What a year!

I’ve been catching up on blog reading this lazy January weekend, and in reading a few other people’s top of 2014 lists, I realized that I had never published my own. Since I was curious as to what they were, I decided to dig into my stats and find out. And I was happy with what I found:

10.  Weekends are made for…  I’m glad this one was popular as it focused on an adorable little boy with a brain tumor.  We recently found out his tumor has grown so he will be starting treatment soon.

Here is the first batch curing.  They will be ready in 3 more weeks!

Here is the first batch curing. They will be ready in 3 more weeks!

9.  It’s been a while  Surprisingly this was a post I made about getting my act together for 2014!  Obviously it resonated with others.  I’m glad to know there are others out there that feel as I do!

8.  Shaving soap  When I had a request for shaving soap I jumped on it!  I still continue to tweek the recipe as there is quite a cult like following for the perfect shaving soap!

First batch of shave soap curing

First batch of shave soap curing

7.  Soap Inspiration  I get inspiration from so many sources!  This post focused on Defeating Pain’s blog and how I used her copaiba bath soak as a relaxing formula for soap!  One of my most favorite soaps to date!

copaiba

6.  Festival Time!  So many of us fund our hobby/obsessions with festivals.  It allows us to make our passions and then pay for them!

New super sized bar scents

New super sized bar scents

5.  Four Thieves soap  What a great legend and what a great soap this turned out to be!

Four Thieves

4.  Give me a hand?  This one focused on the hand pain I have been experiencing with milking the goat as well as the gym.  It’s obvious there are others out there that suffer as I do.  I was glad to share something I had found that works!

WAGS gloves

3.  Why beer in soap?  A favorite ingredient in my soaps, I often get asked why would I waste good beer in soap.  Obviously there are other beer lovers out there.  LOL

2.  Beldi Black Soap  I love trying new things and this soap totally had me at go!  Fascinating history and process for making and using led us all to enjoy this post!

New Beldi black soap

New Beldi black soap

And the winner is….

1.  African Black Soap  Another soap that fascinated me to the point I had to try it!  Great history and process.  One day I want to compare the traditional soap with my attempt at it.  Would be an interesting comparison I imagine!

African Black Soap

Thanks for a great year in soap!  I hope this year will be just as interesting, I sure plan to make it that way!

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Happy 2015!

NEW YEARI was just filling out some cards for my “real” job and when I started writing the date I had to marvel at the fact that it really is 2015!  Seems like only yesterday we were all worried about the millennium!

I try to take stock and make strides toward a new a better me each year and this one is no different.  So many things to take stock of that it seems important that I make a list!  🙂

1.  Soaps:  It’s important to take stock of what has sold well and made folks happy.  I like being able to just pull it off my shelves when someone asks for it.  I already know I want more Dragon’s Blood, Geranium Rose and Cucumber green tea.  I also want to explore some spring time scents as waiting for them to cure will help me look forward to warmer days!  I also think the new larger bars are super nice and last better in the shower.

2.  Shave butter:  Suggested by a customer at a festival and it really has intrigued me.  I bought the supplies but my 2 surgeries and recovery got in the way!  I like the idea of a butter for shaving, especially this time of year.  (Have I mentioned how much I hate winter?)

3.  Lip balm:  Folks don’t seem to want it much so I think I will pair down my stock and concentrate on formulations I like.  I’m truly a lip balm addict so why not enjoy what I like?

4.  The business:  How to make it grow?  Or is it important to grow when you are doing what you love?  The mere art of creation is so fun to me but it’s important to sell what you can to finance your hobby.  The whole art of self promotion can be such a mystery to me.  I find it funny to talk with other soapers across the country who charge such high prices and folks don’t bat an eye.  My goal has always been a good quality product and a reasonable price will be worth it’s weight in gold!

2014 didn’t end on a personal high note for me.  Two surgeries in the last 2 months of the year combined with the flu at Christmas can wear a person down.  I’m ready to take stock and soap on!  What changes are you making personally or professionally this year?

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Four Thieves Soap

Legend of the Four Thieves 

One of the most popular legends in the Herbal world is the Legend of the Four Thieves.  This story has everything a good mystery needs from expensive jewels to trickery that leaves everyone wondering how they survived!  This particular tall tale takes place in the 15th century but over the years has been changed to make it more dramatic or relevant when necessary.

During the plagues (the Black Plagues are the most common) a group of 4 brothers began robbing those who passed from the disease.  This was quite easy to do as those who died remained contagious so no one wanted to be near them.  At first the brothers were largely ignored for everyone knew they would eventually pay the price with their own lives but to everyone’s surprise they never got sick and continued to rob graves.  These brothers became legendary and amassed a great deal of wealth.  The one question everyone had on their mind though was what secret did they possess?  Was it trickery?  Magic?

Many years later they were captured.  After much discussion they agreed to share their secret in return for their freedom.  These men were the offspring of a perfumer and an herbalist.  They learned about essential oils from their parents.  They knew the oils that would protect them so they rubbed them on their bodies and used them to clean anything they brought back.  You can find all kinds of mythology on the internet about this legend!

Many essential oil companies, like Young Living, offer their version of this blend at a high price, but the formula is all over the internet so why not make your own? Here’s my favorite blend.

Combine the following oils in a small, glass vial:

10 drops rosemary oil
20 drops lavender oil
15 drops lemon eucalyptus oil
15 drops peppermint oil
25 drops orange oil
15 drops clove bud oil

Looks like I’ll be making soap soon as I have converted it to grams for my favorite soap recipe!

Thanks to Jessie Hawkins for the fantastic recipe!

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Shaving soap

Had a recent request for a shaving soap.  Apparently I am so far behind the times that I was not aware of the number of men (and women) who use shaving soap with a brush when shaving their faces or heads (or legs for you women out there).

A few decades ago almost every man who shaved used shaving soap and a brush. Once we became the modern society we are the shaving brush and soap almost became obsolete!  Suddenly men started to realize the importance of taking care of their skin and the art of shaving with a brush, soap and the proper blade takes on new importance.  According to web sites like www.badgeandblade.com once you use a shaving brush and shaving soap you will never go back.  Lurk on some of these web sites and you will be amazed how serious this movement is!  I could spend hours reading about the pros and cons of each soap, brush and blade!

Various Shaving Brushes

The classic way to create a rich lather is with shaving soap.  Shaving soaps were popular until World War I when shaving creams made their appearance, but for those who love the wet shaving experience traditional shaving soaps are still held in very high esteem!

A quality shaving soap has high levels of fat, either from a vegetable source or from tallow.  The fat is important because it provides the necessary lubrication in the shaving process so the blade glides easily and helps you to avoid nicks.  In my research tallow seems to be the most favorite fat used in shaving soaps as it also provides a creamy, stable lather that is very moisturizing.  Stable lather is important as you need for the lather to handle multiple passes with a blade before deflating.

I send my first test batch out this weekend to my volunteer.  If there are other wet shavers out there that want to give this small batch a try, let me know!  This is a whole new world for me-I want the best for my friends!

First batch of shave soap curing

First batch of shave soap curing

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Festival time!

This week I am busily preparing for THE fall festival of the year!  My booth is up by the kids corner and it seems to have worked well for me in the past, so here we go again!  I’m kinda worried this year as because of my impending eye surgery I won’t get to do another this year so I better make this one good!

Liquid Castille Goats Milk soap

Liquid Castille Goats Milk soap

First new product to appear at the festival this weekend is our liquid goats milk soap!  Made with 100% olive oil and fresh goats milk, it makes your skin feel sooo good!  It comes in 2 different scents, Lavender Rosemary and Peppermint.  I truly can’t wait for folks to try it and love it as much as I do!  I’ve replaced all the liquid soap in the house with it!

Bar on the left is our "regular" size soap.  Bar on the right is our new "super" sized soap!

Bar on the left is our “regular” size soap. Bar on the right is our new “super” sized soap!

Next product making its debut this weekend is the “super” sized bar of soap.  the new bars are 43% larger than the original bars!  The original bars were approximately 4 oz in size but the “super” sized bars are now 7 oz!!!  You could even cut the super sized bars in half and have 2 bars for the price of one!

Holmes Super Star Peppermint Patty Soap

Holmes Super Star Peppermint Patty Soap

Holmes Super Star Peppermint Patty soap will make its debut at the Oconee County Fall Festival this weekend!  These gems are only $3 and $2 from every soap goes to support Holmes family as they pay the medical bills associated with Holmes medical treatment.  The cute little organza bag makes a great holder for the soap in the shower so it won’t melt as quickly!

Bath salts to condition the water and sooth your body!

Bath salts to condition the water and sooth your body!

Three new bath salts formulas make their debut this weekend!  Each formula is designed to condition your bath water and sooth your body!  Energizing with Eucalyptus and peppermint and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt; Soothing with Lavender and Eucalyptus and Epsom Salt; and Relaxing with Lavender and Dead Sea Salt.  Choose your favorite formula to suit your every mood!

New bath bombs are sandwiched together with foaming bath whip for more bubbles and more fun!

New bath bombs are sandwiched together with foaming bath whip for more bubbles and more fun!

New bath bombs for the festival feature a layer of foaming bath whip in the center so that when the bombs starts to fizz it also starts to bubble! Kids and moms alike will love these.  The scents correspond to the scents in our bath salts for a lovely combination gift!  Of course we also have the more traditional bath bombs as well!

New super sized bar scents

New super sized bar scents

To help debut the new size bars (7oz) we also have new scents!  From Left to right:  Eucalyptus Spearmint, Apricot Freesia, Rosemary fig, and Dragon’s Blood

New Beldi black soap

New Beldi black soap

You may remember an earlier post I did on the Beldi Black Soap.  I’ve placed some of the soap at a local store but I am also bringing some to the Festival this weekend!

So if you’re in the Watkinsville, GA area stop by and say hello!  I’d love to see you and chat about soap, goats or any topic!

 

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Festival Season has arrived!

This weekend I attend my first fall festival of the year!  These things are such a PIA to get ready for but so much fun once you get there!  I’m in a reasonable panic for this one though.  All my helpers have abandoned me!  My DH is in class (why he wants to be an EMT at 58, idk) and my daughter has a UGA football game to attend (as a student you cannot miss a game!).  I’ve never really been alone at one of these events before so I have a bunch of nonsensical worries.

1.  Tent set up.  They call these things EZ Up.  That could be farther from the truth!  It usually takes my DH and I forever to maneuver that thing into position while lifting it up and high enough!  One time we did the whole festival with it  at the low height because we just gave up on ever getting it higher!  LOL  In addition to getting it set up, the sides will have to be put on because this is a 2 day festival and the sides are the only way you can effectively “close up the shop” at the end of day 1!  Luckily my daughter has agreed to go with me to set up the tent, then she is heading home for the game.

2.  Bathroom breaks.  I drink a lot!  And I don’t mean alcohol!  And when you talk to people you have to drink a lot more.  If you drink you have to go to the bathroom.  If you go to the bathroom you have to leave your booth.  WHO WATCHES YOUR BOOTH WHEN YOU ARE PEEING????  I never mind watching other people’s booths when they go to the bathroom or get lunch but I’ve never had to ask someone to watch mine!  Yes, I am that weird.

3.  Eating.  Yes I mentioned it in number 2 but I will mention it again.  I need to eat.  Eating is one of my favorite activities!  Intelligence says bring my lunch but will I think of that Saturday morning when we leave home?  No!  I won’t.  So then we go back to number 2…asking someone to watch my booth while I go get food.  Others ask me but I don’t ask others.  On second thought, BRING MY LUNCH!

4.  Weather.  Saturday the high will be 64.  That to me is a cold day!  If it rains I will be miserable.  Have you ever tried to sell soap on a cold rainy day?  Trust me, I have and it ain’t no fun!  There is something about wet, slimy soap in the rain that folks don’t want to buy!

So as I neurotically worry the rest of the week away, keep me in your thoughts this weekend and if you want to enjoy the fall season a little stop by Crooked Pines Farm for the Pumpkin Festival Saturday and Sunday from 10-4.

And could you bring me a Diet coke?  On second thought, skip the DC and watch my booth while I go pee!

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Give me a hand?

As you know I make handmade soap from the milk of my goat, Sophia.  It’s a passion of mine and I often reflect on how I got to this point.  I am definitely not a farm girl!  Well you know those goats don’t milk themselves so each night I go out place Sophia on the milking stand and squeeze away!  The only problem with the whole bonding with the goats scenario is that it’s killing my basal joint in my thumb!  

Basal joint, or thumb arthritis, is the most common form of osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis) of the hand.  Usually, the first sign of arthritis in the thumb is pain, tenderness, and stiffness. You’re most likely to feel it at the base of your thumb as you try to grip or clasp something between the thumb and index finger. You might also feel a pain when you try to apply mild force, such as when you twist a key in a lock, turn a door handle, or snap your fingers. You might also be left with a lingering ache.

Sadly I attribute this arthritis to my grandmother saying I shouldn’t pop my joints.  My thumb was the most popular joint to pop as I was growing up.  Geez, I hate to admit she was right!  

In addition to milking Sophia causing pain, the gym has been HELL on my thumbs!  Trainers are big on push ups, planks, and lifting heavy weights and all of those actions have caused horrible pain in that basal joint.  I’ve tried Turmeric Shots (that’s a drink-not an injection), natural pain meds like Traumeel, steroid injections in the joint and adjusting my movements but nothing has been 100%.  

Me being a Google junkie, I searched the web for any kind of help.  That’s when I found WAGS!

palm of glove WAGS gloves

http://www.wristassuredgloves.com/

Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs) are unique therapeutic workout gloves specifically designed to prevent and relieve wrist pain.  The shape and functionality of the gel pad is innovative and unique – but that’s not all! The contoured gel pad is extremely durable, resilient and will retain its’ shape for the life of the glove. The firm gel gives slightly when pressure is applied so you’re comfortable, but it’s not squishy and wobbly. The pad rebounds to its’ shape once your hand is lifted and doesn’t compress over time. So it is both comfortable AND provides a stable base of support. How handy is that?  No I didn’t have wrist pain but I read a great deal about them on their web site and saw a lady’s testimonial that they helped with her thumb pain!  

I bit the bullet and bought a pair!  They arrived Tuesday and I tried them out last night at the gym.  Last night was core night so the hour was spent in multiple variations of planking!  How many ways can you plank?  Don’t ask.  Seriously, don’t ask.  I’m very happy to say I didn’t suffer a bit while wearing the gloves!  That meant I could do all the planks the other “kids” are doing and not whine and complain about my hands!  Don’t get me wrong, I still whined and complained but at least it wasn’t about my hands!  🙂  Now If they just would invent a way to exercise without having to move off the couch?   

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