Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Lipsmackingly good!

I am one of those people who can't live without lip balm, no matter what time of the year it is, summer or winter. Especially on a car journey I have to apply lip balm, otherwise my lips dry out so much and even crack. And now that the central heating has finally come on, I need it even more, because the dry air does horrible things to my lips. The dollop of shea butter in the lip balm certainly helps a lot to keep my lips soft.

I have now added lip balms to the range as well, in a variety of flavours, peppermint for that lovely tingly cool feeling, sweet and lushious strawberry and delicious chocolate.

For the labels I have once again gone with the Art Nouveau theme. It was not easy getting all the information you have to list, as well as a little Art Nouveau design, onto such a tiny label, but I think this one works quite well.

So here you go, the La Croix Rosion Strawberry Lipsicle!

All wrapped up

Some of the soaps I have made over the last few months are perhaps a little more unusual than the normal run-0f-the-mill plain bars. Nothing wrong at all with plain bars, they are fabulous, but every now and then I get the urge to do something different.

The Le Satyre soap, which looks as if it is topped with spilled quicksilver is one example, the funky funnel soaps I made are another. So I decided to make a bit of a feature of them and put them into these cute little window cardboard baggies.

Let me know what you think of the packaging, please! Are they attractive enough for little prezzies/stocking fillers?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Goodness, how time has flown! I haven't updated my blog in ages, so I'll try and write up at least a few of the things which have happened since the last post.

The Saponifier is a long established and very popular American online soapmaking magazine, so I was absolutely delighted when I was approached by their Showcase Editor about an article on the La Croix Rosion soaps, and in particular their unusual style of labelling. Anybody who knows me will know that I love everything Victorian and in particular the Art Nouveau style, and the labels for my products reflect this, of course. It was nerve wrecking waiting for the Sept./Oct. 2008 issue to come out, and when it finally arrived in my inbox, I was soooo excited! And there, on the contents page was a picture of one of my soaps, Clarisse, and in the Showcase, a wonderful article written by Elizabeth Carnahan and more photos. I was simply gobsmacked, was she really talking about me, lol, little me?

These are the photos which were shown in the article -

And here is the article, written by Elizabeth Carnahan for The Saponifier -

When Valentine’s Day rolls around again, thoughts are set to turn to love, romance and, in the case of soap makers everywhere, preparing your business for the big day.Of course, you’ll want your packaging to reflect this great elebration of romance, and hearts, chocolates, flowers and teddy bears might be just the job. But what if you want something just a little more sophisticated, something designed to set you and your products apart from the sea of sameness that has invaded the holiday? This issue’s featured soap maker has created a line of packaging that does just that. Liz Waring has taken her love of romantic style and built her entire business around it, from her passion for the sensuous style of Art Nouveau to her love of life in France.

Liz, who operates under the name La Croix Rosion, splits her time between Hastings (of 1066 fame) in England and her 150-year-old farmhouse in Burgundy, France. “The name of the company is taken from the old name of our cottage in France, and that dictated the names of my soaps,” reveals Liz. To me the French language is the most romantic in the world and perfectly suits the sensuous Art Nouveau style,” she continued. “Therefore, they are all old fashioned French girls’ names- with the occasional boys’ name for the soaps for the men in our lives.” Those names give only a hint of the seductive soaps underneath Liz’s lovingly-crafted packaging. Natalie’, contains hemp and avocado oils with nettle; ‘Clementine’ boasts lashings of shea butter and a bright citrus fragrance, while ‘Oriane’ is a luxurious concoction of silk and a delicious cocktail of essential oils. La Croix Rosion’s best-selling ‘Clarisse’ contains cherry kernel oil and luxurious mango butter.

Alongside the soaps, the company’s tempting range of products includes facial serums, masks, scrubs and balms – all created and packaged with the same keen instinct for visual impact and sensual effect. Ironically, this unity of style comes from Liz’s magpie nature. When staying in France, she loves shopping at the Vide Greniers, the French equivalent of a flea market. “I am a terrible hoarder of weird, wonderful, and romantic old objects,” she said. “I love anything made of fabric, and have a huge collection of Eiderdowns, Durham quilts, beautiful old linens and laces and embroideries.”

Particularly in evidence in France are the luscious lines of Art Nouveau, which has been a strong influence on Liz’s creativity. “That has to be my favourite period,” she says. “I find the art of that period so very romantic, with the beautifully flowing, sinuous floral and female forms. This period has been the inspiration for the labels on my products.” Drawing on such a rich source of inspiration certainly sets Liz’s creations apart. When asked about the difference between her product design and others, she replied, “I do realise that I am bucking the trend, everywhere you look the clean, sharp, minimal modern look is very much in evidence, but I have to be true to my romantic self, so for me the only style possible is Art Nouveau.”

Teddy bears, hearts, chocolates and bouquets may have cornered the market as visual symbols for
romance, but there’s still plenty of room for something a little different – even if the roots of the idea are firmly in the past. Liz’s labels are something special – far from your typical hearts and flowers. Liz’s creations can be found at her web site, Or if you’d like a bit more information about Liz and her company, please visit her blog at

(photo credits Liz Waring)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

LA CROIX ROSION website !!!

I have finally been able to pursuade/blackmail/bribe my DS to give me a hand with the temporary website - - and we have managed to get at least a few things up. Not many products are listed yet, and it won't have online payment facilities as yet, this is something we will install on the permanent website in the future, but of course anybody who would like to purchase some of the products can pay by Paypal or in the UK by cheque or postal order.

Sigh, setting up a website certainly is a major undertaking and there are so many things to remember, every day something else crops up, so my notebook is rapidly filling up with reminders. I hope the wonderful people who have bought products in the past despite the lack of a decent website are going to be patient for a little while longer.

Today, Saturday, I need to make the most of the little bit of sunshine we are enjoying at the moment and take some more product photos outdoors. Keep your fingers crossed that the sunshine will last more than just half hour or so, lol! And then I have to think of something to bribe my DS with again, so that he can add a few more product pictures to the website.

If any of you who are reading this blog and have also looked at the website have any comments or suggestions, I would be really grateful if you could let me know.

Thats it for now, I am off to do my David Bailey bit!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Two new soapies, Coquilles de Mer and Mon Petit Bijou

I wanted to create something just that little bit different to add to the current soap range, and this is what I have come up with, Coquilles de mer, Seashells, and Mon petit bijou, literally My Little Jewel, but more often used to call somebody your little darling or pet.

Coquilles is of course decorated with real seashells and Bijou is finished with glass beads and/or antique French diamante, which I found at a Brocante last year.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Le Satyr

This batch didn't quite turn out the way I had envisioned it, but people seem to like the abstract raised design of this soap. It is certainly a little out of the ordinary, lol, and although its colouring, design and scent was intended for men, women seem to find it rather attractive as well. I suppose in a modern bathroom it will look rather cool.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

New Salt Bars

I needed to make more salt bars as the last batch is now sold out, and I decided to make these a little more girlie looking. So here are the two new batches. The first one looks like a slice of delicious raspberry ripple icecream. The second one is scented with peppermint and is that lovely white and pink of peppermint sweets I remember from my childhood.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Just Soap Pics

I have been playing around with some soaps to get some photos for the website. So no big write up this time, just some pics.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Nettle Soap

I made my first nettle soap a couple of years ago, and was absolutely delighted with it. I felt it was about time I made another one, and this time I wanted a really deep green. So instead of water, I used a strong nettle infusion, I used ( amongst other oils ) unrefined hemp and avocado oils as well as deep green virgin olive oil, again to intensify the green I wanted. Together with a goodly amount of ground dried nettle to give it deep deep green flecks, it produced this soap:-

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this gorgeous green won't fade. It is scented with Sweetgrass FO, Rosemary and Lavender, yummy sweet herby smell.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Oriane and Clementine

I have been soaping a bit more lately, these two are the latest ones.

Oriane is coloured with UM Pink in the base, with a UM Purple and TD swirl. I keep sniffing this one constantly, I think I am addicted to the EO mix, it is awesome - Palmarosa, Geranium YlangYlang are just some of the EOs used. Oriane was done in a slab mould.

Clementine was only made last night. I have just unmoulded and cut it, couldnt restrain myelf any longer, lol, the beautiful citrus scent was driving me nuts! The FO is from Gracefruit, my favourite oil and FO supplier and it was an absolute dream to soap, no accelation at all. I coloured the base with an Annatto seed infusion and swirled with TD. The colour is glorious, a rich orangey yellow. This will fade after a while if the soap isn't stored in the dark, but if it is kept out of bright light, it will keep its colour for quite some time.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Looking after mum-to-be with BBB Oil

No. 2 son and his partner are expecting their daughter towards the end of this year, and of course we are all absolutely delighted. I wanted to do something for my lovely daughter in law, because so often friends and family concentrate on the baby when buying treats and gifts and forget that mum-to-be needs a bit of pampering during her pregnancy. So, amongst other things, I have formulated a very special oil for her to try and reduce the risk of stretch marks. I could have gone for a belly balm but the idea of an oil appealed to me more. The oil contains a number of butters and oils specially selected for their abilities to nourish and soften the skin and improve elasticity and suppleness. Raspberry seed oil, plum kernel oil, rosehip oil as well as shea butter, mango butter and orchid complex are some of the ingredients used, along with a few drops of essential oils, like lavender, rosemary, rose geranium, ylang ylang and rose.

This particular batch was scented mostly with an amber infusion, which I have had brewing for nearly a year now. The scent is just awesome. I liked the oil and the way it sank into the skin so quickly without leaving the slightest bit of stickiness so much that I made a batch for myself as well. I am using it as a body oil and my skin feels so very smooth and velvety. I have to say I prefer this to a body lotion or body milk. This is definitely something I will be adding to the range of products as soon as possible.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Clarisse for Sue

Three more weeks and my DS Nick will have finished his tree surgery course at college, and then I will be able to pester him to get the website finished! In the meantime, this is a special " For Sue " post to enable her to re-order the right soap, lol, which we think was this one, Clarisse.

This limited edition soap was enriched with skin loving oils like Cherry Kernel, Hazelnut and Rice bran, with a good dollop of rich Mango butter on top of the usual ingredients. Tussah silk ( Tussah is a humane silk, gathered after the moth has emerged from the cocoon ) was added for that extra luxurious touch. It was swirled with a natural alkanet root infusion ( the purple ) and ultramarine pink. To get get the crackle effect, Titanium Dioxide ( whitener ) was added.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Update on the Soap Fairies Visit

Well, the soap fairies certainly seemed to have enjoyed the visit to our house, because they decided to come back! Remember the poisonous looking yellow soap, which I had to cook and shred to save it? And my lovely plans for it? Well.............. the soap fairies had other ideas, LOL.

I decided on a well used recipe for the base soap, to which I wanted to add the shreds and also top it with shreds. But as the scent of the shreds wasn't all that strong, I thought it a good idea to add a little fragrance to the base soap as well. BAD IDEA! I wanted something to compliment the scent of the soap shreds and sniffed my way through all my FOs, and of course I just had to pick another one from a batch bought which I hadnt used before. Guess what? Yep, soap fairies spat in it. It set up very quickly, but I managed to handstir the shreds in and top the log as well, but...... after alittle while it separated again and a huge oil lake appeared on the top of the soap. It started absorbing back into the soap a little over the next couple of days, but I didn't hold out much hope, I feared for the worst again.

So yesterday I finally unmoulded it, with oil dripping everywhere and yes, as I had feared....... poisonous yellow splotches all around the bottom. I was not a very happy bunny. So what to do? Sling it in the bin? Waste all those oils and fragrances ( which, btw still smelled delicious in the soap, darnit )? The soap didn't have any zap so it would definitely be ok to use, but oh boy, those yellow bits were gross. Sigh, it was majorly frustrating. The only thing I could do was yet another rebatch. Fortunately ( and I have no idea why ) the yellow areas were all round the bottom, so I cut these areas off, chunked up the rest of the soap and chucked it in the cooking pot.

Added a little water and stirred like crazy while it heated up, until it was all melted down nicely to a kind of soft mashed potato consistency. Slopped it into the mould, had a few words with it, basically to tell it to b...dy well behave itself or else, and left it overnight.

And lo and behold, just this once my stern words must have had some effect on it, because when I took the soap out of the mould this morning, it was............. normal looking soap, hurrah! Not the prettiest of soaps but it looks kind of wholesome in a rustic sort of way, LOL, it smells great and has lovely lather. It is still very soft, because of the added water, but I am confident that in a few weeks time this will be a lovely soap to use.

I just hate waste and if there is ever any chance of saving a batch, I'll give it a go. They might not be as beautiful as other soaps, but they are special, because they have been given a second ( or third, lol ) chance and survived despite all the hiccups.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Hurrah, new soaps!

It has been a long while, because I have been busy formulating other things, but I finally couldn't resist the urge any longer and picked up the soaping spoon again. It was great getting back to planning, measuring, stirring, colouring, pouring etc etc, and putting the babies to bed under a nice warm blanket. And finally, two fresh soapies resting on the drying rack now. IT FEELS GOOD !

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Visits from the Soap Fairies

Even the most experienced soapers report visits from the soap fairies occasionally. And these are not the nice fairy godmothers who'd leave you with wonderful goodies, help you create the most wonderful soaps and generally make you feel good, but the nasty variety, the ones that spit in your soaping oils, poison your fragrances causing them to misbehave and drop your equipment on the floor.

I have had my fair share of visits, resulting in hissy fits, sudden hair loss ( due to pulling ) and frantic rescue attempts. Have a look at the following examples:

For this one, I used a recipe which I had used many times before, but I used a new fragrance oil. As soon as I added the FO, the soap turned a violent kind of sickly yellow and seized instantly. I just about managed to squash it into a mould, where it started separating after a little while! Oh boy, what a total mess. However, I can't just chuck "soap" out without at least trying to rescue it, and this FO smelled sooooo good!

Only thing to do was cutting it into chunks and melting it down and hoping for the best. I just added a little water and kept stirring the chunks until they were all dissolved and a very heavy gooey consistency.

The kind of ochre/yellow colour didn't change for the better, it just got deeper, the texture was somewhat rough but the delicious smell of the FO had survived! These poor little soapies were beyond ugly, but...... my thinking was, they could be shredded and the shreds added to a nice creamy soap along with calendula petals.

So yet another kitchen gadget found its way into the soaproom, lol, and I spent half an hour or so shredding the uglies into two different sizes. Now all I have to do is make a plain soap to add these to, lol! I'll update this post as soon as I have found some time to make a plain batch, I promise, and if I am taking too long, please feel free to kick my butt and nag nag nag.

Ok, on to another disastrous visit from the soap fairies. Again it was a tried and tested recipe, plus a FO which I hadn't tried before. The OOB smell was gorgeous and the FO was supposed to discolour to a lovely light yellow, so I planned a pretty, girly soap with pink curls on top. It moved quickly, but wasn't too bad, I managed to put lots of pink curlies on top of the soap batter in record time, and then the soap fairies waved their magic wands and the whole wretched thing started to separate, chunks of sort of soap floating in lakes of oils........... I was near tears

So out came the wooden spoon, and I very gently stirred it all together, trying not to destroy the pink soap curls, put it on a gentle heat on the stove and kept stirring until I had soap again........ with curly bits inside rather than on the top, lol. It was something of a miracle that this soap still turned out fairly decently, not the way it was meant to be, but not a total waste of ingredients and time either. And again, the wonderful scent survived being cooked!

If you have had a visit from the soap fairies, don't throw the messed up soap away immediately. Try saving it, using it in confetti soap, for example. When you have put so much effort, time and money into making it in the first place, its worth giving it that little bit more and rescuing it from a fate worse than death ( ie THE BIN ).

Monday, 23 June 2008

Shaving soap - not just for the boys

I am one of those girls who has never gotten on too well with hair removal products. I didn't like the smell of the creams, and didn't like the wait, and I certainly didn't like the pain of waxing or sugaring. So I have always shaved my legs and underarms. However, I wanted to get away from shaving foams and now I much prefer using a hand made shaving soap. The most important ingredient in a good shaving soap is clay. It provides wonderful slip and glide and helps to produce a firm dense and creamy lather ideal for shaving.

I have used green clay in this soap ( plus a few bits of a blue soap, just for a bit of added interest ) and I am very happy with the way it performs.

My DH uses the shaving soap in conjunction with the shaving oil I formulated. He just rubs a drop or two of shaving oil onto his skin and follows it with the shaving soap, and apparently it beats any other shaving product he has ever tried hands down. YAY!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Daily facial beauty routine

How much money and time do you spend each and every day on your beauty regime? Do you buy dozens of different jars/bottles for all sorts of different things - day moisturisers, night creams, eye creams, eye serums, lip serums, spot treatments, exfoliators for the face, the body, dry skin treatments etc etc etc, a whole dressing table or medicine cabinet full?

When I was a teenager, many many moons ago, I just couldn't be bothered with creams and lotions and potions, it seemed that a good wash was all that was needed to keep the skin clear and fresh looking.
Years later, after getting married and with a growing family, it was financially impossible to buy all the jars and bottles of miracle potions which, according to TV and magazines, were an absolute must if you didnt want to look like a wrinkled prune. I do remember buying a jar of cold cream a couple of times, when I was pregnant, and it did feel good on the skin.
Years later again, kids growing up, it was finally time to experiment with those wonderful creams, the magical concoctions promising ever youthful skin. Yes, they smelled nice and yes, they felt lovely and velvety on the skin, but did they make me look younger? Hmmm, I think not. So, most of the time I was terribly slabdash with my beauty regime, cream went on perhaps once a week or so, when I remembered, lol.
Fast foward to a few years ago when I started suffering ridiculous allergies, so badly that I even became allergic to the allergy tablets ( turned out it was work I was allergic to, lol, seriously ). I started getting huge red welts on my face, especially in the nose and cheek areas, and even after I stopped work and the allergies finally stopped, the welts kept appearing. By that time, I had become very interested in soaps, creams, any kind of cosmetic and started making my own.
BEST THING I HAD EVER DONE! After spending hundreds of hours reading and studying, I formulated a balm which got rid of the welts, I made a very gentle facial scrub to keep the skin nice and clear, made a salt soap for the face and formulated a facial serum. None of these contain harsh chemicals or preservatives ( hurrah, no parabens ! ), as none of them contain water, and I can honestly say that the beauty regime I use now is simple, effective, non time consuming and it works for me.

This is it - Two or three times a week, I use the gentle facial scrub. It is a dry mix of selected botanicals, including adzuki beans, for example, to which I just add a few drops of water, and gently massage it over my wet face for a minute or two. It leaves the skin feeling velvety soft, not stripped and tight, and I follow it with a few drops of the facial serum. The combination of squalane and some very fine oils with really wonderful properties keeps the skin velvety soft all day. Occasionally, I use a fruit and clay mask, maybe once every couple of weeks. It is a lovely thing to use when you want to feel really pampered. Again, I just follow it with a couple of drops of facial serum.

I only use the salt soap for washing my face these days. A salt bar will not produce lather in quite the same way as a normal soap ( see the post on salt bars ), but it is great for problem skin. Again, after washing with the salt bar, I just use a few drops of the serum on the face. Doing this morning and evening, my sking stays clear and soft.

I very rarely get outbreaks these days, but when I get very stressed, it can happen. The balm sorts that out within a couple of days, thankfully, so even though my skin still looks a little red round the nose, welts are a thing of the past. The balm works wonders on my DH's psoriasis as well. It is the only thing which keeps the flaking and redness under control.

The only other thing I use on my face these days is a lip balm, winter and summer alike, because my lips do get very dry very quickly.

I do make and use body lotion and handcreams for example, and I love making and using luxurious soaps and scrubs for the body, but my face loves my simple routine - facial scrub ( and occasional fruit and clay mask ), salt soap, serum, lip balm, thats it, and it seems to be keeping the prune stage away for a little longer. If you feel you don't need a salt bar for your face, then you can of course substitute a mild and gentle milk, goats milk or coconut milk if you are vegan.

( Rebatched goats milk soap )

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Milk soaps - To gel or not to gel, that is the question

I love milk soaps, they are mild and gentle and evoke a feeling of warmth, natural goodness and country charm. If left to their own devices milk soaps will always gel, the sugar in the milk will raise the temperature considerably, so if you don't want your soap to gel then you have to take pretty drastic measures.

Now why would you want to stop your milk soap from gelling? Does gelling make a difference to the quality of the soap? No, the quality of the soap doesnt change, but what does change is the colour and that might be important to you.

When you let a milk soap gel, it generally turns a deep tan colour. If you have also added honey, you might find that it goes even darker.

These two soaps are from the very same batch, the one one the left is the main batch, gelled in a wooden log mould, the one on the right was leftover soap in a small individual mould, and ungelled. As you can see, the gelled soap is much darker than the soap which didnt gel.

This is what I do when I make milk soaps -

I use 35/40 water and 65/60 milk for my liquid. I use the water to mix up the lye. You will need to stir for longer than normal to dissolve all that lye in such a small amount of water, but it does work. I add the cold milk to the oils when the hard oils have melted, and stickblend it in thoroughly. If I am using a scent for the soap, I also add that to the oils and milk mix. I then add the cooled lye water, stickblend until it reaches thin trace and add whatever botanicals I want to use ( for example poppy seeds, wheatbran, oatmeal ) and perhaps a bit of honey. Handstir until the botanicals are well incorporated.

When making milk soaps I soap much cooler than I would normally do. I take the oils of the heat as soon as there are only a few bits of hard oils left, they will still melt because of the heat of the liquid oils. Adding the cold milk cools the oils down really quickly. The lye water I prepare well before I start melting the oils and put it into a bowl of very cold water to cool it down quickly. I usually aim for no more than 80F or even room temperature, especially when adding honey to the soap as well.

I never use a log mould for milk soaps these days. I used one for my first goats milk and honey soap, and insulated it as well, and it went crazy! It rose like a loaf of bread, and cracked right down the middle. I had to squash it all down again and somehow it ended up a really nice soap anyway. I now use slab moulds for milk soaps ( actually a lovely old wooden tray found at a boot sale for 50 pence ). As soon as the soap is poured, I stick it in the freezer, sometimes for a few hours, or, if I made the soap in the evening, overnight. Take it out of the freezer, and voila, beautifully creamy looking goatsmilk soap! It is easy to remove from the mould when you take it out of the freezer. I just let the slab sit for a while to return to normal temperature and then cut to required size.

This is a very plain goats milk soap without any additives, no fragrances, no colours, which makes it very suitable for young and/or sensitive skin.

There you have it, using milk in your soaps should be quite straight forward. Having said that, of course, nothing is ever straight forward, lol, and the strangest things can happen. For example, one lady in the States made a milk soap, put the mould outside in the snow, and it still gelled! Another put the soap in the fridge for a few hours, took it out and it started gelling, lol. So you just never can tell with 100% certainty that things will work as planned, but if you follow the above, then at least you should stand a pretty good chance!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

So what is so special about salt bars?

Firstly, let me say that I love salt bars, and that I am eternally grateful to the wonderful person who first came up with this fabulous idea on an American forum.

Although the whole idea of having lots of salt in a bar of soap might sound rather strange, it does kinda make sense. Salt baths have often been recommended by doctors for people with skin problems, and even the Victorians loved their holidays by the seaside, because they found bathing in the saltwater so beneficial. I have been using salt soap on my face for a few months now, and I love what it has done for my skin. I very very rarely get spots or breakouts anymore these days ( only when I am very stressed and haven't used the salt bar) and they disappear again within a couple of days of using the salt soap. Just one word of caution though, don't use it on broken skin, it will sting!

So what goes into a bar of salt soap? Salt, obviously, lol, but what about the actual soap part? The most important ingredient is a very high amount of coconut oil, because that is the one oil which will make a soap lather even in salt water. Some people have made salt bars with 100% coconut oil and superfatted the bars at 20%. Personally, I find that a little too extreme. Although most people say that they dont find the bar drying despite the high coconut oil contents, I prefer to add some castor oil, to help with the lather and something nice and skin loving, like shea butter or perhaps jojoba or ricebran oil. I superfat these bars at 10% normally and find that the end product lathers quite well if used properly. That means using hot water and working the bar somewhat more than ordinary soap ( keep turning in your hand and adding a bit more hot water once or twice ). That way you will get nice biggish bubbles to start with, but they will quickly turn into a dense and creamy lather. I massage this all over my face and leave it on for a minute or so while I get on with other things ( brushing teeth for example ). Then rinse off with warm water. I think you will be quite surprised how nice your skin feels afterwards. I apply a good facial serum/elixir and my skin feels so soft!

If you dont have any problems with breakouts or spots, then you might think that you have no need for salt bars. But if you get the chance, try one, just to satisfy your curiosity. You may just get to like it anyway. If you feel that a salt bar is not for you, however, then there is always a lovely mild and gentle goatsmilk soap perhaps, or a nettle and jojoba soap, or or or.......

Friday, 29 February 2008

There's a baggie stuck to my nose!

You are probably quite reasonably asking yourself why on earth I am sitting here at the computer with a baggie stuck to my nose. The answer is quite simple really, one word........ AMBER!

I love the beautiful rich heady scent of amber in any shape or form, but when you get hold of a piece of premium amber resin, oh boy, you just have to sniff it! And this darling little piece of aroma heaven is in a little bag, which very neatly fits over the end on my nose, lol. So, I type a couple of sentences, I sniff the amber, I sigh with delight, and force myself to put it down again.

It looks quite innocent really, doesnt it?

Amber is mainly produced in India, and is a combination of different tree resins, benzoin ( with varying amounts of vanillin crystals ), essential oils and waxes. Often these amber resins are made by families from jealously guarded secret recipes handed down from generation to generation. So, you'll probably find that no two ambers are exactly the same. Some are sweet, floral ambers, others are more woody, musky, spicy ambers. But they all have one thing in common - they are utterly gorgeous, and absolutely essential for anybody who loves to create their very own fragrances. The following is a quote from edenbotanicals:-

"To the resin and wax base, the amber maker adds essential oils or fragrance oils or ambergris. The types of oils used will determine the final scent of the product. Fragrant plant powders such as sandalwood powder are also added to some ambers. The types of oils typically added include sandalwood and patchouli. Almost any other oils may be added to get the desired scent. A spicy amber may have cinnamon, cardamom or ginger added. A sweet flowery amber may have geranium, rose or a hint of ylang ylang added. Other oils that may be used in certain ambers include: vetiver (khus), spikenard (jatamansi), frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood, vanilla, ambrette musk, etc."

Originally amber was created by an ayurvedic physician as a mood enhancing product, but these days you would probably find it in every parfumers' secret cupboard.

A few months ago, I ground up a piece of premium dark amber and infused it in some oil. Of course, quality control has to be performed every day, so one sniffs the bottle, one puts a drop or two of the oil on a pulse point..... and then one gets totally carried away and rubs it all over one's face! Not such a good idea, lol, the delicate skin of my face protested, and turned red and hot. So, although its fine to rub amber resin on pulse points, don't rub it all over your face!

My very own amber infusion is about three months old now and smells absolutely divine. I also have an amber/vanilla infusion on the go, but I have noticed that the vanilla is not coming through much, it has only softened the amber a tiny bit. I am going to let them brew for another 3 months at least I think, and then use the amber infusion in a very exclusive limited edition range of products, including soap, lotion, bath treats etc., perhaps even a perfume.

In the meantime, I am still sitting here with a baggie stuck to my nose every couple of minutes, LOL, whilst deciding what to with this wonderful piece of amber. For the time being, it will stay in the baggie, on the nose ;-).

Thursday, 28 February 2008

A New Adventure

A big warm welcome to you! I am Elisabeth, soapmaker and passionate formulator of creams, lotions and all kinds of potions.

My friends' nagging has finally done the trick, I am blogging!

So, if you would like to hear about the latest scent mixes for our creams, or would like to see the newest handmade cold process soaps, then stop by often. You may find a light hearted look at the disasters caused by the naughty soap fairies who visit occasionally, or find recipes for you to try at home. I might recommend my favourite suppliers, fellow soapmakers, or perhaps tell you about bad experiences.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring? The website might finally get finished, a new product could be launched, or perhaps I could see my soaps displayed in another local shop. Not every day is filled with excitement, however, so don't expect a daily update, lol, I would probably bore you to tears rather quickly. But do check back often, you never know, you just might find that bit of information or inspiration you have been searching for.