Tag Archives: salves

Kitchen Alchemy and Camp – July 25, 2017

IMG_20170718_142052

IMG_20170718_142119

This is the time of year that the herbs and wild plants that are used in the salves, balms, and some soaps in the shop are growing and being harvested.  Once a batch is dried, jars of the herbs and the oils that make the infused oils are started.  Sometimes they are suntea processed in a window sill for a month or so, but sometimes one or more are needed sooner than that and they are infused in a makeshift double boiler system for 3 hours.  Once the infused oils are made and cooled, they are strained into a clean jar and the portion needed measured out and rewarmed to melt the organic beeswax needed to make the oil into a salve or balm.  Before our weekend away, a kitchen alchemy session was conducted and several salves resupplied, labelled, and put in the shop.  Some of the oils are needed for the Mountain Makings camp that is in session this week.

IMG_20170725_135037

IMG_20170725_134005

IMG_20170725_135026

Today was day 2 of their camp, my first of two sessions working with the young ones.  My friend, Jennifer, and I worked with them last year and again today.  The children are 7 to 12 years old and all very involved in the activities.  We had a very brief discussion of spinning and how  and why it was used in past generations.  They were each given a few ounces of hand dyed fiber and a hand made drop spindle, an improved version of last year’s with a heavier whorl.  One parent was fascinated with this portion of their program today and stayed.  She was given a spindle and fiber and followed right along with the children, making her first spindle full of yarn singles.  After the spindles were all being used without too much more assistance, they put them down and each were given a packet that contained a cardboard loom, weaving needles, yarn, and an instruction sheet for reference at home and they began a small wall hanging that they wove themselves.  Once they were all working well with that, we moved to our spinning wheels and gave each child an opportunity to spin a long enough singles to double it back on itself to create a length of hand spun yarn that they can use in their weaving.  At the end of the day, they will go home with their spindle and fiber, their loom, yarn, and weaving needles.

Tomorrow, I will return alone to take the children on a plant walk to identify some of the plants that can be wild harvested for their salve making.  They will get a handout of plants, their uses, and recipes for making the infused oils and instructions on making a salve.  We will make salves together and they will take home a tin or jar of their salve.

IMG_20170725_190105

IMG_20170725_190119

Once home today, with a clear bobbin on the wheel, I tackled a one pound bag of raw alpaca locks that I had purchased at the Farmers Market earlier this spring.  I have never spun raw unwashed fiber before, but the alpaca lacks the lanolin of wool and other than picking out some vegetable matter, it is clean to spin.  The fawn colored alpaca is from “Graham” an alpaca living at Poplar Hill Alpacas, a local farm.  It will be plyed with a brown ply from another local Alpaca farm.  This yarn will be knit into fingerless mitts for the Holiday Markets.  If enough is spun, perhaps a hat will be made to match.

Back to Crafting

The shop soap supply was getting low, so 4 batches of soap have been recently made.  Two of them are the same scent, as eldest son and family will get a full batch of one of those scents.

A decision was made recently to change the name of the shop to Cabin Crafted Soap and Yarn Shop and to be more creative on my balms and salves, identifying them by use, not by name.  The new logo requires a huge THANK YOU to my artist daughter-in-law who drew it for me.  I really didn’t want to keep using clip art of unknown origin.  Last fall just before the Holiday Markets, I tried new packaging for the soaps, using cello bags sealed with ingredient labels with the soap type on a front label and putting one of each scent in mesh bags so they can be smelled.  It bothered me to have all of the bars bare and handled by many people as they tried to decide on a scent.  This choice seemed more professional and still attractive.

New business cards are being designed using this new logo as well.

IMG_20170628_193313

 

There are still some of the old lotion bars, Citrus, unscented, and Cedar/Rosemary/ Thyme that will be offered on sale reduced to clear the stock.  Also there are some pure salves, comfrey, arnica, and calendula that will be reduced as well.  They are in the 2+ inch size tins and can be purchased on the shop site.  The shipping cost is per order, not per item and is priority shipping in the USA.  International shipping unfortunately is higher.

Ready or Not

The first Holiday Market is Saturday.  Today is sunny, calm, and 70ºf, a perfect day to be outside.  I took a walk and because of Saturday’s forecast, drove by the lot where I will be set up.  I was hoping that I would be able to slip a strap or polycord under or through the car stop wedge that will be the back of my stall, but they look like they are firmly adhered to the brick pavers.  Last year, the market manager said he was trying to get the town to install tie down rings in the pavers, but that has not been done.

The hope for the strap or cord is because Saturday is forecast to be a high of mid 50’s, 20% chance of rain, and 25 mph gusts of wind.  I have to erect a 10 X 10 foot popup canopy and I don’t want to spend all 5 hours worrying about it taking flight, taking out my display, or another vendor’s stall.  I have a few empty 5 gallon buckets and dozens of rock piles on the farm, so I think I will load up a few buckets with 50 pounds or so each of rocks and tie the canopy down to them.  If the wind can take out 3 of those along with the 25 pounds of leg weights, I am in trouble.

Of my last soap making, one of my popular scents did not set up properly.  The bars are usable but not pretty, so that batch will be retained for family use.  I will have to make another batch of that scent for the December market and see what others sell to determine which other bars to make.

My crates are packed.  I spent the afternoon making sure that I have the little clip on chalkboard tags for each scent of soap, each scent of lotion bar, and each salve.  I still have 3 skeins of yarn to label and pack, decide whether I want 2 or 3 tables and if I go with 3, then I need to decide what to use for my 3rd table cover.  I bought an Indian cotton throw in the fall, cut and hemmed it to make two table covers, but I don’t have a third table cloth that will go with the color or pattern.   I’m sure I will figure it out by Saturday morning.

If it is windy as forecast, my A frame stand for hats and mitts will likely blow over.  The T shaped one with clips for shawls can be anchored to the table edge with a C clamp.  Maybe I should add a base across the back of the A frame so it too can be clamped down.

I will dress in lots of layers that can be peeled off if it warms up during the day.  Fortunately a new and favored local coffee shop has opened in one of the fixed stores right at the market, so I can at least keep a cup of hot coffee or tea nearby to warm my hands.

 

 

IMG_0362[1]

 

This was last year.  The display is changed and simplified now.  You will have to wait to see how it sets up this year.  If you can’t come in person, stop by the shop https://squareup.com/store/cabin-crafted.  You can make your purchases there and I will deliver them to you if you are local or mail them to you if not local.

 

Changes

After the most recent craft show, I determined that I had too many choices of my products which resulted in people either walking by the “clutter” or coming in, sniffing each soap and lotion bar choice and leaving without a purchase.  It wasn’t that this particular market was over saturated, as I was the only vendor of such products, especially natural, organic, no chemicals added soaps, lotion bars and salves.

As a result of this, I have decided to have a major clearance sale of all but 4 soap scents. There are many choices available right now in my shop for $3 per bar or 4 for $10 with a flat domestic $3 shipping rate on up to 4 bars.  The jumbo lotion bars are also going away and the remaining ones are discounted to $7 per tin.  There will be no more than 4 scents of the 1+ ounce size.  The salves will stay but the lip balm, sleep balm, Biker Bum balm, and Brigand’s Oil and salve will not be made again once they are gone.  If you have wanted to try some of my products, or wanted to replenish your supply, now is the time. If you private message me on the Cabin Crafted Facebook page, email me at 1cabincrafted1@gmail.com, or through the shop messenger, I will put together the package of your choice and will calculate the most economical shipping or arrange to meet you if you are local.

I did add the best selling Citrus Soother Lotion Bar into the shop today as well as two of the Beard Oils that I make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The display at shows will be much simplified as well.

If you read the blog post yesterday, the broody hen refused to return to the nest, even when I put another hen in with her.  I removed the eggs at dark and hoped that she would start over today, but neither hen in the brooder laid an egg today or sat on the nests.  I opened the door and the run gate and both hens rushed back into the flock.  Broody hen went promptly into the coop and sat on the nest she had been on onto the eggs that had been laid today.  I guess that I will just leave her there and if she hatches any chicks in 3 weeks, I will move her with her new family to the brooder coop to isolate them from the rooster and other hens until they are old enough to be introduced.

Olio – November 7, 2015

Six batches of soap made for the December Holiday Market.

IMG_0355[1]IMG_0356[1]IMG_0357[1]

Four cut and curing.  Two are cocooned until tomorrow.  After much discussion with others and self arguing, I decided to have my 4 signature unscented soaps; Coffee Scrub, Jasmine Green Tea, Lavender Bud Oatmeal, and Rosemary Oat.  With 5 scented soaps settled on are Lavender, Winter Mint, Bergamot Ylang Ylang, Mountain Man, and Tree Hugger.

To simplify the lotion bars and to try to make pairings easier, there will be Lavender, Rosemary, unscented, Mountain Man, Bergamot Ylang Ylang, and Tree Hugger.

As the beard oils are also Mountain Man and Tree Hugger, gift sets can be assembled for the Market.  K and I took a trip to Michael’s and found some small boxes to facilitate making sample gift sets.

I recently went out for breakfast with a friend and she introduced me to an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal essential oil blend in a carrier oil that she had been given by her SIL.  Later when I was talking to my daughter, she knew the oil by the name I gave her and another name from a Therapeutic essential oil company.  Figuring out the component oils was fairly easy and coming up with my own blend was not too difficult.  This oil blend carries with it a tale called the Legend of the Four Thieves.  After reading many versions of this tale, I decided to come up with my own summary variation and have printed little scrolls of the legend with the uses of the topical oil to attach to each little 1 ounce bottle that I have prepared.  Thinking that a one ounce bottle with a dropper wasn’t a very good way to carry it with you, some of the oil mixture was blended with a carrier oil and a bit of beeswax to create salve in one of the little screw lid tins as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I await my shipment of more tins to be able to make a supply to add to the wares going to the market next weekend.  Our Farmers’ Market is mostly vendors of Organic produce or pasture raised meat, so I am hoping that adding these two products to the Comfrey Salve and Biker Bum Balm will be items that are successful with the crunchy crowd that frequents it.

My little natural first aid kit that I carry in my shoulder bag now has one more item in it.

Two nights ago, K and I moved two beat up hens and two young roosters to the cull pen with the meat birds that are destined for freezer camp next weekend.  Last night, Mountaingdad and I went out on a date night and K locked the birds up after dark when their family came in from getting pizza.  At least she thought everyone was locked up.  This morning, I found the remains of both hens and one young rooster outside the cull coop but inside the run.  There is a 4 foot fence around the run, a secured gate at the end and no evidence that anything dug in, so I’m not sure what got them, but it had to be able to go over the fence and get back out after eating.  Tomorrow after today’s rain ends, I will attempt to make the electric fence hot again, strung along the top of the runs and around the back of the cull coop near the ground.  Whatever it was did not get into the coop, so the birds must have been hunkered down somewhere in the run.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been knitting a shawl for a cousin.  It was finished last weekend.  Earlier this week, I got the ends woven in, washed and blocked.  It took forever to dry as it is a cotton yarn that she picked.  The package was mailed off and she received it today.  She is delighted with it.

IMG_0352[1]

I hope I get a photo of it being worn.