Soap

Freshwater Studio Soap // Salt Bars

Happy Friday!

Cactus Flower Salt Bars

I thought I’d do something new here, and take the time (once a month, or so?) to highlight a specific soap I’ve made. So today I thought I’d talk about salt bars. They are quickly becoming a new favorite.

Wild Rose Salt Bars

Salt bars are a bit different from a regular cold process soap bar, because they contain a high amount of natural sea salt. The salt added to the bar – whether its grey salt, Himalayan pink salt or another kind of fine sea salt (except dead sea salt – don’t use that!) – is added at a ratio of between 50-100% of the total oils used in the soap. So, for example,  if I made a salt bar using 100g of coconut oil as my only oil, I would then add between 50-100g of salt to the bar as well. Typically, a salt bar will have a high amount of coconut oil added to the recipe to combat the fact that a high salt content in a bar can really zap the amount of lather you’ll get. Coconut oil helps to combat that. But, you can also play around with the recipe and add other oils to the mix. My salt bars contain lots of coconut oil in addition to olive oil pomace, rice bran oil, shea butter and kaolin clay. You can read more about my cactus flower salt bars here. More about the Wild Rose bars here. These bars are 75% salt to oil.

At some point, I’ll post more about the specific ingredients I choose to use in my soaps, and why they’re good for your skin.

Cactus Flower Salt Bars

The thing about salt bars is that the high salt content makes them a bit crumbly coming right out of the mold. But, I kind of love the rough look of them! Otherwise, once they’ve hardened completely, I don’t find them to be very crumbly at all. In fact, salt bars are incredibly long lasting because they are so solid once they set.

The other thing about salt bars is that they’re pretty luxurious. They’re sometimes called spa bars for this reason. Not only are the bars long lasting, but the lather they produce is gentle and creamy, and not drying at all (even though the term “salt bar” might lead you to suspect otherwise)! The minerals contained in natural sea salt means that you’re also giving all that natural vitamin and mineral goodness to your skin. The bars help to lightly exfoliate, detox and purify your skin, and the salt can also aid in allowing the other moisturizing oils in the soap to absorb more readily into your skin. Win-win.

Wild Rose Salt Bars

So, now you know why salt bars are a new favorite of mine! I’ll certainly be making more of these in the future. And the Cactus Flower and Wild Rose bars I’ve made have just landed in the Freshwater Studio Shop as part of the spring soap release.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

kimberly

Cards

Birthday Succulents

Happy Monday! We are gearing up for another nor’easter here in my corner of the world, and I have to say I’m pretty sick of shoveling snow at this point. I’m very, very ready for spring! So, when a coworker asked me to make a card with a succulent-theme, I was happy to oblige. Succulents help remind me that spring IS coming.

Happy birthday succulent card

The method for making this card was very much the same as for this one. I stamped succulents with VersaMark ink all over my panel, and embossed them with liquid platinum embossing powder. I then blended a mix of Twisted Citron, Cracked Pistachio and Peacock Feathers distress ink over top. I added a few water droplets, too!

Birthday succulent card

(I paired the card with a hot-pink envelope and I love how it jazzed the everything up even more!)

The sentiment is a combination of a Cutaway die from Winnie & Walter (cut from very dark gray card stock) and the word “birthday” cut from another stamp set that I can’t remember for the life of me right now – sorry!

Birthday succulent card

I added a few clear sequins to finish it off after mounting it to an A2-sized card base.

Make it a great week!

kimberly

 

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Soap

Recent Soap Projects

Hi All! We’re half way through the work week!

Today I thought I’d just share a few photographs of some recent soap projects.

Aqua Splash Bath Bomb

Emerald Indigo Soap

I’ve made several batches of bath bombs and quite a few soaps over the last few weeks! I’ve enjoyed playing around with designs, essential oil blends (my house smells so good!), botanicals like rose, calendula and cornflower petals, and different recipes and soap-making techniques. I also enjoy photographing the end results, too!

Calm Ocean Bath Bomb

Several of the soaps and bath bombs pictured here are currently still available in the Freshwater Studio Shop on Etsy.  There are new soaps headed to the shop in just a few weeks, on March 15!

You can also follow along and see lots more photos like these by following freshwaterstudio on instagram!

Marigold Soap

Wild Rose Bath Bomb

Thanks for stopping by!

kimberly

 

Cards

Simple Patterned Background Card Set

I’m back with a quick little card set.

Simple hello cards

AGES ago I stamped the tiny triangles background stamp (in VersaFine Vintage Sepia ink) onto some craft card stock, and promptly forgot about the whole thing. I discovered the panels during a craft room clean-up and decided I should use them up and make some cards. I really like the pattern.

Hello card set

I cut each panel down so it was slightly smaller than an 4-Bar size card. I added a strip of gold washi tape onto the card base, so that it would be sticking out only a bit from behind the panel and then mounted the panel onto the card base with some foam tape for a bit of dimension.

Simple hello cards

I added a hello sentiment to each card using this die from SSS. But just about any sentiment would do. I kept everything very monochromatic, and I’m not too mad about it!

kimberly

 

Soap

Soap from the Freshwater Place // Becoming Ourselves Again

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Last weekend I attended a meeting on food sovereignty initiatives at the Nipmuc Tribal office. During the meeting, our tribal leader talked a bit about how the tribe is working toward recovering lost pieces of our cultural heritage bit by bit. We do this through language reclamation projects, group workshops and other opportunities that allow all members of the tribe reacquaint themselves with traditional Nipmuc practices after having lost them through the processes of colonization and assimilation over hundreds of years. One thing she said during her remarks really resonated with me; That through this work we as a tribe are “becoming ourselves again.” We’re coming back to who we once were.

In so many was, I feel like that’s what I’m working toward, too. I’m doing this by seeking out ways that I can contribute my talents to my tribe, but also by finding and following my passion(s) in my personal and creative life.

In the last few years, I’ve undergone a period of re-discovery of my own. It’s not necessarily something I want to get into here, but the ups and downs I’ve had in recent months have shaped me tremendously. And now I’m working on coming back to the person I’m supposed to be.

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I’ve always been many things: Black, Native American, English, Polish; a librarian, architectural historian, cat mom, artist, daughter, friend. And I’ve always, always been a Maker. Creativity is my outlet. I find the most satisfaction in making things with my own two hands. Whether it’s artwork, cards, DIY wine racks, nail art projects, air plant walls or soap.

So, that brings me to what Freshwater Studio is becoming. On this blog, I like to share a lot of the projects I work on. Lately it’s been cards. When I first started it was DIY projects and nail art. Now, I’ve found a new passion in making soap, and I’m going to be sharing some of that here as well. But I’ll still be sharing lots of cards, too! I’ve actually added separate card and soap navigation pages to the site to make it easier for anyone who’s more interested in one or the other (but I hope you’ll be interested in both!).

homescreen

And I have a plan for my Freshwater Studio Soaps – cold process soap that I make by hand in small batches. And, the name Freshwater Studio is homage to the place I come from – Nipmuc Country or, the Freshwater Place.

I’ve been plagued by weird skin allergies for years, so making my own soap and therefore controlling all ingredients appeals to me. I know what’s going in my soap and what’s going into my skin and to that end, there are no phthalates, parabens, sulfates, artificial glycols or other unsavory characters in my soaps. Only natural ingredients!

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Controlling the ingredients and making sure they are natural and come from sustainable sources means I can also highlight ingredients important to my ancestors, and source them locally when possible(!). I’m on a mission to learn about and use lots of beneficial botanicals, clays and natural colorants in my soaps. By doing this, I’m allowing myself a creative outlet that not only satisfies my need for natural and safe bath products, but also honors my ancestors, in turn helping me to become more me, again.

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If you’d like to come along with me on this soap-making journey, you can follow the @freshwaterstudio account on Instagram. You can also check out my Etsy store, where I’ll be stocking soaps and bath bombs as well as cards and gift tags.  And as always, keep checking back here for more, too!

kimberly

Cards

Sympathy Card // Prayers are with you

Prayers Are With You

I’m back into the swing of things after taking last week off for some much needed R & R. I really need to do that more often, I think!

Today I’m sharing a sympathy card that was inspired by this one, made by May Park. Just as she did, I stamped some floral images (using the Autumn Leaves stamp set) and embossed them with gold embossing powder. I then blended on some Shaded Lilac, Milled Lavender, and Seedless Preserves distress ink.

Prayers are with you

I added some spatters of water to give the panel a bit more interest. I kept the main sentiment white and embossed the rest onto some slate gray card stock. The stamp & die set I used for the sentiment is from Hero Arts.

Prayers Are With You

As usual, these kinds of cards are not my favorite to make, but this one turned out pretty (and would be a fabulous design for many other types of cards, too!).

What are you guys making this week?

kimberly

 

Cards

Keeping it Simple // Happy Birthday Card

Birthday card

I’ve been having some trouble making cards that I actually LIKE lately, so I was happy when this one turned out to be a keeper.  I kept it simple and worked within my comfort zone: pretty watercolor and a bold sentiment.

Birthday card

My Gansai Tambi watercolors are so well loved at this point that I clearly need to think about re-ordering a few colors, especially this sea-green. I love it.

The sentiment is cobbled together using this happy die and a “birthday” sentiment that I grabbed from a studio calico stamp set (that doesn’t seem to be available anymore). But really, you could substitute from lots of different stamp sets here. I embossed it in white on slate gray card stock.

Birthday card

Slapped it onto a card base, added a few clear sequins here and there and I was finished. I really like how it turned out. Sometimes keeping it really simple can help to bring the mojo back (I hope)!

Birthday card

kimberly