Welcome to my blog. I work full time and creating is my sanity. I like to use many different mediums and was a finalist in the Fire Mountain Beading Contest in 2008. I am a passionate blogger, and a promoter of handmade goodness.

I love : my husband, my fur kids, family, music, sunshine, creating, chocolate, handmade soaps, the DUST Team, gardening, friends, Triple J Radio and photography. Comments welcome, I hope you enjoy the adventure with me.

Please respect my copyright and that the original ©photographs and ©text published on this blog remain the property of ©Maddabling (Samara). Please do not reproduce, crop or alter my original photographs.

made with love.........................maddabling xox

proud member of the down under street team

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Friends - Dusty Divas Part 2

In Dusty Diva's Part 2, I would like to introduce Karen of NewEarthSoaps.Etsy.Com

Handmade soaps have always been my personal preference. I was lucky enough to cross paths with the lovely Kaz in the virtual worlds of etsy, the dust team forum and facebook. Then to my delight, I have been able to meet up with Kaz at the local markets not far from here which allows me to stock up on her luscious goodies. Karen has decided to share with my readers what goes on behind the scenes of making handmade soap and what her dreams, aspirations and creative processes are.
I hope you enjoy reading Dusty Diva's Part 2.

Name: Karen Harries

How did I get in to soapmaking?:
I bought a book on soapmaking years ago, but with a busy day job, building houses and being 20 something, I just never got around to trying it out. One day, a best friend said, "I am going to make a batch of soap for my husbands sensitive skin." I invited myself around. I had to make some too. We actually nearly made a mess of it, measuring out the water and caustic soda, we swapped the levels around, and made a toxic mess. You know how it goes when friends get together! Once we corrected that, all was well and we made a great soap batch. We still laugh (really hard) about it to this day.

Within days I was inventing my own recipes, experimenting with mini batches. When they cured all family and friends were subjected to trying them out for me. I even made up a questionaire for them to assess it. First thing discovered, my dads dry, flaky, itchy skin cleared up. I mean, he had been going though a 375ml bottle of moisturiser a week before this!

I only have a spare bedroom to use at the moment but it's set up well and it's my personal space. In my future I see a free standing studio with big windows, solar power and a sweet little verandah where I will sit and plan my next formulas watching the blue wrens dancing about my feet.

How do you formulate a new product?
Often I will find inspiration in a book, try a basic recipe, but often I can see what needs to be done to take it to the next level. Then comes the fun part, experimenting. I will keep reformulating that recipe until it is just right, and I know when it is just right. I get this feeling in my tummy, like butterflies. It's a good feeling.

Building up my skin care range so far has been very slow. I don't just put anything in my shop. It must be tested properly and get the thumbs up from plenty of people first. Also because I refrain from synthetically produced fragrances and colourings, my scope is smaller. My next goals though are to explore more natural colouring ideas and expand my aromatherapy knowledge to further my essential oil blending skills
Day job:
Yes I work part time at a great little health store. I love it, so it would be hard to ever give up. I am enjoying having two lives. I have become the additive expert (it's scary how many skin and hair products are out there are marketed as natural but they are not actually safe) and help people solve their skin and hair problems. I love it when they return to show me that the problem has cleared away.

At some point in the future I plan to move to a beautiful coastal town in the south of WA, and build myself that studio. I will have the time to turn New Earth Soaps into a full-time venture then. My ideas are bigger than my spare room will allow so I look forward to the space to make those ideas come alive.

What other things are you passionate about?
So many things. Environment. We are making a mess of this planet, our health, our future. Producing things for short term gain is creating long term damage. We are making the problems bigger by turning a blind eye to them for the sake of money. Thats one reason why i will only use ingredients from sustainable sources. I find little point in supporting industry, such as illegally planted palm plantations in Malaysia as there surely is no long term future for them. They will fall one day, soon I hope. Art and photography. I used to sell of landscape photo work until soap took over. But the itch is returning. I am going to take a painting class next term too.

If you would like to read more - check out Karen's blog at http://newearthsoaps.blogspot.com, become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/newearthsoaps and if you would like to see all the goodies currently for sale, Karen's Online Store is http://www.etsy.com/shop/newearthsoaps


  1. Lovely write up about Karen! So nice to get to know more about fellow DUSTers.

    :) Deb.

  2. Thank you for a wonderful insight into another lovely duster. Great post :)

  3. Gorgeous soaps, love Karen's shop so its lovely to see more about her.

  4. Aww Karen when you build that Studio in Denmark I am going to come out there and watch those blue wrens too - ahhhh it will be so nice. Actually we are taking a drive out there tomorow.