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Covid-19, It’s Not Here to Stay

The Corona Virus isn’t here to stay, it’ll go away, but it’s fairly annoying while it’s here. At worst, it can prove fatal, at the least it is just like that relative that you could throttle every time you hear them. You have no patience for them, you don’t want them around, you can’t wait til they leave. Ya, kinda like that.
For a soap maker, I couldn’t be in a better place. At a time like this, soap is King. Wash your hands often and liberally. There’s a time and place for everything, right now cleansers with harsh chemicals are okay, they might help stop the spread. And artisnal soaps, although they don’t contain what we’d call chemicals, they must contain lye in order to complete the saponification process, and produce soap. So feel secure that soap makers produce a good product.
It’s hard to plan ahead right now, no one knows what summer 2020 will look like, but by that time it is too late to start making products. So Black Rafter has spent the winter producing as per usual. All soaps are at the end of curing and are awaiting new labels. Insect spray/roll on is all done, boxed and ready to go.
With the likelyhood of restrictions still in place for the summer, a lot of my sales will be on line and shipped or curb side pick up. I prepared an order for shipping this morning, so I guess that got me thinking. We must still make future plans, this too shall pass.
So take care out there everyone, have patience. That annoying relative will soon decide to pack up and go home. In the meantime, WASH YOUR HANDS!! And have a cookie.

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A Customer’s Quote

Last night I received a nice repeat order from one of my customers, and I was blown away by her private post. She gave me permission, and in fact encouraged me to share it, so I will.

“After a cold winter, with only use soap from Black Rafter.. my family has noticed some amazing improvements in our skin! My husband and I always get cracked skin on our hands and to the point where we sometimes would have to coat them in polysporin at night time. My daughter would get flare ups in her eczema and we would need cream for that as well. Now that spring is here, it has dawned on us that none of us faced these issues over the winter! We are sure it’s because of the amazing soap from Black Rafter that has no chemicals or dyes and only natural products that benefit our skin. We don’t use any other soap (or lip balm) in our house!! “
What terrific encouragement and support for a small batch soapmaker. You often wonder if it makes any sense at all, until something like this comes in.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
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Too Much Packaging – A Real Conundrum

I love making soap. I love cutting soap. I love labeling soap. I love packaging soap. And I love selling soap.

I do not however, love the extra packaging that it seems I must use, but hear me out.

When I decided to offer my hand made soaps for sale, I decided to go the route of making Health Canada aware of my doings, and get the blessing of the Prince Edward Island Crafts Council.

My “Black Rafter SoapWorks” artisan soap passed each of their criteria with flying colors, and I was so pleased to receive their suggestions.  Their advice was actually very comforting, as they liked the fact that each of my bars was completely sealed in a light plastic. Their reasoning was that with the upswing of allergies and sensitivities to scent in our society,  the prudent thing to do was avoid it if possible. Just take a stroll down the detergent aisle at any grocery….you almost have to hold your breath. And I have witnessed a neighbor in the middle of a very nasty asthma attack, triggered in a soap aisle.

So as much as I love the paper label look of artisan soap with no packaging, I do have a problem with the amount of snouts that a bar of soap receives before it goes home with the sniffer. Enter Black Rafter Soaps, each clean and new, and wrapped for travel, viewing, and peace of mind. Mine. And yours.

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Fresh Cookies on a Rainy Day? You Bet!!

Is there such a thing as a “healthy” cookie? Technically I guess there is.  This recipe I use all the time, it’s very good.

Aren’t we always looking for the next great thing, or trying something new? We’re even reeled in by promises of a “healthy” cookie!

Well, I make “healthy” soap, carefully and with love in every bar. And there’s no comparison! Is it more expensive? Yes, quality isn’t cheap. Does it feel better? I think so! Will there be lots? I’m trying!

Right now there is a monster of a rainstorm and high winds raging outside my seaside home, so I think I’ll make a thermos of coffee, and wrap up these cookies. It’s always better to be prepared!


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Do Martians Wash Their Hands?

Do Martians wash their hands? Do Martians have hands? Is there even any such thing as a Martian?

Who knows, maybe the heat is getting to me!

This nice cool, dry air has given me new vigor, and soapmaking for the fall and Christmas starts in September for me. Already shipments of supplies are in transit, recipes are being compiled, items washed and ready. Continue reading Do Martians Wash Their Hands?

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Mosquitoes, anyone?

It was a hot day, yes, but I spent part of it weeding and hoeing my pitiful little garden. How I envy those green thumbs out there!
It did look better, but terribly dry, and I know everyone says don’t water your garden, the water is too cold!
My answer always is, would you like SOME food, or NO food?
Some food, I would say, so I hauled out all the hose and spent 15 minutes soaking ‘er down.
Now, the first 5 minutes also included Battle of the Mosquitoes, and I didn’t intend to lose. So I trotted over to Jamie’s truck, and found his poor old used up bottle of my Insect repellent, at least 3 years old. It would have suffered all the heat and all the cold of these 3 years, but I figured, oh what the hell. I shook it up, sprayed all my exposed skin, rubbed some on my neck and face and ears, and guess what?
Yep, they didn’t bother me again! They were around, and little flies too, but the little friggers left me alone to finish my garden.

Continue reading Mosquitoes, anyone?

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Hotter Than The Doorknobs of H–l!

Well sir, the dog days of summer are here, in all their glory. Good job my soaps are done curing for the year, I’d never be able to make soap right now.

At Black Rafter SoapWorks it’s all about quality and answering requests, but I have fun too.

Check out my breakfast this morning. I either have a crazy pan, uneven stove, or my method of firing eggs in the pan is quite unique.

Continue reading Hotter Than The Doorknobs of H–l!

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Warm summer June days………….where are you?

Well that’s okay, I don’t like the heat anyway. (I tell myself) Jeepers Creepers, for a soap maker who also produces an outdoor fly repellent, this weather is certainly not conducive to sales!

If it wasn’t for the weather, I’m sure we Islanders wouldn’t have anything to chat about. And even when we get a single day of perfect conditions, what do we say? “Well, this isn’t going to last, there’s rain in the forecast…..”

That’s us. Islanders. Weather watchers extraordinaire. Perfect complainers. Oh well………..

However, nothing beats a summer on PEI, and these types of days make us appreciate the nice ones so much more.

Soon little green shoots of potato plants will be pushing their snouts out of the drills, grains will be marching in straight lines down the fields, and our gardens will be nursed along. Can’t wait! That first feed of new potatoes with fresh string beans…….heavenly! It’s always worth waiting for.

Continue reading Warm summer June days………….where are you?

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Snoozy Sunday

April 29, two more sleeps til May. Yay! Looking forward to all those flowers after April showers.
As I glance out my office window, it is grey and cloudy and windy, with rain spilling down the windows and quietly drumming on the roof. A peaceful drowsy day, great for napping.
But I was never a napper, this wet weather motivates me as no sunny day can. After church this morning, I changed my clothes, slipped on an apron and assumed the helm as Kitchen Boss. A batch of rolls is rising in a quiet corner as we speak, a new recipe for Oatmeal Date Chocolate Chip cookies is about to go to sea trials, and a plump chicken is thawing in the fridge, tomorrow’s feast.
Continue reading Snoozy Sunday