Atelier de Feutrage de Savon | Felted Soaps Workshop

Le 22 octobre, je co-animerai un atelier sur les savons feutrés @labobineuse! Suivez ce lien: https://goo.gl/U61KBE Le cours commence à 9:30 dimanche matin, et dure environ une heure et demi. Apportez votre café 😀

Je prefère de enfeutrer des savons de lait doux et sans parfum. Vous aurez donc le choix entre ces deux savons artisanals – savon lait de chèvre, et savon karité et crème de coco – que je fabrique ici à Montréal.

Nous utiliserons de la laine d’alpaga, que j’ai trouvé lors d’un récent voyage à l’île Gabriola, en Colombie-Britannique.

La laine d’alpaga a de nombreuses propriétés merveilleuses et un savon artisanal feutré est un produit entièrement biodégradable: une belle alternative aux poufs en plastique, aux mitaines de bain en nylon et aux microbilles en plastique. Et lorsque le savon à l’intérieur est terminé, vous pouvez continuer à utiliser le tampon de laine. 🐑 Bienvenue à tous!  Si l’intérêt est élevé, nous animerons possiblement un autre atelier en Novembre.

(English follows)

On Sunday October 22 I will be teaching a workshop at the landmark wool store La Bobineuse on Mont-Royal on how to felt soaps! We will be felting my own artisan soaps, made here in Montreal, using pure uncolored organic Canadian alpaca wool. The class will run about an hour and a half and starts at 9:30 in the morning. The class will be held in French, but if needed, I can fill in in English. Feel free to bring a hot brew with you.

Alpaca wool has a great many benefits: free of lanolin, this wool is considered hypoallergenic. Soft, less prickly and more ecological to farm than sheep, it’s also supposed to be antibacterial, making it the perfect wool to use as your full body scrubber. I always describe felted soaps as a beautiful alternative to plastic poufs (who likes those anyway?), nylon wash mitts and plastic micro beads – a felted soap is not only biodegradable, but the felt  cover extends the life of your soap, and once the soaps is gone, you can continue to use the wool pad as a washcloth, or even scouring pad for your dishes.

My favourite soaps to felt are gentle, unscented milk soaps, and I will bring a choice of either goats’ milk soap or coconut milk soap, pictured here below:

The wool is sourced from a working family farm and bed and breakfast on Gabriola Island in BC that I had the pleasure to visit myself this past month, called The Garden Bed. Here are some pictures of the happy alpaca sheep, freshly shorn by the looks of it:

Additional wool – alpaca, sheep or merino – will be provided for accent colors if you wish. Sign up by following this link: https://goo.gl/U61KBE Spaces are limited, but if interest is high, we may do another one in November 😀

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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 😀

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 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.

Flora & Pomona’s debut at Marché Angus

Yesterday, October 7th, I debuted Flora and Pomona at Marché Angus’s Parc Jean Duceppe location. It was a gorgeous day, tall blue skies, lots of sun and summer-like temperatures – perfect for an outdoor market!

I was the first one to arrive, clearly the newbie on the block. So I poured myself a cup of lemon balm and peppermint tea and started setting up my stall.

In addition to my soaps, I also brought two types of bath bombs, chocolate mint bath truffles, aromatherapy tea cup candles, an herbal balm and two types of lip-balm. The coconut lipbalm turned out really well, if I do say so myself.

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All my soaps are cold processed and in bar form, except this keychain soap sampler. Isn’t it cute? I got the idea from a baby book my daughter has.

There are five soaps on the rope: peppermint, lavender, orange, cinnamon and unscented. They are all colored with natural herbs and spices. The hemp string has a bit of a story. Apparently, it’s made by an Italian family owned company that has been making hemp rope for five generations, and this was from the last roll the Montreal store received from them before they went out of business. It’s very fine string indeed. Marche-Angus-Flora-&-Pomona-October-7-2016 (41).JPG

This teacup aromatherapy soy candle is called “Woods – Relax” because it is scented with an essential oil blend of Siberian pine, cedar and ho wood. Pine and cedar are good for relieving nervous tension, anxiety and stress. Cedar has a calming effect, helping you unwind and relax, while pine gives you a lift when you’re feeling down. Ho wood is referred to by aromaweb as a “peaceful” oil that helps you relax and unwind and like cedar and pine is perfect for someone who feels anxious, stressed and has trouble sleeping. This candle is ideal for the holidays, in so many ways. Smells like walking through an evergreen forest, or sitting next to your Christmas tree. I’m very happy with how it came out 🙂

At the end of the day the sun came around into my stall. At the far end I had my bathbombs, bathtruffles and teacup candles. But of course, the soaps did better than the bath products, and out of the soaps, the best seller was Pink Salt and Grapefruit. It’s my favourite as well 😉

Flora & Pomona will be back at Marché Angus next Friday, October 14th from 3-6PM. The location can be hard to find unless you know the area, but aiming for the corner of William Tremblay and Augustin Frigon you will get you right into the market. Hope to see you there ❤