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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lavender, lavender and more lavender! How to use it.

Lavender is one of the most popular aromatic herbs.


Everybody loves the aroma of lavender. It is one of the most used aromatherapy oils for relaxation. It is popular in aromatherapy candles and soap to help with relaxation. There are a lot of ways to use lavender. I thought I'd share a few ways with you today.

Lavender in the kitchen
Lavender Lemonade is one of the easiest ways to use lavender into the kitchen. Steep 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers in 1 quart homemade or store bought lemonade for a couple of hours. Use room temperature, not cold lemonade. Strain before drinking.

Lavender powder for scenting linens

A simple lavender sachet placed in the linen closet will infuse the sheets (or sweaters) with the lovely, complex smell of the summer garden. Find muslin bags online or at craft stores. One of my favorite ways to use lavender is to finely grind and sprinkle it on clean sheets and pillows. Using an impeccably clean spice/coffee grinder, process the flowers until they are a fine powder. Mix 1 part flowers with 2 parts baking soda. It is nice to buy a powder container to store the powder, but simply storing in a small jar is sufficient. Sprinkle a small amount either on the mattress or over clean sheets. Also sprinkle on pillows before putting on a new pillowcase.

Lavender as medicine
Lavender is an effective remedy for nervous exhaustion, headaches and mild depression. To make a soothing tea, simply pour 1 cup of water over 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups per day. For a therapeutic lavender bath, make a decoction by adding 2 tablespoons lavender to 2 cups water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Add this to the bath and relax!

Lavender infused oil
I am a big fan of infused oils because they are easy to make and can be used many ways. Lavender infused oil can be used on rashes, cuts, minor burns or as a moisturizing skin oil. Simply fill a small jar with dried lavender flowers and cover with a good quality oil, like almond, apricot kernel or extra virgin olive. Let sit in a warm place for 10-14 days, strain and this fragrant oil is ready to go.

I hope you enjoy these! Oh and don't forget to enter to win a free soap from me in the post below.

If you are reading this in a Facebook note, a reader or some other format then go to my blog at DeShawn's Blog to see the original post.


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    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    What time is it? It's Handmade Soap Giveaway Time!

    In honor of reaching 100 followers on this blog yesterday I'm giving you a gift. Bet you are wondering what kind of grueling process I'm going to put you through this time? Well you are in luck cause it's really not all that hard to get your hands on one of these sweet handmade soaps!


    A little of this and a little of that and one of these babies might end up in your mailbox. I'm giving you mega options to win this time. Also this time around the winner gets to choose the soap of their choice! That's right...any soap you want, you can get with just a few clicks.

    Ok here are the ways in which you can win one of these delicious treats and be smelling sweet all throughout August!

    FIRST THING TO REMEMBER, BE SURE TO LEAVE A WAY TO CONTACT YOU WHEN ENTERING!

    1) If you aren't following this blog, follow it and then comment on this post saying "hey I just followed!"

    2) If you are following this blog then you can follow one of my other blogs. Then comment to this post which blog you followed. Click on the "view my full profile" in the upper left hand corner of this blog to see "my blogs" that you can follow.

    3) If you want to be a party pooper and not follow don't worry there are other ways to enter.

    Here they are:
    a) twitter something from my website DeShawn Marie and leave the link in a comment to this post.

    b) stumble any page in my website DeShawn Marie at stumbleupon.com and leave the link in a comment to this post.

    c) Fave my blog on Technorati and comment that you did to this post

    d) Rate my blog on Blog Catalog DeShawn's Blog at Blog Catalog and comment that you did to this post.

    e) buy a soap from any of my shops and comment to this post that you did. (starting today, past purchases do not count)

    f) Kaboodle any of my soaps from my shop on my website DeShawn Marie and comment to this post with the link.

    g) Recommend any of my soaps from my website DeShawn Marie on ThisNext and comment to this post with the link.

    Wheeeeew I told you I would give you options! The fun part this time around is you can enter as many times as you want with any of the options above. So follow and twitter and Kaboodle and Stumble and Rate Me and Fave Me...they all give you more of a chance to win. This contest ends Tuesday August 4th at 5pm. At that time I will take all of the entries put them in a hat and draw the lucky winner....if I'm feeling extra generous that day I might even give away more than one ;-)

    If you are reading this in a Facebook note, a reader or some other format then go to my blog at DeShawn's Blog to see this post and enter.


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  • Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Hotel soap, guest soap, handmade soap and more!


    Soap I got when staying at a hotel in Napoli (Naples, IT)

    I've always loved those cute little soaps you get when you stay in a hotel or a bed and breakfast.  I even collect them as my souvenir when I travel.  I've been making my own handmade soap for 12 years now, but still love all other soaps and toiletries.  I have several other blogs featuring my soap and other peoples soap, for instance I have a Handmade Lavender Soap blog that shows off handmade lavender soap from all around the world.  I also have 2 similar ones dedicated to Coconut Milk Soap and Handmade Rose Soap.  If you stop by those blogs you will see some of the soaps I love.  Today I wanted to show you a little of my travel soap collection.

    Here are some of the soaps I've collected over the years.

    Soap from Hotel Alba in Firenze (Florence,IT)


    One from Hotel Saint-Honore in Paris


    This one is from Agli Artista Hotel in Venezia (Venice, IT)


    and one of my favorite experiences the night train from Venezia (Venice, IT) to Amsterdam.  I love this little logo they have on the soap.

    I have a whole collection from many different places throughout the USA, Europe and the Caribbean.  I hope to make it to Asia this year to start a collection from there.  I've always just thought they were so adorable and such a great souvenir since most of them have the Hotel address and phone number on them some where.  It's also a great thing to bring home to kids as the soaps seem so exotic when they are from a foreign land.  I love to use them to show kids about other languages and cultures.  Since they are small, they are an easy thing to bring back and they look like little chocolates to kids which intrigues them.  Just make sure that they aren't so young that they try to eat them ;-) 

    I'm curious what things my readers collect when traveling?  Would love to hear some of your stories.

    If you are reading this in a reader or on facebook you can see the original blog post at Handcrafted Soap Blog

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  • Monday, July 20, 2009

    The ocean, the sea, cape cod and me.

    As young as I can remember my family and I traveled to the beach for vacation.  The feel of sand between your toes, the smell of the salt water, the sun against your face are all things that make beach moments memorable.  As we get older our vacations change, our friends change, our family changes, but the beach remains the same.  This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding with wonderful friends on Cape Cod.  The memory of this weekend will stay with me for many years to come.  It was a gathering of generous, warm hearted people in one of the most beautiful places in the US.  Those who have been to the Cape are familiar with it's magic, for those who have not I suggest you add it to your list of places to see. 

    The above photo was taken at the dock at the wedding reception.  This place really puts a spell on people.  I'm sure my friends that I went with are feeling the same way this morning.  There is a charm to the Cape that overpowers the senses and brings dreams to your head. 

    I can't talk about the Cape with out thinking of food.  Lobster, clams, oysters, scallops, you name it......and of course it's fresh and delicious on the Cape.  We made a stop at the Lobster Shanty in Eastham, MA below is a picture of one of my friends taking his hand at lobster handling :)

    When I moved to Boston a year ago is when I decided to create my "by the sea" sea salt and kelp soap.  After taking this trip to the Cape this weekend I feel this soap captures it perfectly and I feel very proud of this creation.  It's hard to make something that really makes you relive an experience like that.  Capturing the smell and feel of the ocean is no easy task.  It's for sure one of my favorites.

    I highly recommend it for anyone who loves the sea.

    I took so many beautiful photos from this weekend and would love to post them all, but 250 pictures would take up a lot of space LOL.  I can't help but want to share this amazing one of the wedding couple Steven and Meaghan.

    We danced, we laughed, we ate and yes we enjoyed a few cocktails too ;-)  I had forgot that there is a drink named after the Cape.  At the reception they were serving pomegranate Cape Cods which was an interesting twist on the original cranberry, but quite delicious.  Watch out though they can sneak up on you...as I warned my friends who said "there's no alcohol in these"  I think after their second one they realized these things are dangerous LOL.

    Well I hope everyone else had a fabulous weekend and that the Monday morning blues aren't hitting too hard.  I'm still in a Cape Cod dreamy state of mind.  I would love to hear from any of my readers about any time you've spent in Cape Cod and what were your favorite things or places?



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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Do you have sore muscles? or a sore back?

    I've played around with a few new recipes and these both seem to help sore muscles and sore backs. I thought I'd take a moment to share these recipes with my readers.


    FOR SORE MUSCLES
    1 cup grapeseed oil
    12 drops Black Pepper essential oil
    6 drops Juniper Berry essential oil
    6 drops Ginger Root essential oil
    6 drops Marjoram essential oil

    FOR A SORE BACK
    1/2 cup grapeseed oil
    12 drops Lavender essential oil
    6 drops Geranium essential oil
    6 drops Rosemary essential oil
    6 drops Wintergreen essential oil

    It's best to mix the essential oils in a small amber or cobalt essential oil bottle and then add the grapeseed oil. Mix lightly and it's ready to use. Rub gently into sore spots. It's not a cure, but certainly gives some relief. Hope you have the chance to try them.

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  • Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    Are you a non-commital handmade soap shopper?

    Do you get to the checkout and get cold feet? Well ArtFire has made it easy for you. You can shop right here without all the fuss. No sign up, no account needed, no long forms to fill out. Just buy the soap and you're on your way :)



    SEE NOW ISN'T THAT EASY...ALL IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME OR OFFICE (don't worry I won't tell the boss)

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