Hug a tree.. February 8, 2019 13:49
You know, when I started this business, it wasn't out of any great desire to save the planet. I mean, that was nice, and all, but really, what can one small woman do?
The answer may surprise you...because it's actually a lot. Have any of you been fortunate enough to live in a community where organics recycling was a thing? You know...you can toss your coffee grounds...your lettuce ends...the food your kid swore they were hungry for... into an annoyingly biodegradable bag, and then into a yard waste/organics cart? Ever noticed how SMALL your regular garbage collection becomes?
I'd like to argue that the same principle applies to natural products for the home. In using shampoo bars, I'm no longer adding a plastic bottle to the "recycling". In using bar soap, there are no more plastic pumps. In working toward making my own body cream (it's coming, gang) I'm no longer using a plethora of squirt bottles made out of...you guessed it...plastic.
Plastics, you see, not only contain petroleum based substances, but require the uses of toxic chemicals to clean them for recycling. So, no matter what your intent in recycling - and it's FAR better than not - the processes that we have to use to get the lotion/shampoo/substance of choice off the plastic before recycling still are environmentally harmful.
Next week, I'm going to start playing with a new line - waxed fabric food wraps. I've got my testers all lined up, my raw materials are on the way, and I am ready to see what happens when I start playing with formulae for the coating.
Wax melts January 30, 2019 15:56
It's funny how, when you decide to remove an item from your inventory, you hear from customers... asking about what you've got in stock. Asking about when you're going to bring out the spring scents. Meanwhile, the little voice in the back of your head is going "Um...I just....wait a minute...let me rethink..."
SO. Because you have asked, I will answer. Spring/summer scents will come. BUT... I am making a decision that reflects my desire to keep my ingredient list - and overhead - to a minimum. From this season, all wax melts will free of colorants. The clamshells are clearly labeled, so I'm not worried about confusion in that regard.
What kinds of scents are you looking for for Spring/Summer? What should I stock ALL the time?
Restock January 22, 2019 07:00
Y'all...I'm restocking as fast as I can. But, I'm telling you, there are SO many good spring/summer scents out there.
I'm trying to figure out what I'm adding. And it's hard. Do I go fruity? Do I go beachy? Do I go all coconut and get the whole tropics vibe going? What about floral? What about, what about?
And then there's the new products...do I add body care for next fall, and spend the spring perfecting formulations? What about Shampoo Soap? I've got a formulation that works great for my hair...but it's such a texture-driven product...I'm thinking I just don't do that?
What do you think? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts for spring/summer scents or for new products!
Shea Butter...the game changer. January 20, 2019 00:00
Ok. I'm going to confess. There was a time I thought that a simple coconut, palm, olive soap in various proportions was a perfect formulation. It was definitely kinder on my skin than what I was using before I became a soap maker. It was smooth, easy, and ... best of all, inexpensive to make. And you know, if you're just making soap for yourself, that's not a bad trifecta.
Except that when someone gives you a big chunk of shea butter and says "here, my kid isn't doing this thing...and you are", you figure...why not add it to all the soap? Right? I mean seriously, that's the way to get rid of a lot of shea before it goes rancid.
Yes, rancid. It's a butter, after all, and like any oil, it's going to get rancid.
But it has so much goodness in it y'all! So much. Vitamin A. Vitamin E. It's easily absorbed into your skin. It has stearic acid, so it makes a great shaving soap (not that I've quit buying the stuff in a can to shave my mommy legs...).
This mommy found an early bar of her soap last week - one that was just too small to sell (rookie mistake in cutting bars!) - and thought "oh, why not"... y'all. NO SHEA. NO SHEA. Oh lord.
Listen to me. I will never ever make shea-less soap again. EVER.
Shaving Soap January 18, 2019 17:26
I've been asked, recently, if I make shaving soap for men.
Right now, that answer is no.
Did you see the right now? I'm looking into this as a small addition to my lines. It seems to me that if environmental impact is one of my biggest concerns, then it's a no-brainer. However, every type of soap requires different materials, different base oils, and different molds -- and that requires research.
I know, right? You'd think that soap is soap. But it's not. Because the different parts of our bodies - while covered by the same organ - are exposed to different environmental and circumstantial factors. Think about how sun and wind hit your face in ways they don't other parts of your body. Think about how getting rid of stubble requires .. dare I say it...a sharp blade to scrape the epidermis.
So, my friends, the answer is "not now". Because when I launch a product, I want it to be the highest quality at the most affordable price.
Palm Oil January 7, 2019 20:26
Ohhh. This is big one. Every soap maker out there will tell you that "to palm or not to palm" is one of the bigger ethical dilemmas we face.
The wholesale harvest of palm forests has adversely impacted ecosystems. There is NO doubt about that. However, sustainable farmed palm oil, like that used in soaps from Mommy's Craft Basket, is a viable choice. All of our Palm Oil is RSPO certified. You can read more about that here: https://rspo.org/certification
The "big picture" reasons I have chosen to use RSPO certified palm oil are simple. First, by using sustainably produced palm oil, I am ensuring that the workers have jobs. While this seems like a somewhat reductive analysis, at the end of the day, families that have steady income have a better standard of living. They are able to educate their children (not all countries offer free public school), which in turn improves the lives of many. Second, it is a high-yield crop, which means, simply put, that a little goes a long way. Third, from a business owner standpoint, because it is a high-yield crop, I am able to keep my prices low, as one of my standard oils is a very affordable raw material.
The "small picture" reasons are even more simple. Palm oil makes a hard bar of soap - which means that it lasts longer. It also stabilizes the coconut oil's bubbles. And, finally, it allows me to make vegan soaps.
Is it a perfect system? No. Can we ensure 100% that there aren't issues in the supply chain? I wish, but no.
Do families like mine along the supply chain benefit by soap makers like me using it? Highly likely.
Does it allow me to provide a vegan, quality product at a price point that makes handmade soap affordable to many? Yes.
Lotion-free life January 5, 2019 10:39
Okay, I have to confess, that isn't me. This girl lives in Minnesota, and the lotion is slathered on my hands after I do the dishes.
But my body? This year that's a different story. I've changed nothing except using my own soap in the shower. I'll talk a little bit about the ingredients I use in later blog posts, but the benefits of handmade soap for your skin cannot be ignored.
My mom is a convert - and y'all, if you knew my mom, you'd understand why this is such a big deal. She's practical and no-nonsense. She doesn't buy into a whole lot of self-care. And now, she's giving her friends my soap as gifts. She hasn't quite convinced my dad to make the switch - we may just have to stealth swap it out. Because he won't use lotion - and his skin is aging, dry, and does the whole nasty crack thing. And in the winter, that's just painful.
Supply chain January 3, 2019 09:53A broad-brush look at the environmental benefits of shopping small.
Are those Cabbage...WHAT? October 8, 2015 17:36
Are those Cabbage patch dolls?
I have been asked that question at craft fairs. I have been asked that question while I sewed in waiting rooms. I have been asked that question to the point of wanting to scream NO at the top of my lungs.
Soft sculpture dolls are going to resemble each other. There’s no way around it. As there are only so many stories to tell, there are only so many ways to stitch a doll head. BUT…these are not Cabbage Patch kids. Not. Cabbage. Patch. Kids.
I know that that makes me sound really testy and totally cantankerous. I’m sorry if it does. But what a question like that says to a maker is this: You don’t have an original thought in your body.
Let me walk you through my process. Every single body is sewn…by me. It’s stuffed…by me. Its feet and legs are sewn…by me, and in the former case by hand. No two of my dolls are alike. Every doll’s head is shaped by me, using a wicked needle, and waxed linen thread. I make the wigs, cutting each strand of yarn, or felting the roving. I pick the fabric for their clothes, cutting and sewing and ornamenting each and every one.
Cabbage Patch Kids that you get at the big box stores? They’re mass produced. To computerized specifications. With a plastic head. And they’re not US made. By a mom.
That’s right. When I make my babies for your special someone, I’m making them with the same care I take in making one for my own child.
Made in the US. By a mom.
Each one unique.
Just like your little ones.
But they're so expensive..... August 14, 2015 09:42 2 CommentsSo why are they so expensive? Because giving you my best work, and a part of my heart, is what I do every time I make a doll for your special someone.
I have to admit, this is one of those things that, for me, seems a bit like a pipe dream.
My daughter, nephew, and when she's old enough, niece, have gone to or will go to Waldorf schools for some or all of their elementary school experience. It is so important that children be allowed to be...wait for it...children.
There's irony in this. In my "real job", I'm a teacher. At a college prep school. Where my students are concerned with "the rest of my life". When they're children. And all I can think, as I watch them become stress messes over the work I assign (paradox, much?) is that they need to learn to play.
I guess that's where the pipe dream started - knowing that these kids need something to help them remember what it's like to play. I went to graduate school with a teddy bear that my best friend gave me. Tennyson hugged me when I thought I couldn't do it. He soaked up tears when I got my heart broken. He listened to me read my dissertation aloud, and gave me quite serious feedback. Even now, he sits in my bedroom, and from time to time, dries my tears.
My hope for you, dear visitor, is that you find a friend here for your someone special that they can take with them on life's adventures. And, that when they do, they think of you with love.