Shopping Small: We appreciate it!

April 25, 2017

Recently this diagram was shared on a page I follow.  I don’t know how factual it is when it comes to exact numbers, but I know the general sentiment of the diagram is true.  You’re investing in your community and helping the “Mom & Pop” businesses survive when you shop small.

As a small business owner I can say I appreciate it when someone is willing to support my business and spend a little bit more on an item than they would at a retail store. I know I try to do my own part supporting small businesses too.  Ask my family.  Most of my gifts to them are local and handmade :D.  I spend more on a bottle of hot sauce or jam or honey because it was made locally than if I were to go to the store.  I love my farmers markets in the summer and do as much of my “food” shopping there.

As my show season starts to get into full swing may I say I appreciate your support!


Using Tallow in Bath Products

April 7, 2017

I’ve been on a kick lately with this whole tallow in products.  First it was soap (which I really am likely and am SERIOUSLY–though it’s the last thing I need right now–considering a line of tallow soaps)!  Now it’s bath products.

In February mt friend’s sister asked if I made tallow lotion. I don’t make lotion, but I said I could probably do it in a body butter or balm.  And that kind of sparked my interest in tallow.  I started doing more research.  Products in soap work (to some degree) similarly in bath products, but they are also completely different products from soap.  My research lead to a number of discoveries.

No one’s allowed to get grossed out over tallow! Got it?? 😀  It’s no different from ANY vegetable oil we use it’s just fat from an animal as opposed to a plant!  And it’s good stuff! First, what is tallow? It’s definition:

tal·low (n)

  1. a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, used in making candles and soap.

Tallow comes from cows, deer, mutton, and the like.  Lard is from pigs.  The tallow I’m working with is beef (cow) tallow.

It’s fatty acid profile: (obviously there is variation here from one batch to the next, one animal to the next, but this gives us a general idea.

  • Saturated fatty acids
    • Palmitic acid(C16:0): 26%
    • Stearic acid(C18:0): 14%
    • Myristic acid(C14:0): 3%
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids:
    • Oleic acid(C18-1, ω-9): 47%
    • Palmitoleic acid(C16:1): 3%
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
    • Linoleic acid: 3%
    • Linolenic acid: 1%

So, why is tallow so great?  Well let’s take a look at tallow and its properties.

Tallow is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B6, B12, K2, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. Grassfed beef tallow contains high ratio of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a cancer-resistant agent. Contrary to the popular conception, tallow is good for health as tallow fat is similar to the fat/muscles in the heart. Recent studies have shown that human beings need at least 50% of saturated fats like tallow and lard to keep the heart pumping hard and healthy. Tallow from pasture-raised cows also contains a small amount of Vitamin D, similar to lard. ~ source beeftallow.com

We all know (and have probably heard endless numbers of times) that our skin is the largest organ of our body.  It absorbs a large amount of what we come in contact with (both good and bad).  Tallow closely resembles our own cellular makeup and it seems like a smart ingredient to use on our skin.

MommyPotamus has done research on tallow and has this to say:

Tallow is uniquely compatible with the biology of our cells. About 50% of the structure of our cell membrane comes from saturated fats, with remaining amounts consisting of monounsaturated and to a lesser degree polyunsaturated fats. According to Nourishing Traditions, it is the saturated fats that give cell membranes the “necessary stiffness and integrity”  necessary for proper function (p. 11). The saturated fat ratio of tallow is 50-55% saturated fat, making it uniquely compatible with our skin. (source) It also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which support cell membrane structure and therefore help skin hold in moisture. (source 1source 2)

Tallow contains skin nourishing ingredients that plant-based oils do not. Tallow contains an abundance of naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins (A,D,K and E), Omega 3 fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

All of this makes tallow a really good fat to use on our skin!  After my research I was excited to get started on experimenting.  The two products I’m currently experimenting with are a tallow body butter and a tallow foot/hand balm.

My first though when formulating recipes was: How much do I use??? There’s so little information out there.  I looked at blogs, books, YouTube and people don’t use tallow. A lot of times when I formulate I start by making notes of recommended percentage usages of the ingredients I want to use for a specific type product.  Then I’ll jot down other ingredients I know I want/need in the product and their recommend usage rates and then from there start formulating.

Once I have a couple rough formulates I’ll go online and research other recipes that are similar to the product I’m making.  I couldn’t really do this step this time.  There just aren’t any recipes out there.  Which wasn’t a big deal.  It just meant a bit more experimenting on my part and making some (logical) deductions.

I ended up with two body butter recipes each using a different percentage of tallow.  I added Shea butter to both recipes.  I was afraid to do a straight tallow recipe.  My initial though was it would be too brittle (thinking tallow is a hard oil like coconut), but I realized after I made my recipes that tallow, while solid at room temperature, is actually softer than Shea butter.

  1. Recipe 1 used 25%
  2. Recipe 2 used 40%

Both have a wonderful LOVELY consistency to them right now–though I love the 40% feel more than the 25%.  The 40% (recipe 2) one is definitely softer than the 25% one (recipe 1) and I don’t know how well it will hold up in the summer heat.  I have a feeling that it might be too high a percentage of tallow and potentially melt or go VERY soft come summer.  It’s something I’m going to pay attention to and take note on.

My thoughts after testing these for about 6 weeks:

Recipe 1: This was actually preferred by my testers. I liked it, but it was a bit stiff. Probably will bode well for the summer and warmer weather. Overall, it moisturizer well and went on smooth and wasn’t overly greasy.

Recipe 2: this one I liked,  it it wasn’t preferred by my testers. They felt it was too heavy and didn’t absorb in as well. I think not adding any fragrance to it didn’t help as it had a tallow-y smell to it.

Using it on my Face: I loved recipe 2 as a heavy duty face moisturizer. It kept my dry flaky skin nice and if I put it in at night by morning it was absorbed in and I could put make up on and get thru the day without my skin flaking.

Now I want to try and new blend that is a mix of the two recipes. Add a little more Shea  utter and cut back on the tallow from recipe 2. We shall see what the results are.


Planning a Baby Shower…

November 21, 2016

If you remember last April (I know that was a long time ago) I planned the Bridal Shower for my sister around a sunflower theme. Well this November I was once again in charge of shower planning. This time for a baby shower. Yup, I’m gonna be an aunt again (December 25 due date).  I keep giving my sister grief that she had to pick the BUSIEST time of the year for me ;).  Every weekend is booked with shows and basically I couldn’t get there.  What I did…I found someone to help cover my event on Saturday so I could drive down to PA on Friday night, do the shower on Saturday and then drive home Saturday night in time for my Sunday event.  Exhausted doesn’t begin to cover how I was feeling on Monday!

But, it was worth it.  I don’t know how party planners do it.  It’s exhausting!  Maybe my OCD and Type A personality don’t help things…control freak has been used a time or two to describe me ha!  But it’s so worth it. The outcome was absolutely adorable.  I went with a Safari/Jungle theme (since we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl).  And when I do a theme…I do a theme :D.

Everything from the food tags, the gift bags, games, and decorations fit a theme.  Check it out. Pictures describe the event so much better than words ever will!

Decorations:

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Centerpieces:

 

 

 

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Family:

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Food:

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Some ducks just didn’t want to stay afloat!

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Cake: This cake came out better than I hoped for and made me do happy dances all day every time I saw it.decorations_cake

Favors:

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I saved the favors for last, because I am beyond proud of them!  I worked my tail off on these.  48 favors took me about 10 hours to make.  So incredibly labor intensive, but oh they were worth it.  I learned a few things to do and not do along the way, so I could cut down on the time a bit in the future, but overall these are not easy to make.  I created five animal soaps: Lion, Tiger, Zebra, Giraffe, and Gorilla.  The lion and the giraffe are my favorites, but I love them all, especially together. (Tomorrow I’ll have blog post on all the steps it took to just create these cute fellas).

And this is what happens when your brother-in-law gets hold of your camera :P. Ha!

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May we all remember those who gave all…

May 30, 2016

As Memorial Day falls upon us again I want to take a special moment to remember all who gave their lives for this great country of ours.

All gave some. Some gave all.

memorial-day-remember

In the words of General George S. Patton:

“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”


What do you want to see?

May 27, 2016

I’m back from my conference. I have a list a million items long (or so it feels) to do/study/experiment with now (on top of everything I already had).  I’ve been doing some tutorials lately which are fun and I’d like to build my library of tutorials so I’m asking you: What do you want to see?  Whether it’s working with a design technique or a specific “material” or “color” or anything! Let me know.

If you have a challenge for me let me here it! I’m all ears! 😀


Bubble Crumble Bubble Bath

June 22, 2015

I always loved the idea of the bubble bars. I DID NOT like the idea of making them.  Previous attempts had left me discouraged and not liking the time it took to make them or the results.  While looking for some bubble bath for my niece this past Christmas I came across someone who made a crumble instead of a bar.  I was sold on the idea before I even heard how my niece liked it!

I pulled out my old notes, did some more research, formulated a half dozen recipes.  Then tested them.  It was an interesting process to say the least.  I had lots of fun testing the bubbles in my sink.  As well as a few mishaps!  I finally settled on a recipe.  Had friends and family test it and love it.

I feel like a little kid again every time I make a batch of the bubble bath.  It’s great!  I forget how much I like to play around with new creations and formulate recipes.  Even the disasters are fun and moments I can look back on and laugh at.

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I have to give a shout out to my best friend.  I had this idea for the labels. I sketched it out and said can you do this?  We all know that final designs RARELY come out like the sketches, but she recreated my sketch exactly!!

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Emulsified Sugar Scrub

June 16, 2015

I make these solid sugar scrubs that I LOVE.  Bramble Berry first introduced me to them.  Over time I’ve made a couple alterations to the recipe to get them to be just how I love them.  The problem is they melt in the summer months.  It was frustrating having scrubs that I couldn’t sell year round.

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For the past two years I’d been trying out different emulsified scrubs.  I’d start with base recipes and play around with them.  I kept trying to alter them to resemble my solid scrub recipe.  I was never happy with any of them.  Then I tried yet another new recipe.  I liked it.  It was the first scrub that was anywhere close to what I wanted.  I set to work altering the recipe and when I was done I was in love with the final product.

These scrubs aren’t 100% like the solid scrubs, but they’re close.  They’re a bit more silky feeling and a little less “oily” feeling, but they still leave my skin feeling so nice when I get out of the shower.  And best of all they are packaged in jars and I can sell them year round!

Look at that beautiful emulsified scrub! Firm, but still soft enough to scoop out of a jar, and filled with skin loving oils and butters.

EmulsifiedScrub

 

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I did a coffee and foot (pumice) emulsified scrub too.

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