Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Surprise Inside

Cutting soap is one of my favorite parts of the process (other than the formulating). Being patient enough to wait is very difficult , but almost without fail it is worth it! When yo u cut into a loaf of soap you never know what may be waiting for you. I've been working on t rying to get better swirls and layers in my so aps so yesterday I planned a swirled fall soap. I was looking forward to see what might be aw aiting me after a late night of soaping. This particular loaf is a pumpkin soap made with pumpkin pulp, pie spices, and a touch of lavender (my fa vorite Essential Oil). It turned out a little darker than I had anticipated, but it is still a warm orange/brown from the natural color of the pumpkin and cinnamon...perfect for the fall. The biggest surprise was not the color, but instead the pattern that developed. Most have a lovely layer of light lavender through, but a few from one end had a rather creepy smile! I think these will be perfect for Halloween! What do you think?





This delightful soap will be available at the end of August.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Now Available in Local Venue

We are happy to announce that Soap Scent-sations products are now available in a local venue. If you live in or near Columbia, MO be sure to stop by Artlandish in downtown Columbia. This art gallery/studio is filled with beautiful handcrafted artisan work from in and around the area. A small selection of my finest products don one of the shelves there. Also be sure to take advantage of the workshops available!



Here are few items from Soap Scent-sations you will find available at Artlandish.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fabulous Find

So I was doing a little search on Etsy today and came across such a fun little shop. It is filled with delightful clay and ceramic pieces that truly make me grin. MyOtherLittleShop is loaded with fun little creatures; frogs, owls, one-eyed monsters!



Upon exploring I realized it was a seller I was familiar with! I have purchased custom handmade tiles from RedCrowArts to complete a mosaic project. And such a delight to see that she also has another shop filled with equally fun items and a third shop with supplies for your very own creations. Go explore these fun shops! And know that you are getting quality handmade goods!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bumper Crop



Despite the unending rain, we were able to get out into the weed infested garden and harvest a few things. Our plot is only 8 x 8 so there isn't a lot of anything. Just enough for us to enjoy a few fresh veggies and the kids get the opportunity to see how it grows/where it comes from. Ryan begged to dig the carrots, so we dug up one clump. We will leave the rest for later--let them grow a little longer. But we did dig up all the potatoes. The kids loved getting to use the water hose to clean the mud off and Ethan gave us the "Eh, What's up Doc?" line! My favorite part of course is watching them enjoy learning without knowing it.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Household Helpers

One of my favorite household helpers is vinegar. It has so many uses around the house. Aside from the usual cooking uses you might think of, it is also useful in many cleaning applications. Vinegar can be used in mop water. Vinegar can be used as a neutralizer for lye spills and splashes during soap making. And my favorite use for vinegar is in the laundry. It is a great fabric softener and static reducer. It also helps remove soap residue from your clothing. Here's my formulation for laundry use.

1/4 cup vinegar
5-6 drops essential oil (I use Tea Tree most of the time; however, lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary are excellent choices as well)
1/2 cup water

Pour into your fabric softener dispenser the same as you would chemical fabric softeners.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mmmmmmmmm....Lavender

Ok, so by now you probably have realized I have a thing for lavender. I love it in bath and body products as a stand-alone or in a variety of combinations. One of my all time favorite essential oil blends is lavender and lemon. It is such a pleasant combo of sweet/spicy and tart/tangy. It is great in soap, bath bombs, bath oils, and even lotion. Oh yum, I am dreaming of things to make as I type...drool, drool.


Some of my favorite lavender findings on Etsy.
(this spotlight featured on ByHand Gallery)

I love lavender as a plant! It's lovely grey/green stemy plant is a great accent in any garden and it even stays somewhat green in the cold of the winter. In the summer of course there are the tall purple spikes of tiny fragrant flowers. I love walking among them (being careful of the bees I have to share them with). They always give off a wonderful smell as you brush past them. I can't help but stop and pick a sprig to tuck behind my ear. And of course bundles for drying are a must. Great for laying in baskets or tucking in vases, filling sachets, or adding to soap. I LOVE lavender.

This year I thought I would try my hand at making some lavender jelly and have dried enough to make a small batch. I can't wait to try it. In the mean time, I've used fresh buds to make a muffin recipe I had been wanting to try.

Recipe as follows:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter/margerine (dairy free version at our house)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (we use almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup fresh lavender buds, rinsed and seperated from stem

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and baking powder, blend well.
Sift in flour, mix thoroughly.
Fold in lavender.

Bake in 350 degree hot oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

While still warm glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and juice of one lemon.



Ok, these are as yummy as can be. Perfect combination of lavender and lemon! Once Again! Who knew you could eat it too! I will definitely be attacking the lavender plants earlier and more heavily next year. Alas, they are almost done for this season...I'll leave the rest for the bees.

Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil

I always like to come back to this topic or one's similar as it is a great refresher on Natural vs Synthetic. It is a good reminder to my self and consumers who are looking for more natural products.

What do you think of when you see the words Essential Oils or Fragrance Oils? Other more generic terms you may see are scents or fragrances or even simply, oils. When those words are all together there appear to be some differences, but singularly it may not be as apparent. In many cases the term essential oil is used in very loose terms meaning anything that is scented. To me this is very far from the truth and can be used misleadingly.



An essential oil is derived from plant matter, generally via a distillation process (that all depends on the oil, the part of the plant used, and how volatile the substance is--and an entirely different topic). There are many grades of essential oils. When using them for bath/body/aromatherapy purposes I believe it is of utmost importance to use aromatherapy grade oils. These have not been diluted or thinned in any form. Of course there are some exception to this dilution, such as Jasmine and Rose, which as essential oils are extremely expensive. Essential oils are a splendid choice when looking to create or purchase natural. I use them extensively in my home for everything from household chores to natural beauty solutions. I also use them in my soap products for their wonderful naturally fragrant properties. Nothing synthetic compares to quality, natural Lavender Essential Oil.

Fragrance oils are chemically created in a lab to mimic pretty much anything. We all know there is no such thing as Bubble Gum essential oil, but many don't realize that scents like blueberry and strawberry (the fruity part) can only be created in a lab and will NEVER be an essential oil even though strawberries and blueberries are clearly from mother nature. However, the beauty of science can give us those scents to be used as flavorings and fragrances for home and body uses. I use these in products when I can't find a natural alternative. I mean, who can resist the scent of creme brulee or all those fabulous "fresh" and "rain" scents. My youngest son's absolute favorite is blueberry, so when I create things for him guess what Fragrance oil I use?! When used in moderation and from reliable sources they can become quick favorites. Fragrances will never be natural, but are often made using some natural oil blends in combination with other synthetic ingredients.

I hope this helps clarify the difference between fragrances and essential oils. Essential oils are fragrant, but fragrances are never essential oils. And of course this is a very, very abbreviated lesson in essential oils and is only meant to inform.

A few other things to note:
1). Essential oils and fragrance oils should be used care and caution by those who understand their properties and to what quantities they can be used safely.
2). Neither essential oils nor fragrance oils should be ingested.
3). Craft store oils for burners, potpourri, and incense are not intended for body use. Never use these in bath or body applications.
4). As always, keep such products out of the reach of children.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Soap of the Month - Lavender and Oats

Lavender Oats is one of my absolute favorites! I think it really is the scent I adore so much. Lavender is one of my favorite summer flowers and it finds it's home in many of my beds. I dry it every year for use in bouquets and sachets. This year, I have enough that I am going to try my hand at lavender jelly.

The bar itself is really a simple, yet luxurious bar. Primarily an olive oil soap with added shea butter and is loaded with ground whole oats for natural exfoliation. Lightly scented with soothing lavender that is true to the spicy notes of lavender.

I have previously made a hand-milled version of this bar, but I think you will find this one is even better and it is certainly bigger! The previous bars were around 3 oz each and are now cut to 4 oz or more! Generally, MORE!



Ingredients: Distilled Water, Sodium Palmate, Sodium Cococate, Sodium Olivate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Meal, essential oil of lavender

I thought I would start off the first full week of the July with a Soap of the Month. During each month one soap will be featured and offered at a special price for the entire month. The discount will be available in any of my three on-line shops. For the month of July, Lavender and Oats will be available for $4.95 per bar (reg $5.50). Price not available with any other discount. To receive the special price for this month you must place in a message to the seller: JULY BLOG.

So stop on by one of my shops and enjoy the luxury of handmade soap!
Etsy
1000 Markets
Artfire

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July SALE

Beginning Fri, July 3rd - Sun, July 5th

20% off all items that are Red, White, and Blue
15% off all other items

FREE shipping on orders over $30 (after discount/before shipping)