2017 Soap Menu, a beginning

Continuing from yesterday’s post, here is the beginning of my 2017 soap menu. This year’s menu will feature some classics like the pink salt spa bar, new versions of last year’s soaps, like Lavender Fields and Mocha Latte, and some new soaps, like the Orange Water & Coconut Cream soap that will come into cure in mid May. I will continue to add the soaps as they come into cure, so to start, here are the soaps that are fully cured and available right now.

Mocha Latte : a vegan coffee soap made with organic fair trade coffee beans from a local roastery. Also featuring organic coconut milk, luxurious cocoa butter, organic fair trade palm oil, organic coconut oil and a conditioning base of olive oil. Unscented but with a rich coffee fragrance.
Pink Himalayan Salt & Pink Grapefruit : an exfoliating spa bar with lotion like lather and a light fresh citrus fragrance from organic pink grapefruit essential oil. Only two heart shapes available!
Lavender Dreams : a gentle, conditioning soap made with a base of olive oil, an addition of creamy cocoa butter and scented with soothing lavender essential oil. Beautiful purple hues made with alkanet root.

 

Soaps that will come into cure over the next three weeks are, so towards the end of April: Unscented Bastille: a 70% olive oil soap made with olive oil, organic coconut oil and organic castor oil. Plain soap at its best.

Honey & Beeswax: a conditioning tallow based soap, with Swedish organic beeswax, Quebec honey and topped with bee pollen. Unscented.

Orange Flower Water & Coconut Cream: a creamy vegan soap made with orange flower water and organic coconut cream, tinted yellow with a tumeric infusion.

Oatmilk & Shea Butter: Conditioning, soothing and silky, this gentle soap is ideal for sensitive skin, people with eczema, children and even babies.

If you are in Montreal, the children’s clothing store Les Petits Monstres also carries the following soaps:

And the wool store La Bobineuse carries these soaps:

 

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave me any questions or comments you may have 😀

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2017 Soapy Updates, plus a note on Naked Soap

Happy April! I wanted to share what’s been going on over at Flora & Pomona. So far 2017 has been a productive year, albeit with a slow pace (I am a stay at home mom to a toddler after all). Most of my energy I put into production, because that’s my passion, but also because I am trying to build enough of an inventory to officially launch an Etsy shop. Having an online outlet is going to be a big step for me and I decided on Etsy after visiting an Etsy MTL event two summers ago. I expect that I will have five listings to open with within the month! On May 20th I will be participating in the artisan market Marché créatif de la Paroisse in the St-Édouard church on 425 Beaubien.

This soaping season I decided to cut my bars a bit thicker so that they use up more evenly. I also started beveling the edges on my bars: this makes the soap more comfortable to use, at least until the edges wear down from use.

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Rose Water & Coconut Milk Soap – with beveled edges and a thicker cut

I have had lots of fun using ingredients from local producers this year too – like making Oat Stout Beer Soap using beer from a local Quebec brewery, and Mocha Latte Soap using fairtrade coffee beans from a Quebec roaster.

I have also decided to make larger bar versions of the puck shaped Wool Wash soap that come on a hemp rope.

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Flora & Pomona’s Wool Wash Soap with Lanolin : larger bar version

This year I renewed my determination to make high quality natural soap, but with an added focus on what I call naked soap. By naked I mean soap that is not “dressed up” with colorants and fragrances but that smells and looks like what it is made of. A soap made with shea butter will smell very different from a soap made with cocoa butter, and a soap made with goats milk will smell and look differently from a soap made with distilled water. Instead of using synthetic colorants, which I rarely did anyway, I use herbs, clays, resins and infused oils.

Despite of common wisdom that the best and most economical thing for a small batch soap maker can do is to find a recipe and stick to it, varying only your fragrances and colorants, I have never had a standard formula. I have developed a preference for certain ratios, but this is not the same. Each soap I make is made for a specific purpose and I formulate my soaps according to the qualities I’m looking for. But back to the naked soap.

My initial motivation for making unscented and colorant free soaps was because I found a retail outlet in a children’s clothing store in my neighborhood. Once I started making these soaps it all just made sense. Of course I have a baby myself, but I also suffer from psoriasis and generally sensitive skin. For babies, children and people with skin issues, less is always more. I also discovered that my soaps actually smelled good – all by themselves.

Last year during a market a man walked up to my stall and asked me: “do you have any soaps that will leave a good smell on my skin”. I thought about it for a while, then said “no.” I have never used fragrance oils but I did have soaps scented with essential oils. But none of them would have scented your skin. I guess I could have given him some kind of sales pitch, but I just knew that I didn’t have what he was looking for. There are lots of soap makers who make soaps that will perfume you, but I’m not one of them. And when I use essential oils, I use them because I think they have purpose to serve, and never in such a quantity that they’ll double as perfume. So hopefully even after you use one of my soaps, even those scented with an essential oil blend, when you step out of the shower, you too will smell like what you are – yourself, naked and clean.

Some examples of Naked Soap 😀

Flora & Pomona at La Bobineuse!

I am very pleased to announce (belatedly) that as of 2017 the delightful wool store La Bobineuse carries Flora & Pomona’s Lanolin Enriched Wool Wash and Felted Soaps, both pictured here below:

 

La Bobineuse is located in the Plateau neighbourhood in Montreal. This store has been in the area for nearly half a century, a mecca for fiber enthusiasts, knitting addicts and beginners alike. They also offer classes on how to knit and crochet (which I plan to take as soon as possible). I spent lots of time in this cozy store last winter – buying skeins of beautiful turquoise merino, luscious baby alpaca and sheep’s wool (yes, I can’t even knit) – so I’m very happy and proud to see my Wool Wash and felted soaps on their shelves.

La Bobineuse is located at 2196 Avenue du Mont Royal East, Montreal, QC H2H 1K3.

Flora & Pomona at Boutique Les Petits Monstres

Mars Balms

I am delighted to announce that Flora & Pomona products are now available at Boutique Les Petits Monstres on 2124 Mont-Royal east! This children’s clothing store in the Plateau area of Montreal just opened a few months ago, but has already become a staple for parents in the neighbourhood as well as a place to find many locally made products, from finely crafted sleep-sacks to books and now, soaps, creams and balms! Added bonus: Les Petits Monstres also has a kids corner where the little ones can play while parents browse.

IMG_5020.JPGThese are the F&P products you can find at Boutique Les Petits Monstres

  • Herbal Balm: made with organic botanicals, local Quebec beeswax and raw Shea butter. The perfect balm for all types of skin irritations, from diaper rash to eczema, this balm is the most used product in my own home.img_4756
  • Whipped Body Butter: made with organic cocoa butter…

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Flora & Pomona at Boutique Les Petits Monstres

I am delighted to announce that Flora & Pomona products are now available at Boutique Les Petits Monstres on 2124 Mont-Royal east! This children’s clothing store in the Plateau area of Montreal just opened a few months ago, but has already become a staple for parents in the neighbourhood as well as a place to find many locally made products, from finely crafted sleep-sacks to books and now, soaps, creams and balms! Added bonus: Les Petits Monstres also has a kids corner where the little ones can play while parents browse.

IMG_5020.JPGThese are the F&P products you can find at Boutique Les Petits Monstres

  • Herbal Balm: made with organic botanicals, local Quebec beeswax and raw Shea butter. The perfect balm for all types of skin irritations, from diaper rash to eczema, this balm is the most used product in my own home.img_4756
  • Whipped Body Butter: made with organic cocoa butter, organic mango butter and organic coconut oil. A rich nourishing butter without fragrance, preservatives or colorants. A great multifunctional butter, to use after bath time, for baby massage, or on your baby belly. img_5011
  • Nourishing Lipbalm: made with organic cocoa butter, local Quebec beeswax, organic castor oil and vitamin E, this lipbalm comes unscented or with organic coconut flavor. Yum! Unlike conventional lipbalms with camphor and petroleum waxes this balm will not dry your lips but nourish and soothe them. Perfect for our Canadian winters! florapomona-nourishing-balms-9
  • Soaps: Unscented Bastille, Butters and Cream, and Bastille 5 Flavor Soap Sampler

    To read more about my soaps, click here.

Bath Fizzies and Bath Truffles

Bath Fizzies aka Bath Bombs and Bath Truffles

If you take a lot of baths, bath fizzies, or bath bombs, can be a fun way to enhance the experience. If you rarely take baths, they can be a good excuse to give yourself a little me-time. These days, there are so many different types of bath fizzies out there that it can be hard to know what kind to get and why to get them. Some use colorants and embeds to create a effervescent fizz show in your tub, some use fragrances that stay on your skin long after you’ve toweled off. Others have SLS to create lots and lots of bubbles. Others are formulated to have more of a therapeutic effect, maybe to soothe sore muscles or rashy skin. I don’t want to judge those that use fragrance and SLS but my fizzies definitely fall into the latter category. Although I’m not making medicine balls quite yet, I definitely like my bombs to be packed with soothing goodies. Of course, I like my products to smell and look good too and so I choose ingredients that nourish and appeal to both body and mind, things like botanicals, clays, mineral rich salts and essential oils that are pretty and yummy all by their natural selves.

Bath Truffles
Lavender & Vanilla with Kaolin Clay
Sea Salt & Kelp
Pink Himalayan Salt & Grapefruit

To market to market! Here’s my display of bath bombs and antique teacup candles 🙂

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October 7th 2016 : Flora & Pomona at Marché Angus. This side housed my aromatherapy teacup candles and bath fizzies neatly packaged in Kraft bags. From the left: Cocoa-Mint Bath truffles (packaged with natural raffia), Sea Salt & Kelp Bath Fizzy, and Pink Himalayan Salt & Grapefruit Bath Fizzy. The plate with the business cards also holds little samples of the bath bombs, and full size samples of the bath truffles.

Antique Teacup Aromatherapy Candles

 

What are they?

Antique teacup aromatherapy candles are a beautiful way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils, especially now that the colder months are upon us. Right now I have three different aromatherapy blends – Calm, Happy and Relax – in three different cups: a dark rose pattern, a dusty pink rose pattern and a blue flowers and vines pattern.

What are they made of?

These all-natural soy candles are made with 100% EcoSoy, a wax made from non-GMO soy and a cleaner alternative to paraffin. Most commercially available candles are still made with paraffin wax, derived from petroleum oil, which releases the carcinogens benzene and toluene when burned. As an added bonus soywax is also biodegradable, non-staining and easy to remove! The wicks are made of 100% cotton and also primed in soywax. To the wax I add my own blend of pure essential oils and then this is poured into an antique tea cup and left to set.

Why teacups?

I select teacups that are made with fine china, have distinct features that I enjoy, like gold rims or interesting handles and that have a feeling of  history to them. Some have matching plates and some I have matched with plates from other sets. In the end each candle is unique. While it is cute to set a candle on a plate it also serves a function to catch possible spills and make it easier to transport a lit candle with hot wax in it.

Aromatherapy?

The aromatherapy blends were designed to create specific “odorous” ambiance and give relief to the stresses of the daily grind. I imagined the candles being used at the end of the day, while having a nice bath, or having a warm cup of tea and reading a book. As a mom I know that these moments are few and far between but much needed and can do wonders to the tired worn mamas and papas out there. So here are the blends:

1. This is a woods blend I call Relax. It is a blend of Siberian pine, cedar wood and ho wood. Ho wood is an ecological alternative to rose wood which is now a restricted  and endangered species. Pine, cedar and ho wood all have stress reducing properties, and this blend is designed to reduce nervous stress especially. If you can’t take a walk in the woods, this candle will give you a little “forest bath” in the comfort of your own home.

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Aromatherapy Candle in Antique Teacup: a woodsy blend of pine and cedar to help you relax

2. A rose blend called Calm made of palmarosa essential oil, ho wood and Victorian rose aromatic essence. An aromatic essence is 100% natural but is not an essential oil. It is derived or extracted from plant material through alcohol distillation and mixed with organic vegetable oil. Palmarosa, ho wood (known as the peace oil) and rose are both calming and soothing, perfect if you are feeling wound up, irritable and in need of a bit of peace. It also smells really nice 🙂

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Aromatherapy Candle in an Antique Teacup: a rosy blend of palmarosa, ho wood and rose creates a calming atmosphere.

A. A citrus blend called Joy made of lemon, grapefruit, lemongrass and bergamot essential oils. Research shows that the smell of citrus can lessen stress and makes people feel happy. Remember that perfume from the 90’s, Happy? It is mostly citrus. The smell of citrus can lift your mood, brighten your day, and take the edge off frayed nerves. So a citrus candle might just be what the doctor ordered for those long dark and cold winter months: brightening in both senses.

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Aromatherapy Candle in an Antique Teacup: a blend of citrus essential oils to brighten smiles and lift frowns.