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
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, well..you 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 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.