Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Help those in need to get soapy!

Friends and fans! Just one day left in our quest to get tons of soap to Clean the World. Last time I reported on the count, we were at 31 bars. Today, we're at 48!! So, get your order in. For every $15 you spend by midnight tomorrow PST, we'll send a bar to Clean the World! And, thanks to everyone who's placed orders so far this year. Click here to be taken to the Pepo Park store.

Ginger spice is on sale for $5!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Soaper gets sweet! Part 2...

Many years ago on a visit to Paris, I discovered the French macaron cookie made by the Laduree Patisserie in the Printemps department store. Love at first sight and love at first bite.  Every time I go to Paris, I stop in for more and I've always wanted to make them. 

On the road to making them, I met Erin Pikor. Once I found out that she makes macaron soap, I knew we'd be friends!  I have one of her lemon créme soaps.  I can't bring myself to use it.  It smells like a lovely lemon cake. It arrived wrapped in beautiful flocked paper.

Next, on the road to making them, Trader Joe's started importing frozen macarons from France.  So good, nice price, low effort!  I don't have a picture of those, we ate them all and I've had to ban myself from buying more.

Finally, on the road to macarons, I met Joyce. Joyce studied pastry at the Cordon Bleu.  Joyce said she'd teach me, and she did.  Joyce is awesome!

Sifted ingredients: 
Chocolate ganache: 
Mixing in egg whites for the chocolate hazelnut cookies: 
Piping out the almond cookies:
Purple egg whites: 
Passionfruit buttercream (I brought the canned passionfruit back from Australia): 
The cookies have a perfect foot:
We await our filling:
Pretty macarons:
Almond cookie with orange buttercream filling:
 Purple hazelnut cookie with ganache filling:

We made 3 kinds of cookies: Almond, chocolate hazelnut, hazelnut dyed purple.
We made 4 kinds of fillings: Chocolate ganache, passionfruit buttercream, orange buttercream, Nutella.

All of them were delicious and they didn't last long.  :)  I can't wait to make more!
Thanks for the fun time, Joyce! 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soaper gets sweet! Part 1...

Soaping is a huge passion of mine because I love chemistry and I love essential oils.  I also love baking which is chemistry and flavors.  Other than the fact that soap isn't edible, the two hobbies are very similar because they involve precise measurements, patience, and they please your senses.

Last week, I was lucky enough to take a class in sugar artistry.  It's not quite like baking but it involves precision and patience.  Chef Chris Malham at Lake Washinton Technical College in Kirkland, WA was the teacher.  He has many years of pastry experience and learned sugar artistry from Ewald Notter, who is widely regarded as one of the best sugar artists in the world.

In class, we learned to color sugar and to create bubble sugar, sugar ribbons, pulled sugar, and how to blow sugar. It was both fun and frustrating.  Chris and my classmates were fun.  But, the sugar was frustrating - it's hot, it's temperamental and when cool, it's fragile.

On day one, we learned a few techniques and made a flower.  Mine is rose-like.  It's in a sugar cage.

On day 2 & 3, we made clowns.  Techniques used: Coloring sugar, making sugar ropes (the base is a coiled rope), blowing sugar, sugar ribbons and hiding errors with sugar.  Chris made the stand of straw sugar for the clown and the elf (and, other bits and pieces).
Note bubble sugar in the bottom right corner:

On the final day, we cast sugar and colored it with powders, then made blown sugar elf creatures.  They were inspired by Ewald Notter's snowman (see below).  The cast sugar is the base, with a straw sugar stand and then, Mr. Elf.
Sugar base and straw sugar:

The four day class was amazing.  It was topped off by a visit from the Ewald Notter.  He was at LWTC to teach a class and did a wonderful demo.

Blown sugar swan, ribbon, bubble sugar, pastillage and wonderful dessert by Andrew Logan:
Pulled sugar flower, ribbon and airbrushed pastillage base:
Snowman that inspired the blue elf:

If you have a chance to learn about making things from sugar, I recommend you take it.  It was fun and I learned skills I can use to impress you when you come over for dinner.  :) 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clean the world!

As you know, there was a terrible earthquake in Haiti on January 12. People from all over the world have rallied to help the people of that nation.  A charity called Clean the World started taking donations specifically to be diverted to the people of Haiti.  Clean The World's mission is to recycle soap, shampoo, and lotion discarded by hotels and to distribute the recycled products worldwide to people who cannot afford these essential items. 

The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild has partnered with Clean The World (CTW) and so I decided to send donations to CTW and to help you do so, too.  For every $15 you spend (before shipping & taxes), I'll donate a bar of soap to CTW on your behalf.  Then, I'll match it.  So, for every $15 you spend, 2 bars will go to someone in need.

The first box is ready to go.  Thirteen pounds of soap!  Thanks, everyone who's purchased so far this year.  I plan on doing this through the end of March, 2010.  So, get some great Pepo Park products for you and help someone in need!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back on the blog...

Well, the blog has been ignored for a while.  But, that doesn't mean Pepo Park has been at rest.
After the hectic holiday craft fair season, I took several naps.  We had a fabulous holiday sales season and even sold out of beer soap at Black Raven Brewing (restocked now...).

Once the naps were over, it was time for state sales tax.  Not fun, but it forced me to get things in order.
Then, stock taking, beer soap making, organizing the "factory" and quite a few Internet sales.

I also bought some new equipment and will unveil it here soon so that you can ooooh and aaaah.  :)

Today was the first fair of 2010.  It was a really fun one in downtown Kirkland at the Lake St. Bar & Grill.  Hosted by I Heart Indie Crafts, it was the first of many for Seattle's Eastside.  The turn out was good, the quality of the crafts was good and the mimosas we're cheap!

All-natural, hand crafted salve, lip balm, and bath salts:
Soaps await new owners:

Through the end of March, we're donating one bar of soap for every $15 you spend on Pepo Park products.  So, place your order today on our site.  The donated soap will be sent to Clean the World, a charity that "gets soap to people who really need it".  Sounds like a good cause to us!  At this time, a majority of the donations are going to Haiti.

Buyers learn about our sudsy offer:

We have plenty of fun stuff coming up, including the annual Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference.
You can read all about it here!