Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shop A Farmers Market, On-line!

Find a handful of my Soap Bars, my Body Butter and Tub Tea on an online Farmer Market here in Maine!

Cape Farms' Market, a four seasons of Maine market run by Jordan's Farm in Cape Elizabeth.

The concept is very cool.  Items go "live" every other Thursday and customers (previously registered) can shop the available items on the website and place an order.  Then the items are gathered and packaged up for pick up at the farm.  Offering dairy (cheese, yogurt, eggs and more), baked goods, veggies, fruits, soaps, baking mixes, hot cereal and other grains, maple syrup and honey, pet treats and soo much more!

Check it out here:

This was my first week on the site and I was very surprised at the amount of items ordered, what fun!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy & Healthy in Business and Life

You may or may not know who Serena from The Farm Chicks is.  She is a wonderful blogger and super creative person that has written cookbooks, is a contributing editor for Country living Magazine, founded The Farm Chicks Show (antiques and such) and lives way over on the opposite coast from me in Washington.  I follow her blog (and follow her on Face Book) and enjoy her craft projects, recipes, decorating style and tips and more.  But most of all, I eat up the business advice she offers.  Recently she had a blog post that really struck a note with me.  Titled, "On Being Healthy In Business and Life" it outlines this basic: don't compromise yourself and surround yourself with people that will hold you up not break you down. Do business with people that you respect and treat you well.  I have been personally struggling with some nay-sayers and running into a bit of resistance and some obstacles lately and this just made me feel soo much better!  I asked her if I could re post her blog post here on blog to share with you.  And she wrote back and said yes (she wrote to me!!!).

Here she is, and isn't she great!?

"Oh Being Healthy In Business and Life

Today I wanted to talk about business as a creative person and being happy in what you do. There's so much out there in the way of magazines, blogs, websites, etc. And you know, it's easy to sort of feel like what you're doing just doesn't measure up.
I'm here to tell you that's not a good way to think. And it's not healthy for you.
I'd like to tell you my opinion: Visit sites that inspire you, make you laugh, or leave you feeling good.
Stop visiting sites that make you feel bad. Maybe they have a lofty tone or an air of superiority. Or maybe they're negative. And here's why I say stop. Would you be friends with someone who makes you feel that way? I wouldn't. Because we all just want to be happy, right?
Surround yourself with good. Do good. Be good to yourself, so that you can be even better to those you love. And then, they'll be better, and better to their friends too.
And the same holds true in business. Do business with people you respect. That treat you well. That appreciate your business, however small it may be. I love that I know my printer and his family, that my postman knows my name, and that my internet team is full of positive, good people.
And with others in your field, surround yourself with the ones who have ethics. Who build others up. When you're good, you attract good, and the negative weeds itself out. You'll find that it is possible to love what you do. And you know what? Pretty soon, your field will be free of all the bad seeds and will do nothing but flourish.
Happy = Healthy. I'm living proof".

As a quick update about some of "my team"...

Here in my small town of Freeport, MAINE my soap label printer does know my name.  And when I go in to pick up labels, they take the time to ask me how I am and what is new with my business and to tell me that they think they are printing more and more labels for me.  And when I order supplies from my raw ingredient supplier, Craig asks me "how is the soap business"?  He tells me that he really likes my soap and he needs to get down to the Farmers Market again to sniff some more soaps.  And Janet from the post office always is happy to see me and says "see you later, Shannon".  These are just 3 of the people on my "team" that I am happy to work with.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Soaps

3 New Soaps for you!

I have itching to make this one for a while...Buttermilk Baby.  Unscented and made with real Buttermilk this soap is super creamy and gentle.  I added a few Calendula petals to the soap itself and sprinkled more on top.

"Squeeze of Lime"...sweet and tangy with a great Lime fragrance. I swirled the soap with a pretty yellow/green, this soap tropical and delicious!

And "Day At The Beach".  Reminds me of the suntan lotion and hot sand fragrance of a super summers day at the beach.  I added a swirl of clay for a bit of color contrast, a healthy dose of real Sea Salt and a sprinkling of fine ground Apricot kernel on top that looks like sand.

Find these soaps at the market with me in about 4 weeks or so!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sugar On Snow

We have had a mild winter with not much snow at all.  Some snow did fall last night and we had (I say had, because it is on it's way to melting) a beautiful, fresh and pretty countryside this morning.

AND coming up soon is Maple Sugaring season.  Soon the Maple trees will be tapped as warm days and cool night transition us into Spring and help create wonderful Maple Syrup.  Below is a recipe that brings both Snow and Maple Syrup together....

Sugar On Snow
When hot maple syrup is drizzled over snow, it results in a remarkably delicious candy-like substance that northern New Englanders crave. You must be very precise with your drizzle and the temperature of the syrup - too hot a syrup and the snow melts too fast - too cool a syrup and it becomes watery, straining right through the snow to the bottom. The perfectly heated syrup will form a lace-like pattern across the top of the snow and quickly harden to be gobbled up by eager sugar-eaters.

Boil syrup to 255 degrees Fahrenheit. (make as much or as little as you want)

Scoop snow into large bowl or pan just before the syrup is ready

Drizzle hot maple syrup lightly over snow and use forks to eat the sticky top layer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Day!

Today is Fat Tuesday but it is also known as Pancake Day!  I learned all about it today over on one of my favorite sites, Tasty Kitchen:  http://tastykitchen.com/blog/

Since I live in Maine, where the Bblueberry is King...may I suggest some sort of Blueberry Pancake.  Here is a wonderful pancake recipe with a Maine Blueberry Sauce from William Sonoma.   Pancakes for dinner are a great treat, make some tonight!

"This pancake batter combines all-purpose flour with buckwheat flour, a dark flour that has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and firm texture. A warm sauce made from fresh blueberries adds the perfect finishing touch".


2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup whole-ground buckwheat flour, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

2 cups fresh blueberries
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat an oven to 200°F.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add the all-purpose and buckwheat flours, 3 Tbs. of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, butter and vanilla and stir just until smooth.
Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the griddle with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Using a batter dispenser, dispense the batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the batter is set, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining pancakes.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar, the lemon zest and 1/2 cup water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, 1 Tbs. water and the lemon juice. Add to the berries and stir until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve the warm blueberry sauce over the pancakes. Serves 4.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Using Maine Ingredients

I am very proud to be part of Maine Made. 
Creating all my soaps and products from scratch using my own recipes.    Each small batch product is carefully made just for you!

I use many Maine grown or harvested ingredients in my soaps and products.  I am always on the lookout to add more or find new Maine items to add to the soaps.  I have included for you below many of the current items that I use.

I use fresh ground yellow cornmeal, gown and ground, from Fairwinds Farm in Topsam Maine in my Citrus Scrub and Gardeners Scrub soap bars.  Fairwinds Farms sell at the Saturday Winter Farmers Market with me and are the nicest folks!  http://www.fairwindsfarmmaine.com/   I LOVE their cornmeal!  I admire the texture of the cornmeal, so course and chunky (but it can be made finer, if you like).  There are a few different color flecks in the cornmeal from the "real" corn. I love it!  It is a nice gentle but hardworking scrub for my soaps.

I use Oatmeal grown and milled by Aurora Mills & Farm in Linneus, Maine is used in my Oatmeal, Honey & Milk, Peppermint Oatmeal, Unscented with Oats and Cinnamon & Oats soaps.   As well as in my Tub Tea.  http://www.auroramillsandfarm.net/   These oats are soo hearty and add a great texture to the soaps.  Creating extra scrubbing power and gentle exfoliation for your skin.  Oatmeal is also know to help moisturize, protect and gently cleanse, while soothing itchy or inflamed skin.

Sea Salt is used in my Mermaids Garden and (new) Day At The Beach soaps and also in my Tub Tea.  http://www.maineseasalt.com/  Sea Salt is nice and scrubby, exfoliates and reportedly draws toxins from the skin. 

Local Beeswax is purchased from Keough Family Farm in Hebron, Maine and is used in my Body Butter bars.  It's not as easy to use as beeswax "beads" that I can buy commercially and already easy to measure out, but grating and shaving up the local beeswax is strangely satisfying!  And I love the aroma of fresh beeswax. 

Of course, my Balsam Dryer Sachets are chock full of Maine Balsam needles for that familiar Maine fragrance.  Soo dreamy and woodsy, it is my most popular Dryer Sachet. 

I add Vitamin Sea Seaweed from Buxton, Maine to my Mermaids Garden soap.  The Seaweed shows up as pretty dark to light green pieces in the soap.   Seaweed has become popular for it's rumored benefits to detoxify and remove toxins from the outer layer of the skin and to tone. I like it because it is from MAINE!   http://www.vitaminseaseaweed.com/contact.shtml  I don't harvest my own seaweed, because it needs to be properly cleansed and sterilized. 

Maine grown Calendula (from my farmer friend on the Mid-Coast) makes a BIG appearance in my  unscented Clandula soap.  I steep Calendula in warm Olive Oil, using the petals and full flower heads, for 3 weeks, then use that Olive Oil as the oil in my soap recipe.  The results are a very soothing, gentle soap.  I sprinkle many dried petals in other soaps as well for texture and appearing.  Lavender & Herb, Lemongrass & Sage and Buttermilk Baby all have Calendula petals. 

I am currently researching Maine grown Sunflower Oil to add to my soap recipe as well as Maine grown Lavender.  I did try growing my own for the past 2 summers and only ended with a wee bit.  My garden didn't seem to cooperate

If you have a Maine product that you think would work in my soaps, I am happy to entertain the idea.  The cost may be a bit more, but I think that using Maine made, grown ingredients and supporting our local farmer is important. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I made this for my sweetie on Valentines Day and boy-oh-boy is it good!

Makes just enough for two, which is perfect if you can't be trusted with leftovers.

The recipe (and picture) is Martha Stewart.  She always does it right.  Make this, it is delicious!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


My Valentine's heart shaped soaps were such a hit and a few customers asked for me to start carrying them beyond Valentines Day that I found a cute little way to put them together for year round sales.

3 mini heart shaped soaps packaged up with a "Just For You" tag are all ready for gift giving to that certain someone.  Need a small hostess gift?  Have a dear friend that is under the weather?  What about a teachers gift?  These little hearts are sure to brighten someones day.

My very same 100% vegetable soap is cut into 2 different, quaint, little heart sizes and shapes.  Packaged in a clear, mini sized takeout container with a metal handle, tucked into finely shredded wood shavings, tied with a sheer organza blue ribbon and complete with a gift tag.  The perfect little gift.

Soaps are a variety of fragrances.

Find these at market and on the website for $5.00 each.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Quick Cookie Love...

Valentines Day is tomorrow!  But I have a quick cookie recipe for you if you want to make something yummy for your family or friends.

Link to Shortbread Hearts on Martha Stewart.com:

I made these lovely Shortbread Hearts dipped in chocolate over the weekend.  I made the dough on Friday night in no time flat, one bowl means easy peasy clean up.   The dough sat in the fridge overnight and then on Saturday I warmed it up a bit, rolled it out and cut out sweet little hearts.  Dipping them in chocolate makes them a bit more special and really not that hard to do at all!

We had these for a light desert after a night of homemade pizza with friends.  The cookies are sturdy enough and not sticky or gooey to easily bag up and give away.   I slide a few into a clear cellophane bag, tied with a ribbon and this cute little FREE printable tag and delivered them to a dear friend. 

Link to tag over on Eighteenn 25 Blog: 

I love to bake and I love to share! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Soap Curing...

When someone asks me to create a special fragrance soap I generally tell them that I will put it on the list of soaps to be made but that they also have to wait 4-6 weeks for the soap to cure, or "to be ready".  Often, I watch their faces to see how this registers with them. Do they know what I mean?  Most often, I just explain it to them rather than assume that they know. 

This is what I say:  Curing is the process of the soap drying out.  The water is evaporating and this helps it become a hard, long lasting bar of soap.  These harder bars of soap last longer, lather up better and overall is better soap.   Cured soap is harder, milder and more finished 

Below is a photo of a variety of my soaps curing on trays on one of my curing racks.

I have to plan ahead for the Holidays or seasonal soaps.  So that I have plenty of Apple Cider soap for September, I start making it at the end of July!   To ensure that the Christmas in Maine soap is ready for the beginning of November, I need to start making it around the middle of September.   Planning is a big part of my business, and I need to stay organized and watch that calender to plan plan plan ahead!

Hope that this informs you a little more about the soap making process.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crafting beyond soaps....

Looks like I haven't been blogging in a few days....sorry about that!  Things got busy with the soap making and tyring to sell it and all.   You know what I mean.

My husband asked me what I was doing.  He was watching the Bruins game and I was cutting all these little grey circles out of felt.  I showed him the project and told him that I had to cut out 60 circles and then make them into flowers.  He said "that's crazy honey, that's alot of work".  I said, "well, it will be worth it and what else am I going to do while hockey is on"?   In the end, yes it did take some time but I think it was well worth it!  I ended up with a super cute scarf and I spent productive time with my hubby.

This is a link to the scarf project that I found on Pinterest. (Do you Pin? You can follow me on Pinterest here : http://pinterest.com/cascobaysoap/  )  A series of lovely felt flowers make up this beautiful scarf. I made made me scarf in grey and it came out super cute! I think I will wear it to market this weekend to "show it off".


Have you done anything crafty lately?    

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Is My Top Selling Soap?

Can you guess what my top selling soap is?   I was surprised to find in my website stats from the whole year of 2011 a new top seller.  It is not what I thought it was!

Today over on my FaceBook page I invited fans to comment on what they thought the top selling soap was.  What is your guess?  Head over to the fan page and submit your answer.  


I will draw a random winner from all the comments and send them 1 bar of the top selling soap anywhere in the USA.
If you are not on FaceBook, you can still play!  Leave you comment here and I will include it in the drawing. 
What is your guess?  Here are a few of my soaps to get you thinking...(but these are not necessarily the top seller)

Is it Gardeners Scrub?  (popular in the Spring when gardeners are putting in seedlings and need an extra scrubby soap)

Pink Grapefruit?  (my personal favorite)

Oatmeal, Honey & Milk?  (sweet & toasty, this is a favorite among young fans)

Or is it Peppermint Oatmeal?  (one fan keeps a bar next to his alarm clock and sniffs it everyday when the alarm goes off to start his morning)

What do you think?