Category Archives: Bath & Body

Roses Are Red

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

If you’re lucky, you may receive roses from your Sweetie for Valentine’s Day.  They’re such a traditional and classic gift and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like receiving roses.  At least no one I know has complained to me about it.  While lovely, like all cut flowers, they eventually wilt and die.  If we’re quick, we can pull them out of the water before they’re past the point of no return, hang them upside-down, and dry them in bouquet-form quite successfully.  Alas, I’m seldom that on top of things.  I’m sure I’m not alone in having dead little roses bent all kitty-wampus  at the neck.  Such sad little guys.  At that point I usually pull the petals off them and tuck them away.  There’s all kinds of things you can use them for:

– put them in potpourri

– simmer them in a pot of water on the stove or float in a warming-pot

– crush them up and make rose beads

– use as confetti

– use in bath salts, bath teas, in soaps

– add to homemade paper:  see below

http://handmadecardsboutique.com/heart-rose-petal-natural-paper-fans-wedding-favors-set-of-6.html

I found this adorable fan online:  you can find it HERE

Of course, if you’re on top of things, you can get those beautiful petals before they start to dry out.  Use them like this:

– as packing material for a gift

– tuck inside a card or envelope

– tuck a few into your sweetie’s packed lunch or coat pocket

– write a message on a bed, scatter on pillows, or tuck into pillowcases

– float in a bowl with some candles and glitter

– hide inside the book your honey is reading

– float in a bath

– garnish a salad or dessert (use only pesticide free petals)

But my all-time favorite use for rose petals is to make Rosewater out of them.  Not only does Rosewater smell divine, it’s an amazing light astringent and can be used as a flavouring in edible delicacies.  To make Rosewater, it is important to use either roses you’ve grown yourself that are pesticide and chemical-free or to work with your florist to ensure that the petals will be contaminant free.

Rosewater Recipe

You will need a small canner with a jar rack and a curved-top lid.

Place the jar rack on the bottom of the canner and add fresh rose petals up to the level of the top of the rack.  Add distilled water just until the petals are covered with water.  Place a shallow bowl on top of the rack, making sure it is steady and stable.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Invert the lid and place it on top of the canner.  If it doesn’t seal well because it’s bent or warped, you can use a wide aluminum bowl, double-boiler style, but it must curve down over top of the shallow bowl beneath.  Fill the lid or bowl with ice.  As the rose-steam rises it will hit the cold lid, condense, and drip into the bowl inside the pot.  Every 10 minutes or so, quickly lift the lid and pull the bowl out to remove the Rosewater.  Replenish the ice when it melts.  Do this until the distillate no longer smells of heavenly roses.  Often, after an hour or so all you’re getting is faintly-scented distilled water, and you don’t want that.  Keep your Rosewater in the fridge and it will last a very long time.  I add a capsule of vitamin e to mine to keep any rose oil from going rancid.  This Rosewater is lovely in facials, skin creams, and yes, even in Indian, Jamican, Persian and Middle Eastern food.  I love it in icing on pretty pink cupcakes with a sugared rose petal on top.

So, if some total sweetheart gifted you with roses this Valentine’s Day, don’t just let them fade slowly away….DO something with them.  Come on….you can do it.  Just Make That Mess!

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A Little History

Something rather exciting came out of the Craft Fair on the weekend that I’d like to share with you all.  The bath products sold really, really well.  In fact, I totally sold out of my favorite soap, the Almond Oatcake.

This didn’t really surprise me and I’m going to make a fresh batch this weekend as well as order at least a quart of this fragrance.  It’s sooooo nummy.

Part of the reason I make soap is I really love the organic feel of the process.  There’s something downright magical about watching a bunch of oil emulsify with the lye solution and swirl itself into soap.  I love that it’s old-fashioned, the way they did things “back in the day”.

The really exciting thing is that I was approached by Tammy, the Manager of the Creston Museum and she asked me if I was interested in putting my soap line and jewelry into the gift shop at the museum.

I have to tell you, saying yes to this great opportunity is a no-brainer for me.  I’m honoured to be asked and, quite frankly, really excited about tailoring part of the soap line to the Museum itself.  I’m thinking antiqued papers, sepia tones, elegant fonts.  Lovely brown bottles.   Apothecary-style.

If you haven’t checked out the Creston Museum yet, you really should.  We often overlook great resources like this when they’re in our back yard.  Pay them a visit and experience a bit of the history of your very own town.  You can visit the website here:  Creston Museum.  Have a look and see what they’re all about!

Back in the Day

This weekend’s Craft Fair was the first one I’ve participated in since probably about 1996.  When I had my consignment craft store in the mid-90’s, and even before that, I had a table almost every year.  The first time I put in these cool harlequin clowns I had made.  I sold out and made about $700 that day.  I was flabbergasted.

In subsequent years I had all kinds of different products, with varying levels of success, but I always did pretty well.  I stopped going though.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t just that I wasn’t doing much “crafting”.  It wasn’t even that “crafting”, as such, had gone out of vogue a bit.  It was that I just started feeling that there was a lot of…. well, here’s me being totally honest…. a lot of junk out there.  Things that were over-priced and of poor quality.  Things that were ugly.

It was like everyone on the planet had decided they could build stuff because they bought a hot-glue gun.  Problem was, they could.  And they did.  And it was not a good thing.

Having participated in  the Trade Shows here, however, I knew that you couldn’t get much better advertising.  Advertising was what I was really after, both to introduce the bath line and to let people know where the jewelry is now that I’m building again.  For a $50 table fee, you just can’t beat it in terms of being able to communicate with people.

The most important thing I want to stress in this entry though is that things have changed at the Creston Craft Fair.  Boy have they changed.  As I wandered around checking out the other booths, I was extremely impressed with the calibre of the products being offered.  Gone were the ticky-tacky, lace and ribbon-ridden froofy-thingies.  No more rose-embellished toilet-paper holders.  No more crocheted necklaces and knitted-skunk bathroom-spray covers.  Not at THIS craft fair.

Instead, there were lovely photography displays, warm felted slippers, wreaths made of fresh pine and balsam.  Chocolates to make your mouth water and your fillings ache.  Hand-blown glass and lots of sumptuous soaps, lotions, and salts….not just mine.  Gorgeous original artwork. And the pottery.  Oh wow.  The pottery.  Raku pieces to die for.  Innovative glaze applications, intricate pressed-patterns, glass frit on porcelain.  Literally To. Die. For.  And yes….I came home with some.  I had to.  It was talking to me.  It would have been wrong to leave it there.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show it to you.  You’ll be glad you did.  In the meantime, here’s another shot of my table.  Thanks for visiting.  See you tomorrow….remember….tomorrow is Pottery Day!!

It’s Here, It’s Here!!

I don’t know whether I’m excited to see if anything sells or if I’m just looking forward to Sunday and it all being over.  It’s Craft Fair!!!

It took forever, but the bath salts are packaged.  There’s Spa Bath with Pure Essential Oils, Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam & Sweet Almond Oils, Bath Fizzlers with the fresh scents of Green Apples or Peach Daquiris, Cocoa Butter & Honey Bath….and the list goes on.

The Craft Fair is Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm in the Creston Room at the Rec Center.   Stop by and have a visit.  The jewelry and soaps will be there too.  And the bath salts.  Did I mention the bath salts?  I’ve got a few……

 

It’s a Dirty Job…

I love being creative.  I love taking a bunch of different things and producing something new and wonderful.  Something that would not exist if not for my intervention.  Whether it be yummy soap or a fabulous new piece of jewelry, their very existence makes me happy.  I’m happy to say “I did that.”  Strangely enough, though, when it comes to SELLING what I’ve made I turn into a bit of a turtle.  I’ve been told I tend to under-value what I make.  When someone says “How much?” I mumble some price that I’m usually thinking I have no business asking and that the person asking is thinking “Is that all?”  I say this only because I’ve been told this.  Repeatedly.

I don’t know why it is, but it’s quite common for some artists to under-price their work.  I think part of it is because many artists don’t make a living off their art and are just thrilled to sell something.  I think the other part is more insidious.  I think it’s a self-esteem issue.  It’s almost as if some artists think, if even on only a subconscious level, that if they ask a higher price then they’re somehow guilty of hubris.  They may fear that someone will actually gasp in horror and exclaim “You must be joking…it’s not THAT good”.   I’ve finally acknowledged that maybe that’s a problem I need to deal with.

Along with pricing issues, there come the marketing issues.  I’m not good at marketing.  It feels somehow a little dirty to me to be promoting myself.  Because that’s what it’s ultimately about…. while I may be selling a product, on some levels I’m really selling myself…or at least my abilities, particularly with the jewelry.  But I’m going to do it.  I’m going to keep plugging away at coming up with a cohesive marketing strategy.  Step 1…..this weekend’s craft fair.

I’ve made flyers to let people know where to buy my products.  I’m not expecting to sell a lot of jewelry because craft fair buyers, here at least, tend to not purchase more expensive items, but I want the jewelry to be seen.

Brandy printed me up some business cards on that scrumptious copper card-stock, I bought decorations for the table, so I guess I’m ready to roll.  I’ll take pics and post them next week.

So we’ll see if I’m getting it right.  With the packaging, the marketing, the pricing, the product.  With everything.  It’ll be interesting, to say the least.  As for the pricing, the other phenomenon I’ve noticed is people that drastically over-price their products.  But that’s a topic for another blog post.  I’m sure I’ll address it at some point.  Stir the pot a little.  Make a different kind of mess.  *evil grin*.