Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration!

Now that all the busyness and preparation for the holidays are over, I'm hoping to set aside some time to enjoy surfing the net.  And, pinterest makes it so much more fun.  Here are a few ideas I've found to help welcome in 2013 and start the New Year off right.  (I've included all of the links back to the original blogs/websites.)
Get Healthy in the New Year!
Get organized in 2013.
Plan ahead for the next holiday!
Dream of Spring...

Look for a warm/comfy sweater to keep you warm the rest of winter.
Be inspired by vintage cards!

May your New Year celebrations be filled with joy, family, friends, humor, patience, love and of course, good food and drink.
Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soaps of Christmas Past and Present

I love the Christmas season and getting our home ready for family celebrations.  Some of this I must get from my mom, who beautifully transforms her whole home into a Christmas dream.  Her living room features an angel tree and angels surround the mantel and continue down the hallway to the porch, which is Santa's retreat.  It showcases Santa Clauses not only from different time periods but designs.  Scents are also a part of the season.  My mom is a champion cookie baker and has been known to fill the downstairs freezer with many batches of cookies.
Most of my holiday creative energy is spent thinking about Christmas Soaps.  Here's a look at some of our favorite scents and designs of Christmas's Past.


And here's a few special soaps from Christmas Present.

Wishing you a very joyous and blessed Christmas season!

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Treat Deal

Happy  Halloween  Everyone!

 No Tricks, just a healthy treat!
Fall  & Artisan Soaps  -  they just go together naturally.
No-Trick  Herbal Treats to delight all ages.
Reds and Oranges... The colors of Fall.

Indulge yourself and those in your life with frightfully decadent
Halloween Treats...  a la All Things Herbal!

All orders now through Halloween at midnight receive a FREE soap of their choice with any order.   All you need to do is mention which soap you'd like in the comment section during check-out.
Skip the tricks... Just treat yourself!

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Laundry Soap Story and Recipe

For many years I've made a laundry soap.
It's a bar that holds a special spot in my heart.  The reason?
I named it after my Grandmother Marie Jentsch who also enjoyed making soap.

Here's a photo of us from long ago - 20+ years.  My dad and I are on the ends.  My Grandma Marie is holding my daughter Caitlin Marie who, at age 12, suggested to me that I should make soap.  Amazing... but that's a story for another time.
I've heard stories from my dad and his sisters about Grandma making soap, although I was never able to ask her about the soap making process.  I started the craft after she was gone.  I do know that she would have loved that I am a soap maker like herself!
A while ago I was given Grandma's scrapbook of recipes that she collected over many years.  Many of the recipes are in her handwriting, others are clipped from booklets and newspapers, some dating from the 1940's.
I treasure these recipes and love looking over them, imagining a story for each of them.  I wonder to myself, was it early one morning as she was sipping coffee that a recipe caught her eye enough for her to cut it out and paste it into the book for safe keeping.  Or perhaps, she was thinking about my dad and his sisters, and wondering about making something special for them.
The book is fragile and so I gently turn the pages.  Twice, I discover, she has clipped out and saved recipes for homemade lye soap!  The old-fashioned laundry bar I've named after my grandma, is adapted from several old recipes and is excellent at removing stains.
Lately, for my own use, I've been making a batch of laundry powder which includes ground soap from the laundry bar along with other ingredients.
Here's how I make my own laundry powder.  First I grate our laundry bar on a cheese grater.  Grate enough flakes to measure 1 cup.
Then add 1 cup washing soda, 1-1/2 cups borax and 1 cup baking soda.  I combine all the ingredients into my food processor and mix until powdered.

I use 1/4 cup per load of laundry.
This recipe is very inexpensive and I have found it to work really well.

Grandma Marie's Yesteryear Laundry Bars can be found on the 'Special Purpose Soap' page of our website.

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Visitor To The Soap Workshop

Take a look at what surprised us in the workshop.
A turtle!
I had left the doors wide open while I was working.  The breeze was wonderful and I haven't had to worry about bugs these last few weeks of summer.  No one noticed him walk right in and start exploring.

But boy, did he surprise us!
Wondering what size he is?  Our daughter Colleen set down a bar of our herbal soap next to him. 

He's pretty tiny, isn't he?

And, the little guy looks just like a piece of bark.

I realized right away that, while small and seemingly harmless, this was a snapping turtle like the ones I used to see growing up near a lake connected to the mighty Mississippi River.

Look how he sticks out his neck!  Sure wouldn't want to pick him up after he has had some time to grow.  He might just snap onto our finger.

Time to bring him back to the water.

I was glad that we could help our neighbor return to his habitat.  I hope you are home, safe and sound, from all of your summer travels.  Enjoy these last few days of summer!

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Soaps for the Outdoor Life

  Can you think of summer without thinking of casting out a line on one of our 10,000 lakes?  My uncle shared with me his secret, using Anise oil to improve his catch.  Here's my take on this "Old-time Secret": I've taken Anise essential oil and created a soap that not only cleans your hands but helps eliminate human odors that transfer to lures when handling them.  Try washing tackle with this soap - it cleans and coats your lure with the scent of Anise making it more attractive to all fish.           Fisherman's Scrub Soap

  Here's one of my purple coneflowers from my garden, which I need to work in more often.  When I do, our Gardener's Healing bar is what I reach for to clean the dirt off when I'm done.  It's filled with natural ingredients that protect your skin.  I've added powdered echinacea root for healing and lots of honey to soothe and soften hands.  The poppy seeds and ground apricot kernels help to gently scrub.  Shea butter and olive oil are added to help restore moisture lost while working in the garden.       Gardener's Healing Bar 

  It seems that this year especially, the bugs have been extra aggressive.  Or maybe, our long Minnesota winters help us forget how pesty the creatures can be until the next summer when the sun comes out.  One trick I like is to keep a bar of Bug Repelling soap in our shower for the summer months.  I love the smell, a blend of 5 essential oils: peppermint, litsea, lemongrass, citronella and eucalyptus, all known to repel bugs.  Tip: When heading out for the weekend, don't forget to tuck a bar inside your travel bag.  The smell will linger lightly on your clothes, acting as a natural bug deterrent.       Anti-Bug Soap

  Summer living sometimes includes accidentally bumping into poison ivy.  In our family of five, three of us get poison ivy and two of us don't seem to be bothered by it...yet!   As soon as a family member thinks they may have been exposed to poison ivy, they wash with our poison ivy bar of soap.  Usually, washing is all that is needed to protect one from an outbreak.  If a rash does appear we do two things: continue washing the affected area with our soap and leave the lather on the affected area to dry.  The clay in the soap lather helps calm the rash and makes it itch less.    Poison Ivy Soap

  This specialty bar helps soothe the skin after a little too much exposure to the elements ~ both sun and wind.  Although we're careful about the amount of time spent in the sun, sometimes we over do it.  And when we do, our Sunburn Soother Bar is waiting for us.  This is one of those soaps that looks as good as it works, filled with skin soothing Aloe Vera and an extra helping of Shea Butter.   Sunburn Soother with Aloe Vera

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Friday, June 29, 2012

What's better than a stack of soap?

A ribbon wrapped stack!

A trio of soaps featuring Bergamot & Ginseng, Lemongrass & Calendula and Citrus Splash.  Available from All Things Herbal here.

A pink ribbon is perfect for a pair of our Vanilla Soaps.

Herbal Soap Samplers - guest size soaps perfect for traveling.  Available on our "Soaps with a Purpose" page - here.

Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Soap Party Favors

Just yesterday my daughters and I attended a Bridal Shower for a niece.  It's always fun for us to brainstorm and create custom soap favors for a special event.  Here's what we came up with:

The soap ribbons added a pop of color and hinted at the scent of the bar- blue was for Lavender Almond, Orange was for Vanilla Chai and Bergamot Ginseng, Green was for the Lily of the Valley and Herbal Garden, and the dark pink ribbon was for the Cherry Almond Oatmeal bars.  Each bar was tucked in a waxed tissue and the ends tied with ribbons.  I haven't wrapped soaps in this way before and I really liked how they turned out.  They reminded me of candy favors.  I think this wrapping also made it easy for the guests to bring their soap favor home with them.  And, we hope that sometime later on, the guests are able to relax and unwind with their soothing herbal soap favor as they reminisce about the special day.

Congratulations Therese and Rob - we look forward to attending your wedding this August!
Christine Kennedy
simple ingredients, extraordinary benefits

 If you're curious about soap favors we've done for other events, you can check out some photos here: