My felted soap are quite different from the kind you find available on many websites (see below). I start with the highest quality soap, not soap that is somehow ugly or nearly expired as referenced below. I assume that my customers want beautifully soft skin when they use my product and they deserve soap that has been handcrafted with organic vegetable oils and scented with authentic essential oils. So, if you don't make your own soap, buy the best you can. If you would like, I will custom make and sell round bars in batches of 10 bars, if you are interested. Contact me here (email@example.com) for costs and timing for your project.
You can buy sheep or alpaca roving online (Amazon or better yet support small business at Alpaca Direct) if you don't have ready access to sheep or apaca wool. I think even craft stores like Michaels stock it. Don't try knitting yarn unless you have a few decades to spare! I get my alpaca directly from a friend and wash it and dye it and card it (photos right show solar dye with coreopsis and madder-dyed alpaca being carded on a drum carder) myself with cool botanical colors. Doing this is also fun and easy; you can use onion skins, coreopsis,eucalyptus and many other plants you have ready access to.
Lay out your supplies
-soap (make sure the soap doesn't have sharp corners...you can use a knife or cheese cutter to just bevel them out a bit)
- about 10g roving per 4oz soap
- cold water in tub (we're in a drought, no need to waste water)
- hot water in tub
- protective gloves, if desired
- felting needle, if desired
- egg carton or other suitable drying surface
Wearing your gloves, if you choose, dip soap in water, start wrapping in thin, tight layers around soap. Continue to moisten as needed.
Once it is wrapped, start rolling the soap gently between your hands in the same direction you wrapped it. Do not use pressure, just allow the fibers to merge. Tap around the sides to make sure they are felting also.
If you are using a felting needle, you can use that to secure anything that looks or feels looser to use additional colors to make specific patterns. WARNING: it is very important that you poke straight up an down methodically and check your needle periodically so you are sure it has not broken off in your soap. If it has, you must either throw it away or, cut off the felting, find the needle and then start new. I would not sell or gift any soap that had been reworked this way, but you could use it yourself.
Keep rolling over and over and start adding a bit more pressure until it feels nice and tight.
Place onto the egg carton and place in a sunny/warm place.
Other directions from online sites
I just read Prevention Magazines post on Methylparabens regarding a study just published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that methylparaben, a cheap antimicrobial preservative used in hundreds of foundations, moisturizers, and ironically, anti-aging treatments, actually left the skin of mice paler, drier, and more wrinkled.
Parabens have been in the spotlight (as in negative spotlight) before, for their potential hormone-disrupting potential. According to Health and Environment online, the most commonly-used parabens are methylparaben (food additive E218) and ethylparaben (E214). Propylparaben can no longer be used in food in the EU due to withdrawal of its ADI. Methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- and butylparaben are all used in cosmetics. Methyl- and propylparaben are the most commonly detected in tissue and urine samples.All four parabens "types" are characterised as Category 1 endocrine disruptors by the European Commission in its database of potential endocrine disruptors (meaning there is evidence of ED activity in at least one species using intact animals). A study in 2012 finding parabens in almost 100% of breast samples from breast cancer patients (Barr et al. 2012, which attracted coverage in the UK Daily Mail).
The study cited by Prevention today, demonstrated that at high concentrations, methylparaben shortens the lifespan of skin cell that make collagen levels and can ultimately speed up cell aging and death by increasing levels of toxic molecules, explains Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. While typical creams and cosmetics don't contain the super-high doses used in the study, it still appears sensible to avoid a preservative that decreases the production the skin-tightening, plumping, and thickening collagen that keeps you looking young and healthy.
All of Route One Pumpkins Skin care products are Paraben-free and also guaranteed free from phthalates and other common skin irritants and suspected hormone disruptors.
This looks delicious.... I'll be trying it tonight!
Roasted (musque) pumpkin with walnut pomegranate salsa
ingredients:1 medium sized musque pumpkin (I prefer Sugar Pies, but you can also use Butternut Squash)2 tbsp. olive oil1 tsp. fleur de sel
ingredients for the salsa:200 g walnuts, coarsely chopped1 pomegranate, arils1 organic orange, juice2 tbsp. zest of organic orange3 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. soy sauce1 tsp. maple syrup1/2 tsp. harissa1 garlic clove, finely chopped1 tsp. fleur de sel1 handful parsleya little pumpkin seed oil, to finish things off
directions:first, half the pumpkin, discard the seeds, then cut into slices. leave the skin on (it renders soft with baking and it gives the pumpkin more character). massage it (just kidding, brushing will do) with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. bake at 200 c / 400 f for about 30 minutes. remove and let cool to room temperature.
in the meantime, prepare the salsa (the salsa can be prepared ahead): toast the walnuts in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, shake occasionally. remove, let cool. remove the arils of the pomegranate (to do this stainfree, i suggest doing it while submergin the pomegranate halves in a bowl of water). make a dressing with the remaining ingredients: orange juice and zest, olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, harissa, garlic and salt. add the walnuts, pomegranate and parsley. combine well. arrange the pumpkin on a plate, then ladle the salsa on top, liberally. sprinkle with a little pumpkin seed oil, for extra pumpkin flavor kick.
It's that time of year. Everywhere we go we see pumpkin "themed" products, from the ubiquitous latte to cookies,muffins, crackers beer and ice cream. So much so, that some curmudgeon TV hosts are arguing that pumpkin has "jumped the shark." (For those not familiar with that term related to Happy Days, click here).
However, there are very good reasons our bodies crave the REAL deal: it is chock full of vitamins, digestive enzymes and amino acids, plus a good source of lutein and zeazanthin, which is important for eye and brain health. One serving (1 cup) of pumpkin puree contains 1 calorie, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, 245% of your DV of Vitamin A, 19% of your DV of Vitamin C, 8% of your DV or iron and 2.5 mg of lutein/zeazanthin. It is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
So,bring on the pumpkin, but make sure it's the real stuff not flavored or scented. At Route One Pumpkins, we use real,locally and organically grown sugar pie pumpkin seeds to source our pumpkin oil. They are also rich in zinc. This year, the pumpkins have been dry farmed due to the drought,so they are super rich and concentrated in flavor, absolutely wonderful. we're making our own soups and deserts and freezing puree for the future.
While it is only early August, the organic Pie pumpkins that I use for my products are nearly ready for harvest. This year, due to the drought, they have been dry-farmed, but it still looks like a good crop!
I am often asked why I use pumpkin seed oils and pumpkin extracts in my products. Aside from the oils sustainability and the fact that I source them locally from an organic farmer, there are many skin benefits to pumpkin in the form of extracts, enzymes, peptides and oil from the seeds.
Pumpkin Seed oil has a terrific omega profile with vitamins B and K. It provides moisturizing properties to dry and damaged skin due to its high levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. I use locally, organically grown pumpkin seed oil – in combination with other organic vegetable oils- in all of the soaps and skin care products that I produce. And don’t forget to include pumpkin seed oil in your diet: it is also high in zinc, which is very beneficial for men/prostate. And it tastes great! For a wonderful salad recipe, please see my blog below. http://www.routeonepumpkins.com/blog/half-moon-bay-salad-just-in-time-for-thanksgiving
Pumpkin flesh is great for the skin because it contains fruit enzymes and Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Fruit enzymes and AHAs increase the turnover rate for skin cells. Powerful pumpkin enzymes are available in a number of masks. The enzyme-clay mask that we will be offering, (available 9/1) has the following ingredients: Ingredients: Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Kaolin clay, Purified Smectite Clay, Cucurbito Pepo (Pumpkin Seed Oil and Pumpkin Extract), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Vanilla Absolute, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon Essential Oil), Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Spirulina Maxima (Spirulina), Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed Oil). No artificial fragrances, no aggressive preservatives
The benefits of lavender are both well established and widely known and acknowledged,leading to a plethora of products with "lavender" scent (sometimes real essential oils sometimes synthetic). But there are several equally beneficial essential oils that are vastly underrated in the general population. At the moment, one of my favorites is Rose Geranium. Often confused with a Rose & Geranium blend, this oil is actually extracted from a geranium that is purely of a very specific species Pelargonium graveolens.
It is reported to have the following benefits:
Looking for an effective alternative to the usual creams and gels? There have been a lot of news lately about the harmful ingredients in these products, from propolene glycol (found in antifreeze to Triethanolamine (TEA). And, they are mostly sold in aerosol cans or plastic tubes that end in landfill.
Instead, try our nourishing shaving soap. Organic vegetable oils including sunflower, pumpkin and coconut provide rich later, natural clays help with a close shave and extracts including green tea, marshmallow and chamomile sooth and protect the skin. Cedarwood essential oil is known to help with skin firmness as well as a fabulous, slightly woodsy scent.
Available online and at selected retailers including Whole Foods Capitola.
Why do we love our Chocolate Absolute....
- Antioxidants: Cacao absolute is packed full of antioxidants that help protect body cells, collagen as also elastin from any damage that results from free radicals.
- Flavonols: Chocolate essential oil is used as an aphrodisiac because of the presence of flavonols, the active constituent of cacao.
Owing to its antioxidant properties, cacao absolute protects the body cells and keeps the skin young and healthy. It also aids sluggish circulation, thus promoting softer skin. Thus, it is added to skin care products such as lotions, facial masks, body lotions and treatments. It is also used in massage oils, aromatherapy and bath oils as means to reduce anxiety and stress.
It smells awesome. Feels great. 'Nuff said, right?
On a septic system? Worried about the environment, your skin or your children's skin? Try this easy formula to make your own simple and clean laundry detergent! From “The Naturally Clean Home” (Storey, 2008)
Homemade Laundry Detergent (powder)
- 3 cups washing soda (similar to baking soda; look for it near laundry products at the supermarket)
- 3 cups borax
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 bar of quality, handcrafted soap from pure vegetable oils (no surfactants or petroleum products). Pthalate-free, with or without essential oils for scent. You can use Route One Pumpkins soap for this and we will offer this at markets from our scraps and oddsized bars. I don't recommend pure olive oil soaps (too greasy) or clear glycerine soaps (most are so-called melt and pours and have synthetic surfactants and sugar alcohols added)
- Pure, organic essential oils (optional)
- Grate the bar of soap into a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the washing soda, borax and baking soda. Mix well to get rid of clumps. Add the essential oils, if desired. Mix them into the powder well to avoid clumping.
- Add the grated soap and mix ingredients together.
- Store detergent in a half-gallon mason jar or other well-sealed container. Use 2 to 4 heaping tablespoons per load of laundry.
These bath truffles make great small gifts, or a simple indulgence for yourself!
They are completely natural, so they have a nice sparkle and scent, but no (drying, chemical) foam. But, the shea and cocoa nicely moisturize your skin. You can add some more Epson salts to the bath which helps you absorb magnesium (which most of us are deficient in! Great for athletes, too, or those who suffer night muscle spasms.)
Take care when exiting tub, it may be a bit slick from the shea.
Now also available at markets and on our website.
Half Moon Bay local resident, with decades of experience in personal care and human nutrition.