30 March 2013

Focus on Essential Oils - part 1

When they first start out, soap makers have to decide if they are going to use fragrance oils, or essential oils? I suppose that it all depends on how "natural" you want your product to be.

It is true, that fragrance oils are cheaper than essential oils, but many essential oils are of a reasonable price, and you don't need to use a huge amount, so you can easily use them to fragrance your products. If, like me, you have horribly expensive taste, a blend using a combination of cheaper and more expensive oils is the perfect solution.

Essential oils are volatile oils obtained from various parts of plants and they have been used for healing and fragrancing for centuries. There are floral ones, woody ones, citrus ones, smokey ones the list goes on. Take a walk through a fragrant garden, a park, and orange grove and much of what you smell will have an essential oil.

Rose Otto: One of the most expensive, the oil is distilled from the petals. When I think of Rose, I think of the Mughal Gardens of Hyderabad, or the harems of the Royal Household where Attar of Roses was used to fragrance the air. The ultimate romantic fragrance it is used in many high end fragrances.  

Rosewater is a by-product of the production of essential oils and is  used in cooking, mainly of the Middle East, and can by used as a facial toner.

A suitable alternative to Rose essential oil, is Rose absolute which is a good deal cheaper.

Violet Leaf: One of my current favourites,and another expensive oil. Violet Leaf absolute (Viola Odorata) is a very complex essential oil with strong green notes and a beautiful, floral violet undertone. It is extracted from the leaves of the plant and the absolute has a dark green colour. It is absolutely beautiful on its own or in a blend.

09 March 2013

Distractions and new things

What a day! I decided to dig out the sewing machine. Not difficult, I have used it before when I was in my clothes making phase, so what could go wrong? Well, plenty as it turns out.

A lady I know, Polly from Miss Polly Designs, has been making some beautiful tote bags recently, which made me think that it would be nice for me to do the same as a Mother's Day present. Simple, I thought. Well, no.

I popped into Mum's this morning to collect the sewing machine. I gathered all the bits together, all except the idiot guide, which appears to have gone astray, and came home to the two pretty bundles of fabric that were waiting for me. I cut out the bits I needed and started to sew. At least I would have done except that I could not get the blasted machine to work. I have spent all afternoon, and into this evening cursing the stupid white machine which I swear just sat there laughing at me. Finally it started to work (no, I have no idea what I did, but I am guessing that all the threats finally did their job) and now, I am almost out of thread.

I do not see how anyone could make a living making these bags. I think that it will be rather nice when it is finished. It is a quilted (yes, I know, make it complicated) and I think it will be quite roomy. It has different fabric front and back, in a tiny print design, with a floral lining. Or at least it will be, sometime.