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Wind, Snow and Temps in the Teens

January 7, 2017

So, disappointed with my first Saturday in January. snow-2014-from-bayI will not be vending this Saturday due to weather.   Hope to see you next Saturday.  Please be safe and warm.  You can always shop round the clock in any weather at http://www.magellansgift.com.  Now it is time to change my frame of mind, enjoy some hot coffee and treasure the beauty of our first snow here in McGaheysville, VA!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap

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A Soap Maker’s Hello to 2017

January 1, 2017
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The Glove Hating Gardener’s Soap with a newly designed art gift bag!

The holidays are over and seed catalogs are arriving with bucolic photos of life in the garden.

Winter is a time of planning for future growth for the gardener or farmer. The same is true for this soap maker.  Both farmer and soapmaker make decisions and spend money based on faith in skill and environment. Little income comes in during the winter season, but lots of money goes out . . . all with belief in future harvest.

I spend most of my Saturdays year-round vending with farmers along with bakers and crafters.  Like the farmer, my life has its season.  This winter season I am in the process of updating the website with new photos and descriptions. I need to write a blog on felting soap.  The final finish of 2016 book-keeping and inventory must be completed. And what I’m most excited about is the development of my version of little net sacks that create more suds for soap.

One of the updates to the website is the addition of the latest design created by Lynda Chandler for my soap company’s gift bags. It is finally up on the website for purchase! Hope you love it as much as I do – I call the design, “the directional gardener”.  The gift bag project continues this year and hopefully several more designs will be added.

A sewing machine for the suds-making-sack-project along with a new cell phone for better photos has been added to my soap company’s equipment. Just like seeds or farming equipment, my new tools are a must for growth.

Like all gardeners and farmers, I’m always looking out for the heirlooms and creating new varieties. Mine are just soapy and go up in bubbles!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

 

 

 

What is Hot for the Holidays in Handcrafted Soap?

November 16, 2016

 

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Magellan’s Gift™ Gift of the Magi Soap scented with Frankincense & Myrrh

The scent is derived from a proprietary blend of all natural essential oils that enhance real Omani frankincense and dark Kenyan myrrh. Taking a shower is not only a time to get clean, but to breathe deep and let your mind wander.

A cautionary note: this soap may momentarily transport you to a world where there might be wise men, a bright star and the spirit of giving. And camels, definitely camels.

dark forest 9-16b

Magellan’s Gift™ Dark Forest Scented Soap

Dark Forest is a scrubby bar of soap that smells of fir needle, balsam and a touch of vetiver.  It evokes memories of Christmas, hiking and camping like a gypsy in a dark forest!

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Magellan’s Gift™ Sudsy Cargo IPA Soap

Sudsy Cargo Soap is the perfect gift for the handcrafted beer or ale drinker.  Scented with Himalayan cedar, bergamot, juniper berry, coriander and a hint of vetiver. The first ingredient is local handcrafted IPA – no additional water is added.

 

Spiced Fire Soap

Magellan’s Gift™ Spiced Fire Scented Soap

What drove Mariner Magellan to journey around the world?  It was all about exotic spices!  Spiced Fire Soap is scented with the essential oils of sweet orange, cinnamon leaf, clove bud, cardamom; it is stamped and hand painted with skin safe mica.

There is nothing like spreading the joy of warm bubbles!  Celebrate the Season!  Peace on Earth!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ Making Fine Soap for Extraordinary People

Inverted Stamp for Dark Forest Soap

September 7, 2016

My brother and I started Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company long before the average person had personal computers.  We were self taught through real books and our mistakes.  The batches were hand stirred and large – requiring both of us to create our craft.

Today, so much has changed with access to the internet.  Soap makers chat globally sharing techniques freely.  Sound practice is reinforced; archaic folklore is put aside.  Beautiful soaps that truly are art are painstakingly created in many steps and are really priceless. Contests are held and winners announced!  From hobbyist to larger handcrafted soap companies, there has never been a better time to be creative with soap.

Magellan’s Gift™ strives to have bars that are about function, using great ingredients that are good for the skin. The soaps do need to catch your eye, but making tiny little batches where 8 bars takes a whole day to produce isn’t going to work – even for a Micro Soap Company.  The majority of Magellan’s Gift™ soaps are sold at a wonderful busy farmers market year round and online at http://www.magellansgift.com which means every week, soap is made and every week soap needs to be cured and ready to sell.  When I learned of Clara Lindberg’s blog detailing the how to’s of using wire to create an inverted stamp, it was love at first sight.  And was very possible with my 30-bar molds (which are still considered small), but at up to 6 batches a day – helpful.

I admit my stamps are a bit rustic and I’m still very much playing around with the idea.  The plus of the technique is that inverted stamping works fine with my 30-bar mold – if I work quickly.  To read more about this style of creating a raised pattern on soap go to Clara Lindberg’s Blog on Inverted Stamps

More stamps are in the works for inverted images.

Dark Forest – a handcrafted soap scented with fir needle, spruce and a dash of vetiver.  The design was created by dipping a handmade tool into the soap at just the right time to create an inverted stamp.

 

fir needle tool

A crude quickly made tool made with Sucru ( a new moldable glue), but could easily made with polymer clay at less cost.

Dark Forest 8-16b

Dark Forest Soap in a divider slab mold

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap

Handcrafted Soap ~ Dangerous Waters!

August 15, 2016
Handcrafted Soap - Dangerous Waters

A swirled handcrafted soap made by Magellan’s Gift™

Sometimes life is like steering a wooden ship through dangerous waters. Don’t be so absorbed with survival that you miss the sparkle of sunlight on waves, the caress of the wind in your hair, and the exhilaration of being inside an adventure. Otherwise, living is just postponing the inevitable.

Dangerous Waters is a swirled soap with veins of finely ground vanilla specks for a mild scrubby effect.  The scent is created with cedar, five origin sandalwood, cardamom and ylang ylang essential oils.

Look for this finely crafted soap online and at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market starting Aug 20, 2016

Lori Curry

Magellan’s Gift™ ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

 

Natural Scum Buster!

June 19, 2016

I wrote this many years ago, but I’ve had several request to post this again!

Real soap is almost manna from heaven, but like all good things there is a downside.   Well, that is unless you have soft water.  I tell myself that I am so lucky that I have such hard water–after all, it is important to test soap in the worst of conditions!

My scum & germ busters

Soap scum is from the minerals in water reacting with soap.  This is (sadly) one of the reasons detergents became so popular.  My skin prefers real soap;   my lack of time for cleaning admires detergents.    I think I’ve found the solution and I been testing this for over a month now and I’m pretty pleased.  I work very long days and nights and  keeping up with the housework is a major challenge for me.

My shower is a 1970’s plastic job with swan embossed glass doors and a nasty track that produces grunge that someday may grow a life saving  new drug, but mostly likely not!  When I bought the house I swore it would the be the first of many remodeling  jobs.  It still greets me every morning!

My 1970 Swan Shower Door

First, a disclaimer;  I have only tried this on my shower bath made of cheap plastic.  You will need to research whether this is a good idea for your type of stall.  Ask your manufacturer or someone more  knowledgable then me.

So you need to start with a clean surface!  I bought two pretty  spray bottles from my local Lowes.  Peroxide does best in a solid or dark colored bottle .   Fill one with the cheapest white vinegar you can buy.  Fill the other with 3% peroxide  (which you can buy at the grocery store.)  Do not pre-mix! 

After I shower, I mist the stall with one after the other,  it doesn’t matter the order.  That is it.  Somehow it works as a preventative.  It also kills all sorts of bacteria.   You will need to clean again, but you will go much longer between cleanings.   It also works great on the toilet.  Once a day when the toilet is flushed before it fills back up, lift the seat and mist all around, including the seat and hope no one sits on it before it dries.  Wiping the seat would be polite, but it works without doing that either too.

Go to the link below, this is what inspired me to try this in the bath.  I’ve been using it for years in the kitchen.

The latest of my five sandalwood soap!

http://www.michaelandjudystouffer.com/judy/articles/vinegar.htm

So even I can make cleaning an adventure with discovery too!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ ~  Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

Highly Crafted Ale Soap!

June 13, 2016

 

Magellan’s Gift™ Sudsy Cargo is a highly crafted ale soap and a salute to all the local brewers of Harrisonburg, VA.  The small college town of Harrisonburg is located in the Shenandoah Valley and is home to quite a few small craft breweries – many  in walking distance to each other.  They often collaborate on sudsy delights.

This current batch was made with locally crafted IPA.  A whole six pack was used, one for sampling and five for the soap.  This wonderfully aromatic ale was cooked down to concentrate and remove the alcohol and the carbonation.  Alcohol and carbonation are not friends to the soap making process.  The natural sugars and hop extract that were left were a very welcome addition as they add conditioning bubbles to the soap. In the end, I found the results made me very hoppy, oops, I mean happy, indeed.

Magellan's Gift™ highly crafted ale soap

Sudsy Cargo Soap is  made with locally crafted Indian Pale Ale.  The scented is created with the essential oils of Himalayan cedar, bergamot, juniper berry, coriander and a hint of vetiver that complements the hoppy scent of a citrus-woodsy  ale. #beersoap #alesoap

Tall IPA Beer A The tall skinny shape is created by pouring in to a deep slab mold. Actually, two separate batches were made – one with beer and the other was plain – creating the “foamy ale head”.  A line of pure chocolate cocoa is used to the separate the layers.

Tall IPA Beer B The mold is removed and cut into logs with a splitter. Tall IPA Beer C The logs are then cut into bars.Tall IPA Beer E Top view of a multi-bar cutter that uses wire for perfectly cut bars!Tall IPA Beer FThe bars are moved back to a dedicated room with a fan to assist in curing for at least four weeks.  The soap becomes harder, longer lasting, milder and with more lather.

Sudsy Cargo Soap is a limited edition.  You can read more about what IPA and its history at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-india-pale-ale-got-its-name-180954891/

Yours truly, wishing you a sudsy summer!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift ~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

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