6 new journals

Some ‘plaguish’ stomach flu has zapped me of energy and zest of any kind, excluding lemon or orange. Confined to my quarters, I’ve managed to still be a quasi-busy bee today. I’ve caught up on all my mags, consumed an inordinate amount of peppermint tea (and little else)…and I’ve been making handbooks to the sixth degree. All 6 new journals are listed on La Paperie & Cozy Shop now, and I’m working on a few more to include within the next few days. They're all leatherbound, 320 pages, and stitched with longstitch through a pierced cover. All photos of the books are also on my Flickr bookbinding album.

As I hold in my hand each blank book that I make, I can almost imagine literary greats and intellectual minds of centuries past writing in handmade journals like these… a note, a reference, a mind meander …excerpts of thoughts to include in their next manuscripts. Jane Austen writing notes as she walks in the pretty wilderness behind her house, annotating her next great work, Pride & Prejudice. Or a young Charles Dickens reminds himself in his journal to incorporate the comic villainy of Mr. Jingle in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. That is why each book I make will bear a different name of an author.

Each journal includes a well-known quote from a well-loved novel on the first page by that author…whether it be the likes of Austen, Dickens, Bronte, Hemmingway, and so on. I will also give customers the option of personalizing a custom book to incorporate a favorite author of their's, or a friend’s, for that special one-of-a-kind gift.

PS: I ordered a new scale...hope it will be here soon so I can start making more soap!

I hate you, murphy's law

I was busy starting to make soap today when ...my scale started to smoke...literally. Then it up and died on me, mid-batch. I'm so upset. It was obviously faulty because it's relatively new and has only been used a handful of times since I bought it. The model of my scale has a good name and warranty, thankfully, so I'm sending it back to either be repaired (which I highly doubt is possible) or replaced. The frustrating part is that today was the first day I could devote to all-day soap-making. I had planned to make 3 batches because I'm nearly sold out of my soaps - I only have 4 bars left! Plus I was eager to use my new TOG soap molds that arrived yesterday. Go figure! So now I have to wait for another scale to get to me during the seasonal mail rush. Oh. Yay.

The bright side? At least it gives me time to work on some more books and art. :)

new journal

Here is my first attempt at bookbinding with longstitch through a slotted cover...which really isn't a good name for it because I didn't slit the cover, but used holes instead (lends a much neater look). It opens flat and measures 5½" x 4¼" with 160 pages (or 320 with both sides used) of 50lb. parchment-style paper.


The book's binding is completely hand-stitched with no paste or glue used at all. The binding is really sturdy. The leather is a nice saddle brown, soft yet hearty. And it smells great!

I really love these little books, and plan to make more when I have the time - they'll be available on my etsy shop.

2 more soaps...

You've already seen the new look for my mulled cider (I'm loving the swirls!). I've made two other batches: lavender & oatmeal, and lemongrass & sage with lemon rind. They both smell amazing!

Also, some good news! Our grocery store has decided to sell goat's milk - I'm thrilled. I bought some and will try to make some goat's milk soap soon!

mulled cider

My first attempt at swirling...came out pretty well. They smell yummy and they look good enough to eat. :) Click for larger view. I'll take photos of the lavender & oatmeal bars soon.


with many thanks! :)

I want to thank all of you who were so kind to leave your feedback the other day. These were all such great ideas, you guys. Thanks so much for brain-storming with me!!

THE NAME ~ I really do like the name Cozy & Co. Savon. My only concern is that I'm quite sure a lot of folks around here won't know what "savon" means. Sad but true. But I'm not averse to explaining it to them, of course. We'll see. :) I'm quite partial to Cozy & Co. too, as opposed to Cozy County - which I feel has too much of a 'country' ring to it. I'd like to aim at a more "up-town" feel to the product.

PACKAGING ~ Hubby and I were brainstorming the other day and were thinking of the whole "sample" thing --displaying demo bars so people can actually see, touch and smell them (he was the one who actually suggested it, the good man - he's really getting into it), and then having the products that will sell, more securely packaged. Also, I will next have to come up with some sort of display, to show off the demos, and also to store the ones for sale.

I think the demos should have the cigar bands - best to let people see and smell the bars. With regards the soaps for sale, I'm still torn between the plastic wrapping (which is so cheap and easy), and the lovely looks of the Kraft Box with cut-out. I've been looking online for some good photos to show you of the shrink wrap with soaps, but couldn't find a clear enough shot. In general, they don't look too bad, actually. I think perhaps I came across only some bad examples, and that was why I wasn't too impressed. Personally my favorite is the corrugated kraft pillow boxes, but I've heard they're very difficult to store, because they lack a straight edge.

April raised a valid point about the label being stored inside the plastic wrap - once the soap cures there should be little to no left over oils atop the soaps. But I agree, there is nothing worse than a blotchy business card! I know some who glue their cards outside of the plastic wrapping - that may be an option. I like your idea of those glue strips (resealable adhesive). I'll have to look for that...again, cost will factor in.

Well gals, you've really given me a lot to think about. If you come up with any more ideas or thoughts, please let me know. :)

PS: Made two batches of soap yesterday afternoon -- lavender & oatmeal, and another batch of the ever-popular mulled cider (with swirls!).

soap dilemmas

As many of you know, I'm selling my soaps online and also from my home. It's all going swimmingly so far. I will soon be trying to sell my soap at local craft stores. In fact, I may have a huge order coming in over the winter to be filled by the spring time (when a local craft store opens in April). Not certain of it yet, but it would be great if that would work out. Since this is all new to me, I'm in dire need of your opinions, on two matters I'm dealing with right now…

First of all, I'm thinking of changing the name of my soap. The name of my Etsy shop will remain the same - "La Paperie & Cozy" - which is apropos since, in time, I will be offering handmade journals and artwork in additon to my handmade soap. However, I think my soap should have it's own name, as customers will no doubt be scratching their heads as to what "la paperie" has to do with soap. Do you think I should change the name? Or leave it the same? And IF I should change it, do you have any suggestions? I was thinking of either Cozy County Soap or Cozy & Co. Soap …so it would put the "cozy" in La Paperie & Cozy. What do you think?

Predicament number two has to do with PACKAGING! I'm trying to settle on the right kind of packaging for my soaps. Picking packaging is important. It's what people see first, and as we all know, first impressions are important. Currently I hand-wrap individuals bars in pretty printed paper.

I really do love the look of them -- like little gifts. And who doesn't like receiving a gift? The only thing is…the first reaction I notice that people have is to lift the bar of papered soap to ones nose and sniff. Unfortunately, you can neither see nor smell the soap that lay within the wrapping. A pity, especially when the soap smells so mouth-wateringly good and looks like something that you could eat! Another drawback? It's rather time-consuming wrapping each individual bar. I feel any potential customer would like a bit of a preview of what they're buying — personally, I would definitely be more apt to buy a bar of soap if I knew what it smelled like, or looked like. (Of course, online, one must go totally by photos and scent description.) My concern regarding the packaging is mainly for my "in-person" clients, who will be buying my soap from me either directly, or at local craft stores.

The trick is deciding on packaging my soaps in a way that will allow my customers to both smell and see the soap, yet retain that "organic" homemade look, and also save time and money. My packaging options? There are more selections than this, but these are the ones I'm most interested in:

Pros: The least expensive route. Customers can clearly see and smell the soap, without touching the actual soap and damaging it. The label would be my business card inserted in the front of the soap, and sealed in the plastic. They are an instant indication to whether a container has been opened or not. Easy, fast multiple packing.
Cons: I really don’t like the look. Handmade soap that is packaged in plastic loses a lot of its 'homemade' organic appeal.

cigarband.jpg2. CIGAR BAND
Pros: Inexpensive. Looks very nice. Customers can clearly see and smell the soap, without damaging it (if band is wide enough). I can make my own bands out of card stock - I’m thinking “kraft” paper, which is looks more organic - and design it however I choose. No need for additional stickers or labeling.
Cons: Soap that is ‘naked’ can lose its scent faster, and is more prone to damage (dropping, over-handling, etc.) Cigar bands can also fall off easily, as soap shrinks with age.

Pros: These look lovely. Customers can open the end of the pillow box to see and smell soap. Labels would be my business card tied to the box with raffia.
Cons: More expensive. Customers must handle the soap to see it (take out of box). More time consuming as they must be packed AND tied with raffia.

Pros: These look nice. Customers can smell and see a small bit of the soap without having to take the soap out of the box.
Cons: More expensive. Adhesive labels would be needed.

5. HANDWRAPPED BARS (what I have currently)
Pros: These look like little gifts, and are very pretty. Label is my business card tied to the box with raffia, and type of soap is handwritten on the back of the bar with a sticky label (which also keeps the wrapper closed).
Cons: More expensive (I use good quality scrapbook paper). Customers can’t see or smell the soap. Very time consuming to wrap every bar.

I’m still trying to decide. Any thoughts?

(X-posted at The Soap Chronicles)

new scents have arrived!

My order of new fragrances have arrived. I can't wait to soap them!!!! The scents marked with an "M" are considered popular fragrances for men. Here they are:

Pink Grapefruit
Clean Cotton (M)
Orange Blossom
Green Tea Chai
Fresh Cut Roses
Sandalwood (M)
Lemongrass & Sage
Ocean Water (M)
Patchouli & Clove (M)
Pumpkin Spice
White Tea & Ginger

And these are on their way.... :)

Pink Lemonade
Succulent Pear
Sweet Berries
Bay Rum (M)
Apple Jack & Orange Peel (M)
Cranberry Orange (M)
Cucumber Melon
Iced Cranberry

they like me...they really like me!

Wow, things are going so well on the soapy side of things. A lot better than I'd hoped. My "li'l chub" bars are flying off the curing racks faster than I can replace them! My mulled cider is almost gone - only one bar left!

Although my online shop hasn't seen a lot of business yet, most of my sales are in person, via the ever almighty WORD OF MOUTH. I guess that inevitable in a little town. People are becoming familiar with what I'm doing, and I'm so glad they like my soap. It really is a joy to make and to use. I put a lot of time and care into each batch, and I'm glad that doesn't go unnoticed. :)

I'm thinking of leaving my correspondence teaching job. I would like to spend more time making more soap, as well as working on my bookbinding. I've been itching to start making more books, but time just hasn't allowed me to just yet. I have a feeling by the new year, I will leave my teaching job completely, in favor of these new loves...soap and handbound blank books. Not to mention, more time to work on art for my etsy store too. I've already gotten a few custom orders for all of these items, and I'd love to spend more time on those, than in teaching. While I do enjoy some aspects of my teaching job (mainly the students) --- I have to make a choice.

"can I eat it?"

“…but it smells so good!”

So some of my newest customers have said.

They do smell uber yummy - the coconut and the mulled cider are especially mouth-watering. As is my latest scent combo…mango macadamia nut. It even *sounds* good, so just imagine how it smells!!

I finished up printing some business cards. They turned out pretty good.

My brother-in-law suggested a cool idea --> using an empty beer bottle for a soap mold. The idea would be to pour the soap into the bottle, and once it hardened, crack open the bottle. Then voila! Soap in the shape of a beer bottle! I must admit, the idea was pretty cool, and I just might have to try it. I'd call it "bar o' beer", and scent it with a 'manly' scent of course. I could even use beer as my soap base (many have done it with good results). Of course it wouldn't smell of beer, but just knowing the soap was made from their favorite drink may beckon some gents my way. ;) Not to mention they'd make funny gifts!

my new etsy shop

Alrighty folks! I should let you know that I’ve opened my own little online shop on Etsy.com to sell my handmade soap, art, and my handbound blank books (when I get some done). I’ve named it La Paperie & Cozy - not only will it be 'paperie' items like journals and other blank books, but also other 'cozy' items like my handmade soap and art. The shop is currently empty, but it won't be for long. Not only will I be selling online, but also from home in my town - in craft shops, to friends/family and craft shows when possible. My aim is to make this into my main line of work, and I'm really looking forward to it.

This blog will talk about items I am working on at the time. Feel free to bookmark both and check back for items added.

My soaps will be, for the most part, vegan-friendly. For those of you who are allergy prone to scents, you can request a fragrance-free bar, or an essential oils-only bar (all-natural with no synthetic fragrance). I will use the occassional fragrance oil for "sweet cake" bars, such as food-scented soaps.

And now, a question, actually... I'd like to survey what type of scents you all like in your soaps. What are your favourites? Are there scents in a soap that make you not want to leave the shower? ;)

I'd like to get a good cross-section of preferences, so I know what types of soap I should start making for the majority. For example, a lot of people like the fresh, fruity aromas (grapefruit, orange, cucumber, berries, etc.), while others prefer more herbal-based scents (lavender, rosemary, sage, etc.), while others enjoy food-type aromas (banana nut bread, mulled cider, mocha vanilla, etc.). There are also misc-type smells (fresh cut grass, clean cotton, first snow, etc.) List as many that prefer, in a comment here.

two more today!

Since I had today off work, I made two more batches. The kitchen smells amazing!

~ COCONUT: Straight from the tropics! Smelling like sweetened a piƱa colada - all it needs is a little drink umbrella! Made with generous amounts of cocoa butter for extra luxurious moisturizing properties.

~ SWEET ORANGE & RED MANDARIN: Everyone loves that sweet, fresh-fruity aroma of freshly peeled orange and mandarin - revitalizing and warm just like sunshine! Natural essential oils. Shea butter for added skin conditioning. (This soap is vegan friendly)

These two batches turned out the best yet! I'm so pleased with them. I think I've come up with my two "dream recipes" that I will stick to, for the rest of my batches. One recipe is vegan-friendly, the other utilizes a tiny bit of beeswax which is considered non-vegan friendly.

If any of you are familiar with cold-process soap-making, I prevented these two batches from reaching the gelling stage by popping them in the fridge for about an hour. As a result, they remained an opaque ivory colour and are utterly bursting with creamy lather - just what I was aiming for! They're luxiously conditioning and sudsy. And their scents? They're both utterly mouth-watering!

I'm in the process of ordering some proper soap molds from TOG Soap Molds (he's got some great handmade stuff!) for a more 'finished' look to the bars.


I must say I'm excited about all this. I've already got quite a few orders coming in already. Weeee! And the best part is, this is so much fun! I'll never buy store-bought soap again!

Photos of new soaps to follow soonish...

new soaps

    I’ve been away from soap making for a while, only because I’ve been pretty busy and I’ve also been waiting for some new supplies to arrive. Well, I’m back. And I’ve got two new soaps on the curing block…

    ~ ROSEMARY PEPPERMINT: Fresh peppermint essential oil with dried rosemary for texture and gentle exfoliation (This soap is vegan friendly)

    ~ MULLED CIDER: If you could package the smell of autumn this would be it! Undertones of cinnamon, anise and clove are blended with warm, juicy apple. (This soap is vegan friendly)

    Both are enriched with luxuriously emollient shea butter and conditioning oils. I had to restrain myself from not biting into them, they looks so scrumptious. Soap in my bellies! Hope they turn out good. If they do, they’ll be the first bars o’ soap available at La Paperie & Cozy, my new Etsy store, which will be unveiled soon. I'll also be adding pictures of these soaps...soonish!

Welcome to la paperie & cozy

Welcome to ♥ la paperie & cozy ♥ ~ my home of handbound journals, handmade soap, art, and cozy what-not. This is a little blog for me to write about my adventures in all of the above crafts, but namely bookbinding!

Being an avid reader and writer, bookbinding has always intrigued me. I've recently embarked on learning as much as possible to make my own handbound blank books for myself, for my friends, and for sale/commission on Etsy (and perhaps Ebay later on). I have already made a couple blank books that I'm pleased with and I'm eager to try new and improved techniques to create even more unique handbound books.

I have also been making soap - using the cold process method. (Who doesn't like a chubby bar of aromatic handmade soap!?) Where I may mention a little here about my soap-making efforts, for more detailed "soap stories" please refer to my soap-making blog: The Soap Chronicles which I will update after every new batch. 

Art is also a passion of mine, including painting and drawing in various mediums. I will also make mention of any projects that include these as well.

All in all, la paperie & cozy will be an artistic outlet. Feel free to join me! I would love the company.

second batch success!

Picking myself up after a somewhat botched first batch, I made a second batch of soap Sunday morning. This time, I left out the beeswax and castor completely, opting for a different recipe - olive oil, soybean, coconut, palm. Wow, it turned out great!

I just turned it out of the mould yesterday, so it'll have to cure for a few weeks, but I think this will be great. I sampled a little sliver of it and it already suds up great and is nice and hard!

This time I used the stick-blender. Handstirring the first batch was a real pain and it took FOREVER to trace. But this time? Wow, what a difference!! I'm so glad I tried it, and will never go back to the old spoon! Using the handblender worked so much better, and the soap came out smoother, and it traced perfectly! Also, it gelled (I don't think my first batch gelled which was another problem with it).

For a mould, I went to the grocery store and bought a small plastic cat litter tray. It worked perfectly and was just the right size for my 4 lb. batch.

I colored it a bit with some paprika for a coral/peachy color, and scented it with the grapefruit essential oil -- smells sooooo good...like a freshly halved ruby red! I texturized the top with a butterknife. I'm really pleased, and can't wait to use it!

Okay...NOW I'm hooked! :)

first batch blues

I made my very first batch of cold-process soap back on Aug. 23. It's just finished curing. Not exactly the shining example I was expecting, but hey, it's my first batch. My friend, April, kindly called it "rustic". I guess it is. :)

Here is the recipe:

Beeswax 56 g
Castor 226 g
Coconut 226 g
Olive 226 g
Palm 226 g
Shea Butter 56 g
water 386.08 g
lye 136.803 g

+ a handful of oatmeal as filler

It's not too bad. My only complaint is that it's not overly bubbly - due to too much beeswax - and it's a bit too soft for my liking (too much castor oil). Also, it appears to have been beaten with the ugly stick. Not exactly pretty to look at. heh! But hey, it's soap ...and it does the job. After all, it's only my first batch. I shouldn't expect too much.

the soapstress

Welcome to The Soap Chronicles. :)

My name is Bev (a.k.a. "bookyeti"). Besides my ardor for all things literary, I'm also a newbie soapstress, enjoying a newfound love of making handmade cold-process soap. I make all my soaps using oils such as olive, coconut, and palm, which saponify when combined with a solution of water and lye (sodium hydroxide).

Even as a little girl, I have always been fascinated by soap, and the endless different varieties that can be created. Up until recently, I was ignorant to the fact that soap is really not all that difficult to make, as long as you have the right ingredients and equipment (which is easy to find). I've always loved homemade soap the best, and so that is why I've decided to start making my own.

This blog will be a place for me to brainstorm new techniques, recipes, oil and scent combinations, as well as chronicling my successes and, inevitable, failures along the way. (Hopefully more of the former than the latter!)

If you are a veteran soaper or a newbie like myself - or if you're interested in giving it a try someday - feel free to join in on the discussions. Hints and recommendations are always welcome!