Category Archives: Handcrafted, homemade, soap, natural beauty products

Misadventures in Soap Making Part 2


Lately I’ve been on a glycerin soap kick. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with the different ingredients I can use to make glycerin soap do more than just clean. So when I got an email to participate in a soap swap, I was all excited about what I could make with the ingredients I had in my stash.

I came up with a triple layer loaf that would be exfoliating and antibacterial. I decided I would use oatmeal, rosehip seed powder and honey powder. Oatmeal and rosehip seed powder are very gentle exfoliators and honey is highly antibacterial. I also added a little olive oil and camellia oil to make the bars more moisturizing. I could not wait to see how these were going to turn out.

My first layer was a mix of oatmeal, white glycerin soap base, olive oil and fragrance oil. As I melted the soap, I used a coffee bean grinder to pulverize the oatmeal. Once the soap was melted, I added in the olive oil, oatmeal and fragrance oil. This layer poured nice and easy.

Looks cool huh?

The second layer was the honey layer. As I melted the honey glycerin soap base, I measured out the amount of honey powder I wanted to use. As soon as the soap was melted, I dumped the honey powder in. And then it happened.

Maaaaaaaaaaan. It got all clumpy.

Um yeah. I had to fix this and fast. The soap was starting to harden up and if it did, there was no way I’d be able to get all the clumps out. I grabbed a slotted spoon and started digging the clumps out as fast as possible. And luckily I did get them all. I think the mistake I made here was to not dilute the powder in oil first. Had I done that, the powder would have easily dispersed into the soap. I think it would have anyway. Since I had honey granules in the stash, I decided to use those instead. Honey granules are a lot more substantial than the powder, so by swapping these in, I was able to save the layer.

The final layer was the rosehip seed layer. Rosehips are a gorgeous dark brick red color. Between the lighter oatmeal and honey layers, I knew this would be the perfect offset. In addition to the rosehips, this layer was made with clear glycerin soap base, camellia oil and fragrance oil. As I melted the soap base, I added the camellia oil to the rosehip seed powder. I was not about to have another “ai-yah” moment. Luckily for me, this layer worked as planned with no problems.

And here is the finished loaf, cooling down and waiting to be cut.

Since I added so much extra material to the soap base, I decided to let it harden up overnight before I cut into it. But when I did cut it up the next day…

Dude…so not cool.

My bar broke in half between the layers. I was able to save some of the bars by “gluing” them back together. The “glue” is actually more glycerin soap melted and poured lightly in between the two things you want to glue back together. I’m not sure why my layers seperated other than maybe the temperatures weren’t right when I poured the layers. I’m pretty sure my friend Rose of Sugarloaf Soaps can tell me what I did wrong, but for now, I was happy that only 3 of the bars had issues. The rest were looking good.

When I tested the bars, they came out exactly as I wanted. Light scrubbing action with super clean and soft hands. Luckily for me, this didn’t turn out too bad after all.


Hand Mixed Tea Blend for Gifts


Fernando asked me to start making more tea in an effort to decrease all the juice and other sugary filled drinks that we normally consume. Having a room full of herbs to pick from, I was more than happy to oblige. As I filled a jar full of things I love to drink, I realized how pretty it looked and how nice it would be to receive something like this as a gift.

And here it is all mixed up.

And here it is freshly poured in my cast iron.

I let the whole mix brew for about 10 minutes and then I let it sit in the pot another 20. Why, I don’t know. I think I was being lazy. After all that laziness, I strained it and then let it cool in the fridge. The mix was a beautiful purple color, tart, fruity and flowery at the same time. And the smell? Heavenly!

Look at that pretty purple color.

If you’re interested in making this blend as a gift , the cost is very affordable. For this blend, the cost of all the herbs was about $32. For that price, you get a lot of material to work with. I purchase the majority of my herbs from San Francisco Herb Co. They have a store on the outskirts of the Mission in S.F. and I like to see what I’m buying. Here is a breakdown of the tea blend costs and sizes if you were to buy them from SFHC.

Herb Cost Oz
Orange Peel (California cut)  $      4.50 16
Hibiscus (whole flowers)  $      7.55 16
Chamomile Flowers  $      6.90 16
Elder Berries  $      5.85 16
Peppermint Leaf (8 oz)  $      2.30 8
Rose Petals (red with buds)  $      4.45 16
Total  $    31.55 88

If you filled mason jar with 8 ounces, you’d get 11 jars for $3.94. I usually buy The Republic of Tea and Tazo teas anywhere from $6 – $15 and on average they are only 1 ounce to 3 ounces full. Not only that, who knows how old the tea is? When you make your own blends, you control the ingredients and the quality.

Can you tell I’m an advocate of making your own teas here?

You can take it even a step further, and get sealable tea bags and fill them yourself.  It would not be as pretty as loose tea in a jar, but would make it less messy for whomever you give the gift too.

At Home Facial Pt. 3


The last step to my el cheapo at home facial series is steaming.

These are my favorite herbs to steam my face with. The mix includes roses, jasmine, calendula and lavender. Their benefits are:

a. Roses not only smell amazing, but they are a major skin rejuvenator.

b. Jasmine has calming qualities when taken internally as well as used externally. It’s believed that jasmine also helps with relief to skin afflictions.

c. Calendula is full of anti oxidants and is used in many anti-aging creams.

e. Lavender is antiseptic but also is good for healing skin irritations.

Steaming your skin is insanely easy.

1. Grab a pot and fill it with water.

2. Dump the herbs in and bring to a boil. I used a heaping tablespoon of each. You can eyeball how much you want to use.

3. Go wash your face so there is nothing between you and the steam.

4. Check on the pot. Once the herbs and water start boiling and steam is rising, turn off the stove and put the pot on a trivet or something that will protect the counter or table where you will be steaming.

4. Put your face over the steam and using a towel, cover your head like a tent.

5. Wait 5 minutes. Take breaks if you need to. Done.

I love steaming because it opens up your pores and all the good herbal essences from the herbs get in them bad boys and clean house. The best part is that you don’t really need to use herbs, but it’s nice to have some because you get extra benefits from steaming. I mean, you could have just stood in the shower and absorbed the steam too right?

So check out my el cheapo 3 step at home facial. I noticed a significant difference once I started doing this regiment weekly after about 2 weeks, but you may have different results.

At Home Facial Pt. 2


Last year I posted my el cheapo (but all natural) microderm recipe with baking soda. Now I’m going to post my 2nd el cheapo at home facial recipe.

This one involves:

(Ignore the baking soda. I was also doing my el cheapo microderm.)

First, mash up one or two strawberries.

Add a tablespoon of plain yogurt and mix together.


Slather on your face and leave on for about 10 or 15 minutes. It gets a little sloppy, so just pull your hair back and lay on a pillow. Rinse the mask off gently with cool water and pat your face dry.

Strawberries are full of anti-oxidants, vitamin C and salicylic acid. Plain yogurt is full of lactic acid which helps slough off dead skin and tighten the remaining skin underneath. Also, I’ve been told the acids in both strawberries and yogurt help diminish age spots, brown spots, etc. My brown spots are still here sadly, but they do seem to be getting lighter and smaller.

While going to the spa and getting a full facial is a real treat, these at home remedies aren’t too shabby either. Plus I love that they are all natural and you know exactly what’s going on your skin.

Coming up, I’ll show you part 3 of my el cheapo at home facial steps.

Oh, and guess what another huge benefit is for making this strawberry mask?

That’s right, strawberry shortcake! And you know I made some as soon as I was done with my facial mask.

Love, strawberry shortcake and tighter pores,


Shampoo Bar Review & Other Stuff


Yes, I know. I totally suck. I have all these awesome Daniel Fast recipes I need to post and to give you an update on how it turned out. Well, I lasted until Day 6. After that I ate one regular meal a day and the other two meals (and snacks) were Daniel Fast compliant. To be honest, it got rough for me on nights I didn’t have time to cook. That’s when I ended up eating something that was not on the list, like cereal with  milk for dinner. All in all, for me, it was an awesome experience and I’m still eating some meals that are Daniel Fast. Would I do it again? Heck yes! I would just plan better and make more meals ahead of time. I did see other bloggers on Daniel Fast who were eating brown rice pasta and rice bread, but I tried to stay as traditional as possible. I guess everyone has their own limitations on what they can do.

Recipes will be following….

But before I go, I wanted to give you an update about the shampoo bars I made awhile back.

Remember these?

I’ve been using my bar on and off now for about a month, and let me tell you, this bar will clean the heck out of your hair.  My hair was literally squeaky clean. All the dirt, oils and left over product residue were completely gone after I used this first time. And while this bar removed all that crap, my scalp did not get dried out or dandruffy at all.

Now, while I loved the outcome of using the shampoo bar, I did notice that I had to use a little product after to give my hair a little weight to stay down. Also, when used as a regular body soap, it did not produce a lot of lather, but still got me clean. I’m not sure yet if it’s back to the drawing board for this particular recipe, but I’ll let you know if I come up with a new one.

I still owe a few people tester bars. Anyone else want to try one? I believe I have 4 left.

Love and squeaky clean hair,



Happy New Year!


Now just where did 2010 go? Did it really happen? I guess with all the wonderful memories I have, I have to say 2010 was a pretty dang awesome year for me. Here are some of my highlights:

1. I finally got the courage to go into business and became Havelina Soap!

2. I got to enjoy time off and be a full time housewife.

3. I spent more time with my mom and my family.

4. I now have two awesome friends in Katherine and Danielle.

5. In going back to work full time, I made even more good friends in the forms of Miss Gayle and Athena. Oh and the paycheck isn’t too bad either.

6. I fell more in love with the handsome, smart, sweet man you all know as Fernando.

7. I went on more vacations and mini trips in the past year than the last 5 years.

8. I finally sat back and smelled the roses.

Life is a gift. And I’m so happy to be able to enjoy it with all of you.

Love and Happy New Year,