Posted on

Why We Support Local Businesses and Non-profits

Every once in a while, we get a chance to talk about why and how we support local businesses. Mostly, it’s to folks from out of town or those interested in having us switch to their company. I would like the chance to spend a moment explaining our reasons in a bit more detail about what it is we do locally because I can’t always while we’re out at an event! There’s a couple of reasons that are most important to us and I really wanted to spotlight them as part of our blog also.

We buy local ingredients or materials whenever possible because we can usually have the chance to see them first hand before purchasing. I can actually pick them up, view them, or smell them as needed before we commit it to soap. We like having the chance to see the place where it was grown or harvested, forged or crafted as much as possible. You can see if the shops are clean, the owners friendly and honest, other customers are happy, or if it is a place you should avoid working with. It also feels good to see the person you hand your money to, and know that it goes to support their family or further their business. We also like to promote local crafters, businesses, or events we like as often as possible to help spread the word about them. Lastly, there is just something awesome about being able to see something handmade in front of you! Why wouldn’t you support your local community?

We also like to give to charities and non-profits locally as much as possible. We like to donate our time as a family in addition to fundraising for them through our company. We have found that our preference is to go work hands on with the group, such as food drives, sorting items in donation drives, and helping work in an animal shelter, because they have had such a more long lasting impact on our children. However, there are some others we help financially as that is what works best for them. It also feels good to be able to see the results of your hard work make an impact in your community right in front of your own eyes. Our children have very fond memories of some of our local projects and we have made lasting connections with many of the people we’ve met along the way.

I hope that this post answers more questions some of you have had about how our company handles a few of our buying and giving choices. We hope that more people can do the same in their areas and would love hearing about your thoughts. Have a favorite store, events, craftsman, or show we need to know about? You can find us this weekend at Fenske’s Country Store to talk to us directly, email, or comment below or on Facebook. We are officially collecting food items for a HCC Food Pantry and will also gladly take your donations for them this weekend while we’re there. Fenske’s will be open on Saturday from 10-5pm and Sunday from 11-4pm. I am updating our show schedule this weekend and should have more information for those of you who were waiting to have it posted. We should be able to give you an idea of where to find us in person for at least the next three to four months. That may be just a quick Facebook post though as I’ve had a lot less time to blog lately between being a soap-making workaholic and parent, as many people can relate. Also, yes, I’m working on fixing those pictures in the shopping cart again! Have a great holiday season everyone!

Happy Washing!

Dorothy

Posted on

Green Tea Sand Soap

Green Tea Sand Soap

For this week, we’re highlighting the Green Tea Sand Soap I made last week.  Sand soap is very popular around here for cleaning off the dirt and grime we cover ourselves in while playing in the gardens, repairing the homestead, and working in the garage.  The picture above was while the bars were being cut and you can still see the swirling from when it was poured into the mold.

What on earth would possess me to add sand or green tea to my soaps?  Well, I don’t do it for all the soaps and I can’t honestly claim the idea of either to be my own invention.  I know a few mechanics and construction workers and they know I make soap.  One day during a conversation, someone brought up the old Lava soap hand scrub they used to use and how they’d had problems with finding it or a good replacement.  The substitute ones used at work weren’t doing the job anymore.  My gardening friend also lamented about the ground-in dirt from her spending all day working hard.  Long story short, I was fascinated with the idea of making a mechanic’s scrub for them that was gentle enough for the gardener’s mature skin.    I have mentioned before I’m a researching geek, right?

I spent a bit of time pouring over old recipes I could get my hands on, info on degreasing skin without stripping or destroying it, and testing different recipes built from my notes.  I created a soft scrub like they asked and I was on top of the world.  My hubby here discovered it also removed the mess off of him he had made while doing home repairs.  I was a happy girl!  Then came the best sand I had ever felt from a fellow local soaper named Denise.  She had the finest, softest sand I had ever played with and she had made her sand soaps into hard bars.   (Yeah, I played in the dirt as a kid.  Occasionally still do as an adult!)  It meant tweaking the recipe for me to do it but it was so worth it.  Now, we offer both a soft scrub and the firmer bars for you to choose from.  Denise, thank you again and again!

I do use real green tea in this soap, as usual for any of our tea soaps. The water for the lye solution was replaced with extra-strong tea that had been brewed the day prior and allowed to cool overnight.  The tea provides a little color to the soaping pot so I didn’t add any more color to this batch.  It has also added a light scent that the boys here deemed “manly enough” to pass muster.  These bars are a minimum of 6oz each and there are a few still available that are over 7oz.  Email me soon if you want them though because these are going fast.  I do get asked about the health benefits of using green tea soap and I have to be honest in my answer.  It is widely known that green tea is awesome for your body- as a drink.  How much of the antioxidant power survives the soaping process is still being debated.  I would love to think that washing in this soap will provide all the same benefits but the jury is out still.  To be safe, I have to say that it won’t cure those health problems you might want addressed any more than sleeping with your calculus book under your pillow allowed you to absorb everything for midterms in school, you know?  I will say that I do love how it feels on my skin though!

I will now sign off for the week so that I can go clean the soap pot.  Up next week will be some of the other soaps that are on the rack with many more pictures.  I hope that you and yours have had a safe week and enjoy your Labor Day weekend.  For our readers who are military, both active and retired, I wish to say thank you.  For our parent readers, especially the moms who understand that some labor never ends, may you enjoy at least a few minutes of peace and rest!

Happy Washing!

Dorothy

Posted on

Mad Scientist’s Stock Update

Well, the racks are all overflowing again with new soaps and the stick blender has begged for mercy.  All possible soaping pots came out for work this week and I was caught cackling and dancing more than once over a bubbling stock pot.  Love my job!  Most of this week’s soaps were heavily olive oil based so expect them to be very mild, smooth, and creamy when you get your hands on them!  Thanks again to cute Baby Lex for inspiring some new soaps.

As promised, here is the in-stock update.  The website is still in progress (one of the hazards of being a chronic do-it-yourself-er who has a habit of researching things almost to death) so I apologize that we haven’t gotten a shopping cart set up yet or launched the site.  If required, I’ll go stand in the corner once I finish this post 🙂  All bar soaps are currently priced at $4.25 each, plus any shipping costs or sales tax if you are in Texas.  If you are local to the Cypress, TX area, we can be caught at Donna’s Market in October or arrange a pickup to save you shipping costs.  All others can order by emailing us directly at txpioneercreations@yahoo.com or contacting us thru this blog and Facebook.  And yes, we can always create a gift set for you- just drop us a line and let’s brainstorm!

Ready to ship/pick up:  Chocolate (both Vegan and Old Fashioned), Sage & Citrus with Shea Butter, Rain, and our regular Sage & Citrus.

Ready by Sept 30th (currently preorder only):  Moroccan Mint, Indonesian Teakwood, Unscented Olive Oil, a vegan Sage and Citrus , and a vegan Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey Scrub Bar.  The Green Tea Sand Scrub will also be ready by then but was made in oversized bars so they have a separate price of $5.25 each.

Samples:  Ginger Peach Tea, Texas Suds (the beer soap), Vanilla, Chocolate (both kinds), Olive Oil, and Moroccan Mint are currently ready to go home with someone.  We will have a few of the Moroccan Mint, Unscented Olive Oil, Indonesian Teakwood, and the Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey Scrub at the end of September also.

I do get the question about letting people have soaps before they are done “curing”, also known around here as “their month on the rack.”  The short answer is no, we can not let you have any cold processed soaps until they are done.  They need that time to mellow out and we need some time to make sure they pass our quality control testing.  Yes, we check our soaps by the batch, even if it’s a recipe I’ve made so often I can make it in my sleep.  Never know when a scale will be off in measuring or the mad scientist soaper will get so into the song playing that she forgets to add the fragrance so we make it a policy to double check each batch.  Please help me practice being patient and I will gladly keep you updated on your soaps.

Also asked is about our samples since we don’t always have samples on hand for every soap on display.  There are a few reasons for that.  First, there are only a limited amount of samples so when they’re gone, they’re gone.  I don’t make soap specifically for samples; they come from any extras leftover from the larger batch.  It is one way I have found to help keep our costs down which allows us to keep our prices lower for you.  Secondly, Texas considers samples to be sales taxable which means we have to decide between charging customers for them or we pay it.  Currently, we do not charge anything for samples and we try to include a few samples with shipments whenever possible.  If you are interested in having only samples mailed directly to you, please contact me directly so we can find a cost-effective way for both of us.  I realize that not everyone is interested in the motives behind why a company charges for things, but I believe some are and I try to be completely honest about how we calculate the prices as we do.

Over the next few weeks, I will post some of the pictures of the new soaps along with information about each so everyone can see.  Hope all of you have a great weekend in your neck of the woods and I will now step out to clean out my cauldron for the last time this week.  Oh yeah, then I guess I might be off to stand in the corner for not finishing our website……

Happy Washing!

Dorothy