Monday, November 9, 2009

my dining room

my custom holiday order... getting a little extra dry time before being packaged up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nightmare before Christmas... when good soap goes bad!

Just when you think you've got it all figured out.....

The soap seizes in the pot! ALL 50 pounds of it! Yes - fifty pounds!
What all was going so well, turned terribly wrong when I used a new pine fragrance the supplier listed as "no CP (cold process) problems." Well, as soon as I added it to my nice little soap mix... BOOM... instant soap in a pot! Oh no! What do I do now??? $#%&(*!

But, I'm good at this soap making thing, right? So, I start thinking oven, like my rebatch shower soap... take it into hot process... but my pot is too big to fit in my oven. So, I put it on my burner - bad idea. I then spoon it into 3 smaller pots and cram them into the oven in my kitchen - yes, my kitchen, where soap is not welcome for a good reason! When it comes to making soap, I'm like a two year old with playdough... OH the aftermath!

Of course I'm in a hurry, because I need to drop off a UPS package before they close. Plus, Sawyer and I have to go to Linds Pharmacy to get Sean a birthday present (which is TOMORROW,) and run to the store for bday cake stuff.... so we leave the soap in the oven, and try to forget about it for a bit.

We come home, after picking Sean up, two hours later. We open the front doors, and SMOKE is billowing out. The whole house smells like PINE! Well, it smells like sage and rosemary too, which isn't too bad... but the smoke! So I turn the oven off, run around the house opening windows, turning on fans, yelling at the kids to go outside and play in the rain. I grab all the molds that I already have ready, and go check out the damage in the oven.

There's three bubbling, overflowing, green cauldrons, so halloween-like, it's scary. They are bubbling all over the oven (I always line with foil, always! But nooooo, this time I had to be in a hurry, didn't I?!) And I've got this new song from The Mother Hips in my head ("There's only one way out, and I'm trying to figure it out...") And the only other thing I can think of is "Oh, please let me get this all cleaned up before Steve comes home!" I end up filling a couple box molds and eight or nine tall 3" PVC pipes. I tell myself, "This is going to be the good stuff, that everyone loves!" I'm such the optimist. I'll just let people think this is how I meant to make it!

Sean looks for my phone to call Daddy, but can't find it, that tattletale. He comments that it's not that smoky, since the smoke detectors didn't go off (oh yea, we took them all off last time they went off... put that on the to-do list.) At least Sean did comment that the whole house smells really good. :-)

Oh and when Steve came home, most of it was cleaned up... so I told him to shut up and make me a drink!

Monday, September 14, 2009

that time of year...

Fall... the boys are back in school, the new buck is getting busy with all the girl goats, and I'm back into taking my soap business up a notch.

My little boy's first day of Kindergarten... no hesitation! Hooray!

Here's 5 of my 6 girls: starting from the top, Coca, Cookie, Thunder behind Easter, and Cupcake (Mocha was in the barn with the buck)

My other girls: "We are not sheep... we are polar bears!"Maple Hill Soap now on Facebook... look for the frame on this page.

I'm again researching my options for Packaging... which is probably the hardest part of having my own product! I'll be joining as soon as I can figure it out (all in good time I'm sure!)

p.s. I am done with farmers markets for the season.
But you can now find my Maple Hill Soap in Oak Harbor at Hummingbird Farm!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

summer farmers market schedule

Well, since I seem to be doing everything BUT blogging, I thought I could at least get my schedule down for you!
I will be at Coupeville Farmers Market the following Saturdays 10-2 :
July 18
Aug 8
Aug 29

Mukilteo Farmers Market on Wednesdays 3-7 :
today July 15
July 29

I will be at the Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival on Aug 1 & 2

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Love the LOVE SPELL!

I'm really excited about the swirl action in this new "love spell" soap! I was a little worried at first, the fragrance is really strong! But what do I know??? According to my farmers market customers, this popular fragrance stays true in my new soap. So glad, because I made A LOT of it!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

latest testimonials

I get a lot of great feedback on my soap... Here's a few unsolicited emails that I received this last week:

"Hi Susan, I love the soap! I like that it is hard...
My skin feels like I put lotion on after I use your soap, I really like it. My husband washes his hair with it. His hair is nice & shiny now. I'll be ordering more soon."

"Outstanding product! The quality of your soaps is, well, better than IVE ever seen. Keep it up!"

"I received a bar of Maple Hill Citrus Bay soap as a gift and my completion never looked so good. Thank you I will be ordering soap from you."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

See you at Mukilteo Farmers Market!

TODAY is opening day in Mukilteo... this season will be down at the Lighthouse Park. 3-7 every Wedsnesday all summer! Stop by and say Hi! It will be a beautiful day!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where've I been?

Well, basically, with my family! Steve's been working out of town, so I have the kids. Then, we've been having some seriously fun quality time on the weekends!

I will be back to Coupeville Farmers Market next Sat (5/30) and possibly Greenbank on Sunday, then MUKILTEO market starts up Weds afternoon (6/3.) See you there!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

get yer soap at Island Drug

Island Drug is once again stocked up with delicious goat-milk soap! Oak Harbor and LaConner locations.

I'll be absent from the farmers market scene for a few weeks, but you can still buy at or find great deals on (never hurts to remind you with a shameless plug!)

We're getting ready for our spring trek up and over the Cascades... got the tent trailer all (well almost) fixed up and good to go! Still need to make sure that heater is working! We'll be celebrating lucky #13 anniversary, going back to Klipchuck!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Here's the latest... our cute little lambs! Steve wants barbeque... I want the sheep-milk cheese! Who wants the wool? These bottle-babies are so sweet, the boys names them Sweetie and Sugaree. (they're lawnmowing pets... we're not going to eat them!)
Publish Post

Friday, April 3, 2009

Coupeville Farmers Market opens this Sat, April 4!

Should be a FANTASTIC day at the opening season of the Coupeville Farmers Market this weekend! We're expecting nice weather (can you believe it?)! If you're on the island, or want to visit... come find me and Maple Hill Soap at the market! Should be fun!!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Easy Goat Cheese!

OK people, this is what it's all about! This is WHY we have dairy goats! Sure, the goat-milk soap is awesome & wonderful & fun to make... but the cheese... YUM! And fresh chevre is EASY.

The key to great-tasting cheese is to start with the freshest milk. I like to use 1.5 gallons of goat milk, it's the perfect amount for me. If you don't have goats, find somebody who does, or look for a farm (please don't buy that stuff at the store, unless you know it's really fresh.) Ask around, or ask me.

This morning, I milked my goats (sweet little things,) immediately pasteurized it, cooled it down to 88 degrees, and added a simple chevre packet ( The packet has the souring culture - this bacteria converts lactose to lactic acid, thus lowering the pH and "souring." It also has the rennet, the enzyme which coagulates the milk... very convenient little packet! Stir this in and walk away! Let it sit all day at room temp, undisturbed.

At the end of the day, after the boys are asleep, I get out my glass of wine (OK, sometimes the whole bottle, but I usually share it.) The butter muslin is boiled to sterilize, the counters and utensils are sanitized. I line my colander with the muslin (doubled up) and place it over a pot to collect the whey. At this point, the cheese has separated from the whey, and can be scooped out and put into the muslin. After it's all in, the muslin ends are tied into a knot to hang overnight. I hang mine on the faucet, over the colander pot, in the sink of my "milk room." Well, my milk room is really my laundry room... but it's really clean! I swear!
In the morning, it will be ready! I add one teaspoon of salt (NOT the iodide kind) to the whole batch. If it seems dry, stir in some extra whey. I get 2.5 POUNDS of goat cheese from 1.5 gallons of milk... it's a lot of cheese... but it goes soooo fast! Just think of all the friends you'll make!
Lately, my favorite is to add roasted garlic and dried basil... sometimes red pepper flakes too. My friend adds fancy herbs and makes a puffed pastry, but she's a chef. Someday I'll post some great goat-cheese recipes (oooh, with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.) But I digress... don't throw out the whey, find a way to use it in cooking. We save it for our dogs, they get it poured over their dog food like cereal, they LOVE it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jellybean's little guy

Well, one more buckling in the mix! He's out of Jellybean, my baby who was caught with her daddy! Shame on you JellyBelly! It happens sometimes! Just glad he doesn't have two heads! He'll be wethered asap! I'm glad she's OK, I'm keeping my eye on her. As for the little buck, he's being bottle fed (might as well add another to the bucket!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honey Oatmeal Soap

My latest oatmeal soap now has colloidal oatmeal (not so scratchy) and a touch of honey. Cocoa butter was also added to make a stronger bar, and hold it all together. Half the batch I left unscented, with natural whiffs of the before-mentioned ingredients. The other half got a good dose of Bramble Berry's Oatmeal Milk & Honey fragrance, which I call "Oatmeal Cookie," a yummy, strong seller. Oh yea, I also put in some Evening Primrose Oil to help with dry skin. Should be ready in a few weeks! In this pic, the new oatmeal is on the bottom, Cucumber Melon in the middle, Blackberry Sage on top (with cuc mel insert.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

two little bucklings

These handsome guys are out of Cupcake... born Monday night. The kids love the kids... and vice versa!
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

1st goat kid arrives!

Cookie delivered this beautiful little doeling last night... isn't she cute? So cute, that the boys want to name her "Cutie!" (kind of goes with Nicey) I was there to "catch" her, now she's being bottle fed. One down, three to go (Cupcake should kid soon, so Cutie will have company.)

waiting and quilting

Finally, he has his baby quilt! Winter is a great time for projects around here! But, all that waiting for kidding season is over now! I finished this quilt just in time! (see next post)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bonanzle coupon

Here's a great, somewhat new, buy/sell online site. It's
So fun, interactive, easy. It's somewhere between ebay and craigslist, but on the cutting edge.
Plus, it's right here in Washington! You know Bill & Mark, don't you?

You've got to check it out, sign up for full experience.
You can also look at a few Maple Hill Soap items...
For 10% off, use coupon code: mhsblog

See you on Bonanzle!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

logo on my label

Isn't this cool? I finally have my logo on my bare-soap labels! Thanks Mindy, for making it all circular! Now I can promote my circle soaps, they're my favorite shape to make and use (especially when washing my face.)

Jan/Feb are my months to work on ideas and projects. The rush of the holidays is over and the goats have the winter off from milking. So, I've been working on marketing and thinking of ways to expand my wonderful soap business! I might even branch out OFF Whidbey Island! No way!

I can tell people are itching for spring, 'cuz everybody is starting to ask about milk and goat cheese (ya got any milk? ya got any cheese? please?) Our baby goats should be arriving the first week of March. With luck, I'll be there again to catch those kids. Then, I'll be out there at dawn, before the boys wake up for school, milking my big beautiful does (Cookie, Cupcake, Flashy.) You know I'll post the pics.