New Soap Wrappings!
I just recently got around to updating my website with my new soap wrappers, which I had already switched to last October! I know, I know I should have done it sooner but it's such a tedious job I always find a way of easily putting it off until next month, and now 5 months have suddenly slipped by!!. I switched from the fabric I've been wrapping my soap in since I started selling it, to cute, colourful, very reasonably priced little paper bags I stumbled upon online (if I hadn't seen them I probably wouldn't have switched but I did so it's done!) The fabric was getting to be a lot of work... I had to find the fabric (repurposed, at the weekly Knowlton church sale where the money goes to the local food back) and decide what to use, usually old sheets, pillowcases and outdated valances that I didn't think would be a shame to cut up, wash them all again, occasionally iron them, cut them into strips, then the right sized rectangles for my soaps, and then keep track of organizing and finding place for it all in my house! And then I would wonder what people were doing with it after they used the soap... Would they use it for crafts? Sachets? Most probably throw it out... Or not use the soap at all because the wrapping was too pretty and then not need to buy any more!!
With the paper bags I just have to slip the soap in and stick the labels on! Since they are just pure paper with no wax or plastic in them they should be completely compostable or recyclable. Also, the new labels I am now using are much bigger and nicely printed (moo business cards) to show more detail, more contact information, and are much more like what I envisioned when I first started my business. This is such a tourist-y are that I wanted to show off some of our local landmarks and scenery rather than just a boring logo, and of course I had a lot of fun doing all of the paintings!
Happy Leap Day!
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."
-- Elbert Hubbard
Too be honest 2016 has not started off very great for me with my 20 year marriage coming to a sudden end and my becoming a full time single parent for the winter season... It has been a struggle to come up with something to write about on this blog and with a very lenient (on myself) one blog a month rule I feel like I should be able to come up with something on the last day of the month...But I haven't.... But I do want to say that as I'm getting through this transition period I now find I have so much more to look forward to in life, whereas just a month ago at the end of 2015 I wouldn't let myself think about the future more than a week in advance, the endless possibilities awaiting me now for a happier life are almost overwhelming sometimes....
Savonnerie de L'Estrie had an impressive Christmas season so thank you to all of my wonderful, loyal customers who support me and appreciate what my business is all about!! I am coming up with at least two new products this year (an all natural and very effective creamy deodorant, and a soothing stick eye balm), and replenishing stocks that have gotten quite low in the boutiques that I sell in, and with increasing responsibility at Farfelu and the 'Quoi de neuf" artisan sale I am managing to keep myself quite busy.
So once again Happy New Year, I'm sure my next blog post will be much cheerier to read!
"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us."
Merry Christmas to all of my loyal customers and all of the people who took the time out of their day just to look at this website, it really is greatly appreciated!!
Christmas is coming way too fast, I barely have any of my own Christmas shopping done (not a good idea with 3 sweet kids and high expectations of Santa Clause....), but now that the Knowlton Midnight Madness Sale and the Sutton Winter Market are both over for this year I have more time to concentrate on other things, like sugar cookies:-)
There is still a bit of time left to order products off of this website for Christmas, I offer $7 flat rate shipping and free shipping over $65, both of which include 2 day expedited shipping. All transactions are safely made through PayPal and there a Comodo Secure Lock on this website for added security.
Please stay safe over this holiday season and enjoy the time you have with family and friends!!
Best wishes for 2016!
"Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values."
-Thomas S. Monson
"The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in it's value."
-Charles Dudley Warner
Starting this Saturday Studio Georgeville, one of the galleries/boutiques where I sell my products, is beginning their Christmas Show and Sale which lasts every weekend until the end of January. This week I brought in more inventory, including my soaps in their new packaging - very colourful little paper bags and much, much nicer, larger labels. Of course I forgot to take photos of my display while I was there(!) but above are a few photos of one soap in the new red wrapper, and the new logo painting I did of the iconic Georgeville schoolhouse/church scene which I hope people buy, if not for the high quality natural soap then for the little keepsake that it is of Georgeville for themselves or as gifts for family and friends!
Below is the information from Studio Georgeville's newsletter, which you can sign up for at StudioGeorgeville.com
Le Studio Georgeville présente/Studio Georgeville presents
Exposition et Vente de Noël /Christmas Show and Sale
Du samedi 7 novembre 2015 au dimanche 31 janvier 2016
Saturday, November 7th, 2015, to Sunday, January 31st, 2016
Vernissage et vente aux enchères par écrit :
samedi 7 novembre 2015, de 15 h à 17 h / Vernissage and silent auction: Saturday, November 7th, 2015, 3 to 5 p.m.
Forget about the crowds and stress of Christmas shopping, going from store to store to find just the right gifts. Studio Georgeville will be offering a wide choice of small-format paintings and photographs, ceramics, jewelry, decorative objects and vintage items. And if you’re unsure what to choose, you can always buy a gift certificate.
An antique, hand-embroidered quilt, donated by Nancy and Paul Amos, will be sold through a silent auction that starts during the vernissage and will end on Sunday, December 13th, 2015.
Oubliez la cohue et le stress des courses dans les magasins pour faire vos emplettes de Noël. Un grand choix de petits formats en peinture et photographie, des céramiques, bijoux, objets décoratifs, et objets anciens seront présentés au Studio Georgeville. Et si vous n’êtes pas certain de votre choix, vous pourrez aussi acheter un chèque cadeau à offrir.
Une courtepointe ancienne brodée à la main, offerte par Nancy et Paul Amos sera vendue aux enchères. L’encan silencieux débutera durant le vernissage et se terminera le dimanche 13 décembre 2015.
Exposition d’œuvres de / Works by Louise Abbott, Duff Armour, Mahmoud Baghaeian, Kent Benson, Sophie Boivin, Pamela Cartwright, Wagna Celidon, Robert Chauvette, Marianne Chevalier, Virginia Cope, Claude Couture antiquités, Susane Daviau, Willa Drummond, Françoise Fournier, Melissa Gardner, Méli, Claire Gélinas, Caryn L. Hetherstone, Anthony Hobbs, Danielle Hudon, Niels Jensen, Linda Keymer, Lisanne Lachance, Suzanne Lachapelle, Caroline Lefebvre, Marlington Designs, John Marshall, Agnes Mckenna Power, Sara Mills, Julie Mineau, Christophe Moreau, Munmuntadas, John Murphy, Martin Myers, Joanna Nash, Kara Needham, Natanya Nerenberg, Louise Perrault, Alexe Raymond, Carla Straessle, Jean-Simon Trottier, Vanessa Yanow.
Hope you get a chance to visit the very quaint little village of Georgeville this holiday season!
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
- Mark Twain
‘Quoi De Neuf?’ showcases a wide selection of arts and crafts for you to browse through, in a beautiful country setting. Come enjoy the autumn leaves and do some shopping at the same time.
We will have some more new faces joining us this year, alongside your favourite artisans from previous years
At ‘Quoi De Neuf?’ you’ll find everything from pottery to rugs, toys to sculptures, and everything in between. With 32 artisans showing their products, whatever your taste or budget, you’ll find something you can’t resist.
For more information please consult the website: www.expoquoideneuf.com
This weekend marks the fourth year in a row that I have participated in the Quoi de Neuf (What's New?) sale.
I was also in it once before in 1997 when it was at the beautiful Lakeview Auberge in Knowlton - which must have been one of its first shows since it's now in its 21st year! Back then I didn't sell soap, I sold my wooden doorknobs and small paintings on wood, and I was so nervous at that first show I felt sick all week end! I was so relieved when it was over I swore I'd never do it again! But I've matured a little bit over the years and now I'm usually set up in half an hour and really look forward to seeing my customers and the other participants (my old high school friend Qita Reindler also does the show - check her out at http://www.studioqita.ca/), and my sister in law and sidekick Shelley Paige is helping me out on Saturday - people come just to see her smiling face! This year I have lots of small free samples (I know how hard it is to commit to buying new skincare products so I'm offering them to whoever wants to try one), and stunning new soap labels (thanks to moo.com!) on my also new paper (instead of fabric) soap packaging. I am also introducing a new scent "Earth Mother" - a healthy blend of lavender, patchouli and pink grapefruit, I love it so much I can't stop washing my hands! It will be available in limited quantities at the sale as a soap, body butter and lotion bar before I start introducing it at all the boutiques I'm in.
I really hope to see you there this saturday or sunday :-)
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you."
Hello - Do you know of any boutiques in Quebec that might be interested in selling my Savonnerie de L'Estrie products?? It could be a gift boutique, a gallery, an indoor farmer's market, a spa, a country store, a 'nice' ski shop... As a fairly young company it isn't always easy to find the time to search these places out! Any boutique that sells my products will receive a tray like this with a real painting of my logo, also a smaller tray of soap and an even smaller tray of lip balm sticks. I also put each boutique I'm in on my website under the Shop section, with a map and information about that boutique and photos! I will soon be posting information and photos about Boutique Méli-Mélo, a new store in Cowansville that asked for products this week. If you're interested or know someone who might be you can use my contact page, or Facebook page or call me at 450-292-0057
Thank you very much!
"When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you're working."
Out of all the products I make, and of course I only bother making ones that I think are truly exceptional, my favourite is the lotion bar!! It didn't start off that way though.... I'd seen so many variations of lotion bars on other natural product websites and blogs but it's not something I'd ever noticed for sale here in Quebec. I really liked the fact that it doesn't need a preservative, unlike any lotion, no matter how natural, made with water.
The first time I made them I thought it would be fairly easy, I found a recipe that seemed popular out of the many, many online, some silicon cupcake molds to pour them into, and went for it! It was fairly easy, not something I think most people would bother to make at home though (despite all do it yourself blogs that claim it is easy, you do have to have somewhat hard to find specialty ingredients on hand and have a certain amount of patience and basic cooking skills...) I used a lavender essential oil and phthalate free fragrance oil (rose geranium) blend to scent it - and that's where the problem's started ... They smelled horrible! They were way too strongly scented! I realized that most fragrance oils do Not blend well with the natural, slightly smoky, old fashioned scent combination of beeswax and Shea butter, at least to me... And they were hard!! I didn't even bother to try them, I put them in a ziplock bag and hid them in a drawer when they still remain today. A few weeks later though I just had to try it again, I couldn't give up without one more try... I'd been tweaking the recipe in my head, changing the ratios of beeswax to semi-solid and liquid oil, quite a bit different from the recipes I'd seen on-line, and this time I only put a touch of lavender essential oil in it, and they turned out perfectly!! I loved them!! So moisturizing, so protecting. I also really started to appreciate the simple scent of beeswax and Shea butter on its own. And as someone who couldn't use any eye cream around my eyes because they give me a rash, no matter how natural it claims to be, I finally have a product I can use! It is great around the eyes, a little bit shiny during the day if I put too much on, but such a relief to delicate dry skin (and without any really noticeable eye wrinkles yet in my 40's I'm pretty sure they're good protection against aging!)
I decided that this is a product that I really wanted people to try, and after much searching I found the perfect molds to use - a large sun for women and my children's products, a moon for men which matches the men's product design I had made and also the children's, and a smaller purse sized bee mold!
Each lotion bar you buy from me at Savonnerie de L'Estrie is made in very carefully sterilized conditions with rubbing alcohol, not chemicals, used to clean the pots and utensils (I really think the harsh cleansers - or lack of cleansers- used by big factories to sanitize their equipment and product containers could be contributing to the amount of irritation so many natural products can still cause!).
The shea butter I use in my lotion bars is virgin and organic and completely unrefined, so tiny, harmless dark specks from the nutshell may occur in them (although I do painstakingly try to get them all out!!), and it will also have a natural, nutty aroma. I have recently started adding a low concentration of vitamin E (Tocopherol) and rosemary oleoresin extract, both of which are natural anti-oxidants that are excellent for the skin but also help keep the oils in these preservative-free bars fresh from rancidity. Rosemary oleoresin does add a very slight but pleasant rosemary scent to the unscented and Touch of Lavender bars.
The main ingredients of my lotion bars are Sunflower Oil (Helianthus Annus), Virgin Organic Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Beeswax (Cera Alba), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract. I only use essential oils to scent them and they are available in Witch's Garden (a blend of lavender, rosemary, bergamot and geranium essential oils), Touch of Lavender (a little bit of lavender essential oil, perfect for babies), Herbal Tea (a blend of mint and bergamot essential oils - very light and refreshing and masculine enough for men who don't mind scents), Unscented (preferred by men and best for newborn babies and use around the eye area), Lavender and Sweet Orange (perfect for babies a few months old), and Sweet Orange (in my baby section, for babies who don't want to smell like lavender!)
To reduce waste I offer them in cost-adjusted refill bags but they really are best stored in closed tins while in use. To use them you can hold them in your hand until the oils start to warm to your body temperature and then rub into your skin as you would an ordinary lotion or massage lotion, or rub the bar with your finger as you would a regular balm (my preference). It may feel a little bit greasy at first but after a few minutes the oils will soak into your skin and the beeswax will seal in this natural moisture. They are perfect to use before bed and I personally slather some on before doing the dishes when I don't want to bother with rubber gloves.
Lotion bars can be used anywhere on the body, are very long lasting and usually only need to be applied once a day. They are great for healing cracked and dry skin, preventing stretch marks, diaper rash and cradle cap. They can also be used to protect the skin around the eyes and lips, as an after shave lotion, a massage lotion and even to tame unruly hair!!
I highly recommend them for everyone: from tiny infants that you don't want to slather in the water-based and preservative/chemical combination found in most baby products, to men who work in a garage all day and have painful, cracked, dry hands!
"Show respect even to people that don't deserve it; not as a refection of their character but as a reflection of yours."
Tomorrow is the start of the 27th annual Tour des Arts! To those who aren't familiar with it, the Tour des Arts is an annual event here around the Sutton, Abercorn, Knowlton, West Brome, Brome, Bolton, Mansonville/Potton part of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Visitors can drive from one artisan studio to another, around 40 artists participate each year, and check out their studios, talk to the artists, buy their products, learn about how they make their artwork and the creative processes that goes into it, and make special orders. It is always 9 days starting the third week of July, from 10am to 5pm daily. Each year there is a nice colour brochure (you can find just about anywhere in the area!) with a photo of a piece of artwork from each artist and a detailed map on how to get to each studio. There is also a website and large, very noticeable signs all along the roadways.
Farfelu Sutton is one of the patrons of Tour des Arts and will be open for the entire tour (instead of being closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as we usually are during the week)
I'm listing the members working that week in case you're doing the tour and there's someone you'd like to stop by and meet while checking out all the products from local artisans that we sell!
Friday 10: Marek Lanzman (sculpture, paintings, cards)
Saturday 11: Maaike Zuyderhoff (bookbinding, handmade cards, director of Farfelu)
Sunday 12: Don Lee (sculptures in hammered sheet aluminum)
Monday 13: Margaret Marshall (hand sewn cloth bags and totes)
Tuesday 14: Kara Needham(handcrafted Savonnerie de L'Estrie products, 'Folknobs' wooden hand painted door-knobs)
Wednesday 15: SusanGalusha (watercolour paintings and painted cards)
Thursday 16: Ophera Hallis (hand knit children's sweaters)
Friday 17: Don Lee (sculptures in hammered sheet aluminum)
Saturday 18: Susan Galusha (watercolour paintings and painted cards)
Sunday 19: Maaike Zuyderhoff (bookbinding, handmade cards, director of Farfelu)
A few of the artists on the Tour des Arts sell their products at Farfelu year round: Christina Steingruber (wooden puzzles), Anne Johnston (braided rugs), and my old high school friend Qita Reindler - Qita sells beautiful hand-spun pottery which is also very durable - I'm always accidentally dropping or bumping other dishes onto the big mug she made me, and even after a couple years of daily use it still hasn't chipped or cracked!! It also holds the heat in very well!
Farfelu member Marek Lanzman is often on the Tour des Arts and even though he isn't this year you can still find a lot of his creations at Farfelu, he will be working there today, and all next month he will have an exhibition of his work in our display room where the artist Lorna Mulligan is currently displaying her very popular paintings for July.
During the Tour des Arts there are also evening performances of live dance, dramas, readings and concerts, all listed in the brochure and website along with lots of restaurants, B&B's and businesses that help to sponsor the tour.
I'm always amazed that so many artists are willing to open their studios, workshops, homes and creative processes to the scrutiny of the public! My own studio consists of a cabinet my husbands grandfather made me for a wedding present when we got married twenty years ago, painstakingly painted by me that same year after the first and only painting course I've ever taken, in German bauermalerie, and recently transformed a few years ago from a TV cabinet into my tiny living room studio!! It really is all I need at the moment since most of my paintings, and my door knobs of course, are very small, and I can store my Savonnerie de L'Estrie bulk oils and tubs of clean pots in the bottom section, I can also close it up when I'm not working on something, but I think I would find it too embarrassing to invite the public into my house to look at it!! It would be nice to have a real studio one day though.....
"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you."
-- Maya Angelou
Savonnerie de L'Estrie Online Boutique is finally ready for orders!! I published the English version a couple of weeks ago (my apologies to my french customers, it is taking me much longer to complete it all in french than I thought it would...) and it is working! I have also purchased an SSL Certificate so anyone who tried to go to the boutique in the last week and may have been told that it's not a secure site (even though all transactions are securely done through Paypal) it is now!
If you have any problems at all with the site please let me know as soon as possible so they can be fixed!
And don't forget, free shipping for anyone who would be willing to give me a testimonial with their name and town that could be used on this website!!
Thank you to everyone that has visited this site and please feel free to contact me with any comments or suggestions or complaints!
In physics, anything not fulfilling its intended purpose self-destructs.
The same is true for people. When we're not fulfilling our inspirations, we find ourselves living lives of turmoil or desperation."
-Dr John Demartini
I really would like to apologize to anyone who has wanted to order my Savonnerie de L'Estrie products on this website.... I really thought that this month, April, after over a year of slowly building the website myself, that I would have the e-commerce section done and it would finally be easy to buy my products online! I found out yesterday, when I called my website provider to learn how to link my products to paypal, that I had set all the products up wrong! (i.e. the way one of the many persons working there told me but not the one I talked to yesterday!). This guy was right though, possibly because he was older and not one of the twenty-somethings I usually talk to, my products were installed all wrong.... Instead of using the product builder that comes with the website, which doesn't offer any inventory management or shipping options at all, even through paypal, even if I pay extra(!!), I have to redo it all in a photo/text combo that will replace the useless product boxes I have now, and then set it all up on paypal and insert a code that they give me into the photo/text combo on my website . "Don't worry, it should only take you a few hours" the guy told me, but I can easily see it adding at least a few more weeks onto the time I thought it would take to have my e-commerce site done.... So if anyone would like to order anything online, please call me at (450)292-0057 or use my contact page and I will get your favourite products to you as soon as possible! I'm not charging any taxes yet (one of the few perks of being a new-ish company) and there's a flat rate shipping fee of $7 or Free Shipping if your product total is over $65! I'm also offering free shipping if you submit a product testimonial to be posted on this website along with your name and town! Contact me to learn more. My products can also be found at one of the 5 charming little boutiques/galleries that I recently listed, along with photos and maps, here.
Thank you again for your patience if you've been waiting to order anything and please don't hesitate to contact me!
"That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price on it's goods"
Kara Needham is the founder and creator of Savonnerie de L'Estrie, a small manufacturer of handcrafted, all-natural and affordable artisan skincare in unique folk-art packaging.