Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Types of Handmade Soap

I get asked this question a lot: "How do you make soap?!" This is both an easy and a hard question to answer! There are several types of soap that can be made at home. Cold Process, Hot Process, and Melt and Pour.

Cold Process soap making requires a chemical reaction called saponification. This happens when lye is mixed with fats (lard, oils, and butters are all used in soap making). The combination of oils and butters is completely up to the soap maker! The many different combinations yield many different results such as bigger bubbles, creamier lather, or a harder bar of soap. Once the soap is ready, it is poured into a mold to harden, cut, and left to cure. As it cures, the excess water evaporates, creating a harder bar of soap that lasts longer. To see many examples of Cold Process soap, visit this page on Soap Queen's blog!

In order to speed up the cure process, a soapmaker can choose to use heat! This is known as Hot Process soap. The final look of the soap is more rustic.

The type of soap I make currently is known as Melt and Pour. I use a soap base and design a bar using color, fragrance, and embedded objects. Soap bases can vary greatly depending on added oils and butters, which make the soap more moisturizing. My favorite is added shea butter! It makes for a very creamy lather!

So, how is Melt and Pour soap base made? There are varying recipes, but it is essentially a Hot Process soap with added liquid glycerin or alcohols to lower the soap's melting temperature. The resulting soap hardens into a solid at room temperature, but can be melted down in order to add color and fragrance. Melt and pour bases can also be purchased already made from a supplier.

Here are some examples of soaps I have made! You can check out my current inventory in my Etsy Shop!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Schedule Your Personal Consultation Today!

One of my favorite things to do is create custom products for my clients! In order to learn your preferences and style, we will conduct a personal consultation. This can be on the phone or through email, whichever is easier for you! 

Here are some questions we will answer during your consultation:

1. What type of product are you interested in? In the past, I have made body scrubs, lip scrubs, soap, bath bombs, bath fizzies, and bubble bars. I am always willing to try something new, as well! (Next on the list is lip balm!)

2. What style are you looking for? You can use my standard product labels at no additional charge, if you'd like. I am also available to custom design a label for your event! Once I get the basic information you want to include, I will email you a few choices for you to consider. We will go back and forth, making changes, until you are completely satisfied with your design!

3. What scents appeal to you? Scent is a huge part of my business! Honestly, it's the first thing my clients notice and gush about! (I've even had clients use their products as an air freshener! haha) Do you want a scent that matches the theme of your event? Caribbean Escape for a tropical, beach wedding...Lavender Fields for a french themed wedding...Frosty Wintergreen for a Frozen themed birthday party... or we can go crazy, off-the-wall with Monkey Farts or Sexy Beast fragrances. It is up to you! 

4. What other customizations are you interested in? In addition to the labeling, we can add ribbon or wooden spoons to your product.

5. Final Date and Delivery Method. When do you need your items? I suggest we plan on having your items done a couple weeks before your event. If you are local to the Atlanta area, we can schedule a delivery. If not, I use FedEx to ship large orders. I have had very good experiences with them in the past! They also seem to the be most cost efficient shipping method for heavy orders. Shipping will be included in your price quote so there are no surprises!

After our consultation, I will create a custom listing for you in my Etsy store. Half of the total is due upon finalizing the order. This is a nonrefundable deposit, as I will use it to buy the materials needed to make your order. The balance is due when your order is complete. Once the final payment is made, I will ship or deliver your order.

I cherish being a part of your event! Whether it's your wedding or your child's birthday party, I know how important these events are and how much planning is involved! If you would like additional help in setting up your party favors on the big day, I am available for that, as well. 

To see examples, visit this blog post: Past Custom Orders

I would LOVE to add your event to my portfolio! Email me at to start your personal consultation today!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Sweet Life: January 2015

How did 2015 start out for you? Are you on your way to accomplishing the goals you set for yourself? How about your family? Are they on board? Around here, we are hyper-focused on achieving more in 2015 than we ever have before!! Sometimes, though, I get too caught up in the planning aspects of things instead of actually doing what it takes to get things done. (Please tell me I'm not the only one!) There were a few things I had to do in order to take Sweet Olivia to the next level.

New business cards-Check!
Brand new product brochure-Check!

In fact, the tracking number says these items are scheduled for deliver today. Hooray!! I absolutely cannot wait to see them....and then give them away!! I am going to use these items, in conjunction with sample boxes, to pitch to some local boutiques and shops. I am super excited (and a tad nervous) about the possibility of my products being sold in an actual brick and mortar store.

I am using my new Day Designer by Whitney English to track my goals. I am going to use it a bit longer before sharing my thoughts, but will definitely do an updated "How I use my planner" video. (See last year's video!)

Day Designer by Whitney English

We have been trying to spend more quality time as a family, in addition to our business aspirations! One great way to spend time together, is in the kitchen and at the dinner table. We rang in the new year with our favorite roast recipe! It is very simple to make, too. The crock pot does all the work!

Quick Crock Pot Roast

It was very warm here in Georgia for about a week this month. We took advantage and got outside for some yard work and play time!

Lovely Georgia January
Well, it's cold outside again, but spring is right around the corner! I absolutely cannot wait for warmer temps and longer, sunnier days. Do you like the cold? Or are you ready for spring already?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

1. If I could, I would travel constantly. No need for a home base, even. Just a different city every couple of weeks! (Okay, maybe an awesome beach house or two!)

2. The older I get, the bigger my sweet tooth is! Why can't cake be calorie free?!

3. I have only been out of the country once, on a cruise to the Bahamas in college. If I could go anywhere out of the country right now, I'd choose Paris.

4. I attended the Junior Statesman program at Yale University when I was 15 years old. I took classes on law and debate. This is when I decided I did NOT want to be a lawyer!

5. I changed my college major from English to Psychology when an English Lit class almost bored me to tears!

6. I should have been an elementary school teacher.

7. I have been trying to get back to Disney World since my first trip in 2012. It really is The Happiest Place on Earth! Meeting Rapunzel...and, of course, Elsa and Anna, are top priority for our next trip!

8. I enjoy continual learning. Currently, I am listening to business and entrepreneur podcasts daily to gain knowledge and inspiration.

9. I am completely nervous and unsure about a lot of things. But, I do them anyway! The regret I would feel about not taking chances overshadows the fear of being rejected.

10. I am working on an eBook this year! I don't know exactly what direction it will take, but I have lots of ideas! If you have any ideas on the shape it should take, I would love to hear it!

I would love to get to know my readers better! Comment below or send me an email ( Let me know something random about you!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

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As I sit here watching Ohio State football on TV, I can't help but feel nostalgic for my years there!(Go Bucks!) January 1st is a great day to reflect and ruminate. 2014 felt like a transitional year for me and my family. We made some big decisions. Although hard, they positioned our family for bigger and better things! Lately, I've felt like we were "just making it," but 2015 is the year for growth and prosperity!!

In addition to goal setting, I think it's important to take stock of my strengths and weaknesses. One of my personal flaws is to want to be in control of everything. It is hard for me to accept help, especially when it comes to my own business. Sweet Olivia is 100% my brainchild... and I sort of like it that way! I feel great about my successes and there is nobody else to blame for my failures! lol I do recognize the power of partnership, though, so for 2015, I hope to network more and make some new connections!

Planning and organization has always been a strength of mine. I am going to share my methods, like I did last year. I am using a new planner for 2015: Whitney English's Day Designer. I think I'm really going to thrive with this planner, along with it's awesome community! I want to use it for a bit, first, before I give my review!

I am also planning on continuing my Graham family monthly reviews this year. I fell off posting these due to our big move and taking some time to settle into our new routines. It like sharing these types of posts because it gives me a chance to reflect on our month and all that we have done! Since moving to Georgia, we have had so much more family time!!! Some times, the best times are like today, where we just chill at home together. I foresee lots of puzzles and game nights in our future. :)

What are your goals for 2015? Comment below or let me know on the Sweet Olivia Facebook Page! Here is a summary of my 2015 goals in all areas of my life. I would be happy to do a more in depth post on these, if you are interested!

Family Goals
*Spend more time together as a family. 
*Have monthly dates with my hubby.
*Spend more time one-on-one with my kids.
*Be more financially responsible. Save. Figure a way to get ahead of the game.
*Be consistent with workouts and continue getting in shape.

Personal Goals
*Leave people feeling better about themselves.
*Take more time for reflection.
*Always strive to be a better wife and mother.
*Take time out to pamper myself.

Sweet Olivia Goals
*Grow my custom work to one client per week.
*Gain wholesale accounts.
*Continue with my sample box program seasonally.
*Create a product catalog.
*Update business cards to facilitate networking and finding new clients.
*Help others in their own business endeavors.
*Write and publish my first e-book.
*Create a "Girls Night In" type event.
*Do something every day to further the success of my business.

I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you this year!! Please think of me if you need party favors or the perfect gift for someone! As always, you can click the 'Shop' tab above to see what products I currently have to offer! :) Happy New Year!!