Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon Essential Oil

The origin of the lemon isn't quite certain, but Oriental writings make mention of them being cultivated as far back as 4,000 years ago. It was brought to the New World in the late fifteenth century by Christopher Columbus, and now a quarter of the world's lemons are grown in America.

Because the heat needed for steam distillation would kill its fresh aroma, essential oil of lemon is cold pressed from the peel. It is the "limonene" in the lemon oil that gives its aroma the clean, fresh, sharpness and tang.

Antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent, lemon essential oil is ideal for facial cleansing, but should never be used undiluted. It also brightens dull, jaded skin. Known to help with concentration and clearing of thought, this citrus oil can be a good lift to the spirits.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tapping and Wrapping

Tap, tap, tap. Wrap, wrap, wrap. That's been the sound in my ears all day long. Tap, tap, tap. Wrap, wrap, wrap.

The website is steadily being uploaded to the server. And while techy husband guy has been tapping away at the keyboard, I've been in the workshop wrapping away at the soap bars. Tap, tap, tap. Wrap, wrap, wrap.

Yes, everything here is done in small batches. It's done by hand, beginning to end. Whether it's a bottle of olive oil I'm cracking open, or whether it's the web site that's cracking up. Yes, I'm behind it all. It's Sunday, I'm working, and the photographs above are just a fraction of what's been put into today. More new soaps taken from the curing shelves, and wrapped, ready for sale.

I'm still wrapping. Techy husband guy's still tapping. We're headed into Sunday evening, and all is looking good for a May 5th re-opening.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Website News

We started uploading the upgraded website to the servers last night. Work will continue over this weekend and should be completed by Tuesday. We'll then be testing it for a couple of days and making some additions, during which time the shopping cart will remain disabled.

Hopefully there will be no serious glitches, and we're aiming for a reopening date of Monday, May 5th, with the scheduled newsletter going out that evening.

The website will still retain its easy to navigate look and feel. And not only will you be able to shop again, but there will be some new products, flavors and surprises. Thanks to everyone again for your patience. We're almost there...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Newsletter Contest Winners

The draw was made last night for the contest in last week's newsletter. The winners were notified by email and have all replied to claim their prize. The grand prize $50 Manor Hall collection is headed for Michigan. The second and third prize $25 collections are on their way to New Jersey and Utah.

Congratulations to all three lucky winners. And thank you to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Incredible But Not Edible

As I gear up for reopening the web site, this is another one of my latest soaps.

Curing now in bars, these smell... well, I don't want to spoil it, because they smell exactly like what they're made of.

I will give you a clue, though... it's a complexion bar. Headed to the site in May.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Good Day For It

Today was absolutely glorious, and we couldn't have planned it any better. The web site upgrade is in its last stages now, and after working every evening this last week, I thought it would be best to just take a drive out. So we made an early start, camera and soap bar in tow, and set off for Manchester, Vermont.

I love Manchester. It's skiing district, but I've never put a pair of skis on in my life. I like the idea of cutting down a mountain a la James Bond, but I don't like the idea of falling down with a pair of picket fence slats stuck to the bottom of my feet. I admire those who ski. Hats off to them. But it's not for me. Manchester is beautiful, and I like to walk its history, and I love to take in the scenery.

The picture above is one of a few we took today. I was struck by how much it looked like a Manor House. Another soap bar. Another town. Another Around the World pic.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No Ordinary Sunset

The great thing about a sunset is that no two are ever the same. You know what range of colors to expect with a setting sun, but you never know how they'll present on the night. It's like that with Almost Sunset.

Herbs and spices react differently to each batch of oils. Just like the setting sun, sometimes the colors are really vivid, sometimes they're more mottled and subdued. I love making this soap.

Above are the logs I cut from the batch that's curing right now. Whatever the depth of colors, or the way they present themselves, the scent remains the same. And just like the setting sun on a warm summer's night, it's not easily forgotten.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Up For Grabs

I love newsletter night. Because the shopping cart on the web site is out of action while it's being upgraded, I wanted to give the newsletter crowd a bit of fun. Tonight is the night of the contest I announced in an earlier post. If you're not registered for our newsletter and you'd like to take part, you can sign up for our newsletter here.

Meanwhile, here are the contest details...

Just find the answer to the question below somewhere on our website, and email it to us, together with your name. Please put "Manor Hall Contest Entry" in the email subject line.

Manor Hall Contest Question: Which Manor Hall natural soap bar is described on its page as a "warmly scented bar of subtle wild"?

Entries must be mailed to customerservice [at] manorhallsoapcompany [dot] com and received before midnight on Monday, the 21st of April. All correct entries will be compiled and the first prize winner will be drawn at random. Then the second and third prize winners will be drawn at random. The three winners will be contacted by Manor Hall at the email address they entered from by Thursday the 24th of April. Prizes will be sent via USPS Two Day Priority Mail.

Note: You must be a Manor Hall monthly newsletter subscriber in order to win. Please be sure your entry comes from an email that is registered with us. Entries that come from email addresses that are not registered with us will be voided and not included in the drawing.

Winners will be announced in the May newsletter, identified by first name, last initial and state of residence.

Good luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Lavender essential oil takes its name from the Latin Lavare, meaning "to wash". It has been traditionally respected for centuries, and nurses were known to wash the wounds of soldiers with lavender oil during the first world war, when antiseptic supplies were short.

The benefits of lavender oil for the skin are many, and these are probably due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Many find lavender is very helpful with troublesome skin complaints such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis, and the soothing calm of lavender makes it a friend to sunburn, winter itch, and flaky or cracked skin.

Its varying uses in health and wellness are legendary. Its aroma relaxes, and helps with inducing sleep. Lavender essential oil is also used in aromatherapy for sore muscles, and aches and pains.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update Plus

The web site is coming along nicely. For those of you who shop with us, it will look very familiar. Although upgraded internally, it will mostly retain the same fun, easy to navigate appearance that you're used to.

While we continue to upgrade, and you all are missing your Manor Hall soapy stuff, I decided it would be a good time to hold a Manor Hall giveaway. On Monday night, I will be sending out a newsletter detailing the giveaway and how you can win. The first prize will be a $50 Manor Hall gift set full of assorted Manor Hall goodies. The second and third prize will be two $25 collections.

You can tune in here for details on Monday night, but you must be a newsletter subscriber in order to win. You can subscribe to our newsletter here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crazy Days of April

Known as the Month of Laughter... the Month of Poetry... and even the Month of Welding, the month of April starts with white-lying to a fool... and ends on a more truthful note. In between, are close on seventy days of celebration of one kind or another. Some celebrated widely, and others celebrated locally.

Feel free to tell lies on the 4th... you can always make up for it on the 30th. The former is "Tell a Lie Day"... while the latter is "National Honesty Day".

Patch things up on the 2nd with "Reconciliation Day", knowing that if all else fails you can really go to town on the 14th with "Ex-Spouse Day". On the 9th, give yourself whatever name you've always wanted, while the very next day being careful to take back all the names you ever gave to your brothers/sisters. Yes... "National Siblings Day" rides hot on the heels of "Name Yourself Day".

"Peanut Butter and Jelly Day" can be celebrated on the 2nd, with Caramel Popcorn Day coming in on the 7th, and Jelly Bean Day happening on the 22nd. Make sure to carry around the mints and parsley on the morning of the 20th though, because the day before on the 19th is "National Garlic Day."

"Big Wind Day" on the 12th... "International Day of Laughter" on the 14th... and "Titanic Remembrance Day" for the 15th. Of course... you might want to Plan Your Own Epitaph on the 6th ..., maybe Walk Around Things on the 7th... and even Look Up At The Sky on the 14th.

All sound a little too crazy for you...? Nah... crazy is happening on the 15th when the world celebrates "Rubber Eraser Day".

April... the Month of Humor. Laughter releases endorphins, the body's feel-good chemical. They say laughter is the best medicine. April is also Stress Awareness Month. So go on then... release some of that stress with a right old laugh. Err... did I mention Cheeseball Day on the 17th...?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lure of the Cure

The web site might be on hold at the moment, but the soaping continues. I love making soap. I think I'm at my happiest when I'm elbow deep in my pots and pans. Among other new things for the Spring, curing now is a honey soap. The smell in the curing room is divine, and the chatter from the chappies on the shelves is music to my ears.