Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Missing summer

Holiday season is here and I am missing summer. One of my favorite things to do is walk around and hike and try to catch animals or nature scenes. Here are some from this summer.

My Baby Robins!

Cows at the Crossings
Milkweed to bring some beautiful butterflies!

Cape Cod

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holiday Shopping on Etsy

Christmas Spice Cold Process Soap
This years holiday season has been off to a rough start but tonight I sat down (after trying on about 25 wedding dresses----ughhh) and starting looking at how to get more people to use etsy and  to go all of the lovely winter farmers markets in our area. There is the Atrium in Troy at their Winter Market and Tight Knit is there. There is the Delmar Market at Bethlehem Middle School. Plus there are all of the wonderful local craft fairs. Wow so many great places to choose from.
Being that time of year again to start thinking about what to get people for the holidays. I may be a bit partial to Etsy, since I do have my own store there ( I love using etsy as a buyer and a seller! I find the most unique gifts there and for great prices.

There is even a new gift recommendation section for the site. It connects to your facebook friends and links you to their favorites. Nothing is posted without your permission.

They have their own shop locally section now that is extremely helpful. Go to this link and type in your Zip Code or City. This helps you support local art, crafts and baked goods!

Remember the impact of buying local has been studied and it has been found that shopping local kept three times more money in the local economy than shopping at chains. The studies cite several reasons for this. Proportionally, local merchants tend to employ more local labor and buy more local goods than national competitors, which operate from remote headquarters. Local business owners keep their profits in state, and contribute more to local and state taxes. Local businesses are also more likely to promote local artists and authors. (

Now How do I buy on etsy?

Easy! Set up a Pay Pal.

With millions of amazing handmade items, vintage goods and crafting supplies available on Etsy, we're sure you'll find something you love. This guide will walk through the simple steps to Checkout, so you can buy that special item.

If you're new to Etsy, please take a moment to create an account. It's free and easy to register. Once you have an Etsy account, you can purchase items, add items to your Favorites, send messages to other members and participate in our online community features.

When you find an item you want to buy, click the green Add to Cart button on the item listing page.

You can access your Cart at any time by clicking the icon at the top right of the site. You can continue shopping and add multiple items from different Etsy shops to your Cart.
If you are not yet ready to make a purchase, consider adding the item to your Favorites. This is a way to bookmark an item so you can find it later. Learn more about Favorites and Hearts.


Items in your Cart are grouped by shop. Orders are placed individually by shop.
In the Cart, you can add several details to your order before proceeding with payment:
Note: You can add an optional message to the shopkeeper in the notes section. Be sure to include your preferences here if the listing offers options like size, color or other customization.
Ship to: Choose the country to which you would like the item(s) shipped. If the items are not available for shipping to your country of choice, Etsy will tell you. Once you have selected a destination, the Shipping and Order Total will update with the proper costs.
How You'll Pay: Choose your payment method from the options offered by that particular shop.
Shop Coupon Code: If the shop owner is offering a discount, this is the spot where you can enter a code to redeem a coupon.
Move to Favorites: You can move an item from your Cart to your Favorites list to save for purchasing at a later time. The heart icon towards the top right of the order will allow you to move all the items from a shop to your Favorites.
Contact Shop: Any questions you may have before making your purchase should be directed to the shop keeper. This link will open a new Etsy Conversation addressed to the shop.
Remove: If you changed your mind, you can remove an item from your Cart. The x icon towards the top right of the order will remove all items from that shop.
Once all these details are correct, you can proceed by clicking the green Check out button. Depending on the payment method you chose, your path will be slightly different from this point. For Pay Pal,
If you chose to pay via PayPal, you will be prompted to log in to your PayPal account.
If you don't have a PayPal account but would like to pay with a credit card, most shops allow payments via credit card by non-PayPal members. There is a link on the left side of the PayPal page to continue checkout without logging in to PayPal.

On PayPal, you can choose the method of funding your payment from the available options.
Verify that your shipping address is correct. You can change the address here to a previously-used address or add a new address. The shipping information will be passed back to Etsy.
NOTE: In some situations, you may not be able to change the shipping address on PayPal. For example, if you have a US PayPal account, but would like to ship the item as a gift to your friend in another country, PayPal may not allow this. In these cases, you will have the opportunity to change the shipping address for your order on Etsy before finishing Checkout.
Review your information and click Continue. You will be directed back to Etsy to complete the transaction. Skip down to Step 4.

If you chose to pay via PayPal, you will be prompted to log in to your PayPal account.
If you don't have a PayPal account but would like to pay with a credit card, most shops allow payments via credit card by non-PayPal members. There is a link on the left side of the PayPal page to continue checkout without logging in to PayPal. Learn more about paying via credit card without a PayPal account.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Times Union Blog Story

Upper Madison Street Fair Sunday

A street fair to bring together the community and to help get recognition for the Pine Hills neighborhood will be held Sunday afternoon. Local residents, visitors and families are encouraged to attend.

The Upper Madison Street Fair is a family-fun fair that includes an afternoon of activities. The fair is free and run on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Madison Avenue will be closed between North Allen and West Lawrence streets.

Beautify Upper Madison, a local committee, has invited about two dozen local artists, crafters and musicians to the event.

“The more successful everyone elses businesses are, the more successful we are and the more we can put back into the communities that we love so much,” said Theresa Hovish owner of Theresa and Jim’s Homemade Soaps, a vendor who will sell homemade handcrafted cold processed soaps. “Community involvement is key to helping better our neighborhoods, schools, and society as a whole. The more we can do to find ways to engage the community- such as the participating in the Upper Madison Street Fair- the better.”

Some of the afternoon’s activities will include a bouncy bounce, bike polo, bike rescue (local volunteers will make minor repairs to children’s bikes), bike rodeo, henna hand painting, temporary tattoos and a silly pet trick contest.

An eclectic variety of vendors will be set up along the street including All Good Bakers, and Livvy Lou’s Boutique. Candles and soaps, glass designs, wallets, hats, hair accessories, jewelry, handbags, jams and jellies, chocolates, original paintings, desserts and natural skin care products will be available.

All Good Bakers, a Quail Street bakery, will offer some of its specialty vegan cinnamon buns, buttermilk scones, wholegrain muffins, cookies and tarts.

“We just opened our shop in April of this year, so we think attending this particular festival, in our neighborhood will help remind everyone that we are located nearby and give them an opportunity to try us if they haven’t visited our shop yet,” said owner Britin Foster.

Life entertainment will include Albany Swing Dancing, Annie and the Hedonists a local jazz, folk and blues band, guided Footsteps dance group, The Landfill Mountain Boys a traditional and contemporary folk, bluegrass, blues and country group, Golden Notes, an a cappella group and the Emmaus African and Youth Choirs.

Some other events during the fair may include antique car show, 50/50 raffles, photography, book sales and massages presented by Albany Massage Associates. “Most pass through this section of town on their way in or out of the city without realizing how much there is to offer in such a small section of town,” said Jonathan Duda, a committee member of Beautify Upper Madison Program. -30-

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Nelson Mandela

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September has come and gone...

Wow! September has come and gone already! That was super fast.  Both jobs are in full swing. My students have been making beautiful artworks to share with the world and I couldn't be happier.  The balance is better this year between making the time for my own business and teaching. Both are busier, but I work better that way.

The Saturday Delmar Market has been AMAZING. Everyone is so friendly and wonderful. Great farmers, bakers, artists and of course soap!

The pumpkin soap has been a huge success! I can't make it fast enough. Working on some holiday cold process soaps. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Beauty Product

I wanted to share some new products that I LOVE. I am going to start with Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo. Yuuuummmmy.

You have to smell this shampoo to believe it! I never get tired of it. I have been trying to find a coconut scent for my soap to rival this shampoo. IT SMELLS SO GOOD! You will pay a couple extra bucks for this shampoo, but your hair and body will thank you. It's great too, so a little goes a long way. I get mine at BJ's so the price isn't that much different. This shampoo leaves my thin wavy hair feeling clean and light!

Organix Organic coconut milk  has organic coconut milk and ultra whipped egg white proteins (sorry my vegan friends) along with weightless coconut oil to hydrate and nourish your hair as gentle cleansers wash away impurities.
 Luxurious Sulfate Free & Paraben Free Formulas • Organic Active Ingredients • Amazing Scent
They have a whole series of different shampoos and conditioners, can't wait to try the others.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Delmar Saturday Market

Jim, myself and a friend were able to visit the Delmar Farmers Market this weekend. Everyone is so fantastic there. They were collecting for the people impacted by Hurricane Irene. TONS of food was donated. What a wonderful community. Everyone was so nice and kind.

I won't be able to do as many holiday fairs this year as a result but that's OK. We will get everything figured out. Also...Jim and I are getting married! Pigs can now fly. Don't forget to come visit me Sept. 17 during my first market. We move indoors when it gets chilly. Our pumpkin spice will make it's debut on the 17th (unless you have ordered them from our etsy site already)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chemicals in Bath and Beauty Products

Chemicals to avoid in your beauty products:

Phthalates, called “plasticizers,” are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible or resilient and also as solvents. Phthalates are found in, among other things, toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo.

Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system. Several phthalate compounds have caused reduced sperm counts, testicular atrophy and structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems of male test animals, and some studies also link phthalates to liver cancer, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s 2005 National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Though the CDC contends the health hazards of phthalates to humans have not been definitively established, for some years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulated phthalates as water and air pollutants.

Parabens are a class of chemicals used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution, makeupm and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.

Their efficacy as preservatives, in combination with their low cost, is why parabens are so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, because they have been found in extremely low concentrations in breast cancer tumors (an average of 20 nanograms/g of tissue). Parabens have also displayed the ability to slightly mimic estrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer). No effective direct links between parabens and cancer have been established, however.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pumpkin Soap

Love, love, LOVE my new pumpkin soap! I have been playing around with liquids other than water or coffee. Let me tell you...carrot juice and soap making are fantastic.

This soap IS fall. Our Pumpkin Spice soap is dark, creamy and rich, with notes of Cinnamon, Cardamom and Nutmeg. Our soap gets it's color from a mixture of carrot juice and turmeric.

Carrot juice is thought to stimulate skin cell renewal, help reverse the effects of sun damage and aging. Beta Carotene in soap = Happy Skin.

Turmeric in soap has TONS of benefits too. Turmeric is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial AND anti-inflammatory.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Albany Visitor's Center Gift Shop

I recieved a very exciting phone call the other day. We are honored to be asked to sell our soaps in the gift shop at the Albany Visitor's Center. Going to drop off some goodies tomorrow. Check them out!​enter/AlbanyGiftShop.aspx
Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center
25 Quackenbush Square Albany, NY 12207 (518) 434-0405 (518) 434-1217

I love Albany and have lived in the city of Albany and the surrounding suburbs most of my life. Every day I drive to work in Castleton I am in awe of our city's skyline. I never get tired of it. What is your favorite thing about Albany?

With all of these new opportunities- I had better go make some soap! Getting geared up to make my fall fragrances. Pumpkin Spice and Chai Tea! Yuuummmmy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Types of Soap!

Soap is a simple chemical reaction.  It is a salt of a fatty acid. This basic reaction is between fat and lye (sodium hydroxide). Soap is a mixture of sodium salts of various naturally occurring fatty acids.

Air bubbles added to a molten soap will decrease the density of the soap and thus it will float on water (think ivory soap-check out this link if you want to see the lore behind floating soap

There are Four Methods of Handmade Soap Making

Melt and Pour - melt pre-made blocks of soap and add your own fragrance
Cold Process - the most common - making soap from scratch with oils and lye
Hot Process - a variation of cold process where the soap is actually cooked
Rebatching/Hand Milled Soap- grinding up bars of soap, adding milk or water, and re-blending them

Cold Process Soap making is my area of expertise...although I have made soap using all methods. They all have benefits and are ALL better than commercial soap bars, some better than others. In the next few blog posts I will demonstrate each and provide you will information about each.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe at all of your BBQ's and parties.

Albany, NY Fireworks from Rensselaer side of the River

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Delmar Farmers Market

Good things are happening! Starting September 17th Theresa and Jim's Handcrafted Soaps will be at the Delmar Farmers Market! So incredibly excited about this fantastic opportunity. Please remember to buy local and handmade!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tight Knit: Small packages

Tight Knit: Small packages: "You know what they say about good things and small packages, right? Tight Knit might be a bit reduced in size this 4th of July holiday weeke..."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

School IS Out and Carnauba wax.

Copernicia prunifera
Friday was the last day of school for the year. Was a little weepy, especially since this was the first group I have had all four years of high school. Some of them I need more than they need me! This was also my the end of my first year at half-time employment, which I was hoping would only last a year- but did not. I keep telling myself there is a reason for the path my life has been taking. Every time I think about it I see a Hawk- which is the messenger. In  my heart I believe things will be okay, just need to work on my own emotions about all of this. Aside from that - I am so super excited to get into the kitchen (starting tomorrow!) to make new bath goodies. My whole summer is going to be focused on that and building my shop/brand etc.

Tomorrow I am going to make 100% Vegan solid lotion bars with a few different recipes. The fixed wax will be Carnauba wax. I know it's a lot harder than beeswax so I will definitely need to load that Shea and avocado butter in. Avocado butter is my new favorite thing. I made some test lip balms with it and they are FANTASTIC. Still working on the whole tooting my own horn thing (see previous posts). Solid lotion bars are fantastic because they are all moisture. When you buy lotion from the store you are paying mostly for water. The testers for these are going to be my ceramicist friends :).

Certain generic candy coated in carnauba wax
Carnauba wax may sound familiar because it's used to give your car  or wooden furniture a nice polish.  Certain candies are coated in it so they melt in your mouth and not in your hands. Carnauba is a wax of the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazil. It is the "queen of waxes" and usually comes in the form of hard yellow-brown flakes. It is obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm by collecting them, beating them to loosen the wax, then refining and bleaching the wax.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Black Raspberry Vanilla Vegan Cold Process Soap

Fresh sun-ripened raspberries and and blackberries with a smooth vanilla undertone.  This scent is fantastic! It makes me want to run out and buy black raspberry ice cream! You will never want to leave the shower. Rich and creamy lather.

Our soaps smell as great as they look and are a real treat for your skin! We use only the highest quality vegetable oils to handcraft our cold process soaps. Each bar weighs about 4 ounces and is wrapped in our cigar band label with the ingredients clearly listed.

This listing is for one bar of Black Raspberry Vanilla vegan cold process soap. If you would like to order more than one or would like to mix and match please convo with me.

To ensure your soap has a long life, please store in a well draining dish.

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Organic Palm
Oil, Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance Oil, Castor Oil, Pigment

One Cedar Handcrafted Soap Saver / Soap DeckGo to full article

We create these beautiful soap savers with handsome mold-resistant cedar. They are economical and attractive!

The special cuts made into the cedar will help preserve your beautiful handcrafted soap, draining away any water. All dishes are carefully sanded and naturally finished. The edges are chamfered to add a nice unique touch.

Pair with any of our soaps for a great unique gift, or just treat yourself!

Remember that this is a natural product and color may vary.

3.5" X 2.5" x 3/4"

Mix and Match Handmade Cold Process Soaps 5 for 20

Mix and match 5 cold process soaps for $20.00!

Our soaps smell as great as they look and are a real treat for your skin! We use only the highest quality vegetable oils to handcraft our cold process soaps. Each bar weighs about 4 ounces and is wrapped in our cigar band label with the ingredients clearly listed.

This listing is for 5 bars of cold process soap of your choice!
Please convo with me to let me know which soaps you would like.

Mix and match from the following cold process soaps:

Coconut Lime
Red Lychee Tea
Vanilla Oatmeal
Oatmeal, Milk and Honey
Green Tea
White Tea and
Nag Champa
Sweet Pea
Chamomile Neroli
Frankincense and Myrrh

To ensure your soap has a long life please store in a cool, dry
place or well draining dish.

Because our soaps are not the same
ingredients will differ. Our standard ingredients are:
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Oil (from a sustainable source), Water, Sodium Hydroxide,
Essential Oil, Fragrance Oil, Castor Oil, Pigment, Natural Colorant, or

Please see individual listings for specific ingredients.

Go to full article

This soap smells so good! Sweet and fruity. I have added black tea leaves for extra exfoliation. Rose kaolin clay to color the soap while stimulating and exfoliating without drawing oil from the skin.

Lychee is a popular fruit enjoyed extensively in Vietnam, China and Thailand. It is gaining in popularity in the US in food and we love it in this blend because of its intriguing exotic fruity sweet note. It has a subtle nuance of dew fruit and a unique finish that makes your mouth pucker and water at the same time. Mixed with Red Tea (also known as Rooibos), this blend finishes with the white florals of geranium and lily.

Our soaps smell as great as they look and are a real treat for your skin! We use only the highest quality vegetable oils to handcraft our cold process soaps. Each bar weighs about 4 ounces and is wrapped in our label with ingredients clearly listed.

This listing is for one bar of Lychee Red Tea cold process soap. If you would like to order more than one or would like to mix and match please convo with me.

Ingredients:Olive Oil,Coconut
Oil, Organic Palm Oil,Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance Oil, Castor Oil, Black
Tea Leaves, Rose Kaolin Clay, Pigment

Honey Shea Butter Cold Process SoapGo to full article

Dry skin? Our Honey Shea soap is loaded with shea butter and olive oil to soothe rough, dry skin. Lightly floral, sweet, warm and comforting frangrance. Shea Butter is naturally loaded with Vitamin E.

Our soaps smell as great as they look and are a real treat for your skin! We use only the highest quality vegetable oils to handcraft our cold process soaps. Each bar weighs about 4 ounces and is
wrapped in our label with ingredients clearly listed.

This listing is for one bar of Honey Shea cold process soap. If you would like to order more
than one or would like to mix and match please convo with me.

Ingredients:Olive Oil,Coconut Oil, Organic Palm Oil,Shea Butter, Water,
Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance Oil, Castor Oil, Pigment

Me making soap

Some photos for your entertainment.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

troy record art blog story!

So today is my 30th birthday. I was feeling a little down and out about it (totally cliche, I know). Magically an interview I did and a friend who runs an indie arts blog for the troy record showed up! Happy birthday to me!

So I am a little dramatic about this! Ughhh cake of doom.
The link to the blog is here: 
Artolution (Art | Revolution) is your place to learn about Community Arts opportunities and events, art exhibits & workshops, and the Indie art scene of the Capital District.

Artolution is written by Jennet Mae Jones. Jennet is a freelance graphic designer She is also a fine artist and fabric designer and owns Feathered Nest Studio ( Since 2005 she has run Women’sWork, the Community Arts program at the Women’s Building and is a NYS Certified Art Educator. Jennet loves bird imagery, eating cupcakes, making things out of fabric, and hanging out with her family.

Visit her personal blog at, where she is also a guest Crafts Editor from time-to-time, or follow Feathered Nest Studio on Facebook.

Paying it forward. here was my interview:

Artist Spotlight: Theresa Hovish

This is the first in a series I will be doing spotlighting local artists, designers, and artisans. Let me introduce you to Theresa Hovish, a fine artist, art teacher, and extraordinary soap maker. Theresa says creating is in her blood, and the best thing about being an artist is “seeing the joy on other people’s faces when they look at or smell my soap. I love knowing that something I made triggers a scent memory or just brings joy to people. ” Read the interview and then check out her work!
Handmade Cold Process SoapsStudio/Business Name: TandJ Handcrafted soaps

Artist/Owner’s Name: Theresa Hovish

Where is your studio based? Albany, NY

Five Handcrafted Cedar Soap DishesHow long have you been creating?  I have been creating as long as I can remember. My father was working on his MFA in painting when I was born so I have always had a pencil or paint brush in my hands. In our family we all had sketchbooks growing up. This is one of the single most important contributions to my creative life. I (T) am a part-time high school art teacher by day and soap maker by night. Besides making my wonderful cedar dishes, my partner (J) is currently building displays for local artists and crafters while focusing on promoting his own artwork and teaching sculpture classes at a local college.

Lately my medium of choice has been olive and coconut oil! I have been creating bath and body products, with a focus on cold process soaps for a little over a year. My obsession with them began when I was little; I don’t think you could have possibly met anyone with more bath and body products and perfumes than me.

Briefly describe what you make & your process. I make cold process soaps that smell wonderful, feel great, and look beautiful. Your skin will love you for using them!  Handmade cold process soap is different from mass-market soap in that glycerin is not removed; producing a naturally moisturizing soap that is good for your skin, mild, and chemical free.  I am able to choose my own ingredients so I can ensure the highest quality final product. I load my soaps with goodies like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado butter, Shea butter, Castor oil, and hempseed oil. My combination of oils creates hard, long-lasting, moisturizing bars that have a nice bubbly, creamy lather.
When I make soap, I first smell my essential and fragrance oils. Then, I visualize how the soap should look based on the scents. I think of all of the colors associated with that scent, such as pink honeysuckle. Next, I decide out how to use them in the soap. Do I want stripes, swirls, or solid color? For example; Bay Rum reminds me of green bay leaves, white rum and blue oceans.  You can see even more examples of these color combinations in my etsy shop, along with some of my own handcrafted ceramic soap dishes.

Why do you create? It’s in my blood. I have three degrees in the visual arts. There’s a certain gratification in creating something with your own hands that you can’t get anywhere else. Anyone that knows me can tell you that I am constantly working on the next project.  The reason I have so many soaps is that I LOVE to try new things.

What inspires you? I am inspired by texture, scent and color. If you compare my soap to my sculpture you will see similarities. Instead of trimming the tops of my soaps so they are a perfect rectangle, I deliberately craft them with different textures.

What are your long-term art goals? Besides my own business, I am also aNag Champa Vegan Handcrafted Cold Process Soap part-time local high school art teacher. I would love to continue teaching art while I expand my own business into a small storefront.  It is important for my students to see that I run my own successful art related business.

Do you sell your work, and if so, where? Yes, I have my own etsy shop at Also, I sell my soaps at many local arts and crafts shows. You can see my schedule here at

Advice for other beginning artists/artisans?
Believe in what you do and believe that you can do it! It is a little overwhelming at first because you need to figure out every detail from taxes to packaging.  Once you figure out all of that- it’s fun!
Also, remember you are your best marketing tool.  What you say online, how you interact with your customers is central to any business to succeed. People don’t just want to buy your product, they want to buy an experience – so give that to them! I love being able to go to farmer’s markets, art shows, and craft shows and interact with the artist and crafters. It makes the whole process richer and the product more desirable.
Finally, find a group of crafters to meet with. New relationships are always fun. I was VERY lucky enough to find a group of local crafters with the same goals. We support each other. Some of us are in the same stages of growth, but others have more or less experience. Many crafters will love to mentor each other. It’s important to remember that the success of one of us is a success of all of us.
Bay Rum Cold Process Vegan Handcrafted Soap

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Oatmeal is not just nourishment for our bellies anymore. Oats have been great addition to many skincare recipes for a long time now. Don’t you remember taking oatmeal baths to help relieve the itching of your chicken pox?  Many of these recipes you can make at home right now. Oats have also been clinically shown to help heal dry, itchy skin. It gently cleanses your skin. Oatmeal is a great for exfoliation of sensitive skin (just make sure you grind it up a bit). People can also use it to create simple recipes for facial masks using a little lemon and finely ground oatmeal to make a paste for their face.
My favorite cold process soap (Oatmeal,Milk and Honey) has oatmeal right in it.

As always be mindful when using natural skin care products to review all ingredients and avoid any which you are allergic to (i.e. nuts are found in many recipes forfacial scrubs).

Here are some simple recipes you can make at home:
Oatmeal, Milk  and Honey Bath
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup powdered milk
2 tbsp honey
Place all ingredients in a small, natural fabric bag (muslin and cheesecloth are great choices). Hang the bag under the faucet as you fill the tub so the running water disperses the skin loving yummies throughout your bath. You can even add a some relaxing lavender buds.
Here is another
If your doctor or other health provider recommends you give your child an oatmeal bath, you have the option to buy the commercially-prepared product at around $6 for eight single-use packets, or you can make your own at home for around $1.
Here's how: You'll need a blender,
food processor or coffee grinder and 1 cup of oatmeal. You can use instant
oatmeal (unflavored), quick oats or slow cooking oats- all work equally as
well. For babies, you'll only need about 1/3 cup per bath.
Blend or process the oats
on the highest setting until you have a very fine, consistent powder. To test the colloid property of the oatmeal, stir 1 tablespoon of the ground oats into a glass of warm water. If the oats readily absorb the water and give it a milky look and a silky feel, you've blended long enough.
Giving the bath: Sprinkle the oatmeal into a tub of running water and stir the water with your hand several times toensure even distribution. Feel along the bottom of the tub for clumps and break
up any you find.
Take care assisting your child into the tub as the oatmeal will make the tub even more slippery than
usual. Allow your child to soak in the tub for 15-20 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing.
You can use this bath once or twice a day or more frequently as your doctor advises.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I am going to try making monthly newsletters for my soap business. It got me thinking that I could do this for my students parents as well. As a parent would you like monthly newsletters from your students teachers?

Sign up for monthly newsletters from TandJsoaps here!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creative Friendship

I NEED to share this post from the Art 21 Blog. A great show about friendships between creative people is being held at the Craig F Starr gallery (they are located at 5 East 73rd Street, NYC). I love Eva Hesse, she is one of my favorite artists. Unfortunately, she died from a brain tumor when she was 34. Her and Sol LeWitt were very close friends. When I was an undergrad art student I used to read their letters to each other. It helped me understand their creative processes and I always liked what Sol LeWitt told Eva about her anxieties. I am sad that it is almost over and I will not make it to see it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Be a donor!

Thirty is rearing it's ugly head whether I want it too or not! A couple of weeks ago I went to the DMV and had a new photo taken. I had to have my eye exam done anyways...and I felt like a new photo was this weird right of passage for me. I have a few strange rituals. This time while I was there I decided to become an organ donor.

I got my new license in the mail today (uughh!... the date of DOOM looms closer) and saw that they put this cute little heart on the front of the ID.  My thought behind is simple... I won't need my body anymore so why not let it do some good for someone else. I decided to look up some information. Here ya go!

Every year, more than 1,500 people receive kidneys, livers, and hearts that have been donated for transplantation. However, with more than 8,000 New Yorkers still on waiting lists, the need for organ donations far exceeds the supply. One person who donates organs (hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines) can save up to eight lives, while a tissue donor (corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, tendons, veins, etc.) can improve 12 or more lives by restoring eyesight, helping fight infections in burn patients and preventing the loss of mobility and disability.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How do I come up with ideas / recipes?

Matcha Tea Vegan Cold Process Handmade Soap
My Matcha Tea Cold Process Soap
A fan on my facebook page recently asked how I come up with ideas and or my recipes. I thought that was a perfect post for the blog. It's pretty simple, and I do use my art background to help me.

The first thing I do is smell my essential and fragrance oils. Then I visualize how they should look based on the scents.  I think of all of the colors associated with that scent (i.e. pink for honeysuckle). Then I figure out how to use them in the soap. Do I want stripes or swirls? Solid color? Do I want to swirl in the pot or in the mold?

For example- Bay Rum- made me think of Green (Bay), Rum (white) and Blue for the ocean. Matcha tea is a powdered green tea used in Japanese Tea Ceremony. Instead of just making a green soap, I decided to use the colors that make green and swirl it into the soap, so yellow and cyan are swirled into white. Color harmony- like the harmony that is needed to participate in tea ceremony.


Bay Rum Cold Process Vegan Handcrafted Soap
My Bay Rum Cold Process Soap

When it comes to my recipes, a lot of it is trial and error. You have to know what the different oils do. Coconut oil adds to the lather and hardness of a bar of soap and moisturizing too. Too much coconut oil can be drying. Palm oil also adds to the hardness of the bar. Olive oil gives a rich, smooth, feel and helps to create a very hard bar once fully cured. I made a post earlier in the year about the qualities each oil brings to the soaping table!

For the minimalist soap- I used my base recipe, but since it had no fragrance I wanted to add some luxury oils. I like the way hempseed soaps feel so I added that and I have been experimenting with the avocado butter. Really everything is trial and error.

Friday, April 29, 2011

busy, busy beeee

This week is so exhausting! It has been really demanding. I don't know if it is because we were on vacation last week or what?! I want some coffee hooked up to an IV at this point.  We are trying to learn how to juggle day jobs, apply to jobs, focus on our growing business, and create artwork. Somewhere in there try to have a social life so we don't just see each other working all the time.

Once I am done labeling soaps for tomorrow we are going to an opening at our friends gallery. Check them out at:
I hope to see everyone tomorrow! Come and support handmade and local!

Come on out Sat, April 30, 2011- 9AM-3PM to the
Mother's Day Spring Craft Fair
Sunshine DCC
14 Hays Road
East Greenbush, NY
I will have some limited soap samples available. Also come see some new soaps! Basil Lime (super pretty).... and  ALMOND with bentonite clay (new fav!). New gift sets available too! Perfect mother's day gifts- only $14! WOW!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Upcoming craft shows!!

Sat, April 30, 2011- 9AM-3PM
Mother's Day Spring Craft Fair
Sunshine DCC
14 Hays Road
East Greenbush, NY
Sat, June 11, 2011 10AM-PM
15th Annual Art on Lark 2011
Presented by the Lark Street BID
The Lark Street  Business Improvement District is proud to present the 15th Annual Art on Lark 2011 on Saturday,  June 11th from 10 am to 5 pm. Art on Lark is Albany’s Premier Arts  Festival drawing over 25,000 attendees in 2009 and named “Best Arts Event” in  the  Times Union Readers Poll in 2009 and 2010. It is the 2nd largest street  festival in upstate New York,  second only to LarkFEST! This event will host hundreds of artists, musicians, dance and theatre  performances, one-day installations, and many more special events that will  showcase Lark Street  as Albany's  Arts District.

Sat, June 18, 2011
Troy's River Street Art Festival
10 AM to 6PM
River St Troy, NY
The River Street merchants formed the River Street Festival to help showcase
all the great things going on in the downtown area, in particular the special
places located up and down River Street. Unlike the commercially established
festivals you see today, the River Street festival has a grassroots arts and
antiques theme. The festival is a family oriented event that also offers food
and entertainment. This year the River Street Festival will be held on Saturday,
June 18, 2010 from 10 AM until 6 PM (or later!).
Cost: Free
Location: Monument Sqaure at River St.

Oct 22, 2011, 10AM-4PM
Albany Shaker Road Fire Department
Ladies Auxiliary 2011 Craft Fair
550 Albany-Shaker Road
Loudonville, NY

Monday, April 25, 2011

Troy Record Art Blog

I am so excited!!!

TandJsoaps was featured in the new Troy Record Arts Blog today. You can check it out here :

The new blog Artolution (Art | Revolution) is your place to learn about community arts opportunities and events, art exhibits & workshops, and the indie art scene of the Capital District. Written by Jennet Mae Jones, a freelance graphic designer.

Thank you Jennet!

Jennet has her own fun etsy shop at: Check her out!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We are home!

Beach in Ocho Rios

Our Caribbean vacation is just what we needed to regroup ourselves. Jim and I have never really went on a real vacation together so it was nice to get away with friends that we haven't seen in awhile.

I DID  two things I was afraid of. I went parasailing and I climbed a 600 foot waterfall without a guide group. We also got to go snorkeling twice, see some dolphins and iguanas and lots of chickens!!!

I will post more pictures and tell some stories as soon we recoup! I had a great time and am looking forward to the next adventure with Jim, Mike and Crystal. Thank you for pulling me out of my rut!!!