Celebrating Spring Soaps — with a Giveaway!

 

Green Circle Grove Handmade Soap Giveaway!

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Check out this gorgeous assortment of handmade, small batch soaps!

 

Three great blogs have teamed up to help us GIVEAWAY three bars of our handmade, olive oil based soaps:

Here are the blogs hosting the giveaway–

Jenny from Black Fox Homestead

Carol from Everything Home with Carol

Lisa Lynn from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

And–these are the three soaps some lucky person will be receiving–

Faerie Princessa light, delicate scent of violets, apples, berries with a hint of vanilla and a sprinkle of glitter- a delight for little girls, and big girls too!

Easter lovely pink hyacinth wrapped up in ribbon, perfect for a gift or a little self indulgence!

Etta’s Dream summer scent of grasses and berries swirled together and tied in a bow!

These are our “large” (approximately 4 ounce) size bars.

Jenny, from Black Fox Homestead has a review on one of our Green Circle Grove soaps! Please visit her blog here to read the review!

 

Please follow these blogs on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, or by email!

 

 

Be sure to visit our Etsy shop and support Green Circle Grove! Products are made in our own little corner of the USA!

Green Circle Grove on Etsy

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Pumpkin Soaps for October!!

If September was the Apple Month, then October is for PUMPKINS!  We’ve been harvesting all sizes from the garden, and piles of them are for sale along the roadways.

Green Circle Grove, you know, celebrates the Pumpkin Month with soap!  Let’s see how many ways:

Harvest Pumpkin

 

First of all, there’s traditional Harvest Pumpkin.  Each batch is loaded with pumpkin fragrance oil and a tablespoonful of nutmeg to bring the scent of pumpkin pie into the house and even into the shower! A Harvest Pumpkin soap ball in a dish on the kitchen sink is a great way to lightly scent the room when you wash up.

 

Another favorite is Gabriel. Between us, Kristen and I have five children—and a few years ago, we created a soap for each of them using their choices of scents.

Gabriel

This is Gabriel’s choice – our youngest child who’ll always be a little boy to his mom, even though he’s a tall 17 year-old now.  His choices of scent are still those of home and Mom: pumpkin, pecan pie and a dash of nutmeg.

 

Our homemade soaps are made with the same basic ingredients our great grandmothers used—distilled water, lye and fat.  Great Grandma used animal fat—we use olive oil as a base with some coconut oil, castor oil and sometimes-even corn oil.  We measure very carefully—you may have heard that lye soaps can “burn”?  When ladies had to make their own lye from wood ashes and render

Checking the temperature of the lye.

their own fats, it was difficult at best to have accurate measures!  We use scales and thermometers and timers to be sure everything is just right.

 

 

Kristen measures and weighs the oil.

 

 

Green Circle Grove soaps are available as 4 oz. bars, 2 oz. “bitty bars”, large and small balls.  These harvest scents, Harvest Pumpkin and Gabriel, make nice hostess gifts or party favors; put them in a glass jar for a counter-top decoration, too!

Spaghetti with Garlic

There’s a Garlic Festival coming up this weekend.  It’s a wonderful time to visit old friends, taste test all sort of garlic dishes (garlic ice cream anyone?), and stock up on braids of garlic for your pantry.  This is one of my favorite ways to use garlic for a quick family supper:

Cook enough spaghetti for your family (there’s only 2 of us now, so about 1/3 of a box is plenty for us).  In the meantime, mince several cloves of garlic.  If you sprinkle the garlic cloves with salt before you start chopping and mincing, the garlic won’t be so sticky.  Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan, add the minced garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is lightly browned, remove from heat.  Drain the spaghetti, stir in the garlic and oil, top with sliced cherry tomatoes and serve with grated parmesan.  Now that I’m thinking of it, maybe I should make more!

After all that mincing, you may want to remove the scent from your hands (I kind of like it!).  Green Circle Grove’s “Clean Earth”—olive oil based old fashioned lye soap—lathers the scent right down the drain. 

Stop by the Cuba (NY) Garlic Festival on Saturday or Sunday (September 15 and 16) to say hello!

September is Apple Month!

When the leaves begin to change into their fall finery, the sky turns bright, bright blue and mornings are crisp–children come in from the outside with bright red cheeks–“apple cheeks” we always called them.  Green Circle Grove salutes the season with our “AppleCheeks” handmade soap.

Delicately apple scented soap.

As usual, when Kristen is in her kitchen making a soap for Green Circle Grove, she carefully measures equal amounts of lye and oils.  When the lye is mixed in a bowl with distilled water, it immediately heats.  The oils–olive and coconut and castor, usually–are heated together over a low heat.  When the lye cools and the oils heat to exactly the same temperature, they are mixed together, kept warm, and the chemical reaction saponification occurs.  The lye and the oils become soap.  It’s all very scientific, of course. Temperature and timing has to be just right, and when the soap is nearly done scents and colors are added.  If scent is added too early, it will dissipate or even ignite.  Kristen only uses cosmetic grade colorants, and these must be mixed in carefully, too. For “AppleCheeks” soap, she adds delicately scented apple fragrance oil and a bit of red colorant.  (Because she adds no preservatives, we always tell people to use a darker washcloth with this soap–the lack of added chemicals to “stay” the color means the color may transfer to a lighter colored cloth.  No worries that it will stain your skin, though!)  As soon as the soap is scented and tinted, Kristen pours it into a wooden mold lined with freezer paper, bangs it a couple of times on the countertop to remove any air bubbles, and lets it cool.  When the soap has cooled enough to retain its shape, it’s lifted out of the mold and left to cool on racks. This final drying process is dependent on humidity.  Low humidity–the soap may be dry enough to cut in 24 hours.  High humidity–it may take 2 or 3 weeks for the soap to be firm enough to cut into the 4 oz. chunks that Green Circle Grove sells as “big bars”.  The drier the soap–the longer it will last, which is why we suggest that persons buying very newly made soap unwrap it and let it cure when they bring it home.

Green Circle Grove will be at the Cuba (NY) Garlic Festival on September 15th and 16th.  Stop by our booth to say hello, smell the soaps and purchase a selection of scents!  “Applecheeks” will be there, as well as our nearly 50 other scents–and of course, our totes, purses, bags and jewelry.

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