Tag Archives: handmade

Busy in the kitchen

First, about the pickled eggs. I am LOVING them! I now have to get more eggs to boil, and more vinegar to make another batch. These pickles are ALL mine. *grin*

PIckled eggs

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Home made products using water.

Special thanks to Crunchy Betty for today’s post about making homemade products (lotions soft soaps, creams, etc) that contain water. She makes an excellent point about the fact that preservatives are a necessary thing if you make anything that contains water.

Most of the water that we have easily available is definitely NOT sterile.  What that means is that the water that you use may very likely have some sort of cooties in it. This is why many products on the market have preservatives: To help keep the cooties under control.

There are a lot of hand made skin products available on the Net, especially in places like Etsy. The Any of them that contain water (such as most lotions and creams, for example) damn well should have something in them to act as a preservative of some sort. I happen to use tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) in the stuff that I make to help keep the oils from going rancid. However, I also don’t use water for much of anything, and most bacteria do not grow well in all oil environments.

This is also why I prefer to use salves and ointments: They are heavy on the oils and light on the water. As in, they don’t have water as part of their make-up. Crunchy Betty talks about a number of ways to help prevent cooties from forming in your all-natural whatever-it-is. One of the big ones, though, is to make only as much as you can use in a reasonable amount of time.

This is different if you’re making stuff to sell, though. I’ve seen Etsy shops that claim to have a 2 year shelf life, but the product is half water. Not likely, unless they’re using a boat-load of preservatives, which then calls into question the “all natural” claim (which is a null statement, anyway. There is no regulation of it. Not even any industry guidelines) that they tend to have.

That’s why it’s a good idea to include something like grapefruit seed extract (not grapefruit essential oil, which is completely different) in any formulation that has water. It has been shown to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and molds even in relatively low concentrations. The down side is that  grapefruit seed extract can be toxic to humans, so should not be taken internally except under careful guidance of a qualified professional.

Thinking about more to offer

After the fiasco with labels for the lip balm, I decided to do more thinking about “stuff” in general over the weekend. I experimented with making a recipe that was labeled as a lotion but is, in fact, a salve. I expected as much, and am still trying to determine if I want to market salve, lotion, or both.  I’m leaning toward lotion, though.

This hand-crafted skincare kick is more time and material intensive than I initially realized.

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Starting one of balls rolling

A couple of months back, I bought the makings for another batch of lip balm.  The last batch was a hit at the homestead, but lasted like 3 years… That’s a lot of lip balm!

Anyway, Since I’m finding myself in something of a compromising financial position, I have decided to turn a hobby into a business opportunity and open an Etsy shop.  The plans include lip balms, scrubs, salves and ointments, tooth powders, and some other more traditional preparations. The intended audience is (hopefully) the traditional-minded or historically inclined man.

In order to get that ball rolling, I made a batch of lip balm the other day… 50 tubes is easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. The trick is coming up with some sort of way to stand out among the crowd that is on Etsy.  It seems that every Dick and Jane has lip balms of some sort, though many of them are candy or fruit (sweet) flavors.  Those sweet flavors come across as stereotypically girlie and not so manly.

As I was saying, I spent the better part of this afternoon setting up the Etsy shop and writing the first product listing. I can’t/won’t post it until I get the labels in (shipped today), printed, and product photos taken. I learned that I make a crappy ad copy writer. I’m also something of an artistic black hole, but I can do some mean research and compounding!

Kristen, on the other hand, makes one wicked ad copy writer!

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