April 29, 2011

Beautiful Thing Friday

I don't have an image today - so sorry.

Instead, I wanted to make an attempt to express my thoughts on how beautiful life is, how beautiful friendship is, how amazing people are. First thing this morning, upon checking e-mails my spirit was lifted and transformed for the day. A friend in the soaping community that I don't even know on a personal level had replied to some "good mojo" emails I had sent his way over the last few weeks. This person is half a world away and is dealing with some rather serious health issues and as part of a community I wanted this person to feel my energy and presence. I was very honored this morning to hear from this person and even though he is in the midst of dealing with some "serious unknowns" my spirit was lifted and transformed by his humor and attitude. I often wonder how it is that people dealing with such serious life issues can have such a positive effect on others -others like me; going through life - generally taking such important things as health, family, friends etc. for granted. In all honesty I have wondered what is fair about all of this? What lesson is it that I am meant to take from all of this? Today, I think I caught a glimpse - I am supposed to open my eyes and realize what a delicate balance life really is-how I need to live every day as if I may have no tomorrow - I need to treasure my health, value my children, my  husband and friends and even though we don't have a lot of "things" when it gets right down to it - things truly don't matter. I know it's "cliche" and we hear it all of the time, but when people are facing tribulations of epic proportions in their life - I don't think it's the things that matter. My heart is full as I "get" this very important life lesson from someone with such humor and zest for life.

Thank you my friend - you are a fine teacher!
(((warm hugs)))

April 28, 2011

I Heart Clove

Clove Shave Round 3.75 min. net. wt.

Hints of clove warm and spicy in a traditional shave round. Olive oil nurtures your skin while castor forms a satisfying lather that is given a fine slip with the help of kaolin clay.  The results are a clean, aromatic shaving experience.

You Might Be An Optimist If...

"An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him."
--Zig Ziglar

April 27, 2011

Fresh,Clean and Traditional-Lavender Shave Rounds

Lavender Shave Rounds - 3.75 min. net wt.

Lavender: herbaceous with a balsamic woody undertone; a fresh clean floral. Olive oil nurtures your skin while castor forms a satisfying lather that is given a fine slip with the help of kaolin clay.

April 26, 2011

Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen - Wow! the time just flew by. I was thinking I needed to post an update on how the shampoo bar was coming along, but I didn't realize that today was actually the 14th day. (Thanks Rose Marie-for the reminder.)
I am happy to report that today, I am loooving shampoo bars for my hair. My hair is shiny, manageable, and soft. I desperately need a  hair cut and I will be able to tell more about how it handles then - right now it is a challenge because it is sort of at an in between length and cumbersome to manage. I will be getting it cut this week so we'll see. The long and short of it is, that I am glad I made the switch and looking back to a few years ago when I tried it(and didn't stay with it) I wish I had known the weird gumminess, funkiness would pass.

Business Tip Tuesday – Utilizing Business Cards

Even in this age of technology where much of your business identity is online – there is still a place for the old school business card. Consider this – business cards are one of the most cost effective marketing tools you can have especially for a start up business. A business card is another way of reinforcing your branding, a way for a potential client to remember your name and to always have your contact information at hand. Due to a business card’s small size and portability they are indispensible; always have them in your pocket or purse, have them on your table at the Farmer’s Market, send them along with your outgoing orders to customers, always leave a business card with your potential wholesale customer.

What Information Should Be On A Business Card?
  • Your Name and or Business Name
  • Your title and or descriptive text if it’s not obvious what you do from your business name
  • A way (preferably multiple ways) to contact you; e-mail, phone number, web page…
  • Social media addresses if your industry calls for it
  • Your company logo

April 25, 2011

Earthly Delight Monday - Featuring Ingredients That Make Handmade Soap Special + Honey Lavender Ice Cream Recipe

The Origin of Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) is an ancient aromatic herb and like rosemary-a member of the mint family. Spike shaped flowers range from deep purple to pale pink and even white. Having originated in the hot Mediterranean climate, lavender thrives best in hot dry climates with rocky,alkaline soil.

It is believed the word lavender was named by the Romans who used it in their famous baths. The word “lavender” is derived from the Latin word “lavare” meaning-“to wash.”

Lavender Lore

Legend tells that Adam and Eve took lavender with them upon being banished from the Garden of Eden. Lavender is said to have received its distinctive perfume when Mary laid Jesus’ clothes on a lavender bush to dry.

Lavender was reputed to be a safeguard against evil. A cross of lavender was hung over the door for protection.

Women used to throw laundry over lavender bushes so the clothing would absorb the scent of lavender as it dried.

 Honey Lavender Ice Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup mild honey
  • 2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
 Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Honey-Lavender-Ice-Cream-108526

April 23, 2011

A Few Words About Sticking Your Neck Out

"Behold the turtle, 
he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out."
Bruce Levin

Sometimes, I feel intimidated when I think of all the hats a small business owner has to wear; business manager, copy writer, product photographer, graphic artist, salesperson, customer service rep,soapmaker, packaging specialist, chief cook and bottle washer.... that it would be easy to just throw in the towel. Some of these duties are things I am not necessarily good at, and some are just plain out of my comfort zone (such as sales calls), but because I love all there is about handmade soap (and I believe in the quality of my product) I am motivated to "stick my neck out."

It's tough to put in all that effort only to be rejected by a potential wholesale account, but in the end how rewarding is it when after facing rejection you get that one wholesale account you've been doggedly pursuing?  The one you stuck your neck out for and tried because you had nothing to lose and so much to gain.

April 22, 2011


This just in straight off the Twitter news wire(according to a very reputable source--Anne-Marie herself)

The Bramble baby will be here soon folks....

Thinking of you Anne-Marie-sending much easy labor mojo.
We can't wait to meet you sweet little Bramble boy : D

He's here, he's here - the Bramble baby's here. Go to twitter to see his photo! He's just perfect.
Welcome to the world little man.

Beautiful Thing Friday

The throat of an iris - I planted last summer (they happen to be very special iris's from some friends - my mother grew iris's and they make me think of her.)

"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty."
Georgia O’Keeffe

This feature will be a way for me to remember that there is beauty all around me – I just need to stop and take a look. Often when things are  hectic or I'm in one of life's slumps I forget to look around me and consider the beauty. 

Take some time to look around today and post a beautiful thing in the comments...

April 21, 2011

A Little "Soapy Love" from Great Cakes Soapworks + Don't Forget

One of my first customers since going live with my new website was Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks. Just the other day she received her order, and because she is the kindest, sweetest person ever she gave Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps a little air time. Check it out! Thank you so much Amy, I am so glad to know you are enjoying your soap.

 Don't Forget -April 14 - May 14, 2011
Just a little reminder; in celebration of  the Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps website "Grand Opening" all listed products in my shop are 10% off. Now is a great time to order up!

April 20, 2011

Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Eight (a PSA)

Day Eight - Ummmm, don't get vinegar in or near your eyes. It burns! Just sayin :>))

A Little "Texas" Love

Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps has been featured in a little "Handmade inTexas" blog. Cindi owner of Rustique Art-Wall Crosses,Christian Home Decor and Accessories,Vintage and Needlework, also does a little bit of blogging in her spare time featuring artists in Texas. Thanks Cindi!

Spicey, Orangey Yumminess!

Spiced Valencia 4.5 ounce

A blend of evergreen beneath juicy sweet layers of sweet orange and cinnamon this soap is mouthwateringly good –a spicy bright citrus you’ll love. Unisex

Really, this scent is hard to explain. I smell a certain sweetness almost reminding me of an orangey vanilla, but with a coniferous note in the background trailing with a spicy cinnamon note. This scent really comes together in such a unified way it is hard to distinguish the different elements. Very unusual and very yummy - a favorite for sure.

April 19, 2011

Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Seven

Day Seven - Yes, I am still using my shampoo bar and I think that every day is better than the last one. I have discovered a neat little tip for applying the vinegar rinse.I had some extra squeeze bottles around that I have used for soap colorants(of course this one was an unused one.)You can pick them up from the dollar store for next to nothing-they are clear plastic with the tip you can cut to open it up or just leave as is. I put some vinegar in there and now it is sooo easy to get the vinegar rinse to my scalp and hair and not all over the shower, or running through my hand as I try to make a mad dash to my scalp with whatever is left in my hand. I once thought that I might get a spray bottle, but then I thought it might still land everywhere, but my head.

Also, I made a soap that is a more specific shampoo bar yesterday. I cut the sf down and used jojoba so I have high hopes for it. It's still too soft to get out of the mold as of yet (I have read that this is normal for soaps with jojoba.)but as soon as I can I will get some photos and report how the results of how it performs(after a bit of a cure.)

Business Tip Tuesday - Create Buzzzzzz for Your Business

Create Buzzzzz. Be creative. Look for a way to creatively promote your business; utilize special events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Global Handwashing Day, Cinco De Mayo or even Dia De Los Muertos to give your customers a special incentive to purchase from you. Use an e-mail newsletter campaign or something out of the norm for your business to get people talking about you, your product or service.

Speaking of special events - don't forget Mother's Day is May 8th.

April 18, 2011

Earthly Delight Monday - Featuring Ingredients That Make Handmade Soap Special

Rosemary – (Rosemary officinalis ) - a woody stemmed, perennial herb, with evergreen needle type leaves. Rosemary grows abundantly in the Mediterranean region flourishing on the coastal areas where the olive trees thrive. Rosemary is a member of the mint family.

 Rosemary officinalis has needle type leaves

Rosemary is derived from the Latin name rosmarinus with ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning (sea) or “dew of the sea” aptly named this because; the rosemary plant needs little water and is in fact able to sustain itself from the mist of the sea.

Rosemary Lore
In researching rosemary, I came across some interesting mythological tidbits relating to rosemary – it is said that Aphrodite wore a draping of Rosemary when she rose from the sea ; The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her cloak over a white blossomed Rosemary bush turning the blooms a beautiful shade of blue ( a color most associated with Mary.)

Rosemary (Rosemary officinalis) with it's beautiful blue blooms

Rosemary has a reputation for improving memory and has been used a symbol for remembrance; mourners threw rosemary into graves to as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.

Rosemary sprigs also symbolize the remembrance of love, in the mid century brides and those attending the wedding would wear sprigs of rosemary as a symbol of love. The newlywed couple would then plant a sprig of rosemary; if the branch grew it was a good omen of their growing love.
 Source; wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary

April 17, 2011

The Oil Cleansing Method-Have You Tried It?

Do not be afraid of applying oil to your face. Oil, alone, will not bring you blemishes. Pimples, cysts, zits, blackheads, whiteheads...these are a result of several different factors including hormones, bacteria, dead skin cells and the buildup of these factors. Your skin naturally produces oil because it needs it. It is not a malicious force to be reckoned with; it is there for the benefit of your skin, allowing your largest organ to function properly. It is naturally occurring. Not only does your natural oil help lubricate, it also heals, protects, and moisturizes your skin so that it may function properly.

The Oil Cleansing Recommends the following combination of oils for the three skin types

  • Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% Sunflower Seed Oil.
  • Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% Sunflower Seed Oil.
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% Sunflower Seed Oil.
          *The above percentages are merely a recommended starting point, you can adjust to suit your needs.

While you do need the castor oil(it is the oil responsible for soothing inflamed skin and much of the cleansing)  you can substitute Sunflower seed oil with Extra Virgin Olive oil or I used Rice Bran Oil since it is very similar to olive and I had plenty of it around. Since Castor is so thick and can be drying you will need to dilute it with another looser, nutritive oil. 

OCM is best done in the evening before bed to help rid of any makeup or environmental gunk and as a way to wind down from the day.

OCM Steps to Follow
  • You'll need a soft washcloth, your oil blend, and hot, running water.
  • Pour a generous puddle of oil into the palm of your hand. Roughly, the size of a quarter, but more is acceptable. Rub your hands together to warm the oil and smooth over your face.
  • Begin massaging the oil into your face. This will remove makeup, dirt, and other impurities, so there is no need to use a makeup remover or wash your face prior to the massage. I've found that this removes even my stubborn waterproof mascara and concealor.
  • Using slow, firm motions across the skin, massage the oil deeply into your pores. Take your time and focus on your problem areas. You want the oil to work into your pores so that blackheads and the like can be dissolved and steamed away.
  • As you're massaging, let your mind drift off to something calming and breathe deeply. Take this time to relax and release some of the stress that your body is harboring. Sit down, breathe deeply, and take your time. Give the oil enough time to work on dissolving the impurities in your pores and give yourself enough time to unwind. Picture what your face would look like if it were completely clear and free from blemishes. Focus on that image and know that it is attainable. Trust that it is attainable. Accept that it is attainable. You can have clear skin, free of blemishes and you will have clear skin, free of blemishes. Focus on perfect skin and breathe deeply.
  • Once you're satisfied that your pores are saturated and you're feeling calm, pick up your washcloth and soak it in clean, steamy water. We want the water to be warm enough to open your pores and remove the oil. Cool water will not open your pores, nor will it remove the oil efficiently. We're not scalding our skin, we're steaming to coax our pores to release the oil carrying the impurities. We're essentially steaming our skin as an esthetician would, but without the luxury of a steam machine.
  • Hold the washcloth to cover your face. Allow it to stay until it cools. You will feel your pores releasing the impurities. Wipe the oil gently away and rinse the washcloth well in hot, running water. Hold the washcloth to your face again, allowing it to cool. Wipe gently, rinse well, and repeat two or three more times. Avoid any temptation to scrub, as you'll find it's completely unnecessary and your skin will be soft, smooth, and free of flakes without the additional manual exfoliation and irritation that will result. Impurities, dead skin cells, and bacteria will be gently swept away.
  • Have no fear of the oil, as the steamy washcloth will remove it. The Castor Oil, though it is an oil, will help with the removal of the other oils, as well. It is our main cleansing oil and is easily removed with warm water.
  • If your skin feels tight, take a tiny drop of your oil blend, rub it between your clean, damp palms and pat it onto your damp skin. Gently massage any oil residue into your skin so there is no film of oil left sitting on the surface. Your skin should now glow!
This deep cleansing method should be done regularly, but not too frequently. You'll know if you're deep cleansing too frequently by the dryness that your skin will exhibit. Don't be surprised if you find you've unblocked an oil flow for the first few days. Once you remove the plugs from your pores, they will begin functioning properly again. Perfect skin won't happen overnight and while it should take a few massages to achieve your goal, you should notice a huge difference in your skin after the first deep cleansing massage. Give your skin a few days to adjust and adapt to being clean and clear of blockages; understand that the new oil coming from your skin is actually a good sign and will balance out very shortly. You'll find redness and irritation subsiding. You'll find your skin losing that "congested," and thick feeling.
    Source:The Oil Cleansing Method

    I read about this method some time back, but have never tried it until tonight. I don't wear a lot of makeup,but I do like a clean face at bedtime and I typically wash my face in the shower every day. I do tend to have sort of problematic skin(even though I am in my mid 40's.) I have to say that since I have started using handmade soap my skin is very, very different than it was three years ago- and I mean for the better. I was one who always itched and broke out monthly if not in between - while I do still break out once in a while it tends to be very minor now. I am very interested in trying this for awhile to see what the results are. I think it might be a very good thing for my maturing skin.

    Have you tried the OCM? What were your observations?

    Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Five

    Day Five - Another great shampoo experience today.After drying I have noticed that this is the first day in this experiment that my hair seems to have some volume - and the tacky limp feel has diminished significantly.The shine is as always. The hypothesis that you need to try a shampoo bar over several days seems to hold water in my experience.(Oh, and I do recommend the vinegar rinse to go along with your daily regimen - I think that I am doing to put my cider vinegar in a plastic squeeze bottle in order to make it easier in the shower.) I have decided that instead of the now redundant reports on how stellar a shampoo bar performs each day - I will only be reporting every few days throughout the remainder of the fourteen day period. Soon, I will post pictures of the shampoo bar I made to sample a lower sf - and when it is ready I will report as to any difference in performance with the lower sf.

    April 16, 2011

    Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Four

    Day Four - I am loving the feasibility of a shampoo bar - the more I think about it. Shampoo bars save me lots of money compared to commercial shampoos and conditioners, my hair will be clean and conditioned in one step, shampoo bars are so portable - great for travel - no leaking shampoo and conditioner bottles. I am loving them.

    Today it seems like my hair and I are into a routine. Washing is easy with plenty of lather to go around - I am rinsing with vinegar  - I feel like I get a good clean rinse and love the shine.Combing out my hair and styling has become easier - although I notice my hair to be a bit to the oily with the current sf percentage(an easy fix.)

    Today, I will make the trial batch I mentioned previously and we'll see how that goes in 4 wks or so.

    Business Tip of the Day

    Listen to the people who tell you that you "can" rather than the ones that say "you can't."

    Add your pearls of business wisdom - what motto do you keep in mind in terms of your business?

    April 15, 2011

    Shampoo Bar Challenge - Day Three

    Day Three - Hmmmm, it seems as if my hair is not quite as tacky to the touch during washing - could it be the silicones and other gunk are beginning to dissolve? Again, I used a vinegar rinse, I do think it makes a difference in terms of shine and manageability. Today my hair was much easier to brush through, and once I got it dried(and while drying I believe I caught a waft of the beautiful essence of lemon-yum) I noticed it was very shiny and much more manageable. The mister says he has noticed a difference in shine and feel.

    I do think that today I will make a 1lb. batch adjusting out my sf to perhaps 5% and adding a bit of jojoba.

    April 14, 2011

    And We're Live / A Grand Opening 10% Off All Listed Product

     Refresh Mint 4.5 ounces - order now and get 10% off!

    I am happy and relieved to say that our website is now up and running. My sweet husband spent countless hours working out bug after bug (bless him.) While there are a few tweaks that need to be made such as; shaving soaps and pumice rounds  have not been added yet it is a functioning - up and running site. Sooo, without further adieu I would like to announce that from today April 14 - May 14 there will be 10% all listed product. The price change has already been made in Paypal so all is good to go. Happy Shopping!

    Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps

    Shampoo Bar Challenge -Day Two

    Day Two - Reading up a bit more on shampoo bars it seems that many shy away from shampoo bars because they feel as if they won't or don't get enough lather with a handmade shampoo bar. Think about this; Sodium Lauryl / laureth sulfates is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products used primarily as a foaming agent (notice in the previous post that it is the first ingredient after water)- maybe we are too dependent on abundant lather in our commercial products. SLS is added to almost anything manufacturers want to give ample foam to - such as toothpaste, shampoo, and body washes. I have found the lather from my shampoo bar to be very satisfying and easy to rinse out as well.

    Today went well, I knew exactly what to expect - nice lather, clean rinsing product. Today I added a cider vinegar rinse and noticed my hair felt immediately more supple and clean.

    I would like to add as a side note for Day One - I did notice that shine was not sacrificed in any way - it seems as if I had the same amount of shine factor as usual the only real issue was my hair seemed a bit  heavy and a little more challenge to manage - I'm inclined to think this is simply the adjustment from commercial to handmade shampoo bar.

    Styling was a bit funky as my hair is a little more difficult to get a brush through without the aid of a coating of silicone. I would guess that eventually that will change or my other choice is to tweak my formula a bit to a lesser sf (this may help.)

    April 13, 2011

    Feel Better Soon Mon Amie

    It seems one of my favorite soaping mentors has taken a tumble while on her well deserved and much anticipated vacation. I feel so sad for her. Please feel better soon mon amie, I am sending many warm healing thoughts to you. Wishing you well.((()))

    The latest news is that she has had surgery to repair two broken bones in her leg down by her ankle. There are pins and hardware and in a few days a cast - then a flight home. Take care my friend and try not to go stir crazy in the two months that you won't be able to get around all to well. Thinking of you!

    The Fourteen Day Shampoo Bar Challenge

    So, I have been doing some shampoo bar research. Researching formulations etc. It seems, from what I have read most any handmade soap formulation can be labeled a "shampoo bar" as well. With that in mind, I decided to give it a whirl to see how my hair would perform after the switch to "shampoo bar" from a popular name brand (begins with P) shampoo and conditioner for hair that tends towards being a little dry. Over the next 14 days I will report my experience with making the switch.

    Shampoo Ingredients: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamdopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, glycol distearate,dimethicone, stearic acid, cocomide mea, sodium citrate, fragrance, sodium xylenesulfonate, sodium benzoate, tetrasodium edta, polyquaternnum-6, panthenol, panthenyl,  ethyl ether,methylchloriosothiazoline,methylisothiazolinone

    Conditioner Ingredients: water, stearyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate,cetyl alcohol, bis-amnopropyl dimethicone, fragrance, benzyl alcohol, dicetyldimonium chloride, isopropyl alcohol,disodium edta, panthenol, panthenyl ethyl ether, methychloriosothiazoline, methylisothiazolinone.

    Whew! That was an ordeal and that is what you put in your hair folks.Ugh! Pretty eye opening.

    According to "Soap Naturally" by Patrizia Garzena and Marina Tadiello; "After many years of commercial shampoos, scalp and hair might require a few weeks before "adjusting" to the natural formulation of handmade shampoo bars. For instance is is normal that the hair might appear "greasier" and feel heavier after the first few uses: this is an indication that the shampoo bar is slowly dissolving the buildup left by commercial products and will gradually disappear."

    "Soap Naturally" also suggests "Adding a small amount (one to two tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar to the last rinse is of great benefit in all cases. Vinegar is slightly acidic and will quickly restore the ideal pH of your scalp; it also has tonic; restorative and detangling qualities, which will quickly contribute to shinier, stronger and healthier hair."

    Day One

    Hair type-Very thick,heavy hair (needs to be thinned quite regularly) with many cow licks (not curls but uncooperative waves) I have to tame each day.I'm in my mid 40's sooo of course there is some ahem- wild gray"highlights" as well. My hair is not colored nor treated in any way. Chin length - tending to need a little moisture due to daily washing, blow drying and styling with a flat iron-I'm sure. 

    Styling Method - I wash, blow dry and straighten daily. I use a commercial product that contains silk to help with the heat and tame fly aways -  for the duration of this experiment I will be foregoing this product as well.

    The wash - I used a wonky cut bar of "Fresh Lemon" that I had on my shelf earmarked for personal use. The formulation consists of a common "trinity of oils" (the olive was infused with calendula) castor, tussah silk, a lemony eo blend. I noticed immediately that my hair did not have that slick "healthy" feel that we associate with commercial shampoos and conditioners. (The reality of this is that these commercial products are coating our hair to cause this feel.) My hair felt a bit sticky after the rinse - less slick. I worried right off about getting a vent brush through after my shower. Surprisingly, I was able to gently brush through.

    The blow dry - I did notice my hair felt a bit dense and maybe a bit "tacky" for lack of a better term;not as smooth and light. I was able to brush through with just a bit more difficulty than usual.

    Flat Iron and Style - Oh my! The fly aways are highly annoying. I did notice my hair being heavy,limp and difficult to style(it doesn't look that great today - imo) but I am going to try to hold out for the 14 days to see what the progression is.

    I did not use the vinegar rinse, but will be adding it as part of the experiment tomorrow(after I pick some apple cider vinegar up at the store today.)

    Have you tried shampoo bars? What was your experience like?

    April 11, 2011

    Don't Be Afraid to Get Those Hands Dirty

    Green  Earth Gardener's Soap 4.5 ounces

    This soap represents a trinity of qualities perfect for use on hardworking hands. First off, our olive oil enriched soap provides a nourishing foundation for the three herbal essential oils (Rosemary,Peppermint and Clary Sage) that clean and freshen; while lastly a bit of pumice and rice hulls perform the function of gently scrubbing away tough dirt.

    Green Earth Gardner’s Soap is the perfect soap for ceramicists, gardeners, mechanics and others who need a soap that gently scrubs away tough dirt and grime while leaving hands smelling clean and fresh. So don’t be afraid to dig in and get those hands dirty!

    Why rice hulls? * "More than 1000,000,000 metric tons of rice hulls are generated each year throughout the world." Rice hulls are an agricultural waste product available in abundance(sometimes for free)making them a perfect cost efficient and environmentally friendly scrubby for a working hands soap. I also like the textural/visual quality it gives the soap(they are the brown specks you see here and there.)

    April 10, 2011

    Dear Bill, ( a sappy "Thank You" letter - to my husband)

    I want you to know how very much I appreciate your encouragement over the past 3 years while I have been consumed with my passion for handmade soap. It was you who first suggested I give it a try, and I who scoffed and thought you were nuts. Who would’ve known the passion that would ignite over trying a little something new? I always loved the “idea” of handmade soap, but never would have considered making it myself if you had not been the adventurer and goaded me into trying it out –giving it a shot (just for grins.)I know there are times you wish you hadn’t. lol!

    I would have never continued on when batch after batch things weren’t quite right – I don’t do less than perfect all to well. I always expect the best of myself and you encouraged me all along the way when time after time I was disappointed with the outcome (you cheerfully used the less than perfect bars of soap.) You never let me give up – you could see my passion growing; you could see a metamorphosis taking place; a fire igniting within. What a gift you have given me.

    Where would I be if you hadn’t spent the endless hours late at night(even though you have a day job) going over countless tutorials in a doggedly determined state teaching yourself to build a website – just because you wanted me to have “my vision” and nothing less? Your talents, abilities and determination amaze me.

    We’ve been married going on 21 years and have certainly seen the good and bad in each other -  we’ve been totally exasperated, totally frustrated, totally put out with each other, but over the years I have come to realize what a loyal, selfless friend I have in you. You are the love of my life; my hero. Thank you for always believing in me, for not letting me give up on my dreams (even when it meant perhaps putting your dreams on hold for now…) How does one even begin to say “thank you” for that?

    I Love you-to the moon and back,

    April 9, 2011

    More Felty Eye Candy

    Felted soap collection progress- slowly the collection is growing. So fun, I love seeing them all together.

    Get Those Dogs in Shape for Summer and an Update!

    Peppermint Pumice Buffing Rounds 
    A soap made with feet in mind. Buff away rough dry skin with the scrubbing power of pumice in a gentle base of skin nurturing olive oil soap. Fresh cooling peppermint helps feet feel clean and rejuvenated. 

    It's that time of year for flip flops, sandals and barefeet and those dogs have been cooped up all winter - they're rough, dry and need some TLC  - a Peppermint Pumice Buffing Round is just the ticket.

    Update on the website front - we're very close to going live. Stay tuned.

    April 7, 2011

    A Sea of Samples

    Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps - Samples

    Tierra Verde Handmade Soaps hearts customers!

    Soapmakers are generally a thrifty group that tend to utilize materials to the fullest - often we save packing materials, boxes and oil buckets to re-purpose in some utilitarian way. Packing and packaging materials can be used again to send yet another package out. Buckets can be re-purposed into glorious large pots for tomatoes and other summer crops or to store other soapmaking materials.

    So naturally, we figure out a way to make the most of our soapy offcuts. Due to the way I trim my soap I always have a reasonable amount of offcut. Offcuts then become samples to send out with orders - I mean who doesn't love getting a sample or two with your order - it's a great deal for everyone; offcuts don't go to waste and the customer gets to "test drive" a  soap that is from what they ordered. Winning! :))

    April 6, 2011

    Breathe,Relax, Indulge...

    Sparkling Rooibos Tea 4.5 ounce

    Fruity fresh brewed Rooibos Tea is beautifully complimented with the exotic aroma of blood orange rounded out with the sparkling citrusy floral notes of Bergamot. Breathe, relax, and indulge – it’s tea time.

    While lately I have been experimenting with allowing the oils to color my soap in an effort to keep things real and as they are -  this soap has a just a touch of clay to give it a little blush of color that I am very happy with. I think that I will experiment with giving my line a little more visual interest with the use of more herbs, and clays.

    This soap is such a nice blend of fruity with an edge of exotic however, it seems to be a bit mild for my taste. I think I need to up the eo's quite a bit as the scent seemed to fade a bit as citrus typically does. I originally debated whether or not to drop this one from my line, but in the end I think with a bit of tweaking it will be a fantastic offering (and for now a great choice for those who prefer a mildly scented bar.)

    April 4, 2011

    Simple Luxury

    Olive Oil and Goat's Milk 4.5 ounce

    Soap for the purist; no scent and no color just plenty of enriching olive oil and goat's milk; two earthly delights that nourish and nurture all skin types.

    Admittedly, I tend to be drawn towards soap with scent, but on occasion I will grab a Olive Oil and Goat's Milk bar for the shower and wonder to myself why I seldom use one. I love the richness of the lather and the skin nurturing qualities just can't be beat - simple luxury.

    This soap makes a great bath bar or facial soap.

    April 1, 2011

    Creamy Coconut with Lime and Clove-mmmmm

    Creamy Coconut with Lime and Clove 4.5 ounce

    Coconut milk provides a luxurious creamy froth of lather while fresh limes meld with a lashing of exotic dark Patchouli and just a touch of Clove. This scent is a fresh with a hint of sultry. Unisex  This soap, and more will be listed soon!