My original Big Block Kitchen Soap will be changing. Specifically the most popular one, French Field, will be getting, at minimum, tweaked or more drastically, a complete overhaul. Why? the short answer is Rosewood.
Rosewood essential oil is one of the components of the essential oil scent blend I use to scent the soap. Back when I first created this soap, the essential oil was plentiful and I was blissfully unaware of how it was harvested and what could possibly go wrong. I stocked up. So much so, that I haven't really needed to buy more until now. Thankfully, it is an oil that stores well!
Since I bought my stock of Rosewood essential oil, the trees that the oil is derived from, have been severely over-harvested. So much so, it is now on the endangered species list. It is a tree that is not easily "farmed", so most essential oil is distilled from wild-harvested trees in the Amazon forest.
So now that I am out of Rosewood essential oil, I am faced with the dilemma of how to scent this popular soap going forward. One option is to use a "rosewood replacer" oil, which is a blend of other essential oils that replicate rosewood as best as possible. Option 2 is to change the essential oil blend using different oils, while trying to stay somewhat true to the original scent. The last option (3) is to scrap the blend entirely, and create something new.
Options 1 and 2 would probably result in a slight price increase, since the essential oil blend would be more costly to produce. Option 3 would allow me to keep the price the same.
I just received a new batch of bayberry wax and it is GORGEOUS! It is a deep green color and has an amazing resinous scent!
Raw bayberry wax
For those unfamiliar with bayberry wax and bayberry tapers, here is a nickel tour. Bayberry wax is extracted from the berry of the bayberry bush. By itself, it is deep green and very brittle. Although the wax can be used by itself, it is not really a great wax for candles, For this reason, it is usually mixed with another wax, like beeswax. Blending the bayberry with the beeswax yields a more durable candle that burns brightly and for a long time. My bayberry candles are a proprietary blend of bayberry wax and natural yellow beeswax.
Bayberry wax has been used for candles for hundreds of years. In New England, bayberry candles are often shared with friends and family at Christmas or new Years celebrations. The burning of the bayberry candle burn to the end, is said to bring good luck for the new year.
Available candle sizes (L to R):
12"& 10" hex, 6", 8", 10" &12" round tapers.
All sizes available in both natural and bayberry waxes.
I have decided to offer up bayberry candles in ALL my taper mold sizes, not just the 10" round tapers. I still need to figure out packaging and may limit quantity selections to quantities I can safely ship.
I am also going to offer select tapers with an option to be left unfluted, as shown above. The Hex tapers are a larger diameter and may be difficult to fit easily into a candle holder. Fluting candles allows them to fit standard 3/4-7/8" candle holders
Fluted Candles in the foreground
YIPPEE!!!! I finally received an advance copy of my second book - Beehive Alchemy. I am really happy with the way it came out!
This latest book covers everything that comes out of a beehive: honey, beeswax, pollen, and propolis, There is a little bit of overlap with my last book Beeswax Alchemy (after all, how many ways are there to make candles), but there are new projects and new techniques to keep everyone happy.
The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon and other retailers, or directly from me.
I love making natural perfumes and prefer to work with alcohol as a diluent, but since it is a problem to ship any amount of alcohol via Airmail, I hesitated to include any of them on my website. I also had some oil based perfumes leak when I attempted to put them into roller ball applicators. ARGH!
So... my work-around was to make solid perfumes. I love them and will continue to offer them, as I love the tactile nature of them, but now I have another option. Several months ago, I stumbled on the most beautiful glass bottles. I love the heft of the glass and the simplicity of shape. When I received them, I was surprised to find that they had a "sprinkle" top molded in, which meant that the planned sprayers were not going to work. These bottles were SCREAMING at me to use them for perfumed oils. I have had some essential oil blends marrying for a number of years, waiting to coalesce and tell their story.... LISTEN
Here they are...
top row: Sultana, Vernal Glen, Field Spirit
Bottom Row: Summer Garden, Winter Moon, Sylvan Joy, and Mirth.
Look at the colors! They are the result of the essences used and have no color added. I still need to create descriptions and essence lists so that people will have an idea of what they are like, so they will be on the website in the next day or so.
Bayberry candles are back in stock! These gorgeous candles are made simply with a blend of real bayberry wax and beeswax - no added color or scent. I purchased more bayberry wax this year, so I should have plenty, but just in case, order early.
Beeswax candles in COLORS!!!!
I used the Pantone 2015 Spring/Summer colors as inspiration for this bouquet of color. There will probably be some tweaking of some of the colors, but I am happy with these as a starting point.
My advanced copy of the book arrived this morning and I am beside myself with excitement! It was originally supposed to land on my doorstep before Christmas, so this has been a LONG wait. So strange to see my name on the cover of a book!
In conjunction with my book Beeswax Alchemy, I am releasing kits to go with the recipes found in the book. I will be offering up the kits as I have them "figured out". Who would want these? Well...
1. They are perfect for trying out a recipe first. No sense buying more of an ingredient than needed if the rest is superfluous. If the recipe turns out to be a keeper, then bulk quantities of the ingredients can be purchased.
2. They make great afternoon activities, like birthday parties or sleep-overs. The kits are scale-able depending on how many guests there are.
3. Need a quick hand made gift? These fit the bill perfectly. Almost everything is included to take the project from start to finish.
I plan on taking actual pictures of the kits in the next week or so. Once they are photographed, I will post an update.
I wrote a book!!! It is due to be released in a couple weeks and I am SO excited! I expect to receive my copy in the mail any day now. Writing this book has been a great journey of discovery and reflection. I hope that the knowledge shared finds usefulness in the hands of others that are in love with beeswax as much as I am!
Right now, I am taking pre-orders for the book. One of the benefits of purchasing from the author is that the book can be personalized with an inscription. Once the book is released, I will be selling the book either with or without inscription.
I finally got around to making more room sprays. Hurray!!! I have decided to keep the Lavender and the Lavender Geranium in my standard line (the Lilac one shown in the picture got the axe), but I have added a new one I am calling Sunday Walk.
The last 2 weeks I have been looking at my line-up going into Fall and looking at all the gaps in my soap line-up and feeling like I need something new. So in that spirit I created this new room spray. My inspiration was the Sunday afternoon walks through the woods. Since the mosquitoes were usually too bad in the summer, these walks usually happened in fall. The air is still full of life, but there is also an earthiness that comes from fallen leaves, moist soil, and decaying wood.
Sunday Walk is an ode to these walks.... it has various woody essential oils, conifers, vetiver, bergamot, and a touch of citrus.
For now, these are only available locally, but I hope to get the website updated to include the room sprays. Since they contain alcohol, they will only be available to US customers, since they need to be shipped via ground transport.
I like to walk the line between the creative and the analytical. Making soaps and other body care products allows me to explore both sides. I am always in awe of bees and what gifts they provide for us. There are many things to be learned....