Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Bar vs. Liquid Soap

Over the past few decades liquid hand soap and body wash have gained popularity over bar soaps. Bar soaps have gotten a bad reputation for being dirty and drying. While we’re pretty solidly team bar soap now, fifteen years ago we may have had one or two lonely bars sitting dry and cracked in soap dishes while bottles of the liquid variety cluttered the tub and counters. As with any personal care product, needs vary and it’s important to find what works for you.

Before I start the comparison, I should mention that not all soaps, bar or liquid, are created equally. Many things sold as soap are actually synthetic detergents, sometimes called syndets. To be a true soap, the product needs to be a fat or oil added to an alkali (lye) to form soap salts, glycerine and sometimes excess fats or alkalis. Some find syndets harsher on their skin while others actually find them to be gentler. True soap is what I know, so that’s what I’m referring to unless I say otherwise.


Since soap’s primary function is to clean, let’s start there. My searching has found many references to a 1988 study where e.coli and another contaminant were put on a bar of soap then subjects washed their hands with the e.coli soap. When their hands were tested afterward, the e.coli hadn’t transferred to their hands. One such article can be found here

My personal, non-scientific thoughts: Liquid soap requires a dispenser of some sort. Unwashed hands have to touch said dispenser (unless it’s an automatic dispenser). The dispenser itself doesn’t get washed after each use, so some bacteria may be transferred to your hands when you use the dispenser. They will most likely be washed away when you wash your hands.

Likewise, bar soaps are touched with unwashed hands. The process of rubbing your hands over the bar with it under running water for a few seconds to create lather probably removes some of the bacteria. Properly washing your hands removes the bacteria from your hands as shown in the above study.

My verdict: They will both get you clean, so use what you like.


Before delving into natural, handmade soaps, when I thought of bar soap I either imagined “manly” deodorant soaps or the “lye soap” my granny talked about burning her scalp when she was little. Ouch! While the soap my granny knew would have been natural and possibly handmade, if it burned, it was not formulated properly for cleaning people. Back to my brief lesson on soaps vs. syndets, a soap with excess alkalis would burn. This might be okay for heavy house cleaning purposes, but not for personal use.

Most all soapmakers, myself included, formulate their soaps to both fully bond the lye and leave a “buffer” of unsaponified oils to protect your skin. This is known as superfatting. When done properly, you won’t feel the oil, but your skin will feel clean and hydrated, not dry.

Another factor with natural soaps, whether liquid or bar, is that they should contain glycerine as it is a natural by-product of saponification. Glycerine is a humectant, meaning that it attracts water. This helps your skin feel hydrated. Unfortunately, the glycerine is sometimes removed to be used in other products. This can leave your skin feeling dry.

Syndet bars and liquids often contain added moisturizers to hydrate the skin. Some people are sensitive to the detergents and other ingredients, which can cause dryness and other irritation.

My verdict: It depends. Everyone’s body chemistry is a little different, so what works for me may not work for you. Personally, I am one who reacts badly to syndets. If you are looking to avoid syndets, either because you react poorly to them or because you want a more natural product, it seems easier to find natural soaps in bar form. Natural liquids are becoming more available, though.


Waste is a subject more take into consideration, either from a frugal or a “green” standpoint. Liquid soaps generally come in plastic containers. Some are recyclable depending on what recycling programs are available in your area. Bar soap can be unwrapped or wrapped in a variety of materials. Even if the wrapping is plastic, the amount of plastic is much smaller than the plastic bottles used for liquid soap.

As far as the product itself, with a bar of soap, you tend to use just as much product as necessary. With liquids, I find it harder to get just enough. This is especially true with pump dispensers. I usually find they give enough soap for at least two people to use.

My verdict: Bar soap is the clear winner if you are looking to reduce waste.

All in all, the deciding factor should be what works for you. If you’ve decided to give bar soap a second chance and would like to learn more about the soaps I make, please visit my shop. I’m also more than happy to answer any questions you may have via this contact form or at 

SubEarthan Cottage Coupon!

Just a quick note to let you know I’m offering a 20% discount off your entire purchase in my Etsy shop with the coupon code “WINTER12”.

Below is a small sample of what you’ll find at SubEarthan Cottage. Etsy.Mini(5210670,’gallery’,3,4,0,’’);

Giveaway- Blue and Silver Feather Hook Earrings

I make things. Lots of things. I try to focus my crafts for SubEarthan Cottage, but sometimes I just have to try something a little out there. Or sometimes I make something for the shop and my inner perfectionist isn’t happy with the results, so it doesn’t get listed. Or sometimes I make something cute and list it, but the right person doesn’t find it.

Sometimes I keep these things for myself. There’s only so much a girl needs, though. Sometimes I give them as gifts. If I can’t find a home for them, though, they take up space while I decide what to do with them. Much needed space, I might add.

So, I’ve decided to do a series of giveaways to send my misfits off to new, more suited homes. All items will be described as thoroughly as possible, with pictures. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments or, if you prefer, by email.

This giveaway is open to US residents only. Sadly, international shipping is cost prohibitive.

Our first item is a pair of Blue and Silver tone Feather Hook Earrings.

Cheesy cup and book props not included.

From the Etsy description: Blue and tan seed beads trail down from silver toned (NOT real silver) ear hooks ending in silver toned (also NOT real silver) feather charms. These earrings would look great with a flowing maxi dress. They hang about 3 inches (7.5cm) long, including the ear hook.
Totally not a cheesy description at all.

You can kind of see the lever-back on the ear hooks in this picture. The color appears to be the truest in this picture on my monitor.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the interest of full disclosure, I made these earrings (duh) and might be a little biased. I do my best to describe as accurately as possible. Once again, this giveaway is open to US residents only. Sadly, international shipping is cost prohibitive. 😦 //

Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 6

— 1 —

B is still congested. It is getting better, but laying down=congestion=no sleep. Luckily B is perpetually happy, sleep or no sleep. Me, on the other hand…

— 2 —

I just got this cute bag in the mail yesterday. (I got the blue one.) I can’t wait to stuff it’s zillion pockets with emergency supplies that I’ll probably never need unless I forget to pack them. I’m even more excited to see that the sale price I paid for it last campaign was less than half of the current campaign price.

— 3 —

I found out that the driver behind the 911 fun yesterday morning had been arrested sometime after the mailbox/gas line destruction for similar shenanigans up the road. I’m very thankful that nobody was hurt. I’d also like to know what kind of indestructible tank he drives.

— 4 —

Beckett loves Elmo. I think he even said “Eee-uho” yesterday. Sorry Sweetie. I’m sure da-da will be next.

— 5 —

Finnian had started writing and illustrating his own books. He can crank out two or more a day. I love his creativity, but I’m now faced with the problem of what to do with all of them, not to mention his schoolwork, report cards, random artwork, etc.

— 6 —

Finnian and one of his friends have decided that their pets who died have returned as ghosts to play with and protect them. So far it seems to be fun pretend, but knowing Finnian’s imagination I’m waiting for it to get a little extreme.

— 7 —
Why is it taking so long for a laundry washing/drying/folding machine to be invented? Even just an automatic folding machine would be nice. In other words, I‘ll be spending the day with a mountain of laundry. I am seriously contemplating a “naked at home” policy.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Back to work

With Beckett getting better at entertaining himself for a few minutes, I’ve been able to make some new items for SubEarthan Cottage. After getting them listed this morning, I realized it’s pretty clear they have a “new mom” theme. Click on any of the images to see all similar items shop.

First, we have the coffee cozies, because, duh.

Is it just me, or does that look like a fried egg in the middle of the big flower?

Then we have bibs, because occasionally kids have to wear clothes while eating.


Finally, we have rice packs, because after bending over for the 5,740 time to lift your little ton of bricks bundle of joy, your muscles need a little soothing. Pick your favorite fabric!

My attempt at artsy.

And, of course I had to share a pic of my little model.

Doesn’t everyone wear a bib while sitting on the bedroom floor?

All items can be found in my Etsy shop:

Handmade Lemongrass Soap On Sale Now

My natural Lemongrass Soap’s scent has become a bit more subtle than I like, so I’m putting it on sale. Get it now for only $2.75 per bar while supplies last.

Lemongrass Handmade Soap from SubEarthan Cottage

The first two customers to mention this post in the “Notes to Seller” at checkout will receive a free surprise gift in their order.

Shopping with Beckett

I needed to pick up a prescription refill and some birthday cake supplies from the grocery store this morning. I was pretty sure that the pharmacy didn’t open until sometime after 8:30am, but I really didn’t want to go home just to get Beckett back into his car seat one more time then necessary. I killed time by stopping to top up the gas tank and then top up and change Beckett in the parking lot.

By the time we made it to the store, we still had about 25 minutes until the pharmacy opened. My plan was to shop slooooowly. Of course this meant Beckett decided to get fussy about the same time we walked in the door. I use a ring sling for shopping that usually keeps him happy, but he was starting to get tired and cranky. With some of the horror-ish stories I’ve heard since the whole “Mom Enough” TIME mess, I’ve been on guard when I’m out with Beckett. I half expect someone to feel the need to tell me what I’m doing wrong since I’m obviously one of those crazy babywearing, breastfeeding, attachment parenting weirdos. Probably a case of lingering postpartum paranoia, but whatever. A happy sling baby is harder to argue with than a cranky sling baby.

Luckily all the comments we got today were either sympathetic or of the “aww, how cute” variety. Beckett had one lady particularly entertained by smiling at her while continuing to share his displeasure with me by growling. Yes, my baby growls when he needs to complain without full-on crying.

It only took 10 minutes to get everything we needed and Beckett’s growls were starting to turn into cries. The pharmacy was still deserted which probably meant I’d have to wait for them to get everything up and running after waiting the 10-15 minutes for them to open. Beckett wasn’t going to make it, so we bought our things and left.

In the five minutes it took us to get home, Beckett went from fussy baby to this:

If only he had fallen asleep in the sling, I could have gotten everything done. Oh well. On my way out, I noticed Blue Bell is on sale, so we can stock up when we go back later today. 🙂

Avon calling

Full disclosure: I sell Avon. I don’t spend much time on it in favor of SubEarthan Cottage, and I prefer to direct people to my Avon website rather than the traditional brochures-in-your-living-room service, but technically I do sell Avon.

Having said that, I got my personal Avon package in the mail complete with a few potentially awesome for mommies products. I thought I’d share what I got and then come back in a few days/weeks to give a personal review of the products.

Clockwise from top: Skin So Soft Signature Silk Perfecting Oil, Beyond Color Plumping Lip Conditioner, Brightening Concealer stick in Pearl, and Natural Kids Body Paint in Coconut, Cherry and Grape

First is the Skin So Soft Signature Silk Perfecting Oil. (Reg. $12. I got it on sale for $7.99) From the website, it claims to “ improve skin’s overall clarity, virtually eliminating the look of uneven skin tone.” and target “discolorations, scars, uneven tone and stretch marks.” I got it to try on my c-section scar and, you guessed it, stretch marks.

Next is the Beyond Color Plumping Lip Conditioner (intro price $4.49). It’s a new demo product, so I don’t have a page to link to for it. I purchased it because I am a lip product addict and besides, who doesn’t want to be among the first to try something. I also wanted to see if it would do a little more something for my lips without me having to wear a real lip color that results in my babies being covered in visible mommy lip prints by the end of the day. 

The Brightening Concealer Stick ($3.99) is another no-brainer for me. New baby + 4:30am feeding + 6am  wake-up + night owl mommy = puffy raccoon morning eyes. The website says it “Instantly brightens and illuminates eyes. Light-reflecting pearls help to dispel dark circles, fade away fine lines and optically airbrush imperfections. Wear alone or under foundation.” My usual makeup routine consists of moisturizer, translucent powder, something on my lips and maybe mascara. If I really can wear it alone and it’s easy to apply, it will probably become a staple in my makeup bag. I went with “Pearl” because I have fair skin most of the year and sometimes the lightest under-eye  products look too dark for me. 

Finally the Natural Kids Bath Time Body Paints ($0.59 each) are birthday gifts for Finn. I haven’t tried them recently but I remember them from when I was little. They are little roll on soap “paints” to play with in the bath. I thought they were fun so hopefully Finn will enjoy playing with them.

I’ll keep you posted on how well they all perform.

Cloth Diapering – Types of diapers

If you’re new to cloth diapering, it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate the different types of cloth diapers on the market. Today’s choices go beyond the pinned white squares our parents and grandparents used to include styles so user friendly even the most skeptical caregivers will be comfortable using them.

Here are the basics based on my research. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment:

Flats: A large square of woven material, most commonly cotton, that have to be folded and pinned. They will leak unless you also use a waterproof diaper wrap/cover.

Prefolds: A rectangle of cotton or other woven material with a thicker, absorbent middle section. Most moms have a few of these around even if they don’t cloth diaper because they make excellent burp cloths. They still require a little folding to get the best fit for your baby, but nowhere near as much as flats. Like flats, they’ll need pinned and a leak-proof cover.

Prefold diaper from The Eli Monster

Fitteds: Fitteds are made from an absorbent material and shaped to fit without folding. They usually close with Velcro or snaps, so you don’t need pins. They do not have a waterproof layer, so you’ll need a cover to make them leak-proof.

Fitted diaper “Road Map” by Hen and Chick Cloth

All-in-ones (AIO): All-in-ones are essentially fitteds with the addition of a leak-proof layer. The leak-proof layer is most commonly made with PUL, a plastic laminated material. They close with Velcro or snaps.

Daisy Dots AIO from Hen and Chick Cloth

All in twos (AI2): Similar to all-in-ones, except that a separate absorbent layer is placed inside of the diaper. This helps them dry faster because each layer is thinner. You can also customize the absorbency by adding layers as needed. They close with Velcro or snaps.

Custom print AI2 from The Eli Monster

Pockets: Essentially a specific type of AI2. With pockets, the absorbent layer (insert) is placed in a pocket between a waterproof outer layer and an inner layer of fleece or some other material that lets wetness through to the insert and keeps baby’s skin dry. They close with Velcro or snaps.

Rockin’ Broncos Pocket diaper by Hen and Chick Cloth

One size (OS): Means that the size of the diaper can be adjusted to fit most babies from infancy to toddlerhood as opposed to sized diapers that fit a weight range.

Thank you to The Eli Monster and Hen and Chick Cloth for allowing me to use their product images for this post. Be sure to visit their shops for a variety of cloth diapers as well as other products for mom and baby. To visit the specific product pages seen here, please click on the caption below the picture.

SubEarthan Cottage is Back!

My handmade shop, SubEarthan Cottage is now open again on Etsy. There’s plenty there to shop with more being added almost hourly.

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