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The short answer is, yes you should.  But it's so expensive and hard to find!  Yes it does cost more than regular soap and it can be tricky to find a trusted brand that you like, however, the benefits are worth it.  Try to think of soap like you would your favorite meats at the grocery store.  You and I both know that if we only buy sausage, bacon, and processed canned meat that our heart and blood pressure would eventually have a melt down.  So what do we do?  We try our best to split the difference and get that healthy and lean chicken breast and turkey to even it out.  Well it's somewhat the same with skin products.
The good news is that we can enjoy 100% of the soap we use and really do not have to give up anything as good as a good ole slice of bacon!  In fact, most anyone will enjoy natural and organic soap much more that the store bought ones. 
The bonus part is that it really is not even any more expensive when you add up the cost correctly.  Most handmade soap is crafted using natural ingredients that have a longer lasting bar than the products they sell you at the store, some ofSheaGarden'ssoap even last twice as long as normal ones!  Just that benefit alone can even the cost out but there is another thing to consider.
How much moisturizer do you have to use to counteract the drying conditions that cheap soap leaves you with?  How much time and effort do you spend on rubbing lotions and creams because your skin is just not right after that shower?  With many Handcrafted soaps, this is not a problem.
So why not make the change?  Are you willing to try something new that your body and health will benefit from for years to come?  Maybe it's time to join the millions that have given up those heavily marketed cheap store produtcts and switch over to the real and natural stuff!  find our more and explore here at our home page SheaGarden
 
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So it's that time again to take the Garden's soap to market!  It was a popular success a couple of weeks ago when the wife and I set up shop at the Flying Monkey Arts Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where we sold some product and got some great networking in with fellow small business owners.  
I have to say I'm looking forward to next weekend even more!.  There are plenty of things to do at the Center including puppet shows, a play theater, all hand crafted vendors and great food as well.  If you live in the area, bring  your family and friends (or pets) to show your support to all artist and crafters that put in hard work for something great and something different. 
In the near future, I will be posting an event calendar that will have any and all physical locations that Shea Garden will have products set up.  Below you will find some pictures of the Arts Center as well as date and location information.
2211 Seminole Dr. Huntsville, Alabama 35805
09/23/2017
10am - 4pm
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Shea butter, coconut oil, bees wax combined to make the perfect balm for dry lips and comfort.  
Will be adding to store soon, keep checking back!
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New large batch soap recipe is a hit!  Great lather, cleansing, and moisturizing attributes make the Gardens Soap top tier of handmade soap.  
The customers support and feedback has helped make these soaps what they are today so we are taking this opportunity to show appreciation!
Note:  please do not share code with others.  Only those who have visited this page should have this code.  Thank you 
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After many months of trying ideas and researching ways to label my handmade soaps I finally settled on and easy and cheap way to do it.  All you need is some type of document or word program (I used Pages) and some imagination. 
After designing my desired color scheme and what I wanted on the label, I simply repeated four label wraps that would fit my custom sized soaps on my word document and printed them out on an 8 1/2 by 11 standard printing paper.  I then used a card stock cutter as pictured below to get perfectly even cuts for the wraps. 
Once I tested this design and format on my soaps I simply emailed Staples and had them print out a desired amount of these on their premium paper.  Note:  I printed both black and white and color because of the cost difference, B/W 15 cents, Color 59 cents.  Not only does that save a few pennies, it also creates a more rustic and varied look to the multiple soaps when they are placed together.  You can even have different color backgrounds on save files so you can match it with scents.
These pictures represent the final design I decided to use on my soaps, however, I have now added a space for soap name and scent. 
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Handcrafting soap in semi bulk can be a long and messy process as well as costly when you think of the supplies and equipment.  After months of making 1 loaf at a time and trying different recipes to find the ones I, and everyone else like the most, it was finally time to up the ante a bit.  I have successfully been making 4 loaf batches for a while now and with great results!  The Green Pine Soap is actually my first cured example of this.  Below I will give my "go to" recipe including instructions and tips.  I will refer to this as 4LB #3 which is what I mark my recipes with according to loaf amount and which version of oil ratios. Hope you enjoy!
The batch above is a Lavender Soap which came out very fragrant and beautiful, this is one of my favorite scents of all time!
Note:  This recipe and batch size is recommended for experienced soap makers.  If you have never made a batch of soap you do not want to start with this one as it will be costly and potentially dangerous.  I will post basic soap recipe in future blog.  If your interested in getting started in soap making then this post is still beneficial knowledge so keep reading! 
4LB #3.  5% Superfat.  125 ounces of oils before lye, water, and fragrance 184 total after mixing.
Coconut oil 25 OZ
Unrefined Shea Butter 20 OZ
Sustainable Palm Oil 30 OZ
Olive Oil 20 OZ
Canola Oil 20 OZ
Corn Oil 10 OZ
Distilled Water 42.4 OZ
Sodium Hydroxide (lye) 17.2 OZ
Note:  If using fragrance like essential oils you can reduce 1 for 1 the water amount.  In this recipe I used 2 OZ of Lavender essential oil so I only used 40.4 OZ of water.  Even though you will not mix the essential oil until light trace, it will not hurt the lye and water mixture.
As you will see in some of the labels, I use essentialdepot.com
for dependable lye, oils, and essential oil.  The amount of fragrance you use will depend on the quality and type, some scents may require double the amount or even more.  I often like to use natural colorants like the 2 pictured below, however, there are only a couple for making purple which I didn't have at this time.
To get started, head to a hardware store and get some wood (if you don't have tools or woodworking experience ask a friend who does.)  The box I made above is measured 9 by 12 inches with 3 1/2 height.  This is custom build to accommodate for the size of bars I want which are just over 1 inch before curing.  You need to decide what size bars you would like and do the math for adjustments.  If you have tried Shea Garden's soaps and like the size then these measurements will work for you as well.  I used project board because it is usually flat and straight, I found a flat and cheap panel type board at Lowes that I used for top and bottom of box.  Be sure to reinforce the top and maybe bottom considering the soap can increase up to 200 degrees during gel phase and can warp the wood.  any method for building this box will be fine as long as its strong and straight.
Once you have all your supplies the rest is easy.  I didn't have purple for this recipe so I used red mica and blue pigment to make it.  For a batch this large, be sure you have everything you may need before you get started.  I like to melt down my oils first and let it cool while I then line the box and make final preparations.  I use this can liners from Uline to line the inside of the box before pouring. 
Once your lye solution and melted oils have reached temperatures of around 110-125 degrees just put those splash proof safety glasses and gloves on and mix them up using the stick blender and stir method alternating periodically.  At light trace pour some of your oils in a separate container that you will use for color swirling if desired.  Add your base color to large portion and fragrance (any fragrance other than essential oils will often speed on saponification and possibly seize your batch.)  once everything is mixed and full saponification has taken place, pour into your box that is already lined.  Use heat resistant utensils to scoop out mixture.  By this time, the small batch in the separate container should have saponified on its own just by sitting there for a minute.  Add swirl color to it and pour into box with main mixture.  Use whatever swirl technique you like, anything works!
Put on the top and let it sit for 24 hours, I like to check the process now and then and even let a little heat out during the peak heat phases.  You can also leave a small air gap in it and go to bed without having to worry about it.  Keep in a safe place away from kids and pets incase your measuring was off and your experiment volcanos! 
Eventually I may craft a cutter that divides this 4LB into individual loafs but for now I just measure the loaf and cut down the middle, then do the same with remaining 2 pieces.  I then put the individual loaves into my handcrafted multiple bar cutter (lol everything I have is really handcrafted) and then put on shelves in my curing room.  Notice how my wooden label piece stays with the soap at all times.  The curing room is a special creation that took a month to design and build and it decreases soap cure time by 25-30%.  I will feature that room in the blog at another time.  Hope you enjoyed!  Feel free to comment or ask questions.
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Wow...  How things have changed since that first loaf of Shea Butter soap was created last year!  I think I have spent more time researching and recipe making then I spent in college to be a Paramedic by now!
I'll have to say tho, that its worth it.  I haven't had a day off since I don't know when but I have a lot to show for it including a stock pile of hundreds of soap, body butters, a work shop with a special curing room, and now even an award for top 100 soap making blog!
Check out the list hereTop 100 Soap Making Blogs
There are a lot of knowledgeable bloggers here and I have personally learned a lot from a few of them including
just to name a couple.  Special thanks to feedspot.com for creating this list.
Ok...  Break time over, back to making soap for me!
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Much anticipated Pine soap is finally in last stage of curing and ready for use soon!  Fresh scent of the woods and great for your skin,  check online store for more information
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I have added a comment section to the blog.  You can now leave feedback, ask questions, comment, or just start a conversation.  If you scroll to the bottom of the blog screen you should be able to write your comment.  I believe you will have to log into FB but it wont post on there unless you check the box to.  more features coming!
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