using the correct terms for the "metal blowing pipe" or the "hot molten glass" I was too excited to remember it all).
 
 
 
Here is Terrill picking up a glob of molten glass on the end of one of her metal blowing tubes....

 
Checking out how it is shaping up and using her tools to manipulate the hot glass....

 
Charlie is in charge of blowing this one.   It is Terrill's piece and he is the assistant here...

 
Here is Charlie putting a small piece of glass on the end of Terrill's piece so she can then knock it gently off the blowing rod...

 
They use this mold for texture and shaping some of the hot molten glass, isn't is cool!
 
 
Terrill is assisting Charlie with his piece....

 
See, they take turns.  What a great partnership! Charlie is shaping his piece and Terrill is waiting for instructions to blow in the pipe...
 
 
Look at all the cool glass rods of color!  They will make little pieces of glass art to attached to the pieces they are blowing....






 
Like this super cool bucket of finished little pieces!  Each one a little work of art!  They will take a "glob" of hot glass and roll it around in a dish of these and they will stick.  As they blow and shape the piece, these little colored glass bits will morph and change shape a bit and randomly create the most gorgeous pieced of art!
 
 
Some of the beautiful items they create....
 
 
Vases...
 
 
Drinking cups....

 
Pitchers....

 
More pitchers (can you picture some fresh made lemonade in one of these!?)

 
Totally Maine - a Lobster Claw ornament!

 
and a super cute blue Whale!
 
 
Thanks Terrill and Charlie!  It was great to learn about your craft, thanks for all the information and the explanations.  I was super impressed with all that you do and wish you the best with your business! 
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rainbow / Easter Marshmallow Treats!

AND another fun recipe!  I am going to make this up for my sweet niece and nephew (and maybe the adults too) as a fun take home treat after Easter dinner.   A super fun and colorful twist on rice cereal treats!  I have NEVER even tried Trix cereal before.  I had to tell the cahier why I was buying this brightly colored, sugary cereal as it rode down the conveyor belt to be rung up among my avocados, lettuce, almonds, soy milk, cabbage, chicken sausage and other mostly healthy food.  I wanted her to understand that I was only buying it for a "special recipe".  Why did I find the need to explain myself to her?  I don't know!  Self guilt, I guess.  I'm silly.




So I found this recipe over on Pinterest (find and follow me here:  http://www.pinterest.com/cascobaysoap/  )  and it just looked soo fun!  I bought all the ingredients and am resisting the urge to open the bag of sweet vanilla marshmallows, grab a handful and pop them into my mouth.  Because an open bag is an empty bag.   So why should rice ceral have all the fun?  Why not try ALL the fun cereals out there!


I'll be making them soon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Coconut Cake

Planning my Easter dinner and came across this beautiful (and I am sure delicious) Coconut Layered Pound cake with Passion Fruit Curd from Sweet Paul.  Coconut, Passion Fruit and Cake.  A triple winner in my book.  Mr. Casco Bay Soap  is not fond of coconut and would say that this "needs more chocolate"  (wink, wink) so I will be sure to find something chocolaty to make as well, but I know that I will enjoy this as well as my mom.   Plus, it's soo pretty! 
 
Photo and recipe found over at:
 



A sunny coconut cake that sings with passion fruit curd filling.

Cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups superfine sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons cream of coconut (Goya or CocoLopez brands are best)
1 cup coconut milk
1 eight-ounce jar of store bought passion fruit curd (if you can’t find passion fruit curd, lemon curd works beautifully)

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted (plus ½ cup for consistency)
3 tablespoons canned cream of coconut
½ teaspoon coconut extract
pinch of salt
2 cups flaked coconut

To make the frosting: 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined. 2. Scrape down sides. 3. Gradually add 2 ½ cups confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. 4. Stir in cream of coconut, extract, and salt. 5. Adjust consistency with remaining ½ cup confectioners sugar, if needed.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Soybean Oil

I wanted to take a moment to address the ingredients in my soaps.  One in particular had been getting a bit of press and some questions.  Soybean Oil.

I use Soybean Oil in my soaps as one of the "carrier oils".  This is one of the main oils.   It is a very neutral oil, offering no fragrance alteration to the end product of the soap, helps create a great creamy lather and hard bar of soap, and it inexpensive - therefor keeping your cost for a bar of soap low and does offer some moisturizing properties.   It neither offers many benefits or detriments.    I am aware of that.  That is why I add in Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.  You are gaining benefits from those oils.   I can not offer you a pure Olive Oil soap at the cost you would like.  I can not offer you a pure Coconut Oil soap for the same reasons (in addition it would be drying to the skin).  I offer you a blend of ALL VEGETABLE oils.   All vegetable to meet many of your vegetarian needs.   In addition, my soap is only approximately 25% Soybean Oil.

One potential customers said, "nope. no way, no Soybean Oil for me".  "It is bad because of  reported increase in Estrogen levels which lead to disrupting hormones and Breast Cancer".   Now.  I really believe that this customer was uninformed.  She had formed her opinion and she was sticking to it.  She was pretty direct with me and I didn't bother to try and change her mind.   In addition and as an aside, her husband said, "don't listen to her, she just bought Soy candles and she smokes a pack of cigarettes a day".  Sooooo, in conclusion, it seems that she was picking and choosing and blindly making decisions on very small bits of information that she was gathering/hearing somewhere (and in the course of doing that also ignoring how bad smoking is for her body).  I did ask her if she was familiar with the controversy behind Palm Oil right now (more on that later) and she said yes.  That she would avoid that too.  I do know that just about every other soap maker selling in the same venue I was exhibiting in used Palm Oil in their soaps OR was making a "melt and pour" variety.   I can just say, I believe that almost everything comes with some sort of controversy.  You can educate yourself and choose for yourself.

I purchase my Soybean oil from a local suppliers.  It is food safe and the same oil that is used in baking and cooking.  It is from the USA, crushed and made in the USA.  GREAT! We are supporting American farmers!

Here is the controversy.   That soybeans can cause in increase in the hormone Estrogen.  However, in my research here is what "They" are also saying:

"Soybean protein naturally contains compounds called isoflavones, predominantly genistein and daidzein. These compounds are not estrogens and do not directly add to estrogen levels in the blood. They can, however, affect estrogen metabolism. Soy protein and isoflavones may have minimal effects on blood estrogen levels in postmenopausal women and in men. In premenopausal women who have much higher natural estrogen levels, eating soy protein likely has no effect.  It is the estrogen-mimicking plant compounds found in soy that are responsible for soy's health benefits. But these same estrogenic compounds, known as isoflavones, can have a negative effect on female hormones when consumed in large amounts".   - Livestrong.com

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2012/08/02/the-bottom-line-on-soy-and-breast-cancer-risk.aspx -  Epidemiological studies, in which large populations of healthy women have reported details about their usual diet and were followed for many years, have either shown no association between soy and breast cancer, or a protective association, meaning that people who ate more soy had less breast cancer

In general, studies in Asian women have found a lower risk of breast cancer with eating more soy, whereas studies in the U.S. have tended to not find any association between how much soy a woman consumes and her risk of breast cancer.  Indeed, a recent study combined data from 14 epidemiologic studies on this topic and found that in Asian countries, women who ate the most (compared to the least) soy isoflavones had a 24% lower risk of developing breast cancer, while there was no association in Western countries such as the U.S.. 

Bottom line: Even though animal studies have shown mixed effects on breast cancer with soy supplements, studies in humans have not shown harm from eating soy foods. Moderate consumption of soy foods appears safe for both breast cancer survivors and the general population, and may even lower breast cancer risk. Avoid soy supplements until more research is done. So, enjoy your occasional tofu stir-fry or tofu burger - they are unlikely to increase your risk of breast cancer and, on balance, are some of the healthier foods you can eat"!

And more.  "Soy And Estrogen Myth - don't Believe The Hype:  http://www.findwholeness.com/blog/diet-and-nutrition/why-soy-isnt-as-bad-for-you-as-youve-heard/#sthash.HzZSByvR.dpbs

In conclusion, I don't see any information that supports this woman's claim.  The important thing I would like to remember here is that soap also washes off your skin and you are simply not ingesting it.  There is a lot of back and forth and you can find some sort of article here on the web that will tell you what you want to hear.   I think that this Soybean controversy regarding use in soap is unfounded and nothing to be concerned with at this time.  I am sorry that I was not able to explain this to the potential customer at the time.  She was decidedly, mind-made-up and not hearing a thing from anyone about it.  I just wanted to put this out there for you, in case you have "heard" anything. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Big Show!

Hi guys!  I know it's been a while.  I have been swamped!  From working on the preparation for the New England Giftware and Specialty Food Show, to filling orders after AND making more soaps, some package redesign and new product development, I simply ran out of time.
 
I had a great time at the New England Giftware and Specialty Food Show! As a new exhibitor (and a perfectionist or "detail oriented" person - so I am told) I was very nervous and tried to think of everything possible.   I spoke with 2 business woman that had done the show before to ask them what to expect, I had plenty of documents prepared and printed, I even bought new sensible but cute shoes!   In the end, I was perfectly prepared.     I met soo many new people!  Both vendors and buyers alike.  I made new friends, captured many new accounts and got many leads for future possibilities!  
 
Here are some pictures from the show.
 
Here is my booth set up.  2 bookcases on the sides featured my product line.  I brought 5 different products to the event.  Soap bars, Sea Shells & Sea Urchins, Laundry Detergent, Dryer Sachets and the NEW Casco Bay Collection.  I also had space at the very bottom for extra storage, so added some cloth bins and kept extra "office" type stuff in there, my lint roller ( I was wearing all black after all) and other little things.  Mr. Casco Bay made me the back wall.  It is free standing so we didn't have to fuss with hanging or attaching anything to the pipe and drape set up (which came with the booth price, so it was all set up for us). We added some lights and some snazzy posters.   The table in front of it held each product so buyers could pick it up and touch/smell it and each product had a Line Sheet full of purchasing information on the table in front of it.  The booth was 8' deep by 10' wide.  It was perfect in size.  I could have several buyers in there at once.  Some looking at the book cases and others talking with me at the table.  It worked out great.  And as an aside, believe me,  I steamed that white tablecloth.  I considered bringing my steamer BACK to steam it again, but didn't.  It bothered me all weekend.  I guess I am a perfectionist after all.  Oh well!

 
I even brought a printer, see it in the back corner?

 
A closer look at my table.

 
Here is the NEW Casco Bay Collection displayed.
 

 
Yours truly, day 2!
 
 
This fuzzy guy stopped to see me one day.  A service dog, he was soo sweet and loved lounging right in my booth.  He stopped a lot of folks.  They all wanted to pet him.  His name was Bear.
 
 
Best New Product?  The show offers a table at the entrance to the event that is full of products entered into it Best New Product contest.  The Maine Made program has a similar table full of their members great products.  Lots of great new product!   This did lead several buyers to my booth to check out the Sea Urchin Soaps in person (and orders too)!  I didn't win, but my friends at Casco Bay Butter did!  They placed 2nd in the food category!  Great job!!

 
And our 3rd and last day fell on St. Patrick's Day.  Giraffe Events was soo great and helpful during the entire event, they really put on a great show for vendors and buyers alike.  Every day they came by with free water for vendors and had a Newspaper style newsletter featuring the days events and/or news AND soo much more!   On St. Patrick's' Day, when we got there, we had this cute little cupcake and a poem welcoming us. Great job Giraffe Events!
 

Special thanks goes out to:
 
Mr. Casco Bay - he did a great job building all that I wanted and dropping me off and picking me up each day.  He even came early at the end of each day dressed in nice pants and a shirt to watch the booth while I visited the ladies room.
 
Alison of Festive Fish and my friend Pat for all their advice as I prepared for the show.
 
My friend Angela who was wonderful moral support behind the scenes and every single day checked in with me and kept telling me how great I was! 
 
My friend Deede who came and watched my booth for a bit so I could eat lunch.
 
My fellow show vendors Christine of Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants and the gals at Casco Bay Butter who offered support during the show.

Onward and upwards for Casco Bay Soap Co.!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Casco Bay Soap Co. Video!

A Quick Peek Inside The Soap Studio - A Video!
 
Click The Link Below....

Working In The Studio

Some behind the scenes pictures while I mixed and poured soapy Sea Urchins in the studio the other day. 
A glimpse inside my workspace.
 







 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Clean The World!

So very happy to be sending off some of my soapy extras to this great foundation!



About Clean The World

"Every 10 seconds, a child dies from a disease that could have been prevented with proper hygiene. The bar soap your group will be collecting, will be used to save lives. Depending on the demand at the time we receive your soap, it will be used in the hygiene kits we make and distribute to domestic homeless shelters here in the US or sent to one of the 70 countries we distribute to that greatly need bar soap".

Here are some photos from their website!



 

What is Clean the World?

Clean the World Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization committed to reducing the waste created by discarded soap and shampoo products and preventing the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses around the world.  Clean the World was founded in February 2009 by Shawn Seipler and Paul Till and is based in Orlando, FL.

How does Clean the World accomplish its mission?

Clean the World accomplishes its mission by collecting, recycling, and distributing discarded soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions and gels from participating hospitality partners. Clean the World recycles guest room hygiene items at its Recycling Operations Center (ROC) and distributes them for humanitarian purposes with partnering nonprofit organizations. The items are distributed domestically and to children and families in communities around the globe.

How does soap save lives?

Hand washing with soap significantly reduces the impact of two fatal diseases: acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease. These are the top two killers of children less than 5-years-old, and represent an opportunity for recycled soap to become the primary ingredient in Clean the World’s global hygiene revolution.

How much waste has Clean the World
prevented from going to the landfill?

Since inception, Clean the World has eliminated more than 1.4 million lbs. (700 tons) of hotel waste from polluting local landfills.

Find them here:  http://www.cleantheworld.org/
And here on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CleanTheWorld

Happy to help and send them my soap scraps and imperfect and/or misshapen bars!  I hope to continue to send them soaps on a monthly basis. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Casco Bay Collection



I have something new!


I am very happy to announce that I have a new line of soap packaging....The Casco Bay Collection!

The Casco Bay Collection includes 8 of my top selling, Maine themed fragrances tucked into a crisp white box with a beautiful new label! Each labels is a bit different in pattern and color - they are soo beautiful!   You can still smell and see the soaps, thanks to the little opening at the front.   The labels have fun designs on them, like little blue fish, a mermaid (that would be the Mermaids Garden soap), little crabs or a ship in a bottle.  They are gorgeous all lined up in a row.  Such pretty colors.  The wrap around label covers each end flap so the box stays sealed.
 
 I worked with a wonderful designer and we created these gorgeous labels for my collection. 

You can find her here:

Check out my pics. of the new collection:


 
This is the back.  All the label have the Casco Bay Soap Co. Story and you get all sort of information on use and care of your soaps, ingredients and contact information.  PLUS The Maine Made logo!  You can also see more of the label pattern/colors/detail back here.
 
 
The fragrance lineup:

Blueberry Cream -  Maine's slightly sweet fruit mingles with vanilla cream with a turquoise blue label covered with white starfish and lazy swimming fish

 
Walk In The Woods -  Maine pine, sugar and blue spruce evergreen with a bright white label with apple green seaweed and fun blue fish. 

 
Wild Sea Rose - Delicate and traditional, Maine Rosa Rugosa - a.k.a Beach Roses with a turquoise label cute, swimming white fish and gentle waving seaweed.

 
"Casco" Bay Rum - Slightly spicy, old fashioned fragrance with a tan label dotted with blue ships-in-a-bottle.

 
Summertime Citrus Scrub - Bright lemon verbena with poppy seeds & cornmeal scrub.  Lime green label with white and blue fish, yellow accent seaweed too!

 
Day At The Beach - Hot sand and suntan lotion. Ah, summer days!  Powder blue label "crawling" with cute white crabs and few little fish.

 
Mermaids Garden - Fresh and green with seaweed and Maine sea salt.  Coral pink label with white seated mermaids, soo sweet!

 
Sea Shore Scrub - Fresh and clean with fine ground apricot seed.  This label is red with blue and white fish.

 
Find them all for sale here:  http://www.cascobaysoap.com/category_11/Casco-Bay-Collection.htm and with me soon at the market.  
 
AVAILABLE VERY SOON FOR WHOLESALE!!CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED (cascobaysoap@aol.com)