Mother's Day 2004  







Letter from the Editor:  

This issue is largely about nurturing ourselves as women as Mother's Day approaches, and what that really means.  We will address the needs of men more toward Father's Day, as men are equally important.  Some advice in this news issue can be addressed to either sex.  I found Leane's most recent article, "From Sand to Pearls: Nurturing Yourself," most moving and true to even myself.  Regardless of my income brackets, I never felt I could afford to pay attention to myself, or if I did, I must be ignoring important duties for other people who depend on me.  I rarely felt I could afford a vacation, or a trip to a spa.  Many high end professionals and peers always made it clear I could NOT afford to continually work 108 hours a week with no time out.  Most of my best ideas did come from what few vacations I took.  I realized it is hard to be objective when you are always in the frying pan.  So, in this issue, lets get ready to be a little selfish!  

The additions of essential oils expert Leane Ketcherside and Chef Greg Engelhardt to our family has had a profound impact on my own care, and  the way I make better use of my own skin care laboratory as well as my kitchen.  With the kids in college, eating for one these days is just such a bummer. I began to eat "door food," which is  whatever is in the fridge door and that often is quite gross.  Thanks to Greg's inspiration, I just cannot do that anymore and am re-learning respect for food.  I am now growing greens and things I have always wanted to do--but lacked that extra motivation.   I am coming to appreciate all areas of my life, not just parts, and it is rewarding.  I am taking Greg's invitation up to fly to Las Vegas and see him in action, as well as meet his hardest critiques, his parents.   While there, I will also be checking out the soap and candle makers, to be sure.  I may also be attending a wedding with him in June in Naples, Italy, near where the Balsamico is made that Greg just adores so much.  

Check out our clearance section, as we are selling items such as sour cherry flavor and sour apple flavor oil. We decided to just sell sour alone and allow people to mix their flavor.  The same goes with apricots and cream.  Vanilla and apricot can be mixed to achieve this.  Click here for clearance.  We have also set up a serious wholesale site for those customers who prefer to buy in larger volume.  The minimum order is $100 in that section of our site.  Click here to see our wholesale pricing.  

Our next issue is wonderful and will address many important up and coming summer issues.  Insect repellent, for example, is selling like mad here, and we have not really discussed it this year.  I guess the public is very worried about the up and coming mosquito season.  Citronella is really selling.  But we do have other classy and more effective ways and formulas to handle these insects, above and beyond the normal Citronella formula.  Leane found Catnip Essential oil is much more effective that DEET, and she will be offering formulas and combinations we can enjoy, as well as an article I will be writing again about making the out door SoyWax™ repellent candles in galvanized buckets.  There is an item you can make for $5 that would cost $30 or more in the stores!   Greg says his Microgreens grew in one week and we will start selling the Microgreen kit soon.  He wanted everything  perfect, as usual.   

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Designer Fragrance Oils

FlavorsDon't ask me why I do everything the hard way first.  Many of my clients have been asking me to get the VS "Rapture" type and other designer scents that sell like hot cakes for them.  I have held off for a few years on introducing more pricey designer fragrances to our supply company, as I try to think like the consumer I am.  The raw materials do cost much more and so on.  But after I smelled my chemist version of the top designer fragrances, I just fell in love with all of them.  I have just come across so many "like this" or "that" supposed designer fragrances in the past and they were not even close.  At that point I kind of gave up looking.  

Enter our new Designer fragrance oil lineAlfred Sung, one of my favorites, smells just like the $400+ perfume, as well as PI for Men and all of the new fragrance oils we just added.  Beyond PI for men that I adore, Jean Paul Gualtier for men is simply intoxicating.  Casmir for women is another one of my old favorites with vanilla and a hint of mango, so sinful.  I found just putting the fragrance oil in a GLASS gloss roller is easier for me, and to make solid perfume only as time permits. It so so cool, your cost is basically under $2 an ounce for what sells for $300+ an ounce in the stores.  I wrap a piece of our white shrink tape around the roller and hand write in a black marker, as pretty as I can, the name of the designer oil.  No one can tell the difference.  OFFER!  I believe in these new designer fragrance oils so much, we are willing to do a money back guarantee of the returned product within 30 days if not fully satisfied.  *Put your free selection in the comment box of the order form.  You can even select three different types with this offer.  Turn around will be 3 extra business days than normal because our Chemist, a former chemist for Estee Lauder mixes them to order. The raw materials are higher than the basic fragrance lien we carry.   Back to these exacts scents--Polo smells just like Polo, Cool Waters is exact and so on.  So, if you are making solid perfumes and the like, this would be the ticket!  I for one will be making a ton of it.  Click here to see our new designer oils that are good for bath and body as well as for candle use.  They are very strong as we never cut our oils.  Here for Rollers. If you have any special requests, please let us know.  

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Chef Gregory Engelhardt

April 21, 2004


Where do I begin?  The story of Traditional Balsamico is one that gets better every day.  It all starts in Modena , Italy , the only place on earth that offers the right climate and air conditions to make this type of vinegar.   The secretive craft has been practiced for centuries by generations of dedicated artisans.  Having spent a wonderful afternoon in Modena with one of the few families left making traditional balsamico; I would like to share with you what makes their vinegar so special. 


It begins with grape juice, just like wine.  Grape vines are grown in the back yard of the home producing the balsamico.  During the summer months, the local Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes spend warm days ripening, getting ready to lend their juices.  Like all harvests for wine making, the grapes are picked from the vine and juiced in the fall.  Unlike the wine making process, the juice for the vinegar is cooked in a huge pot until it has reached half of its original volume.  After it cools, this grape juice reduction is stored in wooden barrels for a few months where it begins to make alcohol.  Then, like magic from the special Modena air, bacteria settle in with the juice and turn the wine to vinegar.  This is only the beginning!  The balsamico will spend a minimum of 12 years traveling through a series of wooden barrels and making drastic changes throughout the 110º+ summers and the below freezing winters. 


After the wine has turned to vinegar, it is taken from its original barrel and placed into what is known as the battery of wooden barrels.  These barrels are essential to the traditional balsamico process.  The battery consists of 12 barrels decreasing in size.  The largest one the size of a mini cooper to the last, about 3 gallons or less.   The new vinegar begins in the largest barrel and will eventually over time, work its way down the line.  We will get back to that progression.


The uninsulated attics of the village houses work best for climate control needed to cultivate the special vinegar, and is where the battery of barrels is kept.  This is how Mother Nature adds her magic:


The hot summer months offer the perfect temperature to initiate high fermentation levels, and with all the heat and activity, the vinegar begins to reduce.  It will loose half its volume throughout the summer.  As winter arrives, bringing with it the cold temperatures, the fermentation process stops and the vinegar begins to rest and becomes still.  During the winter (while the vinegar is “sleeping”), the vinegar now reduced in volume, is scooped out and moved into the next barrel in line.  Meanwhile, the grapes of this year’s growing season have been picked, pressed, and cooked all over again, and will be filled in the now vacant giant barrel.  Now we have 2 barrels filled with vinegar.  One (the largest one) with the newest and youngest vinegar now added, and the next one in line with the season’s reduced vinegar that has just been moved.


The next summer brings more plump grapes in the back yard and more fermentation and natural reduction within both barrels.  Fall brings yet another grape harvest and more young vinegar is produced.  Again, cold winter months slow down the activity (fermentation and reduction) within the battery of barrels and the vinegar begins to rest and become still.  While it is sleeping, the producer transfers the vinegar down the line leaving the largest barrel emptied yet again.  The young vinegar from that fall fills the large barrel and waits for the summer to start things all over again.


After 12 years, we have vinegar in each of the 12 barrels…the last being the pot of gold of course.  This last special barrel is called the “mother”.  We don’t stop there though!  The mother barrel works just like the other 11 in the system but with one major difference.  As winter approaches, and the vinegar within the mother settles, there is no next barrel for the vinegar to go.  Where does it go? 


Once the balsamico has developed within the mother barrel for the year (12 years in the battery), it is ready to be judged by what is known as the Consorzio of Producers of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.  The consortium controls the tasting and bottling of the vinegar, and guarantees that the balsamico meets all qualifications set forth by law.  It is only with the approval from the consortium that the family may fill their time-honored tradition into the small 100ml glass bottle.  The bottles are works of art in their own right.  Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a renowned Italian car designer, they are labeled on one side by the consortium and on the other side by the producer.  They contain a seal with the words Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.C.


Now, maybe you have heard about 25 year traditional balsamico, or even 40 years (like the one in my kitchen).  What does this imply?  You guessed it!  The balsamico spends 25 years in the battery (12 years to reach the mother, and the remaining 13 developing within it) before it is taken to the consortium for approval.  And yes…40 year balsamico waited patiently 4 decades to get the chance to show its stuff to the panel of tasters.


Traditional Balsamico is very dark in color and made most unique from the exposure to the many woods it aged in over the years (oak, juniper, chestnut, cherry, ash, and mulberry).  It is pleasantly sweet while slightly acidic. It can be used with almost any ingredient as an enhancement, but finds a magical place with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, fruits, cheese, berries; mainly strawberries; and even vanilla ice cream.  It pours like honey when it’s 25 years old.  The bottle is amazing enough to make it worthy of presidential dessert conversation! 


True balsamico- a true gift to the arts!   This Italian gem is most definitely the most prized and cherished ingredient in my kitchen.  Few families are left making the true Balsamico.  The hard work and dedication is felt in every drop.  Generations of love and passion can be passed down the barrels and eventually corked up in a small glass bottle.  True balsamico is a special addition to any kitchen.      


I want to thank my Italian Family ( Moreno Maglia and Co) and the Barbieri Family who took me into their magnificent balsamico making facility. 

Catzorolla Gorgonzola!!  Ciaooooo…

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Glorious Melt and Pour Soaps

In a pinch for mothers day gifts?  I would do up some gourmet coffee we discussed how to make in archives (below,) or these lovely and simple to make flower embedded soaps.  I prepared these soaps using just a clear melt and pour base along with some silk and some real buds. Depending on what you have handy. 

The only patience they seem to take is just the very thin layer over them and allowing them to cool for an hour before you do another thin layer.  You do not want the flower to float up or to be too covered with the base.  It needs to stick out a little like a 3D deal, and be used within a few weeks unless you are using silk.  This is because we use no preservatives and a real bloom may turn brown.  

The only way to do a long term embed is to do a thin coat of paraffin over a silk embed and that is just way too tricky to work with, but can be done.  

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 Essential Oils 101:Vol V-Say I Love You with Lavender

By Leane Ketcherside

 Most of us have a box of treasures safely tucked away under the bed filled with tangible, homemade memories from our children. Crumbled leaves, a bouquet of dried Dandelions presented by a proud toddler, finger-painted Mother’s Day cards, signed with a childish scrawl—you know what I mean. It’s the box you took out and cried over every time you needed a reminder as to why, when they reached their teens, you ever kept them around in the first place!

 Mothers never outgrow the love for their children, nor do they lose the sentimental tug-on-the-heartstrings when presented with gifts made from the hands of their children—even if their children are in their forties. This Mother’s Day, remind Mom why she kept you around and say “I Love You” with Lavender! While you’re at it, make an extra set of gifts to keep, for those days when you really need to say “I Love You” to yourself.

Lavender Light

1 # SoyWax™

5 or 6 Mabel’s Candle Tins

Mabel’s Cotton Wicks (for 3” diameter)

1 oz Bulgarian Lavender EO

Melt wax in the microwave to 150 degrees. While allowing the wax to cool, place the wicks in the candle tins. If you wish to add any color, stir it in now, and then stir in the Lavender and mix very well. Pour into the prepared tins and let set over night.

Lavender Bath Oil Salts

1 # Mabel’s Spa Salts

1 ½ teaspoons Dendritic Salt

3 teaspoons Bulgarian Lavender EO

1 cup carrier oil (Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, etc,)

3 or 4 drops of ROE

Mabel’s Bath scoops

Add the ROE to the oil and mix well. Add the Lavender to the Dendritic Salt and mix well, then stir this into the oil until well mixed. Add the oil mixture to the Spa salts and mix very well. Package in a pretty antique canister or in a Mason jar tied with ribbon. Don’t forget to add the scoop! Use 3 or 4 scoops per bath. * Please Note: If this is intended for someone who is elderly or prone to slipping and falls, you may want to omit the oil from the recipe.

Lavender Agave Facial

2 oz Kaolin or French Pink Clay

4 to 6 oz Agave Nectar

8-10 drops Bulgarian Lavender EO

Two Mabel’s Candle Tins

Two Mabel’s Boomerang Spatulas

In a bowl, mix the clay and Agave, starting with 4 ounces and adding more Agave until you get the desired consistency. (I usually go with 6 ounces). Stir in the Lavender and mix very well. Divide into the candle tins, lay the Boomerang spatula on top and tie with ribbon or raffia. Use the Boomerang to scoop out enough mixture for a facial and spread all over the face and throat. Leave it on 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and follow with a moisturizer. You’ll be amazed with the results! Makes several facials per tin. Use at least once a week.

Lavender Satin

One of the absolute best ways to pamper and care for your skin.

8 ounces of Mabel’s Shea Butter

¾ teaspoon Bulgarian Lavender EO

1/2 tsp Dendritic salt

3 or 4 drops ROE

2 Mabel’s Candle Tins

2 Mabel’s Boomerang spatulas

Zap the Shea Butter in the microwave until melted. Add the ROE. Mix the Lavender with the Dendritic Salt and add to the warm oil. Mix very well. Pour into the candle tins and allow to set up. You will need to stir it in the tins once in a while to keep the Lavender mixed and to help it set up smoothly. Lay the Boomerang spatula on top of the tin and tie with ribbon or raffia. Use the Boomerang to scoop up the butter and apply everywhere your skin needs a little help!

Lavender Silk

8 oz Arrowroot Powder

1/2 tsp Dendritic Salt

1/2 tsp Bulgarian Lavender EO

Blend the Lavender with the Dendritic salt and then mix into the Arrowroot powder. Blend this very well and let it sit for a day to absorb the fragrance. You now have a Talc-free body powder keep you dry and cool in the hot months ahead, as well as to lift your spirits with its beautiful, calming scent. Package in a pretty tin with a powder puff from Wal Mart.

Lavender Calm

A  bottle of Bulgarian Lavender EO

2 ounce bottle of any of Mabel’s wonderful Carrier Oils

A set of beautiful cotton Handkerchiefs

Plastic Pipettes tied with ribbon

One candle tin of Lavender Satin

A Container of Lavender silk

A print out of 30 Things to do with Lavender in this issue, pasted inside a beautiful Mother’s day card.


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Agave Nectar for Everything!

Agave Nectar is a sweet sap that comes from the Agave Cacti family.  I am sure the vegans will approve of this great product.  It looks and tastes as sweet as honey, or maple syrup, but is no where nearly as sticky.  Every department here was shipped huge samples of Agave Nectar and every department just loves it.  It comes in light and amber, as well as sticks for Chai and such.  Color of Agave Nectar being the main variation.  Cooking:  Greg says it is 25% cheaper for Chefs to use and pours much more quickly than honey when having to prepare gourmet dishes quickly.  He will be building many recipes around this sweet fluid as well as coupling it with the Balsamico Vinegar in some recipes for a real mouth orgasm.  Other times it will be used to swirl around a finished plate for artistic design.  I love the Agave Nectar original version sticks to stir in my Chai.  I think our mango flavor oil mixed with Agave would be great for decorating high end gourmet dishes as well as kiwi.

Edible love nectar:  My department.  I find it is so great I just drink it!  I am a sweet freak and sweet things have been my all around panacea for years.  Agave nectar  is like vegetable glycerin in texture, more affordable, as well as a better taste. It comes in bottles and sticks.  I would buy the Amber light to mix food color and flavor oils.  The amber dark is more for Skin Care and Chef's.   I do like four sticks offered as a great way to market edible love lotion in a discreet manner.  Original, Agave Sour Strawberry, Agave Sour Raspberry, and Agave Sour Watermelon sticks.  For any women already selling edible love lotion and buying vegetable glycerin from me, I have a ton of free samples sticks I do want to send that group--please e-mail me at

Skin Care:  Our Essential Oils expert has already whipped up many facial mask recipes with the Agave Nectar and finds it is a wonderful humectant, and agreed with me, it is not as sticky as honey.  Look forward to some neat articles from Leane on the use of Agave for skin care.  Click here to buy Agave Nectar in 11.7 ounce bottles.   The nectar is just that good, you have to try it.   

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Signature Recipes by Chef Gregory Engelhardt:  

Fresh Garden Strawberries and Vanilla Powder

This is a Mabel White Signature Recipe inspired by the magic vanilla and strawberries create together. Secondly, we honor the craftsmanship of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar (Balsamico) from Modena, Italy.   I get amazing response when I pair strawberries with balsamic vinegar.  It is definitely not so common to pair vinegar with dessert, but one taste of this amazing match made in heaven, and you too will be adding traditional balsamic vinegar to your army of winning dessert recipes!   Summer is the time to get your strawberries.  They are in high season and you can’t beat the price.  We are offering three variations of our signature recipe for you to choose from.  They will gradually add a bit more involvement for you in the kitchen. 


Garden-Fresh Strawberries with Powdered Vanilla and Chocolate Fondue

Garden-Fresh Strawberries with Powdered Vanilla and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.

Deep-Fried Garden-Fresh Strawberries with Powdered Vanilla and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Although the Deep-Fried Garden-Fresh Strawberries with powdered vanilla is the highest in difficulty level, it is one of the most decadent deserts I have ever designed. I call this recipe the "Let's Rock and Roll" of them all and dedicate this particular recipe to Deborah Dolen, our wonderful Editor in Chief who loves strawberries!


Click here for the Mabel Signature Strawberry Recipes in HTML   Powdered Vanilla Click Here


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From Sand to Pearls: Nurturing Your Self   by Leane Ketcherside

I have been working with Essential Oils and herbs nearly every day for more than fifteen years. The ways in which the daily practice of Aromatherapy and herbal use have enhanced my life and the lives of those I love are endless. With my first fleeting whiff of Lavender I knew I’d found Peace in a bottle, and that I had also found my passion. Throughout these years of research, trial and error and a thirst for knowledge that often borders on obsession, this passion of mine has led me down a path of such profound self-discovery, spirituality, gratitude and respect for Nature that it still leaves me awe-struck and humbled.

Lesson #1: If you don’t take the hints, God will stop you in your tracks.

I wasn’t taking care of myself very well. I was so busy trying to run a business and take care of my family that I scarcely had time to breathe, and in fact, I often caught myself so tense and anxiety-filled that I was holding my breath! This may sound silly to some, but I’ll wager that many women know exactly what that feels like. In my quest to do all, be all, and try to force a life filled with realities to be a life of perfection, I was frazzled, cranky and resentful. I got sick a lot, always felt tired and eventually landed in a place where my soul screamed IS THIS ALL THERE IS?

My business was designing soft sculpture dolls, and it was thriving. I designed actual patterns for distribution in the US , and worked with a US manufacturer for finished designs sold across the globe. From the first inklings of an idea (which usually struck in the small hours of the morning) to sketching, cutting, sewing, ripping, re-design, finished prototype, photography, technical writing and computer layout, all depended on me—and only me. More to the point, it all depended on my hands.

An accident left me with a broken hand which required four surgeries and months of Physical Therapy. Suddenly the ridiculous deadlines and business demands were out of my control. For months, there was just nothing I could do about any of it, except worry, and I did plenty of that for a while. When I finally came to accept what was, as opposed to what I wanted, my life changed so quickly and dramatically that I literally caught myself walking in a state of wonder with my mouth hanging open. What I thought was my undoing was actually my salvation.

Lesson #2: If you take the time to pay attention, the hints just keep on coming’!

I suddenly had time. I was surrounded by quiet. I am a voracious reader with a deep love of learning, and had always wanted to delve into the world of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. I headed to my local Health food store and bought every book I could find on the subject—six in total. Then I wandered down the EO aisle and asked a lady to help me get the lid off a Lavender tester—that first whiff. With the help of this kind stranger, I sniffed, wafted and tested every EO on the shelves and felt calmed and excited at the same time—a completely new experience for me. Up until that moment—still so clear in my mind that I can remember the feeling of being cradled in serenity—I thought peace was an illusion; more an ideal than something one could actually experience.

I left the store with my books and a bottle each of Lavender, Chamomile Roman, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Clary Sage. It felt exactly like what it was—my life was about to change.

Lesson #3: Tear down the old belief systems.

Oh, the erroneous beliefs and ideas we women hold sacred! Shall I run down a partial list?

  • It’s selfish to take time for or spend money on yourself; (if you do, you’re cheating your family out of something they need).

  •  A ten minute bubble bath should be enough to set you right with the world. Anything more is selfish, slothful and indulgent.

  • You’re a complete failure if your home isn’t perfectly kept, the laundry always caught-up, folded and put away in organized drawers and cabinets.

  • All meals should be home cooked, served at the dining room table with all family members present and participating in loving, family conversation.

  • You should be able to work full time, accomplish all the above, as well as shuffle your children to events, lessons and play dates. Always attend every soccer game, dance recital, concert, etc., or you’re a miserable failure as a mother.

  • Sleep? You can sleep when you’re dead!

Don’t laugh; you know you’re in this list somewhere. Yes, the world has changed, and yes, it is the 21st Century and we’re supposed to be way past all this. Nevertheless, at the risk of exposing something raw and chafing, some of us do still feel sharp pangs of guilt, inadequacy and terror, especially at the thought of being vulnerable to the need to nurture and care for ourselves…first.

Lesson # 4: Self care is the beginning of all things wonderful.

When I returned home with my treasures from the market, several things happened at once. I added a few drops of Lavender & Clary Sage to a pan of water and simmered it slowly on the stove. The atmosphere in my home became serene and I felt comforted. I read all six books, simultaneously flipping back & forth from one to another until I was so filled with ideas I thought I could burst. After experiencing the powerful calming effects of Aromatherapy for the first time, I felt what I can only describe as a fundamental “shift” in my thinking.

In bursts of clarity, I began to see how some of the ways I had been living my life were negatively affecting not only me, but those I loved as well. My frantic, harried and stressful attitudes spread like a virus to those around me, and chaos ruled. I suddenly understood that I set the tone for how life would be for all of us because I was Wife and Mom. If I was unhappy, stressed out and snappish, the entire household followed suit. If I was humming, smiling and peaceful, I saw that my family responded in kind.

It was then I realized what an awesome power and responsibility I had, and it shook me. I understood that for the sake of my sanity and my health, I had to find ways to take care of myself. With the realization of the direct impact my state of being had on my family, came the “permission” I could grant myself to “be selfish” and do what I needed to do. After this, the dam burst and all our lives changed for the better.

I began to listen to my body, and to pay close attention to what it was telling me. When I found myself so filled with worry and anxiety that my shoulders were up around my ears and my teeth were clenched, I asked myself questions. What’s bothering me? Why am I so tense? What do I fear? I followed these wispy question-threads and usually ended up soaking in a warm, Lavender-scented bath and letting it float out of my mind for a while, sometimes never to return. Most often, I emerged from my bath with a sense of well-being and clarity. I usually found that, although there were real issues, worrying about them could never solve them. By backing off the problem and allowing my mind and body to rest a while, things were more clear and I usually discovered that the problem that plagued me an hour ago wasn’t really so big.

My greatest challenge was learning how to let things just be as they were without trying to force them to be something else. Not everything needs fixing, and very often, problems are lessons in disguise.

I grew my Essential Oil collection and began making soaps, Soy Aromatherapy candles, crèmes, bath luxuries and home remedies. I created a daily routine of Aromatherapy bathing, quiet meditation, playing soft music, burning my Aromatherapy candles and developed the practice of keeping journals. As I grew more peaceful, I also became kinder and more loving. I did things for my family from a sense of love and a desire to show it, rather than from a sense of meaningless obligation. From this grew a genuine desire to share and grow and learn as much as I could, and I came to live in gratitude, which sustains me to this day.

Nurturing ourselves is not selfish, it is necessary. As women, we are the keepers of home, kin and sanity. We set the tone and keep the peace. What we teach our children, we teach the world. In order to create balance in our world, we must first create balance within ourselves. I passionately believe that, when necessary, it is better to feed a meal of BP&J (Sorry, Chef Greg!) to make time for self-care than to cook a six-course feast served with a harassed or resentful frame of mind. It is the love, kindness and compassion we give freely to others that they will remember and pass along.

Since that first whiff of Lavender, my skills and knowledge continue to grow, and my passion is even stronger to continue learning, creating and growing as a person. Although I have suffered tragedies, tremendous loss and illness throughout these years, as most of us do, my attitudes, beliefs and daily practices have sustained me, even when I wanted to give up. I have learned to let go of so many of the fears and self-defeating beliefs that once held me back, and my journals have evolved into a book titled, From Sand to Pearls: One Woman’s Journey from Despair to Peace.  Someday I may even publish it.

Lesson #5: We owe it to each other to encourage Nurturing & Self-care

From time to time, I will pass along some of my rituals, recipes and plenty of encouragement to remind us all how important it is that we take good care of ourselves, and I ask you to do the same for the women in your lives. A better world begins with each individual, and balance is the key to an authentic life. Leane

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SoyWax™ and Wicks

When I got into making soy candles three or four years ago, I had no clue the concept was just coming out.  People were previously using the more volatile paraffin.  Call it beginners luck, but my first soy container candles came out great for the first few years.  Back then, I was not paying attention to how hot I poured or anything else for that matter and I was using zinc core wicks.  I just made sure I did not do a fragrance over load and mixed any fragrance very well before I poured.  I do like to add 5% beeswax for a rich texture.    

Somehow, somewhere, everyone was raving about using cotton and/or hemp wicks and NOT to use zinc core.  So, I did switch this year to just a cotton braided/and or hemp wick.  Then, all of the sudden, my candles burned down the middle and not the sides!  At first I thought it was the wax.  I took all eight brands of soybean oil based waxes that are offered on the market and made a candle with each one--using a zinc core wick in each one, and another with cotton.  I had 16 candles burning all night and I am sure my neighbors thought I was having a séance in my home.  It was quite a sight!

But I really had to get to the bottom of the issue, because some customers also were experiencing similar problems.  I also needed to determine WHO truly had the best wax, ignoring cost.  Since I wrote my last article on SoyWax™, several manufacturers have been sending samples of their brand of hydrogenated soybean oil.  All of the zinc core wicks performed well and even in all 8 brands, and even I will use zinc core in a pinch.

Cargill's brand of container wax and votive wax was still the absolute best, even though some samples I was sent were considerably cheaper.  I wished they had worked out--but they could not compare.  The bottom line is, you buy cheap--cheap stuff is what you get.  I did make a commitment to sell only Cargill and I did add their votive blend back in our store.    I did learn, after that experience, of who actually makes the best cotton and primed wicks and that diameter does matter.  So, I also adjusted our wick selection of cotton wicks I do believe in, in three common diameters.  Click here for our new wicks.  Having this knowledge and the fact frosted apothecary glass is still the best for soy candles in general, I am ready to make a bunch!

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Essential Oils 101: Volume IV: 30 Things to do with Lavender

by Leane Ketcherside 

A bottle of Lavender, a beautiful hanky, water, your favorite carrier oil, a bath tub or shower and a stove. That’s all you need to create calm and help many of the things that ail you. I’ll show you just how simple and powerful this humble EO is to use.

  • For a headache: Place one drop of Lavender on your Index finger. Rub together with the other Index finger and lightly massage your temples.
  • Also for a headache: Fill a pan big enough for your feet with cool water. Add 6 drops of Lavender and soak your feet for ten or fifteen minutes.
  • Stressed at the office? Carry a hanky on which you have placed a drop or two of Lavender. Breathe deeply and relax your shoulders. Remember—the boss can’t eat you or take away your birthday!
  • Hot and cranky? Add 6 drops of Lavender to a pan of cool water and soak your hands, up to the wrists. In addition, do the foot soak above, if you have time.
  • Got anxiety? Put a pan of water on the stove to which you’ve added several drops of Lavender. Simmer slowly, and make sure to keep enough water in the pan so it doesn’t burn dry.
  • Place bowls of Lavender water on radiators, if you have them.
  • Put a few drops of Lavender on the Vacuum bag to freshen the air and lessen the chore!
  • Put a few drops of Lavender on the furnace filter once a week.
  • Put a few drops of Lavender on used dryer sheets and place them inside the register vents all over the house.
  • Put ½ teaspoon of Lavender in 6 oz of carrier oil. Use this as bath oil and as massage oil.
  • No oil? No problem! Just add 6 or 8 drops of Lavender to a full, warm bath and soak.
  • No bath tub? No problem! Just add 2 drops of Lavender to a wet washcloth in a warm shower. Breathe deeply and enjoy!
  • Spread one drop of Lavender on the top of a cool light bulb. Make sure it doesn’t drip down into the socket! Turn on the light. For a 3-way bulb, use the lowest setting.
  • Add a few drops of Lavender to ½ cup of cornstarch for a lovely body powder.
  • Use the above powder to de-stink-your-shoes!
  • Do the same to an unscented lotion.
  • Put one drop of Lavender on burns, bites and scrapes to heal and ease discomfort.
  • Add 10 drops of Lavender to 1 cup water and 3 Tbs of Cider vinegar for a terrific hair rinse.
  • Do the above to a cup of Chamomile tea for the same purpose.
  • Add a few drops of Lavender to rocks, dried potpourri, Terra Cotta, Pine Cones or anything porous for instant Aromatherapy.
  • Put a used dryer sheet scented with Lavender under the car seats.
  • Place a few drops of lavender on a cotton ball and put it in drawers, closets, inside trash cans, and anywhere else you can think of. (Out of reach of kids & pets, of course.)
  • Seal stationery, gift wrap, cards, etc., into a container with a Lavender cotton ball to scent the papers.
  • Put a drop of Lavender on a slip of paper and put it in your Tea canister to ever-so-slightly scent the tea. (Scent and taste work together!)
  • Do the same thing in your sugar canister.
  • Take a pretty dish or bowl, place an unscented candle on a stand in the center and pile Lavender-scented rocks around it.
  • Put a few drops of Lavender in your indoor fountain for a gentle uplift.
  • Add 20 drops of Lavender to ¼ cup of Distilled water or white vinegar and use in the rinse cycle of your washing machine. (NO, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar!)
  • Re-use dryer sheets with a few drops of Lavender in the clothes dryer.
  • When all else fails and you need to de-stress in a hurry, sniff directly from the bottle and head for the nearest bath tub!


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