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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.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!


After a week of colder, rainier weather, we seem to be in for another week of sunshine. Temps are expected to be more seasonable, in the 60's, which will be good for the blossoming trees and flowers. And there are many blooming flowers and trees! We have yet to see tulips, but magnolias, Bradford Pears, Redbud (a personal favorite), and others are in their glory.

I watch my lilac bush every day, observing the flower cluster developing, anticipating that distinct scent when it blooms. Of course, I'm hoping it doesn't bloom before our Lilac Festival in mid-May! It's always more fun when the lilacs cooperate with the festival dates.

For my job, I am taking classes in floral design, so I am posting a picture of the two-tiered arrangement I made. What fun!

To continue on with my favorite oils, I'd like to feature a few of the ones I haven't mentioned yet--fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, and rice bran oil.

Fractionated coconut oil is a unique one. The solids are removed, making it a colorless liquid. Besides containing many of the properties of coconut oil, it has the following benefits: it remains liquid, it lasts virtually forever, and it "glides" nicely for massage, with the added advantage of not staining sheets and clothing. Besides massage, I like using FCO for lotions, whipped body butter, body spray, and cream.

Jojoba Oil - Pronounced, "ho-ho'-ba," this oil is actually a wax pressed from the seeds of the jojoba plant, found in the US Southwest. Jojoba is closest to human sebum, and as such, is thought to help regulate the skin's natural oil flow, benefitting both oily and dry skin. I use it in a wide variety of products, such as creams and lotions, lip balm, moisturizer, and body spray.

Rice Bran Oil - A light oil which rarely elicits allergic reaction. It is high in vitamin E and many other antioxidants which benefit the skin. Women in Japan having been using RBO for centuries in their beauty treatments. I like to use it in soap and many cosmetics. Lotions and creams and lip balm, as well as hair products, are greatly improved by the addition of rice bran oil.


Now, on to business:

It's time for the April showers so we can have May flowers. It's also time to be showered with savings!

Make your own sale:

10% off of any 3 items
20% off of any 6 items
30% off of any 9 items
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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. (*essential oil)
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Not on my site, but available by contacting me 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.

You must email me to get the savings. Simply mention: April Showers B.
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Monday, April 12, 2010







This weekend, my garden club went on an excursion to Lamberton Conservatory, a lovely, but all too obscure place in Rochester, NY. It was a beautiful spring day, sunny and temps in the mid-60's, so we took a walk through the Poet's Garden, as well.

My daughter with the artful eye took some photos.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

This week, the 3 A's!

The weather here in Rochester, NY, has been amazingly summer-like. We've broken two temperature records, and it's been warmer here than in some parts of the south! I, for one, am not complaining. :-) What has your weather been like?

I've been pointing out the qualities of the various oils I use in products; and this week, I'd like to discuss the three A's, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, and Avocado Oil.

Sweet Almond Oil - Light, yet moisturizing, nourishing, almond oil is often used in massage and skin care. It's sweet, nutty odor is appealing, but subtle so that it doesn't interfere with other ingredients. High in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, and E, SWO is used in all face and body products.

Apricot Kernel Oil - Related to the almond, AKO is also a light and moisturizing oil, and is used in virtually all skin care products. Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B17 and E, it is particularly useful in aging, dry skin, or inflamed skin. It's non-greasy feel is particularly appealing.

Avocado Oil - Like olive, Avocado oil is pressed from the avocado fruit, itself. It is thick and rich in vitamin A, making it a valuable contributor to products for anti-aging. Positively indulgent!

Blog readers: this week only, take 10% off an order of $25 or more! Just mail me the code, GMAP4. Sale ends on April 12th at midnight. To get what you want, don't delay.

The following products are not on my site, but are available:

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.

Donations made to Missionary Flights International and Cleantheworld.org., bringing soap to people who can't afford it, stemming disease in third world countries.

http://www.SoapAndGarden.com
beth@soapandgarden.com
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