Tag Archives: Soapmaking

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!

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!

Pure Decadence

There is an amazing bath & body company out there that is a 4-letter word in my house.  Yes, its name has 4 letters, it begins with an L and ends with an H and I have a love-hate relationship with them.  I loooooove their products.  All their products.  Haven’t found one yet that I didn’t fall head-over-heels for.  But……..

I HATE that in order to get their stuff I have to either drive to a major center to stand in the middle of their store inhaling so deeply that the dust-bunnies come creeping out from under their shelves or I have to do mail-order.  I don’t want do mail-order.  I want to sniff it before I buy it.  I want to touch it before I plunk down $8 for an itty-bitty bar of soap.

So to heck with it.  I just made my own.  You’ve seen the soaps already.  I’ve been using them in the shower.  My skin is soft, they lather like crazy, they’re creamy, foamy, and downright delectable.

Today was the bath salts.  “Bath Salts” is such an inadequate term for these though.  They’re all enriched with skin-loving oils or butters to leave you soft and silky even in the horror we call winter.  My favorite is the Pure Decadence Spa Bath line.  These are also enriched with my own blends of Pure Essential Oils and smell divine.  The Rainforest Pure Decadence Spa Bath is a blend of Patchouli and 2 other Essential Oils.  It reminds me of the West Coast Temperate Rainforest.  My favorite part of living in Vancouver was wandering through the forests of UBC and just BREATHING it all in.

The Island Blossom Pure Decadence Spa Bath takes me back to Hawaii.  With Neroli and 2 other Essential Oils it has a rich, heady fragrance that I find flat-out intoxicating.  Just ask my husband…he laughed, shook his head, and walked away from me when he saw me sitting there with my face buried in the bag opening for this stuff.  Sniffing.  No…..snuffling, really.  I may not take this to the Craft Fair on Saturday.  I may hide it.  For ME.

Hubby to the Rescue

I am married to the most patient man on earth.  Seriously.  Not only is he patient, but he’s all about problem-solving.  If I’m going to complain about something, he’s going to look for a solution.

And I was.  Complaining, that is.  I need packaging or labeling for my soap for this weekend’s craft fair.  I’m fussy though.  I don’t want the packaging to be fussy.  Or cute.  Or tacky.  Please, oh please, not tacky.  Something simple that doesn’t cover up how pretty the soap is.  Only one problem:  labeling regulations.

Here in Canada, there are very strict rules around labeling for cosmetics, which is how soap is classed here.  Certain names for ingredients, certain size of fonts, and, of course, the ever-present French-language requirements.  Excuse me for a moment while I cuss……#$%^&*()_)(*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%&**!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There’s just so much that needs to be on there.  I wanted a simple little square tag in black and white on nice paper with my pretty logo.  Unfortunately, this was going to be nowhere near that simple.  I knew I needed to add the other info but simply drew a blank on how to go about it.

Hubby to the rescue.  After letting me yell at him that “I DON’T WANT A BOX!!!!” after he accidentally suggested a box a second time and dealt with my almost-hysterical “it can’t be tacky, country, froofy, frilly, or another stupid piece of paper wrapped around the bar like everyone else”, he struck gold.

“So make the tag a little fold-out pamphlet”….like the ones that used to come attached to my Murano Glass pendants.  Lots of room for everything inside but just what I want showing on the outside.  Pure genius.

He really is….you know, a genius.  My hubby, my hero.

Guilt Trip

It’s bad enough when we stoop so low as to put a guilt trip on others, and there are few who can honestly claim they haven’t done that, but I think it’s even worse when we drop one of those full-on, “how lazy can you possibly be?”, beat-yourself-up loads of guilt firmly on the top of our own head.  *PLOP*

While many women will claim this is strictly a female phenomenon, I don’t agree with that.  I will agree, however, that women are very, VERY good at this particular brand of self-flagellation.  I know I am.

My guilt comes from the lazy weekend I had.  I made 6, count ’em, 6 plans for Saturday and Sunday and accomplished none of them.  So here I sit, 2 batches of soap, 1 batch of shampoo bars, 1 ring and 1 set of earrings behind schedule.  I know…that only adds up to 5.  I managed to redeem myself somewhat by getting the packaging finished and the jewelry delivered to Cresteramics this afternoon.  (They’re open 9-3 Monday-Friday, on Canyon Street between Mawson’s Sports and Morris Flowers, for those of you who were so patiently waiting.)

I just couldn’t bring myself to get moving.  I realized Saturday that I’d done no blogging on Friday and that just added to my guilt load.  I’m writing about this because I know I’m not alone in falling into these little ruts. These little ruts that can turn into big rut-chasms.  I also know I’m not alone in being quick to beat myself up over this kind of stuff.  So if you’re in a rut, or a chasm, you’re so not alone.  More importantly, it doesn’t mean your a bad person, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re not a CREATIVE person.  I think you ARE a creative person….we all are.  We just get stuck.  The thing is, if you grab the edge of that rut and just lever yourself up a tiny little bit, you can peek over the side and see that if you just do a little bit (like the packaging and delivery today) you really can get back on-track.

Start small.  Pick a little project that’s been bugging you.  Make a plan.  I cannot stress that part enough — MAKE A PLAN!  Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re likely not in a position to just do everything on a whim.  I know I’m not.  If I don’t plan ahead, nothing happens.  Life intervenes.  It has a way of doing that.  Stuff happens, people need things, we see other stuff that could be done.  We end up being reeled down a path that was NOT the plan, however loosely-written that plan was.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t do anything new, or anything strictly for yourself before you’ve taken care of all the housework and needs of those around you, then make dealing with all that stuff the first part of the plan.  Enlist the help of those around you in getting that stuff done.  I know I’m saying “stuff” a lot right now, but it really just is STUFF.  We need to categorize it accordingly and put it in its place.  All that STUFF.  Besides, it’s good to get those around you to help because, chances are, a lot of that “stuff” is really THEIR stuff that we take responsibility for, even though we don’t need to.

The next part of the plan is to gather everything you’ll need for the project.  Running out to get something you can’t find or forgot to buy mid-project is another roadblock you don’t need.  Success really is the best motivator, so having everything ready helps you succeed which will help motivate you to do more.  See the pattern here?  It’s all about forward momentum.  It’s all about setting yourself up to succeed.

The last part of the plan is this:  do it.  Just do it….have fun, play, kick that guilt over doing something creative for yourself to the curb, and DO IT.  Go ahead …. I’m going to….first thing tomorrow.  I’m gonna leave this latest rut in my dust and Just Make A Mess.