Saturday, December 19, 2009


A new line up of soaps: Gardener, Fighter, Herbalist, Nomad, and Punk. We've got more coming so stay tuned. Feel free to make suggestions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Handmade Holidays

As much as I think my soap makes a wonderful gift, after seven years of giving soap as gifts I suppose it can start getting old. Last year I made a bunch of ceramic soap dishes to soften the blow of, "soap, again," but this year I just didn't have the extra time. I am a notorious last minute shopper, whatever the occasion. That's not to say I'm a careless gift giver - I do put thought into even the smallest of offerings - but the shopping is often left till I can't avoid it any longer. Today I am thankful for the wonderful sellers on Etsy who graciously promised to mail me my last minute gifts by Christmas. (The gorgeous birdhouse I bought, pictured above, was made by Ryan O'Rourke of I Heart Birds.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art Shop Action

Art Shop neighbors, Lindsey and Jesse. Jesse made wooden earrings and Lindsey made pancake and cocoa mix. You don't really get the full effect of this display from the photo, which was impressive with a sprawling tree branch holding all of the earrings.

The aforementioned stacking crates display and my niece, Madeline, salesgirl extraordinaire. Note my sister's gold and silver tutus in the background.

I traded a jar of Jennie's apple butter for a bar of soap - so delicious and almost gone.

Carina with my niece, Penelope, posing with a chocolate moustachio.

Carina's photo props, silhouette portraits, buttons, and more. So fun! Oh yeah, and all of these photos were taken by Carina who is a photographer by day and a prop maker/ head band knitter by night.

Ceramic plates, cups, ornaments, and more with glamorous prints of animals on them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Craft Fair in Phoenixville

Another last minute fair in Phoenixville on December 12. How are we going to be in two places at one time? Holiday magic, of course!

Location: 400 Franklin Avenue Phoenixville, PA
Time: 10am-6pm

Rock Bass Rainbow Fest

A last minute addition to the crafty line-up! Rock Bass Rainbow Fest - say that 10 times fast! I just realized today that it's a project spearheaded by Tyler students, which is a funny coincidence considering Tyler is my Alma Mater. Volta Soap will be present on Saturday, December 12.

Location: 2424 East York Street Philadelphia, PA 19125
Time: 11am-4pm

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is You Is or Is you Ain't (All-Natural)

Natural has become a major buzz word of late. Since there is no standardized definition, the meaning of the words, "all natural," are hazy at best. Due to loosely defined FDA regulations, any company can pass off products that are not at all all-natural while putting that label on their product. Compound that with even looser labeling regulations concerning soap - Is it a Cosmetic, Drug, or Both? (Or is it Soap?) - where businesses can market and label their product as soap and have it regulated as a cosmetic. There are also companies who label themselves all-natural but have a mixture of all-natural and not-natural items in their product line - you might get all-natural one time but not the next if you're not careful. There's a tangled web of half-truths to outright lies that can be difficult to sort through if you care about avoiding synthetics. The following are two of the biggest red flags for spotting not-natural soap or other bath and body products.

Fragrance oils are synthetically produced scents created to mimic smells - any smells, from flowers and herbs to fruit to perfume, and are usually petroleum based. Fragrance oils are not all-natural but are often listed as ingredients in all-natural soap. You might see an ingredient listed as, "rose oil," or, "mango fragrance," for instance, which implies that the ingredient comes from a plant source when it does not.

Bright, crayon looking colors should be a dead giveaway that something is not natural but brightly colored soaps, bath salts, and other bath and body are often marketed as all-natural. FD&C, food safe dyes, pigments, oxides, ultramarines, micas - none of them are natural. It's true that some may come from the earth but they undergo enough processing to disqualify them as natural.

And just to clarify, I don't think there's anything wrong with buying your favorite bright purple raspberry swirl soap - it really is a matter of taste. I just think that people have the right to know what they are spending their money on.

Here's a bullet point list from The Natural Ingredient Resource Center about what is or ain't considered natural:


natural ingredient resource center Natural Ingredients include
plant, animal, mineral or
microbial ingredients...

  • present in or produced by nature.

  • produced using minimal physical processing.*

  • directly extracted using simple methods, simple chemical reactions or resulting from naturally occurring biological processes.*

natural ingredient resource center Natural ingredients are...

  • grown, harvested, raised and processed in an ecological manner.

  • not produced synthetically.

  • free of all petrochemicals.

  • not extracted or processed using petrochemicals.

  • not extracted or processed using anything other than natural ingredients as solvents.

  • not exposed to irradiation.

  • not genetically engineered & do not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

natural ingredient resource center Natural ingredients do...

  • not contain synthetic ingredients.**

  • not contain artificial ingredients including colors or flavoring.

  • not contain synthetic chemical preservatives.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bricks + Mortar

Soap in stores - yay! As always, we're loyal fans and supporters of VIX Emporium and now we can add these fabulous stores to our list: Bambi, Vagabond, Essene. Know of a store near you that might like carrying Volta Soap? Let us know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Art Shop Excitement

Art Shop is coming up this weekend, which will officially kick off my frenzy of craftiness for the next few weekends. I've had a table at this fair since year one (I think we're on year five now) and it's always fun to see familiar faces and beautiful handmade crafts. People and stuff like Lauren and her lanterns, William and his prints, Stephane and her fabulous bags and quilts, the chocolate guy, and the woman with the red pepper jelly. When I started out, I was half of Loth & Volta but my partner in lye, H., was whisked away by her dh to upstate NY. Last year's Art Shop was my first year going solo and it just wasn't the same without her. So this year I'm excited to be sharing a table with my sister. I'm especially proud of this great book that she wrote and illustrated just in time for the holidays not to mention the gold tutus, the booboo buddies, and whatever else she's come up with. It's the first year either of us has shared a table, which is funny because I think we've both made more stuff than we've ever made before. I went to AC Moore and bought us some stacking wooden crates for space efficiency on the table - a concept I lifted from the gals of Rogue Theory who I had the pleasure of meeting at Cut the Craft a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of Cut the Craft, I also want to give a shout out to girls can tell and these awesome anatomical sweet heart tea towels I traded some soap for. Did I mention that you should buy handmade for the holidays?