Sunday, January 31, 2016

CONTEST!!!! Name that soap!


I need help! I have so many clever followers and I am hoping you can help me name my two latest soaps. 
If your soap name suggestion is chosen, you will receive a free bar of your choice from my web store. Contest ends Wednesday, February 3 at midnight PST.
I have created 2 new soaps! The first is the soap that I made from Bramble Berry's Oatmeal soap for babies from Pure Soapmaking. 
The first is the soap that I made from Bramble Berry's Oatmeal soap for babies from Pure Soapmaking. It is  scent/dye free, with colloidal oatmeal and chamomile infused olive oil (perfect for babies and those with very sensitive skin)
The 2nd is scented primarily with cedarwood essential oil, along with lavender, orange and ylang ylang essential oils.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Guest Post: Fields of Ambrosia speaks about Lavender Essential Oil Safety

I recently went on a business trip with some amazing makers from the Indie Business Network. We met n Cancun and shared great information, meals and friendship. One of the amazing ladies I met, as Deb Jasien, From Fields of Ambrosia. Deb has extensive knowledge about essential oils, which I am particularly interested in because I am using them more and more in my soaps. I only use them for aromatherapy, but with the rise of popularity in companies like  DoTerra and Young Living, people are using them more and more for medial and therapeutic reasons. I too have done this, often ingesting them diluted in water. However, Deb and some of the other Indies, who have studied essential oil usage extensively lamented that these extremely concentrated oils are often misused, which can be dangerous. Deb was kind enough to allow me to share her blog post about Lavender Essential Oil Safety, which is invaluable to me as a Lavender enthusiast. Please take a moment to read Deb's article:

A Guide to Essential Oil Safety – Lavender

The surging popularity of essential oils and aromatherapy may seem like a New Age trend, but they’ve actually been around for centuries. They are natural remedies with incredible power and there are many essential oil resources online giving worrisome blanket advice about their use. Because of the strength of essential oils, you should always be cautious of over-using them.
In most cases, essential oils should not be used undiluted on the skin. Due to the small molecular size of essential oils, they can penetrate the skin easily and enter the bloodstream. As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like jojoba  or grapeseed, 3-5 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil. Undiluted use can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in some people, and can cause a permanent sensitivity to certain oils after using it on broken skin. Some, like lavender, rose and chamomile are typically considered safe for undiluted skin use.
This isn’t to say essential oils should not be used, but they should be used carefully, with proper education and in safe amounts. Let’s take a look at ever-popular Lavender in this week’s column.

 LAVENDER OILLavenderEssentialOil

Imagine a flower being able to calm your nerves, help reduce inflammation and swelling, promote faster healing for minor burns, decrease muscle pain, alleviate insomnia, and work as a natural bug repellant? That purple colored flower named lavender, which is derived from the Latin word lavera meaning “to wash”, is one of the most versatile essential oils the plant kingdom has to offer.
 Types of Lavender:
Lavandula angustifolia is the most common type of lavender and is referred to as true lavender. Any true lavender will have the botanical name of “lavandula” as the prefix. (There are up to 39 different species, including lavandula officinalis and lavandula vera, yet they will all be simply lavender). The reason the “true” lavandula angustifolia genus is so popular is due to the low rate of camphor, less than one percent, it retains after distillation. This lends the essential oil a strong floral aroma, but it also makes it quite effective in aromatherapy usage, especially in accelerating the healing of minor burns. Lavandin, (also known as Dutch lavender), yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance. Camphor is a chemical constituent that you don’t want near a burn, and other versions of lavender,  which can contain up to 8% camphor—are not effective for soothing delicate skin tissue.
Unlike many other essential oils, there are few safety precautions. Lavender essential oil can be used neat, meaning without diluting it in a plant based carrier oil, but it must be done in small amounts and only for minor skin problems. However, it is advised to dilute lavender with a vegetable carrier oil such as olive oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, etc., just to make certain that your skin doesn’t have an allergic reaction. Be very careful when purchasing pure lavender essential oil to be used for minor medical burn treatment emergencies as you will need true lavender, the type containing the lowest amount of camphor, and NOT lavandin, the genus which has up to 8% camphor – a burn causing ingredient!
 Uses for Lavender: 
Bath soak ~ All you need is approximately 10 drops in your bathtub of warm to hot water and you should find yourself relaxing.
Diffuser ~ Add a few drops to an aromatherapy diffuser. Lavender will fill the room with its soothing floral aroma and relaxation should follow.
Sachet ~ Add dried lavender buds to a small muslin bag and store in your drawers/cupboards, and especially where linen is stored. This method also works well as a natural bug repellent if you hang a scented lavender sachet in your closet(s) on a hanger.
General: As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bramble Berry's Pure Soapmaking

Chamomile Infused Olive Oil

Ready to make soap!

This soap is so creamy and beautiful! I can't wait to unmold!
I have been eagerly awaiting Anne- Marie Faiola's newest soap making book Pure Soapmaking for quite some time. It just so happens that I have been wanting to add a new collection to my current line of soaps that are colored with natural colorants and use only essential oils, so this book is a Godsend to me.

In Oregon, there are many soap makers that make all natural, rustic "hippie" soaps. I love these soaps, but I have always loved the advanced soap making techniques that often involve the use of bright pops of color. I am often told by customers that my soaps are "too pretty to use," and honestly, creating something  beautiful and useful is one of my driving forces and a component of soap making that ignites my passion.

That said, I have a few plain Jane bars that sell really well for me, especially at the farmer's market. My Peppermint Tea Tree, Lemongrass and Oatmeal, Milk and Honey are great sellers,and are beautiful in their simplicity and purity, but I am looking to create bars that are not only natural, but beautiful.

This is where Pure Soapmaking comes into play. This gorgeous book is filled with over 200 pages of information and recipes that are perfect for my new journey down the all-natural path. These recipes use essential oils and natural colorants, It is perfect for the beginning soap maker, or the advanced maker who is craving an artistic challenge.,

The bar that I chose to make is the Oatmeal Soap for Babies. Why? Well, I have 3 babies, aging from 7 years-old - 19 months. I also have many mommy friends who want a gentle bar for their children, some of whom have skin sensitivities. I also have quite a few customers who are allergic to scented products. About 99% of the time, these customers will buy a scent-free, gentle bar if presented with the option.

The Oatmeal Soap for Babies was extremely easy to make. I don't want to give away all the details (you must get this book!), The bar is primarily olive oil, which is infused with chamomile. In addition, there is the addition of shea butter,for moisture, castor oil for bubbles, along with skin loving bentonite clay and colloidal oatmeal. I love the addition of the Chamomile infused oil, bentonite clay and colloidal oatmeal. These extra ingredients not only make a better bar of soap, but may distinguish my soap from other baby bars. I can't wait to try it out on the kids!

For the next few weeks, I have a standing night-time date with Anne-Marie and her new book! I will post the results from all the new recipes I make. If you like all natural soap making, but still want to incorporate special techniques that will set your soap a part from the rest, this book is for you!

These are the test subjects! They love bathing and Mommy's soap!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It all started with a $50 Gift Card

One of my first soaps, Ocean Mist. I was so excited by how pretty it turned out. 

With every new year, I reflect on my business and dream of how I can take Lion and Rose to the next level. January-April are my slow months, so I have a time to replenish my soap stock, take a deep breath and contemplate what I will do next. It's a very exciting time for me. I am filled with inspiration and re-dedicate my efforts. This is when I dream big!

This year, I have been reflecting on how far I have come in the last 4 years. It all started with an interest in a potential new hobby or perhaps a creative outlet. I was the mother of a 4 year-old boy and a 1 year-old daughter. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but I was craving a creative outlet. For my birthday, my husband bought me a $50 gift card to Bramble Berry. I had been watching a constant stream of Soap Queen tutorials and reading endless blogs about soap making, so my husband thought my birthday would be the ideal chance to let me get my toes wet by allowing me the opportunity to buy some supplies of my own.

I spent countless hours reading fragrance oil descriptions, learning what I could about colorants and trying to figure out how best to spend that $50. I chose pretty well, in fact, the first fragrance I ever bought, Energy, is still in my line and is called Good Day Sunshine.Looking back, $50 is nothing! I was so frugal and thoughtful. My batches started very small and allowed me to learn my craft without too much risk.

From the start, I only used gift money and my eventual sales from my soap to fund my company. To this day, almost every dollar goes back into the company. I have never used family funds for the business and I have steadily grown about double in sales per year. I have so much pride in what I have built and am becoming more confident that a desk job will not be a part of my future. I can continue to dream big, work hard and am loving every minute of it!