Lavender Festival! July 16 2013, 9 Comments
Our monthly car rental for a supply run just so happened to line up with a local lavender festival put on by a local supplier of ours. I had wanted to go last year, but it just didn't work out. This year was different and we happened to make it! It was a lovely time. Upon arriving at the farm, all you could smell was sweetness in the air, it was amazing. I'll let the pictures tell the story...
This is what you see upon arriving at the farm. A glorious view of Mt. Hood. You could also see St. Helens and I believe it was Mt. Adams as well. While I do love my job, can you imagine working here?! All the employes were happy and cheerful. I would be too! What a beautiful place to work.
I really wish I could capture the sound of the bees hard at work. While you could hear the wind blowing through the trees, there was this overwhelming pulsing hum of millions of bees! It was pretty incredible. They didn't seem to mind us harvesting and would move off to another area while we picked.
The variety that we collected was called, Buena Vista. It has a very sweet aroma, almost fruity! It's not at all medicinal or camphorous. They distill this variety on site and I walked away with a bottle. Of course I'll be soaping it ;) This is an organic farm, too. Nothing but the best!
Matt can't help but make faces during picture taking, what a man-child. At any rate, we walked away with four big bundles! Enough for personal use and for soaps.
This was my favorite picture. Trying to capture these little guys is hard! I think I got lucky here.
When I first began my adventures in perfume and soap making, I was always drawn to the most exotic ingredients. I overlooked classic and simple essential oils. Lately, I have been having a love affair with the simple "basics" lavender, rose, bergamot. They're timeless scents. Lavender and sandalwood, lime, rose are pairings that come to mind. I think I'll be using the oil that I bought on site for a Lavender Pumpkin soap sometime shortly after the fall release. I managed to make up a pretty great pumpkin accord, blend that with this amazing Buena Vista lavender and a touch of sandalwood and I think it'll be a heavenly bar of soap!
So tell me, what is your favorite pairing with lavender? Or your would be favorite?
Free Single Note Perfume With An Order Over $25! July 10 2013, 0 Comments
Hey everyone! Each week we will be highlighting a single note from our Perfume Made for You selection. All orders over $25 will receive that week's highlighted single note. This freebie is an addition to the free perfume sample we give out with all orders.
This week's highlighted single note is...
A fresh but candy like grapefruit note. Mouthwateringly delicious.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in Eastern Asia. It is often used in cooking and favored for its strong aroma. The fruit is bitter, so it isn't usually eaten fresh. The zest of the rind is most often used as a seasoning and aromatic flavoring agent. Yuzu pairs well with other citruses, woods and herbal notes. If you're wanting to add a "sparkling" or "bright" feel to your blend, then you may want to consider Yuzu in your next perfume blend. Some neat pairings would be, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Sandalwood, Green Tea, Black Tea, Orange Blossom, Sweet Cream, Clean Musk. The list could go on, but those are just off the top of my head ;)
Stay tuned! Each week we will be rotating in a new sample.
Soap Pot 01 - Avocado, coconut, aloe. January 15 2013, 2 Comments
I spotted some pure coconut and aloe water in a local health food store a little while ago. Needless to say it got my soap making wheels turning. I thought it would make a luxurious liquid to soap with. Not stopping there, I picked up my favorite brand of coconut milk and a fresh avocado, also for soap!
Here we have the lye solution all mixed up, cooled and ready to go.
I also had some fresh aloe in the kitchen that I picked up at an Asian food market. Naturally, this had to get soaped as well. I trimmed off a small one inch chunk, peeled and diced the gel.
Once I added the lye to the precisely measured oils, I used my handy stick blender and mixed until the raw soap came to trace. At this point, I went ahead and added my diced aloe, avocado and super creamy coconut milk - blending until completely incorporated. I added a wee bit of French green clay for color and of course I had to scent this bordering on edible soap up! I wanted to evoke something clean and fresh, but creamy, because of the addition of avocado and coconut... I formulated a blend of pure essential oils: Parsley, local peppermint, howood, petitgrain, kaffir lime, bergamot and dry gingergrass. It's a tad sharp on the nose when you smell it freshly blended, but once soaped, it takes the edge off and becomes quite creamy.
In the mold it goes!
I really like to gel my soaps, I just love the mild translucency you get. Gel phase is when the lye and oils begin the magical process of saponifying. This creates heat and you can encourage this heat by keeping your soap mold in a warm place. I like to use the oven at the lowest temperature and I pull it out once it has completely gelled up.
And our final product, an insanely luxurious bar of soap!
This batch of soap will be available in our Etsy shop once it has cured up. Thank you for reading and looking!
Tub stuff. December 21 2012, 7 Comments
Hey everyone! We got back into Portland very, very late on Monday. Had a fantastic visit with my family, it was a good time. Caught the Hobbit with them while I was there, and loved the movie. It was just great! I only managed to snag a pictures of my mother and sisters! The boys were off doing their own thing... Yes, my family is huge.
Before I left I had been playing around with bath bomb recipes and a cocoa butter based fizzing bath confection. Naturally, I took photos! Ever since we had to discontinue our legendary Bath Dust (due to a discontinuation of a necessary ingredient), I've really, really been wanting to offer another bath time product. I think these are really fun, the bath bombs. Their potential for a different variety of looks, colors, designs is very exciting!
This is an experimental "cookie." It's basically a very moisturizing bath fizzy. I still haven't quite figured out how I would like to shape them. Large cookies, small cookies? Small balls, logs? I don't know yet! They're really mold-able before they set up. I'm thinking that I may go the route of small sized cookies, because I have found they're wonderful to toss in with the combination of a bath bomb, for a more moisturizing bath.
As for our bath bombs, well, they're quite simple! They have a touch of butter added to them, so they're moisturizing.We're using the same biodegradable shrink wrap we use on our soaps to wrap them, and I must say, I love the highly visible clear packaging!
We haven't quite set a street date on these and we're still working on some packaging solutions for the "bath cookie" as well as names for these items. It was asked on Facebook what kind of scents these two products would run in and so far, we're thinking we will be doing these as Reverie style items. We'll be keeping all of you posted on the development of these guys. I'm really excited to be offering them in the future!
Tell us what you think!
Haus goes on holiday and Etsy comes back! December 07 2012, 4 Comments
Hi everyone! Some Haus news ahead. But first: This holiday season has been awesome and we have each and every one of you to thank for that, so thank you!
The shop will be closed Dec. 12th-18th while we visit family for the holidays. After that, we'll be open and back to work. Right after the 25th we will be opening the Etsy shop to sell off overstocked items, ranging from previous seasons Limited Edition items, rare perfumes and Reverie overstock items. These are items that will not be restocked! Another word about Etsy is that we will eventually be stocking it with rare, limited and prototype items from time to time. It'll be a bit like an open test kitchen, where you can test out and try products we aren't quite ready to put in with our full line-up of products on our direct retail site. It's going to be fun! So instead of my test soaps piling up on a shelf, they'll be made available to you... and lots of other interesting products!
I've also been hard at work testing out a silicone free Pumpkin Butter and a propylene glycol free Whipped Soap formula. I am very happy to say I think we've struck gold in that endeavor!
And we will also be rolling out a few wintery single notes for Perfume, Made for You.
More on those new developments, later! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend ?
Yule is coming to the Haus! November 09 2012, 1 Comment
Yule goes live this Saturday at Noon PST!
Yule is finally upon us...
Thank you all for being so patient with the delay on our soaps! You'll find them this Saturday, along with a little surprise ;) On to the goodies!
Sacred gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. Smoldering with warmth and brightened with a touch of mandarin rind. (Soap, Pumpkin Butter, Bubbling Scrub, Emulsifying Scrub, Perfume oil)
Bristling and prowling, lonesome and haunting. Three howling firs, white frankincense, vanilla bean husk, tainted by droplets of blood cedar. (Whipped Soap, Pumpkin Butter, Bubbling Scrub, Emulsifying Scrub, Perfume oil)
The warm glowing center of home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticking benzoin. (Whipped Soap, Pumpkin Butter, Bubbling Scrub, Emulsifying Scrub, Perfume oil)
The Haus 'nog! Cream, sugar and a shot of dark rum topped with fresh grated nutmeg. (Whipped Soap, Pumpkin Butter, Bubbling Scrub, Emulsifying Scrub, Perfume oil)
Sweet Potato Treat
The epitome of holiday comfort food: Sweet potatoes with mild spices, butter and brown sugar baked off with marshmallows. (Whipped Soap, Pumpkin Butter, Perfume oil)
Bright pink grapefruit, fir needles, juniper berries, rosemary, a sprig of parsley and frosted winter lilies. (Handmade Soap, Perfume oil)
Brown sugar, black treacle, oats, a peculiar blend of white spices tossed with roasted nuts and coasted in the lightest of icings. (Handmade Soap)
Oatey porridge, stove smoke, kindling wood, a hint of gunpowder and pinch of sweet pipe tobacco. (Handmade Soap)
Ripe banana, roasted nuts, brown sugar folded into a delicious quick bread. (Handmade Soap)
We look forward to seeing you this weekend! Enjoy :)
Lan Su Gardens. August 29 2012, 4 Comments
Matt decided to surprised me with a trip out to the Chinese Gardens recently. It was a welcome respite from the chaos that ensues after our biggest release of the year, Fall!
I'll be honest, I actually prefer the Chinese Gardens over the Japanese Gardens. Not to say that the Japanese Gardens aren't wonderful! I just found this visit to be a little bit more interactive, aromatic and relaxing. Getting to the Japanese Gardens from deep Southeast Portland is quite the hike. Plus, at the Lan Su gardens you're close to delicious vegan noms (they have a massive all vegan menu, it's mind boggling) and the age old Portland attraction, Voodoo Donuts. On to the pretties...
The view from the tea shop is excellent! You can see city hawks circle over head, territorial hummingbirds scrapping with each other from the treetops, jays being their usual obnoxious selves.
We had an osmanthus green tea, and the other I think was called jade pearl. The osmanthus was fantastic, I can't help but love most floral teas. Yummy lychee snacks too. Hm, osmanthus green tea and lychee? Plus the woody smokiness of the tea house... perhaps a new scent coming on!
And that's all! If you're ever in this neck of the woods, it's definitely worth the $9.50 that it costs to get in. I foresee many cozy visits this winter tucked up in the second floor of the tea house.
Summer pie time! July 23 2012, 10 Comments
I bought a good 2lbs of local blueberries (quite a steal at $3!) a little while ago, with the intent of making a pie. So, I finally got around to doing just that.
I googled basic recipe for the pie dough and filling. Nothing fancy. Earth Balance butter for the crust, which turned out quite nice. If you use the baking butter sticks from Earth Balance, you may want to add a a pinch if salt to the dough. I replaced most of the sugar with agave nectar for the filling. Added a pinch of black pepper, lemon zest and vanilla extract as well. I made it last night and it was gone by this afternoon, success!
Hmm, that sounds like a pretty good fragrance to me. Pie crust, blueberries, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Would you take or leave the black pepper?
Soaps are being made, ya'll. May 31 2012, 4 Comments
Soap production is back in full swing right now. A full general catalog restock is underway and I'm currently working on a few Reverie items. The ridiculously popular White Raspberry is returning as well as a few new soapies!
I decided to use pure coconut water instead of plain ol' water with our new soap, Sol. It seemed quite appropriate for a solar themed soap. There's calendula, unrefined shea and fragrant powdered vanilla bean in there too!
I think it turned out pretty awesome. It's super smooth and the fragrance is rounding out quite well as it cures. Which is: Gingergrass, neroli, litsea cubeba, saffron threads, frankincense, rosemary, and a touch of cinnamon.
We're hoping to have restocks and Reverie soaps rolling out late June or early July, we'll keep you all posted once we set a firm date!
Holidays at the Haus (or confessions of a christmas junkie) December 17 2011, 1 Comment
(Hi everyone! We've switched things up a bit this time and Matt has written this post.)
December has always been my favorite month of the year. From my school years when it meant 2 weeks off and loads of presents to my adult years where it means friends and family (and loads of presents) I've always had a special love for this time of year.
In my family, Christmas is the anchor of the clan's list of annual events. My mother's side (the loud, obnoxious Irish one) is based in Hawaii, but there is quite a diaspora of kids and cousins who live all over the states. For us, Christmas always meant making the long pilgrimage back to the island to celebrate at the family home. It's a pretty nice bonus that getting to see your family meant two weeks of basking in tropical weather and going to the beach after presents.
Now that I am starting my own family, we don't get out there as much as we like, so Britton and I have our own holiday traditions that we have started. From Thanksgiving to New Year's our house gets pretty 'Yule intensive'. The tree is out the day after Thanksgiving and I'll have started wrapping presents immediately after. In our house, it's almost a bit of a holiday altar - I arrange the gifts obsessively and love to tuck little candies and treats among them. Britton teases me for this quite a bit (another developing tradition in our house).
Once the tree is up, the floodgates have been opened - the next two weeks are usually spent finishing up present shopping and sending off gifts and messages to loved ones. Then it's time to get serious! We usually start our advent on the 13th because two advent calendars would be a bit much even by our standards - so we split one. The 13th is also St. Lucia day which is important to me for marking my Swedish heritage (on my Dad's side) - it is also the day of Winter Solstice according to the old Julian calendar. St. Lucia was one of the earliest Christian saints and is one of the only ones to be recognized by many Protestant denominations as well. In Sweden, St. Lucia day is marked by children bringing their parents coffee and specially baked buns in bed. Since our "kids" are two naughty cats and two fish, we usually make these ourselves.
After winding down the last of the holiday orders from customers (you guys definitely keep us busy this time of year!) the next big day is usually Christmas Eve for us. We follow the normal tradition of opening one gift each in the evening and enjoy some Vegan nog while watching some of our favorite Christmas programs. "A Muppet Christmas Carol" and the "Good Life" Christmas special are required viewing in our house!
On the big day we get up early and drink coffee while snuggling up and watching the Peter Serafinowicz Christmas Special. (I know - we really love holiday TV). After coffee it's present time! My favorite part has to be getting to surprise Britton with things she was never expecting. I have to admit that it takes a pretty good poker face to keep her from guessing what I've gotten her.
This year we are also starting a new tradition - I learned recently that I have some English ancestry (apparently one of my ancestors was in Queen Victoria's private chapel choir), so we are incorporating Boxing Day into our holiday calendar as well. In the UK Boxing Day was celebrated the day after Xmas when the family of the manor would make gift boxes of holiday leftovers, money and treats to give to their tenant families as a show of appreciation. These days it's more of an excuse for store's to have sales - but we have decided to make it a day for giving to charity so we are going to make donations to local organizations who deserve our support.
By this time, it's New Year's and we are ready to wind things down. We'll have our collard greens and Hoppin' John (a tradition in Britton's Southern family) and open up the house at midnight while making a big racket to get rid of the old and welcome in the new year.
So what does your family do to celebrate the holidays (be it Xmas, Channukah, Kwanza, Yule, Saturnalia, Festivus, Chrimbus or any other)? We'd love to hear what the members of our "HoG Family" have planned!
Halloween Preview! August 06 2011, 315 Comments
Halloween release August 17th!
This is our biggest collection yet! A few scents from last year have returned along with many new scents. There will be a few more additions to this lineup that we are currently finalizing and will be announcing shortly before the release.
Due to the heat wave all across the country, we will be delaying the whipped soaps. When temperatures drop into a comfortable range for the whipped soaps to travel, they will become available - hopefully mid-September!
Now, on to the fun stuff!
This is what you'll find...
Gentle hay pillows, pumpkin, ripe peaches dusted with clove and nutmeg, dried summer herbs, and lastly, a lovely crown of amber. (Soap, bubbling scrub, emulsifying scrub, pumpkin butter, perfume)
Freshly turned earth, wet leaves, and a spectre ridden wind. (Soap, bubbling scrub, emulsifying scrub, pumpkin butter, perfume)
A merry drink of harvest and glowing with warmth: Peach juice simmering with sweet spices, pumpkin, silken hazelnut cream and made completely curious with a drop of orange blossom water. (Bubbling scrub, emulsifying scrub, pumpkin butter, perfume)
They look cute, but beware! Deceptive pomegranate candy floss, beneath that a spiteful blend of coffee co2, vetiver and myrrh. (Bubbling scrub, emulsifying scrub, pumpkin butter, perfume)
Olde Cider Haus
Old oak, sweet drying hay fields, crushed apple pulp and vanilla husks. (Soap, pumpkin butter, perfume)
Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater! Cream, glowing pumpkin, rich vanilla bean and the tiniest touch of nutmeg butter. (Perfume, pumpkin butter, whipped soap)
Buttery popcorn and marshmallow goo orbs, presented on a wooden stick. (Perfume, pumpkin butter, whipped soap)
Fresh strawberry flecked porridge with maple syrup and adulterated with a splash of white cognac. (Perfume, whipped soap)
You've been bewitched! Lecherous: brackish amber, aged vanilla bean and three dark fruits, veiled in darkness and otherworldly secrecy (Perfume only)
A new tradition in the Haus! Each Halloween we will present the Queen Mother: Pumpkin Queen oil aged for a full year, with assorted olfactory accoutrements. The batches are very limited and cannot be restocked once sold out.
Queen Mother I
Last years Pumpkin Queen oil with 5 year aged patchouli, jasmine essence and the blackest vetiver, co-distilled with honeysuckle blossom.(Perfume only)
White raspberries, May 02 2011, 14 Comments
This is the product of a Reverie scent I whipped up not too long ago. It's a tart smelling raspberry and a clean cream accord. It's a totally new design soap wise (for me!), and I was really pleased with how it turned out. I used a long divider down the middle of the log to achieve the layers. Matt poured one side and I did the other.
I took the in-the-mold photos at dusk, so the color looks a little odd.
I want to make another batch already. I'll have to play around with this method some more, tons of possibilities! You'll find this soap along with our summer LE release.
There will also be an announcement on summer dates soon!
Friday Photo Fling 01 April 08 2011, 8 Comments
(A recent Moon Dog batch, pretty pleased with that swirl!)
(Cracknip, we keep this guy outside safe from Toki. I've never seen a cat more obsessed with catnip than him!)
(Typical. He's too cool for pictures.)
(Our old snagle-tooth ladykins, having a sunbath on the deck.)
(Chocolate cupcakes with almond paste centers. So good!)
(Vegan dream: a good and well done peanut butter cup! Salty, sweet and perfect. More on these gems later!)
New Haus blog + Giveaway! (Giveaway now closed) March 09 2011, 215 Comments
We've relocated the blog to be streamlined with the website. My plans here are to provide a window into the Haus world, a little bit like our old blogspot blog, but with a good mix of business and life.
- To enter, simply leave a comment on this post - and tell me what sort of content you'd like to see on our new blog.
- Only one entry per person.
- International entries welcome.
- Winner will be chosen at random and will be e-mailed prize details.
- CLOSED Congrats to Stephanie C!