Monday, September 29, 2014

Salmon Days is here!

Groovin' since 1970!

Yeah, Baby! The salmon are on their way!  For 45 consecutive years, we've been celebrating the return of the salmon that come to Issaquah's downtown hatchery to "shag".  

What started as a small town celebration has morphed into an internationally recognized and award winning Festival that regularly draws an estimated 150,000 people.  With over 500 vendors, 60 food booths, and multiple entertainment stages, Issaquah Salmon Days is now a staple event in the Puget Sound.

The coolest part? The Snoqualmie Tribe is the new Title Spawnsor of Salmon Days.  The Snoqualmie People have a longstanding tradition and culture of protecting and celebrating the salmon and are an integral part of our community.  Their support of Salmon Days is truly an honor and will help ensure the tradition of welcoming home the salmon will continue for many more generations.  

This is my last big outdoor event of the year and it's always a blast - even if the weather is drippy.  My booth location is #318 - a corner spot on Sunset Way, just at the entrance to the hatchery itself. I'm hoping for sunshine and warm weather . . . but I'm just excited to be there no matter what.

Dates:  Sat & Sun, October 4 & 5, 10am-6pm both days

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is that aromatherapy stuff?

Frequently someone will be prancing past my little display of soap goodies and say, “oh, is that aromatherapy stuff?” Well strictly speaking, no it’s not. But on the other hand, yes, it very much is. I’ll explain.

The real question: is it aromatherapy or does it just smell good? Or what is aromatherapy really?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “aromatherapy” as: “the use of natural oils that have a pleasant smell to make a person feel better.”

More specifically, it’s the use of natural plant oils – essential oils, compounds, extracts or absolutes – for psychological and physical well-being.  They can be inhaled, added to a bath, or used in massage oils and rubbed onto the body.

It was the French perfumer and chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 with the publication of his book by that same name. Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy describes early clinical findings on using essential oils for a range of physiological ailments. It’s clear that his intention was to differentiate the medicinal application of essential oils from perfumery.

 This new method was the therapeutic treatment or the medicinal use of aromatic substances - essential oils of plants - for holistic healing. As the practice of aromatherapy has progressed over the years, it has adopted a more holistic approach encompassing the healing of not just the body, but mind and spirit too.
"Aromatherapy is... the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well being."  Valerie Cooksley
"Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul."  Robert Tisserand

So, are Soapworks Studio products actually aromatherapeutic? Yes, in the broadest sense.  If you are using a bar of soap or any of the other goodies, and you think the fragrance smells wonderful, you are enjoying the experience, and you feel better afterwards, then it’s accomplished the basic tenets of aromatherapy. A person’s sense of smell is processed in the part of the brain right next to the place where memories are stored. Which is why so often a particular scent will immediately take you back to a place in time (“oh my gosh, that smells exactly like my grandmother’s house!”). The smell of something will trigger a powerful memory or is tied to a specific experience and emotion. And if the whiff results in you feeling happy, joyful, relaxed, calm or any other positive emotion, then you are experiencing an aromatherapy benefit.

Conversely, I cannot claim that I have designed any one of these products to specifically evoke some kind of medicinal healing. Yes, the lavender spray is the perfect way to apply the soothing, relaxing aromatherapy benefits of lavender oil to yourself or your room. But mostly I’ve combined scents together in a more casual way, because they smell good to me, and they make a pleasant scent to bathe in. Not because I’m following some rules in a guidebook to be used in a therapeutic treatement plan, or to evoke specific reactions for individual body systems or mental issues.

At the end of the day, for me it’s all about enjoyment and pleasure. Everyone has such varied reactions to smells and it’s a bit unpredictable, really. I make the stuff I like the best, and the stuff you guys have liked the best, and hope that we’re all having a better day when we get sudsing in it. Simple things.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dirty laundry?

Now that we're switching from grass stains to mud puddles . . . the dirty laundry just keeps piling up. Do you use those laundry stain sticks to clean up the tough messes?

You might be interested to know that a good old bar of handmade soap does a great job on those tough stains, and it's already sitting in your shower. I've found it works great on just about everything - from greasy food stains, wine spills, outdoor play time, to blood streaks.  Just dampen the clothing, rub in a bar of soap all over the stain, and keep rubbing a bit, sudsing up and re-wetting if needed until the stain begins to fade out.  Takes just a few seconds.  Then throw it in the laundry load and you're good to go.  Just like a stain stick only a whole lot cheaper, more effective and nothing chemical. Bingo!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How nature is all connected

Sometimes the synchronicity of Nature is absolutely mind-blowing.  Like this story about how adding  wolves back to Yellowstone Park after 70 years of absence rejuvenated the entire ecosystem.  Just putting them back into balance, brought back so many other species of wildlife, which in turn brought back plants and trees, having a cascading effect that even changed the rivers and the geography of the area.  

It's awesome and wonderful.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Autumn

September Poem

"That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air . . . Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer."

- Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

Friday, September 19, 2014

Whoosh - time flies by

This is the last few days at the Washington State Fair and it's been a whirlwind of activity for the last couple of weeks.  Rushing here.  Rushing there. Rushing in circles, panting and overwhelmed.

This little bit of September seems to just disappear in a flash.  The autumn newsletter coincides with the fair timing and after the lull of late August, this explosion of activity always takes me by surprise. But it gears me up for the hectic holidays ahead. And lights a fire.

I just wanted to pop in and dust the cobwebs off the blog. I've got more coming soon, when I get a minute to sit down next week. I've been a little more regular over at the Facebook page, so you can always find the latest there.

A few words to remember from the bigger-than-life Joan Rivers. . . there will never be another one quite like her.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Bonfire Days

“Ho! For the leaves that eddy down,
Crumpled yellow and withered brown,
Hither and yonder and up the street
And trampled under the passing feet;
Swirling, billowing, drifting by,
With a whisper soft and a rustling sigh,
Starting aloft to windy ways,
Telling the coming of bonfire days.”

Grace Stickler Dawson
Bonfire Days

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Autumn 2014 Newsletter

Hello! For those of you who are not on my e-mailing list, I'm posting the full text of the autumn newsletter which is winging it's way to people's inboxes and mailboxes this week. I don't want anyone to miss all the cool new scents we've got going on over here for fall!

You can find all of the new products on one page of the website - the "Seasonal" products page - clickie right here

Oh, and if you somehow missed getting yourself on the super special VIP mailing list, you can subscribe right here, and be the first to know what's fresh and hot for the winter holiday season (out November 1).

- - - - - - - - o o o  o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o - - - - - - - -

Dear Friends,

If we could shrink an entire year of seasons into a single day, spring would be the break of dawn - shimmering morning light emerging from the deep of night. Summer is the peak of a bright, warm, sunny day. And Autumn, of course, is the most glorious evening sunset, the sky full of wondrous clouds and streaks of color as the sun dips below the horizon.

Fall seems like such a short little season, after a long, lazy nap with summer.  It nips in quickly, explodes with both activity and breathtaking hues, and then exits abruptly, slipping us into the long, dark winter. Autumn brings with it a comfortable sense of place and order, reminding us that the passage of time and the constant of change are inevitable, yes, but welcome friends too. There’s no time to waste mourning the end of summer as we take in the wonders of Mother’s Nature’s most dramatic  season of all.


Autumn’s cool, crisp air crystallizes our senses.  The whisper of wind and the crunch of dead leaves shoo us back indoors to the warm delights of home – soups bubbling, treats baking in the oven, and fireplaces crackling.  This year’s Autumn harvest scents are brimming with the very best fruits and spices of the season.  ($4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00)

Orange Spice:  A traditional classic and a top seller every autumn, this soap is sweet orange, warm cinnamon and spicy clove, reminiscent of everyone’s favorite spiced tea blend.  It’s a bit lighter and fresher than our Breakfast Soap, but smooth, without any texture, and the perfect fragrance for fall. (100% natural soap)

Cranberry Apple:  Yes, this is the same much loved cranberry soap that people wait all year for. I’ve renamed it (from Cranberry Harvest) because the harvest part is really apple cider anyway. Plus a few other magical things, like cinnamon spices, orange peel, straw bales and plaid blankets. Well at least of couple of those things, but you’ll be thinking of them all when sniffing this one.

Pumpkin Cinnamon: Pumpkin and spice. So nice together. Because pumpkin on its own is just baby food. But pumpkin with cinnamon and sugar is all your favorite fall treats – pie, cookies, cakes and that inevitable latte too. This blend is a dollop of pumpkin, with oodles of vanilla sugary goodness and a heaping dose of cinnamon, allspice, clove and cardamom spices.

Honey Almond:  Almond lovers, this is for you. It’s almond, almond, and more almond. Oh, and just a touch of warm liquid honey fragrance to round out the edges, which you’ll hardly notice since you’re already swooning in almond.

Autumn Home Fragrance Sprays

New this year – Vanilla Bean Honey spray. This scent is truly a beloved favorite in both the soap and the bath salts already. I’m answering all your requests and pleas and making it available as an aromatic spray too, just for a limited time. Vanilla is the scent of home and comfort, a perfect match for the season.

Spiced Apple spray is an irresistible blend of tart, juicy red apples, bright orange peel, and spice notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.  It’s the quintessential scent of autumn -- one whiff transports you to nostalgic memories of apple orchards, cider presses, the crack-snap of crunchy leaves and bobbing for apples.

Helloooo, it’s not too early to start spritzing a little festive spicy holiday spirit around the house too!  Holiday Spice is our most requested seasonal spray, every year since the very beginning. Oranges, cranberries, spices and greens all blend together for the perfect scent of magic and delight. (4 oz bottle - $ 6.00)


As we launch head first into the holiday spin cycle, the next few months are chock full of craft shows, fairs and festivals too.  I’ll be doing what I can to bring the goodies to your ‘hood, up close and in person.  Click on the “Events” tab on the website to see where I’ll be selling my wares.

As always, I gratefully appreciate your loyal business throughout the year, and wish you a brilliant and abundant harvest season!