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Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday/Cyber Monday - What are you doing?

It's probably poor marketing, but I'm going to do it anyway.  I'm going to complain about American consumerism and Black Friday, which is enough, but is now moving into Thanksgiving Thursday.

We need hospitals on Thanksgiving.  We need police and fire fighters.  One could make a case for drug stores and even supermarkets for at least part of the day.  We do not need department stores, and I am appalled at how many more are open on Thanksgiving each year.  This date was set aside for US citizens to stop their daily activities, gather together with loved ones, and to be thankful, not to go shopping.  I fear, however, that Thanksgiving Day will become just another Black Friday, the thanks part, all but forgotten.  

I understand the importance of Black Friday and selling and buying.  My son has a computer biz and I have my biz, both of which depend on sales.  I've worked in retail for a few years now, and that brings even more understanding of profit and marketing, so I am not ignorant, but I have to say that the feeding frenzy in stores seems to show off the worst in us, and I am not proud of that part of being an American.  

We all know that this is the season for buying, and there are few of us whose spending does not increase from pre-Thanksgiving until the after-Christmas sales.  It's part of our culture, but let us not forget to be kind to others, love one another, see the big picture, and  be good to ourselves and our families down the road.

Let's put reason back into the season! 

What are your thoughts?

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Cinnamon Apple Soap

Pumpkin 'n Spice Soap

Now that I've put everyone off, LOL, here are my offerings for Black Friday - Cyber Monday specials.  Order from now until Monday at midnight, only, to get these specials.

Order $10 - $25 in product and get one product ($6/under) of your choice, free!
Order $26 - $50 in product and get two products ($6/under) of your choice, free!
Or:
Order a gift set from $35 and up and get the set upgrade, free!  No charge for container and packaging.
Order $70 and up get free shipping!
*All offers are before shipping.  Specials cannot be combined.
**In addition, each order will receive an extra full size product, regardless of the order size

Just think:  shop in comfort and have your gifts delivered.  Easier on you, and handmade, too!
 New 8 oz. lotion!  Winter is coming, and so is the need to moisturize your skin.  Do it with our larger size lotion.  Scents include:  Love My Lavender, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Spun Sugar, Gingered Orange, and  Honey Good (with honey)!


Soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten,  Honey Good, and Rice Flower.


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Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: Natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00;  8 oz.  $11 -  In any scent listed above. (see special above)
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7; 8 oz., $12
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, Lavender, and any other scent I sell. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving thoughts 2

So, I never got to this yesterday.  I'll have to double up.  It's not that I don't have a lot to be thankful for, after all.  :-)

My daughter has just come back home from college for Thanksgiving, so I thank God for allowing her safe travels and for our relationship.

I also thank God for our abundance.  It is hard for me to fathom, but it has been said that the poorest person in America is wealthier than most people in third world countries.  It boggles my mind to think that as we work harder and push to get ahead because we "need the money,"  we are already wealthy.  I'll bet everyone who reads this post has a roof overhead, warmth, clothing, enough food, and. . . toilet paper!  Yes, toilet paper. 

My daughter, Amy, spent several weeks some years ago on an island in the Philippines.  When she returned home, she tried to describe life there, and one thing that came up was how many people had no toilet paper.  Well, I don't know about you, but I consider that a necessity, not a luxury!  Yet, it illustrates how rich we are; what what is basic to us, is not really essential if million of people throughout the world are doing without it.

In this vein, I am thankful that I can have the business that I do.  I live in a country that allows me to make soap and cosmetics and sell it, and my result will be a direct result of what I put into it.  I also have access to some of the most marvelous ingredients to make it.  Few products are unavailable to me in the USA, where some of my friends in other countries find it very expensive or difficult to make and sell their product. What's more, I am assured of the quality safety of what I get, so I am confident that my customers are also safe.  Now, that's something to be thankful for!

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  SALE!

New 8 oz. lotion!  Winter is coming, and so is the need to moisturize your skin.  Do it with our larger size lotion.  Scents include:  Love My Lavender, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Spun Sugar, Gingered Orange, and Honey Good (with honey)!

November is the traditional month for giving thanks.  I would like to thank my customers by offering 20% off of any sale $40 and up (before tax or shipping).  Not to be combined with any other specials.  This is your chance to pick and choose what you would like to save money on!

Soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten,  Honey Good, and Rice Flower.


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Not on my site:

*Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.

*Liquid shower gel: Natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00;  8 oz.  $11 -  In any scent listed above. (see special above)
*Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7; 8 oz., $12
*Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, Lavender, and any other scent I sell. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankfulness: Day 2

Today, my son, Ethan, my daughter, Megan, and I went to Syracuse to visit my freshman-in-college daughter, Emily.  We traveled back and forth safely, had a good visit to an exotic pet store, to CiCi's Pizza, and then to Five Below.  I returned home to a rested and happy hubby.

In one day alone, I thought of so many things I am thankful to my Lord for.  I already mentioned love, but I have to reiterate that I love my family!  We had a good time together and that's a wonderful thing.

But here's the rest of the list:

A car to travel in and safety in travel
The comfortable, safe apartment my daughter is living in, with a nice roommate.
The amazing array of life of the animal kingdom, from anemone to zebra!
Bargains
Warm clothes
A husband and two dogs to come home to and who are happy to see me.
Computers

As soon as I publish this, I'm sure I will remember other things that I wished I would have shared, but if it inspires you to be thankful for what we consider ordinary things, then it's enough.



What would you like to add?

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Again, my November 20% off special applies, and I will be posting a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale.  Just scroll down for November.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving thoughts

I'm consumed right now with planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, work, and business, not to mention my family coming in early December.  So consumed, in fact, that I'm forgetting why we're celebrating to begin with!  Whoa.  Take a step back and breathe.

Recall the story of Thanksgiving in the US.  The pilgrims had suffered in Europe for their beliefs.  They'd been run around with no real home and no real rights; so, when the opportunity came for them to go to the new land, a place they could call their own and live as they saw fit, they took it.

The journey across the Atlantic was miserable.  In truth, they traveled at a difficult time of year, just before winter.  Many were terribly sick and the conditions on the ship were ghastly.  Once they arrived in Plymouth, it was already cold.  Nothing was growing and nothing could be started.  They had no shelter and had to quickly build basic places to live out of what they could find close by, and forage for any food they could, besides the meager rations they had brought with them.  The winter was brutal, and many died.  By spring, a great many of their number had in fact, died.  

How did any of them survive?  Because of the kindness of the natives.  They brought food and taught the people how and what to grow, as well as teaching about their native medicines.  The settlers realized this and were so grateful to the natives and to God for allowing them to survive that they held a huge celebration, using the very foods that saved their lives and by celebrating with the very people who assisted them in their time of need.  They celebrated for three days.  

Jesus brought help to the settlers in their most dire time of need, both in taking them to Plymouth and in the help of the native Americans who knew the land, and they were careful to give Him thanks for his provision.

I dare say that none of us have lived through the horrific experiences that the Pilgrims and company did.  We have not known real persecution, sickness, hardship, or poverty as they did.  We are so blessed.

I hope to list something I am thankful for each day until Thanksgiving.  Yes, I am still busy, but too busy to thank God?  I don't think so.  Join me, if you like, listing something you are thankful for.

Saturday, November 20:  I am thankful for love--the love of my family, my friends, and mostly my God, whose love is unfathomable.  He loves you and me with a perfect love.

I wish I had a fitting image to post here because, as they say, "a picture says a thousand words."  Alas, I have no appropriate photos and can't think of any copyright free pictures to post.  If you have any ideas, please let me know!

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If you came to the blog to check out products and sales, please scroll down to my previous post for the November sale.  And yes, I am planning something for Black Friday.  :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November Fun

What kinds of things do you do in November?  At our home, we're preparing for the quickly approaching winter.  The leaves are off the trees and in the yard.  We attempt to capture any dry days for mowing the leaves, which we either toss in the composting or leave on the lawn to compost themselves.

I've planted all the plants I bought, which I am happy about, but neglected to get in those I wanted to overwinter.  I had a nice geranium, some begonias, stevia, and more.  If there's anything left tomorrow, I'll get it in, but if I don't, well, that's the way it goes.

We went to the Rochester Public Market yesterday and bought a bushel of apples and a large bunch of bananas.  Guess what I'll be doing this week.  Yes indeed, applesauce and banana bread!

What are you doing with your November?



Rosemary & harvest goodies from the Agricultural Fair at Genesee Country Museum


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Below is a photo of my new 8 oz. lotion.  I am offering it in the following scents:   Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Gingered Orange, Love My Lavender, Honey Good, and Spun Sugar.  At $12, it's a great deal!




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                                                           SALE!

New 8 oz. lotion!  Winter is coming, and so is the need to moisturize your skin.  Do it with our larger size lotion.  Scents include:  Love My Lavender, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Spun Sugar, Gingered Orange, and Honey Good (with honey)!

November is the traditional month for giving thanks.  I would like to thank my customers by offering 20% off of any sale $40 and up (before tax or shipping).  Not to be combined with any other specials.  This is your chance to pick and choose what you would like to save money on!

Soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten,  Honey Good, and Rice Flower.


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Not on my site:

*Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.

*Liquid shower gel: Natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00;  8 oz.  $11 -  In any scent listed above. (see special above)
*Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7; 8 oz., $12
*Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, Lavender, and any other scent I sell. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let's Talk - Pumpkin Butter



Recently, I discovered pumpkin butter.  I tasted some, and immediately thought, "I'll bet I can find a recipe online, and make it myself!"  I was right.

I bought a pie pumpkin and got googling, unprepared for the variety of recipes I'd find.  Through all of my research, I learned a few things about pumpkin butter.  It can be prepared in many different ways, using many different spices and sweeteners.  I'll share what I learned, so you don't have to spend time googling.

Although you can start out with canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin is best, so get one while the getting is good.  Find yourself a good-sized pumpkin.  Considering the work involved, you'd might as well get some quantity for your efforts.  In fact, if you want, get two pumpkins, or even three!  I ended up with 4 1/2 cups of pumpkin from my gourd.

Prepare your pumpkin.  This involves some method of getting your pumpkin peeled and in small enough pieces to cook down.  I put mine in the microwave for about five minutes so that I could cut it in half.  Then, I scooped out the seeds and goop in the middle and roasted the pumpkin for about an hour, at 325 degrees.  Yours may take more or less time; but to test it, just poke it with a fork, and once it's soft, it's done.  Next, I scooped the pumpkin out of the shell (very easy) and glopped it into the crockpot.

I happened to want heat that cold morning, so the oven method sounded appealing.  You may want to do something different.  You can cut it up and peel the skin and then put it into your cooking utensil.  You may also cut the pumpkin into quarters or smaller, and cook it on the stove in a little water.

Back to what I did.  Once my pumpkin was in the crockpot, I added:

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (1/4 t. would be better, I think)

Again, you may adjust the spices according to your tastes.  I think cardamom would have been a marvelous addition, but I didn't think of it at the time.  I would have added ground cloves, but I didn't have any, hence the allspice.  (Note to self:  put cloves on the list before Thanksgiving!)

Add sweetener, if desired.  You may add up to 1 1/4 c. of white sugar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup.  I put it a measly tablespoon of honey.  My family would prefer more, so I'll be doing that.  The sweetener really does bring out the flavors.

Add liquid.  You can add water, apple juice, or apple cider.  I added a little water, then went to the store and bought apple juice concentrate.  I used probably 1/4 cup and added water.  The amount you use will depend upon the consistency of the butter.  In the end, you want it very spreadable, but thick enough not to be runny.  The trick is to add a little and keep adding until you get the desired consistency.

Cook on low to finish cooking the pumpkin.  The amount of time will vary according to how cooked the pumpkin was and how much you're making.  Keep an eye on it, though, stirring every hour so it doesn't burn.

The final step is to puree' the blend so you're not eating stringy stuff.  I used a stick blender right in the crockpot, which is the easiest way to do it, using the least amount of equipment.  If you don't have a stick blender, try a mixer or a blender.  You might have to add more liquid if using a blender.

Voila!  You have yummy, nutritious pumpkin butter!

Variations:  Add apple.  Yum.

Cook on the stove, or throw the whole mess into the oven (once the pumpkin is scooped and peeled,of course.  You could even make it in the microwave, I imagine.  Just put a loose lid on it.

Here's my point on pumpkin butter.  There are so many variations in pumpkins and in tastes that printing just one recipe would be a disservice, to my way of thinking.  Once you try it, you'll see that it's not one of those foods that has to be prepared just so.  There are also variations in the taste and size of pumpkins that the result would never be the same twice, so no need to bother measuring carefully--and you won't hear me saying that often!

Let's talk for a quick second about canning.  If you look, you'll find instructions for canning pumpkin butter.  At one time, the USDA did condone canning pumpkin.  This is no longer true.  It's been found that the pH of pumpkin varies too greatly for reliable canning, so do not can your pumpkin butter.  It will keep for up to a month in your fridge (although I have my doubts), or you can freeze it.  I am storing mine in small containers so we can use it quickly enough that I don't have to worry about its keeping.

Love pumpkin?  Now, you can get soap made with pumpkin!  Limited quantities available.  Get it while it's available, just $5/bar.  Add it to my October special, Honey Good soap, also at $5/bar.  Just email me that you read the pumpkin butter blog.

See the previous blog entry for more information.

http://www.SoapAndGarden.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Been So Long!



Every word of the title was capitalized to emphasize just how shocked I am at how long I went without writing my blog.  Yikes!  

Writing is one of my favorite activities, so to go this long without, well, it's like fasting.  I'm glad to be back.  :-)  I have a pumpkin in the oven, roasting for pumpkin butter, and I'm ready to go.
So much has happened--getting daughter Emily off to college, going out of town to take care of our grandsons while our daughter Beckie and her husband, Matt, move to a new (nice) home, canning, September perennial planting, a wonderful women's herbal workshop in Binghamton, and furiously collecting data and writing the "Raves for Faves" article for the Saponifier, among other things, have kept me busy.  I can't say I've been sitting idle!  

I think I'll catch up in short bursts rather than a long, droning essay, and I'll begin by cluing you in on some great information about polyphenols by my buddy and fellow soap and bath and body maker, Cindy Jones.  Poly what?  Don't give up yet, it's not too technical.  You'll enjoy the short article, and be glad you got the information.

Without further ado, http://www.facebook.com/notes/cindy-jones/phytochemicals-what-are-they/439386781570
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October Special!

New, Honey Good Soap - Made with honey and goats milk and honey scent.  You'll love how it feels!  Just $5/bar for the month of October.

Other soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten, and Rice Flower.

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Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above. (see special above)
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz. (see special above)

Honey Good Soap

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's Still Summer!

It's right around the corner and approaching much too quickly for me.  What is it?  Yes, autumn.  You see, summer is my favorite season, with warm weather, sunshine, and growing gardens.  I can get dressed and walk outside without deciding which coat or jacket is most suitable for the weather and my outfit.  I can watch gardens bloom, and let my dogs in and out with little worry about what they're tracking in.  Walking throughout my yard, and most pronounced at nightfall, I smell the symphony of floral and herbal scents wafting through the warm air.  

What's not to like?  Yes, I admit, it's hot and the grass and weeds grow faster than I can care for them.  It's only for such a short time, however, so I bask in the sunlight, and take shelter in the air-conditioned house when necessary, and attempt to keep up with the Garden of Weedin'.

My campaign is this:  while others are saying that it's autumn as soon as Labor Day ends, I will insist that it's summer, right up until fall officially begins.  Then, and only then, will I grudgingly admit that it is, indeed, fall.  Unless it's hot, in which case, I may not even admit it then.  Perhaps I'll wait until our first frost hits if it's after the first day of autumn.  Or maybe after the killing frost, when I can deny it no longer, I'll finally concede to summer's end.  Or not.  Depends upon the daily temperatures.

What's your favorite season, and why?

 I thought you might enjoy a couple of photos taken at Genesee Country Museum & Village from our excursion there just a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacation!

Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon


It was time for our annual summer trek to our home town of Grand Rapids. We went to our daughter's home in the Chicago area first, however, because her kids are so cute. :-).
We then visited old friends, Terry and Renee', for a wonderful dinner in Indiana, finally ending up in Grand Rapids to visit more family.
We went to the gorgeous beach of Muskegon, MI one day to soak up the sun and cool off in Lake, MI.  Lake Michigan beaches are amazing!
Great nephew, Caleb

Sailboat on Lake MI
Can't resist visiting a garden center!  Emily took photos.
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August Sale!
How did August come so quickly? Marshmallow, Anise Hyssop, Catnip, and other late summer herbs are blooming here, along with Black-Eyed Susans, Japanese Anemone, and a few straggling daylilies. Gardening hasn't let up here, with more than adequate rain ensuring grass growth as if it were still June. I know you're all busy with your yard and garden work, also, getting your hands dirty and sweating in the hot summer sun. Feels good, though, doesn't it? The harvesting of all your efforts is rewarding, too.

Need a great soap to clean up with? We offer 4 varieties of Gardeners' soap so that you're sure to find at least one you like. We carry our Original, with ingredients to really help clean, but yet gentle to your skin. It contains skin-loving essential oils, too. Next, we have soap just for men in a masculine Cedar & Sage scent. Next, we offer Summer Path, a delightful blend of summer scents. Finally, we have a Gardener's salt spa bar that we call, Petal Power. It is a floral blend.

Get a set of all four bars for $24, shipping included! It's a great opportunity to try all kinds. Just email me and mention Blog Sale.
Gardener's Salt Spar Bar in Petal Power


Other soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten, and Rice Flower.

Not on my site:
Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Order Today!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cucumber Recipes

I tried and tried to post several times, to no avail. Here I try again.

Remember how I promised more cucumber recipes? Well, here they are:

From Becky, a soap supplies vendor: Becky's Cucumber Cocktails: http://birdworms.com/2010/07/24/cucumber-cocktails/

Me, just in case you missed it previously: Beth's Cucumber/Watermelon Salad:
http://soapandgarden.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumbers-cucumbers.html

Cindy, a soap and cosmetics maker, author, and product tester:
Cindy's Tzatziki: http://sagescript.blogspot.com/2008/09/cucumber-spread-tzatziki.html


Janiece, a fellow Soapmaker: Janiece's Tomato Cucumber
Salad: http://swisherhill.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/tomato-cucumber-salad-for-a-lazy-day/

Karen, with a great site and biz for gardeners: Karen's Cucumber Dill
Sauce: http://thegardenchick.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumber-blog-party.html

Maryanne, wholesale soapmaker and jewelry maker: Maryanne's Creamy Cucumber
Salad: http://torchsongstudio.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumber-blog-party.html


A renowned herbal shop and site in PA: Nancy's Chilled Cucumber
Soup: http://therosemaryhouse.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumbers-culinary-blogging-party.html


Tina, publisher of The Essential Herbal, a great magazine for herb lovers:
Tina's Cucumber Lime Salsa: http://theessentialherbal.blogspot.com/2010/08/got-cucumbers.html

Let me know which ones you try and how you like them!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cucumbers, Cucumbers!


I hope that you enjoyed the links for the zucchini recipes, and that they helped you use the bounty from your garden. Now, it's time for cucumber recipes!

I'm posting one of my faves, and soon I'll post links to others' recipes.

Have fun!

Cucumber/Watermelon Salad

Although the combination of cucumber and watermelon might sound like a strange one, the result is delicious and refreshing.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups watermelon cubes
2 cups cucumber slices
One Vidalia onion, sliced thin

Combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir and cook until thickened. Cool. Add cayenne pepper. Place watermelon, cucumbers, and onion in large bowl. Pour syrup over and stir. Chill and serve.

I adapted my recipe from this one: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~bcohen/cucumbers/recipes/watermelon.html


Cucumber Water
What a great way to cool off on a hot summer day! Just add slices of cucumber and ice to fresh water. Give it about an hour to infuse before drinking. If you'd like, you could also add lemon slices, mint, and/or anise hyssop. What can you think of?



Cucumber Soap

Using any soap formula you like, simply substitute pureed cucumbers for the water. I like to remove the seeds before I puree' the cukes, but it's not necessary.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Soapers Weekend & Legislation


I went to a gathering this past weekend of soapmakers and chandlers, most of whom were from New York. We had one from New Jersey, one from Pennsylvania, and one from Russia! It was so much fun to see old friends again and to make new ones. We had garage sales, watched product demonstrations, ate a delicious lunch, won prizes from our favorite suppliers, participated in an ugly soap contest, and enjoyed a couple of swaps. We sorely missed our friend, Kim, and spoke of her often, but managed to enjoy ourselves in spite of our sadness.

On another note, legislation has been recently introduced that, if passed as it stands, will place severe restraints on small cosmetics businesses. The requirements in the bill are onerous to small business, effectively forcing most of them out. It is my opinion that big cosmetic businesses are in favor of the law, not because it will make cosmetics safer, but because it will squeeze out competition. In fact, I believe that's why it was sought in the first place. The safety of the American people is not really even a concern, but just a ploy to get public support. If you'd like to read more and sign a petition against this legislation, please go to http://www.personalcaretruth.com to read more about the situation and to sign if you agree. My thanks to all who do.
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How did August come so quickly? Marshmallow, Anise Hyssop, Catnip, and other late summer herbs are blooming here, along with Black-Eyed Susans, Japanese Anemone, and a few straggling daylillies. Gardening hasn't let up here, with more than adequate rain ensuring grass growth as if it were still June. I know you're all busy with your yard and garden work, also, getting your hands dirty and sweating in the hot summer sun. Feels good, though, doesn't it? The harvesting of all your efforts is rewarding, too.

Need a great soap to clean up with? We offer 4 varieties of Gardeners' soap so that you're sure to find at least one you like. We carry our Original, with ingredients to really help clean, but yet gentle to your skin. It contains skin-loving essential oils, too. Next, we have soap just for men in a Cedar & Sage scent. Next, we offer Summer Path, a delightful floral blend. Finally, we have a Gardener's salt spa bar that we call Petal Power. It too, is a floral blend.

Get a set of all four bars for $24, shipping included! It's a great opportunity to try each kind. Just contact me and mention blog Sale.
Other soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze, Midnight Merlot, Cucumber Mint, Biergarten, and Rice Flower. *denotes essential oils only
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Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender, plus the scents listed above. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

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Did you know that many people in the world cannot afford the basic necessity, soap, and that many become ill and die simply from the lack of something we take for granted? We at Soap and Garden participate in efforts to provide people with life-saving soap. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful week!


See me at http://www.soapandgarden.com or find me on Facebook: Soap and Garden.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Zucchini Recipes!

Here are the rest of the zucchini recipes that I promised. Just an interesting tidbit: I was in my Wegmans store yesterday, and the zucchinis are being called, "green squash." I wonder why. Any ideas? Please post, because I'm curious. :-) Anyway, happy cooking!

Zucchini Fritters - from Rebekah, who runs a soap supply business:
Zucchini Bread Recipes - From Tina, who publishes The Essential Herbal Magazine.
http://theessentialherbal.blogspot.com/2005/07/couple-zucchini-bread-recipes.html

Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Basil - From Maryann, who sells soap wholesale, and also makes jewelry:
Stuffed Zucchini: From Pat, who sells handmade potpourri and other herbal and sundry items:
Zucchini Pizza - From Karen, who sells cool garden items:
www.gardenchick.com/garden-blog/2010/07/zucchini-blog-party.html http://www.gardenchick.com/garden-blog/2010/07/zucchini-blog-party.html


Calabacitas: From Cindy, who sells goods she makes, sells books she's written, and tests products for safety:
http://sagescript.blogspot.com/2010/07/calibacitas-blog-party.html

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yummy Zucchini Brownies

It's a blog party! A bunch of us bloggers are posting our favorite zucchini recipes, and who doesn't need more ways to use the prodigious zucchini? One of my best recipes follows.


Yummy Zucchini Brownies
Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 cups zucchini, grated

1/2 cup extra-virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 15" jellyroll pan. In a large mixing bowl, measure out flour, salt, soda, cocoa, and sugar. Combine eggs, zucchini, coconut oil, and vanilla. Blend into dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

This is a quick, easy treat for your family or friends!


Keep an eye out for links to other delicious zucchini recipes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sadness & Joy

I had been busy getting ready for the upcoming CNY Bubbles & Blazes Gathering. It's both stressful and fun for me to plan an event and execute the details in getting there, step by step.

Immersed in my preparations, I was floored just a short time ago to receive an email from Abbie, informing me of the death of Kim Hughes, a fellow b&b artisan. This news really stopped me in my tracks. Kim was young and full of personality. We all enjoyed her at our gatherings, with her southern accent and witty comments. To hear of her passing was surprising and sad.

What can we learn from this? A couple of things that came to mind for me were these:

Most importantly, what is your eternal destiny? Do you know? I believe with all my heart that Jesus died for my sins, died, and rose again so that I had the opportunity to accept that and be forgiven. He did that for anyone who will choose Him.

While we're still here, live like you won't always be here. Love other people, don't carry grudges, forgive others and yourself, work hard and have fun, hug your children, live a life that you don't regret, make sure your life is going in the right direction.

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I know that Monday is usually my day to post my sale, but it just wouldn't be right to post it today. Please see my last post if you need anything and please check back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wandering Wisteria

Be sure to check out the great July sale at the bottom!

You can't blame me. I'm a northerner. I knew it grew like crazy in the south, but I would see small, well-behaved wisteria trees here in NY, so I thought it would be a beautiful addition to my garden. It took years to do anything, and finally bloomed after about 7 years. Suddenly, it took off, spreading runners everywhere! I didn't realize the full extent until I discovered it growing into the house siding today. Yikes! I got my clippers out and began pulling and clipping it out.

I got everything I could, and will pull more wisteria out of the siding once it dies. I also hunted for and pulled runners out of the soil, as close to the original trunk as as possible. This one is going to need constant checking!

Does Wisteria have any herbal usages? I'll have to do some research. Maybe I should make wreath bases with the vines.

What about you? Have you ever planted anything you've regretted?

It's time to harvest the catnip. I've got Jewelweed infusing and drying, and lemon balm drying. Love lemon balm tea, and using it in lip balms. I really should cook one of my daylily blooms and see what it tastes like. Have you ever eaten them?

What are your flowers and herbs doing now? I'd love to hear.



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Celebrate your independence by making your own sale. Take 50% off any one item with a $30 order (before shipping). Just let me know which item you want 50% off of. Check out www.SoapAndGarden.com, and see me on Facebook.


Soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil), Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze, Pina Colada, Gardener's regular, Cedar & Sage,and Petal Power Salt Bar, Cucumber Mint, Biergarten, and Rice Flower.

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Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

You must email me to get the savings. Simply mention GMB.
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Did you know that many people in the world cannot afford the basic necessity, soap, and that many become ill and die simply from the lack of something we take for granted? We at Soap and Garden participate in efforts to provide people with life-saving soap.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time Flies!





Yikes! So much has taken place since I last blogged. My daughter graduated high school, her grad party is an event of the past, my other daughter and her family came to visit have have returned home, and everything that was blooming in June is gone and deadheaded, LOL.

I thought you might enjoy a couple of photos of my family.

First photo: we got to the grad. ceremony early, so we had a lot of time on our hands for silliness.

Second photo: Emily with Ken and me before the ceremony. Em was almost too tired from her trip to Kansas City to go!

I want to add more photos to this post, but it's not letting me, so I'll post the ad and quit for now.



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Celebrate your independence by making your own sale. Take 50% off any one item with a $30 order (before shipping). Just let me know which item you want 50% off of.


Soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil), Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze, Pina Colada, Gardener's regular, Cedar & Sage,and Petal Power Salt Bar, Cucumber Mint, Biergarten, and Rice Flower.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.
Shower Glow: 10 oz./$10 in any scent I carry.

You must email me to get the savings. Simply mention Blog.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

June Blooms




5 for $25! Only $4 shipping for 5 bars! Don't miss out on this one.


Top news for me is that my daughter, Emily, is in Kansas City, MO, competing at Skills USA. They are allowing the first place winners in each state to compete against each other this week. I am so excited for her, I can hardly stand it. She is part of the photography division, and has worked very hard to get where she is. Stay tuned for the outcome! She is also participating in her graduation ceremony on Friday, if all goes according to schedule.

The garden has been fun and challenging. My hubby is helping me reclaim an area of the yard that is overgrown. We live by a woods, so it came to my fallow garden, and now must come out. As a result, we both got poison ivy. We learned that it's imperative to come in and wash thoroughly as soon as you know you've had contact. Do not wait until you are finished with your job. Yuck.

On the fun side, things are growing and blooming like crazy. I've harvested Heal-All, Lemon Balm, and Anise Hyssop. God's natural order of plants is astounding! The great thing is that I purchased a Nikon Coolpix camera on the advice of aforementioned daughter so I can take pictures of everything. My previous camera broke just before the HSMG Conference, so I was without. I'm enjoying the new camera, but it has lots of bells and whistles that will require a learning period in order for me to use it to its full capability. Posted are flower photos, of course. :-)

As far as soap is concerned, I've added two new scents of gardener's soap. The first is Cedar and Sage, which is for men, and the second is Summer Path, for the ladies. Cedar and Sage is very masculine, and one that women like to smell around their men. Summer Path is decidedly feminine, what all that summer offers--grass, herbs, and flowers, rolled into one bar. In the photo above, Cedar & Sage is on the left, and Summer Path, on the right. Of course, we still offer our original bar, with marvelous essential oils that love skin.

So, what are you growing? To take advantage of the sale, please tell me what you're growing. Perhaps you'd like to include what you'll do with it, or your successes or challenges. I can't wait to hear from you!


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Soap Sale! Get 5 bars for $25! + only $4 shipping
Scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar. (*essential oil), Daybreak (spearmint & eucalyptus)

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Not on my site, but available for purchase are: Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea. Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00 Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7 Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Did you know that many people in the world cannot afford the basic necessity, soap, and that many become ill and die simply from the lack of something we take for granted? We at Soap and Garden participate in efforts to provide people with life-saving soap.

Thank you for reading, and God bless you.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lovin' Summer

Why do I like being out in my garden? It is peaceful, the most noise coming from the bird songs around me. I am alone with my thoughts and it gives me time to pray and to contemplate. I love the fresh air, the sunshine, the scent of "green," and whatever flowers are blooming at the time.

Today, I smelled lovely Valerian flowers. What a stark contrast to the dirty sock scent of the roots! I'm wondering if I can use the flowers or leaves in tea or some other herbal preparation. I'll have to do some research on that one. Many of my hardy geraniums are blooming, a welcome sight, for sure. Sweet Cicely, always one of my favorite herbs, is beginning to form seedheads. Soon, I'll have to deadhead so I won't have so many volunteers next spring, although the seeds are tasty to munch on. Roses are blooming with their welcome, heady sweet scents. They are always pleasurable to me, and I must make a point of gathering petals tomorrow. I use them for various purposes, from potpourri to cosmetic oils to syrup.

I have been reading on The Essential Herbal Yahoo Group about rose syrup. Mmm . . . If you love herbs, join the group! It exists for the magazine, "The Essential Herbal," which is a treasure trove of information, recipes, and ideas. Check it out!

Now, it's confession time. I nearly always wear gloves when I garden. Surgery several years ago on a sliver that went right to the bone on my thumb pad convinced me they were a good idea. Today, however, I didn't follow my own rules, and was amazed at not only how dirty my hands could get, but how the mud dried them out! Ugh. Of course, I have the advantage of a good supply of my own gardener's soap, which helps me clean my hands well, without being drying. A good washing, including a brush for under my nails, and my hand lotion, and my hands don't look too much worse for the wear.

Still, gloves are on the agenda for tomorrow. . .

What's up this week on the business front? Our 5 for 25 sale continues. Get five bars of soap for just $25.00, plus only $4 shipping! You'll save $1 on each bar, and a bunch on shipping. What a deal!
Scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Shea Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar, and/or anything on my site. * indicates essential oil

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Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender*, plus any other soap scent listed above. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.
Body Glow - A delightful exfoliant. It does the job without taking your hide off or drying out your skin. $12/jar

You must email me or message me on Facebook or my blog to get the savings. Simply mention BLOG.
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Donations made to Missionary Flights International and Cleantheworld.org., bringing soap to people who can't afford it, fighting disease in third world countries.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Early Summer!

Summer has arrived early in the Finger Lakes region of New York. We've had temps in the 80's, and even 90 one day, and it's still May! For a few minutes, anyway. LOL It's done amazing things. The lilacs were almost done for during the Lilac Festival, things are in bloom that I've never seen bloom in May before, and we've had the a/c on. I never allow a/c before June.

The long term effects, I don't know. I do know that we need rain, though. And, I do know that most of us are thoroughly enjoying this warm and wonderful weather!

Many of us are getting outside to work in our gardens and so we're getting dirty. We have a soap for that. In fact, we have a bunch of soaps for that, both solid and liquid.

Buy 5 soaps for $25 + $4 shipping!

We have: *Love My Lavender, Gingered Orange, Summer Rose, Fresh Clean Herbal, Rice Flower, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rochester Lilac, *Daybreak (spearmint & eucalyptus), *Gardener's Soap, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Spun Sugar, and *Groovy Patchouli. I also have a few Midnight Merlot soaps left.

To get the special, just contact me by email (beth@soapandgarden.com), through Facebook (Soap and Garden), or when you leave a comment here, and I'll take care of you.

Order today!

Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender*. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz., plus any other soap scent listed above.

If I'm successful, you'll see photos from the HSMG conference.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

HSMG Convention

I was fortunate to have attended the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild annual conference in Denver, CO. Not only was it my first trip to Denver, but it was my first HSMG conference, as well.

I have to say that it was a terrific experience from beginning to end. Well, I could do without the flying, but even that was without incident.

Keynote speaker was Carol Moseley Braun, "a recovering politician," as she describes herself. Her address was very inspiring, as she is an accomplished woman from humble beginnings.

We then were offered sessions on soapmaking techniques to business to the science of soapmaking.

It was hard to make choices as to which one to attend! I attended one by Ann-Marie of Brambleberry, on liquid soapmaking. While I've made quite a few batches of LS, I wanted to see what she had to offer, and am excited about trying out thickening my soap with salt water instead of borax. This will be a great thing for those, as few they may be, who are sensitive to borax.

Stay tuned. More tomorrow!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Herbs

*Please note: Soap and Garden is closed for business from April 27 - May 1. Questions will be answered and orders filled in the order they were received beginning on May 2. Thanks for your understanding.*

It's no secret that I love herbs. I love to grow them, I love to cook with them, I love to make home herbal remedies for my family, and I love to make soap and cosmetics with them. One of my passions is gardening, and I love herbs because most of them grow well for me, they're beautiful, and they smell/taste great. I love to use them in soap and cosmetics because they either contribute to better looking skin or they provide color. I'm going to spend some time introducing some of the ones I like using the most and why, but it's important to say upfront that my usage in my product line is limited to color and cosmetic value, not medicinal value.

It's interesting to note also, that herbs contain vitamins and minerals that make them a nutritious part of any diet, as well as delicious! Using them on the skin may impart qualities that make you look and thus feel, more beautiful--or handsome, as the case may be.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) - I grow this outside in the summer, and inside in the winter. Because of our northern clime, I can't grow enough to supply all my needs, but I do use it in soapmaking and a few other things. Aloe is native to East Africa, Spain, Indonesia, and the Caribbean, and has been used for thousands of years, and is still used as a laxative and for burns. In soap and cosmetics, Aloe is emollient.

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) - This is an herb I can grow, but again, I supplement with purchased product as the root is a little difficult to harvest and deal with. Marshmallow is native to cool, wet regions, and of course, grows best in those areas, still. It was mentioned back in the 4th century for coughs, and yes, it was used to make the original marshmallow confection, as well as eaten as a vegetable (roots). Soaked in cool water, the mucilage is extracted, and that's what I use in soap and lotions to make them even more smooth feeling.

Pot Marigold (Calendula) - Not to be confused with the common garden marigold, Tagetes, Calendula is a wonderful herb. It's a beautiful annual to grow, the flowers are edible, and it has numerous cosmetic uses. I love how soft the petals are. Historically, Calendula was used for general health; in fact, the English and Germans ate it all winter long to boost their health, and to heal ulcers and liver ailments. I have grown Calendula in the past, and appreciate how easy it is to grow, harvest, and dry, as well as its uses in my products. The leaves can be ground and added to soap or left whole and will keep their color where most other herbs will turn black. It will add some yellow-orange coloring, also. Calendula contains mucilages, and will make soaps and other products feel better on the skin.

May special - Gardener's Soap - It's time to get out in the garden! If you're like me, you're just beginning to get out and survey what needs to be done and getting started at digging out weeds and dividing perennials. Our Gardener's Soap will help you wash off that dirt and grime.

For the month of May only, get two bars for $10 + shipping. Save $2.


or. . . Spend $50 (before shipping) and get a free bar of soap

or. . .
Spend $70 (before shipping) and get a free bar of soap and free shipping

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Not on my site: Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea. Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00 Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7 Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

http://www.soapandgarden.com
Find me on Facebook: Soap and Garden