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.