Tuesday, 16 March 2010

What is French Milling

A number of my customers have been asking me what French Milled Soap actually is, and why it should be better than regular Cold Pressed Soaps.

After explaining the process a number of times, it occured to me that I should find a way to actually show them.

To that end I have created a YouTube video that does this.

Enjoy everyone!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Exceme, Psoriasis, Cayenne Pepper and Soap -

A lot of customers and potential customers that have come through my store have asked me a great deal of questions about my soaps, and specifically about the extra ingredients I add into my soaps.

Probably one of the questions I get the most runs along the lines of: I/my sister/my friend has exceme. Do you have a soap that will help with this?

The answer is yes, I do. First of all, all handmade soap is a much better choice for those who suffer from exceme and psoriasis. This is because all handmade soap contains GLYCERIN. It is a biproduct of the saponification process, or the chemical process that occurs when a alkali (such as lye) is mixed with a fat (such as animal fat or liquid oils). Glycerin is a highly valuable and sought after biproduct which is used with almost abandon in the cosmetics feild. This is because glycerin is acts as a humectant, or as something that can absorb and retain moisture. This is very good for skin.

Having said this, all plain, handmade soap is good for the skin, can be used by everyone and will help those who suffer from exceme to keep their hands softer and less prone to cracking.

What is added to handmade soap can either help or aggitate those who suffer from exceme. Unfortunately it is difficult to write a list of what those who suffer from exceme should and should not use. Each person who suffers from exceme may have different allergens that cause outbreaks. As a general rule, perfumes should be avoided. Essential oils *may* be a slightly better choice for those who suffer from exceme as they are completely natural substances in themselves. However each essential oil has their own properties (essential oils that come from flowers may not be a good choice for those who suffer greatly from pollen allergies) and it is impossible to say who will react to what. My advice is this: if you suffer from a light case of exceme that is easily controlled without too much prespcription medication/lotions, and you really want to try a particular type of soap, by all means take a chance. But be prepared that the soap might need to be thrown out (or hopefully given away to a close family member or friend) after only a few usages.

If one has extreme exceme that is very difficult to control, my advice is to steer clear of soaps with essential oils as well.

However soaps with other types of additional ingredients may be benificial to those who suffer from exceme. I have had good results with carrot soaps and cucumber soaps as both of these soaps have vitamins and other nutrients that are absorbed by the skin. They certainly do not cure exceme, but are very pleasant to use by those who suffer from it.

One type of soap that seems is very interesting has been helpful to a good number of people is, believe it or not, soap that has an additional ingredient of Cayenne Pepper. I know, I know - logic would say the absolute opposite of what seems to be true for most people. It would seem that cayenne pepper (or Paprika as it is known in many parts of Europe) would be the worst thing to put exceme, that it would only irritate the skin and lead to possibly agonizing pain for the sufferer.

Instead, cayenne pepper seems to relieviate the itching for many who try this technique and it does so for this reason. Capsaisin, one of the components found in peppers and which is responsible for that warm/burning sensation in your mouth when eaten, also prevents (or eventually prevents) your nerve endings to send pain messages back to the brain. These same nerves are the nerves that also transmit 'itching' messages back to the brain. By using products that contain capsaisin, one does not feel the need to scratch one's skin so often. This in itself is often a 'present time' relief for the sufferer. Over longer periods of time it proves to be benificial for the skin as a whole - the less one scratches, the more time the skin has to try to repair itself.

For these same reasons, cayenne pepper and products that contain capsaisin also seem to prove benificial to those who suffer from arthritis and those who suffer from psorasis.

If you are interested in purchasing a small sample of cayenne pepper soap from my store, simply click on one of the soap pictures above and contact me. I can set up an inexpensive private order for you.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Etsy Artist Interview - LaTouchables

My next interview is with a person who I greatly admire, and with whom I have begun to have a developing friendship with. What impresses me most with Dawn is how wide spreading her skills are. Most Esty artists, myself included, work with one type of medium, make one type of article though with perhaps variations on the theme.

Dawn on the other hand seems to be able to use her skills to create clothing, jewelry, handbags and totes as well as other accessories. I'm quite amazed of where her creativity takes her. And I was very glad that she agreed to take part in this interview with me.

Name: Dawn
Age: 49
Married/Children: Married, with a cat, no children
Occupation: Artist, crafter, language consultant
Important Links: LaTouchables Bags and Things, LaTouchables Etsy Store

Where do you live and what is the best part of living there?

I live in Southern Germany, near the Rhine, where the sun often shines and one can get good wine…and there are a network of bike trails that go on forever, we are close to France, I sit practically in the lap of the Pfalz mountains, considered by some to be Germany’s Tuscany. Our village is surrounded by woods…we are close to some big cultural centers…so many great things about living here!

Is there a particular secret about where you live that only the locals know?
That the tourists would flock to your local if they heard the slightest rumour of it?

Yes, we have some of the best white asparagus in the world. It’s a delicacy, and we get fat off it when it’s in season!

What term would you use to describe your creative talent: artist/craftsman(woman)/creator/other. Why is it you see yourself in this way?

I consider myself an intuitive creator. It has a lot to do with curiosity and desire. Craft is an integral part of it—I don’t like to work shoddy—but I work best when I am inspired. I’m always inspired, so that’s not an issue. It’s wise to step back when you feel a lack, do something genuinely different, and when you get back to the drawing room, you have power and imagination.

How did you begin with this creative process and how does it add to your life?

I began thinking this way as a young child, probably before my concious memory. I was lucky to grow up in a family that encouraged the arts, so it became a way of life. As far as crafting was concerned, I was only carrying on legacies set by my forefathers—in the days of yore (well into my parent’s generation, and thus influencing me), it was a matter of pride that you did something well, and it was also a matter of neccessity. You couldn’t just make a blanket and have it fall apart on you…when you made a loaf of bread, you made sure it had no big airbubbles in the dough—that bread had to feed a big family. When you made your own clothes, you made them to fit and show youself off—you invested time and effort. So when I make something practical, I want it to last, wear well, look good.

Were you creative before this time? If so, what other creative arts do/did you dabble in?

I got my education at a big university, beginning with classical performance arts, namely the violin. Mid-studies I switched to painting and the visual arts, painting large mural-size neo-expressionist paintings. I’d drawn and painted my whole life, so it was really my choice. I made forays into metalsmithing, which I adored. I still take classes now and again. I spent years taking modern dance classes. A completely different discipline can only enhance your imagination, I believe!

Can you remember the first creation that you made?

Yes, I was four years old, and I found a drawing of a butterfly I had done when I was three—as if I had found an artifact of my earlier life—I was blown away by the colors, I couldn’t believe how beautiful they were. Of course, my mom loaded praise on me. Parents should do that with their children, to establish early feelings of well-being and comfort in the arts.

Is there something else that you made that you are particularily proud of?

I decided to braid a rug, once. I devised a plan, bought the material for pennies at a warehouse, cut strips, finished the edges, braided it, sewed it together by hand, and we’ve had it on our floor for ten years, in front of the sofa.

Is there something in particular that you find inspiring?

Nature, other artists, other ‘thinkers’, my friends and family. I love literature.

Do you have a particular customer (on or off the internet) that you remember particularly well for good reasons?

I have a few customers who have encouraged me. I value their comments and contacts enormously!

How would you envision the perfect dinner? Who would be there (famous/family/fictional/etc)? Would it be formal/informal? What would be served?

For me the perfect dinner would be with one person, at a small table on a street, or a blanket on the beach.

What type of music are you listening to at the moment? What does this music do for you?

It varies. I like music that takes me outside of me…I’m into the music experience! That could be some pop song on the radio or something totally out there—like a recorded street scene from Africa, or anywhere, anything with a beat.

Where is the place that you have visited in the past, that you have particular fond memories of? Why?

There are so many places, but Morocco was my virgin voyage, and made a tremendous impact on me. I lived for months in one city, with a family of a friend, who, inspite of my strangeness took me in and treated me respectfully as a member of their family, tolerating my eccentricities and encouraging my forays into their culture.

Where is the one place you would really like to travel to one day? Why?

I’m open. I even get excited about desolate places, lonely truckstops, tops of volcanos, looking into the other side…

Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview that you feel our readers should know?

Yes, in the beginning there was fire. Making and keeping fire was an effort, a craft, an art.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Turmeric Soap Knowledge and Give Away

Thank you to all who have participated in this give away. Amazingly, 4 of the give away winners were local! So very exciting!
Be on the lookout for another giveaway coming soon.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for centuries and has fallen out of favor in the last couple of decades, mostly due to the introduction of more exciting spices from other, far away eastern places.

But turmeric is now starting to make a comeback, both as a spice to add color and taste our dinnertime food, but also because of its reported health benifits. A great deal of research has been done the last number of years on the benifits of this spice. And while there are many reasons as why one should add tumeric to food, here are some reasons as to why one should start using turmeric on your skin:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

3. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

4. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

5. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

7. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

8. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

9. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
-- information gathered from EAT THIS - HEALTH DIARIES
As if this were not enough, here is some futher information gathered from another site with medical news:

1) Turmeric is a natural healer for skin conditions such as eczema, acne, dry skin and psoriasis.

2) The use of turmeric in cosmetics and skin care products helps to naturally slow the appearance of aging and restore youth. Continued use decreases the formation of deep creases and wrinkles.

3) Turmeric is helpful in speeding up the recovery time for smallpox, chickenpox, hot skin disease and red rashes.

4)Turmeric is sometimes used in natural cleansers, such as a mixture of turmeric powder and milk.

5) Turmeric can help to improve overall skin care. Washing with a cleanser that contains turmeric will reduce hair growth and give the skin a healthy glow. Facial masks and bath oils can also be made with turmeric.

My turmeric soap has been selling quite well locally, but it seems to be quite lonely in my Etsy store. I suspect it is because there are many who do not know the great benifits of using tumeric.

To remedy this, I am offering a give-away in my store. The next 5 people who purchase 2 bars of soap will receive a 3rd bar of turmeric soap completely free, and for no extra shipping.

Just click on my store name to come directly into ULTIMATE ORGANIC SOAP, and let your journey begin.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Interview from Finland

My next interview is from a women on the complete opposite side of Scandinavia from me. Minna comes from Finland and has a very unique type of artistic style that goes straight to my heart. Her Etsy store KARUSKI is also the word used for candy in the local Finnish dialect that she speaks. This is what her products remind me of: pure and simple candy from days that have long gone by; candy which is sweet and savory, but not too sweet. And not guady with neon colors, 10 different layers of taste as well as the artificial chemicals that are so present in today's candy and today's world.

I am very proud to present this interview and hope that everyone takes a chance to sneak a peek at her works.


Name: Minna
Age: 36
Married/Children: In a long term relationship
Occupation: crafter/designer, self employed
Important Links:
etsy, blog, site, twitter

Where do you live and what is the best part of living there?

I live in Southern Finland. This is a small town within an hour drive to Helsinki. The best part of living in here is definitely the beautiful nature.

What term would you use to describe your creative talent: artist/craftsman(woman)/creator/other. Why is it you see yourself in this way?

I'm formally educated as a textile designer. However I feel I'm more into making by hand than drawing patterns. So I'd call myself a crafter. It holds a holistic idea about good life in general.

How did you begin with this creative process and how does it add to your life?

Even though I have wandered several paths in my life I don't think there never was another bearable solution for me than what I'm having right now. Being a full time crafter and living a self employed life suits me the best (regardless some occasional obstacles and financial insecurity I have to face).

Were you creative before this time? If so, what other creative arts did you dabble in?

I started with drawing and painting at kids art school at the age of 6 and went to these classes on weekly basis until I turned 12 or 13. That was the start and later on I've studied basics for other mediums of fine art and aesthetics (philosophy of art). However at some point it was clear to me I wouldn't be able to live as a free artist so I sifted towards textile studies.

When you have a quiet moment to indulge yourself and there's no one around to bother you, what is it you like to do best?

Most of my days are as you described. Almost everything I do throughout the day is craft related in a way or another. Of course sometimes I get interfered by our pesky cats;) As my days are rather quiet, I really enjoy occasional meet ups with a good friend in the city or other social gatherings.

How would you envision the perfect dinner?

I fancy a nice dinner for two. It can be at home or at a small restaurant in Helsinki, Paris or a place in the middle of nowhere. The place doesn't matter that much as long as I'm in a good company!

Where is the place that you have visited in the past, that you have particular fond memories of? Why?

I've been trekking in the Northern part of Finland with my boyfriend a couple of times. The open landscape is really extraordinary there, I haven't seen similar anywhere else. It just felt great to spend almost a week in wild life with a map, compass and a tent (+ some food of course!).

Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview that you feel our readers should know?

I hope all of us find our own way how to lead a happy life

Thank you Minna for taking the time to show us a little bit of your life!