Friday, July 12, 2019

JEALOUS MEALOUS: Cette Petite Maison Products With Provenance

Carol-Ann Van Blerk, a maker and crafter of all kinds of things, is the owner of Cette Petite Maison. This french term means this little house. Carol-Ann embraces a simpler lifestyle and her products are always created with sustainability in mind. She offers a small range of not only her items at her website boutique, but also products grown and harvested locally by neighbors and friends.  You can see the reason for her tagline, Products with Provenance.

Organic Lavender Lip Balm from Cette Petite Maison
Her lavender and rose lip balms, Aromatherapy for Lips, are made with beeswax and coconut oil. She also kindly shares a recipe for anyone wanting to make their own.
French Saffron 0.5gms
Cette Petite Maison's French Saffron
For the foodie and crafter, Carol-Ann is offering pure saffron threads harvested and dried by St├ęphanie and friends. Saffron is a key seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine in use for over three millennia. One of the world's most expensive spices by weight, saffron consists of stigmas plucked from the vegetatively propagated and sterile Crocus sativus, known popularly as the saffron crocus. ~Wikipedia~

Hoop Art - Vintage French Doily
Carol-Ann Van Blerk's Embellished Embroidery Hoop Craft
Carol-Ann loves vintage lace and buttons, and has been applying them to decorated embroidery hoops. This one features a vintage cotton doily backed with blush-coloured vintage Silk. She also added a scattering of vintage French mother-of-pearl buttons. Hang this handcrafted decorative piece with the attached hand-dyed silk ribbon. This is the smallest of the hoops that she is currently offering.

Ooooh Beads

As a ceramics crafter, Carol-Ann also makes lovely handmade lampwork beads, beading supplies and equipment. She has put that production on hold, however, so that she can concentrate on making other things.

Ooooh Beads

Am I jealous of Carol-Ann's crafting and designing? Jealous mealous! I admire all that she does! I do wish I could spend time firing handmade beads in a large, home-studio kiln, but I do many other satisfying creative things.

Ms. Van Blerk lives in deepest, darkest, rural France with a couple of horses, a dog and 4 cats. She says, I try to live a simple, responsible and sustainable lifestyle. Visit her websites, shops and social media pages to see more of her beautiful work and products via the links below.

Earring Hoops, Lampwork Beads, Earring Pairs, Slider Beads, Turquoise Beads,
Ooooh Beads

Carol-Ann's Websites: 

Cette Petite Maison

Ooooh Beads 


Cette Petite Maison Boutique

Ooooh Beads 

Ooooh Beads Etsy

Social Media Contact:

Ooooh Beads Facebook

Cette Petite Maison Facebook

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

CRAFTING: Melt And Pour Soap Making Tips 3

Easy Melt And Pour Soap Making Tips 3

Melt and pour soaps can be created and used in a day. Health and beauty benefits can also be quickly and easily added, making them more than sweet-scented body cleansers. The sky is the limit too, when it comes to combining ingredients, designing scents and mixing colors. There are various qualities of products at a wide range of price points. Pouring your first batch of melt and pour soap can be relatively inexpensive as well.

Once you decide on the melt and pour soap base and the color(s), if any, you can begin to think about what fragrance or scent you want for your handmade soaps. The fragrance will largely depend upon any recipe you may decide to use, or if you plan to design your own scent. You can use 1 fragrance or a mixture of 2 or more, and it can be mixed by you or bought premixed.
Hobby Lobby Something Fabulous Soap Making Fragrances
Something Fabulous is Hobby Lobby's brand, but they, like other retail craft stores, have phased out much of their soap making supplies. I still have a little left of the lavender and lemon verbena. At the Hobby Lobby online site, I found Soap Expressions fragrances, including Lemon Verbena, Coffee, Sweet Orange and Peppermint.
Life Of The Party Soap Making Fragrances
Life Of The Party sells cosmetic fragrances in many retail stores. One of my favorite fragrances is vanilla. Their scents are uniquely formulated to work in melted and liquid soap bases. You may be able to find their essential oil blends, like the lavender concentrated oil that I have. It comes in an amber bottle with its own dropper. The amber glass helps to preserve the oil by protecting it from light. All soap fragrances should be stored in a cool, dark place for this reason.

Life Of The Party Lavender Essential Oil Blend

You can choose a fragrance to coordinate with the soap color that you've chosen. I wanted a yellow-green color for the batch of soap below, so I designed a fragrance mixture that included lemon verbena.
Artsy Craftery Studio Melt And Pour Soap With Lemon Verbena Fragrance
Any pure essential oils that are safe for cosmetic, bath and body mixtures can also be used. Essential oils provide stronger, richer scents for better quality soaps. Life of the Party says that essential oils are known to be used to help uplift the emotions, encourage relaxation and stimulate mental focus. Some commonly used scents include rose, lavender, vanilla, lemon, orange, sandalwood, eucalyptus  and peppermint.

Essential oil use is a broad subject and more knowledge is needed to effectively use them than with synthetic soap making scents. Search for info online or invest in a good essential oils book that explains the different types, their uses and warnings.  If you are a beginning soap maker, it's best to start with cosmetic fragrance oils and blends.

Cedar Leather Fragrance Oil sizes
Bulk Apothecary Soap Making Fragrance

Bulk Apothecary offers a good variety of essential oil formulations, including pure therapeutic grade, certified organic and standardized and commercial grade.  They also have more than 15 pages of melt and pour soap base fragrance blends, including names such as cedar leather, champaca neroli twist, Adriatic fig, aspen grass, Bali mango, cottage lace, creamy nutmeg, Snickers coffee, south of France and authentic cocoa. They offer their versions of well-known and designer cologne and perfume scents, as well.

I like that in the Bulk Apothecary melt and pour fragrances descriptions they share a suggested usage rate chart for different products. Most recipes that you will find include the number of drops of fragrance to add. You will also learn through trial-and-error how many drops per batch to use to obtain the scent that you desire. Generally, depending on the recipe, it can take from 15-35 drops, give or take.

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs warns to not use any alcohol-based scents if you want rich fragrance. Examples are body sprays, perfumes and after shave lotions. They can evaporate easily from the high heat of the melted soap base, leaving very little scent. They could also cause unwelcome changes in the soap mixture. Keep in mind that some soap fragrance synthetic blends have alcohol bases. If you want to try using them, you may need to multiply the number of drops added.

Whatever fragrance mixtures, blends or oils that you decide to use, make your melt and pour soaps your own by trying unique combinations of scents, colors and bases.

Catch up with my other quick soap making tutorials:

Easy Glycerin Pour Soap Making Tips 2 ~ Colorants

Liz at The Cape Coop gives some great points on the pros of making melt and pour soaps versus the traditional cold-process soaps.

Information Sources: (Life of the Party)

Soap Making Books That I Use: 

Making Soaps & Scents, Catherine Bardey, ©1999 Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, ISBN 1-57912-059-8

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs, D Frantz, D Rodgers, ©2001 Design Originals by Suzanne McNeill, ISBN 157421190-0

The Essential Oils Book, Colleen K. Dodt, ©1996, ISBN 0-88266-913-3

The Herb & Spice Companion, Marcus A. Webb, Richard Craze, ©2000 Quantum Publishing, ISBN-13 978-0-7607-6655-2
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