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Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Feature - Crowley Manor

This week's Friday Feature features Crowley Manor - fabulous handmade soaps and skin care products! I have tried many different brands of handmade soaps over the past few years. I used to use body wash and bath gels exclusively because commercials soaps made my skin so dry and itchy. After getting a handmade cold process soap as a gift in one of my fleece orders, I decided to try it and was amazed at how great my skin felt. I discovered Crowley Manor on Etsy last August and tried three of her soaps. OMG - they are hands-down the best cold process handm
ade soaps I have ever used!

My personal favorite soap is the Orange Truffle Kahlua soap - Coffee Sweet Almonds Vanilla Orange and shea butter - aka the OMG II Soap.

1. How did you get started making soaps?

As long as I can remember, I have felt the need to create to be content, I draw, paint on silk, owned a stained glass design studio, designed unique one of a kind handbags. It is what drives me and defines me. The longing to put out a great product, and most importantly to bring a smile to the receiver of the product, is the driving force.

One day I decided it would be fun to try soapmaking. Colorado is a very dry climate, and very unkind to my skin. I buried myself in books researching the soapmaking process, took classes with a certified soapmaker who specializes in certified organic products, began studying herbs and essential oils and their effect on the skin and how people respond to scents, and how it may set the mood for a moment or a day. Also, knowing that goat milk is a wonderful humectant and very close to the skin’s natural ph level , I choose to also offer goat milk soap. Being aware though that some of us, wish for natural products which are vegan as well, I also offer an extensive line of th
ose, aiming to keep all of us happy!

2. How long have you been making soaps?

For approximately 3 years.

3. How do you get your ideas for scents and fragrance combinations for your soaps?

Ah… soap scents, my mind always wonders…happy, sad, energized, relaxed, depending on my mood, I begin playing with the essential oils, or driving in the mountains I want to relay a certain feeling. Imagine the warm sun on your skin…..maybe transports you to the tropics. Close your eyes, can you smell the ocean, or the scent of sweet almonds and oranges. Perhaps it’s in the midst of winter and you can’t wait to get home and away from 6 feet of snow piling up outside, turn the key, open the door and a wonderful aroma of hot tea and cinnamon wafts through the room…that’s how the ideas pop into my head. My favorites in the winter Oatmeal Milk and Honey, it is a very comforting scent or the Fireside Orange Spice, Spring I enjoy the Into the woods unisex bar or Lavender and for those hot summer days the citrusy bars are so refreshing and do they ever smell good.

4. How long does it take to make a batch of soap?

It depends if it's a new creation and I have to work with new essential oil combinations, then it can be up to a day or more. If it is for an existing time proven recipe, it takes me about an hour from start to clean up for one batch. This of course does not include cutting up the bars, putting them away to cure and the packaging process that comes afterwards as each bar is wrapped in it's own paper packaging to allow it to breathe and mellow even more as time goes by. The longer a bar of soap cures the milder and harder it will be, but it retains all of it's goodness, as in the naturally occuring glycerin that is made during the saponification (soapmaking) process. My soaps are all made from natural organic base oils, never from melt and pour bases. I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to go back to basics for what we put into and on our body. The skin our largest living organ , it protects us, so why not treat it with reverence.

5. What is your favorite item in your etsy store right now?

I love them all...or they would not be in my store to share :o)! That fresh batch of Almond Sunset (orange essential oil and almond essential oil) does smells quite good right now's kind of intoxicating.

6. Where do you sell your soaps and body care items?

Most of my soaps are sold online, with clients anywhere from the Pacific Rim, Europe, Down Under lovely Australia, to Africa. My husband teases me telling me that I am global. Nothing has been mailed off the planet yet though! I do have a few stores in the States, including Colorado who retail my products as well.

7. Do you use goat’s milk from your own goats to make your soaps?

Yes, to make a long story short, I didn’t wish for store bought goat milk and researched dairy goats, ones which had the highest butterfat content (for the creamiest soaps and if by chance I ever find the time, I will also make Chevre cheese) I searched for just the right goats for over a year, crossing Colorado from one end to the next, as I wished to see the stock first hand. I fell in love with the Nigerian dwarf breed, due to their demeanor, size and that almighty yummy milk. I feel privileged to have the pleasure to hand milk my does twice a day right now. They look forward to their one on one time with me...well maybe they look forward to their big helping of goat grain, while I milk them!

So folks, head on over to Crowley Manor and grab several bars of your favorite scented soaps! You won't be sorry. And, here's an insider tip, Crowley Manor usually has Saturday Night Specials with nice discounts on soaps and other products in the store. Enjoy!


Pricilla said...

I have to agree that Nigerian dwarf goats are the best...heh heh. I am an expert on that as I AM one.

Beautiful soaps!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Pricilla - yes Nigerian dwarf goats are awesome! I still need to order some of your soaps so I can try them out. I cannot decide which one is my favorite so I'll have to try several!

Meghann said...

Wow, this shop looks great! If i get a little extra $$ I'll visit there :)

Michelle said...

This is soap? they look like fancy, expensive desserts. I love the photo of the kitty condo! SOOO cute :)

Maria Michelle

Split Rock Ranch said...

Meghann - I highly recommend her soaps, they're awesome!

Michelle - HA! That what I said when I got the soaps - I didn't know if I should eat them or bathe with them! And they smell as good as they look and the lather is awesome - no soap scum either - very moisturizing due to the natural glycerin and the goats milk in some of them.

WillOaks Studio said...

Just beautiful pieces (of soap) but doesn't the look get spoiled with use? (or am I thinking too much like a sculptor??) They sound pretty awesome to use...I will try some! Although personally, I think I'd use at least half of that goat's milk for cheese!

Inspiration By Karen said...

Yummy soaps! Love Goat's Milk in soaps and lotions~

FishHawk said...

I'm with Michelle. For I was about to leave a comment saying that this stuff looks too good to eat, but then I was reminded of the fact that it is soap. Nonetheless, it still looks too good to eat!

Anonymous said...

I'm always so enticed by handmade soaps because they just look and smell so delicious!

Audrey said...

I love handmade soap!! Didn't know about this shop - will definitely check it out!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Hey all - Pat's soaps are so awesome, really you'll LOVE them! They look good, smell good, last a long time, lather up wonderfully and it is like having an aromatherapy session every time you take a shower! I bought a special little mesh bag at Wal-Mart that I put all my small bits of soap bars into so I can use every last bit of the soap. I use that to scrub my feet with - they get pretty yucky after grubbing around doing ranch chores every day! I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be disappointed in these soaps!