Thursday, April 11, 2013

Elderberries and Garnets

In September, I wrote about here about a special project that I took part in.  A group of herbal friends wrote a booklet together about the herb of the year 2013, Elder.

Ever since we finished the book, I've been thinking about making some kind of jewelry with an Elderberry theme.  I had a vague idea of how I would do it, but with the PA Herb and Garden Festival in York, PA coming up this weekend, this seemed like the time to sit down and do it!

This is the result.  The "berries" are 4-5 mm round garnet beads and I love the leaves I found - they sort of have the sword-like shape and droopy habit of the actual leaves.  
I'll have these at the Herb Festival and, if there are any left - on my website next week.

I'm making a special trip to get more garnet beads on Sunday, so I will have more soon!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Something "borrowed"...

There are quite a few recipes attributed to me in an ebook I had nothing to do with (see previous blog entries) - the first one was really mine. I don't think I used this name even if it was oddly appropriate, but the recipe was mine!  The more I look at the recipes, I really don't think that even the ones I actually did share with her were correctly copied.

Back when we had our shop, we were purchasing a liquid soap base that we scented and sold there. I read that the addition of glycerin was all that was necessary to make it into a bubble bath.  My husband happens to love bubble baths - and he also suffered from dry skin, although our soap seems to have solved that problem pretty well. I thought it would be fun to try something special for him and I scented it with his favorite at the time, patchouli. That's probably why it only calls for a few drops of essential or fragrance oil - with patchouli, more than that would have been totally over powering!
The bubbles didn't last at all because of the addition of the oil, but they looked pretty as the bath filled!  Maybe that was why it was called "Disappearing" Bubbling Bath Oil.
If, by chance, you decide to try this recipe, be careful getting in and out of the tub because the oil can make it quite slippery.

Disappearing Bubbling Bath Oil- From Lancaster County Soapworks
1 C. Apricot kernel oil
½ C. glycerin
½ C. liquid soap
Add a few drops of Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil
Shake gently and use ¼ C. into bath under running water

The next recipe is completely unfamiliar to me. If this is your recipe, you can be sure I did not give it to her.  I have never seen this before! The reference to liquid surfactant is interesting - I think that liquid soap IS a liquid surfactant. Also, the recipe calls for 20 drops of fragrance oil, but the instructions only tell you what to do with 5 drops! (I'd add all of it.)
Since I have never worked with this recipe or anything like it, I have no suggestions to add.  Apparently there is a gel type product out there, but it isn't mine and, personally, I find this kind of yucky!  Maybe kids would like it.

Lime Bath Gummy Recipe - From Lancaster County Soapworks, Etc. (Not really!)
2 Packets of unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup of liquid soap
1/2 Cup of water
Green food coloring
5 T liquid surfactant
20 drops Lime Essential Oil
Plastic storage jar with lid
Empty the packet of gelatin into a bowl and set aside.. Boil 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Pour the hot water into mixing bowl and mix it with the gelatin powder.Dissolve completely. Next pour the liquid soap into the gelatin mix in the bowl. Add 2 drops of food coloring into the mix and also add your fragrance oil now (about 5 drops) and stir it very gently so the bubbles do not become agitated . Pour the mixture into molds, and refrigerate until set. To use, add one "gummy" to the bath.

There are still more to come...  meanwhile, be sure to visit Tina & Becky who are also sharing their purloined recipes on their own blogs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Purloined Recipes

PURLOIN
: to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust
 pur·loin·er noun 

So, apparently that's what happened.  Our recipes were purloined.  And they were taken under the guise of friendship...  see previous post.

Well, here are two more that I will mostly claim.  I can tell you stories about both of them. That's the difference between someone who just simply lists recipes and someone who has actually worked with them.

(This is a very generic type of salve or ointment.  We made something like this in a class many years ago when we had our herb shop.  One of the attendees called us after the class and raved about the salve.  She told us it had cleared up what she thought was ringworm when nothing else she had tried helped at all.
I actually have a hard time believing that I ever added lanolin to anything because our mom had an allergy to lanolin and I always gave it a wide berth because of her warnings.  I suppose the addition of the fractionated coconut oil could have been a little twist I put in there just to make it different, but it looks more like a way of promoting some more exotic ingredients.
If I were making this now, I would use an 8:1 ratio, liquid oil:beeswax for a nice loose ointment (both measured by weight,) which is more comfortable to apply on damaged skin. The base, or vegetable oil would be really nice if it had been infused with calendula or comfrey - or both! I would not add the lanolin at all, and the coconut is entirely optional.  I would probably use about the same total amount of essential oils, but more like half and half - so 15 drops lavender and 15 drops tea tree.
So mostly, this recipe would be completely different!)  
Healing Ointment - From Lancaster County Soapworks 
This is a good basic recipe. Lavender & Tea Tree are a great healing combination.
1 T Vegetable oil*
.3 oz. Beeswax beads
2 T Coconut Oil, Fractionated
.3 oz. Lanolin, anhydrous
20 drops Lavender EO
5 drops Tea Tree EO
Melt all ingredients together. Allow to cool partially, then add essential oils. Stir well and pour into sterilized container. *Can use Avocado, Apricot Kernel, or your favorite carrier oil. Can add 1 oz. Of Emu oil as a part of the base oils.

(Bay Rum is a pretty common item. You can probably find various recipes for it all over the place and they are all pretty similar.
We did this recipe in a class one year, just before Christmas. As we did sometimes in our classes, we did it for the first time in the class, but this is a pretty straight forward item to make.  The hard part is to gather all the ingredients.
At any rate, during the class we made a couple of bottles of Bay Rum for our own use and put them aside.  I was not terribly impressed when we made this, but a couple of months later, out of curiosity I opened it and was quite taken with the mellow, spicy, citrusy aroma that had developed.
I have no idea where the orange extract came from in this recipe, I would add some fresh orange peel and possibly some lemon peel too.)
Bay Rum - From Lancaster County Soapworks
Combine:
3 oz. Witch Hazel
3 oz. Rum
3 to 4 Bay Leaves
1/4 tsp. Allspice
1 stick Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Orange Extract
Steep for 1-2 months, strain and bottle. Put a cinnamon stick, a few allspice berries and a bay leaf in the bottle before sealing.

So, I suspect the original recipes were not only purloined, but also changed in some ways.  They are certainly not the recipes in my book nor would I use them in these forms if I were doing this now.

I wonder why she even bothered giving anyone credit for any of the recipes.  Was this to give her publication some kind of credibility since she had none as a formulator, manufacturer or even a crafter in this type of product?  And why change them if she was already planning to credit them?

Be sure to visit Tina & Becky are also sharing their purloined recipes on their own blogs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

If You Are Going to Steal My Recipes, At Least Get Them Right!


I already posted this on my Lancaster Soaps Blog, but thought I might as well post it here too, while I was at it...

About 8 years ago, I briefly met a woman who was promoting a soap and candle gathering.  My sister knew her a bit better and we decided to attend her event and help her promote it.  The woman was, at that time, trying to put a CD together and begged us for some recipes to add, so we helped her out.  There were to be live links involved and proper attribution.  Well, the CD was a bust.  It wasn't produced properly and I thought that was that.

Fast forward to yesterday.  A name we hadn't heard in years was brought to our attention.  Well, actually, not her name, but a pseudonym that I remember seeing somewhere before and knew it was hers.  It seemed she had published an ebook (apparently at least 2 years ago!) which, supposedly contains recipes that I, my sister Tina and another friend, Becky contributed.   Some of the recipes that have my name on them are more or less mine, but I have never even seen some of the others.  I have a file of my recipe collection and I can easily check these things.

For instance, she lists an eczema salve and a scar salve, both of which she attributes to me.  I'm pretty sure I would not have given her a recipe for either of those.  For one thing,  I don't have those recipes in my file. I do have recipes named for eczema and for scarring,  but they belong to someone else who shared them and I would never sell them, but could keep them for my own use.

I resent that she used my recipes in another type of publication without even asking my permission, but even worse, I am concerned that I am being given credit for someone else's stolen recipes.

In researching it, I find (marketing master that she thinks she is) she has posted reviews everywhere on the internet - same reviews under different names - she even has pictures of some of the fictitious reviewers, make of that what you will.

I was planning to share all of my stolen recipes here, but the more I look at them, the more I am sure that many are NOT mine or have been changed - ingredients added that I do not work with.  For what purpose, I do not know.

There are a couple that are ALL mine and those I will share:

(This is something I made for a swap. I wanted to see if it was possible to combine fizzy bath bombs and bath melts... The theme was the Roaring Twenties and I colored them light green and scented them with "Gin Martini" and packed them in a Chinese takeout box covered in old photos with a miniature martini glass tied to the top! )

Fizzie, Sudsy Bath Melts

1/2 cup baking soda
1 T cornstarch
1-1/2 T. Mango Butter
1-1/2 T. Shea Butter
2 T citric acid
2 T. SLS - Sodium laureth sulfate (In the ebook, this was changed to Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate which is incorrect.)
20 drops fragrance or essential oil of your choice
Mix soda and cornstarch together. Melt oil. Add melted oil to the soda/cornstarch. After mixing, add fragrance and coloring, then add citric acid and SLS. Pack into molds, place in freezer for 30 minutes or
until solid. Unmold and set out to dry for several days.

(I came up with this one because I like to take showers, but love the idea of bath oil...  This definitely not something you would want to sell.  When water and oil is mixed, it can and will grow any number of nasties...  A preservative could be added, but I don't add it here, I just use this quickly and make up fresh frequently.)  Also, this may make the shower slippery, so be careful if you apply it while you are still in the shower.
Spray Bath Oil
1-1/2 oz. Oil
2-1/2 oz. Distilled Water
1 ml Polysorbate 20 (to keep spray mixed)
Preservative should be added according to manufacturer's instructions. Place in a spray bottle, shake 
well and spray liberally after shower, before gently drying off. 

There are probably a few more I can salvage in another post...   And Tina &Becky are also sharing their stolen recipes on their own blogs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How does this happen?  I had all good intentions.

As 2012 ended, my books were up to date.  I even had my inventory done and finished all the dreaded end of year stuff for the accountant.

I was looking forward to the empty days that stretched ahead to organize the shop and give it a good cleaning.  A few soapy experiments were in the works.
There were plans for the house...  with three dogs now in residence, there are always floors to be cleared.
And after all the wild abandon of holiday eating, I could hardly wait to get back on my wheat/sugar free diet.  The diet started well, but that seemed to be all the good intentions I could muster up!  I decided it was just the low energy that comes for a couple of days with no sugar, but the energy (and resolve) didn't return.

I would awaken with thoughts of the things I would do that day - and then I would somehow manage to avoid them...  In my stupor, I did work of a new cuff bracelet and finally finished it a day or two ago.

The focal is a beautiful square hematite cabochon surrounded by silver seed beads and the cuff features silver fresh water pearls, hematite stars and leaves.  I have been imagining this cuff for a long time and was happy to see it turn out the way I imagined.

Meanwhile, we are almost through January and the diet has even fallen by the wayside.  But, today I seem to be seeing some light at the end of this dreadful tunnel.

This issue of the magazine is just about finished and I was trying to decide what to do first....

It seems someone in Spain managed to use my business debit card to make a sizable purchase which my bank has declined to cover.  Because I now find that this is at the discretion of each bank, I need to make a few phone calls to decide who will be getting my business when I switch accounts after 25 years.  We switched to this small local bank all those years ago when our big bank began treating us like a number.  Now they seem to have followed in their footsteps.

I have been putting this off and I think once I get past it, I may have more enthusiasm for the rest.

I may even manage to get back to the torch!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Back into the blog pool

I have thought about it for a while and decided this blog would be one of the things I to which I would like to pay more attention this year.

My glass (I haven't lit the torch in so long, there are spider webs festooning the  glass rods and the desk) is another thing I need to work with again, but today, it will be the blog.

This has always been my blog, not only for jewelry and business, but for talking about things that are important to me, sharing my life.  In the past year or so, I have lost track of this - my personal space - in favor of just blurting out things to the world on Facebook.  I suspect my withdrawal from the blog and glass has more than I suspected to do with my devotion to Facebook.  I've blamed it on the soap business - which, don't get me wrong is booming - but again, it's Facebook!

One of the reoccurring themes that I have seen, pretty much everywhere, but especially on Facebook is exclusion.  Maybe it isn't exclusion, just a terrible divide that leads to and encourages exclusion.

Opinions are stated in very black and white fashion, or a story is taken out of context - and the conclusion always seems to be that if you don't agree with me, you must be an idiot.  I wish I could say I have never posted anything like that, but, I certainly have.  I do have strong opinions, but unfortunately, it seems that these days, if we express them, we are either "hidden" or "unfriended."  Don't get me wrong, I've done my own share of that too!

Is it any wonder we all seem to live these days in a bubble of people who all agree with us?  When all you get in response to the things you write are a bunch of "likes" or other agreement, it is shocking to go to the news posts and read the comments.

I still don't agree with the "other side," but I do feel it is important to at least try to understand their point of view.  I'm not at the place yet where I can bring myself to tune in on the opposing side's "news" channel without experiencing a blood pressure spike, but maybe some day.

Maybe that way we may eventually be able to reach some kind of a mid point.

It isn't just politics, either, this attitude seems to find its way into all sorts of fields of interest.  My sister touched on it in the herbal community in her Dec. 30 blog.  I see all kinds of snippy stuff posted on glass boards and don't participate myself because I am just not aware of all the background stuff swirling around and fear putting my foot wrong as I attempt to enter.

I really don't know the answer, I just see a lot of stuff going on online that I thought we had all left behind in Middle School.

We'll see how this goes...




Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Sometimes I get involved in things other than jewelry and soap. 

One of the things I enjoy is helping my sister by doing the layout for her magazine The Essential Herbal.  We owned an herb shop a number of years ago and have many friends in the herb world.

Recently, a few of us got together to write a book about Elder/Elderberries.  Elder is slated to be the herb of the year 2013, so our timing is pretty good.  This is available only in PDF form and after receiving your order, it will arrive in your email within a short time.


So, come along and join us, a group of long-time friends, as we share our favorite uses for elder flowers and berries. We’ve even got a few uses for leaves and wood! Learn about growing, harvesting, preserving, making medicine, delicious dishes and tantalizing teas all using this very versatile native plant. Over 30 recipes, remedies and crafts are included, along with light-hearted folklore and lots of pictures to help you identify Elder. We’re certain that soon you’ll love the Elder as much as we do, and be finding a place for one (or more) in your yard or garden.

40 pages, 8 ½ x 5 ½ format. $5.00 Written by Michele Brown, Susanna Reppert Brill, Susan Hess, Betty Pillsbury, Tina Sams and Maryanne Schwartz

If you are interested, you can purchase the PDF through my jewelry website.

And if you haven't checked my website for a while, you may find something else interesting there! 
This little project has inspired me to make some jewelry with an elderberry theme and I'll be putting some new things up on the Elderberries page soon.