Making Crafty Magic

Hall & Oats-n-Honey

Today, I’m offering a peek into the creation of Hall & Oats-n-Honey Soap. This is the most gentle soap I make. It’s unscented and uses the most simple, basic ingredients one can find at a grocery store: organic coconut milk, oats, and honey (you could even use olive oil from the store as your soap base and call it a day). Coconut milk offers an assortment of vitamins and fats which actually help to clean your skin without stripping it. And we all know oats are soothing and fantastic for the skin…right? I just happen to prefer steel cut oats because they’re mildly exfoliating when added at trace. Honey has antimicrobial and anti-oxidant properties so it’s a fantastic healer. The only issue I have with it is that it’s a humectant so it absorbs and retains moisture which is great for the skin but it also makes for an oily feeling bar of soap. That’s no biggie but packaging sweaty bars can get a little tricky. Nevertheless, the results are worth it.

And without further ado, here are some soapy pics:

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In the process of making my most gentle, cold processed soap: Hall & Oats-n-Honey. Made with vegetable oils, organic coconut milk, and duh, oats and honey.
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The addition of the main ingredients. You don’t need a lot of either. Too much honey and your soap will feel very oily, even once it’s fully cured. Too many oats and the soap with crumble apart in your hands.
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This is what honey does once it’s added to your soap. Don’t panic. Just enjoy the cool color while you can because it will go away. Bummer.
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A soap with honey in it naturally needs a honeycomb texture so that’s where the bubble wrap comes in. Line the mold first, then lay down the bubble wrap layer so that it’s in direct contact with the soap. I’ve done this the opposite way and it sucked! I can’t go for that. No, nooooh. No can do!
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Unwrap 24 hours later and this is what you have. The dark spots are oily patches from the honey…nothing to worry about.
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Cut and cure, preferably for 4 to 6 weeks if you can manage it. I always cut off the raggedy ends and save them for myself. I have no problem using the thin ends after a week of curing. I enjoy getting first dibs.

My ponderings on honey…

First, let me preface this by saying that I am by no means a beekeeping or honey expert. I’m just passing along what I know and I freely admit that there’s much more to learn. Although I’m trying to go the vegan route in my products, I have no intention of giving up honey and beeswax. I have friends and acquaintances who are passionate, conscientious beekeepers. In fact, beekeeping hobbyists–along with organic farmers, scientists and apiculturists–are on the frontlines of preventing the total collapse of honey bee populations and I want to do what I can to support them. (Here’s a little factoid for yah: Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.)

Always shop local and shop small, especially when it comes to honey (eating local honey helps with seasonal allergies). I recommend buying your honey at farmers markets and craft fairs. This way you can casually inquire about their harvesting practices. Certainly make sure they are harvesting just the surplus honey. Bees need honey too. It especially sustains them through the colder months. Yet, many beekeepers will take it all (usually in the Fall when their biological need for it begins to increase) and replace it with corn syrup. Corn syrup is definitely not the same thing. Honey has anti-oxidant and antimicrobial properties, corn syrup does not. This, among a zillion other issues, has led to starvation and disease among colonies. And while you’re talking, you may also want to inquire about any herbicides and insecticides being sprayed nearby that may inadvertently find its way into the colony and into your honey.

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Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease or substitute care by a medical practitioner. All recommendations are believed to be effective, but since actual use of this product is beyond our control and can vary from individual to individual, no guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken.

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A ripe weekend ahead

This weekend = me, you, and some large, tasty, juicy, ripe, delicious, scrumtrulecent tomatoes. Maybe we could wear matching tomato costumeTomato costumes and lose ourselves in the moment? Perhaps do some juggling? Let’s do it! I know you want to. The Saugerties Farmers Market is hosting their annual tomato taste-off. Awesome prizes will be given for the tastiest and heaviest. I can’t wait to see some of my beloved vendors get down and dirty trying to win this competition. Seriously, I can see Joe from Mangia Bene throwing down! Gosh, I envy that panel of judges. I want to win so bad but sadly I haven’t grown a single tomato this year. Next year, I’ll be a contender. Regardless, come visit me under my tent. I know I was sick last week so I promise to be there no matter what tragedies may befall me betwixt now and Saturday. Yup, I said betwixt. And I probably should refrain from tempting fate by talking tragedy. Oh well, tempt I shall. See you Saturday then? From 10 am to 2 pm. Oooh, I also have coupons for my coaching and reiki services to give away. $25/hour session. Not too shabby.

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More market action to be had.

I will be at the Saugerties Farmers Market tomorrow for your shopping pleasure, from 10 am to 2 pm. My usual sales will be in full effect. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from last week’s Farm Animal Day. What a blast! The event was not short on humorously incongruous moments. For example, there was a petting zoo filled with wholesome families and then there was a hula hooping station right next to it that was blaring 50 Cent, Baby Got Back, rave music and other inappropriate tunes. It was perfectly delighful! The only downside was the chickens squished together in a cage. This I am not a fan of at all. One chicken in one cage, maybe, but not ten chickens in one cage. Me and some other vendors were making plans to free them but we were afraid we’d be banned from the market. So let me say this now for the record, if I see such foolishness next year, I’m putting on a disguise and springing them. Done deal.

Life & Times

Among the rest of the animals

You can find me grazing about with the rest of the creatures this weekend at the Saugerties Farmers Markets’ annual Farm Animal Day. Last year was nuts (in a good way) so don’t miss it! I will have my regular sales going on (except I’m almost out of my $2.00 One Delicious Buzz soaps) plus I will be selling a whole slew of new lotions, butters, scrubs, liquid soaps, and body oils.

The sales are as follows: $1.00 soapy sticks, $2.00 bars of One Delicious Buzz and Benjamin Button, $4.00 glycerin soaps and $5.00 salves.

Oh, and I’d be a jerk if I didn’t mention that another wonderful vendor bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Shoving Leopard. This was week #2 of having fresh flowers given to me. I love the people I vend with. I just can’t say that enough. Here’s hoping for week #3 of fresh flowers…

 

 

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Busy weekend-ish-ness

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It’s a bright and busy day here at the Saugerties Farmers Market. The conditions are the exact opposite from last weeks cold, wind & rain. I can’t complain today, except that my tent broke on me and I forgot my phone & wallet back home. Duh! Luckily, Cassie found my purse, figured I would want it and delivered it to me. Thank you! It took five people to help me set up my tent. Yikes! I have to set it up again tomorrow so that leaves me a wee bit worried. But these mini-disasters come with the territory.

Tomorrow is a very promising craft fair in Fishkill. Most of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team will be vending so it will be great to actually meet my team-mates in person. It should be a fantastic event but being surrounded by such talented crafters may prove too tempting for me. We shall see if my resolve remains intacted through the event. Come visit if you can and talk me out of making any purchases!

This will be my last weekend vending until August so if you need anything, please make it a point to find me. In the meantime, while I’m out being chased by bears, you can visit the stores that sell my products.

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My mom, Ling Ling, will be selling her scarves in Fishkill. Even more reason to visit tomorrow!

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The Saugerties Farmers Market opens this Saturday!

The Saugerties Farmers Market is back! Please join me and the rest of the awesome vendors for a gorgeous day full of yummy food and great music. Sweet Pea’s will be selling a wide variety of soaps, plus deodorant, shampoo, cleaning sprays and jewelry! And maybe some bug repellent–providing I can stop time long enough to make it.

Opening Day for the 2013 Summer Season of the Saugerties Farmers Market will be May 25th, 10 AM to 2 PM at 119 Main Street Saugerties, NY 12477. We will be offering Fresh and Local fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, honey, flowers, cheeses, breads and on-site dining. The Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting will be a 10 AM with local dignitaries attending. Music will be provided throughout the day by Passero, with a Chef’s demonstration, at 11 AM, presented by Jimmy Tamayo. Art Lab Children’s Art Space project- Glossy Paper Flowers.
For additional information call: 917-453-2082

Travel

A Hudson Valley Hike: Falling Waters Preserve

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Tuna butt!
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What’s that over there?
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I wandered off the trail and stumbled onto a labyrinth.
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Some words of inspiration.

Here are a few pics from my Easter walk with Petunia at the Esopus Creek Conservancy’s Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties, New York. If I return to the area in August (my future remains unclear at this point), I plan to volunteer for the Esopus Creek Conservancy. I met the Vice President, Susan, a few months ago at the Saugerties Farmers Market. She was clearly passionate about the Conservancy and was thrilled to be there educating the public. Her booth always had a long line of people wanting to know more about the Conservancy. Throughout the day, I heard her talking with folks interested in volunteer opportunities and saw that there was a sign-up sheet on the table. During market break-down I swooped in and told her my credentials and experience. I love this moment because people usually experience a wave of feelings that can be clearly seen on their face. When I’m standing behind an overflowing table of handmade items and they hear biologist, reptiles, amphibians, Cornell, environmental communication, SUNY ESF masters degree, outreach, volunteer coordinator, mediator, veterinary technician, etc… it’s a palpable mix of confusion, disbelief and in the end, luckily, it usually turns into excitement. The next question I usually get (while scanning me up and down) is “How old are you?” Hah! Needless to say, she was overjoyed with what I had to offer. Over the following weeks, it became clear that my current schedule would not allow for volunteering but if I return to the area, I will be knocking on Susan’s proverbial door. Anyways, back to my Easter walk…I wandered just off the path and found a labyrinth. Tuna and I tried to give it a go but she didn’t quite understand what I was doing. She was patient with me despite her confusion (story of her life). When I reached the middle, there was a shiny, little angel waiting for me. Awe! I left it for the next person to find and be inspired by. Overall, it’s a lovely place to hike and there is Hudson River access, which is nice if you enjoy dipping a toe in. There’s even a historic element to the site: an old carriage road and remnants of the ice house era. Falling Waters Preserve is kind of hard to find because it’s tucked into a neighborhood, but the webpage has decent directions. It’s also a great hike for all ages and fitness levels. So if you’re in the area, you have no reason to not visit and enjoy.

Making Crafty Magic

The Treehouse: A Post to Drool Over

I’m in the process of spring cleaning everything, including my computer files, and came across these pictures I totally spaced on sharing. Doh! I took these a few months ago when Kathy (the wonderful owner of The Treehouse) allowed me to work in her store for the day. I’ve never wanted to work somewhere so much in my life! Usually, I have the opposite problem. Amazingly enough, I walked out at the end of the day and didn’t purchase a single thing. I was super proud of myself because as soon as I walk into that place I usually lose all impulse control. Although some things have changed since I took these pictures, at least you can get an idea of how gorgeous the space is and how thoughtfully Kathy curates the store. If you see something that you just can’t live without or if you want to visit, click here for more info.

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Here are a few photos from The Treehouse’s 1st Anniversary Party & Artists’ Reception:

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Helen (as in Helen of Memphis) is talking to another talented artist. Click on this photo to see what Helen is all about. You can catch her working in the store on Wednesdays.

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Last but not least, this adorable creature is named Erin and she has a brand-spankin’ new store called The Modern Dream in Saugerties. Click on her picture to learn more.

 

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I’ve got goodies for you…

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Gathering my soap ingredients. Where is the beer though? I’m guessing it’s probably in my hand. Old habits die hard.

Tomorrow is the monthly Saugerties Winter Farmers Market from noon to 4 pm at the Senior Center (207 Market Street). The theme of the market is upcycling. There will be sewing machines available and teachers there to show you how to mend your clothes or how to make them into something new, if need be. And I’ve got some fresh beer soap for you–Honey Ale–as well as new jewelry and perhaps some messenger bags if I can get around to finishing them today. First I must go sledding…priorities!

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Trading off between stick blending and hand blending. A bit of old-school meets new-school.
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Looks good, right?
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Honey Ale all cut, cured, and ready for a new home!