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Monday, August 22, 2011

Beautyberry Harvest

Recently I made another harvest of these beautiful beautyberries. They are so spectacular in the fall - their bright colors can be seen from far away. 
To dry them, I lay the berries on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for two days at 105 degrees. That way, their natural enzymes aren't compromised in the process.

Then, I do two things with them: one is I use them in the Elderberry soap for more berry power, and two, I make a glycerine extract for Beautyberry Bug Banisher.

Aren't they beautiful?

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Piece of Cake

Remember the Handmade Soap photo tour I gave you last week? Well, here is one of the end-products of that work session. Mandarin Poppyseed with a hint of Patchouli, it smells divine and I just love how it turned out, I want to touch it, but I'm afraid to cut it because I don't want to ruin it's beauty. Not yet, anyways.
But in a little over a week I'll make the first cut, and you can come and get a slice of Mandarin Poppyseed soap cake at the Brevard County Farmer's Market next Thursday, August 25th. I'll be there with soaps, facial care products, and a secret surprise to be announced next week. I'll let the Market Manager announce my special treat that I'll be bringing, so stay tuned. I hope you have a "piece of cake" kinda day today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Arts & Science of Soapmaking

Have you ever wondered what goes into making a bar of soap?

We start out gently heating the oils and butters to 95 degrees F.

We use over 50% olive oil in our formulas, which makes it excellent for sensitive skin. Other oils/butters we use include: Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Castor Bean Oil, Jojoba, Coconut Oil, and Sunflower Oil.
Next, the wooden molds are lined with a natural biodegradable liner.

A lye solution (water and sodium hydroxide) is prepared just after the oils begin melting, so they arrive at the same temperatures about the same time.
After the desired temperatures are met, the lye solution is slowly poured into the oils/fats mixture, while stirring.

You can see how it the oil and water combination quickly starts to thicken. It's not thick enough yet though. Stirring must continue for up to an hour to get the mixture to "trace."

Getting there, but not yet ready.
You can see the soap leaves a "trace" left on the surface. This is how I know the soap is thick enough to pour. If you pour it too soon without it tracing, the soap will separate. Soapmaking is both an art and a science!

Once the soap has traced I quickly add in my herbs, veggie/fruit powders, or clays. This batch happens to use Poppyseeds.
After the dry ingredients are added (Poppyseeds) I now will add the essential oils. But there's only a little window of time so I have to act quickly.
This batch, I'm making a soap bundt cake. These special cakes are available on special order and make beautiful bridal/baby shower favors, displayed on a cake pedestal. Or, they are also lovely sent to a special someone in one of our fabulous kraft cake boxes. (If interested, you can inquire with us for more details.)
The rest of this batch is poured into the wooden molds. 
Ta da! Sweet Mandarine Poppyseed. Essential oils used include: Mandarine, Sweet Orange, and a touch of Dark Patchouli.  Sprinkled gently with organic Poppyseeds. This batch will be available for sale on August 20th, 2011.

The soap loaves will now be covered with wooden boards and a heavy blanket where they will sit overnight to solidify. Once the soap has solidified, it will be removed from the molds (about 24 hours later) and placed on our soap racks so the air can circulate and help cure them within a 5 week period. Then, they will be ready to cut and sell.
I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my soapmaking workshop. More workshop sneak peeks to come!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Fresh Summer Bouquet

Rosemary is such a fun, versatile, and beautiful fragrant herb to use in crafts.

My mother-in-law was coming into town and I wanted to do something special and fresh for our dinner table. Here's how to make a fresh rosemary lined bouquet. I used a mason jar - the same jar I use for my Aromatherapy Soy Candles and Roots & Flowers Deoderant Powder. This is a great way to re-use your jars. You could even put some glass marbles or sea shells in the bottom.

Jut cut your rosemary to desired length and begin wrapping around your jar. Secure with a rubber band and then hemp or a pretty ribbon. Fill with water and fresh flowers.

So many flowers, so little thyme. Happy summer!

Do you craft in the summertime with fresh herbs? What are you favorites?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Recipe for Keeping Cool with Spa Water

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a massage and while sitting in the waiting room I enjoyed some of their "Spa Water." I'm not sure if that's the official name, but I'm sure you've seen it somewhere, sometime in a spa. You know, water that looks so pretty with cucumbers or lemons floating around, and tastes just as good? So, I just had to try and replicate the awesome memory of my spa time with this homemade Spa Water. Maybe - just maybe - it could bring me back to that peaceful relaxation.
Best of all, I found out that after you make this you can leave it out on the counter, and the lemon/cucumber "ice" will keep you looking and feeling "cool" all throughout the day. Seriously, I had forgotten about it on the dining table, and a few hours later I went and poured myself another, and it was nice and cold. Just what the doctor ordered.

To start, slice up your fresh lemons, cucumbers, kiwi, etc and place the slices in a muffin pan with enough water in each muffin area to cover your slice.

After taking out of the freezer they should easily pop right out. On a couple of them I wedged them out with a knife, but most came out with little effort.

I dumped them all into a bowl. Aren't these ice cubes just pretty?

Place them in your favorite summer pitcher and add water. That's it! Now take a little spa time in your home and slice up this soothing refresher that is sure to beat the summer heat!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lemon Summer Face Scrubbie - DIY

Here's an easy DIY (do-it-yourself) project that's refreshing for the hot, sticky, summer months. I did it last night and ooh la la! I love how my face felt afterwards.
Just slice a lemon in half, and choose your "exfoliator." You can use sugar, cornmeal, or my Face Petals Cleansing Grains which is what I used.

Place your exfoliating powder directly on top of the lemon, and then scrub gently over damp facial skin. Rinse, and repeat if necessary! Enjoy!