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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fragrance Oils VS Essential Oils

Some of my friends have been discussing to me what the difference is between fragrance oils and essentials and which are better. Both have some pros and cons but it is about personal choices. Here is some interesting things about Essential oils and Fragrance oils. You be the judge and to me its about personal choice.

Ok so what is a fragrance oil? images by thecandlesource.com

A fragrance oil is a mix of various chemical components, some natural (from plants or even animals), and some synthetic. They are carefully formulated and/or blended to the exact specifications of a perfumer whose goal is to design a scent. Sometimes they are formulated to smell like something occurring in nature (e.g. lavender, pine, bluebonnets, strawberries), or sometimes they are formulated to smell like an entirely new creation or concept (e.g. spring rain, love spell, winter wonderland.)

There are literally thousands of various compounds that each have their own scent…that blended together create a fragrance oil. Some fragrance oils contain essential oils as part of the natural components or constituents. Some do not. Some contain synthetically made constituents of essential oils. To help thin the various compounds, and to help create some uniformity of strength across fragrance oils, they are usually diluted with a “diluent.”

What is an essential oil?

Much of the renaissance of soap and candle making in the 20th Century was due to people wanting to get back to more natural ways. Whether out of fear of cancer or other health problems, wanting less chemicals in our environment, or just a desire for a simpler existence, people began wanting the things around them to be more natural. From the food they eat to the soap they bathe with, some people want nothing in or on their bodies but the pure basics. These are the warriors for the use of essential oils in candles and soap.

That about sums it up. Essential oils are natural oils that contain the “essence” of a plant. They are the liquid or resin that is distilled, pressed or extracted from different parts of the plant – leaves, flowers, bark, berries, root, needles, seeds, beans, peel, cones, wood, stalks etc. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, though some oils are gotten through other processes like expression or solvent extraction.

Sometimes the oil can come from different parts of the plant – a few plants (like an orange tree) contain several different essential oils in different parts. Orange essential oil is derived from the fruit, neroli from the flower blossoms and petitgrain from the leaves.

It takes many, usually hundreds of, pounds of plant material to make a pound of essential oil. It takes about 200 pounds of lavender to make a pound of lavender essential oil. It takes over 2000 pounds of rose petals to make a pound of rose essential oil. (That's why it's SO expensive!)

Essential oils can be used in making soap and making candles – as well as in making many other fragrant items like room sprays, lotions, bath salts and oils, balms etc. They are also, of course, the foundation for the whole practice of aromatherapy. For the most part, they can be used in about the same concentrations, and used in the same ways as fragrance oils. Remember, many fragrance oils contain essential oils as part of their blends.

Some people may be concerned about the safety of essential oils - and rightly so. Essential oils are powerful organic chemicals. But the same care should be taken whether using fragrance or essential oils in your candles and soap. Chemicals are chemicals whether they're created in a lab, or created in nature. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe to put in or on your body all the time.

Speaking of myself personally, some of the citrus and mint essential oils cause my skin to get irritated. But this does not happen with everyone. The same goes for some of my fragrance oils as well.

Ok so you ask what is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils – especially as they relate to candle making and soap making?

Well…if you’re a candle maker or soap maker who uses them interchangeably – who makes candles and makes soaps that just smell good (to you and others,) regardless of whether it’s natural or not, then there’s probably not much difference at all. As long as it’s a quality fragrance or essential oil, and has been tested to be safe in the application you're using it for. But if you’re dedicated to making only natural soaps and natural candles, then there is all the difference in the world! Few topics in soap making and candle making have engendered so much discussion, debate and controversy as fragrance oils vs. essential oils in candle and soap making.

So which is better?

I do believe that essential oils are far better than fragrance oil as far as being natural. I use both of them in my soaps and in my bath and body products. They both have their proper uses, cautions and advantages. Like with all things, it is up to us candle makers and soap makers to learn all we can so that we can make educated choices about the products we make.

If I want a all natural soap then the essential oil will be the best choice for me. I have both natural and fragrance oils soaps available. I also have a soap with NO essential oils or fragrance oil in it. Completely fragrance free. For those who are sensitive to any type of fragrances/

This is our Unscented Shaving Soap. Great for people with super sensitive skin. Now it is not colorful with pretty swirls but it works great. It has added Benonite Clay for a soft and silky feel to it. I think you will just love it.

In closing. Essential oils are far more expensive than fragrance oils and sometimes the budget allows for me to purchase the essential oils but for the most part, good quality fragrance oils is first choice for most of my customers. If I had the choice and Essential oils were not so expensive, I would be buying more essential oils because of the natural essence you get from them.

I like to provide both. Fragrance oils have a LARGE variety of fragrances to choose from. So there you have it in a nut shell. I hope this better explains the difference and a well informed consumer is a better buying consumer.

information gathered from http://candleandsoap.about.com/

Friday, July 18, 2008

Do You Remember Me?

This was so touching and moving, I had to put this up. I so support our troops in Iraqi. Yes I remember you and you are not forgotten.

My husband was in the Air Force along with many of my family members that have served in Korea, Vietnam, some during Desert Storm. I so support our troops. Do you support our troops? If so, leave a comment and let me know if you watched the video.

Freedom is NOT Free!

Remember Me


Michelle

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Some Helpful tips



Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.




Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!





Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking. To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.





For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mintsin double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.





Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.




Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simplychop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!




Reheat Pizza

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.




Easy Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.




Expanding Frosting

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.





Reheating refrigerated bread

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.





Newspaper weeds away

Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.





Broken Glass

Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.




No More Mosquitoes

Place a dryer sheet in your pocket.It will keep the mosquitoes away. I haven't tried this but I hope this works as I hate the little buggers





Squirrel Away!

To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper.The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.





Flexible vacuum

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.



Reducing Static Cling

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose.

Place pin in seam of slacks and... ta da!... static is gone.






Measuring Cups

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water.Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.


Foggy Windshield?

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car . When the window s fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!





Reopening envelope

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside,just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.





Conditioner

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner?you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.


Goodbye Fruit Flies

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!





Get Rid of Ants

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it worksand you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!





INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS

The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material ... I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well ...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit.

You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ..well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with
hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.

He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!

Note: I went to my dryer and tested my screen by running water on it. The water ranthrough a little bit but mostly collected all the water in the mesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water and a nylon brush and I had it done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it... the water ran right thru the screen! There wasn't any puddling at all! That repairman knew what he was talking about!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Selling Website for Handmade



Madeitmyself.com

I stumbled upon this new website that I hope does as well as Etsy but it is slow getting started because not many people know about it. When I started on Etsy I made a sale within a few days but this website is slightly different then Etsy. You don't have a shop like Etsy which is a drawback you can only list your items and it will show up in a specific category that you selected.

Ok let me tell you more about it.

Listing fees: For now it is in Beta mode and everything is free except for the final fees of 3% of the item.

How long can you list?

Listing fees per item:

30 days = $0.10
60 days = $0.20
120 days = $0.25
Commission fees per item: 3% flat rate

Listing fees apply when an item is listed (or multiple quantities of items are listed) onto Madeitmyself.com. Commission charges take place only when an item is sold.

(e.g. You are selling 20 of the same item, 20 listing charges will apply.)

They also have a feedback system similar to Etsy as well.

Billing

All outstanding invoices must be paid within 30 days, for services rendered to our vendors. The MiM invoicing system will send notice of intent of suspension after 14 days. A final notice will be given on the 28th day past due. Any account with a delinquent invoice of 30 or more days past due, will result in being locked, with limited privileges. You will only be able to pay your invoice from your account. After 90 days, any outstanding bill will be moved to collections and the unpaid account will be terminated indefinitely.


What are other features the site has? Glad you asked they also have what you call a E-coupon which is a way of allowing a negotiated item to be sold at the settled, discounted rate between the buyer and the seller. After negotiating a price, you will be given an e-coupon with a unique code for the discounted price. When you go to purchase the item, enter the unique e-coupon pin and voila!

Also there is a Negotiate link for each seller. The negotiations link to allow you to negotiate the original price with a artisan. However, a artisan may not want to negotiate, so we ask you to please respect their art and self worth by not being too bossy about talking them into lowering their price.

So the website is still new and I really do hope it takes off as much as Etsy. The more exposure for the this new selling venue the better so if you made it yourself, come on over to it.

Click on the link to see all my listings Madeitmyself.com

~Michelle

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We're Back!!!!

Yes we reopened on Monday July 7th and couldn't wait to get started making my products again. The response was so overwhelming. I couldn't believe how many of my customers were waiting for me to return. Thank you for being so patient during my vacation and my move. We are so enjoying our new home. Ok so what do we have new for you. Soap, soap and more soap whohooo. I do have some shampoos and conditioners ready but for some reasons I can't get the right picture to come out the way I wanted to so that has been the hold up with those. I have been a bit anal lately about how my pictures should come out and I want to improve on my picture taking skills as they are really bad. I don't like to use to much in my backgrounds as you can see as I like to keep it really simple and focus more on the products more so what is in the background and simple white works best for me but for these bottles of shampoo and conditioners don't seem to work so I have to figure something out.

Whats new? I have about 6 new soaps that I have been working on for the past month.

Olive Blossom: What can I say about this lovely soap. If you love exotic clean but not flowery scents, then this is for you. This one is so hard to describe--it's so very sophisticated upscale and spa-like. Not floral in a heavy way, not perfumy in an overwhelming way, just one beautiful fragrance. This one has been drawing tons of raves from all over the place.

Blackberry Sage: This is one of my favorites scents too. I bought some incense in this scent and just totally fell in love with the scent that I had to make a soap in this scent. A wonderful blend of blackberry and a hint of sage to compliment this soap.

Whipped Dragons Breathe: This soap didn't turn out quite the way I wanted it as far as the look and feel of of it but thats ok. The colors didn't blend very well but hey they all can't be perfect every time. I was intrigue with this fragrance and thought it had such a unique smell to it. This has a light earthy scent with a hint of spice and a whisper of florals. Just perfect. I will have more whipped soaps coming back that customers have been asking for such as the Whipped Monkey Farts. That was a big hit with the customers. Thank you!


Pure Clean:
If you have tried my Clean fragrance before, then you know this is definitely a winner. I have decided that I will make some soaps with the fragrance that customers raved about and were most requested. So here ya go. This scent combines the fragrance notes of litsea cubeba, orange, sweet lime, pink grapefruit, passion lily, rose geranium, and white musk. Clean Sweet Layer combines the fragrance notes of sweet orange, grapefruit, lime, neroli, and rose to add a sweet feminine layer to the scent while maintaining the soapy, clean essence. A must have!

Chamomile Soap: This soap is just plain ole great. I added a pinch of real chamomile to the soap to give it a extra boost of something good on your skin. This scent has a light aroma of freshly picked chamomile flowers with hints of fresh green herbs.

And last but certainly not least. Back by popular demand

Sage & Citrus: One of my all time best sellers. A Wonderful aroma of top notes of mandarin, tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, and lemon rinds, with base notes of fresh sage leaves. I also added calendula petals to the soap to give it a nice fresh clean look to it and also not bad for your skin either.

You can find these wonderful soaps at our Etsy shop and our website.

~Michelle

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We Will Be Back Soon!

We will be back up and running again as soon as possible. So what will be new? New soaps, shampoos, conditioners, whipped sugar scrubs that I have been working on and much more. I am currently low on supplies so I need to take a week to order more from my suppliers. The move has made everything so disorganized and I need to organize my supplies to for the reopening. I can't wait to get started again. I did manage to make some new soaps during my time off and they are waiting and ready to be listed. I will keep you up to date as to when I will be ready to open. I am hoping for by the end of next week into July 14th depending on when my supplies arrive.

~Michelle