Tag Archives: Nature

Eremurus with bees

Honeybees got pink socks!

My eremurus robustus has pink pollen; I noticed this because the honeybees that are on it all day while it is in flower have pink socks (the pollen they gather on their legs I think of them as stuffing in their socks).

It’s hard to get a pic because the plant is so tall and in the center of a bed, and the bees wave me off if I get too close, but today I finally got a pic that shows it.

Eremurus with honeybees

Eremurus robustus with honeybees


Honeybees got pink socks!












Another very cool thing?  The flowers are a great illustration of the whorls that nature makes, the flowers open in a rising spiral from the base.

The season races along. . .

Summer is here; maybe not officially by the calendar, but I count the first rose and peony, and the first hailstorm, as the opening events of the season. I’m working on a scent for a Hailstorm soap…. The Rosa Primula is almost done, the species peonies have finished, and the hybrid peonies are swelling their buds. Mme Industry, the squirrel who lives by the greenhouse, has whisked her bits of wool scarf up into the tree to line her nest (it is a wildlife cooperative here :) and gone into seclusion to tend her babies.

Market is in full swing now; we had a month of cold and rainy and rainy and cold Saturdays, but things have been balmier recently. I’ve got some new products at market, including a hair polish, a liquid natural deodorant, and some new soap scents and seasonal returns including Huckleberry and Fireweed, both of which use local botanicals. On the curing shelf are High Plains (with sweetgrass infused oil), Cardamom (with cardamom infused oil), Summer Shower (a floral salt bar) and more.

New soaps at the market include Lemon Poppyseed Cake (lemony-almondy) and Spa Day, a crisp cooling blend of Tangerine and sweet spearmint, topped off with a spidery swirl of iridescent tangerine mical.

In the haircare department, there’s a new repairing conditioner for sun-stressed or color-stressed hair, some new shapes as I cannot resist decorative molds and fell into some batik and Persian carpet type patterns, and formulas updated to include more herbal infusions like horsetail grass, chamomile and rosemary.

Since I also take herbal jellies, vinegars and mustards to the Farmer’s market, the kitchen is full of the aromas of steeping herbs and the jewel tones of hot-pink chive blossom and luminous green mint vinegar, and the warm, rich toasted onion & honey vinegar that I just bottled off this morning.

Northern Lights Soap

Northern Lights

The latest batch of Northern Lights turned out so well I had to share pics of it; it’s not a ‘new’ soap, it’s one of my signature soaps for the past ten years, but sometimes the planets are in alignment or I’m standing on one foot just so or am in the zone, somehow, and the patterns are extra-pleasing.  This batch made me really happy. 

Scented to smell like standing in the garden in the dark on a summer night, the blend includes conifers, lavender, rose and sweet grass infused oils.   The ground is a nice blue, and the swirls evoke the Aurora, one of my favorite night sky phenomena.

Plus, this was the first batch cut on my new slab cutter, which makes quick and clean work out of cutting, vs. the old 14″ taping knife.  So much faster and easier!  The wire on this cutter cuts like a dream.


Green and leafy, fruity, spicy and sweet

Spring green soap 'Bright Green'The amazing smell of chlorophyll, that green life that drives the planet, is in full force now, and heavy on the air with all the rain we are having.  I tinkered a bit with essential oils to evoke that GREEN, fresh scent, and ended up with a blend of lime, lime leaf (my new favorite citrus/green scent; bright and lively with a hint, just a hint, of rosy somewhere in the background), lavender, lemony may chang and a splash of black spruce, with its jammy sweet, rich and ethereal notes.

The black spruce wanted further investigation, and I paired it with folded tangerine; those two essential oils are divine together!  They want to be together.  A sprinkle of poppy seed sparkled through the batch gives a nice visual interest, and by some twist of luck, the scent and those speckly seeds make for a very mango-looking soap.  All in all, satisfying scent exploration leading to two blends I will definitely use again, and a fun use of botanicals from the garden.

I had the Tropics on my mind, and made a batch of Gardenia, a floral that is hard to do well, as fragrance oils usually are overly sweet or metallic to me; but I had some Monoi on hand from a splurge (you splurge once in a while, don’t you?  I love splurging on things I can share, like Monoi)–it’s virgin coconut oil, infused with Gardenia blossoms, in far off Tahiti.  I lifted the scent just a wee with the nicest Gardenia fragrance oil I could find, but when I make the next batch, I won’t need it, as the Monoi came through very nicely.

Carrying the warmer-climates theme forward, I restocked ‘Cardamom’, and this time used some infused oil I had prepared from a pound of Cardamom pods; mmmmm!  Often customers say they feel like taking a bite of my soaps, it’s a running joke at the Market (I even have a sort of Victorian sign, tongue in cheek, “Please Don’t Eat the Soap”)—but the Cardamom makes me feel like taking a nibble!


Night sky with planets soap, detail

Recent soaps

Here are a few pics of recent soaps.  I have more curing, and on the sketchboard, but I wanted to share some of my favorite winter soaping. First, Night sky with planets soap, detailthere’s Night Sky with Planets, a deep dark vetiver scented soap studded with moons and planets and sprinkled with sparkly mica stars and bits of the Milky Way.  This is a bit different every time I make it; sometimes the moons are all crescents, and sometimes the planets have rings.  The last batch had one planet that looked very much like our home world!

Next, there’s Unscented cocoa butter soapa batch of unscented, rich in cocoa butter, soap done as a special request.  I laid in a marbled pattern done in bamboo charcoal on top as a  differentiation from the unscented goatmilk bars and also for a visual treat.

A new ingredient I have been experimenting with is gardenia powder, which I infused into olive oil and added to a tropical scented batch for a twist on my geranium-ylang ylang soap. geranium bar with gardenia


Coming up soon: a Blood Orange binge soap, a mansoap with oakmoss, a salute to the Selkirks, and a Valentine’s soap.