Channeling my Inner Artisan at Shoppe 561

When you initially walk in to Shoppe 561, at 319 Belvedere Road, it may appear to be like any other eclectic boutique, but upon taking a few more steps you begin to realize that it is oh so much more…Items are displayed throughout the store almost in bundles, not by color or type, but by artisan!¬† All pieces are hand crafted by Floridian artisans of all ages.¬† Little index cards providing a few snippets of information on the artists accompany their creations.¬† The concept behind Shoppe 561 is actually quite remarkable.¬† Janelle, the store¬†owner/shopkeeper, spent 25¬†years of her professional life working in the¬†world of retail.¬†¬†¬†Through her travels to Rwanda, life experiences, and¬†acquisition of her Masters Degree, she established the dream that would become Shoppe 561.

Some of my favorite pieces & displays throughout the store…

Handmade Dog Collars ‚̧¬†
This display called my attention right away!  You know I love animals so I gravitated to this one thinking of my own pups, Stella & Sam.  Once they are full grown I will be picking them up some new, one of a kind, collars.

Wooden Seahorse Wall Hanging
I could picture this seahorse hanging in my living room or in my outdoor gazebo by the pool.  I love anything beachy or ocean related so this piece really spoke to me. 
Vintage-Style Butterfly Mobile
I have always loved butterflies..There is something about their delicate wings and fragile existence.¬† So beautiful yet so frail…much like our own lives.¬†
Gorgeous cabinet with paper products, lotions, frames, etc…You literally feel like you are walking through someones own¬†little whimsical cottage¬†when you walk through Shoppe 561.¬† One turn has you gazing at a beautifully adorned dresser while another has you enchanted by a tree with hanging hearts or twinkling lights.¬† It is very easy to be taken to another world far, far away as you make your way through the different artisanal displays.
What initially brought me to Shoppe 561 was to be part of a blogger soap making 101 class.
Shoppe 561 offers different classes for kids to teens to adults…anything from jewelry making, knitting, and as you will read below soap making.¬† This particular class was led by Scott Spell, founder of¬†the Washburne Soap Company, a Lake Worth local who developed his own natural handmade soap when his daughter suffered with an adverse reaction to medication…and the rest his history!
Check out the set up for our soap making class…cozy isn’t it? ¬†It was a functioning blend of science meets country kitchen at Shoppe 561! ¬†We were also welcomed with a signature Hope tote, along with a few little goodies inside for us bloggers to enjoy…a few handmade greeting cards, some yummy Bolivian dark chocolate and our very own bar of Washburne soap (bar above). ¬†
So let me just say that soap making was a lot harder than I thought!¬† It is actually quite scientific when you get right down to it.¬† Scott actually started to explain to us the base used to make the soap is a blend of different types of oils, and ingredients like Shea butter and cocoa butter.¬† Just begin to imagine how good this stuff must feel!¬† We haven’t even talked about the add ins for exfoliation, color, and scent and this soap is already sounding delectable…
Check me out in my soap making goggles!!!  Hey we are working with some pretty serious stuff so better safe than sorry right?!?!
So lucky for us, Scott had the soap base premixed and we would only need to measure out and work with the remaining ingredients: lye, powders for coloring, powders for varying degrees of exfoliation, and essential oils for scent.

First thing’s first, we had to ladle the soap base into our buckets to get our soap making started!

We had nine different powders, or dry colorants, available to help produce soaps in different colors.  I wanted to create a pink-hued soap so I opted to use the Lavender Fields and Brick Red powders.  Dry colorants are mineral pigments, while others are organic dyes.  Either way, we knew the soap we were making was all natural.

Once we were done with incorporating our colors, it was on to lye.¬† Lye is a vital ingredient¬†in the soap making process.¬† Without it, don’t have soap.¬† Lye is actually sodium hydroxide, and¬†is actually what¬†causes the soap to take on its solid form.¬†¬†At this stage, we added enough to make about one pound of soap.¬†¬†¬†
Once the lye was added, we had to mix the heck out of our soap concoction.  Lucky for me, Scott had a handy dandy electric hand mixer, similar to the ones used in restaurants to blend soap, I mean soup;)  

Once our soap was thoroughly mixed, I would say it had the consistency of a bisque, a little on the thinner side.  The lye would slowly do its job and start to thicken the mixture, but we will get to that in just a second.

Next up was to add any exfoliants to our soap.  I added a few different to have varying degrees of graininess to my soap.  Below you can see some of the ones I selected: ground vanilla beans, Rose Hip powder, ground apricot seeds, and loofah.  If I was making my own bars of soap I was definitely going all out.

The last thing to add was essentials oils.  I was trying to keep a few different things into consideration when selecting my essential oils.  I wanted something that would have relaxing properties, but then I also wanted something clean and refreshing.  I decided to go with Rosemary, Orange, & Lavender essential oils.  I cannot wait to take my first shower with this soap!  I am going to smell so good!

At this point, my soap mixture has had some time to thicken thanks to the lye.  I made sure to blend in my exfoliants and essential oils sufficiently so that they were evenly dispersed throughout the mixture.  At this point, I would say the soap had a heavy pudding consistency.  We transferred our mixtures from the buckets we were using for blending to little Tupperware containers where they would harden and then be able to pop right out.

So once the soap is sealed in the containers, Scott put them into a thermal heating unit.  This step completed the soap hardening process.  This meant I would not be going home with my soap just yet.  We would have to wait 24 hours to pick up our soap.  Lucky for me, Dawn from Simply Sassys Style picked mine up for me:)
Voila!  My soap creation!
Thank you to Sahily from Pretty in Pigment and Dawn from Simply Sassys Style for hosting this super fun, and incredibly educational beauty event.¬† I am so proud of my soap creation ‚̧
Connect with Shoppe 561 & The Washburne Soap Company to experience them for yourselves:
Shoppe 561 at
Shoppe 561 on Facebook & Instagram
Washburne Soap Company at
Washburne Soap Company on Facebook & Instagram


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