2020 was the year I had been waiting for all of my life. It was the year I was to finally implement my lifelong dream of pursuing my soap making career full-time. No more rushing to the studio on my lunch breaks to pack orders. No more stealing moments from my life that I was never able to pay back to myself.
I quit a job and career I loved in February and had exactly 45 days of bliss until everything came to a halt. Don't worry for me though, honestly everything turned out great in the end. After going through the different phases of grief after seeing all but one of my revenue streams completely dry up, I figured things out just like everyone else. I played and experimented, I invented new products, took pictures, got outside more. I found my groove and my joy.
Eventually my new pandemic and full-time soap life started to balance and as the country began opening up we all had to pivot again. Every step of the way this year you were there with me. In April and May when NY was on lockdown and you were stuck in your homes you thought of me and my new journey. You reached out, checked-in and sent some amazing orders. I think I saw an online order from just about everyone I have ever known in those two months! You thought of me again for your scaled down weddings, baby and bridal showers. You let me hand write the most lovely and heart felt messages on gift boxes that you sent to friends across the country just to bring them a ray of light. You were there for me again this holiday season. Letting me put together gifts for your nana, for your teachers, for your family.
Thank you. Thank you for this year, for all the years past and future. In the two photos above are my Chocolate Anise soaps 13 years ago vs now. One full year of Sweet Sprig under my belt and I am so excited to see what new fun things you will help inspire in 2021.
Our Christmas and Hannukah's will no doubt look a little bit different this year. We may not be able to see our friends and loved ones in the same way we have in past years. Instead of thinking about everything we are losing this year let's think about some new traditions we can start for the 2020 holiday season! Maybe you vow to only support local businesses or to give a thoughtful gift to your postal carrier. There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for this year, though at times it may not seem so.
In order to make your holidays a little less stressful I have put together a thoughtful gift guide to help you select the perfect present for everyone on your list.
All of our gifts can be mailed directly to recipients too. Just be sure to put their contact information in the shipping address field at check-out.
Excellent for boosting the immune system and had been proved to shorten the duration of colds and flus. I collect Echinacea all summer from the gardens of friends and family and hang dry them until I am ready to grind up to turn into tincture in the Autumn. I have found smaller flowers are easier to work with. You can also use the root but that entails digging up the flower.
I first learned how to make my own tincture from a class at the library with Jen from My Healthy Homemade Life.
Ylang Ylang essential oil comes from the star-shaped flowers of the tropical Cananga odorata tree that is native to the lush, tropical rainforests of islands in the South Pacific and Asia. This slightly spicy scented floral oil is one I have used in my bath products since the beginning. The oil is water or steam distilled from the flowers of the tropical Cananga Tree. It is most known for it soothing and calming effects. It is also the base for many popular perfumes including Channel No 5. You can find this exotic scent as a note in our Brouwer House soap as well as our Bath Truffle Boxes.
I have been using comfrey (a leafy shrub) in my bath and body products from the very beginning thanks to the education my mother gave me as a little girl. I first knew comfrey as a favorite treat for our Angora rabbits and to treat bee stings we earned running around barefoot all summer long.
Comfrey contains the compound allantoin, which provides healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It stimulates new skin cell growth and reduces inflammation.
For my Honeysuckle + Comfrey Soap I create a macerated oil using dried comfrey (still comes from my parent's land) and olive oil. I allow the oil and herb mixture to sit in the south facing window of my studio for about 4 weeks. When completed the olive oil has drawn in the nutrients from the plant and adds to the skin loving properties of this fan favorite soap.
I learned how to make these simple recycled fire starters from my mother. For decades now I have brought these on every camping trip and used them to start every single camp fire. They are made of only three everyday things and this combination allows the starter to burn for a long period of time, helping keep the kindling burning and the fire hot. If you have ever been frustrated trying to start a camp or wood stove fire with just newspaper or store bought starters you absolutely must try making these.
In my option the best part of these starters is that you will use materials that are otherwise typically discarded!
I started out with the idea of a "Votes for Women" soap over the Winter while visiting my friends Shawn and Katie in Rochester, NY. In describing my new Schenectady Collection line of history inspired artisan soaps Katie suggested doing one inspired by her area of New York. After a few minutes of brainstorming she suggested a women's suffrage themed bar and I knew I just had to make it happen.