Cathy’s Blog

New Products, Seasonal

Happy Spring!

It’s finally spring!  The flowers are blooming and the weather is finally warming up.  My chickens are enjoying foraging in the flower beds, and it is warm enough to allow my new chicks to go out in the yard.

We have some wonderful new spring products, just in time for Mother’s Day!  Our spring lotion collection includes a variety of floral scents.  We have added new lotions in scents of Lilac, Honeysuckle, Lily of the Valley, and Baby’s Breath.  The Lilac and Honeysuckle scents are a bit stronger.  If you are looking for a more subtle scent the Lily of the Valley or Baby’s Breath may be more appealing.

Bath bombs or sugar scrubs are wonderful and decadent gifts for mom as well.  Moms usually won’t buy pampering items for themselves.   What a wonderful way to encourage the special woman in your life to take some “me” time.  Springtime also brings new soaping inspiration.  We have several new soap products in bright spring colors and scents.

  • Orange Spice Soap
    Combines fresh orange with cinnamon leaf essential oils for a wonderfully scented soap.  Calendula flowers and orange peel powder provide the beautiful orange color and mild exfoliation.  Shea butter also leaves your skin feeling soft and silky after washing.
  • Lemongrass and Lavender Soap
    This beautiful green soap has a subtle purple swirl through it.  Lavender buds and green zeolite clay provide gentle exfoliation while shea butter leaves your skin feeling soft.  The lemongrass and lavender essential oils are one of my favorite scent combinations.
  • Spearmint and Grapefruit Soap
    This simple natural soap is uncolored and scented with spearmint and grapefruit essential oils, for those who prefer less additives in their soap.
  • Apple Sage Soap
    The beautiful blue and white swirl of this soap is combined with popular apple sage scenting oil.  Rice bran oil is prized as an anti-aging ingredient, and has a high percentage of fatty acids, which makes it a great skin moisturizer.
  • Intoxicating Blossom Soap
    The combination of Ylang Ylang and Palmarosa essential oils in this soap is reminiscent of walking through a summer garden.  This soap lathers well, and the scent holds well as you use the soap
  • Spring Rain Soap
    The beautiful green and white swirl in this soap  just feels like spring!  And, the combination of palmarosa and chamomile essential oils smells so fresh and clean.  Babbasu oil has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.  It is also an anti-inflammatory and is used to fight acne, reduce skin irritation, and decrease itching and dryness.  Plus, it also has natural anti-aging properties.
  • Lilac Soap
    Many floral scents do not hold well in cold process soap, but this lilac scent has staying power.  And, the beautiful and colorful pink, purple and white swirl reminds you of the varied colors of lilac blossoms.   It makes a lovely Mother’s Day gift

If you have never tried hand made soap before, spring is a great time to do something wonderful for your skin.  You will be amazed by how soft and smooth your skin feels when you use soaps with natural glycerin and skin loving oils, and none of the chemicals you often find in store bought soap.  Do your skin a favor and  try one of our spring skin products!

Gifts, Holidays

Gifts for Your Valentine!

Looking for a thoughtful and indulgent gift for Your Valentine that is an alternative to the usual chocolate or roses?  Consider a gift basket filled with skin pampering items!  For the women in your life bath bombs, skin balms or lotions, natural lip balms, or soap loaded with natural glycerin and no chemicals (like what you find in commercial products) make wonderful gifts.  For Valentine’s Day, we also have created a variety of new bath items, including a bag of smaller, heart-shaped bath bombs with shea butter, jojoba and avocado oils, all of which have wonderful skin softening properties.  And, the apple sage scent is heavenly.  Other new bath bomb items:

  • Natural bath bombs, scented with Rosemary & Lavender essential oils
  • Glitter bath bombs, colored with micas and scented with Turquoise fragrance oil – with biodegradable eco-glitter
  • Bubbling bath truffles, with salted caramel, turquoise, rose quartz, or cocoa butter cashmere scents
  • Smaller, heart shape, bath bombs, bag of 4
  • “Kiddie” size bath bombs with heart shapes in a bag of 8 (Great for your little Valentines!)
  • Cupcake bath bombs – birthday cake, lemon or snickerdoodle scents
  • Rose shaped bath bombs, rose quartz scent

For the man your life, we also have some thoughtful gift ideas.  Men love our lip balms, and we offer many handmade soaps with scents pleasing to men.  Also, body balms are wonderfully soothing to skin after shaving, or to sooth skin dried by frequent hand washing.  Scrubby soaps are great for gardeners, mechanics, hunters, or anyone who gets grimy hands.

  • Rustic Desert soap – shredded loofah and strawberry seeds help to clean the hands.  The pleasant bamboo scent leaves hands smelling fresh and clean
  • Green gardeners soap has shredded loofah and walnut seeds to provide a very scrubby soap to clean especially grimy hands.  The scent is a pleasant sweetgrass scent
  • Gardeners cold process soap is a layered soap with lavender buds, calendula petals, coffee grounds, and a lavender scent leaves hands wonderfully soft and removes odors
  • Kitchen soap – This is a goats milk soap with coffee grounds to provide exfoliation and remove odors from the skin.  Works great in the kitchen but also works anywhere you need to remove grime and smells from your hands!  Include coconut cream or espresso scents.

Lastly, women and men love our sugar scrubs!  Sugar provides mild exfoliation, and quality oils provide emollient properties, leaving skin soft and smooth.  All scrubs have gentle soap in them, so you can clean and exfoliate at the same time.  You may even notice improvement in eczema and other drying conditions with repeated use.  The scrubs come in multiple sizes, and also in decorative bail jars, which make beautiful gifts.

Purchase 3 or more bath & body items, and we will package it in a berry basket and gift bag, you pay for only the items in the basket.  Plus, we will also give you a $1.00 discount on the total cost.

Email us or call to order.  We will lovingly package the perfect gift for your valentine!

 

 

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It’s the Christmas season, and time for gift giving!  We have a variety of wonderful options for gift exchanges, teacher gifts, etc.  Below are some ideas for gifting challenges

Ideas for men:

  • Shampoo soap
  • Shaving soap
  • Rustic desert soap – scrubby for mechanic hands or to release dirt
  • lip balms
  • Chamomile Coconut balm – soothes skin after shaving
  • We have a variety of other soaps with more “male” scents

 

Ideas for children:

  • Mermaid soap – in aqua or purple with layers and glitter are a princess’ delight!
  • Cotton candy layered soap with a sweet scent!
  • Crayon soap – with the customer favorite milk & honey scent
  • Baby buttermilk soap with oatmeal for soothing skin
  • Solid castile soap – contains mostly olive oil to be gentle on all types of skin, especially sensitive skin – milk & honey scent
  • Liquid castile soap – skin loving and gentle enough to use on baby
  • Lip balms – cotton candy scent is a favorite!
  • “Monster be gone” magic nighttime spray

 

Ideas for gardeners or cooks:

  • Gardeners soap – scrubby with skin loving oils to remove grime
  • Kitchen soap – contains coffee grounds to remove smells of garlic and onions from you hands
  • Body balms or lotion – to moisturize rough skin

 

Some holiday specials through the month of December:

  • Buy 2 bath and body items, and we will discount the total by $0.50 and place your gift in an organza bag for gifting
  • Purchase 3 or more bath and body items, and we will discount the total by $1.00 and package your gift in a pint berry box so it is ready for gifting
  • Table runner special!  We are marking down our table runners to $25 each and 2 for $45.  This is a significant discount and they make wonderful gifts.  Each is reversible, hand quilted, and machine washable.  We have runners for every season/holiday!  Please see the page on this site for pictures, or call if you don’t see what you want, since not all the choices are online.  Price available through December

 

Please contact us with your order and we will happily get it to you in time for Christmas!  Have a Blessed Christmas season.

 

 

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Seasonal Christmas Soap Products

Introducing our seasonal Christmas soaps!  We have 3 new, fun soaps for your Christmas giving.  Our Christmas themed soaps are the Christmas soap, Cool Yule, and Chocolate Mint soaps.

Christmas soap is a layered soap of Christmas red and green, with a Christmas fir scent.  Ingredients include a skin loving blend of Coconut Oil, Distilled Water, Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Hemp Oil, Shea Butter, Chrome Green Oxide, Burgundy Oxide, Titanium Dioxide Pigment, Fragrance Oils.

Cool Yule is a fun, peppermint scented soap with red and white imbeds in the center.  Ingredients include Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitol (moisturizer), Propylene Glycol (of vegetable origin), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifier), Oat protein (conditioner), Titanium Dioxide
(mineral whitener used in opaque soaps), Essential Oil, jojoba beads, Bis(Glycidoxyphenyl)propane / Bisaminomethylnorbornane copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Yellow 10, Red 28, Red 22, Iron Oxides.  The refreshing peppermint scent is a morning wake-up call!

Chocolate mint is a layered soap reminiscent of the beloved candy!  It has a delightful rich mint chocolate scent.  It is a smaller bar of soap, perfect for gifting or placing in a guest bathroom.  Ingredients include Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Water, Sodium Hydroxide , Sorbitol (moisturizer), Propylene Glycol (of vegetable origin), Sorbitan oleate , Oat Protein , Fragrance
Oil, Vanilla Stabilizer, Titanium Dioxide, Isopropyl alcohol.

Any of these soaps would be great for a gift exchange, or as an addition to a Christmas gift basket or teacher gift

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Seasonal Fall Soap Creations

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Introducing our fall offerings of soap products.  The Fall shimmer soap is a soap that has been in our product line but we are featuring it as a seasonal offering.  It is a layered soap full of fall colors and with a unique fun shape.  New fall soap offerings include the Espresso and Honey Ale soaps.

Fall Shimmer Soap
Fall Shimmer Soap

Imagine starting your day off with a shower featuring the scent of your favorite Cup O Joe!  Espresso soap is made with black coffee instead of distilled water, coffee grounds for gently exfoliation, coffee butter for skin loving moisture, and espresso scenting oil with a delightful coffee scent.   Ingredients include Brewed coffee, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Sodium hydroxide, Coffee butter, Coffee grounds, and espresso fragrance oil.

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Honey Ale soap is a swirl of fall colors and a mixture of skin loving and lathering oils.  Ingredients include Distilled water, Olive oil, Palm oil, Coconut oil, Sunflower seed oil, Sodium hydroxide, Castor oil, Honey ale fragrance oil, titanium dioxide, yellow oxide, brown oxide, and merlot sparkle mica.

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We invite you to try one of our fun fall soaps!

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Our Newest Products

We are excited to introduce our newest products!  We have several new cold process soap products, and one new fabric product.

In addition to our large burlap Christmas tree skirt, we now offer smaller fabric tree skirts, perfect for a tabletop tree.  They range in size from 15 – 20 inches in diameter, and are reversible.  All are machine washable and dryable and can be carefully ironed if needed.  Several style and color options are available.

The newest soap products include 2 new lavender soaps, lemongrass and poppy seed soap, and Oatmeal milk & honey soap scented with the popular fragrance oil.

 

Lavender swirl soap is a soap bar is scented with lavender essential oil.  Ingredients include Water, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Sunflower Oil, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Lavender Essential Oil.

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Kombucha lavender soap includes lavender kombucha as a substitute for distilled water.  Other ingredients include Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, Sodium Hydroxide Lye, Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Oil, Vitamin E, Lavender Mica, Titanium Dioxide Pigment, Lavender Essential Oil, and Lavender Buds.  It is a great combination of skin loving oils.  The sugar in the fermented kombucha drink creates even more lather and bubbles.  Combined with the lavender essential oil it creates a relaxing and pleasurable shower experience.

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Lemongrass soap is a beautiful green color created by green mica.  Lemongrass essential oil also provides a refreshing scent.  Poppy seeds add texture and interest to the soap, while gently exfoliating.  Ingredients include Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Vitamin E, Poppy Seeds, Essential Oil, Sodium Lactate.

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And lastly, but surely not least, is the Oatmeal Milk & Honey swirl soap.  Ground oatmeal added to the soap provides gentle exfoliation, and is especially soothing to irritated or sensitive skin.  Scented with the very popular Oatmeal milk  honey scent, it can be combined with other lotion products with the same scent, for a gift basket that the recipient is sure to love.  Ingredients include Water, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Sunflower Oil, Shea Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Honey, Rolled Oats, Titanium Dioxide Pigment.

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Soap
Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Soap
Ingredients, Lotions, Soaps

Why Is Handmade Soap and Lotion More Expensive Than What I Can Buy In The Store?

Purchasing handmade soap or lotion can seem like an extravagant expense, compared to their cost in the grocery store.  However, there are some very significant differences in the quality of commercial versus handmade soaps and lotions.  This blog post will attempt to explain some of those differences.

First, handcrafted soap is made in small batches by an artisan soap maker.  Handmade soap is a combination of science and art, and can come in a variety of shapes, colors, scents and sizes.  The artisan soap-maker can add specialty oils, healing herbs and spices, and other skin-loving products, that are rarely replicated in store-bought soaps.  Glycerin is present in soap as a by-product of the soap-making process, and draws moisture into the skin, keeping it soft.  However, because glycerin is valuable as a product by itself, commercial manufacturers of soaps remove the glycerin from the soap and sell it. The glycerin is replaced by detergents, which remove moisture from skin, drying it out.  While detergents suds well, and will clean the skin, the skin feel of commercial soap versus handmade soap is significant.   Handmade soaps have different amounts of suds and bubbles, depending on the type and amounts of oils used in the soap-making process.  The qualities you want in the finished bar will guide the choice of oils in the soap.  Some offer large bubbles, some offer creamy texture, and some create a hard and long-lasting bar of soap.  The art of soap-making is creating a combination of oils and fats to provide the texture and qualities you desire.  The benefit of small batch soap-making by an artisan allows for creation of  combinations that address different skin needs and include more decadent and expensive oils not often used in commercial soap products.

Commercial lotion products, while they contain many skin-loving oils, also contain high levels of alcohols, which in turn dry out skin, causing you to need even more lotion!  Handmade lotions and balms do not contain these alcohols.  Handmade products include skin-loving oils and ingredients that will not draw moisture from the skin, and have soothing and emollient properties.  The skin feel using handmade lotions is so different from commercial lotions that once you use a handmade product you will be reluctant to again use commercial products.

Though handmade products may initially seem decadent and costly, once you feel the difference in your skin, it will seem a small price to pay.  Indeed, you will find it difficult to return to the commercial soaps and lotions you have used in the past!

 

 

Soaps

What Are Those Ingredients In My Soap?

Handcrafted soap has 3 basic ingredients – Oils, Water, and Lye.  It is the chemical reaction between the 3 that produces soap.  Other ingredients can be added to color, scent, or provide additional benefits to the soap.  This blog post will describe the ingredients in soap, and compare them with ingredients in commercial soaps.

Handmade soap ingredients:

  • Common Oils – common soapmaking oils include Coconut oil, Olive oil, Palm oil, Sunflower oil, Castor oil, Safflower oil, and Canola oil.  Each oil provides different benefits to the soap – better bubbles, harder bar, skin conditioning.  The combination of oils is determined by the end product desired, as different oils provide different benefits.
  • Specialty oils – Avocado oil (wonderful emollient, great for mature skin), Grapeseed oil (rich in linoleic acid, for a mild soap that conditions the skin), Sweet almond oil (non-greasy oil good for a variety of skin types, and helps the skin to retain moisture), jojoba oil (one of the most expensive oils, but one of the best to enhance moisture in the skin because it is most like the natural oil in your skin), cocoa butter (lays down a protective layer on the skin to hold moisture in the skin), shea butter (a good moisturizer, which has a high percentage of unsaponifables, so it survives the chemical reactions of soapmaking and is left in its original state within the bar of soap.  Reported that is protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun and helps heal scars), and mango butter (highly prized oil to moisturize skin, and like shea butter has a high percentage of unsaponifables, and is used to protect skin from harmful sun effects and heal scars).
  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – Lye is a strong and caustic base, which must be handled carefully because it can burn the skin.  It is a necessary ingredient in soapmaking, as it creates a chemical reaction with the oils and water, to make soap.  Lye becomes neutralized during the saponification (soap creating) process and is no longer caustic after the soap cures, which takes 4-6 weeks.
  • Water – distilled water is used in soapmaking, because it is water that has had the impurities removed through distillation.  Water also evaporates out of the soap as it cures, creating a hard bar of soap
  • Glycerin – glycerin is a humectant, which means that it draws moisture into the skin.  It is a natural byproduct of soapmaking.  Commercial manufacturers remove the glycerin for use in their more profitable lotions and creams, but handcrafted soap retains glycerin in each and every bar
  • Exfoliants – one of the benefits of handmade soap is that a variety of ingredients can be added to exfoliate, or scrub the skin to remove dead and dry skin.  Common natural exfoliants are Cinnamon, Cornmeal, lavender, lemongrass, tea, coffee grounds, pumice, oats, seeds (poppy, grape, berry), walnut shells, loofah, orange peel
  • Colorants – Colorants for soap can be natural or artificial.  Natural colorants include herbs, spices, flowers, clays, spirulina, charcoal or cocoa.  However, the range of colors from natural ingredients is limited, so many soapmakers use synthetic colors made from minerals, oxide pigments, micas, or dyes in order to create brighter colors
  • Scents – Soap can be scented with natural essential oils, or artificial fragrance oils.  Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from plant leaves, flowers or berries.  Artificial fragrance oils are generally less expensive than essential oils, but if cosmetic grade can be safely used in soaps and skin care products.

Commercial soap ingredients (I used Dove sensitive skin unscented beauty bar as an example):

  • Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate – Used as an emulsifier (helps oils and water to mix together) in soap, as it is less expensive that using natural oils and glycerin as emulsifiers.  This soap ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin (aside from cleaning it), and may dry it out.
  • Stearic Acid – Used as a hardener in soap.  It may cause sensitivities in people with allergies
  • Sodium Tallowate – Used for cleansing.  This inexpensive and readily available soap ingredient cleanses and moisturizes your skin, and is used as a substitute for more expensive natural oils
  • Sodium Palmitate – Used for cleansing and creating lather.  This soap ingredient cleanses your skin, but may dry it out.
  • Lauric Acid – It is a surfactant and cleansing agent.  Lauric Acid occurs naturally in some vegetable oils like palm oil.  It is used to cleanse the skin.
  • Sodium Isethionate – Generally used as a surfactant (detergent).  This ingredient is mild on the skin and non-drying.  It produces a lot of dense lather.
  • Water
  • Sodium Stearate – The Stearate salts are generally used for their lubricating properties.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Used as a surfactant (detergent).  This is generally regarded as one of the more gentle surfactants
  • Sodium Cocoate – This is a gentle surfactant, or a detergent.  This ingredient cleanses your skin
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate – This is a gentle surfactant (detergent).  This ingredient cleanses your skin
  • Sodium Chloride – Used as a thickening agent.  Sodium Chloride is the same as ordinary table salt
  • Tetrasodium EDTA – Used as a preservative.  This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin.  True soaps, made from oil, lye and water, don’t generally require preservatives
  • Maltol – Used as a flavoring agent.  This ingredient does not appear to have any beneficial properties for your skin. It might be used as a fragrance, but maybe not considering Dove claims this bar to be unscented.
  • Titanium Dioxide – Used as a natural whitening agent.  Titanium Dioxide is thought to have no negative side effects when used externally.

Just as in my food, I would prefer to use substances I can pronounce, and that have definite beneficial qualities for my body.  Do your own comparison with handmade and commercial soaps, and see the difference in how your skin feels!