Tag Archives: Beard Oil

Gifts of Love

And appreciation. T’s family were the first recipients of my handmade products. I had been buying them handcrafted soap at the Farmers’ market after their move to Northern Virginia. When I started making soap myself, they received a batch. Then on a visit home, one of my Lotion bars was offered and that too became a product they used and the Beard oil for wild and wooly facial hair . Baby clothes, knit headbands, scarves and hats, a vest or two and a sweater to two left my needles for their home. They appreciate the handcrafted goods and I enjoy making them.

They have skills beyond my level in so many areas. Last Mother’s Day, knowing that I was reaching a point where I was going to have to start paying to keep my blog up, T developed my format on his server and presented me a link. I now know that my blog is secure and that I can post pictures without wondering if the next one was going to be the one that required me to pay for the service or seek sponsorship, not a route I desired.

W is an artist and my home displays many of her paintings, prints, and sculptures. A couple of decades ago, Mountaingdad presented me a beautiful hand thrown pottery platter.

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This huge 16.5″ diameter beauty has never had a display place in our home as there is no rack to hold it safely on the wall. It did live in the middle of the dining room table in one home, when we had a separate table in the kitchen used for most family meals, but our log home has but one table, used daily, so the platter sits on the pine and cedar shelves above the refrigerator nesting a large wooden bowl and often hidden by the bags of chips and tins of cookies blocking the view of the shelves and their display of little used pottery and the wok that is too big to go anywhere else in the kitchen.

W is in the process of carving a platter rack to mount on a log wall just above my jelly cupboard in the dining room. Tucson, as the platter was named by it’s creator, will finally have a home where it can be seen and admired more than the two or three times a year it is put into service. You see, wood working skills are another of her talents.

Because of my desire to have a couple of wooden soap molds of dimensions that will hold my favorite recipe for soap,  T put his carpentry skills to work and with a couple of red oak boards, he built me two lidded molds for Christmas.

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And to encourage me to keep making my products, the first installment of several large jars of organic Coconut oil for use in soap and lotion making and for cooking.

Each day we live in and admire their talents, as they were the builders and finishers of all of the finish carpentry, cabinets, and interior doors in our beautiful log home, and their craftsmanship makes this a wonderful place to live, as well as being decorated with much of their talent.

I love my home, my family and their talents and skills. Tomorrow I will use my new molds for the first time to start replenishing my soap supply after the holiday markets. I am indeed a fortunate woman.

I’m in, I’m in!

Late last evening, I received an email letting me know that I have been accepted for the Holiday Market in November and again in December.  This weekend, K will help me set up my display for a dry run.  I have been working a bit at a time to improve the curb appeal with the purchase of a few small crates and some small chalkboard signs.

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I felt that my hand printed paper signs and lack of labeling contributed to my low sales at the previous festival.  The little clip on blackboards, were easy to make with wooden clothespins, hot glue, a paint pen and the small blackboards.  It has allowed me to identify the scents available, and each bar has a paper band with the shop logo and soap scent.  I purchased two of the small square trays and glued dividers in them for the lotion bars and salves.  The little soap crates will each have one or two varieties of soap and each of the two beard oils have their own little box.  Testers will be out for the Beard Oil and Lotion Bars.

This left me with a challenge on how to display the handspun yarn.  I have tossed various ideas around for a few days while I waited for decision.  To facilitate carrying the small boxes, crates and trays, supply box, sign, bags and table covers, I use wood fruit box type crates.  T suggested how to reinforce the bottom of those boxes so that I don’t have the bottom fall out when fully loaded.  Those boxes are stapled together, so attractive, but not too sturdy.  My idea was to use these boxes to my advantage in my display and today, I bought 16 Shaker style pegs, dug through my scrap wood supply for a 1 x 4 cedar board and set to work making a yarn display.

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Out came the circular saw and the power drill, some wood glue and furniture clamps and the peg boards were fastened to the bottoms of two crates when stacked on two more crates it make a great display and the pegged crates can still be used to carry the yarn, table covers and other light weight, non breakable items.

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After we set up the tables within a 10 X 10 foot space to see how it will work, we will determine the most appealing appearance to display the soap, lotion bars, beard oils and yarn on the tables.  I am hopeful that the investment in the display items will attract buyers and the market will be a success for my fledgling hobby business.

The Great Soap Dilemma

A couple of years ago, I began making cold process soap and handmade solid lotion bars so that I knew what the contents of the products were.  The soap that I was making was being used in our household and by some of our children and their families.  The lotion bars have been used by me, given as gifts to knitter and spinner friends and family and all were well received.  This encouraged me to continue to make more and varied products and soon I was stockpiling much more than we could use.  A couple of months ago, I opened an Etsy Shop, hoping to make a hobby business out of my passion.  I signed up for a folk craft festival.  Both the shop and the festival have been or were largely unsuccessful, however, my friends who have been given soap, lotion bars, or beard oils or who have purchased them from me have encouraged me not to give up.

In this vein, one friend suggested that I apply for the Holiday Market at the Farmers’ Market that will occur on two Saturdays, one in November and one in December.  I contacted the market manager and received an application.  The application was completed and promptly returned with the necessary photos of products.  October 15 was the deadline to submit the applications and I am sitting on pins and needles awaiting notification of whether I was accepted for either or both of the days.   As soap can be made in a couple of hours, it requires 4 weeks to cure to sufficient hardness to make it marketable.  My supply is fairly good right now, especially of the ones scented with essential oils, but 3 of my 4 signature unscented soaps are in a fairly low supply. For the past week, I have debated with myself, whether I should make more soap, knowing that if I don’t get in the market and if my shop business doesn’t pick up, that I would be adding 27 more bars of soap to my supply shelf.

This morning, I decided that the soaps that were in short supply are also the ones that we are most likely to use here, so I hauled out the scale, pot, immersion blender, oils, lye and other accoutrements of a morning of soap making.

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I ended up making 3 batches of signature soaps.  My Coffee Scrub, Lavender Oatmeal, and Rosemary Oat soaps wrapped in insulating towels on a wide window sill until they can be unmolded and cut tomorrow or the next day.  These soaps are all natural soaps made with food grade oils, no preservatives, no artificial colorants and no scent oils.  They are all mild castile soaps.

Now my fingers and toes are crossed that I am admitted to at least one of the market days and that my soaps, lotion bars, beard oils, Comfrey salve, and handspun yarns sell. I would love to keep indulging in my love to make these products.

Folk Festival

Application was made and accepted.  An opportunity to be a vendor at the Meadow’s of Dan Folk Festival tomorrow.  My soap, lotion bar, and beard oil making for my Etsy Shop has generated crates full with llittle activity on the online shop, so I decided to try this sort of venue to see if it is worth my time and effort.  If not, perhaps, I will return to just making products for us and the extended family that likes and uses the products. In the mean time, I am also looking for a way to reduce the shipping costs for the Etsy Shop to make it more appealing.

The soap making has been ongoing for several months as I make all of my soap the old fashioned cold process method and that soap must cure for at least 4 weeks to be hard enough to not dissolve into mush when you get it wet. What good is soap if you can’t get it wet?  Lotion bars are a quicker product as is beard oil.

The car is partially loaded with the non perishable items such as the canopy, table, my chair and the crate with table covers, bags, business cards, banner, and bright colored pinwheels to attract attention.

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The three crates of trays containing the soap, beard oil and lotion bars, along with the bins of extras await loading until the afternoon cools.  They will be loaded this evening so that all I have to do at 6:30 tomorrow morning is hop in the car and drive the 90 minutes to check in and set up.

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The canopy is borrowed from a friend who got it from a mutual friend and it had never before been erected.  Daughter and I broke it out and set it up in the yard one day to make sure it was all there.

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It is all there, but had a small seam that was miss sewed that was repaired with a bit of duct tape as I didn’t want to try to get the canopy upstairs and sewed on my little home sewing machine.

The 8′ folding table is borrowed from daughter and SIL, a new folding chair purchased at Lowe’s end of season clearance sale; a couple of old Indian print cotton twin bed spreads that served as temporary doors in our house when we first moved in, will serve as table cover and hang from the back of the shelter as a backdrop for the banner and to give the stall some direction.

I don’t know if this will be a successful venture or not, but I’m game to give it a go.  If you are a local reader, this is a Folk Festival with vendors of food, yarn, jewelry, 31 products, my products and more; as well as inflatable fun, wine tasting, music, a play and a square dance.  Come on out and visit, the day is supposed to be gorgeous, a great day for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Hope to see some of you there.

A Day In The Kitchen

In mid August, I will be a vendor at the Meadows of Dan Folk Festival. My Etsy shop is not selling products as I had hoped and I have a hefty supply of soap and some lotion bars, but will need more for the festival, so today was soap and lotion bar day.  I made 4 different soap recipes, my Coffee with Oatmeal Bar, Jasmine Green Tea Bar, Lavender with Lavender Buds Bar, and Rosemary with dried bits of my homegrown rosemary Bar. Once they were set to cure, I made 25 lotion bars in 4 scents and unscented.  I still have to make some Tree Hugger and Mountain Man Beard Oils, but I’m still looking for 1 ounce bottles that have an orifice diffuser instead of having to use a dropper.  Half ounce ones are available locally but I have to order the one ounce size and to get a good price, the order must be larger than want.

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I have about 150 bars of soap and 50 lotion bars to take with me.  If I don’t sell there, I am going to have enough soap and lotion bars to last a lifetime and provide gifts for everyone I know forever.