Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute handmade gift ideas

I often find myself making last minute gifts during the holidays - they are perfect for those friends who have everything and are nice to have around in case there are any unexpected guests during the holidays! Here is what I did this year:

1) Flavored liquors make for pretty gifts when packaged in corked bottles! You can get the recipes for these on my blog here. There is still time to make the Chai Whisky which only needs 24 hours to infuse! I used frosted glass cosmetic bottles that I had left over from some R&D but you can find Cork top bottles at most craft stores. Mason jars would also be lovely for packaging. You can make up sticker labels, or a raffia tie with a tag and the name of the infusion would be perfect too!

2) Handmade chocolates are always a hit! Get some nut and dried fruit trail mix and add to melted chocolate to make fruit and nut bars. Trader Joe's Omega Trail mix works well! Wrap in tin paper and a cigar band label or tag label.Good quality chocolate can be found at most health food and natural food stores or get melting chocolate from the your local craft store.  
how to to temper chocolate

For chocolate clusters get some raw nuts, candy them (great recipe here), and then dip the nuts into chocolate and spoon onto parchment paper until set! I made some yummy ones with white chocolate, candied almonds and freeze dried blueberries from Trader Joes! They go great with a blueberry vodka spritzer! (wink)
3) You can NEVER go wrong with homemade marshmallows! I used an easy recipe from the NPR website and the book "Make the Bread Buy the Butter". I added some cardamom to mine, or you can add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder for chocolate marshmallows or even some peppermint extract! Bags can be found at your local craft store.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sales and Giveaways

Here are just a few deals around the web I wanted to share!
Product Body is giving away 2 soaps of your choice and a new Bath Tea
Enter the Product Body Giveaway

Lotion bar Cafe is giving away a $25 gift certificate to their shop!
Enter the Lotion Bar Cafe Giveaway

Christmas Cupcake soap is on sale at Platypus Dreams

Lillian Skincare is having a sale on all Vanilla Mint Products!

Use code "Welcome" for free shipping on your first order through rep Ellen's at Mark cosmetics! I used these products for my wedding makeup and LOVE it!

Be sure to check out the Holiday Gift guide at the Rikrak Studio

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Infused Liquors Part One: Recipes & Method

 Grapefruit Lavender Gin,
Blueberry Lemon & Rosemary Vodka and Chai Whisky

A couple of years a go my friend Nikole gave me a jar of vanilla beans with instructions on how to make your own vanilla extract. I was thinking about her and remembered the gift which was the inspiration for these infused liquor recipes! I am thinking I will give them as gifts to my friends who drink alcohol and are looking for something adventurous to try!

In Part One I will show you how to make the infusions and in the second part I will show you some packaging ideas and recipes!

32 oz widemouth Glass containers with lids
Small Food Processor
Mortar & Pestle
Herbs, dried fruit, spices and citrus peels

Prepare ingredients by dry toasting and grinding herbs with Mortar & Pestle, chop or food process dried fruit and bruise fresh herbs and citrus peels. Add the ingredients to your glass jar and fill with liquor. Tightly seal and label. Store in a warm dark place and shake twice a day for 24 hours to one week depending on the strength of the herbs. Strain liquor with a coffee filter and fill glass storage containers.

Grapefruit Lavender Gin
Peel of one Grapefruit
1/4 cup of Organic Dried Lavender
30 fl. oz. of Gin

1) Peel the Grapefruit rind being careful to avoid the white bitter parts and add to your jar along with the Lavender Buds. 2) Add the Gin. Let sit in a warm dark place for 1 week. Shake the jar twice per day.

Blueberry, Lemon and Rosemary Vodka
1/4 cup Dried Wild Blueberries (Trader Joes)
Peel of one Lemon
sprig of fresh Rosemary bruised or 1 Tablespoon dried and chopped
30 fl. oz. of Vodka

1) Peel the Lemon rind being careful to avoid the white bitter parts and add to the jar. 2) In a food processor pulse the blueberries and a few ounces of the vodka until the blueberries start to break down. You do not want to form a paste, just break them up a bit. 3) Add the Blueberries and vodka to the jar along with the rosemary and remaining vodka. Let sit in a warm dark place for 1 week. Shake the jar twice per day.

Chai Whisky (or Bourbon)
2 Tablespoons Cardamom Pods
1 Tablespoon White Peppercorns
2 Cinnamon Sticks broken up into about 1 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger chopped (dried pieces are ok or 1 Teaspoon ground)
1/2 Teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon ground Cloves
2 Vanilla Beans washed and broken into 1 inch pieces
30 fl oz Whisky or Bourbon

1) Toast the Cardamom, Peppercorns and Cinnamon until the spices start to pop. BE CAREFUL - the Peppercorns with go up like popcorn if they get too hot! 2) Transfer to a Mortar and Pestle and grind to a coarse consistency just to release the oils. You will have a lot of large pieces of Cinnamon. 3) Chop the Ginger if necessary and add all of the ingredients to your jar and fill with Whisky or Bourbon. Let sit in a warm dark place for 24-48 hours. Shake the jar twice per day.

Stay tuned in a week or so for packaging tips!

For Organic Herbs and Spices:

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Stuff: Liquid Soaps!

Introducing my new liquid soaps available in Lemongrass, Rosemary Mint and Lavender Lime Fennel! I made this liquid soap from scratch with all natural ingredients and organic oils of Sunflower, Virgin Coconut and Castor Oil. I added organic aloe for it's soothing properties and all natural plant essential oils for fragrance.

All in all it is just a really nice gentle soap and I really hope that you like it!

Each 8 fluid oz bottle comes with an easy to use pump and is just $9.50 per bottle! 64 oz Refills coming soon! For sale in my Etsy Shop!
New Yoga Mat Spray just $6.50 per 4 fluid oz bottle! Made with the same organic oils and blend of antibacterial essential oils including cinnamon, rosemary and lavender! It cleans your yoga or workout mat and smells great too! A scrubby companion soap is coming soon!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winners of the English Apothecary Giveaway

Thank you all for the wonderful comments! The winners are:
--> - Grand Prize: A full size bar Soap, a full size Sugar Scrub and a full size Liquid Soap
-->Jenn U  - Grand Prize: A full size bar Soap, a full size Sugar Scrub and a full size Liquid Soap

Other winners will get a soap sampler, a full size bar of soap, 7 oz scrub and soap sample, full size scrub, or a full size liquid soap! Here they are (picked a couple extra!)
-->The Soap Sister  
--> Jessie Yang  
-->Alexandra C  
-->Kandice Smith  
-->Minuscule Dot  
-->Ana Maria 

If you are a winner please send your address to with "EA winner" as the subject line. Include the name you used to make the comment so I can match you up and if you are international please include a paypal email so i can invoice you for 50% of the shipping. If you are an international winner and have changed your mind let me know and I will redraw for your prize. I ship First class international but if you want to be upgraded to priority for an additional cost let me know.

Your packages will go out as soon as I get your addresses!

Monday, August 1, 2011

English Apothecary™ giveaway

The English Apothecary™ line was conceived in January of 2010 during a rainy morning walk, where here in Southern California we are in the middle of rainy season and all of the flowers are in full bloom. I caught the scent of something sweet, floral and citrus and had to run home to try and recreate it. I wanted English Apothecary™ to be an all natural line but strayed on my initial products, which were very popular but did not adhere to the 100% natural criterion I had drawn for the brand so I wanted to start over. I got stuck, then I got busy, then I got married, and so the line has been dormant for over a whole year!

I really wanted to do English Apothecary™ right with the product line clear and packaging all in order. It has been slow going, as it sometimes is when you are the R&D, Production, and Packaging departments but I am finally ready to launch the first products!

I would love to hear what YOU think about the new scents! I am giving away sample packs of 1 oz. bar soaps, full 5.25 oz bar soaps, full 14 oz. jars of sugar scrub and full 8 oz. size liquid soaps! There will be 12 prizes in all with two lucky recipients getting bar soap, scrub and liquid soap!

There is a catch - I want your feedback! Let me know what you think about the products and be honest! I will try to post a survey once everyone gets their samples and has a chance to try them, but feel free to leave a comment in this post.
Note - some of the packaging is not finalized in case your label falls off (wink).

To enter just leave a comment below. I will announce the lucky 12 this Saturday August 6th at 5 pm PST. Shipping to the USA is free but if you are outside of the country I will ask that you cover 50% of the shipping so please note this when entering.

The bar soaps will be available in
Lavender Chamomile
Lemon Honey
Orange & Blossoms
Peppermint Tea Tree
Bergamot, Lime & Basil

Scrubs in:
Lavender Chamomile
Lemon Honey
Orange & Blossoms

Liquid Soap in:
Lemon Honey
Orange & Blossoms

Monday, May 23, 2011

HSMG Soapers Showcase 2011

The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Conference in Miami was a blast, tiring (in a good way), and jam packed with amazing speakers. I was so happy to hang out with friends and meet new people -  I will tell you all about it later but I thought for now I would get up some pretty pictures of soap for you all to drool over! I didn't write down the names of all of the winning soap makers so if you see this and are one of the winners that I didn't have a link for please leave me a comment and I will add you!
 Best In Show, Best Packaging Melt & Pour
 Best Packaging Cold Process/Hot Process
Best Appearance Melt & Pour
Best Appearance Cold Process/Hot Process
 Best Scent Cold Process/Hot Process
Best Scent Melt & Pour
Best in Something Different

Some More shots of the entries:


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