Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Don't forget to see us at the Cleveland Bazaar

This week I’m busy prepping for the Cleveland Bazaar at Market Square Park. I’ll be slinging soap on Saturday, September 5 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Stop down and stock up if you are in the area!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us. Check out some of our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. Labor Day is right around the corner here in the U.S. Are you planning a barbecue over the long weekend? Impress your friends and family with some tasty burgers, hot off the grill. Pair them with patriotic (and healthy) potato salad made with a tasty vegan mayo

3 mouthwatering tomato recipes

Cherry tomatoes on the vine

Normally, late August is the time to lament the end of tomato season in my garden. But thanks to a late start to summer this year, my tomato plants are just now starting to produce. This past week, I ate my weight in cherry tomatoes. I’m a “pluck it off the plant and pop it in my mouth” kind of tomato eater but sometimes a few lucky tomatoes actually make into my house. When that happens, I like to try delicious ways to incorporate them into dinner.

There are around a eleventy billion tomato recipes floating around the internet and, while most of them are OK, they often lack the wow factor that homegrown tomatoes deserve. So, when I’m looking to cook up a delicious and easy meal with my homegrown beauties, I turn to one place: The Smitten Kitchen blog. It’s clear that Deb Perelman, the mastermind behind the blog, has a deep love for tomatoes. Search for the word tomato in her blog and you get around 2000 results. For me, three of those recipes stand out from all the rest. If you are dealing with a bumper crop of tomatoes this year, try one of these recipes. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

  • Scalloped tomatoes with croutons – This is, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever eaten. And to think, I almost let my phobia of wet bread stop me from trying it. The trick for me is spreading the mixture out in a thin layer in a large casserole dish so the croutons dry out while baking. Do not skip the poached egg! 
  • Mediterranean baked feta with tomatoes – You can use any feta with this recipe, but I recommend treating yourself to a high quality hunk of the salty Greek treat. You won’t regret it.
  • Roasted tomatoes and cipollini – Simple ingredients and easy to make, this dish packs a huge amount of flavor. I serve mine over black beans.

Now, please excuse me while I run out to the local Greek store for feta. In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite way to use homegrown tomatoes.

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Air plant

Have you ever seen an air plant? I’ve seen them at different flea markets and on Etsy and I finally decided to buy one for myself. Air plants, or epiphytes, are plants that grow on other objects. They don’t need soil to grow and they gain their water and nutrients from the air. If I don’t kill it first (I have little luck with indoor plants) my air plant will flower and then produce “pups,” which are little offshoots that can be removed and grown as a separate plant. Air plants typically grow in heavily shaded rain forest environments so they are perfect for houses that don’t get a light of light. I’m excited to see what this little plant will do in the next few months!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us. Check out some of our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

  • Easy melt and pour polar bear soap tutorial – Melt and pour soap was my starting point in the world of soap making and I still love the versatility it offers. This easy to make soap from Soap Deli News would make a great stocking stuffer for a nature-loving child!
  • Cool yule peppermint loaf – This DIY from The Soap Queen is a bit more advanced. I’ve made this design and it’s a lot of fun to do. It looks and smells amazing!
  • Sea glass – This DIY from Marte Ravn Tovik couldn’t be easier and the results are so pretty! Wrap these up in a nice cellophane bag, tied with a pretty bow and you have a cute gift for your beach-loving friends.

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Take a cute break – Check out a gorgeous Shar Pei and his cat posing in the most adorable ways. The pictures are guaranteed to make you smile at least once.
  • Extreme waste reduction – Is this woman for real? Less than a jar of trash in a year? What does she do with her worn out underwear?
  • 11 problems music can solve – And now I know how to get those kids off my lawn!

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Have you thought about making your own soap? A great place to start is with melt and pour soaps, which are pre-made soap bases that you melt in your microwave and then pour into a mold. This type of soap is safe and easy to personalize with scent, color and molds. Sometimes a batch doesn’t go as planned but melt and pour soap is very forgiving and there are ways to salvage a failed batch. I’ve messed up more batches than I like to admit but when things go right, it’s very rewarding! Why not give it a try?

Soap making secrets: The benefits of using essential oil in handmade soap

Soap making secrets: Essential Oil

What’s the first thing you do when you pick up new bar of soap? If you’re like most people, you pick it up and smell it. (Or, if you are like one person I encountered, you stick your fingernail into it. Don’t do that.)

Scent is a critical component of most soap and one of the tools a handmade soap maker uses to add amazing scent to their soap is essential oil. Essential oil is a natural oil that is extracted from a plant, fruit, root or other source that smells like the source it came from. For example, orange essential oil smells like oranges because the oil is extracted from the rind. Peppermint oil is distilled from the leaves of a peppermint plant.

In addition to smelling incredible, essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic and medicinal properties. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and is great for treating acne, dandruff and bug bites. The mosquitos have been crazy this year and I’ve been using tea tree oil to stop the itching. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used to soothe respiratory issues as well as stimulate mental activity. Lavender essential oil has a soothing scent that helps promote relaxation. I put a few drops under my pillow every time a put new sheets on my bed and it helps relax me into a nice sleep.

When used undiluted, some essential oils can be harmful so if you are thinking about using essential oils for their medicinal values, do your research first. However, when used in the proper ratios in a product that is washed off, like handmade soap, essential oils are safe and effective.

Looking to try handmade soap made with essential oils? The Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy can hook you up.

My natural Lavender soap made with soothing Hungarian lavender is the perfect soap to help you relax before a stressful day in the office.

Hungarian lavender handmade soap

Lemongrass essential oil has astringent and antiseptic properties and the uplifting scent of this Lemongrass and Green Tea soap will get your day started on a high note.

Lemongrass essential oil handmade soap

Get the benefits of three essential oils in one bar of soap with my Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint soap. This pretty soap is sure invigorate your senses. Eucalyptus and peppermint elevate mental clarity while the lavender helps to relieve stress.

Eucalyptus, lavender & mint handmade soap

 

Do you have a favorite essential oil scent? Tell me about it in the comments or on the Emmet Street Creations Facebook page. Your idea just might spark my next creation!

 

 

 

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Cherry tomatoes from Martha's Farm

A few weekends ago, Matt and I tried out the Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Unfortunately, we got there just as most stands were closing down but we were able to snag some amazing cherry tomato varieties from Martha’s Farm. They were so good that on Saturday, we made the effort to wake up early, pull ourselves together and get to the market as it was opening. Not only did we buy more tomatoes from Martha, we also snagged some goat cheese from Mackenzie Creamery, micro greens from PlantScription, and some of the best kombucha I’ve ever had from Bucha Bill. (If you get the chance, try the Watermelon Cayenne!) We had a pretty amazing salad for dinner Saturday night!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us. Check out some of our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Instagram, here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Hitchhiker – This little guy hitched a ride to work with me last week. He survived a 15 mile trip and speeds of up to 60 mph!
  • Garlic – This year has been the year of garlic in my garden. I’m still working on ways to use up all the garlic I grew. Last week, I roasted several heads and they were delicious!
  • Countyside Farmers’ Market– A quick shot from the entrance to the market. The weather was amazing!

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Are you a fan of farmers’ markets and flea markets? Check out our 8 tips for surviving the experience. Wondering what to do with all the great vegetables you bought? We have recipe ideas for all kinds of farmers’ market finds.

Finding peace through meditation

Finding peace through meditation

Have you ever been so stressed out in the middle of a work day that you just sat and stared at your computer monitor with your heart racing, unable to focus on the task at hand? Have you ever wished you could quickly calm yourself down so you could move forward? Now there’s an app for that! It’s called Stop, Breathe & Think and it’s brilliant.

A few weeks ago, my friend and co-blogger, Kelly, noticed I was having a difficult day. She turned on her phone and showed me this app, created by Tools for Peace. It’s a simple concept. Open the app, answer a few questions about how you are feeling in the moment, and it spits out 3 quick guided meditations that are structured to meet your immediate needs. This app is easy to use and the voice that guides you through the meditations is soft and soothing. She pauses long enough for you to stop and reflect on the things she says. And the best thing is that with a pair of earphones, you can do the quick meditations at your desk, on a plane, in a waiting room or anywhere you want. (Except in a car while driving. Keep those eyes on the road!)

While the app is free and offers several different types of meditations, you can also buy more advanced or longer meditations if you wish. Or, if you love the work that Tools for Peace does, you can thank them by making a donation to their organization right through the app.

If you’re looking for a little peace in your life, this app can help you find it. Give it a try!

P.S. The opinions in this post are completely my own. Tools for Peace has not compensated me in any way to talk about how awesome this app is. 

Freshly stocked: Crisp apple and rose soap

Crisp apple rose soap

Crisp apple & rose handmade soap from Emmet Street Creations

Fall is quickly approaching and with it comes apple season. I love picking apples, eating apples, cooking with apples, and taking pictures of apples. I’m pretty much an apple fanatic. Give me a peck of freshly picked Honey Crisp apples and I’m in heaven. It’s only natural that my love of apples inspired me to make a crisp apple and rose scented soap.

This customer favorite soap features a blend of olive and rice bran oils to treat your skin gently. The scent is a perfect blend of fresh crisp apples and soothing rose petals.

I’ve restocked this soap in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy, just in time for the fall season. Give it a try today while supplies last!