Autumn is finally here!

If you live in Texas, or you've ever been here for the change of seasons, you know that fall means we can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the endless summer heat blows out and the cooler air blows in. Well, okay, I breathe a sigh of relief. The rest of my heat-loving family breaks out the winter weather gear and starts complaining until some time in late spring!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, we had hoped to make our first big craft fair this fall, but the pandemic still has a lot of those fairs shut down. We'll just shift our focus to spring and hope for the best. But autumn's cooler weather means we're BAAACCKKK at the Brazos Valley Farmer's Market. We are at the market the 1st and 2nd Saturdays of every month from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. We will also be there on Saturday, October 31st, for their Halloween market. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the great weather and come join us and all the other vendors. The market is growing so there are plenty of fantastic items to explore!

We might not have been at the market over the hot summer months, but we weren't idle. I'm pleased to say that our products are now in Village Foods & Pharmacy. They've been one of our favorite places to get healthy foods, herbs, etc. for many years and we're delighted to be partnering with them. You can find our products right next to the checkout counter.

I'm one of those purists who hates it when my holidays overlap (think Halloween decorations on the shelves in late August!) But autumn inevitably means that Christmas will be here before you know it and we have something special planned this year. We are hard at work putting together gift baskets with sample-sized products for that special someone in your life. They are also priced to be a great option for holiday gift exchanges at your office or social gathering.

Our gift baskets will be available starting the first of December at the farmers' market and on our website. We will be offering both a standard basket with products in a variety of scents as well as a special "man basket" with products that all feature our signature scent for men (bourbon, tobacco, leather, and sandalwood). We know from experience how hard it can be to find a gift for the guy in your life...these baskets can make that process a little less painful. This scent has won over many a skeptical man who was following his wife/girlfriend/daughter around the market and got trapped at the soap booth. The look on their faces when they reluctantly sniff it and then realize we really do have a scent for men - and it smells GOOD - is quite comical.

While we're on the subject of gift giving, I wanted to remind everyone that we also offer gift cards in any denomination. These can be a great stocking stuffer, an office party gift, or a great way to send a gift to someone far away. We ship throughout the continental United States.

While the fresh winds are blowing in, we are also bringing out fresh products. We've had a number of customers ask us about candles; this fall we're rolling out our line of beeswax/tallow container candles in a variety of scents. Initially, they will be available exclusively in our holiday gift baskets (yet another reason to check those out). Our standard and man baskets will include a single candle, but we will also have candle-only gift baskets with three scents in each. We'll start offering our larger beeswax/tallow container candles in a variety of scents in the spring.

Do you have someone who just can't do the scented body or home products? We can still cover your gift giving needs with our handmade kitchen products. We offer beautiful, hand-crocheted dish clothes with both individual cloths and color-coordinated bundles available. We also have dish scrubbies in a rainbow of colors. These long-lasting scrubbies are good for everything from glasses and china to pots and pans.

Last, but not least, we have a new line of hand-woven hot pads in two sizes and a multitude of colors to fit any decor. These will also be available as both individual items and as sets.

Whew! Just telling you about all the great items we are offering for the upcoming holidays is wearing me out...but having that many awesome gift options in one place might just make your holiday shopping a little less exhausting this year. Remember, if you're local you can explore all the great new items at the farmers' market starting the first weekend in December. If you don't make it by the market, or you're not local, check out our website for gift ideas starting the first part of December.

We hope you have a wonderful, safe holiday season. Whether you can gather in person, or you're still sharing special moments only online, cherish the memories you make just by being together. From our cottage to yours...

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Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Well, okay, masks aren't exactly optional these days, and we're doing our part to keep everyone safe when we go out. But we were already making the world a cleaner place one bar of soap at a time, and that hasn't changed, even with the crazy time we're all living through.

I was grateful to see that when the rest of the world started shutting down this spring, we still had friends visit us at the Brazos Valley Farmers' Market. With less things taking up time on Saturday, we even made some new friends who had never tried the market before. We were still able to talk about the weather, which booth currently had honey, and all the great benefits of handmade, natural cleaning products. Talking to people, even with masks, is the best part of our job.

Our attempt at our first major craft fair this past April did get shut down, but we're hoping and planning to hit one this fall - pandemic permitting. As usual, that means we're spending our summer planning, ordering, and making soap batches. This year, my very handy husband is working on an R&D project to create new molds that will make our soap process simpler and more efficient. We've already tried the beta version with great success.

Not to worry, though. We may be in the middle of our summer soap production frenzy, but we still have plenty of great products available on our website. If you're local to the Bryan/College Station area, we can safely deliver them to you, or we can ship them anywhere in the continental United States.

We have some NEW items, too! We recently added gorgeous, hand-crocheted washcloths made by the same crafter that does our dish scrubbies. I like to joke that these are an imported product...from Colorado! Available in a rainbow of colors, you can purchase individual items, or you can get bundles of two or three cloths in complementary color themes. Check out our product pages to see all our current options. Regardless of your final color choice, they all pair nicely with our moisturizing bar soaps.

If the summer is leaving your skin less in need of a soft cloth and more in need of some extra scrubbing, try one of our affordable, all-natural, homegrown loofahs. These gently invigorating sponges exfoliate rough skin to leave it wonderfully smooth and soft. They are long-lasting, biodegradable, and compostable.

Here's wishing everyone a safe summer that still holds the joys of fun and family, albeit in a modified format. We managed to make our annual fireworks show, even with social distancing; it was even more enjoyable given that so many things that we've all taken for granted in years past weren't being held. Be safe, but be creative in making things happen that make those precious memories.

From our cottage to yours...

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Updated: Jul 30, 2019

Dark-colored butterfly on a grapevine
Butterfly on a mustang grapevine outside our kitchen door

It is summertime in Texas. In one word that means HOT. Because of the heat, we are taking a break from our normal Saturday morning booth at the Brazos Valley Farmers' Market ( ). While a number of our products do fine in the heat, some of them don't handle 90+ very well. Since I don't either, it is break time until early fall.

But taking a break from running our booth doesn't mean we get to enjoy the good ol' summertime and forget about soap. On the contrary, these breaks are a great time for us to catch up on the many critical housekeeping tasks that are part of running any business. For example, today I am updating our website, including writing this blog post. We are also in the process of assessing stock and deciding what products we need to get busy making to keep up our inventory.

Break time is also a good time to do R&D. We take feedback from our customers very seriously and use it as part of our continuous quality improvement process. We want to know what is working well for customers, and what may need improvement. We are also open to customer ideas about new products, or new ways of packaging products for greater usability.

In short, making homemade, natural body and home products is not a "one and done" process. Rather, this business is a dynamic between the two of us as soap making partners, our customers, and the products themselves.

We also plan to hit a couple of local craft fairs as a way of expanding our customer base in the community. We attended one yesterday at the Brazos County Senior Citizens' Association ( ), and we plan to be at another local fair in early October.

Between now and late September/early October when we return to the Market, we'll make multiple bases that can then be individually scented and packaged, as well as craft more milk soap. We'll write additional blog posts, take some new product photos for the website, and in general argue amiably about what to do and how to do it. A mother/daughter business partnership creates endless opportunities for different opinions!

I hope everyone enjoys their summer, wherever you live. Stay safe and have fun...from our cottage to yours.

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