Saturday, August 13, 2011

Have a Tennessee Adventure While Picking Up Your Lye and Soap Supplies!

If you currently make soap or want to learn the craft, the two most important supplies are Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and bulk fixed oil, such as olive oil and palm. Often it is difficult to obtain lye, because it is classified as a hazardous material, and very expensive to ship. Finding a local source to purchase lye in bulk, without paying shipping, is like winning the lottery for soap makers! 

Today, I am going to be featuring an interview with Diana Fleming, owner of Diana's Sugar Plum Sundries in Dulop, TN. I made this citrus and sage soap from lye and coconut oil purchased from her supply company. Diana's Sugar Plum Sundries offers everything you need to make soap, in large and small quantities, and you can enjoy a scenic drive and day trip while picking your order up from her warehouse. In addition to lye and oils, she also sells essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, additives, packaging needs, and locally made crafts.

Visit her website today to make your order and start planning your Tennessee adventure! This stunning view from Walden's Ridge is representative of the gorgeous natural scenery you will encounter on the way to obtain your lye and oils in Dunlop, TN! Below, you can read about Diana's personal recommendations of things to see and do along the way. Thanks, Diana, for your time and pictures.

1) Where are you located in TN and what is your favorite part of living in that region?

We are located just north of Dunlap, TN in the gorgeous Sequatchie Valley. We moved from Chattanooga close to 17 years ago and have never had any regrets. The restful views and pleasant atmosphere are unmatched!

2)Do you have any suggestions for a special place to eat or visit near your company when customers go to pick up an order?

There are many places to eat in this area. One that is very popular is a local Chinese restaurant – Taipei 101 (423/949-1101) located in the heart of Dunlap. They have quite a selection of wonderful desserts made fresh every day that my family and I greatly enjoy.

Another popular restaurant is Johnson Family Farm which includes their Cookie Jar CafĂ©. It is so named because there are literally hundreds of cookie jars decorating a shelf which surrounds the whole dining area. The food is country cooking with delicious pies made fresh every day.

We also have a new donut shop [Backdraft’s Donut Station – 423/949-3638) in Dunlap’s square where you should plan to spend some time deciding what types of  delicious delicacies you would like to carry away! They make their sweet products fresh everyday and close when they sell out or at 1:00 PM, whichever comes first. You can have them set an order back for you to pick up at your leisure.

As far as places to visit, I would highly recommend a leisurely trip to the Coke Ovens Museum and Park. The history and peaceful atmosphere are interesting and refreshing. Be sure to check the museum times before you come.

And there are plenty of other things to do as well. You can canoe the Sequatchie River, Hang-glide off Walden’s RidgeAttend the 127 Sale, Visit the wonderful bakery and orchards of Wooden’s Apple House, and attend the The Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival and  Sunset Jammer’s monthly bluegrass concerts

Slightly farther away you can visit the TN Valley Railroad Museum and ride the train (the fall is the best time to do this due to the gorgeous fall foliage!), tour the falls at Fall Creek FallsRock IslandOzone Falls, and Burgess Falls, Horseback Riding Vacations (Sequatchie B&B), and my personal favorite:Chilhowee Gliderport. The latter is world famous in the sailplane world and the owner, Sarah Arnold, is an amazing pilot with many gliding records of her own. In fact she will be going to Argentina next year to compete in the World Championships, so if you get a chance to fly with her, do it! You can be sure that every flight you take will be beautiful and serene. I recommend using the 1961 Ka-7 Scheilcher glider from Germany. It is full of history and will take you on a nostalgic trip back in time for your peaceful flight aloft. PS It happens to be my plane! ;-)

3)What is your favorite place in TN to shop for craft supplies and what other things do you make besides soap?

Hobby Lobby! I have to take my cell phone with me when I shop so that I can be reached after so many hours of getting lost in that store! The closest Hobby Lobby is 40 minutes away but well worth the fuel. My second favorite shopping place is Bell Buckle, TNThe little shops are packed to the ceiling with interesting gadgets, antiques, and beautiful hand work. It is a good idea to spend a whole day touring the cute little town and sampling their wonderful ice cream. My family would definitely pick Bedford Tack in Bedford County, TN as the store where they feel they are in Horse Heaven. There is every type of tack, harness, gifts, and equestrian clothing imaginable!

Dianna’s Sugar Plum Sundries sells the supplies to make many different types of bath and body products. We have very rarely supplied companies with the finished products. On a personal basis I love to cook, sew, knit, tat, crochet, make bath and body products for friends and family, can the harvests, and spin wool. These are all things that I do when I have a leisure moment to enjoy being creative outside the business. I also hope to learn some whittling (wood) and bobbin lace-making when I achieve the free time/retirement part of life!

4) Of all the essential oils and fragrances you carry, which one is your favorite for soap making?

That is a hard question as there are a lot of choices! But I think I could narrow it down to LavenderPeppermint, and Rose Geranium. All 3 of those listed are essential oils and we carry them year round. They work well in soap, body mists, lotions, salts, and bath fizzies not to mention air fresheners and perfumes. (We have recipes online for these )

5) Is your supply company currently running any sales or promotions and how do customers contact you to place and pick up and order?

We just finished with a big sale in July and will have another in the Fall and another in December. We also enjoy doing surprise sales on certain items so check back often or get on our eNewsletter list!

We do not have a storefront, which cuts down on expenses that we would have to pass on to our customers. Besides ordering online, they can place their orders over the phone, fax, through the mail, or by emailing them to us. We welcome order pick-ups as this helps our customers save on shipping. But we do ask that they give us 24 hours notice so that we can check product availability and arrange for a time when they can come by.

6) I see you also sell handmade goods on your website made by local residents. Why is buying handmade and local important to you?

I was raised with the principle that every American should endeavor to improve our country for the next generation. To do anything else was considered  selfish and shortsighted. One way that I have been able to carry out that principle is to support the businesses of my neighbors and friends in the local area. When one prospers, it helps everyone else prosper. Not to mention that it keeps the industry in our country…and our nation is in definite need of  strengthening if we are to help with the recent international disasters. I have friends that sell honey, fresh fruits and veggies, quilts, every type of handwork, woodworking, metalworking, 

The bath bombs above are available on her site and are hand-crafted by an ambitious local teenager:  

Thanks again Diana for the great interview! Here is her complete contact information:

Dianna's Sugar Plum Sundries

221 Hope Lane
Dunlap, TN 37327

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