I would first like to welcome Leane Ketcherside to our editorial staff and assistance with many essential oil articles written in this issue. As spring approaches, we feel that the basic Mabel line has been firmly established. For three years, we focused only on offering education and the classic products people need to make their own products; those items that cannot be found local to them, or affordably to them if they are locally available, as well as becoming big enough to purchase our unique items in volume and offer the lowest prices we can. We also had to find our basic methods of packaging, consistent vendors, and our shipping preferences. There were many learning curves. Since we feel we achieved all of these goals this February, I have been able to relax a bit and play more with products such as specialty glass, new containers, new fragrance oil blends, and things I just did not have time to do when we were concerned with having quality, basic supplies at great prices, and the methods to get them to the customer quickly. We can thank Fed Ex for that. The photo above are three soy candles I made over the weekend with a waterless floral arrangement. I basically used candle gel to create the waterless effect with flowers appropriate for the vase--using floral tape to bind them together. Since I had many silk flowers laying around over the years and various vases, I made many assembles for my home over the past weekend.
Now having time to explore new products, I find that, in the fragrance line, Green Clover fragrance oil is my new passion, setting my previous favorites, Fresh Cut Grass and McIntosh Apple, aside for a bit. Maybe it is because I am Irish, but I sure do love to wake up in a field of Green Clover, so I burn it in my bedroom all night. Woodland Retreat fragrance oil is another recent favorite for my living room and entertaining area. I am in Florida and this fragrance reminds me of upstate NY, where I was born. Rice Flower and Shea fragrance oil received rave reviews by anyone visiting, and they all smelled the samples I was considering. It is such a delicate and hard to define scent, but in any case I highly recommend it for use in solid perfumes, bath oils, lotions and crèmes, among other things. I have always like the Downy scent, as we all know, and the Old Spice fragrance oil, for products made for men. It just brings back such good memories.
In the flavor department, Passion Fruit flavor oil is selling off the wall, as well as Mango, Menthol (for the Halls effect) and our new Kiwi. We are bringing Rose flavor oil back this month since it was very popular, but extremely expensive to make. The biggest seller I see customers making is the edible love lotion, which is just Vegetable Glycerin, which is naturally sweet, and a few drops of flavor oil. They sell them in 2 ounce dropper bottles.
Cute containers and beauty items I have been wanting to add for a long time are now in and at the lowest prices we can offer:
The 1/2 ounce clear spray bottle is of special importance as it will hold up for continued re-use and is easy to label. The spray bottles I bought locally always warped at some point, due to the fragrance or essential oils. These bottles can be used for facial mists, room sprays, car sprays, linen sprays, bug deterrent recipes and much more. Typically, to make a room spray you only need ten drops of fragrance oil to the remainder of water. Shake well and spray all you like! I keep a bottle in nearly every room in the house, and use scents that are appropriate for a particular room. It is much more economical to make your own, I cannot even do the math. Finding the best clear 1/2 ounce bath salt scoop to match most any design, and offer them affordably, has taken me two years, and they have always been a highly requested item. The Butterfly and Clover balm containers, well, they are just fun for the kids. The clam shell compacts are back and more affordable than ever. We have also added ground pumice for the soap makers and the French pink clay that I love so much, as well as Grape Seed Powder, which is a great antioxidant for clay masks.
Spray Mister Recipes
Yep, I love these durable spray mister bottles so much I am building an empire around them. We will always keep these in stock and I am finding more uses for them every day. For room sprays, simply fill the 1/2 ounce bottle almost all the way with water and add a few drops of the following fragrance oils:
Body and facial toners spray would be a little different. Fill most of the 1/2 ounce bottle up with Witch Hazel, Gin, Ever Clear or Vodka, and a few drops of the essential oils of choice. I laughed so hard when I saw well known authors using booze in their relaxation sprays and bath preparations. I thought "If the spray does not relax you--well, I guess you drink it!" I do not drink alcohol as a hobby, but I found the use of spirits over the last few years to be economical and widely accepted. Do not spray into your eyes or drink the solution. Did I need to say that? My favorite recipe is 4 drops of Lemon Grass, 2 drops of Geranium, and 2 drop of Peppermint Essential Oils into my facial toner shaking well before each use. Essential oils are more powerful than you may know. I am not sure it helps you to know that bugs just hate the above-mentioned composition! A refreshing body spray could have those Essential Oils as well as a few drops of Tangerine oil to lift the spirits. You could use just Rose or Lavender water as a facial spray mist. The sky is the limit--in moderation, of course.
The Difference between Antioxidants and Preservatives
important to know the difference between antioxidants and preservatives
because they each perform different jobs, and we need to use them both.
Antioxidants, such as ROE (Rosemary Oleoresin
Vitamin E, work by trapping oxygen
“free radicals” before they can oxidize oils and fats. Oxidization
results in rancid oils. Once an antioxidant molecule traps the bad oxygen
radical, it turns into an altogether different molecule (like Lye + Oil =
Soap) and can no longer work as an antioxidant. This means that, sooner or
later, all the antioxidant properties will be used up, and eventually your
oil will go rancid. Nothing lasts forever!
Preservatives, such as Germaben II and LiquiPar Optima, are used to kill
and/or inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast. These dangerous
“thingies” need water to thrive, and begin to grow the instant the water
phase hits the oil phase (or vice versa) of a project.
antioxidants, there is no “all natural” preservative, which means that
purists, like me, are forced to make a choice: Put up with dangerous
microorganisms, or use a preservative. Since lotions, creams, etc., are
breeding grounds for bacteria, molds and yeast, and are also usually kept in
the warm, moist environment of the bathroom, you can see we could have a
real problem if we don’t use a preservative. I decided that I would rather
compromise my purist values than smear Staph-laden cream on my face. If
you’re making products to sell to others, you MUST use preservatives, or
cope with the possibility of actually harming someone and facing lawsuits.
Even when making balms or salves, we must
strongly consider using a preservative. Though it’s true that no water is used in production of
these types of products, we can’t guarantee that whoever uses the finished
product won’t introduce water. Lips get wet all the time; when we
sip water, lick our lips or even walk in the rain. It is always better to be safe.
In our next newsletter, we’ll look at how to use preservatives, and which to use for water- or oil-based projects.
Lessons of Curiosity: Being Careful When Making Home Products
Curiosity comes naturally to me as far back as I can recall, but sometimes comes with a price. Remember the old Crisco commercial where they placed a loaf of bread in a pot of hot oil and praised that the inside was still fluffy and soft when it came back out? I sure do, because I was about 8 years old and blew up our kitchen. This is how I managed to do it: I waited until my Mother went to work. Since babysitters were a luxury, and some so nutty at what she could pay--I was FAR better off alone. Again, I was left to my own devices. I filled up a pot with Crisco oil and made sure it came to a boil before I dropped the loaf of bread in. Well, the commercial lied, because the bread I pulled back out was oil logged and soggy. Where was the FCC back then? Huh? Huh? Anyway, the disaster occurred when I casually placed the pot of hot oil in the sink and turned the cold water onto it. What happened next looked like the Hiroshima bomb being dropped and how I never got a mark on me is a miracle. The ceiling sure had a big hole in it that was very hard to explain when my Mom returned home and the kitchen just an oil slick mess. Why that explosion did not deter me from future endeavors, I am not sure. But there is a God, and I think Angels do the best they can.
This incident all came back to memory because a month ago I was making lotion and instead of adding oil slowly to the hot water into the blender, I added hot water to the hot oil in the blender. The explosion was not too bad this time--it looked like a volcano coming out of my blender, but was a good reminder to always add hot oil slowly to water and not water to hot oil. Other things you must watch if you are making things at home include the waxes, such as paraffin. It sure does have a flash point and if you are not paying attention, you could have a flame burning like an oil well before you know it.
A few months ago, I placed a small pot on the stove, on low heat, and forgot about it. I was planning to dip BBQ sauce bottles in it. When I went back down stairs an hour later, well, the fire was going strong, but limited to the stainless steel pot. I knew water was the worst thing to throw on oil, I forgot baking soda may be the answer and decided to carry the pot outside and let it burn on my brick. I forgot Florida was having strong winds that day and when I opened the front door the flames blew back at me. This is the reason my bricks have a nice wax over them now--as I threw the pan away from me onto the brick. At least the wax spread evenly and my neighbors think I am rich enough to even wax my paver bricks! Burning paraffin is rather hard to put out once it gets going, and you cannot throw water on it. That is why I prefer soy, and as daring as I am, I just will not use candle gel, except under certain circumstances. If I am using gel, I do take it outside, period. Hypocritically, my next news article will demonstrate how to arrange silk flowers in gel that appear to be water. They are known as waterless arrangements and will last for years. But have taken gel off our site for sale and I will discuss where to just buy gel locally. A last note, oils such as orange and other citrus oils, over 32 ounces, can be flammable and you actually need a hazard license to handle it. In the state of Florida at least.
Getting a little bored with the SoyWax™ and oil recipe for making balm, although great, I aimed for a new twist and sure found one. They are known as Candelilla and Carnauba waxes. Both are used by Burt's Bees and both waxes are known for being some of the hardest waxes known and derived from plants no less. They are marketed as great alternatives for those who prefer not to use beeswax, such as vegans. It is rumored that these two waxes being from tropical geographic areas have sun screen qualities. I recently used both, and among other things, I found Candelilla to be my favorite for making lip jelly and Carnauba for natural deodorant. Using 10% of either of these waxes to 90% edible oil heated in the microwave until just melted, gave me a wonderful "gel" type effect I never expected. To the extent I believe they can be used as a base for lip jellies and soothing skin slaves. In my initial testing, both cream colored waxes performed very well, but the Candelilla was more smooth on the lips. Not only smooth, but the jelly like final product was much better than petroleum jelly, caused the skin to be more supple and lasted for several hours on my lips. I could see where an Aloe Vera gel type consistency could be made in a snap with this recipe of 90/10. I also noted it did not take but minutes for the product to cool down and become "jelly." The use of Safflower, Jojoba or Apricot Kernel oil will keep the product stable longer than some of the other carrier oils.
Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia Antisyphillitica and Pedilanthus Pavonis) grows in Northeastern Mexico in the wilds of the north central plains and foothills of the Chihuahua Desert, a semi-arid area of more than 100,000 square kilometers.The production of Candelilla Wax is confined to areas where rugged climatic and topographical conditions combine to produce the highest wax-yielding varieties. Plants growing in the hottest and driest areas produce a scale-like covering on the plant, which, after processing at hundreds of rural sites, yields a hard vegetable wax of superior quality.
Carnauba Wax is obtained from the
leaves of a palm tree known as Copernica Cerifera, which is also referred to
as the "Tree of Life". This slow-growing Carnauba palm flourishes
in the northeastern regions of Brazil, reaching an average height of 25-35
feet. It proliferates along river banks, streams and damp lowlands.
Making Lip Jelly: Makes 20 1/6 Ounce Balm Pots
Pipettes to transfer your formula
4 ounces of edible oil
1 Teaspoon of Candelilla wax
1 Ounce of flavor oil or 4 of the 1/4 ounce bottles if you desire different flavors.
Heat the oil in the microwave with the wax until just melted, and stir in the ROE. This takes only a few minutes. We melt ours in a small mason jar. Remove the hot mixture with kitchen mitts and set on the counter to begin swirling in a touch of lip stick if color is desired, and then the flavor oils, which will quickly cool down the mixture. Quickly transfer with pipettes into your containers before it becomes gel. This is a rare case where we would use a lot of flavor oil. If you want separate flavors, such as apple, cherry, grape, and strawberry for kids, or colors, separate the hot oil when it comes out of the microwave into a small mason jar for every different flavor/color you desire and then mix as directed.
We love to use this plain, as a jelly and pour into a four ounce container!
How to Make a Candle in Two Minutes
This is to good to be true, but it works like a charm! These days many waxes are sold in pastilles, meaning little beads. That is great because it is very hard to cut large blocks of hard wax. Over the weekend I was testing all of the waxes sent to me by a manufacturer in every way I could. Lip balm, you name it. When I got to the microcrystalline and beeswax pastilles, trying to melt large amounts in the microwave kept causing it to flip a fuse and they never really began to melt after several attempts. I was trying to melt 8 ounces at a time.
Not one to give up, I sat and thought about it, looking at the samples. I just do not like to get into the double broiler stuff as most people do not. I then wondered if I held a wick in a mason jar and poured the beads around it--would they burn like a candle? I found four 8 ounce wide mouth mason jars and filled them up with the different waxes, including paraffin beads, holding a wick as I anchored each one with simply the weight of the wax around it. I did not even need to pack them hard. I then put just a few drops of fragrance oil on each one of them, to see how that would work out. The idea being, if my project worked, fragrance was going to be a next project anyway-so it saved me the trouble. I then lit the candles and all waxes burned beautifully for 30 hours or so. I only used about 4 ounces of pastilles in each mason jar. I did make sure a hemp wick was used with the natural waxes, such as beeswax, and a zinc wick for the man made waxes, such as paraffin. The summary is that children can make these, they are safe, nothing to melt down, they are relatively inexpensive to make and you can make several in a pinch for a romantic weekend. Just have a lot of mason jars around! My neighbors must think I am worshiping something with all the candles they have seen going on this last week!
The one caveat, if you are going to blow the candle out for the night, the next time you want to burn it--after it is very cool--turn it upside down and cut a bit of the wick off as the top of the wick does get a big black balloon. Do not worry about the beads as they are no longer loose. This wax will form a solid pool after a few hours of burning the first time.
We now offer the various beads as our beeswax chips can be purchased by clicking here.
Au Natural Deodorant Recipe
You don't need a container to make deodorant. We make bars that operate as an all natural deodorant without having to find the tubes. If you recall the deodorant "crystal" you will remember that it did not need a tube. So, we make our deodorant in soap molds, sprinkling a little real lavender in the bottom of the mold for aesthetic appeal. We truly believe Aluminum and other items in commercial antiperspirants and deodorants do become absorbed into the skin and do cause breast cancer. We also feel aluminum is a big factor in Alzheimer's since very high amounts of aluminum are found in the brains of Alzheimer patients. Therefore we cook with only stainless steel or iron, beyond being careful what goes onto our bodies. This recipe makes two 4 ounce bars. We made this recipe flexible for you to be able to incorporate what essentials oils you do have handy. If you must have color, we recommend you swirl a tad of old lipstick into the hot oil with a tooth pick. We found a green lip stick which works well for us.
6 ounces carrier oil of choice
(Safflower, Soy, Sweet Almond, etc.)
3 Teaspoons of Baking Soda and 3 Teaspoons of Arrowroot Powder (Arrowroot is optional)
Melt the oils above TOGETHER in a glass measuring cup designed to take heat, such as Anchor Hocking. (To make clean up easier, we wipe the cup with a paper towel while still warm.) When the oils have just melted, take them out of the microwave with a heavy kitchen mitt as not to burn yourself. Have your molds and essential oils and Oleoresin ready. Mix essential oils with the Dendritic salt, then dissolve into the warm oil mixture. After that stir in the Rosemary Oleoresin and then the Arrow Root and Baking Soda. Stir well and pour into molds. We use a long bamboo stick (meant for grilling) to swirl it in.
*One pipette seems to extract one tenth of an ounce of essential oil. We recommend three 1/10 ounces of:
Clary Sage, Lavender, Tea Tree, and/or Geranium for this recipe. When everything is stirred well and dissolved, pour into the molds. Do not pour too hot as you do not want to warp your molds.
The Power of a Mason Jar: 52 Uses
If I had to find a container to put myself in, it would not be a bottle, like "I Dream of Jeanie" had. It would most definitely be a mason jar. Why? Mason jars are the most easily obtainable and affordable containers there are. They are also very easy to recycle, and widely accepted as a gift packaging. Best of all, you can see through them! Here at Mabel they help keep us flat out organized. Mason jars come in all shapes and sizes. Just about everything we store is in a mason jar. Beyond their obvious use, canning, mason jars can be used in the following ways:
Just Call me Rosemary: Oleoresin by Leane Ketcherside
Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (ROE)
Here is a lesson I learned the hard
way: A product will only last as long as the least stable ingredient used to make the
hectic and I wanted to pamper myself—to feel like Cleopatra—soft,
relaxed and beautiful. Unlike Cleo, I didn’t have all the gold in Egypt,
nor did I have the money to pack myself off to a day spa, so I did the only
thing I knew how; I made my own spa. I made luxury Bath Bombs, body oil and
matching candles, and I used Bulgarian Rose and Jasmine Essential Oils
because, hey, I’m worth it!
husband and kids from the house, put on soft music, lit the candles and sunk
into the most aromatic, comforting bath I’d ever had, and I soaked for an
hour. After gingerly patting myself with a towel I had warming over the
heating vent, I massaged everywhere I could reach (within reason) with my
special Rose-Jasmine oil blend, and then I took a nap. That day ranks as one
of the most memorable in my life.
months later, I needed another day just like it. I banished everyone from
the house, put my towel over the vent to warm, lit the candles, put on the
music, opened my most special stash of luxuries and…YUCK!
was that awful smell, and if you’ve never caught a whiff, consider
yourself lucky. All my beautiful (and expensive) EOs and hard work were
ruined, and my dreams of recreating the perfect day were wrecked. I wanted
I searched every article I could find on how to extend the life of carrier
oils, and discovered Rosemary
Oleoresin Extract, aka ROE.
ROE (Rosmarinus Officinalis,
Rosemary leaf) is an antioxidant, not a preservative. (Please see the
article below for the difference between the two.) It should not be confused
with Rosemary Essential Oil, although they come from the same plant. It’s
a thick, dark green and sticky liquid with a mildly herbaceous scent. It is
soluble in oil and not soluble in water, and it dramatically increases the
life of those precious carrier oils. It is used in the food industry and
completely safe to consume. (Ever wonder why the packaged ground beef you
buy is bright red on the outside, but brownish inside? They treat the
outside with ROE!) It’s very thick at room temperature, so you may want to
put the bottle in a container of hot tap water to make it easier to work
Use 1 tsp.
to one tbsp. for 20 pounds of oil, so a little goes a long way. Add ROE to
every oil you use, the minute you get it, to extend the shelf life of the
oil and, therefore, to extend the life of any products made with the oils.
Warm a teaspoon or so of the carrier oil, stir in the ROE, then add this
mixture to the container of carrier oil. If you want even more antioxidant
power, also add a capsule or two of Vitamin E to the ROE/warm oil mixture.
your carrier oils are more stable, use them as you normally would. When
you’re making lip balms, Bath Bombs, lotions, crèmes, body
oils—anything you use oils for, (this added step is not necessary for CP
soap making) go ahead and mix in a few drops of ROE to the oil phase of your
project, even if you’ve already used ROE in the carrier oil—every little
Note from the Editor: When working with the ROE, I felt that this deep, amber colored, thick oil and scent must have some healing qualities. I did a little research on the web and noted that it is highly recommended for certain skin aliments and preparations, purported by the Canadians to boost the immune system, and just so much more.
A Miracle of a Salt: Dendritic by Leane Ketcherside
According to Leane, our new contributing editor, anytime you mix oil with water, things do start to grow--even though your eye cannot see them. At Mabel, we tend not to add any preservatives if we feel we will use the product up within a month, or we use a lot of vitamin e oil. This led to a heated discussion about preservatives and Leane made us believers to use some kind of preservative while making most beauty items. She also explains, above, that Rosemary Essential Oil is not the preservative most people think it is--and that they do have it confused with Rosemary Oleoresin.
Dendritic salt is the best bang for your buck when it comes to purity, absorption rate, preservation and life-extension of your products. Your scrubs won’t clump (I hate that!), powders won’t cake—and neither will your bath salts, and all your soaps, bath oils, bombs, Body balms, body butters, body oils and powders will last and smell good longer. It really is a miracle of a salt!
Dendritic salt can extend the life of your finished product because it helps hold the scent longer, and helps prevent oxidation of those volatile Essential Oils.
What is Dendritic salt? The
technical answer is that it is a highly purified sodium chloride which has
been crystallized under special conditions. A trace of yellow prussiate of
soda is added to modify the way the salt crystals grow. The crystals grow
at the corners rather than the faces, which produces star-shaped crystals.
Only sodium chloride will fit into this crystal matrix, leaving incredibly
pure salt crystals with micropores in them. The yellow prussiate of soda
is removed before the crystals are dried (or I wouldn’t use it, purist
that I am!). All this really means is that the crystals are wider than
usual and more porous. Dendritic salt is a natural, very fine-grained
all fine, but what can it do for you and why should you use it? I’m glad
salt absorbs 2.5 times its weight, doesn’t clump or cake, and also helps
keep other stuff from clumping and caking; stuff like bath salts, scrubs,
powders and Bath Fizz (my lazy way of making Bath Bombs without actually
taking the time to mold them.)
absorbs so well, by adding your Essential or Fragrance oils directly to a
little bit of the salt and then mixing this into your product, it actually
extends the fragrance and the life of the finished product. It’s a
built-in antioxidant, so it helps protect and extend the life of those
It’s so fine that it dissolves very quickly— at more than twice the rate of regular salt. This means that you aren’t limited to using it only with other salts—use it to hold the fragrance in M&P and CP soaps, bath and body oils, balms, body butters—the list is endless! It’s used in the food industry and perfectly safe to eat.
A little goes
a long way, so it’s very economical to use: 1 cup per 10 to 20 cups of
other salts. I use about a
teaspoon per pound of M&P soap base, more if I’m using a lot of
scent. Add whatever fragrance
you’re using to the salt, then dissolve it in a little of the heated
or water (which ever you’re using), then stir it into your product.
It’s that easy!
Essential Oils 101 By
We would like to introduce an on-going series of articles
centering on Essential Oils and their use. We will discuss EO safety,
profile a number of popular and healing oils, and include recipes using
Nature offers us an abundant variety of precious, healing,
soothing, and uplifting essences to aid us with our often hectic and
stressful lives. By combining two or more EOs, we can create synergies to
lift us up, calm us down, fight infection, ease physical pain and even
comfort a weary soul.
We’ll explore the different types of oils within the same
families, and discover such things as all Lavenders aren’t created equal,
and how to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous vendors. We’ll also
learn which EOs are safe to use for children, pets and for pregnant or
nursing women, and which oils aren’t safe to use at all, and why.
In our next newsletter we’ll focus on Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia), Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) and Egyptian
Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens),
along with Neem and Emu oils. We’ll explore healing recipes such as Cold Sore SOS, botanical powders, Nail Fungus Rescue, and even a
healing recipe for your dog’s hotspots! With just these three oils and a few other ingredients, you’ll be
well on your way to creating your own Essential Medicine Chest!