Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tick Tock!

The final hours of FREE SHIPPING are upon us!  The time to shop is NOW!





Blessings,

Tracy
www.faithsoapsandlove.com

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fixing Lashon Hara/Gossip

So, you want to know how to fix lashon hara or gossip?  Well guess what?  You can't!  Once it is done, it is done.  The following story is a fabulous illustration:



In a small town somewhere in Eastern Europe lived a nice man with a nasty problem: he talked too much about other people. He could not help himself. Whenever he heard a story about somebody he knew, and sometimes about somebody he did not know, he just had to tell it to his friends. Since he was in business, he heard quite a lot of rumors and stories. He loved the attention he got, and was delighted when they laughed because of the way he told his “anecdotes,” which he sometimes embellished with little details he invented to make them funnier and juicier. Other than that, he was really a pleasant, goodhearted man.

He kind of knew it was wrong, but . . . it was too tempting, and in any case, most of what he told had really happened, didn’t it? Many of his stories were just innocent and entertaining, weren’t they?
One day he found out something really weird (but true) about another businessman in town. Of course he felt compelled to share what he knew with his colleagues, who told it to their friends, who told it to people they knew, who told it to their wives, who spoke with their friends and their neighbors. It went around town, till the unhappy businessman who was the main character in the story heard it. He ran to the rabbi of the town, and wailed and complained that he was ruined! Nobody would like to deal with him after this. His good name and his reputation were gone with the wind.

Now this rabbi knew his customers, so to speak, and he decided to summon the man who loved to tell stories. If he was not the one who started them, he might at least know who did. 

When the nice man with the nasty problem heard from the rabbi how devastated his colleague was, he felt truly sorry. He honestly had not considered it such a big deal to tell this story, because it was true; the rabbi could check it out if he wanted. The rabbi sighed.

“True, not true, that really makes no difference! You just cannot tell stories about people. This is all lashon hara, slander, and it’s like murder—you kill a person’s reputation.” He said a lot more, and the man who started the rumor now felt really bad and sorry. “What can I do to make it undone?” he sobbed. “I will do anything you say!”

The rabbi looked at him. “Do you have any feather pillows in your house?” 

“Rabbi, I am not poor; I have a whole bunch of them. But what do you want me to do, sell them?”

“No, just bring me one.”

The man was mystified, but he returned a bit later to the rabbi’s study with a nice fluffy pillow under his arm. The rabbi opened the window and handed him a knife. “Cut it open!”

“But Rabbi, here in your study? It will make a mess!”

“Do as I say!”

And the man cut the pillow. A cloud of feathers came out. They landed on the chairs and on the bookcase, on the clock, on the cat which jumped after them. They floated over the table and into the teacups, on the rabbi and on the man with the knife, and a lot of them flew out of the window in a big swirling, whirling trail. 

The rabbi waited ten minutes. Then he ordered the man: “Now bring me back all the feathers, and stuff them back in your pillow. All of them, mind you. Not one may be missing!”

The man stared at the rabbi in disbelief. “That is impossible, Rabbi. The ones here is the room I might get, most of them, but the ones that flew out of the window are gone. Rabbi, I can’t do that, you know it!”

“Yes,” said the rabbi and nodded gravely, “that is how it is: once a rumor, a gossipy story, a ‘secret,’ leaves your mouth, you do not know where it ends up. It flies on the wings of the wind, and you can never get it back!”

He ordered the man to deeply apologize to the person about whom he had spread the rumor; that is difficult and painful, but it was the least he could do. He ordered him to apologize to the people to whom he had told the story, making them accomplices in the nasty lashon hara game, and he ordered him to diligently study the laws concerning lashon hara every day for a year, and then come back to him. 

That is what the man did. And not only did he study about lashon hara, he talked about the importance of guarding your tongue to all his friends and colleagues. And in the end he became a nice man who overcame a nasty problem.

I hope you take this story to heart and work on guarding your tongue.  I know I will be working on this myself.

Blessings,

Tracy
www.faithsoapsandlove.com

((thanks to Chabad.org for the wonderful story - The content in this page is produced by Chabad.org, and is copyrighted by the author and/or Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you do not revise any part of it, and you include this note, credit the author, and link to www.chabad.org. If you wish to republish this article in a periodical, book, or website, please email permissions@chabad.org. ))

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lashon Hara

Lashon hara. 

What is lashon hara?  I suspect you will have never heard of it but when I explain it, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Lashon hara is a Hebrew term for gossip!  Lashon hara literally means "evil tongue" or "bad talk".  This gossip may or may not be true.  Either way, lashon hara is forbidden in the Jewish faith.  The way I look at it, that is a pretty good way for all of us to live Jewish or not!



I am bringing up the subject of lashon hara because I have been involved in two separate instances of it this week and it is weighing heavily on my heart.

The first instance, I was the one being talked about.  The person that said things about me had no idea that I would read their words.  I brought it the person's attention and they were horrified.  It was a tough lesson for both of us but we moved forward; both of us learning we really need to guard our tongues.



The second instance happened last night.  I was at an eating establishment when I saw someone I recognized.  They didn't see me because they were heavily involved in a conversation with a couple other people.  I could hear snippets of what they were talking about and I was horrified!  They were defaming a friend of mine (and supposedly theirs as well).  I wasn't sure what to do. 



After a time, I got up to walk past them on my way to the restroom thinking if they saw me, they would stop what they were doing.  As I passed on my way back to my seat I could tell they were still gossiping away so I put my hand on my friend's shoulder as I passed, looked them right in the eyes and said hello.  I didn't say anything else, just went and sat back down.  I am not sure if that little bit helped or not but the group left shortly after.  My friend never even came to say hi to me.



It has been said that lashon hara hurts three people: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told.

I am not perfect by any means but I am now learning how hurtful saying things about others can be.  I know I have said things that were better left unsaid. 

How do you fix gossip or lashon hara?  Stay tuned for tomorrow's post when I will tell you!

Have a blessed (and gossip free) day!

tracy
www.faithsoapsandlove.com

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mary's Tears Spikenard Essential Oil Soap and How It Came To Be!

 Whoa!  An $18 bar of soap?!  Are you nuts?  Some days I think I am.  Let me explain.

This soap has been in the works for nearly a year; noodling in the back of my brain and begging to come out!  My husband first suggested I make this soap and I was like 'no way!  No one will pay that much for a bar of soap'!  He kept pushing the issue saying this would not be a normal soap; this would be something very special.

I finally conceded and purchased some Spikenard Essential Oil - ouch!  Almost $40 an ounce!  I was so afraid to use it that it sat on my shelf for another few months.  Let me step back and explain what spikenard even is!  Spikenard was the essential oil that Mary used to anoint Jesus' feet with in John 12:1-8
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Spikenard has been described as a combination sweet/spicy/musky, a very organic earthy scent. I added a touch of lavender essential oil to it to soften/sweeten it. I think it smells a lot like patchouli. Remember in the story how Judas was so upset that Mary 'wasted' such an expensive item on Jesus? Well spikenard is still an extremely expensive essential oil today.

So, I finally decided it was time to make this soap actually happen and was having a tough time envisioning what such a special soap would look like.  I knew I wanted everything all natural in terms of coloring but that was about it.  So, I asked my husband (since he got me into this, right?!).

I sent him an email and was totally blown away a while later when he responded with this:
How about round bars like the shape of the tomb stone, brown swirls with auburn for Mary's hair and bits of red for the spikenard berries.
He even went so far as to include pictures of Mary anointing Jesus feet and of spikenard berries!  The man is brilliant!  I had tears in my eyes as I read his description.

So, I set out to make the berries first.  The berries are unscented soap bits and are colored deep red with madder root powder.  Once I had all my berries ready it was time to jump into the real soap making!



I made a soap that is very heavy on the olive oil and used by PVC tubes to make round soap like my husband suggested.




Then came the waiting!  I always want to cut my soaps right away but need to wait a good 24 hours and with an olive oil soap like this, even longer!

After waiting and waiting and waiting......I finally cut the loaves into bars!  May I now present, Mary's Tears.






Each soap will come in a gift box as pictured below. Why not a fancy, gold box you ask? Well, Jesus wasn't a fancy, gold box kind of guy. He came from humble beginnings therefore just a brown box with brown shredded paper (to look like hay).



I hope that the specialness of this soap comes through to you.  There is such meaning behind it that I get choked up even thinking about it.

To purchase your bar please visit my website or Etsy Shop.

Thanks for all your support!  tracy

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tracy Tracy Quite Contrary....How do you color your soaps?

Do you like plain looking soap or soap with style?  I personally like to have some style and therefore like to add various colors and swirls to my homemade soap.  There are many ways to color cold process soap like I make.  I get asked quite often if the soap I make is "all natural".  Believe it or not, the word "natural" is not a regulated or defined term in the soap and cosmetic industry.   

Here are the various ways I color my soaps: 

Oxides &  Pigments - According to Bramble Berry (a great supply place for soap makers!), Pigments and Oxides are considered “nature identical” meaning they are the exact same chemical structure as the platelet minerals found in the earth.  But they are created in a lab to ensure purity.  Oxides and pigments are the same product that mineral make up lines use to achieve lovely natural hues.  Manufacturing nature identical products keeps the bad stuff, like lead and arsenic for example, out of the colorants.  Industry wide, pigments and oxides are labeled as natural in all types of mineral makeup and soaps for this reason because they are nature identical and many don’t contain any synthetic dyes.  

In this example (Cherry Blossom Soap), the red is an oxide, the yellow and purple are micas, and the white is titanium dioxide:

  
Micas - According to Bramble Berry, some micas are natural and some are not. It depends on where their source of color comes from.  Micas that aren’t considered natural would be the ones that contain FD&C dyes.  I do not use micas that contain FD&C dyes.

In this example (Patchouli), both the red & black colors were achieved with oxides, the green/tan is kelp powder:

  
Under My Spell is a mix of micas, oxides and titanium dioxide!  (oh, I love this soap!)



Titanium Dioxide - Titanium Dioxide is a naturally-occurring mineral, mined from the earth. After mining it is processed to remove impurities, leaving behind a mineral pigment in the form of a white powder.  A fellow soaper did a great blog post on titanium dioxide here.  

My Champagne Soap uses mica and titanium dioxide: 

 

I also use colorants that are derived straight from the earth and not synthetically created.  Among these are:

  • Alkanet
  • Annatto 
  • Beet Root Powder 
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Green Zeolite Clay
  • Kelp Powder
  • Lemon Peel Powder
  • Madder Root
  • Olive Leaf Powder
  • Rose Clay
  • Safflower Powder
  • Yarrow Flower 
  • Yellow Silt Clay

Here is an example of coloring derived straight from earth.  This is Peppermint & Rosemary and is colored with Safflower Powder and Olive Leaf Powder!


This is Ylang Ylang and is colored with Safflower Powder, Olive Leaf Powder and Yarrow Flower with a bit of cocoa powder for pencil lines!



Sometimes the fragrance oil itself will lead to color.  Take the case below of my Oatmeal Stout Soap.  I added titanium dioxide and ground oatmeal to the top layer to lighten it (and make it look like foam!).  There is no color added at all to the dark brown layer!  Although I did use dark beer as my liquid instead of water.

 

So there you have it!  In terms of color, my soaps are considered natural.  In my shop, it is the fragrance that makes or breaks the "natural" name.  My fragrance oil soaps would not be considered natural (but oh, so close!  Percentage wise the fragrance makes up very little of the soap) whereas my essential oil soaps are considered natural!

For me personally, I have no problem using fragrance oil soaps (in fact I love the abundance of available scents).  I liken it to wearing perfume.  I understand some people are sensitive to scents.  I have an option for you too!  I have a soap that has no scent and no color!  It is my Naked Shampoo bar (made of harder oils than my regular soaps) and doubles as a soap!  


I hope this helps you make your decision when shopping!

Blessings,

Tracy    

3/14/13 Amendment - In digging through my vast selection of colors, I found that I do have a number of micas that are NOT natural.  I apologize for getting this wrong above.  If you ever see ingredients like 'Blue 1 Lake' that will be your tip off - these are not natural.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Are Your Soaps All Natural?! Plus a Contest!!!!

I get questioned quite often if my soaps are ALL NATURAL?

That question is very difficult to answer because not everyone agrees what is natural and what is not.

Over the next couple weeks, I plan to discuss the different components that make up my soap.  I hope you enjoy learning about homemade soap!

This week I will discuss the main oils/butters that I use in my soaps.

Olive Oil - Olive oil cleans well, attracts and holds external moisture and forms a breathable film without blocking natural skin function.   It is rich in vitamin E and beta carotene, as well as being an antioxidant, it stimulates new cell generation, slows the progression of wrinkles, and gives skin a youthful look.   It is extremely mild, it also helps people with a variety of skin conditions.

Palm Oil - Palm oil is mild, and creates hard soap.  It has the ability to remove oil and dirt from hair and skin. It also contains a refatting agent that helps restore the hair and skin natural oils most soaps and shampoos strip away letting moisture escape.  It is added to skin care products not only for its anti-aging properties, but also because it provides deep moisturizing properties making the skin soft and supple.

Coconut Oil - Coconut Oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.  It is moisturizing and promotes lathering and hardness in soap.

Cocoa Butter - Cocoa Butter is the fat extracted from cocoa beans.  It has a distinctly rich aroma.  It is an emollient meaning it locks in the moisture in the skin.  It is great for dry and itchy skin.

While I do use other oils in some of my soaps, these are my four main ones.

So far, we are 100% natural!

Next time I will discuss how I color my soaps!

Have a fabulous day!  tracy

Oh, I almost forgot!  I am having a contest over on my Facebook Page to win 4 bars of soap!  Free shipping in the U.S.   Hop on over to enter!  Entries accepted through Sunday, March 3, 2013.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Changes While I am Waiting

There have been many big changes around my soaping workshop lately - the least of them is my inventory is way up!  That is because my sales have been way down..........pout.  I figure God is giving me some down time to get organized and get some things done.  So, while I am waiting.....

What have I done?

Well......I became incorporated!  I am now Faith, Soaps & Love, LLC!!!  Woot!

And......I started my own website!  I still sell on Etsy but now purchases can be made at www.faithsoapsandlove.com

And.......I became a member of The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild!  I know, who knew there was such a thing, right?!  The Guild is the only international non-profit trade association serving the handcrafted soap industry.



And.......I completely organized my soap room!  I can now grab bars of soap to fill orders without moving around dozens of baskets to find the right ones!  Here is my soap wall:



And.....I have made tons and tons of soap! Here is what the curing rack looked like a couple days ago....it is even more full now! 



So, while I am waiting for sales to pick up, I am reminded of this fabulous song by John Waller.  Here is a link to the song and below are the lyrics.

While I'm Waiting | John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord