Friday, December 28, 2007

Spicy Colors

I'm really suppose to be concentrating on year end inventories.. but that's sooo boring right now! ;) As I look around my stock on hand, I came upon a box of supplies that I'd forgotten I even had! Jasmine & Orange blossom wax, Bourbin vanilla beans, a pound of dark Amber resin.. ohhh this smells so nice... and makes such a lovely bar of soap... and assorted spices... Yes, I fess up, in addition to herbs & natural clays I do indeed use many spices to enrich , add color and add gentle exfoliation to my bars. I usually just love the results. Many times I use a combination of both herbs &/or clays along with the spices... colorful peppercorns, saffron, nutmeg, clove, paprika, curry, tumeric, ginger....

Now, after finding my surprise box, all I want to do is make soaps! :o)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Season's Greetings

With the last of the years shows behind us now we can finally begin to enjoy this holiday season.
We want to wish everyone a joyous and Merry Christmas & a very healthy New Year.

We will be closed December 14 through January 6th to celebrate the season and complete our year end inventory.

Happy holidays,

Cricket Corner Soapworks

Friday, November 23, 2007

Goldthread herbal

A friend recently sent me a clump of Goldthread to transplant, along with some dried roots for infusing. This fascinating elder herbal has a remarkable history and quickly disappearing from our New England forests. After researching it's benefits I formulated a lip saver balm.

A little bit of folklore, history & goldthread usage....

Goldthread is aptly named -- this dainty little evergreen plant of the buttercup family has bright gold threadlike roots. Its lustrous leaves rise from a rhizome base, each stem divided into three leaflets with scalloped, toothed margins. The thin roots form a creeping network of rhizomes from which the aerial parts of goldthread arise. These rhizomes generally spread in the rich organic matter of the forest floor rather than the mineral soil beneath. Goldthread helps loosen up this otherwise impervious mat of needle debris in the cool shade of evergreen woods. Boggier settings find the rhizomes quite at home in beds of sphagnum, often favoring the drier knolls surrounded by sodden ground.

Native Americans had a ready supply of fresh goldthread available throughout the year for either chewing & oftentimes used as a dental 'floss' or making a tea. The vibrant gold roots, available even in winter under a blanket of snow, would have been as near as any old-growth forest. Good remedies naturally got shared with the colonists, leading to goldthread being so popular at one time that more of it was sold in Boston than almost any other indigenous drug. Such esteemed use fell to the wayside, most likely as our forebears' impact on the land altered the availability of this wee plant.

Goldthread has traditionally been used for mouth sores and thrush, which explains its other common names -- canker root or mouth root. It is sometimes used in combination with or substituted for goldenseal, another at-risk plant. Both have berberine, a bitter alkaloid with strong antibacterial qualities. Goldenseal has been considered rare for over 75 years due to unceasing demand, and some herbalists concerned about its survival have suggested using goldthread in its place. This will never be a reasonable alternative on a broad scale as the fine roots of goldthread can't begin to meet our current (though sometimes erroneous) zeal for goldenseal. Transferring such high demand to goldthread would soon bring about its extinction, so the better answer lies in using cultivated organic goldenseal with sustainable discretion.

The simplest way to use goldthread is to chew the fresh root. This is effective for canker sores, cold sores and mouth ulcerations. Goldthread is more commonly used in tea or in tincture form. Both preparations can be made with fresh or dried plant material. One tablespoon of fresh finely chopped root (or one teaspoon of dried root) per cup of boiling water simmered for 20 minutes makes an effective decoction. This tea can then be gargled for mouth sores or applied frequently for thrush. It can also be taken internally as a bitter tonic, 1 tablespoon 3-6 times a day for an average adult, for chronic stomach inflammation or digestive problems.

Goldthread is a plant of the boreal and transition forests that grows where humans tread lightly, if at all, and can be carefully transplanted into suitable locations that offer shade and plenty of abundant organic matter. You need to move these delicate rhizomes and their trailing root systems with earth intact to have any chance of success.
Replenishing native species is an offering of restoration that transcends commercial intent. Nor does the extreme fineness of goldthread roots exactly encourage a medicinal livelihood.

This is a plant to worry about and protect, not to exploit. Goldthread offers us a chance to redefine what 'value' really means and to take the gift of healing to heart instead of to the bank.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blue Immortale'

Our newest in the lineup of facial care products is aptly named, ' Blue Immortale'....

Bulgarian Rose, Blue Chamomile & Helichrysum combined in a truly luxurious facial cream to nourish & protect maturing skin. Organic oils including Rosehip, Borage, Shea butter, Jojoba among others, work to enhance the skin's collagen helping to improve skin tone, help remove those fine lines from sun damage & premature aging spots. We've enhanced this lovely cream with Heliocarrot, Calendula, White tea extract, Marine algae & our Botanica 12 complex formula. Essential oils of Bulgarian Rose, Blue Chamomile and Helichrysum Immortale' work to counter the effects of aging and enhance all skin types.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Holiday Shows

November 17, 2007 Bow HS Holiday Fair - Bow, NH
A very nice holiday fair, with 100+ vendors. Stop by & say hello!

December 1, 2007 Amherst Lions Club Holiday Craft Festival - Middle School -Amherst, NH
28th year running Holiday Craft Fair 150+ vendors. Bring along your XMas shopping list.. there's much to choose from!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Humble 'Pot'... Marigold

Calendula officianalis also known as 'Pot Marigold' is one of my favorites in the herb garden.. for not only their showy colorful appeal & addition to any garden.. but medicinal, cosmetic, culinary & dyeing benefits.

Yes, this humble plant has been an inspiration of herbalists and gardeners for centuries. Named for it's ability to bloom every month of the year, Calendula comes from the latin, 'Calends' or 'New Moon' and since the calendula flower head follows the sun.. it's also known as 'summer sundial'.

The flower itself means 'winning grace' in the language of flowers and you'll get no argument from me here, with colorful hues from pale yellow to bright deep oranges.. but the sweet calendula has been valued as a 'wellness herb' for centuries. Some marvel at it's ability to soothe pain and prevent scarring. It's also an excellent antiseptic, thereby preventing infections. Calendula is commonly used to soothe skin and reduce inflammation. Additionally it is good for small children to help alleviate skin disorders and diaper rashes. The dried flower heads are used to flavor soups & stews, added to the dye pot for some marvelous earthy golds & yellows, or added to a natural healing balm.

The flower petals are the most resourseful part of this very versatile & lovely plant and contain the highest concentrates of healing resins.

So, in honor of this wonderful herbal we have formulated one of our newest creams.. The Humble 'Pot' Calendula Cream is marvelous for very dry skin, problem skin, ezcema and even babies bottoms! Calendula flowers, comfrey leaves, Mugwort flowers in a base of organic apricot kernal, sweet almond and coconut oils, Spring water, rose water, orange blossom honey, beeswax, mango butter, carrotseed oil, Vit E and pure essential oil of lavender. An elegant face & body cream reminiscent of our summer gardens that will leave your skin soft & moisturized.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

August Spotlight ~ Monoi de Tahiti Offerings

August Spotlight ~ Monoi de Tahiti ~ Soap, Elixir & Creme

Monoi de Tahiti

Our Monoi de Tahiti 'nectar to the skin' offerings.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Soaping Tidbit ~ Monoi de Tahiti

The word Monoi means scented oil. A truly beautiful exotic oil from French Polynesia. The secret of Monoi de Tahiti lies in the delicate natural blend that is extracted from the rich palm tree & the local 'Tiare' (gardenia) petals.

The finished oil itself is yet another wonder.. it acts as a natural barrier against dehydration that may cause dryness, wrinkles and premature aging of the skin, and protects the skin against sun damage. It is by far the finest oil you could use on your skin to nourish, moisturize and rehydrate it. It's remarkable natural properties penetrate the skin and produce immediate results as it deply moisturizes leaving the skin smooth and healthier looking.

Monoi is ideal for all types of skin, but it is most beneficial for people who suffer from very dry, and mature skin. Because it is 100% natural, it is safe to use on your face.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

H.O.P.E... in a bar

Our local Oncology center asked me to make a donation for their upcoming fund raiser. I formulated this bar for my ddh as he is presently undergoing therapy. It's an infused herbal olive blend with just a touch of lavender, geranium & helichrysum eo's.

H.O.P.E .. Hope oncology patients everywhere!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spring Gardener's Soap

With all the ice storms & floods behind us, we can finally begin to enjoy Spring! Much cleanup to do around the farm this year & with any luck I will be able to get into the gardens to get some transplanting & splitting of plants done. Hopefully.. this year's garden club show will not get rained/snowed out :(

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Balms, Salves & more Balms

Herbal balms are probably one of my favorite things to make.. I really enjoy harvesting the new spring botanicals and making my own herbal infusions to be used in my soaps & skin care items.
Harvesting spring comfrey, chickweed, horsetail, goldenseal, violets, burdock, & plantain are among my favorites. After weeks of infusing they are then incorporated into my healing salves and hand balms.
Hundreds of tins of Old Goat Muscle Rub, Gardener's Hand Balm, Herbal Healing Salve, Calendula Baby Balm, Herbal Lip Saver & Bug Off! will then be prepared and readied for our customers and summer shows.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Soaping Tidbit ~ Hemp


How do you feel about hemp? I've grown quite fon dof it as of late and have begun formulating it into my new soap line, specialty creams & toiletries.

After much research I found out that Hemp is quite simply, nature's best beauty secret - and the secret is in the seed. Hemp seed oil and extract offer many benefits useful in personal care products. The reason hemp is so effective is largely because of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) it contains. More than 75% of the EFAs in hemp seed oil are poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.Hemp seed oil contains what is considered to be an ideal ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids - 3:1, perfectly matching the needs of the human body.

And while the benefits of hemp in beauty products seem magical, hemp contains no THC, the drug that gives marijuana its mood-altering properties. Hemp can not affect you in any possible way other than to give you soft, smooth, supple skin! How can you not love this precious oil?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

March Spotlight - Elixir8

' March Spotlight '

Captivating elixir of Jasmine, Passionflower, Lavender and Musk with skin
loving essential botanicals to awaken your skin.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On the racks!

On the run here.. but here's a few of this months' soaps curing on the racks. I', just loving this new ( used) baker's rack my daughter gave me.. a fabulous space saver!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Spotlighting Products

We've been so busy working on our new Spring line of products, that we have decided to spotlight a new product monthly. With much on our plate lately.. time has just escaped us... ya know.. that real life stuff :) So check back in March.

On my curing racks though are some really yummy new soaps, three new cream formula's we've been testing and a Spring Gardener's Skin Care lineup. I've been testing some new soy formula's as well.. still undecided if I care for them or not just yet.

It's been a dreadful winter so far.. power outtages, many ice storms, frozen pipes too! The joys of New England LOL!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Soaping Tidbit - Castor

Everyone who makes soap knows that castor is just one of those wonderful oils that makes handmade soap lather like crazy. I personally wouldn't omit castor from my soaps because I really think it adds something special to each bar.
There is some confusion though as castor oil is often used to super-fat soap. This means that it is ususally added at trace... this useage however doesn't add to the lathering ability of your soap. You MUST add the castor oil to your pot before adding in your lye liquid, so that the castor oil will become fully saponified in order to produce that desired extra lathering quality! And no need to cut back on your coconut oil/ PKO as these are typically the main lather creators... castor will simply enhance that lather & bring it to a new lather as well as condition. Happy soaping!