‘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"
Welcome to the Savonnerie de L'Estrie blog! I've never imagined myself as someone who would write a blog, and I'm not kidding myself into thinking that anyone else but my mother will read it, but I've been informed many times that to have a successful business website, (which I am just about to launch and hoping it will be successful), I'll need a blog - so here it goes!
I won't bore you with all of my family drama, but I will try to include:
-New product announcements and specials
-Spotlights and information on products I already make
-Interesting health and beauty news I continually come across
-Information on towns here in the Eastern Townships that you might like to visit, and on the boutiques my products are already in
-Health and beauty recipes, and maybe some wholesome food recipes from my friend Maaike's monthly vegetarian cooking collective
-Upcoming events and information about Farfelu, an artist's collective boutique/gallery where I am a administrative member
-My paintings, art in general, and information on other artists in this area
-Guest blogs from anyone else with an interesting topic they might like to add to this blog, especially about the Eastern Townships and events happening here. Please contact me if you have anything you'd like to contribute!
Sorry this blog will be mostly in English :-( I chose Savonnerie de L'Estrie as a business name because at the time I was trying to pick a name the language police here in Quebec (yes they really do exist!) were giving a lot of trouble and fines to English businesses. They aren't in the news so much lately but they are still around, and even though Savonnerie de L'Estrie is a mouthful it's a great name, it rhymes, and it perfectly reflects what my business is! A good proportion of my customers are French, and even though every time I speak French I get some version of "Please for God's sake, just speak English!" I want them to know that I will answer all of their comments in french and I have tried to make my actual website as bilingual as possible, thanks to my uncle's patient girlfriend Johanne.
I am publishing this blog a bit earlier than I expected because I found out, from my extremely kind and understanding first online customer Louise Abbott (who turned out to be an old family friend and an extremely accomplished author, photographer, and documentary filmmaker living here in the Eastern Townships - you can check her out at www.ruralroutecommunications.com), that an older, unfinished, embarrassing-to-me early version of my website somehow managed to get itself published!! I could have done it accidentally, its very easy to brush over the button and it publishes without any warning, not even a "Are you sure you want to publish this website?", which is strange because it won't even let me delete a photo without making sure it's what I want to do several times! If anyone else stumbled across that website please let me know as soon as you can and try to check it out when it is properly finished the way I had hoped the world would see it for the first time....It has taken me over a year to write and design myself so I had really hoped it wouldn't be seen in it's messy, unfinished state....
Thank you for visiting my blog and I will try to finally get my website going in a few weeks! If you know what you would like to order before then please contact me and I'll get your order ready for you as soon as possible!
At the end of each post I'd like to share a quote, I love them and collect them the way some people collect old baseball cards!
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default"
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.
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