Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tasty Treats from Heart’s Ease

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I already know Katherine is one of my best friends ever. If I ever had any question that this woman knows me, just take a look at what she put in a goody bag for me on our last day of herb class.

Treats, oh blessed yummy treats!

Here are some close up shots of the goodies in the bag.

Lavender infused honey from Bonny Doon Farm. You can’t see it, but inside is a single lavender stalk. I can’t wait to try this in some tea or slathered on bread with butter.

Heart’s Ease own Strawberry and Champagne Preserves. This is finger lickin’ good. I swear it. The moment I opened the jar, the scent of champagne just filled my head. I mixed this with a fig and walnut cream cheese and it was AMAZING. (Yes it had to be in all caps.) You can really taste the champagne and it works so well with the strawberries. Oh.Em.Gee. That’s all I can say.

I am saving the bread herb dip for a special occassion. It smells and looks so good that I can’t wait to impress my dinner guests when I put this on the table. You better believe I’m going to claim I came up with this on my own. Ha.

Also in the package was a bag of loose peppermint leaves which I’ve been drinking as tea. After any meal, and especially dinner, peppermint just makes me feel so right. (Especially now that we’re in fall) My favorite item was the card she put in because we both love Halloween. I have it tacked up right in front of my desk.

All the items you see above are from Katherine’s shop, Heart’s Ease. I am planning to go down in December, and I can’t wait to get back.

-Camille

Shampoo Bars!

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Recently I decided to make shampoo bars. Whenever there’s a major season change, my scalp always has an extreme reaction and almost nothing I do soothes it. I thought that in addition to hot oil treatments, maybe a shampoo with less chemicals and more nutrients would help. I modified my soap recipe and added wheat germ and neem oil. Wheat germ oil is rich in vitamins D, A, E and in proteins. It also draws blood to whatever area it is applied to and is said to help encourage hair growth. Neem oil helps relieve dry, itchy scalp and strengthens hair while helping with hair growth. I used my calendula infused olive oil in the formula because calendula is very mild and soothing on irritated skin. I also threw in some peppermint essential oil for it’s cooling effect and because it helps remove dandruff.

Because I’d never made a shampoo bar before, I decided to start with a small batch.

Oh boy, remember last time I used this mold?

I was a little nervous about how this was going to turn out but luckily for me, the shampoo bar popped right out of the mold.

So far, I’m a fan.

I was pretty happy with how the shampoo batch was turning out. Except for a little soap ash on top, the bar looked and smelled wonderful. Then I cut into the batch.

You’ve heard me say it before. “AI-YAH!”

I had thought to add a little orange oxide to give the shampoo bars a little sparkle. Unfortunately, I didn’t mix it completely through when creating the batch. Luckily, this is only an aesthetic issue.

Because I just came up with this recipe, I’m looking for people to try the shampoo bars and give me feedback. I have ten 1.5 oz bars to giveaway. If you’re interested in trying them, just leave me a comment and I’ll let you know once the bars are ready to go.

Here’s to a healthy scalp and gorgeous, shiny hair!

-Camille

P.S. With a peppermint fragrance and minimal coloring, these would be awesome for guys to try too. 

Chardonnay Soap

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A few days ago I made a batch of wine soap using 3 Blind Moose Chardonnay.

This is wine from our central coast which has been producing some very high quality spirits. I tried to find some contact information for 3 Blind Moose so I could send them a bar, but alas, I had no luck. (3 Blind Moose, if you’re reading this, let me know if I can send you a bar!)

Anyway, the chardonnay started out a beautiful light golden color but didn’t stay that way long. As I added water and lye to the wine, it turned this gorgeous orange color:

If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was beer.

I was really excited to mix all the ingredients together because I couldn’t wait to see what color this was going to turn out. I thought the soap would be a light yellow and had planned on mixing in some orange oxides (colorants) to give the bar a little extra character. This bar didn’t need any help with color. This is how it looked this evening when I pulled them out of the mold and cut them up:

These look like pumpkin pie filling.

These didn’t turn out at all like I thought they would, but I love them. They are scented with litsea cubeba (citrus smelling) and grapefruit essential oils. I am going to have them ready for a holiday show I’m doing and will also be including them in the beer & wine four pack sampler I’m putting together. Can’t wait to show them to you again when they’re ready!

-Camille

Randomness ~ Postage Stamps!

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One of my favorite things to buy is postage stamps. Most people don’t send letters anymore, but I still do and I love having fun stamps to put on my envelopes. Today I found these at the post office and had to have them.

These remind me of my childhood. I couldn’t wait for the Sunday paper each weekend just so I could get my hands on the comics section. There were pages and pages of comics and I read every single one while eating a huge bowl of cereal. The only comic listed above that wasn’t in the Sunday paper was my favorite one, Archie. My uncles had tons of comic books and would let my cousins and I read them all the time. Being a brunette pretty much from age 2 on, I always wanted to be blonde, so I decided I was Betty. My cousin Monica embraced her brunette-hood and decided she was always going to be Veronica. I always thought I got the better end of the deal because Veronica was always kind of mean and Betty was always sweet. Heh.

Here are some close up shots of each stamp.

 

My beloved Archie

America’s favorite lasagna loving tabby

Deeenniiisss!

I always wanted a friend like Hobbs.

Look at that cheeky grin.

I know it seems funny that I love stamps, but I really do. And don’t these stamps just make you want to pull out your stationary right now? I know I do!

-Camille

With Sadness

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As you all know, I’ve been in an herbal medicine class for the past year. Our last class was Saturday, and I’m still sad about it. This class was more than just learning about herbs. It was a celebration of all things sacred to women, a reclaiming of our voice in a world. Many of us have forgotten how women were the caretakers of not just their families, but of the earth as well. For thousands of years, women were connected to plants and listened to the earth’s needs and wants. Somewhere along the way, these skills were lost, and we as people suffer because of it.

For the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by other like-minded women looking to become caretakers of the earth as medicine women. We are women who believe in the healing powers of the green world and are on a mission to spread the word. I hope some of you someday can take this class with Kami. It will change you in so many ways. 

In another post, I mentioned that we exchange little tokens on our last day of class. Here are some of the cute things that Kami and other students brought:

Pumpkin pie spice, candles, herbal teas, body butter sample

Guess which one Ms. Katherine brought?

How cute is this? She is just so creative!

Other students brought herbs and plants to share with the classmates. My classmate, Janet, even brought California poppy seeds for planting! How cool is that? Oh and before I forget, here is how the Medicine Woman soap turned out.

The green got greener, but I still got hit by the soap ash monster.

I also made these cute little four packs of soap for a few of my classmates and our teacher. (Yes, Katherine got one and yes, Dani, one is ready for you too.)

The four pack has a Simple Soap, Camille’s Blend, Good Morning Sunshine and Medicine Woman soap.

I’m still thinking about how much I’m going to miss my herbal classes and my herbal sisters. And with that said, I am signing off to go make some herbal fire cider.

My name is Camille and I am a plant person.

So Um…

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Finally, you can see some kind of infusion going on with the St. Johns wort oil.

 

Above, St. Johns Wort infusion at 2.5 weeks.

 

St. Johns Wort at 1 week.

Yes, I know, VERY minimal. Maybe I should have listened when my teacher told us only to use fresh herb when making a St. Johns Wort infusion. Hey, I’m stubborn sometimes. But, I am still hoping to see even more transition over the next few weeks. Wish me (and my infusion!) luck.

Camille

Sugarloaf Soaps In the News!

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Sugarloaf Soaps is another awesome soap company owned by my good friend Rose Cunfer.

Rose is a soap design genius.

This is pure soap.

I love looking at all of Rose’s new creations. She can sense what people like and want, and does and amazing job of customizing a soap to fit each person’s personal needs. Recently, an article in the Hazleton Standard Speaker was published  featuring Rose and Sugarloaf Soaps showcasing all the work she puts into each soap she creates. It was a great article but only captured a little of Rose’s design flair. You really need to experience her soaps for yourself!

How fun are these little guys? What kid, or adult, would say no to these?

Sugarloaf Soaps is located in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. Rose sells her soaps at craft fairs, special events and by private appointment. Her soaps are also sold at Abbey Gourmet Coffeehouse in West Hazleton, PA. Check out her website (www.sugarloafsoaps.net) for more details! I’m hoping to get out to the East Coast to hang out with this soap design guru soon myself.

-Camille