My Etsy shop has given me a new view on life and a lot of new friends. I create chainmaille jewelry, sterling silver jewelry, and brass jewelry. I have recently began to crochet again, and have fell in love with it!
I love to feature artists that are unique or have a special talent! I also love to feature new shops with undiscovered talents.
and expecting our first daughter in law June 12, 2010
"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about."
I have often made the mistake of thinking that I just do not have enough time. However, upon looking over the life of today's featured artist, I realize that I just do not know how to budget my time wisely, and that I fail to appreciate some of the smaller things in life.
Marlene Grahn is a virtual super hero, as she juggles 11 children, numerous goats and various other animals, plants and grows her own garden and cans some of her food, and also makes her own wine! Oh, did I mention that she also home schools her children? On top of all of that, Marlene finds the time to run an Etsy shop Country Soaps by Marlen . In my book, this is super hero material!
Marlene has granted me an interview, and I would love for you to get to know her!
Who are you?
My name is Marlene, proud mama to 11 amazing kids…on the side I make goats milk soaps.
What do you create, and possibly a few words to describe your art?
I make cold process goats milk soaps. While waiting for them to cure I enjoy making lotions, shower gels, lip balms, solid perfumes, bath bombs and teas. What does cold process mean? It means that I keep the temperature of the oils and lye solution below 100 degrees. You might now wonder how it is possible using lye. Anyone that has tried to unplug a drain knows the hiss that comes from the drain cleaner. I can’t use drain cleaner because of the aluminum they have added due to the increase of meth labs around the country. I use pure lye. The goats milk has to be frozen before the lye can be added to protect the delicate proteins found in goats milk. That’s how I keep the temperatures low. Goats milk soap naturally moisturizes and exfoliates the skin leaving it naturally soft. It’s great to use on young and old, body and face.
What inspires you, or turns on that creative light inside of you?
Sometimes I read an article or someone on my facebook fan page will suggest something or maybe just the name of the fragrance will help me determine what I will do.
My soaps have a rough rustic country look to them. Many of my relatives before me made soap and they used it just the way it was cut. I don’t bevel my edges or polish my soaps. They are cut, cured and boxed.
How did you get started? Is everyone in your family artistic?
I actually got started years ago while watching my oldest daughter make melt and pour soaps. Then she drifted away from the art and our daughters next in line got some nanny goats. We made cheese, ice cream, yogurt and then soap…it was about the last thing on our list and it stuck.
Our kids are artistic in the way of music. I come from a long line of musicians so the piano comes natural to them along with the guitar. Blooming Tulips Goats Milk Soap
What is unique about your products?
My soaps are 100% goats milk…no added water. Some people start off making soap using distilled water then add some goats milk right at the end. I use all goats milk. There are a few bars that don’t have goats milk in them and I’ll do that to experiment.
Like I said earlier, I’m mom to 11 great kids. We have home schooled them for the past 13 years. My husband and I live on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin.Almond Cocoa Butter Lotion
What is your educational background, as it relates to your work?
I’ve been making soap for the past 7 years. It’s been a lot of trial and error. The errors end up into laundry soap. The first few batches were horrible and then I stopped for a few months, did more reading on the internet and books. Then I gave it a try again and I actually had some soap!!! So, I guess you could say, I’m self taught with the help of lots of great soapers on the internet.
Don’t be afraid of chatting in the forums…they are your direct link to possible customers. Use twitter…excellent tool to add for your business. Use the fan pages on facebook and link your shop(s). Selling on line is a lot harder work than I ever imagined but don’t be afraid or give up.
I do lots of canning from our garden. I also love to sew, crochet and knit. Sometimes you might find these items mixed in with my soaps. We remodeled our kitchen 5 years ago and I’m so in love with it…so you’ll usually find me working on something in there.
I don’t want to personally name people because I’ve met so many great people/artists online and in real life. I’m easily intrigued by quilters and woodworkers. Probably because I like to dabble with that too!
Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about you, or that you would like to brag about?
I make soap for my family and yours. I’ll do lots of reading on ingredients before I proceed. If you have any special needs regarding your soap please contact me and I’ll do my best to help.