Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of February is a signature Shower Power Bar. That means you'll get either a Lemon Poppo Mint, a Lime 'n Thyme O'Lyptus or an Orange Tree Blast. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorites a Plenty

Those who have been waiting for their must-have soap bars to cure will be pleased to know that the following products are once again available:

Almost Sunset
Sweet Neem
Ain't Nothin In Here
Rainy Day Sunrise
She She Shea and Lavender

There will be more to come during the next few weeks as more of your Manor Hall favorites reach their cure dates. Thanks for your patience!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cinderella of a Fella

Look across any field of lavender when it's in bloom and you'll see a lovely purple haze of color. It yields a purple grey color when the buds are dried. Mill it to a grind though, and the purple vanishes completely, leaving a grey-green powder.

In natural soap, real lavender doesn't produce a purple bar. The essential oil distilled from its buds, though very fragrant, is clear. The fine powder from milling the buds, starts off grey-green, and turns the soap a natural grey. It's a nice natural grey... but grey nonetheless. Not exactly an appetizing image of the lovely fields of lavender.

My bar of Lavenders Wild has always been grey. It's bursting with lavender essential oil, and double dosed with finely ground buds. It's a shame that such a wonderful soap looks so dismal when set against the bright and colorful beginnings of its essential ingredient.

Today, I kicked up my Lavenders Wild natural soap bar. No longer will it sit like poor cinderella on the curing shelves. I've swirled the ground buds through the natural white of the soap. Then I swirled the deep brown of rich black walnut powder through both.

Lavender's really gone wild here at the Manor. On the curing shelves now, and looking like it's going to the ball.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Eat up the Stress

Feeling a little stressed out? Help yourself out a little with any of these three natural stress-busting appetizers:

1) Eat some dark chocolate. As well as lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, dark chocolate is also a great anti-oxidant and is said to increase the serotonin levels.

2) Eat more fiber. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans etc. All yield fiber which will help your system to absorb bacteria, and toxins. Fiber also helps steady the sugar levels in the blood, improving on mood swings.

3) Eat some oatmeal. Oatmeal also helps with serotonin, and a bowl of oatmeal eaten about an hour before bedtime will help to relax and alleviate the stress.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Milk and Honey Hand Bath

If your hands are feeling the dry of the winter, here's a simple beauty treat right from your kitchen cupboard to soften them up.

The lactic acid in the milk loosens the flaky or dead skin cells on the back of your hands, helping hydration. Honey has its own properties of hydrating calm, and is also antimicrobial. Working together on your skin, milk and honey leaves it soft and smooth.

Milk and Honey Hand Bath

You will need:
2 cups of water
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey

How to:
Mix all ingredients into a large microwave-safe jug, and microwave until warm (about 20 seconds). Pour into a bowl large enough for your hands, and soak both of them in it for ten minutes. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry with soft towel.

Notes: Make sure not to overheat your liquid in the microwave. Warm it gently.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life on the Edge

Making soap isn't just a wham-bam thank you ma'am affair. There's a lot of steps between pouring the olive oil and wrapping the final bar. Pictured above is just one of those steps.

I like the tops of my soap bars to be clean cut. It's a preference that varies from soapmaker to soapmaker. Some love the rustic look. Some sprinkle with botanicals. I just like to see a smooth top.

Before I cut the logs into bars, I swipe a handmade wire cutter swiftly across the top of each one. This gives me a wafer thin cut, and gives the log a clean-edged surface that will become the top of each bar.

To many, this might seem like an unnecessary step. To me, it's the pride in my work. Without it, it could never be Manor Hall.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January Freebie (Take 2)

Well, I've never had to do this before. Fourteen days into the month and I've run out of the January order box freebie, Beam Me Up Spotty. So, we're going to try this again.

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of January is a bar of Orange Tree Blast. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Rest assured, anyone who has ordered up until now will receive their Beam Me Up Spotty freebie. All future orders placed today and through the rest of January will receive Orange Tree Blast. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to Business

The Manor has reopened today after the holiday break. And there's a sale going on. 12% off your order, all week long. Just enter the coupon code RINGMEIN at checkout to receive 12% off your order. (Note: Coupon does not apply to Sample Sizes, and all already discounted items, including Mischief Makers, Monthly Specials and Multibuys.)

And to help your winter shopping dollar go further during the month of January, all orders will receive $5.00 shipping. Any weight, to anywhere nationally by Priority Mail. No coupon needed, our cart will apply the $5.00 shipping for you.

What a way to ring in the new year!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of January is a bar of Beam Me Up Spotty. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sock It to Me

Have you ever put deodorant on then pulled on a little black top only to find white streaks across it? Don't waste your time trying to wipe it off with your hands... or even worse, a damp paper towel. Go grab a cotton sock, and rub the streaks away with it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Live Free or Dry

Our natural liquid hand soap is free of chemical surfactants, synthetic foaming agents, parabens and synthetic colorants.

With olive oil for its gentle and hypoallergenic qualities, and coconut oil for rich lather, this hand soap is enriched with added glycerin for that extra soft skin kissing kindness. We've also added essential oil of lavender to help calm, relax, and destress tired hands.

Take a wash on the wild side, and say goodbye to the dry left behind by sulfates and synthetics.

Lavenders Wild sulfate free liquid hand soap is on special this month.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

36 Pounds of Cure

Wow, it smells great in here. The soaps may take four to six weeks to cure, but they have their signature scent from the moment they all stand in line. Pictured above (top left, top right, bottom): Almost Sunset, Honey Rose Complexion Bar, Carrot and Fennel Seed Complexion Bar.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Simple Pedi Polish

Yesterday was another full day on my feet. Up and at it from 5:15am, I finally got to close the workshop door some fifteen hours later. Not without some prompting from techy husband guy though. He's been making a case for me to put a clock in my soap room for a couple of years now, but I'm not a time person.

It wasn't until I actually sat down with a cuppa in front of the telly that I realised my poor feet were telling the tale of the day. So, footbath it was. I love to soak my feet. It's such a simple luxury that anyone can afford. Just a bowl filled with hot water, some epsom or sea salt, and a dash of cider vinegar. A chamomile tea bag tossed into the water is a nice addition or substitute. As are dried lavender buds, calendula flowers, or just some plain old bubble bath if you don't have anything else to hand. I like to place a few pebbles at the bottom of my soak bowl, and let my toes play with them. It really adds something to the relaxing experience.

At this time of year with the cold of outdoors and heavy winter shoes, it's nice to treat yourself to a homemade moisturizing foot polish. The gentle massaging of the skin is a nice relaxing treat, and the feeling after you've rinsed and dried is wonderful. Vegetable oils have many skin loving properties, and I use olive oil for this particular treat because it is so soft and gentle on your skin. Full of antioxidants, olive oil attracts moisture, while still allowing your skin to breathe.

If your feet are telling you the tale of the day when you finally get to sit down, try some home spa pedi pampering with a simple kitchen cupboard beauty treat.

Simple Pedi Polish

You will need:
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Sea Salt
Splash of Lemon Juice (optional)

How to:
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl, and set aside while you prepare your foot bath. Soak feet for ten minutes, and pat dry with towel. Using your hands, massage your pedi polish into feet using fingers and thumbs to smooth away the tale of the day. Return feet to water, rinse and pat dry with soft towel.

Notes: If you have your own essential oils, you may add a few drops of tea tree, and/or lavender to your olive oil when preparing your recipe. Always dilute essential oils with a "carrier" oil in this way, and never use directly on the skin.

Always test for allergies first. Be sure to throw away any unused polish, as it is not preserved.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Making Mischief

Well, it's Day 2 of the new year, and already it's feeling a lot like last year. Yes, I've been in my workshop all day today.

The Mischief Makers page is one of the busiest at the Manor. That's the page where all the "little less than perfect" products go. A blemish here, a tiny air bubble there. Soap bars that may not quite make the cut in weight. All otherwise perfectly Manor Hall, they land on the Mischief Makers page, just waiting to be taken home at a reduced price.

Now stocked up with more special deals on soap bars, the 2009 Mischief Makers selection includes assorted full size bar packs, assorted slice packs and even single flavor end packs. Buy them now. When they're gone, they're gone.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ringing It In

Just wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy new year. The web site has been updated to reflect the new month, which means new monthly specials and new freebies. Please remember that although you can still place orders, our office is closed until Monday January 12th and shipping will begin on Wednesday the 14th. Enjoy!