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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  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

A Soap Maker’s Hello to 2017

January 1, 2017

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



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!


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 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!

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:

Yours truly, wishing you a sudsy summer!

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

The Muse

June 9, 2016
Magellan's Gift Handcrafted Soap - The Muse - Patchouli, Spearmint and a dash of Clove Peppermint,

Magellan’s Gift Handcrafted Soap – The Muse is scented with patchouli, peppermint, spearmint and a dash of clove essential Oils.  The soap is enhanced with activated bamboo charcoal. The design is created by pouring soap on a gold primed impression mat.

For this version of The Muse Soap, I’ve added activated charcoal and kept the scent the same.  The charcoal gives it a little texture for a mild scrubby effect. Charcoal is supposed to be detoxing and  is often found in soap.  I know of no way to prove this claim, so I will let you decide. This soap has superior cleansing properties without leaving your skin dry. The bonus is the pleasant scent it leaves on your skin.

All for Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

Lori Curry – Magellan’s Gift™

Hand Soap For The Glove Hating Gardener

April 25, 2016

Handcrafted Gardener's Soap for Glove Haters

Handcrafted gardener’s soap for glove haters!

The Glove Hating Gardener’s Soap has finally arrived!

This fine handcrafted soap is based on the winter testing trials. This is done annually, where a new project is picked and perfected with your help.

Samples are given out starting late February at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market and with online orders at .

The small batches are staggered to allow feedback.  Questions were asked, like: is it too coarse? Too soft? Is it moisturizing? Is it able to clean really dirty hands? But what was interesting . . . was how many people said they need a soap like this because they hated gloves.

The final result is a scrubby bar of soap designed for the hands. It is good for the chef, as well as the cook, mechanic, farmer or gardener.

It is enhanced with avocado oil and sea clay, scented with lemongrass, ginger and rose geranium essential oils.  A special blend of corn meal, orange peel powder, parley powder, apricot grounds and pumice turns your rough dirty hands into clean hands that smell fresh and are soft.

Available starting April 30, 2016

May warm bubbles surround your hands!

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

A Soap Maker’s Kitchen – Once upon a time – it was normal.

January 20, 2016

Once upon a time, I bought a small brick ranch house built in the late 60’s for my home. I had no idea what the future would bring.  Most likely, my home will never be featured in a classy decorating magazine or win awards for design. Some women my age are remodeling kitchens with granite counter tops, I lust after stainless carts with wheels.

soap kitchen 123 l

My dining room table is gone, replaced with rolling stainless tables. Baby quilts used to insulate soap are stored in large baskets. Coconut oil is easily handled on re-purposed rolling stools. A new shelf has been added for my distillation equipment that I use for distilling rose geraniums.

soap kitchen 123 e

The chalk board captures my thoughts for the year as well as weekly goals. The tall rolling cart holds clean molds all covered and ready to use.

soap kitchen 123

I have three tables with heating mats. I like these for two reasons:  the night before production day, I measure  the ingredients into plastic buckets. The mats gently melt the solid oils like shea butter and coconut oil into liquid. I use blankets to help insulate the buckets. In the morning, I’m ready to go. The second reason, is after the soap is poured into the molds, I can quick start the reaction that makes the ingredients turn into soap.  The molds are insulated with baby quilts on the mats. The benefit is the soap can be removed from the mold much sooner.  On the right is a shelf for holding stainless steel pots for mixing lye.  Inside is a Pyrex cup for mixing essential oils.  They are covered to stay clean.  I will add one more shelf for other equipment soon.

soap kitchen 123b

This photo shows coconut oil in buckets with the needed tools to open and close them.  Next to the hutch is a whole room HEPA filter  that helps (somewhat) when working with strong essential oils.  To the far left is a tall rolling cart that holds cubes of mostly olive oil and bottles of lye.  The upside down buckets are containers that I like to use for creating the soap.  They are made of HDPE which handles the reaction of soap making very well and yet are very light weight.  My beloved pine hutch was made in the 1800’s and will stay. The combs located on the shelves are used for creating designs in my soap.


soap kitchen 123 i

I use a lot of cloths to reduce the use of paper towels. These are washed separately from my personal laundry.

soap kitchen 123 f

Drips are caught with a stainless steel bucket and the spout is kept covered.

soap kitchen 123 g

Soap is beveled here. I injured my wrist and could only use one hand, so this was my solution and it really helps!

soap kitchen 123 h

I have several of these carts.  This one has equipment to cut logs and bars of soap.  The bottom has spare equipment. I use carts to move the soap back and forth to the soap curing room.  They really save my back.

The future may bring a lye tank for storing lye solution and another tank for a master batching of soap, drums of oils instead of 50 lb buckets.  I currently could easy use them up before spoiling.  As I grow, my thoughts will no doubt change.   Right now, I’m in a happy place, and I never wanted to be normal anyway.

Last Chance for local sales for the year!

December 17, 2015

This Saturday will be the last chance for local sales.  Dress warm and enjoy the last market of the year.  I will be back vending this Winter at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market starting Saturday, January 2 from 9 AM to 1 PM. Online sales will continue, but might not arrive for Christmas Day depending on your location.  Thanks so much for all those that have supported Magellan’s Gift™ either with purchases or positive comments!

lavender mint again

Magellan’s Gift™  Handcrafted Lavender Mint Scented Soap



Sirens' Song scented with lavender, ylang ylang and patchouli

Sirens’ Song – a handcrafted soap scented with lavender, ylang ylang and patchouli.

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

Gearing up for the New Year!

December 16, 2015

This is a little trial for a much larger project of a steam-punk impression mat for my 30 bar soap mold.  This time I’m working with food grade silicone.  It will be one large mat poured at about a quarter of an inch. Next year, I’ve got several really neat projects, so stay tuned.

Lots of bubbles coming your way!

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


So, here is the first of the soap made with handcrafted steam-punk silicone impression mats by Magellan’s Gift™.  Just a start, I’ll be working on improvements for quite awhile.

Handcrafted Soap – This Weeks Holiday Harvest.

December 11, 2015

Artisan Holiday Gift Bags for Soap!

December 4, 2015
Gift bags stamped better a

Noolibird Stamps can be found at

Several new stamps, handcrafted by Nula Shearing of Noolibird, arrived just in time for the Holidays. I’m hoping to add more to my collection next year.  The hand stamped bags fit one bar of soap each and are available on the website.  Local folks can find them at the Harrisonburg, Va Farmers Market for the next three Saturdays.

gift bags 008 better

Stamp design made by Melissa Redd

Tip:  A great way to recycle fake Christmas garland is to make them into gift tags.  This time of year it is easy to find felt tip pins in gold, copper or silver to decorate your tags.

As always may warm bubbles surround you, may the season bring wonder and joy or at least survive it with some grace!

Handcrafted Soap and 3D Printing!

November 23, 2015
3D mat sun 5X5 website

Here Comes the Sun ~ a handcrafted soap with a lemon like scent made with litsea cubeba and yuzu essential oils.

A couple of years ago, I kept hearing about 3D printing; it seemed like a great idea, but not realistic for my business.  My current thoughts have been how to help my soap business, Magellan’s Gift Micro Soap Company, to survive in a highly competitive field.  I needed to work smarter and faster.  The profit margin on a bar of  soap made with great ingredients is low – I have to be able to make a whole lot of bars to have an income.  Soap making is labor intensive. Having an expensive hobby is not an option for me. The goal is to produce artisan bars that can give a great shower experience and leave the skin clean without stripping natural oils.  Also, create different types of soap for different types of people and make it fun with a little attitude. I like to encourage people to use their shower as a chance to clean off the troubles of life and dream of adventure.  All this without practicing medicine (without a licence), witchcraft, hunting mermaids or making miracles!

One of the biggest time wasters in making soap is washing out equipment.  For an example, swirling soap means more containers to wash, especially if you’re trying to be an eco-friendly company and don’t use disposable containers. My hand stamped soaps are just as popular as my swirls, but very time consuming and temperamental. In 2010 I fell in love with impression mats for rolling out fondant cake icing.   It is so easy: just place an impression mat on the bottom of your mold, pour soap, wait a day or two and remove the mold and then peel off the impression mat.  Soda ash that forms on the top of soap (a cosmetic problem) is a non issue, because the bottom becomes the top. Unfortunately silicone impression mats, come in a limited number of patterns for molds my size and I really want custom designs.  The best solution is to make my own custom mats out of silicone, but I’ve got soap to make and not much time to play – perhaps in 2016?

Late last summer I noticed in downtown Harrisonburg VA a 3D printing shop. I just had to check it out. The shop, named Hatch 3D, whose goal is to let people create things they dream up, has many 3D printers and staff to help you out.  And so started several little trials with two 3D printing materials: NinjaFlex and SemiFlex.


I started with a tiny mold from, perfect for little experimental batches.  3D Hatch printed a little mat made with SemiFlex with a leaf design for the trial.  It worked and stayed in place with very little soap getting beneath the mat.


Next, I wanted to try a more flexible material called NinjiFlex.  This time I wanted to pour on to one of my HDPE divider molds made by SoapHutch.  The mold has an existing silicone liner/mat and I wanted to know if the 3D little mats would cling and not get disrupted when I poured the soap.  I poured a swirled batch of soap as pictured and even dragged a chopstick across the little mat and it didn’t budge.

3D printer sun images aaa

Photo courtesy of Hatch 3D

A shot of the production of the little soap mats made by a 3D printer.  Check out their website:  I truly enjoyed working with their staff.

I had to go with little individual mats because the printers could not print the size of my molds.  This at first seemed to be a problem, but the upside is, if you have a customer that wants a small number of bars with their logo – no problem!   An example is a real estate agent that wants to gift every new home buyer a bar of handcrafted soap with their logo or image.  They may only want a few bars a month, so you can place their design in part of the mold and the rest in your images.

Some possible downsides:

The 3D printing process leaves extra little strings that have to be removed before the mats are ready to be used. This is kind of tedious.

Both the materials I tested – NinjaFlex and SemiFlex aren’t as nice as silicone for ease of removal.  I did have a sticking issue with the recipe I wanted to use. That was easy solved by removing them from the mold and stacking them in the freezer.  I forgot them and easily removed the little mats the next day.

NinjaFlex and SemiFlex are not food grade approved at this time.  They are non toxic and look safe for making soap. I would prefer to have them food grade, but as fast as this field is growing, it will happen.  Here is a link for NinjaFlex

The big question for me is: will the little individual mat continue to cling to my old silicone mats that line my molds?

As to which is better NinjaFlex or SemiFlex?  Next week, I will be revisiting the SemiFlex in my next pour of my soap called, “Here comes the Sun.”  I’m also planing on working on a spearmint leaf design for my spearmint scented soap.    So, 3D printing impression mats, in my mind, are still a gamble and only time will tell, but I sure love the journey!

May warm bubbles surround you – Lori Curry  Magellan’s Gift™ Adventure and Discovery in Fine Soap

Update: April 20 2016

The little mats are loosing their ability to cling to my existing silicone mats.  A product called Anchor Dit by is working to help them stick. Anchor Dit does not have to be re-applied each time (even after washing) that the mats are used.

This is a link to a video clip of the pouring of soap onto the little sun mats: