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Vanilla Coffee Cupcakes

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How could we not wrap up Coffee Month without some celebratory cupcakes? We decided to combine melt and pour AND cold process to make this delectable soap treat. We love how the discoloration of the Vanilla fragrance oil gave our frosting this unique swirl design. This is definitely a tricky technique, but once you get it down it yields wonderful results that are good enough to eat! These cupcakes make the perfect birthday gift-but be sure to warn the person receiving them that they are actually soap!

What You’ll Need:

Melt & Pour Bottoms:

42 oz Goat Milk M&P
13 mL Vanilla Select FO
13 mL Vanilla Color Stabilizer
Large glass pyrex
Fork
Scale
Silicone cupcake mold (2)
Rubbing alcohol

Cold Process Frosting:

2 oz Coconut Oil
3 oz Pure Olive Oil
3 oz Palm Kernel Flakes
9 oz Palm Oil
.4 oz Vanilla Select FO

2.43 oz Sodium Hydroxide
5.61 oz Distilled Water

1-2 tbs Coffee Grounds
1-2 tbs Whole Coffee Beans

1M Frosting Tip
Frosting Bag
Hand Mixer
Silicone Spatula
Temp gun
Scale
Glass pyrex (3)

**If you are not local, you can get most all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

Cupcake Bottom Instructions:

Weigh out 42 oz Goat Milk melt and pour soap. Melt in microwave on two minute bursts. Be sure to mix well in between bursts.pic1

Add 13 mL of Vanilla Select FO & 13 mL Vanilla Color Stabilizer and mix well.

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Carefully pour into cupcake molds and spray with alcohol.

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Let harden at room temperature or pop into freezer. If popping in freezer be careful! Wait until they have hardened a bit (15-20 min) before carefully sliding a cutting board under the cupcake tray to move to the freezer. If they wrinkle on top a little it’s no big deal! The frosting will cover this.

After the soap has completely hardened, unmold.

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Frosting Instructions:

COLOR/FRAGRANCE PREP:

We will be using the discoloration of a Vanilla fragrance to be coloring half of our frosting. Weigh out .4 oz of Vanilla Select FO and set aside.

LYE PREP:

Make sure you have gloves, goggles and long sleeves on before beginning to process the lye. Measure 5.61 oz distilled water into one glass container, and 2.43 oz lye into another. Carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir with a stainless steel whisk until solution is clear. Allow the lye to cool to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit by placing into a designated freezer. We recommend using Bramble Berry’s Infrared Thermometer. These are amazing because they are so easy to use and you don’t have to worry about getting your thermometer covered in lye water!

While the lye is cooling, weigh out all the fixed oils (and the Palm Kernel Flakes) in a large glass Pyrex bowl.

For this technique we want our lye and our oils significantly cooler than usual. We want our lye to be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and our oils around 70 degrees before combining.

Once the oils have cooled to around 70 degrees, begin whipping with a hand mixer. They will be gelatinous and opaque before mixing with the hand mixer. Whip JUST THE OILS into a soft consistency using a hand mixer.

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Slowly pour a small amount of the lye into the whipped oils, and use a spoon or spatula to incorporate. Be careful not to splash any of the lye water. This soapmaking process is a lot more laid back that normal cold process because you have much more time to work with your soap. Take your time adding the lye! Spoon the lye into the oils and then mix with the hand mixer.

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Once the lye has been incorporated into the oils (this can take a few minutes), turn the hand mixer or stand mixer on low. Scrape any batter that has splattered on the side of the container and then turn the mixer to a medium setting. Continue to whip for several minutes.

Continue mixing until you have achieved a frosting-like consistency. A good test is to lift the mixer out of the soap and if it keeps a peak, it is ready. This process can take between 20 and 30 minutes. Sometimes the soap will actually increase in temperature because of the lye reaction, so testing the temperature regularly and popping the mixture into the freezer for a few minutes can help this process.

Once the soap has reached the frosting-like consistency, split the frosting in half and add the Vanilla Select to one half. Mix the fragrance in well with a spatula or whisk. You can also give it a quick mix with the hand mixer. The Vanilla Select will discolor the frosting, so we are only fragrancing half of the frosting to create a swirled design.

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Cut off about a half inch from the tip of the frosting bag and push the tip through. Scoop the frostings into opposite sides of the bag until full. You will have some frosting left over, and will need to fill the bag again during the frosting process.

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Squeeze out some of the frosting to burp any air pockets that may be in the bag.

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Squeeze a dollop of frosting onto the middle of the cupcake bottoms.

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Pipe the frosting around the dollop of frosting in a circular motion until you have reached a peak.

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Sprinkle with coffee grounds and top with a couple of whole coffee beans.

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This recipe yields anywhere from 10-13 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make your frosting. We were able to make 11.

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Your soap will start to discolor after about three days. Let soap cure for 4-6 weeks before use. Enjoy your soapy cupcake treats!

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Don’t forget, for the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrances here in-store at Otion!

And for the month of July take 15% off all Aloe-related products!

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Pink Body Polish

finalWhat’s a better way to start off the sunny months than with a scrub! This wonderful scrub uses both salt and sugar in order to achieve the perfect exfoliation. The sugar melts away in order to ensure you aren’t over-exfoliating, and the Extra Small Pink Sea Salt is not too grating. Rose absolute makes this project quite the treat and leaves a wonderfully relaxing scent behind. There are no oil additives (other than the extract), so it won’t leave your shower slippery. Keep reading to find out more!

What You’ll Need:

8 oz Extra Small Pink Sea Salt
5 oz Sugar
1/4 tsp Snowflake Sparkle Mica
1 tbs Crushed Rose Petals
1.8 oz Shredded Kokum Butter
2 mL Optiphen
3 mL Ginseng Extract
2 mL Rose Absolute Essential Oil

*Not local?? You can find all these ingredients and more at Bramble Berry! And they will ship directly to you!*

Hardware:

Grater
Scale
4 oz Tin w/ Clear cover (4) **These are found exclusively here at Otion: the Soap Bar!

Directions:

Weigh out 8 oz of Extra Small Pink Sea Salt.

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Add 5 oz Sugar. Mix well.

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Add 1/4 tsp of Snowflake Sparkle. Mix well.

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Add 1 tbsp of Crushed Rose Petals. Mix well.

Shred 1.8 oz of Kokum Butter and then add to bowl.

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Mix well, breaking up the bits of Kokum Butter to fully incorporate into the salt and sugar mixture.

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Add 2 mL of Optiphen and 3 mL of Ginseng Extract. Mix well.

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Add 2 mL of Rose Absolute Essential Oil. Mix well.

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Pack into 4 oz Tins with Clear Cover.
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Want to learn more about salts? Check out this Soap Queen blog.

Don’t forget, for the month of May take 15% off all Crafter’s Corner projects! And coming in June, take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrance Oils!

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Sparkling Lime

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Who doesn’t love toasting to a special occasion with some good champagne? We just love the smell of Bramble Berry’s Champagne fragrance oil so much, and combined with the simple yet zesty smell of Limes we were able to create this masterpiece. Oh yeah, I said masterpiece. This refreshingly zingy soap scent is sure to help put some zip into your hand-washing regime. We also added Kokum Butter, one of Bramble Berry’s newer items, to create a wonderfully moisturizing as well as great-smelling soap.

What You’ll Need

**This recipe yields about 3 pounds of soap**

Ingredients

 13 oz Distilled Water
4.95 oz Lye
1 oz Castor Oil
10 oz Coconut Oil
3 oz Kokum Butter
5 oz Olive Oil
9 oz Palm Oil
7 oz Rice Bran Oil
1.5 mL Polysorbate 80

1 oz Champagne Fragrance Oil
1 oz Lime Fragrance Oil
1/2 tsp Sparkle Gold Mica
1/2 tsp Titanium Dioxide
1/4 tsp Kermit Green Mica
1/4 tsp Titanium Dioxide
Sprinkle Kelly Green Mica
99% Isopropyl Alcohol

4 oz Large Bath Crystals
1 oz Medium Dead Sea Salt

Hardware:

Stick Blender
Glass Pyrex (2)
Whisk
Silicone Spatula
Wooden Spoon
Fork (4)
Ramekin (4)
Easy Pour (3)
Small Bowl (2)
Thermometer
Mini Mixer
Microwave
12″ Tall Silicone Loaf Mold

**If you are not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

If you’ve never made Cold Process soap before, stop here! I highly recommend checking out Brambleberry’s FREE four part SoapQueen.tv series on Cold Process Soapmaking, especially the episode on lye safety. And if you’d rather do some reading, Bramble Berry carries a wide range of books on the topic, including Anne-Marie’s newest book, Pure Soapmaking. You can also checkout the digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.

Directions:

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SALT PREP:

In a small bowl, measure out 4 oz of Large Bath Crystals. Add 1 mL of Polysorbate 80. Sprinkle Kelly Green Mica and mix well with hands until you reach the desired color.
In a separate small bowl, measure out 1 oz of Medium Dead Sea Salt. Add .5 mL of Polysorbate 80. Sprinkle Kelly Green Mica and mix well with hands until you reach the desired color.

COLOR/FRAGRANCE PREP:

In small ramekins or dixie cups, measure out each mica combo (except the sprinkle of Kelly Green) and add 1 tbsp. of any fixed oil. We used avocado oil. Then mix using Bramble Berry’s mini mixer. You should end up with two ramekins of white, one of gold and one of green.

Weigh out 1 oz Champagne FO and 1 oz Lime FO and combine into a small container. Set aside.

Draw a line on each easy pour container to indicate how much soap needed for each color. This will make it easier to separate out the soap batter. On two of the easy pour containers draw a line at 16 oz. On the other one draw a line at 8oz. There will be 8 oz left in your original container.

LYE PREP:

Make sure you have gloves, goggles and long sleeves on before beginning to process the lye. Measure the distilled water into one glass container, and the lye into another. Carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir with a stainless steel whisk until solution is clear. Allow the lye to cool to around 115 degrees by either labeling and setting aside, or by placing into a designated freezer. We recommend using Brambleberry’s Infrared Thermometer. These are amazing because they are so easy to use and you don’t have to worry about getting your thermometer covered in lye water!

While the lye is cooling, weigh out all the fixed oils in a large glass Pyrex bowl and heat in the microwave until the oils are around 115 degrees.

Once both the lye solution and the fixed oil solution are around 115 degrees (between 10 degrees of each other) you can begin soaping!

Directions:

Begin by organizing your area so that everything is ready to go. Place the Ramekin (or dixie cup) filled with color next to the corresponding easy pour container. Have your fragrance, mold, and salts ready to go.

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Place the stick blender into the oils at an angle and burp the blender by gently knocking the stick blender on the bottom of the Pyrex to avoid mixing in any air bubbles. Pour the lye solution down the arm of the stick blender and start mixing until you have reached a medium trace.

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Once you have reached a medium trace, separate the soap batter into the designated easy pour containers.

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In one of the easy pour containers that has 16 oz add the Sparkling Gold Mica and mix with a fork until it is fully incorporated.
In the other easy pour container that has 16 oz add 1/2 tsp of Titanium Dioxide and mix with a fork until it is fully incorporated.
In the easy pour container with 8 oz add the Kermit Green Mica and mix with a fork until it is fully incorporated.
In the pyrex with the remaining soap, add 1/4 tsp of Titanium Dioxide and mix with a fork until it is fully incorporated.

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Just eyeballing it, add the fragrance to each of the containers of soap batter.

Pour the Sparkling Gold Layer into the 12″ Tall Silicone Loaf Mold.

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Now for the in-the-pot swirl for the middle layer. Add the Kermit Green Mica soap batter to the pyrex with the white soap at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, & 9 o’clock until all of the soap is gone. Be sure it breaks the surface of the white soap.

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When all of the green soap batter has been poured into the white batter, take a utensil (we used the handle of a wooden spoon) and make one pass through the colors to create the swirl.

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Using a silicone spatula to help prevent breakthrough, pour the swirled soap over the gold layer.

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Using a silicone spatula to help prevent breakthrough, pour the white soap over the swirled layer. You need this soap to be at a thick trace so you can manipulate the top. If it hasn’t thickened up by sitting out, grab your stick blender and give it a few good mixes to create a thicker trace.

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Using a spoon, manipulate the top until you get your desired texture.

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Sprinkle the medium dead sea salt on the top of the soap. Add the bath crystals, keeping in mind where you will be cutting your soap, as you will not be able to cut through them.

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Be careful when you go to cut the soap, as the sea salt can scratch the soap. We laid the loaf on its side before cutting it as opposed to cutting from the top as we normally would.

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Enjoy your refreshingly clean-smelling soap!

Did you like this blog? Then you might like Soap Queen’s Rose Quartz Cold Process Tutorial.

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Don’t forget, for the month of March take 15% off Flavor Oils here at Otion!

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Pink Grapefruit Wax Tarts

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Continuing on with fruit month, we decided to freshen up our spaces with these adorably delicious wax tarts! We fragranced them with Pink Grapefruit fragrance oil, a refreshing and clean-smelling choice. This fun and easy blog is perfect for this seemingly endless winter. It’ll warm up your home, especially once paired with Bramble Berry’s White Leaves Tealight Warmer, pictured above. Keep reading to find out more!

**This recipe yields about 10 tarts**

What You’ll Need:

Ingredients:

5.5 oz Ecosoya Pillar Blend.
0.4 oz Pink Grapefruit E.O.
Red Color Block

**If you’re not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

Hardware:

Citrus Wax Tart Mold
Scale
Easy Pour Measuring Cup
Mixing utensil (we used a fork)
Butter Knife (2)
Freezer
Microwave
Box

Directions:

Melt 5.5 oz Eco Soya Pillar Blend in 30 second bursts until fully melted.

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Add 0.4 oz Pink Grapefruit F.O. to the melted wax. Stir well.

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Shave a few pieces of Red Color Block using one of the butter knives until you reach your desired color. The color will appear much darker while the wax is melted. To get an idea of what the wax will look like once it has hardened, place a butter knife into the freezer until it is very cold. Then dip the knife into the wax. The wax should immediately harden, giving you a good idea of what the wax will look like once it has cooled.

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Carefully Pour the wax into the Citrus Wax Tart Mold.

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Insulate the wax overnight by placing a box over the mold. This lengthens the cooling process, helping to prevent the wax from cooling too quickly and cracking.

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Now you can remove the wax tarts from the mold. Be careful when unmolding. Pillar blend is specifically designed to pull away from the mold as it hardens. The wax should easily pop out.

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We used Bramble Berry’s White Leaves Tealight Warmer to melt the wax. One of the best parts of these wax tarts is once the fragrance completely burns out, you can just melt down the wax and add more fragrance!

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For the month of March, take 15% off Flavor Oils!

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Bunch O’Grape Melt & Pour

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March is Fruit Month! This month we will be chomping down on some delicious fruit-themed blog projects. This first grape-tastic blog definitely looks good enough to eat! We used a combination of Plum Dusk Mica and Queen’s Purple Mica to make the perfect purple for our grapes, and scented the bunch with one of Bramble Berry’s newest fragrance oils, Sugared Grape. Keep reading to learn more on how to make this tasty-looking soap treat!

What You’ll Need

Ingredients
20 oz Clear Melt & Pour
1/4 tsp Plum Dusk Mica
1/4 tsp Queen’s Purple Mica
3 mL Sugared Grape FO
3 drops Liquid Green
99% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol

Hardware

Easy Pour (or Pyrex Measuring Cup)
Scale
Empty Paper Towel Roll
9 Ball Medium Silicone Mold
Hot Glue Gun
Clean Up Tool
Droppers
12″ Silicone Loaf Mold

**If you’re not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

Directions

Weigh out 12 oz clear melt & pour soap and melt in microwave in 30 second bursts. Add 3 mL Sugared Grape FO, 1/4 tsp Plum Dusk Mica, and 1/4 tsp Queen’s Purple Mica. Stir well until color is fully incorporated.

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Pour soap into the 9 Ball Medium Silicone Mold and spray with rubbing alcohol to remove bubbles. Note: 12 oz will fill two of the 9 Ball Medium Silicone Mold. If you don’t have two of the molds, you can wait for the first set to harden and popped out before pouring the rest.

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While waiting for your soap to set, prepare your empty paper towel roll. This is what we will be “gluing” the soap grapes to. Cut the paper towel roll open as shown below. Roll the cardboard as tight as you can and hot glue it in place so it doesn’t unravel. Now cut to desired length.

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Now to prepare the stems. Weigh out 8oz of clear melt and pour soap and melt in microwave in 30 second bursts. Add three drops of liquid green colorant. Pour a very thin layer into the 12″ silicone loaf mold. Color the remaining soap purple and use as the “glue” for the grapes.

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Start “gluing” the soap grapes to the paper towel roll. Do so by using a dropper to squeeze soap onto grapes. Place in desired location, add pressure, and wait until the grapes have set. Repeat until you are satisfied with the amount of grapes.

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If need be, you can cut the grapes in half, or carve out some of the bottom to better fit the grape in the desired location.

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At this point you will be able to curl your stems. Remove the green melt and pour soap from the 12″ silicone loaf mold and cut into thin slices. You want them to be long and thin, about 1 cm across.

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Wrap the slices around a clean-up tool (or a pen or pencil) to curl.

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“Glue” to the underside of the grapes.

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Clean up the excess melt and pour “glue” with a clean up tool.

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Bingaling Bees Interview

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Wrapping up Bee month we have decided to interview one of our very own customers, Brad Raspet. Brad learned to make soap with us a few years back and has been able to incorporate soapmaking into his business ventures. Brad owns Bingaling Bees, located in Mount Vernon, Washington, and currently has 26 hives. They follow natural beekeeping methods, which means never putting anything into the hives that could be harmful to the bees or to the environment.  They sell delicious honey, as well as integrate their beeswax into their soap and lip balm.

How long have you been a beekeeper and how did you get started?

                This my 7th year of being a natural beekeeper. I was approaching retirement after 29 years with the Renton Fire Department and I knew I would need something to do to keep me out of trouble. I had been interested in bees, I started reading some books, signed up for apprentice beekeeping classes, and started building the hives. I thought it would be a fun and interesting hobby to pursue.

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When did you start making soap? Is that the only product you make?

                I had been keeping bees for about a year when my wife and I visited New Orleans and met a soap maker at a crafts fair. The funny thing was it was after midnight and this crafts fair was open in the parking lot next door to the Spotted Cat Music Club with all kinds of venders selling their wares on Frenchman street. I bought some handmade soap and talked a little about soap making. I thought it would be fun and make a great addition to my selling honey at the farmers market. We got home after New Year’s Day and I signed up (along with my wife & daughter) for one of Otion’s basic soapmaking classes. The next year I started making lip balm too. I put a beekeeper spin on things by putting a little beeswax and honey from my hives in all my handmade soap & lip balm. 

How did you come up with the name for your business?

                In the fire department sometimes guys are given nicknames, mine was “Bing”; something about my energy levels and bouncing off the walls? Anyway, over time the nickname evolved into “Bingaling” to those closest to me, and when I started my business I thought that might be a good name for people to remember and stand out a bit. BingalingBees.com

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What sort of advice would you give to those soapers just starting their businesses?

                My advice, learn the basics well; then you can experiment. Always keep good records of what recipe you used, the supplies used, and the time taken (labor must be included in your final price). I did product surveys when I first started out – passed out sample soaps to family and friends with a questionnaire included.  Adjusted my recipes, scents used, etc. based on results of those surveys and of course continue to respond to customer input even now.

What are some of your other hobbies and interests?

                Well besides beekeeping and soapmaking, I enjoy wildlife photography, birding, kayaking, hiking, and a few ipad apps?

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What’s your favorite Bramble Berry/Otion product?

                I think my favorite part of Bramble Berry/Otion is the service, and the classes. I appreciate the advice and help…

Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself!

                Well, before I went to work for Renton Fire – I worked at Boeing helping build ICBM’s and Patrol Hydrofoil Missleships for our Nation’s Defenses; and before that I was a glasscutter engraving names and designs on wedding goblets, beer mugs and other crystal ware.

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Glasswear

Thank you for your interview Brad!

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For the month of February, take 15% off Beeswax!

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