A Blog devoted to handmade organic soap products made in small batches

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Are you making your own liquid soap, lotions, sugar and salt scrubs? You need Jars.


Making your own liquid soap, lotions, sugar and salt scrubs?  You need Jars from the Jar Store.

Also find Jars for candles, food storage, cookies, candy, and as gift containers for wedding favors at the Jar Store.



A soap bar that repel bugs and mosquitoes

A soap bar that repel bugs and mosquitoes - Great for travel, hiking, camping and outdoor adventures - Soap that gets the dirt out.

Camping and Hiking soap - repel bugs and mosquitoes - Great for travel, hiking, camping and outdoor adventures - Soap that gets the dirt out

You receive one bar of our mosquito repellant soap that you can cut in halfbecause while traveling you want your favorite soap with you but do not want having a full sized wet soap bar to carry.

When you go campingor hiking you also want to take a soap that you are confident isbiodegradable, and has no polluting chemicals,No worries about upsetting Mother Nature!

Why Camping Mosquito Soap?

1)Recently the CDC came out with a press release stating the lemon eucalyptus oil was a good, natural alternative to Deet,

2)All the essential oils in this soap are present because they have a tendency to repel different types of bugs.

3)Anyone who grows lavender knows that you never need to use pesticides on it because bugs naturally stay away from it.

4)Citronella has always been known to keep nasty little bugs away.

5)The Cedarwood oil in the soap, reminds us of how pet bedding is usually filled with cedar chips in order to deter fleas.

Camping Mosquito Soap Ingredients:
saponified oils of soybean, olive, coconut & shea butter.
Essential oils: lemon eucalyptus, citronella, cedarwood, lavender

             Approx 4+ oz.Bar   

We offer Handmade Soaps made in small batches using high quality Essential Oils, Herbs and other natural soap making ingredients.

Our soap bars are not meant to be cute and displayed on a shelf - they are meant to be used to moisturize your body, make you smell good.and most importantly to clean your skin.
Available from:

DIY Itchy Stix for Bug-Bite Relief


Itchy Stix - Photo by Jan Berry (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jan Berry

Warm weather heralds the return of fun, outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing, hiking and gardening. Unfortunately, ticks, mosquitoes, gnats and other creepy-crawlies that like nibbling on humans enjoy this time of year, too!

My homemade anti-itch sticks are perfect for treating the discomfort of pesky bug bites. Their easy-to-apply form makes it convenient for letting older kids self-treat. The ingredients are all natural and can also be used on scrapes, scratches and other minor boo-boos, as well.

The base of the recipe is calendula-infused oil, but if you don't have any flowers available, plantain or violet leaves offer similar soothing properties and can be substituted. Peppermint essential oil is added for its cooling benefit, while lavender contributes anti-inflammatory properties. If you'd like, you can also add a drop of tea tree oil to fight infection-causing microbes
Infusing the Oil
To make the infused oil, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers to a pint jar. Pour a high quality oil, such as olive or sunflower oil, over the plant matter until you almost reach the top, leaving a little room for expansion. Cover the jar and tuck it away in a dark cupboard for about four weeks, shaking occasionally.
If you want to make this sooner, fill the jar with dried flowers and oil as above, but don't cover the jar. Place it in a small saucepan filled with a couple of inches of water. Set the saucepan over a medium-low burner and gently heat the water for about 1 to 2 hours to speed up the infusion process. Keep a close eye on the pan, making sure the water stays under a simmer and doesn't completely evaporate. Remove the jar from the hot water and let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

Strain the infused oil from the flowers and use in the recipe below. Any remaining oil can be stored in a clean glass jar, in a cool, dark place for 9 months to a year.

Itchy Stix - Photo by Jan Berry (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jan Berry
  • 3 T. calendula infused oil

  • 1 T. beeswax

  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

  • 3 drops lavender essential oil

  • 1 drop tea tree essential oil (optional)

  • 6 lip balm tubes
Step 1
Combine the oil and beeswax in a small, heat-proof container. A recycled tin can makes for easy cleanup or you can use a small mason jar.
Set the container of wax and oil down into a small saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches water, forming a makeshift double boiler. Place the pan over a medium-low burner until the beeswax is melted.

Step 2
Remove from heat and add essential oils.
Itchy Stix - Photo by Jan Berry (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jan Berry

Step 3
Carefully fill six lip balm tubes with the hot mixture and allow to cool before capping.
Step 4

Print the labels on sticker paper, available in office supply stores. Cut out and affix to each lip balm tube. Regular sticker paper will eventually smudge and smear, so if you plan to give these as gifts, you may want to invest in waterproof paper, available here.

Itchy Stix - Photo by Jan Berry (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jan Berry

Itchy Six Tips:
  • If you find the salve too soft for your needs, try remelting and adding a little more beeswax to firm the texture up.

  • If you don't have a source of lip balm containers, you can pour the hot mixture into a small tin or jar instead to dab on bug bites as needed.

  • If you're allergic to one of the essential oils in this recipe or dislike its scent, you can omit it. Other options include using all peppermint oil or all lavender oil or leaving the essential oils out completely. Calendula oil by itself is still a helpful skin treatment.

  • If you're pregnant, nursing or have chronic health issues, check with a health care professional before using a product containing essential oils.

  • Itchy Stix are not for use by infants or very small children who may try to eat the product.
Original Post:   http://www.hobbyfarms.com/hobby-farms-editorial-blogs/craft-hub/itchy-stix.aspx
Jan Berry at The Craft Hub
Jan Berry
Hobby Farms Guest Blogger
Jan is a goat-chasing, soap-making, homeschooling farm wife who loves vintage tea cups, word games and turning weeds into beautiful things. She joins the Craft Hub each month with DIY body care recipes and projects. She can also be found at her blog, The Nerdy Farm Wife.

10 Ways to Care For Your Pet Naturally

Natural Flea Remedies
In preparing to move this past week, I came to realize just how dirty my dog is right now. Joker is a 12-year-old Border Collie. He’s an old man, but still has a lot of spunk, especially when he spots a squirrel, or cows out in a field. (Cows – it’s all about the cows.) Then he’ll go and roll in the dirt (or whatever!) to show me how happy he is, and he’s covered in dirt and leaves…and possibly other things. So, how do I care for him naturally? Check out a few of my tips:

 1. Brushing

Before you bathe a dog (or a cat, guinea pig, or other pet), your first step should be to brush them. It’ll loosen up hair, dislodge dirt and rid them of a few fleas. I put 1-2 drops of high-quality lavender essential oil on the brush to enhance the shine of my dog’s coat, protect his skin and repel fleas and ticks.
(Note: Do not drip undiluted essential oils directly on your animal, and never use essential oils if your pet resists at all. Use extra caution while using essential oils with cats – they are more sensitive to the oils and do not have the detoxification mechanism that most other mammals have. Read more here about the best ways to use essential oils with cats or with dogs.)

2. Cornmeal

If your pet is really dirty, especially oil-type dirt, you can brush dry cornmeal into its coat, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it out. It will absorb all kinds of things. This is best done outside since it will leave quite a mess. And if they happen to eat it, it’s harmless.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the pet owner’s best friend. It is a very small coral-like creature that lives in the sea. When the shell is dry, it’s crushed into a powder. The powder is almost like tiny razor blades that cut criss-cross type cuts into the outer shell of invertebrates like fleas, ticks and mites. It’s harmless to humans and pets as long as it doesn’t get into the eyes or nose, to which it could be irritating. I use it on pet beds, the floor and other carpeted areas. Sprinkle it on, allow it to sit for a day or two and vacuum up the excess. I’ve even used it in birdseed to keep out the Indian meal moths and other such creatures. You can find food grade DE at farm stores or online here.

4. Lavender essential oil

I use it on all kinds of things. On pet beds to repel fleas and ticks, on the dog to repel pests and heal wounds and in the ears to get rid of mites and cure infections. It can even be used internally if there’s a cut in the mouth or something like that. I mix it with some kind of carrier oil like almond or even olive oil. Use about 1 drop to every 1 tablespoons of carrier. Find 100% pure lavender essential oil here.
(Note: These suggestions are appropriate for dogs. Do not give cats essential oils internally, or place in their ears.)

5. Cedar

Cedar shavings not only smell great, they also absorb moisture and repel fleas and ticks. Tip: It’s much cheaper to purchase them at large home improvement stores rather than pet stores. You can also find them online here.

6. Pumpkin seeds

Every once in a while Joker gets worms. It’s the nature of dogs that they snuffle at almost anything on the ground. About once every two months I grind up some pumpkin seeds and add them to his food. Within a few hours, most all the worms, including tapeworms, are expelled. I’m not sure how it works, but it really does! Find pumpkin seeds here.

7. Eggs

My secret to a nice shiny coat is eggs. I take a raw egg, beat it up and pour it on Joker’s food once a week. This really helps keep his coat in top condition, and the extra protein doesn’t hurt either.

8. Mushrooms

I mentioned in this article about mushrooms how they helped get rid of the cancer on Joker’s nose three times now. I’ve been giving him one capsule every 4-5 days as a maintenance routine. It seems to be working well, as the cancer has not returned in several months. Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, powerful antioxidants that fight cancer cells.

9. Sunshine

We need sunshine to produce vitamin D in the body and so do pets. If a pet is kept inside all the time, it can be subjected to darker conditions that can lead to eye problems. If you have an indoor pet, be sure it has exposure to natural daylight through a window or glass door.

10. Water

I can’t say enough about how fresh clean water is beneficial to everyone, including our pets.

Make a non-toxic flea collar for dogs

Though Joker gets fleas on occasion, I help keep them off  him with an all-natural flea collar. I don’t believe in chemical flea collars – they just don’t work well, and the chemicals are really strong. I tried one on my cat before and the only place I found fleas was right under the collar! Pests like fleas can become immune to some of these chemicals, Carbaryl (the main ingredient in Sevin Dust) being one of the most potent. As the fleas become immune, you use stronger and stronger chemicals and eventually it can poison your dog. I’m for the more natural approach.


  • 1 bandana or similar piece of cloth (find this here)
  • 10 drops essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, cedarwood, or litsea cubeba
(Find 100% pure essential oils here.)


  1. Fold the bandana into a triangle.
  2. Add the 10 drops of oil to the long edge.
  3. Tie on your dog. Enjoy a pest free pet!
(Note: Because essential oils tend to evaporate, you will need to reapply every few days. Do not use this flea collar on animals other than dogs.)

Originally Posted on:  http://www.diynatural.com/natural-flea-remedies-pet-care/?awt_l=FoAck&awt_m=3fZbwk7iqUtFQkt 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It is Spring - for some people it is the time for shorts - or not

Cellulite is a woman’s worst enemy and has no age nor weight restrictions, it’s that stubborn fat with ugly dimples on your stomach, thighs, buttock and arms, that seems almost impossible to get rid of. It’s a Brazilian secret! That’s why Brazilian women have amazing seemingly flawless toned bodies. Also many dermatologist use this secret charging you high prices for this simple treatment.

Caffeinated Coffee Sugar Scrub

What is it? It’s coffee with caffeine! The caffeine helps reduce some of the edema around fat to help women look smoother.

So simple you’ll be amaze using this method on a daily bases for several weeks, you’ll see remarkable difference provided that you also keep a clean & healthy diet! 

The sugar acts as an exfoliant and scrub, while the olive oil works to smooth and hydrate your skin, the caffeinated coffee does the magic!

Health Benefits of Coffee Scrub


  • Coffee oil is often used in aromatherapy treatments. The scent of coffee acts to clear a person’s mind of excessive thoughts. The scent also works as an anti-depressant and can combat feelings of nausea. Using a coffee body scrub will allow you to take advantage of its aromatherapy features.


  • The main chemical in coffee is caffeine, a natural antioxidant. Antioxidants have many benefits, including heart disease- and cancer-fighting properties. Antioxidants also neutralize the effects of free radicals, which can damage the inner layer of skin. This damage is often reflected in age spots and wrinkles. When a coffee body scrub is applied, the skin absorbs this antioxidant and can help prevent premature aging.


  • Because coffee scrubs are made with coarse grounds and salt or sugar, they act as exfoliates for the skin. Regular exfoliation of the skin removes residual dirt and dead skin to give you younger looking, fresh skin. After the skin is exfoliated, it is able to absorb moisture more effectively as well. All beauty regimens should include exfoliation treatments, and the coffee scrub provides it.

Blood Flow

  • Some people use coffee body scrubs to combat the occurrence of varicose veins. The caffeine found in coffee scrubs typically increases blood flow and may reduce the appearance of cellulite. Even the action of applying the coffee scrub can help with these types of skin issues because squeezing and massaging the body helps to release toxins and fats held in the skin.

Skin Texture

  • 8 oz Coffee Sugar Scrub - Also known as a Anti-Cellulite Scrub - Also as a Kitchen Hand Scrub
    Caffeine is a vasodilator, which means it constricts blood vessels in the skin. This action works to make blood vessels tighter and firmer very quickly, which is reflected in your skin texture.

    (Health Benefits from ~  http://www.ehow.com/list_7216438_benefits-coffee-scrub_.html)

    Caffeinated Coffee Sugar Scrub is also a Great Kitchen Hand Scrub that Neutralizes odors on hands from garlic, onions and fish.

    Available at:

Getting Great Soap Colors - Naturally

Getting Great Soap Colors - Naturally
Have you ever seen those soaps with the big colored chunks in them? You know, the ones everyone thinks look really great and gives you as gifts because they know you like natural soap? Sorry, but they're synthetic.

In keeping with proper definitions of natural, the colorants used in soaps should be derived from natural sources. As we explained in an earlier newsletter, this means the colors need to be truly natural, not just stated as "natural" on the label.

How can you know? For the colorants used in soap and skin care, this means herbs, plant extracts, and clays. But don't worry... this doesn't mean soaps can't have big bold colors.

There are three ways to add color to soaps. First, buy some bright pigments like the kind used in transparent glycerin soaps with names like "Magenta Sunset" or "Cotton Candy" and dump it in your natural soap. (JUST KIDDING! - Those are synthetic.)

First, some essential oils have their own colors. Second, we can add herbs or clay directly to the mixed soap. Third, we can steep herbs to extract their colors. Each has its own set of positives and challenges, though. In the following section, we'll explain how to achieve some great soap colors.

Here are some great methods for natural colors in soap so we can all forget about pigments.

Essential Oils as Colorants
Essential oils are normally used for scent. However, several essential oils, such as citrus oils, have their own color. This can be useful for some soaps. However, because of essential oil colors, some color/scent combinations aren't possible. For example, you can't have a pale yellow soap that smells like cloves, because clove oil is brown.

Direct Addition of Colors

This is the easiest way to control the color of soap. Near the end of the mixing process, we simply add an herb, clay, or any combination of them to achieve the color desired. Usually, the color of the dried herb or clay is a good predictor of the color of the soap, keeping things simple. However, here are a few exceptions... Organic Rosemary Leaf Powder will give soap a golden color. Organic Comfrey Root Powder, when used in high amounts, can give soap a dark purple-gray tone. Organic Rose Hips Powder, although yellow-orange when by itself, turns a soap red when a high concentration is used.

Steep Herbs to Extract Color
Some herbs contain rich colors that can be extracted by steeping them in oil. The ones that work best for this are Organic Annatto Seed, Wildcrafted Alkanet Root, and Maddar Root. This is the most complicated method of coloring soap, but the result is brighter colors. To achieve a certain color or shade of a color, we add a pre-measured amount of an herb to a known quantity of our base oil blend that has been pre-heated. Depending on the color desired, the amount of herb and the steep time will vary. Then, we strain the herb out of the solution and add the colored oil to our mix. If you make your own soap, this will take some experimentation, but if you stick with it, you'll love the results.

Originally Posted in the Botaine Newsletter.  Have a friend that makes his/her own soap?RECOMMEND THIS NEWSLETTERto them. 

All Olive Oils Are Not Created Equal

All Olive Oils Are Not Created Equal

Many sopamaking oils can be found in grocery store aisles, and after awhile it begins to beg the question — can you really use store bought oils in your soaps? While this may seem like an easy, convenient and inexpensive option, we did a little research to find out. What we found was sadly not surprising.

              The Test
We tested 10 olive oils total, including our own Pure Olive Oil and Pomace Olive Oil. These Olive Oil were small sizes, purchased off of retail store shelves at a local grocery store and a chain grocery store (generally, 8 to 16 ounce sizes; the smallest each brand had to offer). Each recipe was comprised of 100% olive oil, made in 1 lb. batches, had no water discounting and used a 5% superfat. We soaped at the same temperature for all 10 batches and soaped all 10 batches over a 2 day period to ensure as close as the same temperature and humidity conditions as possible for gel phase and cure time. We tested store brands as well as private labels, and every kind of olive oil from ‘virgin’ to ‘extra virgin’ to ‘light’. All bottles listed “Olive Oil” as the only ingredient on their labels.

 The Results

Here are the results of the tests after unmolding. As you can see, some of the tests did some interesting things. What’s more, all of the store-bought oils except one exhibited terrible DOS after only a month! DOS is a common soapmaking acronym and it stands for “Dreaded Orange Spots.” Old or unpure oils can go rancid in soap, producing the tiny orange spots that give DOS its name. They’re not harmful, but they don’t make for pretty (or good smelling) soap. This lead us to believe that while these olive oils appeared to be fresh and pure, there may have been extra additives or old oil stock in them that caused the soaps to go downhill so quickly. The most interesting example was a soap made with “light” virgin olive oil:

This had one of the most bizarre textures we have ever seen! The batter was extremely hot after pouring, and then developed a spongy, foamy texture. It also formed a thick layer of cake-y soda ash on top.

The same soap from the side. The heat caused some crazy expansion which bowed out the sides of the super-duper reinforced silicone mold.
Our Verdict
The results of these tests speak for themselves. While you technically can make soap with small sized store-bought oils, you can see that the results can be unpredictable and in these tests, didn’t result in the highest quality soaps. In these tests, only the soaps made with Bramble Berry’s Pure and Pomace Olive Oils stood the test of time and did not behave poorly or develop DOS. If you are going to use store bought oils, always do a small test batch before doing a large batch. And if you do some test batches, I want to hear your results after a few months of curing time. I was extremely surprised by the poor showing. I have successfully (for years) used Sam’s Club, Costco, and Cash ‘n’ Carry bulk oils with success. I suspect these results from smaller grocery chains were because the lower down the chain the oils get, the more options there are for adulteration and excessive aging. After all, who knows how often a grocery store turns over its Olive Oil supply?

The soapmaking process involves many factors and variables that can cause things to go awry, and the best you can do is buy soapmaking oils from a reliable vendor who can verify their quality and purity.

Bonus: An All Olive Oil recipe
Olive oil is one of the few oils you can use up to 100% of in your soaping recipes. It produces a lush, nourishing bar of soap. Soap made with 100% olive oil is also known as Castile soap, which is named after the region in Spain where the soap first originated. Castile soap takes much longer to harden up than traditional cold process recipes, so be patient when making Castile soap. It may take up to double the wait time before you can unmold it! Bramble Berry carries several Castile soap products, including Natural Castile Liquid Soap Base and Castile Rebatch.  If you’d like to try your hand at making an olive oil soap, the Buttermilk Baby Bastille Bar is a great starting point. Although it also contains coconut milk in addition to olive oil, it’s a great introduction to high olive oil content recipes.