Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


A couple years ago I posted a page from my soap making journal for others in case anyone keeps track of their recipes and experience. I thought I'd resurrect that post in case others are interested in keeping track of their recipes and experiences with soapmaking without the hassle of drawing up your own journal.

Here it is: CLICK HERE

This is what it looks like:

I couldn't fit the entire image on my screen, but there is a section below for extra notes.

The temp for mixing section I still use. It originally was used to keep track of the temps at which I combined lye/oil/water but now I use the heat transfer method so I use it to keep track of the temp I include essential oils (yes, there is a reason for that).

Why do I keep track of the weather. Once upon a time I learned from another soapmaker, with far more experience than I, that the temp outside could effect soap. I had a string of bad batches that had to do with outside temp. LONG STORY!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My dear friend Carrie over at Under the Willow Gifts makes the most awesome products that each year or throughout I always need to get my hands on some. I can't blog about what I purchased too much right now as I've ordered these for Christmas gifts and the recipients read this blog but I couldn't contain my excitement so I wanted to say at least this...

If anyone is looking for high quality handmade body products filled with at heart and soul, wrapped up in the most creative, adorable fashion, then shop at Under the Willow Gifts. Carrie, the owner, has experience and knowledge to create the best products and I am very excited to share her creations again this year.

Thank you Carrie for the extra goodies! My kids immediately noted that there were 3 small lipbalms for little hands and one large one for momma :) Middy wants you to know that she loves how creamy soft your lip balm is.
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Last night we ended up with several inches of newly fallen snow and although I could see the white piling up around my hive, it would do no good to get out in the middle of the night to uncover it, so this morning I put on my knee high boots and tredged out to the hive.

Usually this process goes well but today instead of scraping the snow off the top of the hive like usual I decided to lift the box with heavy rock inside that keeps the telescoping cover from blowing away. Well, the box was frozen to the cover so with a loud crack the whole box, rock and cover came off. Do I even need to say that my bees did NOT like this one bit. A few girls came out to see what was going on but then flew off, one bee darted out so quickly that she hit snow instead of air and although I moved quickly to scoop her up it wasn't fast enough to save her life :'(

Of course, I did my best to put things back together and finished cleaning out around the hive. The girls are calm once again, buzzing loudly, working hard to stay warm.

Til next time...
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Sun in Palm Tree Leaves, Los Angeles/Santa Monica, United States
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: Grown Man

After recently sitting through an investment meeting where I acquired a bit more knowledge on green energy and socially conscious investments I've learned something new that doesn't sit well with me. Although I heard the rumors it is only now that I've taken a good look.

The RSPO that so many of us soap makers have come to depend on just isn't what it appears to be. For those of you who may not know, the RSPO is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Members and participants in its activities come from many different backgrounds and include environmental NGOs, banks and investors, growers, processors, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products and social NGOs. They come from many countries that produce or use palm oil. The principal objective of the RSPO is “to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders.”

From what most of us have heard and read, buying palm oil from members of the RSPO appeared to be a good thing. For those of us who try and live environmentally conscious lives anyway. I certainly didn't want to have a hand in the destruction of the rainforest, the disappearance of Sumatran tigers and elephants, or the useless slaughter of orangutan. Instead of just focussing on finding a soap recipe I loved that didn't include palm oil I opted for the alternative, which was to buy palm oil supplied by a member of the RSPO. On the surface the RSPO seems great but the truth is always hidden underneath.

What is “sustained destruction”? Is unsustained destruction OK? And who is to determine “the interests of people in the regions”? Human rights NGOs in Indonesia have been swift to note that some companies that have obtained the RSPO seal of approval “are involved in unresolved conflicts with local communities” over land. There will be battles ahead. But nobody said sustainability was an easy concept. And debate about its meaning can, of itself, be part of the solution. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Per the net, I've found these articles to shed some light on this subject for you. I could spend a lot of time typing up what most people will never read so if you are interested in this topic I suggest you not take my word for it but look deeper. Make some calls, you might be surprised at what you learn.

Despite RSPO certification, deforestation, deep peat conversion, land disputes and illegal practices continue to occur in the plantation estates owned by Cargill, Sinar Mas, and Duta Palma – all of whom are RSPO members. The RSPO is failing to enforce its own minimal principles and criteria and is not taking action on grievances filed by communities affected by RSPO members. The RSPO must revise its principles and criteria to adequately protect forests, communities and the climate by implementing a moratorium on forest and peatland conversion and by promoting the rights of smallholders and affected communities.

As for me. I have one gallon of palm oil left in my cupboard (yup, RSPO) but it will definitely be my last until I learn from sources that I trust that harvest and production of palm oil has truthfully moved in the direction of sustainability. If that is never than I guess I will never buy palm oil again.

Ultimately the best incentive for credible RSPO is consumer demand. If consumers demonstrate with their wallets that they want credible eco-friendly palm oil, the palm oil industry will provide it. The cost of "greener" palm oil is not high — especially for buyers in rich countries. A paper I published in January with Lian Pin Koh found that the average American consumer would need to spend an extra 40 cents per year to cover the cost of switching from his or her annual consumption of palm oil from conventional to certified sources. Thus consumers have the power to change the industry. RSPO FALLING SHORT