Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to The New Year!

May it bring more joy and success
And less grief & regret.
To our dreams...
May we never stop believing in them
And taking the actions that will make them a reality.
To our friends and loved ones,
May we take the time to let them know
How much it means to us
To have them in our lives.
Let us encourage more and criticize less,
Give more and need less.
And whenever we can,
Let us create harmony and peace.
To new beginnings...
Let us start fresh, right now,
To make this the very best year ever.
A very Happy New Year to all of us!
by Joanna Fuchs

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Hampshire Mystery

In the hills surrounding Littleton, New Hampshire, this piece of local history sat in a sad state of disrepair on the verge of foreclosure for back taxes.

As I set about the LONG process of saving this beauty I became intrigued with its history. During countless trips North I began researched the deeds to this property. Imagine my surprise to discover the "1820" over the front door was the date of the "modernization" of this old beauty & that the original structure dated back to (approx ) 1789!

Armed with names from old deeds, the 1905 texts : The History of Littleton, Old Gazetteers & maps, I essentially did the 'genealogy" of the house. There were many local stories about the house and I was anxious to uncover the facts. After extensive research, talks with local historians, treks through ancient cemeteries I finally had what I believed to be an accurate history of the house.

"James Williams, a brother-in-law of Ebinezer Pingree, became a citizen of Littleton in 1789. He bought the Pingree property at North Littleton and established a tavern, over which he presided until his death in 1822. Mr Williams was a man of great enterprise, and soon had several acres under cultivation and before the close of the year a large & commodious log house built in which many a weary traveler in after years found rest & refreshment."
History of Littleton NH Annals Vol 1

One of the large upstairs rooms had primitive murals painted over plaster & lathe that had never been painted or papered over and were unsigned. Another mystery!
While researching folk art & mural painting in the 1800's I stumbled across Rufus Porter.

"Rufus Porter, an artist and inventor who lived from 1792 - 1884 and spent his boyhood years in the Bridgton, Maine area, helped to create an American culture. In his early years Porter painted small watercolor portraits from Maine to Virginia, then later moved on to landscape painting on walls of private homes throughout New England. His use of local landscapes with a vivid palette and broad, open brushstrokes was a departure from the styles and content of classical European wallpaper. Because most of his murals were unsigned, it was not until the mid 1930s that his body of work was authenticated through the publications of Jean Lipman. Today he is recognized as an icon of American art, inventor, and founder of the Scientific American magazine."

Similar, but not quite right.
After contacting the Smithsonian, Colonial Williams burg, The Museum of American Folk Art, and a painter familiar with the works & style of Rufus Porter, I still had no answers.

Fast forward 13 years: I receive an email with a picture attached inquiring: Is this your house? Ive been looking for you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas-that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia.

Christmas may be a day of feasting,
or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance-
a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
Augusta E. Rundel

Wishing you Joy & Love this Holiday Season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bayberry Candle Making Day

Steeped in American history, bayberry candles have been given as gifts of prosperity and friendship for centuries. While the main significance of the bayberry candle is its historical tie to good wishes for the new year, bayberry candles have religious and cultural significance as well.

Colonial women discovered that boiling the berries of the bayberry bush resulted in a sweet smelling wax with a clean burn. Legend has it that the group of women who discovered bayberry wax started the colonial tradition of giving bayberry candles as Christmas Gifts.

According to colonial folklore, sweethearts who are separated at Christmas should light bayberry candles to be united by the candle's gentle aroma. In addition, burning a gifted bayberry candle down to the end on Christmas Eve will bring luck and good fortune for the following year.

"A bayberry candle burned to the socket, brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.'"

Many Christians believe that the light of the bayberry candle on Christmas Eve will welcome the Christ child into their homes. Legend states that the Bay Tree sheltered the holy family during a storm and as a result lightning will never strike it. Neo-pagans burn the bayberry candle for prosperity and happiness on Yule or the Winter Solstice.

For the settlers, bayberry candles signified the special pleasures of Christmastime and they still do today. One pound of bayberry wax requires 15 pounds of bayberries. In addition, the process of extracting the wax is time consuming and difficult. Bayberry wax is made by boiling the berries then repeatedly skimming the wax from the top. Because of this tedious process, bayberry candles were only burned on special occasions during colonial times. They were valued for their delicate scent, but also for their rarity.

My whole house is filled with the traditional scent of the holidays as I pour these candles.
While I offer a small number of these for sale in my shop, they're mostly made for special friends & family.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cookie Walk & Handmade for the Holidays

Annual Cookie Walk
"Handmade for the Holidays"
Gift Event
To Benefit the Town of Crawford Library
Saturday, December 12 from 9-1

Delicious Homemade Cookies by the Pound
One of a kind gifts from local artists

We'll be there with eco friendly Soy Candles.
Pure Bees Wax Tapers &
Real Bayberry Candles

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anise Biscotti

Anytime I make these delicious Italian Cookies, my son turns the house upside down looking for where Ive hidden them. These are also a handsdown favorite of the Arty Tea Party Ladies and are very simple to make. They can be made ahead of time and stored in a tin for several weeks. (if the cookie monsters in YOUR house don't sniff out your hiding place!)

Biscotti are a traditional Italian cookie that are baked twice & keep for a long time!

2 Cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter(softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup annisette
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1 Tbsp anise seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine ingredients & form a log aprox 12 inches long & 2 inches wide.
Bake on parchment paper covered cookie sheet for 30 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly
With a serrated knife: slice 3/4 in thick & bake an additional 30 minutes ( turning after 15 minutes)
Of course you will feel compelled to eat any that don't come out just right! Make sure you have the coffee ready! Happy Baking!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

And the Winner is....

Drum roll , please. The Winner of Our First Giveaway at The Soap Barn is:

Who chose Eucalyptus Mint Goat Milk Soap

as his favorite soap in my Etsy Shop. A bar of Eucalyptus Mint Soap will be on its way to you .( please email me your address.) Thanks to all who played and took the time to enter. That was fun!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays

for the

Open House
"Meet the Artists"
Wine & Cheese Reception
Nov 28-29

In our new shop in
The Old Red Barn
Walker ValleyNY

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our New Home

We are officially open in our old/new space in the barn. It's starting to feel ( and look) like home. Im really pleased to have to wall curing shelves giving me over 120 feet of curing space! Now, to have the soap making supplies out into to my new studio/ soap kitchen in time to serve our Thanksgiving dinner in the DINING ROOM!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our First Give Away

In honor of 50 fans on The Soap Barn blog, we're doing our first ever giveaway So, lets make this easy ( I'm new at this) So first, follow whats happening here at The Soap Barn.
We're not just soap...

Click the link to my Etsy shop and take a stroll around. What catches your eye? We've got all kinds of handmade soaps & 100% Soy Candles, along with my favorites:
The All in One Soaps!
Loofah Bars, Natural Sea Sponge Soaps, or Felted "Goat in a Sweater' for exfoliating, great lather, and NO WASH CLOTH! Almost all of my soaps are made from skin loving goat milk & shea butter to clean gently & leave your skin soft & moisturized

Pick your favorite and leave a comment here.

Become a FAN of 1846 House Soaps & Handmade Gallery on Facebook. We will be periodically offering special sales & discounts to our Facebook Fans!

Follow me on TWITTER at 1846housesoaps.
Make sure you do all 4 parts to be eligible to win!

Thats it. The winner will receive their choice or any soap in my ETSY shop.
It dosent get much easier than that! Winner will be selected at random on November 29th.
So, get in on the fun! You choose the prize & your skin will love you for it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Soap Barn's New Home

What a labor of love to reclaim this space and create a
new home for my soap shop. Underneath that lovely pine floor is century old cement . Mr Bill framed & leveled it, installed rigid insulation and installed this great floor with cut nails like the rest of the barn.
Built in 1850, the barn was the Carriage House for this property . Pegged beams and original wood make this a warm & cozy spot.

The glass store front fills the wide open space that wagons, carriages, & horses once used. The huge sliding barn doors still hang outside. While still functional, they're just decorative now. ( A small front porch levels the rise out front)

We've installed thermopane storms on the inside of all the
old windows to keep us a bit warmer. Mr Bill cut all the interior frame pieces so I could conjure up a stain that matched old weathered barn wood.
A Harmon pellet stove was installed for heat, and a ton of pellets stacked along side of the winters hay. We insulated where we could, and I'll be hanging some of my quilt collection on the chillier walls. Once again these heirloom textiles will be keeping out the winters chill .

Its taken several years, countless hours, and more dollars than we expected, but re purposing this wonderful old building was truly a labor of love.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sneak Peak ( Don't Tell Santa)

I know we've barely packed up the Halloween costumes & eaten the goodies, but here at The Soap Barn we're creating some soap goodies just for the holiday. While not in my shop yet, I could'nt resist sharing these!

"You've Been Naughty...Now Here's Your Bag of Coal" Soap

Cast from a mold made real lumps of coal, 4 nuggets of skin loving glycerine soap that smell like black licorice in a red organza bag. Perfect stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift.


"You Can't Catch Me I'm the Gingerbread Man" Soap

A skin softening glycerine soap that looks & smells like the real thing!
Please DONT eat the soap
or if you prefer
Goat Milk & Shea Butter Gingerbread Man shaped soap in yummy Cinnamon Ginger Cookie. What a fun way to nourish your skin!
Will be in my Etsy Shop Soon.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Happiest Vampire

Every year, Miss Johnson wants to be a 'vam power'
Here's the 2009 edition of the Sweetest Kid in the World in her scary "Punk Vampire" get up.

Happy Halloween from all of us at The Soap Barn!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spooky Fun!

"Alas, poor Yorick...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Walker Valley Haunted House

The Walker Valley Fire Department is presenting their 2nd annual Haunted House at the Walker Valley Fire House on Oct 30th & 31st from 7- 10 pm on both nights. Suitable for most children; but parents can use their discretion...This is a Free event for the community, and surrounding areas although any donations will be appreciated. There will be a Ten room haunted house in the pavilion behind the firehouse. Hot dogs & drinks will be available. On Saturday, a Costume Parade has been organized by the Town of Shawangunk . Line up for the Walker Valley Parade starts at 3:30pm at the Cobblestone Quick Mart and will be led by our own Walker Valley Marching Band. Children are encouraged to dress up, and the parade ends at the Walker Valley Fire House (a short walk). Refreshments & costume judging to follow.

This event is organized by our volunteer firemen with help from community volunteers & is a Free Event. One of the many events that make us love living in a small town!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Treasures from the Sea

The natural sea sponges for "Treasures from the Sea" soap are harvested from the Gulf of Mexico near Tarpon Springs Florida.

Our sponges are sustainably harvested by sponge divers who cut only a section of the plant , leaving a large section of sponge to regrow. Careful rotation cutting keeps any area from being over harvested. This results in larger , healthier sponges without destroying a vital part of the ocean environment.

Sea sponges are safer & last longer than synthetic sponges. Synthetic sponges & bath poufs can quickly become a haven for mold, mildew, & bacteria. Sea sponges contain a naturally occurring enzymes that inhibit bacterial growth. Which would you rather wash with?

Our Sea Sponges Soaps are embedded through the whole bar of soap & eliminate the need for a washcloth . Once the soap is gone, rinse the sponge with white vinegar & continue to enjoy. Safe for all skin types, Treasures from the Sea are available in several fragrances and soap types.

Please stop by to choose your own favorite "Treasure from the Sea"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First Snowfall

While my husband raced to get the leaves cleared away, I couldn't help but appreciate the beauty of new snow on plants not yet touched by frost.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

As far as the eye can see...SOAP

Once upon a time there was a beautiful dining room in a lovely old home. Friends and family gathered for holiday meals & special occasions. While it wasn't used all the time, it was a lovely place to entertain...and then came SOAP.

It started with a few bars curing on the dining room table because it was an out of the way place and not used all that often. Before you could say "saponify" the 8 foot table became "the curing spot"

Next came: The Invasion of the Fragrance & Essential Oils! As we search for the perfect blend, the perfect scent
those innocent brown bottles multiply while we sleep! Those who soap know...the rest of the story. Oils, butters, lye, dried botanicals, loofahs , shrink wrap, raffia, impulse sealers: the list goes on and on. And before you know it: The Invasion is complete! The lovely dining room has been transformed into: THE SOAP ROOM

In an attempt to once again enjoy gathering with family & friends I am attempting to regain the use of my dining room. As we speak, the upstairs of the barn is being tranformed into the studio & soap kitchen. The large downstairs room is being fitted with a pellet stove & thermopane windows. A beautiful pine floor has been laid and is just waiting to be stained.
With help ( and prayers) the soapy takeover will be soon be over. My family will never again hear those dreaded words;" You CAN"T eat, I'm soaping" Stay tuned for the next segment of: "As far as the eye can see...soap"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fruits of the Season

Here's one of my favorite recipes . Pumpkins & Apples are harvest ritual at our house. Here's a simple recipe that uses both .

Pumpkin Apple Bread
(Preheat oven to 350)

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/3 tsp allspice
14.5 oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 apples peeled & chopped (2 cups)

Combine & mix well. Fold in apples last and divide between 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for aprox 50 minutes on lowest oven rack.

This is the basic recipe . The outline if you will. I have substituted whole grain flour , fresh squash or pumpkin for canned, reduced sugar, used honey or molasses, added nuts, seeds, raisins or dried cranberries . As long as I stayed with in the basic proportions, it always turned out great.

I'd love it if you guys would share your variations with me. Bet you've come up with things I never thought of. There's no such thing as too many cooks! Just lots of new ideas!
Looking forward to being inspired!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Healthy Harvest 5K Run/Walk

The Ladies Auxillary of The Walker Velley Fire Department is sponsoring a 5K Walk/Run on Saturday Oct 10th . Sponsored by the Ladies & a number of our local business owners, this 3.1 mile course is family friendly and prizes are offered for 1st, 2nd, & 3d place finishes in each category. There will be a post race continental breakfast for all participants. A health & fitness fair will be held at the firehouse immediately following the race. Info: 845-744-2995

This is a fun & healthy way for the whole family to enjoy the crisp fall weather & support a great cause at the same time.

We'll be on hand with our skin loving goat milk & shea butter soaps, lotions, and creams, African Market Baskets, & Eco Friendly Soy & Beeswax candles.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time to dunk the baskets

Today the UPS man showed up late this afternoon with four cases of African Market Baskets.
These are a Fair Trade Purchase and are wonderfully colorful & sturdy. They are shipped flat and have to be rehydrated before they can be put out for sale. So, into the basket bath tub they go!
These beauties are great for "green shopping", gardening, magazines, any place where you would use a tote bag. At the Farmers Market, we've offered the shallow ovals to fill with jams, honey, organic pancake mix & pure maple syrup, wine, bread, cheese, & produce as a one of a kind gift.
We'll be offering "The Taste of the Hudson Valley" gift basket in our shop in time for Thanksgiving gifting. What hostess would'nt love a basket full of Natures Bounty from our local producers & growers?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Safe Journey

Early each spring, the hummingbirds hover outside my kitchen window
reminding me that I havent put the feeder up for them. Its hard to believe that after migrating to Mexico, South America, and Cuba for the winter, the
same birds make their way back to where they hatched & know where the food belongs!

Last week saw a flurry of feeding activity at the feeder. My guests were getting ready for their long trip south. Hormonal changes & the changing of the seasons signals the start of the migration more predictably than any calender. Like the changing leaves & chilly nights , the departure of the hummingbirds tells us that winter is on its way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Treats

Bring the colors of the foliage into your home with Single Use Autumn Leaves Guest Soaps. Scented in "Spiced Cider" & "Pumpkin Pickin" fragrances they look beautiful in your favorite dish or a cute little basket.

Goat Milk & Shea Butter Jack 'o'Lanterns for your favorite little Goblin scented with "Spiced Pumpkin' are a Sweet Treat.

Art in the Park

Art in the Park & Classic Car Show Saturday October 3, 2009 9am-4pm
An opportunity to see artistic and creative talent from the area. Artists, craftsmen and unique items will be showcased. A variety of musical entertainment throughout the day. Food vendors will have an assortment of goodies available. Clean restrooms on the premises. Admission and parking are free. Classic cars from around the region will be on display and trophies will be awarded based on voting by the public. Special youth/student display area with awards being given in several categories. Rain date October 4. For info:845-744-3960.

Verkeerderkill Park is located on Route 52 West just outside of the Hamlet of Pine Bush.
Art in the Park is sponsored by The Town of Shawangunk, The Walker Valley Community Enhancement Committe, and the Pine Bush Area Arts Council.

1846 House Soaps will be on hand with our handmade goat milk soaps, fall & Halloween creations and our handwoven African Market baskets. Stop by and say Hi to the happiest guy in Walker Valley ( my DH Curtis).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Harvest Festival Saturday

The Pine Bush Harvest Festival takes place in the heart of the hamlet of Pine Bush on the 3d Saturday in September. This year, it will be held on Sept 19th from 9am-3pm (raindate Sept 20th).
Sponsored by The Pine Bush Lions Club, the Harvest Festival is a celebration of our community. Main Street will be closed for the duration of the festival. Vendors, Art & crafts people, food, live entertainment, games, clubs & service organizations will be on hand for this fun filled day.

The Pine Bush Farmers Market will also be held in the municipal lot behind the Crawford Cultural Center.

Look for 1846 House Soaps at the market between Burds Farm & Late Bloomer Farm.

We will also be at The Harvest Festival in front of Heaven on Earth Natural Foods on Main Street. Just look for the Happiest Guy in Walker Valley ( my DH), with a selection of our soaps & African Market Baskets. See y'all this weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time to Wash the Critters

The temperature was predicted to hit 80 degrees today ( and who knows when it will again) so I decided my horse and my dog both needed a bath. Popped a bar of my Essential Oil Dirty Dawg Soap out of the mold and filled the kiddie pool. After bathing Buddy the One Eyed Yellow Lab I decided that Dirty Dawg would work just fine on a dirty horse. Well my old friend Max looks and smells just great! So, its official: Dirty Dawg also does a great job on a Dirty Horse! ( Avail @

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Raspberries Bustin' Out All Over!

The less than good weather this summer hasn't bothered the fall raspberries one little bit! The bushes are all full of plump, delicious berries begging to be picked and made into something wonderful.

A few years ago, my bosom buddy Judy was down from Vermont during raspberry time & shared a Vermont specialty: Raspberry Pie. Never thought of making a pie out of raspberries, but one bite and I was hooked! ( And its EASY!)

So, for the uninitiated, here's Judy's Mom's recipe for Vermont Raspberry Pie.

6 cups of Raspberries
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch or flour
1/4 cup tapioca
Mix together gently and place in your favorite pie crust

Bake @ 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

That's it! A scoop of vanilla ice cream only adds to it, but this wonderful berry pie is a treat for the taste buds no matter how you eat it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Walking on Air

Please join Shawangunk Community Members and artist Stefanie Loeb to participate in a Flag-Making Workshop to represent the Town of Shawangunk in the Walking on Air Procession. The workshops are free and open to the public.

October 3rd 2009, marks the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson, completing the transformation of the historic Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into a mile-long pedestrian path soaring 212 feet above the Hudson River. The Walking on Air Procession will mark the first public steps across the Walkway, as the bridge becomes a stage for a site-specific performance artwork created and performed by several thousand volunteers. Artists in every city, village and town in both Dutchess and Ulster Counties will be working in their communities to create flags that will be carried in the procession over the Walkway

Only in the MidHudson Valley could an abandoned railroad bridge be transformed into a scenic destination. This vision has been many years in planning & funding, and is the result of countless volunteers who believed that this idea could come a reality.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Crayons for the First Day of School

Now who dosent love a new box of crayons for the first day of school?

A Fun Way To Wash! Goat Milk & Shea Butter tub soaps are left unfragranced for sensitive skin. They contain no harmful chemicals and will have the kids ready to hop in the tub!

This set of 4 Tub Soaps makes a great Back to School Gift or BirthdayParty Favor.
Custom orders are always welcome, price breaks start for orders over 12 pieces. Convo me for details. I'd love to put up a reserved listing for you.*

Tub soaps will not color your skin/bathtub. Remove paper label before use.

Individually shrink wrapped, labeled, & packaged in a clear acetate box tied with ribbon
Each soap is 5 3/4 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide & weighs a minimum of 2 ounces.

Sets of individual Tub Soaps are avail in my shop @

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whimsey All Around...

Whimsy is all around us. Some created for our own pleasure, some a gift & inspiration from the Master Gardener.

"Follow your intuition, plant your desires, stand still, be patient. The universe will provide bounty, the likes of which you can only dream" Vivian Elizabeth Glyck

12 Lessons on Life I Learned from My Garden

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Woodstock Sunday at Mowers Market

I packed up with my 'soap-sister' Nina of Happy Herbs Soap early Sunday morning to head off to Mowers Market in Woodstock NY. Every Saturday & Sunday for the last 30+ years, the quiet meadow becomes a flea market & craft extravaganza. No visit to Woodstock is complete without a stop at the meadow .

" Mower's Saturday Market is situated on two beautiful acres, in a grass-covered field, down Maple Lane, behind Bread Alone, across the street from Maria's Bazar, and one short block from the famous Village Green. . It is, as you will discover, a treat both for the eye and the pocketbook.

A vital part of Woodstock's tradition, Mower's Saturday Market is a piece of Woodstock's history, a wonderful part of its present and will, no doubt, have a place in its future.

We do not exaggerate when we tell you that you can find everything from antiques to zebras, from zithers to artwork. "

Once we were set up & settled, I set off for a quick look around the market. African drumming, antiques, air plants, meditation gongs, stone work, veggies, jams, yard sale treasures, strolling musicians: so much to take in! I felt like a kid in a candy store!

What a fun day! Thanks Nina