Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer cleaning

We did summer cleaning today in the workshop...since I missed spring cleaning. Average temps of 95 degrees, hubby and I were out there doing our twice yearly clean up. Wiped down counters, scrubbed the floor, installed a big new fan, put down an anti-slip mat (yeah!), and consolidation of supplies. It feels great to be organized and I cannot wait to get out there later tonight and make soap!

You'd hardly think I'd have the energy, I mean it was HOT today and we were both getting pretty sweaty and very dirty. But I've got a clean and organized workshop. I cannot express how happy and energized that makes me!

I have a long list of things to make this week. Starting with 'Pacific Blue' and 'Lemon Bouquet', then moving on to 'Yuba Wild' and 'Garden Mint'. Our shaving soap is coming back as I've had quite the demand for it lately. Pretty low on goat milk soap, all flavors. And I'd like to make a couple new ones...something with coffee oil and something with almond. This may not seem like a very big list to some, but for a one-woman-operation like mine, that's a pretty tall order.

I may be absent for several days, as it appears my schedule is fairly full.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eco friendly packaging

I've been thinking about product packaging and shipping material a lot lately. Once you start down the road of all things eco-friendly, there really is no end. Once you find one solution, you want more!

I make a pretty good soap that meets my idea of sustainability, and a few years ago, I decided to change my soap wrappers to paper that was made with 75% post consumer waste and 25% hemp fibers. Awesome! But I wasn't satisfied to stop there. When I ship orders to my out of state customers, I used to use recycled packing peanuts (non dissolving kind). Not good enough. So recently I found this new packing product that I can get behind with a clear conscience. It's called "paper nuts". According to the manufacturer, they are:
"PaperNuts® are made from 100% recycled materials - old corrugated cartons (post consumer) and paper processing production waste (post industrial). PaperNuts® will begin to degrade when exposed to moisture."
So next time you mail order from Frontier Angel, you will find paper nuts in your box. Please recycle, reuse, or put them in your compost. I will still recycle traditional packing peanuts that I receive from supply vendors. A local shipping company takes these off my hands and puts them to use.

What's next in my journey down the path to sustainable packaging? My goal is to get rid of as much HDPE plastic packaging as I can. I am confident that I will find solutions for my eco-friendly packaging needs, I'm a pretty good problem solver.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Castile Soap

Have you ever tried castile soap? Traditionally, "castile soap" is a name used in English-speaking countries for soap made with olive oil originating from the Castile region of Spain.

My castile soap is made from locally grown and pressed olive what would you call that? Grass-tile? Anyway, it's 100% olive oil, which makes this soap super gentle. The kind of stuff you can safely use on babies and folks with extra tender skin.

In this batch, I have infused lavender, yarrow, chamomile, calendula, and nettle. Each of these herbs gives off it's own skin pampering essence. There is no scent to the soap, just a clean soapy smell. It's really quite decadent in it's simplicity.

Some extra care is to be taken with this soap. Since it is 100% olive oil, if you let it sit in a pool of water, the soap will get "snotty". Yes, a gross term but it is an accurate description of castile soap as it dissolves. Be sure to keep this one well drained and you are assured a long lasting, beautiful bar.

It's not ready for sale yet, since it will need a few weeks to cure. I'll be sure to shout it from the roof tops when it's ready. And as always, once it is ready, free samples at our market booths.