This month we cannot avoid all of the weddings going on! One example is Ashley Ledoux, shown above and below. She is one of our new assistant editors and marketing strategist. Ashley came to know the Mabel White Company while desiring to learn how to make soap, lotions and candles as a new homemaker. Ashley is a major influence in the world's largest martial arts magazine and still contributes, although she had to move a few thousand miles away. She is now enjoying Seattle, Washington where the new groom is stationed. He just returned from a session in Iraq. Ashley spent time with me in product development, but could not wait for him to return. The nuptials were done faster than we could attend. We welcome Ashley as a great new asset to our company. She adds a new facet and perspective we believe we cannot be without as we grow.
She is so beautiful we did think of putting her in a bottle to sell! On another note, my hair dresser, who loves making cold process soap also, just had a wedding as well, as did countless other people I know. Their gifts to those who attended were very unique and personalized. We have photos of the favors below from Ashley's wedding and Marsha, my hair dresser. Home made soap in cute little bags being just one. We do everything we can at Mabel to avoid commercialization. The photo on the lower right is Ashley's sister holding a 6 ounce gold tin container with sentimental items Ashley made hidden inside.
Activities of other staff include Leane Ketcherside, Missouri, who recently bought a machine that helps mold bath bombs. Her goal is to create Aromatherapeutic, all natural seltzers with decadent Essential Oils, and she has had so much fun her husband has not seen her since the box came in.
Lynda Williams, our food and Dip Mix Division in Mississippi, is finally done after two years with our dip mix line. The recipes were tested throughout the nation to make sure they were the best. Her hallmark, as we discuss below, is her cheesecake dips offered in several flavors. They are great for baby showers, football events or just any party. Lynda also secured the highest-grade beeswax for us to use.
Chef Greg Engelhardt came up with some fabulous Vinaigrette Dressings using our flavored oils (recipes below,) one being Raspberry-Pistachio Vinaigrette. He is now a chef in a real palace which is his dream job. Yes, this is all making me hungry. On a craft note, Deborah Dolen, in conjunction with Dr. Ashok Patel, a Biochemist in Minnesota, is introducing hair conditioner and shampoo pearls so that customers do not have to pay for shipping of 90% water. We're also introducing a Cold Process soap base for those who want to rebatch without dealing with lye. We've also secured a deal with a chemical company to drop-ship very high-quality lye. Since Red Devil is no longer a real option for us as soap makers, securing a source for lye has been a challenge now solved. Deborah is now working with a Beekeeper's Association on a book for recipes to make use of all of the by-products of bees since no book presently exists on the market. This book should be announced mid-February. Any suggestions are very welcome and credit will be given unless the sender prefers to stay anonymous. Another book she is working on is dedicated only to rebatching of soap. That book is due out in May. Deborah and Leane are also working on a DVD detailing the CPOP (Cold Process/Oven Process) method of making soap and one on making candles. We hope to have this wonderful, hands-on DVD tutorial available by this summer.
Last but not least, Soytanicals, a finished product retail line we have been working on for years is celebrating its first products. Please see www.soytanicals.com.
Wishing You the Best!
A Bed Style Fit for a Queen with a Small Purse by D.R. Dolen
I am a little claustrophobic, so I never paid much attention to my bedroom other than a very good mattress, pillows and some lighting. I really did not want to invest in footboards or headboards, or anything expensive that I felt would just tie me in. I have always envied the pretty canopy beds that drape so well, but I also knew I could not be that locked in. I also attended to my bedroom last-just a place I would pass out after working hard all day. A recent change in mattresses changed all that, and I know other people can benefit from what I did. Young adults or those moving in together typically cannot afford the luxury I pulled off for $100 or so. Click thumbnails for a much better view.
While the old mattress was donated, I had a few days before the new one came in. I thought, well, I will spend $40 and paint the ceiling white and the walls periwinkle. Another $20 for fresh white trim. My custom-made blinds were so dirty, beyond cleaning, I just spray painted them the color they were meant to be. That was another $20 well spent and they look brand new. Everyone around me said that could not be done and was cringing. The best decision of all was to create a headboard from a pretty curtain rod. This was the most dramatic, affordable and charming change of all.
I waited until the bed was installed and the pillows arranged so I could see how high up I needed the rod to go. That would be 3 1/2 feet up from the mattress and 2 inches out on each side of the bed for the rod. I bought the rod at Home Depot and two fabric window scarves at Target. The scarves are about 15 feet and cost $20 each. I had picked out a gold lace window scarf as well as a basic eggshell color for the background. I took the gold lace window scarf to Bed Bath and Beyond and selected a matching bed skirt for $20 that pulled it all together and made it all work. I stuck with a little gold so it would contrast with my basically lavender bedroom. This allows me much latitude in color if I change my comforter cover. Draping the scarves over the back of the end of each rod was the easiest thing I ever did and one of the most rewarding. Now I wake up every morning and instead of seeing a stained yellow ceiling (not a great way to start your day) I see the beauty of a bed made for a queen. You could say I spent $160 total for what I feel is regal, breath-taking and can be done in just about any bedroom.
"Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad
Dips and Chili Mixes: Get Ready for the Super Bowl! by Lynda B. Williams
Wholesale Dip Mixes Dot Com is finally ready. Based out of the small town of Monticello, Mississippi, is our factory for the most unique and hand ground dip and chili mixes on the planet. Mabel will be putting Monticello on the map. We plan to expand into unique hot sauces, such as mango and pineapple, and many other exciting things in the future. Since Super Bowl is around the corner, dips and easy to prepare deserts are a must. One of the unique hallmarks of our site is the Tia Maria, non-alcoholic, Spanish Coffee Mix. This is so wonderful, you simply add the packet to a pot of freshly brewed coffee, mix well, top with whipped cream and serve. We garnished the whipped cream with a little nutmeg.
Another unique offering of the site are the Gourmet Cheesecake Dessert Dip Mixes, served with fresh strawberries, pineapple, vanilla wafers, apple slices--whatever you like!Just mix well with 16 ounces of sour cream. Our cheesecake dip mixes are very simple to make and come in several popular flavors. These are just perfect for weddings, baby showers or home parties. We are even willing to re-brand them for fundraisers, Dude Ranches and the like. Just ask!
Beyond the dessert sector, we spent two years developing a unique line of dip mixes themselves. Our staff all over the nation got to test them, and our Mabel Members will soon be receiving some in a few weeks. The results of our dip mixes include One Hot Cajun Mama, Smoked Crab, and our most famous dip, which we call "SMB," is Spinach, Shitake Mushroom and Bacon Dip Mix, to name just a few. We use 8 ounces of warmed cream cheese with 8 ounces of sour cream, mix well and chill for at least 3 hours to let the flavors meld. Our chili mix was formulated by Mabel herself, and it is goooood! We hope you visit the site by clicking this button. A twelve pack variety can be purchased on that site as well. Click here for the dip mix site.
"If a man watches three football
games in a row he should be declared legally dead."
Rebatching Soap by D.R. Dolen
For those faint at heart of dealing with lye, we understand. That is why many people prefer to "rebatch" already cured soap. Consumers with small children also have their reasons for preferring to skip the lye step. I used to love simple melt and pour until I dared engage with lye. The old fashioned soap is far superior, I now only use melt and pour glycerin soap for limited purposes such as the coffee kitchen deodorizer bar. I typically am making the old fashioned lye soap at home.
Enter rebatched soap. It is basically the art of taking already cured cold/hot process soap, grating it and cooking it in a crock pot with water and whatever additives you desire. Some people stop at grating and use this soap for laundry recipes and the like. But as far as soap making, rebatching is also known as "double" or "triple milled" soap. Soapmakers tend to simply use a designated crock pot to rebatch.
What are the advantages? Well, you do not have to deal with the lye step, the soap tends to be much harder and is considered a "higher quality" soap, and your additives such as essential oils tend to really be more present. Leane, our Essential Oils expert, sent me some round Castile soap balls that she made. They were so hard and made such an awesome lather, I went nuts over them. After pressing her on what made them so hard and luscious, we isolated it to the fact she rebatches her scraps and makes them into hand-milled soap balls. I did not know that is just a normal thing for her to do. Basically, if you experience a good rebatched soap, you will be so spoiled! One of the few drawbacks in rebatching is that you had better have your molds ready when your soap is ready (if you're using molds, rather than hand-milling.) I think that cutting them at random is fine and adds to the natural appeal of the soap. Pictured above is highly aromatic Bulgarian Lavender, Vanilla Clove, underneath those is Carrot and Rose Geranium. The soap stuck in the middle was just a left over piece of Castile. In the very front is one of the wedding soaps with corn meal as an exfoliate, molded in a tart tin.
At Mabel, we simplify older recipes touted by other toiletry makers once we learned the basics. Like, we use a blender, we do not sit there and hand mix anything with a spoon for hours--as well as a microwave for most natural products--not the old double broiler method. We are after what we call "QANEEC" pronounced "Kawneek" meaning: Quick, Affordable, Natural, Easy, Effective, and Cool. This term was created by Mabel White.
We will offer 2 Pound bricks of soap that can be rebatched as we have time to make it. Click here to purchase soap to rebatch.
Lotion and Conditioner Pearls: A Maverick in the Market!
We have isolated some very magical ingredients in the shampoo, lotion and conditioner market. Why are they magic? The crafter simply adds up to 10% of our pearls to 90% hot water and/or other aqueous solutions and the result is some great lotion, shampoo and/or conditioner. This saves the craft-maker a fortune on not having to ship water. One of our leading bio-chemists maintains you do not even need a blender, which he refuses to own, but we find it to be helpful for the lotion and hair conditioner systems. We plan to create a book of recipes around all of these discoveries, but our base products are so great, anyone can apply their own creativity. All of these products are due in February, and we plan to have ingredient spec sheets ready as well as suggested uses. We will refine them to include more soy lipids over time.
Conditioner Pearls: We have avoided conditioner materials for years because many people like us have highly processed hair and need gentle and pure ingredients. Mabel White's Conditioner Pearls are so very simple to use, and completely customizable. It is a great detangler, and makes a wonderful leave-in conditioner. If my three daughters were still young, I would jump on this. I was always using Keratin to detangle. Now I cannot find I anywhere on the market. I am thrilled we have something like it here and it also can be enhanced after preparation. The recipe is much like the lotion pearls above.
Shampoo Base: Same principle as the other two products above. Simple, easy to make, and the consumer is not paying to ship 90% water. In fact, this base can also be used to make bath bars and bath bombs that bubble! It can be used in just about anything as the sole lathering agent. Click here to hear more about our pearls.
One day about ten years ago, someone making pizza stuck a wick in hydrogenated soy wax flakes they used for making pizza to see if the energy from that oil would burn. It did! It burned clean, fairly soot free and was immediately recognized as much better and cheaper wax than the main candle wax used at the time, paraffin. Best of all, soy beans are made in America and does help the American Farmer. Most major candle companies were so invested at the moment in saying "Paraffin" was still great, they had to make a slow and smooth change over. Some are still making that change, some prefer to stick with paraffin. We do not like Paraffin that much.
Cargill, one of the world's largest privately held food corporations began a study in conjunction with a few soy bean interested persons and invented a stronger soy wax flake designed for candle use. The wax they set out to isolate from the soy bean components that would not melt as premature as pizza dough oil, and thus would not drown the candle prematurely. They aimed to keep it all natural and did so.
This process of research cost money and they did successfully come up with a few great all natural formulas for candle use. Therefore it had to be a bit more expensive than pizza dough oil. Cargill then moved to successfully patent such formulas and we feel those patents are the best on the market today. Other companies soon followed with their own versions, but could not copy the Cargill patent, resulting in what we feel are by far inferior mixes. We tested them all as we had written books about soy was since day one. Cargill had it right. Their name brand is NatureWaxTM. Some companies opened up from out of the blue and called pizza dough oil their "brand" as if it was comparable. Figures.
NatureWaxTM is soy wax as not to confuse consumers. But it is a stronger form of hydrogenated soy oil designed for excellent and more demanding candle making melt points. An issue did arise, as we saw it, when some companies were selling "pizza dough" soy flakes that looked a lot like the soy flakes meant for candles--but was almost half the price. (They did not like the price of the real patent product.) This did cause a lot of Mabel customers to ask why they made a candle that ultimately drowned and never did burn all the way down. Was it our fragrance oils? Did they use too much fragrance? No. It was traced back to where they bought their wax and their whole project was wasted. All we could suggest was to add a little beeswax to save their project.
To identify ours as only purchased from Cargill, patent holder of NatureWaxTM, we created the SoyWaxTM mark as an identifier that our soy wax is designed for candle use and purchased exclusively from NatureWaxTM as well as to identify purity in our use for the manufacturing of lip balm. The Mabel White company was the first company to introduce and test the use of soy wax in lip balm as well as lotions and crèmes' as a far cheaper ingredient than beeswax. No one can dispute this. We love beeswax, but we found SoyWaxTM reduced the cost of making lip balm dramatically, while still maintaining an "all natural" component. Competition went nuts with the Mabel White formula that was not protected by any copyright or legal measure and began selling Mabel's idea as an ingredient in lip balm on a mass scale. It is true, there was nothing the Mabel White Company could do about that. This is because we published a free recipe on the internet. Actually a lot of free recipes about this. The Mabel White Company turned to protect at least its material purity with the blue and green mark above, that symbolizes a high grade soy wax for candle as well as cosmetic use only bought from Cargill. This need for clear distinction arose when some of the people in a rush to steal the idea did not question the actual soy wax they bought--was not the soy wax used by Mabel or in her recipes, (only NatureWaxTM was.) The copy cat companies usually offered a cut version of soy wax that could include fillers such as arsenic! Thus, a clear distinction had to be made.
In no manner does this mark mean any person has to purchase soy wax for candle or pizza dough making from us. A heavy debate did ensue, to be sure, brought on by those who were defensive because most were selling a cheaper soy flake designed for making pizza. They created false letters and attempted to conduct a lot of confusion. All they ended up achieving was sending us new business. No company that sold a quality higher melt point soy wax had issue with it and are busy and successful with their own companies. They do not have time for idle gossip.
At Mabel all we care about is the consumer and quality materials for our own personal use. Yes, soy wax may be a bit more expensive than our peers, but you can be assured it is because we are paying premium prices and not cutting the product in any manner to save a dime. The only way you can really test your grade of soy wax is to see what temperature it actually melts at and demand a materials spec sheet in writing before you purchase. Quality was the only point to the mark, period. We will only sell Cargill's brand period. *We have recently been able to reduce the price of our soy wax because we are now able to buy in much larger volumes, please click here for the latest prices.
Canker Relief: C-4 by Deborah Dolen
If something really works, we will tell you. Recently a guest had such a bad case of canker sores that they were oozing in his mouth and spread down into his throat. He reported that they come out when he is under stress, and he and has all kinds of stuff the doctor gave him. Leane has helped many of us avoid the cold sores caused by the Herpes virus with her Essential Oil blends and special balm base, but canker sores were new to me. I called Leane and she gave me an Essential Oil blend to make a gargle that includes Clove Bud Essential Oil. One drop of this blend in 6 to 8 ounces of water--shake well--never swallow--and we tried it. Leane said to make the gargle fresh each time and stir it in very well just before gargling, since Essential Oils do not mix with water. It is not a cure, but he said that out of all his pharmacy of things to apply, this mouth rinse gave him the greatest relief throughout the ordeal, and sped up the healing process.
He was totally amazed and now uses this gargle religiously. This is a gargle, not a drink! This is very important to remember because we do not recommend ingesting Essential Oils, since they are extremely potent. He then asked me to make a lip balm formula and felt that helped also. I simply put just four drops of the oil mixture in a 1/4 pot of balm base and mixed well. This Essential Oil blend is so great I named it C-4 and decided to offer it to our customers. It is a proprietary mix of pure Essential Oils, and is intended for adult use only as directed. Click here to purchase the C-4 blend in a one ounce size.
Step by Step Making Soy Candles by D. R. Dolen
As I have always maintained, making soy candles is one of the easiest and most rewarding projects on the planet. Below is a step by step example if you need to gain confidence. Click the thumbnails to get a better view. This evening I decided to make soy travel tins using essential oils. My containers were 6 ounces each and I found I used 2/10ths of an ounce of Essential Oil to fragrance each one.
In the first photo I am anchoring the wicks with my glue gun, although that is not necessary at all. I just want to make sure these are centered. I chose to make Bulgarian Lavender, Geranium, Tea Tree and Lemon Sage.
Saving Chocolate That Melted by Deborah Dolen
Someone bought me four pounds of plain chocolate truffles that melted on their long drive from up north. They felt really bad about it, and suggested I throw them out. Little did they know I already squeezed every bit of them out of the bag and set them in a bowl in the sun. Within four hours I had melted the chocolate in a uniform and gentle manner. I then had four pounds of what looked like chocolate soufflé. I took the chocolate and let it cool enough in the air conditioning to roll it into balls again, using cocoa powder and or cinnamon to coat the balls. I used some to frost the cake shown on the right.
With the truffles, I was even able to add flavor oils to some before rolling, (lime and raspberry). My friend was amazed and I ended up with a better product. I love chocolate so much you will see that as a melt and pour item in the future. Speaking of that, Chef Greg said just use Nestle chips if you are hard up to make dipping chocolate. The dipping chocolate sold in most stores is mostly wax. I know, I tried it once.