Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spearmint Inregedient Spotlight

Spearmint, Mentha spicata, is a herbaceous perennial herb. The name 'spear' gives a clue to its pointed leave tips. It grows by spreading rhizomally. It can spread rapidly when it has plenty of water and sunshine.  For this reason, it and other mints are best grown in containers. Because it is a water-loving herb, be sure to have a catch pan for water underneath the pot. Did you know peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint? Spearmint crossed with
Mentha aquarica, gives the hybrid Mentha x spicata, or peppermint. Keep spearmint growing in your garden for the flowers which are attractive to beneficial insects.

Spearmint makes a refreshing herbal tea.  It is an ingredient in Mint Julep and Mojitos.  The tea can help settle upset stomaches. Mint tea is a remedy suggesed for digestive problems by Juliette Levy in her Herbal books for Dogs and Cats. Try this mint yogurt dip by Jamie Oliver here.  Chew on fresh spearmint for freshening your breath.

Spearmint essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves and stems.  The scent is uplifting, stimulating and refreshing. It is somewhat more delicate in scent compared to peppermint essential oil, which has a higher menthol content.  We like using Spearmint essential oil in many of our soaps, shampoo bars, herbal pillows and our Spearmint deodorant. The essential oil has some anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties. It also helps repel insects, and for that reason we use it in our mosquito repellent spray.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Feinstein's Cosmetic Bill Jeopardizes Small Businesses, Joba and Entreprenurial Opportunites

Broadview Heights, Ohio; April 21, 2015 - The Handmade Cosmetic Alliance (HCA) representing more than 300,000 small handmade cosmetic companies throughout the U.S., opposes the Personal Care Products Safety Act, S. 1014, introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

The proposed legislation, negotiated by large industry and a single consumer group and affiliate members, imposes burdensome fees, registration requirements and reporting mandates that will jeopardize more than 300,000 small handmade cosmetic companies in the U.S.

“The HCA along with other handmade cosmetic organizations support efforts to make meaningful policy changes to enhance cosmetic safety. However, subjecting small handmade cosmetic companies which operate with less than a handful of employees to onerous regulation is not only unfair and unprecedented, but creates regulatory requirements that will force businesses to close their doors, “ said Debbie May, Executive Director of the HCA.

The handmade cosmetic industry, comprised of largely women-owned and operated businesses, typically manufactures products in batches of 25-100 using largely food grade ingredients that can be found in any grocery store. In the U.S., handmade cosmetic products constitute less than a fraction of one percent of all products in the marketplace yet the quality of these products with food grade oils and ingredients are among the safest in the nation.

Senator Feinstein’s proposed legislation sets unprecedented burdens on small businesses, far exceeding current requirements food manufacturers and small farmers. As drafted, the Personal Care Products Safety Act would subject handmade cosmetic companies to “user fees” that are nearly ten times their market share and require each small handmade cosmetic business to file product registrations on several hundred soap, lotion, scrub batches produced in a given month.

The Handmade Cosmetic Alliance and its members will continue to support efforts to enhance cosmetic safety while ensuring that requirements are fair to small handmade cosmetic companies that create main street jobs and economic benefits to communities across the nation. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

First Class Mail Slow Down: US Mail Important Update

We recently eliminated reinstated first class mail and parcel post mail from our shipping options on Etsy. We have found that this service was slowing down and customers were unhappy and not understanding why the shipping quotes from USPS did not match their delivery times. It turns out this is not just our imagination that first class mail is slowing down! I received an email today from Grand Alliance. They wrote:

You're not imagining it--your mail has been delayed, and delayed again. On January 5, 2015, the U.S. Postal Service took the unwarranted step to degrade mail service standards, virtually eliminating overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals nationwide. In 2015, the USPS is planning to further delay America’s mail by closing or consolidating 82 mail processing plants. Some facilities have already closed and it’s having real, negative effects on mail delivery. Continuing their reckless plan to cut the “service” from “Postal Service” – the USPS is also attempting to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.

Please join us in contacting your representative to ask them to support House resolution 54 to restore US mail service standards for first class. 

We hope to be able to restore first class shipping (packages under 13 oz) to Etsy in the future, but for now we will only offer this service on our main website, This is because we have control over the shipping system on our main site, and at check out we are able to present the truthful caveat about US mail "USPS shipping times are not guaranteed." We also offer FedEx and UPS shipping options on

Friday, April 10, 2015

Seaside Herb Society Fair Saturday April 11th in Ormond Beach

Seaside Herb Society 
20th Annual Faire

Come and celebrate everything herbs!  

There will be speakers, herb plants, baked goods, soaps, and more!
Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bailey Riverbridge Meeting House
1 North Beach Street,
 Ormond Beach, FL 

Directions: Travel east on SR40/Granada Boulevard to the Granada Bridge in Ormond Beach, turn left onto Beach Street. Bailey Riverbridge Meeting House will be on your immediate right. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pillow Care, Directions, and Precautions for Heat Therapy Pillows

Organic Cotton Flannel Flaxseed Pillow in Citron
Attention all microwave pillow owners! We have new detailed pillow instructions that ship with our pillows. You can download a copy here. Why are these new pillow directions important? One customer reported that the outer pillow cover of one of our double layer pillows caught on fire in their microwave. We did a forensic analysis and determined that there was a soiled spot of lotion or body cream on the outer portion of the pillow. The pillow was folded over in the microwave such that the soiled spot was covered causing a hot spot to create a burn.  Please check out the new directions below about how to keep your pillows clean and safe:

Pillow Care: Store your pillow in a cool dry place away from animals. If you are using your pillow as a cold pack and storing it in the freezer, be sure that it warms up to room temperature and is completely dry before switching to use it as a heat pack in the microwave. For single layer pillows, spot clean with damp towel soap and water or oxygen cleaner. Allow to dry completely before using again. For double layer pillows with washable cover, hand wash with cold or warm water and lay flat or hang to dry. Washable covers are 100% Organic cotton and will shrink. 

Warming your pillow: Microwaves have different power levels ranging from 500 - 1650 Watts, or higher in commercial units. 1-2 minutes of heating is a guideline, but consider heating for a lower time period if you have a very powerful microwave (see cautions). When warming your pillow place it in the center of the microwave so that it does not touch the microwave wall and it can rotate during warming. If your microwave does not have a rotating tray, then stop half way through microwaving, shake the pillow, reposition and continue heating. This is to avoid scorching from hot spots in the microwave. The microwave must be clean, because food and oil may also create hot spots.

Cautions: Flaxseed and herbs are natural materials that can burn when overheated. If you overheat a flaxseed pillow, it could result in burned flax seeds, damage to the fabric, or fire. Use less microwave time when reheating already warm pillows. Staying near the microwave during heating is recommended. Keep your pillow clean from oil to avoid creating hot spots that could lead to burning in the microwave. Keep your pillow clean from metal debris; a tiny iron filing or metal shard stuck to the pillow or inside the pillow cover could create a fire in your microwave.