Friday, September 28, 2012

We've Moved!

We've moved! Click here to be taken to our new site!

We've done all these projects and many more. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ginger Molasses Goodness

Happy Brambleversary Norm! 

Norman has been with Bramble Berry for almost a decade! He started with Bramble Berry as a puller/packer/order person and has worked his way into the fabric of our company (and of course, our hearts). My second favorite dessert I've ever baked for a Brambleversary was also for Norman! See Norm's brambleversary treat from last year, Salted Caramel Choco-Beer Cupcakes. They were such a hit with the staff, I knew I had to raise the bar. May I introduce you to the delectable, the ginger-iffic, the "savor every sweet bite" cupcake...Ginger Molasses Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting! (Insert Applause)!

"The best cupcake you've ever made" -- Norman
Ginger Molasses Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs
1/3 cup hot water
9 ounces (2 pieces, each 6 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1 cup)
2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Ground ginger, for garnish

Cupcake Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add molasses. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients (water) in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. 

For the frosting, Martha (yes, we're apparently on a first name basis), suggested a whipped cream frosting. I got a bee in my bonnet that Lemon Buttercream would be delicious. So I went with my instinct (and it didn't steer me wrong).

Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (not spread or tub product) 
1 (1 lb) package confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
1 dash salt

Frosting Directions
Beat butter or margarine until soft in a medium sized bowl. Beat in confectioners' sugar alternately with lemon rind, salt lemon juice, and milk. Continue beating until smooth and spreadable.

The Bramble Berry staff gives these cupcakes two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Leah, Customer Service- "They were so deliciously different! It was like a party in my mouth!"
Norm, COO- "The best brambleversary cupcakes I've had in 11 years!"
Linda, Accounting- "Ah-mazing!"


Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Herbs and Extracts!

Add our new herbs and extracts directly to your soaps and concoctions
to benefit from their unique properties. The oil soluble extracts (some are oil soluble, some are water soluble) can be used in balms too for an extra nourishing lotion bar, lip product or salve. The dried herbs can also be used as natural colorants, either as an oil infusion or some added directly to soap.

Lemon Peel Powder

Madder Root

Olive Leaf Powder

Poppy Seeds

Safflower Powder

Yarrow Flower


Aloe Extract

Avocado Extract

Buckthorn Extract

Calendula Extract

Carrot Extract

Chamomile Extract

Dulse Extract

Evening Primrose Extract

Green Tea Extract

Mallow Extract

Oat Extract

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mango Avocado Balmy Salve

2 Tablespoons Dry Flo

Other great skin-loving essential oils that would be incredible in this recipe too: Helischyrum, Frankincense, Jasmine, Rose, Neroli

Buy everything you need in the click of a button! 
And you'll have LOTS of leftovers for more balmy fun!

ONE: This recipe is designed by weight so have your handy dandy scale ready to weigh.  Weigh out the Cocoa Butter and Avocado Butter. Melt in the microwave on 30 second bursts and stir in between bursts. Remember to choose a glass container that is almost all the way full with solid materials because empty glass containers are prone to cracking or exploding in the microwave.

TWO: In a separate, smaller container, weigh out the Tamanu Oil and Jojoba Oil. Heat this oil up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Are the Tamanu Oil grains melted? Stir well. If they're not fully melted, put the mixture in the microwave for another 30 seconds. And don't forget the little waxy-like grains at the bottom of your Tamanu Oil bottle. I like to rinse my bottle out with the hot oil to get all the components of the Tamanu Oil.

Tamanu Oil has a very earthy smell and slightly grainy texture. It smells sort of like a nutty, musky dirt. It's not unpleasant but it is surprising if you've never smelled it before.

THREE: Weigh out the Mango Butter. Put this directly into your mixer. Drizzle the melted oils and butters over the solid oil. Immediately turn the mixer onto low (much higher than that and you'll find yourself with oil splatters all over your kitchen and yourself!). Let the warm oils slowly and gently melt the Mango Butter. This helps with the 'Mango Butter chunks' that you sometimes see with balms.

FOUR (optional): I really like a balm that soaks in quickly and doesn't feel massively oily on my skin. Dry Flo AF is a specially sifted cornstarch (the AF stands for "aluminum free") for cosmetic products. If you are allergic to corn, definitely skip this step. Add 2 Tablespoons of Dry Flo to your heated warm oils a bit at a time. If you add it too quickly, POOF! Dry Flo everywhere!

FIVE: Whip, whip, whip until the butter is turning slightly cloudy (signifying that it is starting to set up). Add the essential oil mixture of your choice. I've chosen the ones in this recipe specifically to help me in bouncing back from my labor and stretched-out belly. They are extra skin-loving but you can use any essential oil or fragrance oil you'd like. Just keep the mixture to 3 grams or else it turns into a strong smelling perfume balm!

SIX: Pour into clean containers of your choice. I used Bramble Berry's Candle Tins and tried a few lotion bar containers (woot! woot! they worked great!). Allow to sit overnight. Mixture takes several hours to harden so don't panic if it doesn't seem to be setting up quickly.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tweets 'Ya Missed

Just in case you don't follow me on Twitter, I read a bunch of  articles almost daily (reading is my favorite hobby besides soapmaking) and tweet out the ones I think could be helpful to other people. Since a lot of them are small business related, I thought you might enjoy a recap of last week.


Social media is an amplifier of traditional media sources and not a trend unto itself? Research proves it?

Tips to managing your multi-generational workforce:

Confused expectations - or why communication is key between all levels of leaders in your org:

RT @Flipbooks: 25 Women-Run Startups to Watch (#FastCompany) rt @ShaunaCausey

Chargebacks drive us crazy too! How can a small biz manage to combat them?

" If you stay overwhelmed with activity you are not doing a good job." Schedule time to think:

RT @welivesimply @zen_habits: On zenhabits: Create Your Own Dream Job

Top 10 Etiquette blunders (I frequently break #1. I need to be better.)

"Our job is to build playgrounds." An interview with the CEO of FailBlog, ICanHazCheezburger:

How to reclaim your time (my fave? "You can’t do everything that is asked of you and succeed."):

So, just exactly who sets the color trends for the year? Turns out, it's a group of anonymous 10:

RT @essentialU: False Information is Harmful:: Just Ask Paul Penders #cosmetics

Are you a female CEO? Should you read the "Art of War?" This blogger thinks so:

Reading up on the Facebook Business Homepage updated look: There are some definite new features to learn as a page admin.

Facebook official Pages manual: Useful for admins or new businesses joining FB to review.

Not getting paid enough? There are 2 potential reasons for that: (Godin on being special and irreplaceable).

Is measuring the value of your company by "payroll bloat" misleading?

5 things to never say when negotiating (for the record, #5 seems like a no-brainer):

Packaging as marketing – a great reason to re-examine your packaging: 

Bramble Berry News

Wondering how to capitalize on the latest gnome-centric trend? Gnome mold:

Guest Medieval Fleur de Lis Tray Mold - new! -

RT @indieassist: Adorable glitter sorbet soap tutorial from today's featured INDIE @soapylove via @brambleberry

New Mold at Bramble Berry: Abstract Leaves

Sneak Peek! The next Lovin' Soap E-Zine hits stands soon:

New mold at Bramble Berry - Single Loaf Mold:

Bramble Berry added Pomace Olive Oil (perfect for #soapmaking) to our line of oils:

Bramble Berry just added Powdered Goat Milk to its line up of products:

Fun, Health and other Distractions

My parents are wild 'n' crazy - their 3 month travel adventure to New Zealand:

RT @BobPritchett: I confess, I am not yet tired of riffs on the Old Spice commercials; this one is fun:

Activity does not equal value + they pay you for the part of the work you hate - reclaiming your energy at work:

The effective but boring routine of living a great marriage: (Talk less, lose weight, put out, dishes & strategy)

RT @justcommodities: Giant cup pouring coffee wins The Woods downtown art contest (so cool!)

5 ways to raise a grateful child:

Be yourself, be happy and be successful - the connection between authenticity and happiness:

Checking out - Baby Shusher - an iPhone App to calm crying babies...

I'm changing my goals for Q1, mid-stream. Join me in refocusing your priorities today:

Although I really love my Nook, the Alex sounds cool. E-Reader Reviews:

8 foods that lower blood pressure: (yum! Skim milk, potatoes and bananas make the list!)

Have you seen the baby yoga video? An interview with the yogi:

Cut red meat to lower cancer risk

Quotes 'Ya Missed

The respect of those who you respect is worth more than the applause of the multitude. - A. Glasow

The climb upward will be easier if you take others along with you. - Napoleon Hill

You have 2 choices in life: a] to find a way b] to make one. - P. Coelho

Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.- M.Navratilova

RT @health_club_: "The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize your own worth" ~ Maxwell Maltz

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace. -- John Lennon (1940-1980)

My early and invincible love of reading I would not exchange for all the riches of India.- E.Gibbon

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late." - William Shakespeare

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. - Samuel Johnson

Follow me on Twitter so you don't miss out on the fun!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fair Ivy Wants to Buy YOUR Soap

Fair Ivy is a fun happy subscription where you receive a surprise package of carefully curated items in the mail every month. Really? A surprise package? How fun is that? The business started over a cup of coffee and the observation that we, as adults, never get packages in the mail anymore. And if we do, we already know what's inside (hello Amazon, Zappos and Etsy). Based on that observation, the surprise package subscription was created. Read the history of Fair Ivy here.
There are several categories to choose from when you subscribe; Girls and TeensWomenMen and even Pets (remember when Toby was a puppy?).

 Here's what our first Fair Ivy surprise package looked like.
Our kit came with some matchstick plant seeds, mushroom decals, a knitted heart and the cutest stacked teacups mug. The blue fabric in the mug is a scarf with robot decal (so techy chic). 

Mini grapefruit earrings inside the cutely packaged cupcake box.

The Contest
Do you have a small soap business or have you always dreamed of getting your soap business off the ground?  Then keep reading. We're offering you a chance to win a big sale! We've created a contest with Fair Ivy that will benefit our customers and theirs. Fair Ivy is looking for a toiletry product to include in their surprise boxes and that's where you come in. We know how talented our customers are and think something YOU make would be great for a Fair Ivy subscription.

How to Enter
Send us your Fair Ivy submission by Friday April 8th. Remember to send a quantity of two.
  • Ship to: Bramble Berry Inc.
  • C/O Fair Ivy Contest
  • 2138 Humboldt Street
  • Bellingham, WA 98225
What to Enter
Anything in the toiletry department; Soaps, Lotions, Scrubs, Candles, Creams. If you have any questions just email contest(at)brambleberry(dot)com.

The Bramble Berry team will test each product and decide on the top 3.

We'll send the finalists over to Fair Ivy who will will choose the grand prize winner to include in their surprise packages.

The Winner
Fair Ivy will purchase a quantity of 50 of your product at $4 each (with room to go up to $6 if the product is out-of-this-world amazing). Please note that Bramble Berry and its affiliates, including Soap Queen, are not responsible for anything having to do with the Purchase Order, Payment etc... We are just handing off the best soaps and leave it up to you, the crafter, to negotiate terms with Fair Ivy.

The Fine Print
Make sure to label your product with ingredients, your name, company and contact information.
Please keep the cost of supplies in mind. If you win, Fair Ivy will be paying $4 for your product.

Benefits of the Contest
Get your name out there! We'll be blogging entries as they come in
Could this be your first wholesale account?
Have you always wanted to start your business? This is the perfect opportunity to take that chance.
All participants will be entered in a drawing to win some of the extra goodies!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

May 2011 Soap Swap Line-Up (Thus Far!)

Here is the official Master List of Swappers for our May 2011 swap. We will keep this list updated with the fragrances being used and we will also note when we've received your soap.

What's a soap swap you ask? Basically, you send us 12 bars of handmade soap and we send you 12 different bars back. We don't charge anything but postage to and from for this fun community event. Read about all the details here.

Interested in signing up? Just email us with what kind of soap you are making and what Bramble Berry fragrance or essential oil you are going to use (check the list below to make sure no one else has claimed your scent).

Cold Process Group:
  1. Marsha - Strawberry
  2. Lisa - undecided
  3. Pam - English Rose
  4. Amber - Chai Tea
  5. Lorrane - Lavender 40/42
  6. Heather - undecided
  7. Catherine - Sheer Freesia
  8. Erin - undecided
  9. Nancy - Berry Wine
  10. Stephanie - Marrakesh
  11. Pam - Sea Moss
  12. T.A. - Sea Shore
  13. Hillary - Lime Fragrance and Spearmint Essential oil
  14. Melissa - undecided
  15. Julie - Patchouli
  16. Cat - Mangosteen
  17. Kathleen - Pumpkin Lager
  18. Cheri - Mangosteen
  19. Meg - Ginger Fish 
  20. Mary - Baby Rose 
  21. Linda - Pearberry & Champagne blend
  22. Lisa undecided
  23. Maria Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
  24. Stephanie Grapefruit Essential Oil
  25. Traci Yuzu & Red Apple blend
  26. Gail Energy
  27. Erica undecided
  28. Cindy Kumquat
  29. Cindy Lemongrass EO
  30. Leilani (Lani) Bay Rum
  31. Eva Fresh Bamboo
  32. Erika Cherry Almond
  33. Leslie Kumquat
  34. Allison Cranberry Pomegrante 
  35. Heidi Tomato Leaf
  36. Terri Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
  37. Jennifer Basil, Rosemary, Lime, Orange, & Lemongrass
  38. Chrissy Cherry Almond
  39. Tisha Dark Chocolate
  40. Jennifer Wake Up Rosemary
  41. Alexandra Patchouli Essential Oil, Vanilla Select, Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil 
  42. Michelle - Blackberry Sage and Sandalwood 
  43. Margo - Cranberry Fig 
  44. Tara - undecided
  45. Linda - Lime and Fresh Linen blend 
  46. Ayieta - Dragonsblood 
  47. Tammy - Energy 
  48. Kristine - White Tea and Ginger 
  49. Kellie - Vanilla Select 
  50. Mary - Moonlight Pomegranate 
  51. Karen - undecided 
  52. Jennifer - Cucumber

Melt & Pour Group:
  1. Marsha - Hello Sweet Thang
  2. Heather - White Tea & Ginger
  3. Kelsy - Lemon Verbena & Mangosteen
  4. LaDeana - undecided
  5. Gina - Vanilla Forest
  6. Severine - Plumeria
  7. Julie - Freesia
  8. Mariah - Rosemary & Lavender
  9. Kimberly - Buttercream & Snickerdoodle
  10. Kimberly - Clementine Cupcake
  11. Lisa - Passionfruit Rose
  12. Lisa - Island Coconut
  13.  Lorena Kentish Rain 
  14. Christy undecided
  15. Cassandra Grass Stain 
  16. Melissa Rise & Shine 
  17. Rose Almond Biscotti 
  18. Leah Berry Wine 
  19. Traci Tropical Vacation 
  20. Tami Peach 
  21. Donna Vetyver 
  22. Erica undecided 
  23. Laura Grapefruit Lily 
  24. Sharon Vanilla Vanilla 
  25. Melissa Coconut & Lime Blend 
  26. Leslie undecided 
  27. Sonya Toasted Rice 
  28. Dannielle undecided 
  29. Jan Wake Up Rosemary 
  30. Eleisha undecided 
  31. Holyrose Energy or Yuzu (getting closer to a  decision!) 
  32. Cheryl Pineapple Cilantro
  33. Katrina undecided
  34. Barb Wasabi
  35. Amy Lychee Red Tea
  36. Jasmin Sun Ripened Raspberry Fragrance Oil, Lime Essential Oil, Tangerine Essential Oil, & Champagne blend
  37. Tabitha - undecided 
  38. Tamara - Cocnut Citrus Sorbet 
  39. Mary - Wasabi 
  40. Ellie - Dark Rich Chocolate or Clementine Cupcake 
  41. Tina - Beach Breezes 
  42. Amy - Ginger Lime

updated March 10th, 2011 around 5 p.m.