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...

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

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 ( https://www.brazosvalleyfarmersmarket.com/ ). 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 ( https://brazoscountyseniorcitizens.weebly.com/ ), 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.

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

“April showers bring May flowers.” While originally part of a short poem from the 1500’s, its no less true today. Good rains in April means healthy and happy seedlings that thrive for the year, and potentially a cooler summer for better crops.

Unfortunately for us, it means no market this weekend, or potentially even the next, as it’s decided to ONLY have April showers on Saturdays.

We will keep you updated as we check the weather!

A field of Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush

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Images provided by Wix.com, Courtney Mistrot, Devine Imaging, Venson Photography, and Stephanie Hilliard. Outdoor photo venue courtesy of Antique Rose Emporium, Independence, Texas.

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