Sunday, May 30, 2010

Homemade rose water

This time of year every time I walk out the front door I get the heady waft of of roses at the peak of bloom and sometimes I shut my eyes and breathe deeply lingering for a few moments to imprint the scent on my memory.

I decided to try capturing the delicate scent by attempting some homemade rose water! From what I know of the process I thought a home set up might be do-able and got to work searching the interweb for some methods! I found some things, made a slight modification and went to work with rudimentary household utensils (thought I was, in my mind, acquiring glass do-dads and pipe, rubber stopper and connector thingys and burners like a mad scientist to make something a little more sophisticated - next project!).

TIP: You can use your rose water by itself as a refreshing toner or add 10% witch hazel to make an astringent!

Stuff you will need
• about 8 oz of fresh rose petals - preferably that are chemical free and picked in the morning
If you don;t have roses as a neighbor or see if a local florist will give/sell you old roses (that thye will probably throw out anyway)
NOTE: I made 2 oz of rose water with 8 oz of fresh petals
• double boiler with a steamer
• ramekin or small heat safe dish
• tin foil ( a stainless steel bowl will work better)
• ice
• tap water or distilled water

What to do:
This process will take 3-4 hours depending on how many rose petals you pick.
1) clean the picked petals - mine were covered in insects and spiders so I just filled the pot holding my petals to the top with water to flush critters out.
2) set up your pot. Fill the bottom with water so the steamer pan is about 1 inch above the level of the water. Place the ramekin in the center.
3) Put petals around the ramekin, you can really stuff them in just make sure they sit at or below the level of your ramekin.

4) place a sheet of foil over the top so that it is in a concave shape - you can also use a stainless steel bowl.
5) set water to boil and then simmer - put a few ice cubes on the top of your foil - you will have to keep refilling ice and emptying water so a bowl would indeed be better for this! Just make sure the lowest point of the bowl sits above the ramekin and that it completely seals the top of the pot so that rose water does not escape!
6) You will have to refill rose petals every half hour or so - do not remove old ones. You will already see the rose water in the ramekin after just 30 minutes!You may also have to add more water to the double boiler, but just add a few ounces at a time so it does not breach the bottom of the steam pan. After you have added your last batch of rose petals let the whole thing steam for another hour and then you are done! Discard rose petals into the compost heap or back into your garden soil.
Place the rose water in a sterile glass jar and keep in the refrigerator - lasts about a week.

Has anyone tried making floral water with other types of flowers? If so what did you make and what was your method!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Natural Selections

I have been brewing up essential oils combos like crazy for the past few weeks! I was inspired by a lecture I saw at the HSMG Conference by Robert Tisserand, an expert in aromatherapy, and got to work revisiting my essential oil books and formulating up a storm! My goal is to expand my all natural line of soaps to give customers additional all natural options while still striving for a unique look! Soaps made with essential oils hit your body differently than soaps made with fragrance oils. They have the power to soothe, relax, calm, get you energized, - the benefits are physiological and psychological! Now, I am not dogging fragrance oils. Sometimes I want to wake up to the smell of fresh baked blueberry muffins or strawberry cheesecake, or a soap that smells like a far off place from my childhood that a particular fragrance oils has perfectly captured. Everything has a place. Right now I am mesmerized by essential oils and I hope you enjoy what I have come up with! FYI - I am showing some love to the gentlemen with a new beer soap with orange and spices that the ladies will love too,  and a woodsy spruce combo with a touch of citrus! The beer soap is made and pictured below and the Spruce is in production next week as soon as my larger sizes of the oils arrive!

I hope you enjoy the pics and welcome any suggestions you might have for future all natural soaps!

Natural collection from front to back: Lavender Lime Italian Soda, French Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary Mint, Bath Tub Brew
Castile soaps made with 100% olive oil, essential oils, botanicals and clay. I sell these as facial soaps but they are lovely for the whole body! from front to back: Unscented Castile, Tea Tree, Lemon Geranium

New Lavender Lime Italian Soda available at the end of June:
New Bath Tub Brew available at the end of June, made with organic fair trade red palm oil, Stone IPA, and a warm spicy blend of essential oils - ok, it smells like a pumpkin pie!
The newly redesigned Rosemary Mint!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two new English Apothecary™ scents

Sage & Chamomile
 Gently scented with green notes of sage and herby floral chamomile with cedar and smoke.

 a powdery delicate floral reminiscent of daffodil
find them in my Etsy Shop
Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A lovely cup of tea

I am enjoying a lovely cup of tea made from an oolong one of my clients sent! I love my clients!
This is the Strand Tea Company's "Hairy Crab" Oolong from the Fulian Provence in China. It has lovely hints of Pineapple and Coconut with a medium golden color and strong nutty taste. What a refreshing morning tea! I think it would be nice with a pineapple glazed chicken dish or a tropical turkey salad!
Do you have a favorite Tea? If so post a link!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Some pics from the HSMG 2010 Conference in Denver

Hello all! It has been so busy here at the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference! I took a few minutes to get some pics of the beautiful Inverness Hotel in Denver. I was particularly interested in the hotel - it has nice architectural features and wide open, but cozy and welcoming spaces. I will be posting a little recap of my experience at this years conference and all the the things I have learned!
Cool planters along the outer edge of a catwalk over the lobby.
 I thought it was a nice organic touch.

Shots of the lobby sitting areas from the catwalk.

Fancy guest room!

View from the room window. We were overlooking a golf course which was beautiful, but there was little green space for non-golfers to walk. My one hotel complaint.

Sculptures in the lobby - didn't read the display but I will get an explanation for this one!


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