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Stephen's Orchard & Apiary

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All Natural After Shower Body Oil

Posted on December 7, 2016 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (2)

'Tis the season for DRY skin! When old man winter comes around, it always seems like my skin gets so dry. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I sure do. For years now I have been making my own oil mixture which I apply directly to my skin after I get done taking a shower or bath. So it was rather funny when my Mother aka The Soap Nurse told me she was looking into making an all-natural oil for our body care line. It's so funny how things can be right in front of your face and you still don't see them. So we took my oil recipe and adjusted it to come up with the perfect smooth body oil with a light rose scent. It is absolutely perfect. Not just because Mom and I made it, but because it truly is a delight when you use it. It glides smoothly over the skin while moisturizing all at the same time. The skin is not too oily after using it either, which was a big issue with some of my makeshift ones I have done in the past. The trick is to apply the oil while your skin is still wet and then lightly towel dry off. Your skin is left feeling amazing!!!


It's always fun creating a new product with Mom. It's a lot more work than I realized. We have to come up with a new product we want to sell and then perfect our recipe and test, test, test and then test some more before we release the product. We have to find containers or bottles for the new product and then have to create the label. It is a whole production, but so much fun. In the end, we get to see our customers excited about a new product they get to try and we are excited to be providing a new product that is all natural and safe for our customers that we care about so much. We really hope you love our new all natural after shower body oil, if you are interested in purchasing the oil, please give us a call at (913) 422-8083 and we will be more than happy to assist you. It has not been added to our webstore as of yet.


Happy Holiday's 

Michelle Duprey 


Keeping the Bugs Away

Posted on June 14, 2016 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s that time of the year when the bugs come out to play and the mosquitoes are everywhere. I can’t stand mosquitoes or ticks. Those are the two top bugs that drive me crazy. I could list a million others, but those are at the top of my list. So when this season starts, I love to pull out one of my top ten favorite all natural products. The Bugs Away!!!




This all natural product has saved me and my kids many itchy nights from bug bites. The bugs away is so wonderful, it contains grape seed oil, beeswax from our bees, Shea butter, eucalyptus, rosemary, citronella essential oil, lemongrass essential oil and vitamin e. It smells absolutely wonderful and I love the fact that I am not putting any deet on my children or myself anymore.

 

I have been doing some research and found a very interesting article written by Tom Pollack. He explains some of the side effects of using deet. Did you know that DEET is commonly known as the king of mosquito repellents, though not everyone is keen to slather it on their skin. A study conducted in the late 1980s on Everglades National Park employees to determine the effects of DEET found that a full one-quarter of the subjects studied experienced negative health effects that they blamed on exposure to the chemical. Effects included rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.


Duke University pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, in studies on rats, found that frequent and prolonged DEET exposure led to diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes, and concluded that humans should stay away from products containing it. But other studies have shown that while a few people have sensitivity to DEET applications, most are unaffected when they use DEET products on a sporadic basis according to the instructions on the label.


This is really scary to me. Why would I risk putting a chemical on my children that might or might not cause these issues? You really don’t know if you or your children will have any negative health effects until you give it a whirl. NOPE not gonna happen. I will just stick to my all natural options thank you very much! This is why I love what I do; our family provides products that are all natural and safe for all to use and enjoy.


I can’t tell you enough how much I love the bugs away. It spreads so smoothly across the skin and because it has essential oils in it, you only have to use a small amount and the bugs leave us alone. So far this year we have not had to use the bug bite relief yet. I am hoping to go this entire summer without having to use it, but we shall see. Last year when we were in Florida we did have to use it and I was so thankful to have it on hand. It does not burn and takes the itch away. It contains lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, grape seed oil and vitamin e.



I am so happy with these two products I just had to pass them along to all our followers and friends, so you could benefit from this wonderful all natural bug repellent and bug bite relief. Leave us a comment and tell us how much you love your bugs away. If you have not already tried these products, stop by our web store and order yours today!


Michelle Duprey - The Soap Nurses Daughter 


 

Want Shiny Healthy Hair? All Natural Shampoo Bar!

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Hi, my name is Michelle Duprey and I am The Soap Nurses youngest daughter. I started working with the family business about a year ago. I am married and have two beautiful children. I highly enjoy working with my family and making all natural products that are healthy and good for you. One product that I feel very passionate about is our all natural shampoo bar. My mom Karlon Stephen aka (The Soap Nurse) first made our all natural homemade shampoo bar about five years ago. In the beginning, I was skeptical. I was into the expensive name brand shampoos. The name brand ones were all I knew, and for some strange reason I was hesitant to change. I have since then been converted to our all natural shampoo bar!


 


My mother made the shampoo bar for thick coarse hair, but I have long hair, to the middle of my back. It's thin and has a very slick texture (complete opposite of my mother's hair). The first time I used the shampoo bar, I rubbed it all over my head and down my hair. It says on the bar, that it will not lather; but with long thin hair it lathers really well. I might be using too much of the bar, but I like to make sure my hair is clean. I like lather when I shampoo my hair. Since then, I have learned that you only need to use the bar on your head and not on the bottom of your hair. You only want to remove the oil from the top of your head. The only time I use it on all of my hair is when I have other products in my hair and it needs a deep cleaning. So for the last four months I have been only using the shampoo bar and I am completely in LOVE with it!!! My scalp feels much better, it doesn't itch and there isn't any dandruff.




 What makes this shampoo bar different from the name brand shampoos? Well, let me tell you. When you use chemical shampoos on your head, it clogs your glands so the oil won't be produced. Some oil in your hair is good because it keeps the hair follicle from drying out. Too much oil makes your hair look greasy. So after the first time using the shampoo bar, my hair felt great. My hair glands started to become unclogged. For the first week, I had to wash my hair every day. My hair felt too oily since the glands were removing the chemicals I had put in them over the last 30+ years. After the first week though, the oil production on my scalp decreased and I believe my glands were completely unclogged at this point. My hair now stays clean and smooth for about two to three days, before I have to wash it again. No… this does not mean I only shower every 2 to 3 days! I just put my hair up when I am in the shower and skip the shampoo part that day. I have less breakage and no clogged pores on my back or neck from the chemicals. Generally, one bar lasts my family of two adults and two kids a little over a month. I make sure to set it up out of the water to dry when we are done using it and it lasts a long time this way.


 

If you don't already know, I am very picky about what goes into my kid’s mouths and on their bodies. I like to give them only all organic foods and all natural products. It's our duty as parents to protect our children in all aspects of their lives. Hopefully by me making these changes in their everyday lives, they will grow up to be healthy and happy young adults that make smart choices for their children some day. I love knowing that this shampoo bar is all natural, so I feel very comfortable using it on my kids.


 

So after several months of using the all natural shampoo bar, I am now a believer and my hair is super shiny and healthy. I thank my mom aka (The Soap Nurse) for creating such a wonderful product. It feels good to be able to provide a product that is healthy and safe for all to use. If you are interested in our shampoo bar, you can click here! The Soap Nurse will follow up with another post on how we make the shampoo bar at a later time. So stay tuned and please feel free to leave a comment on how all natural products have changed your life.


 

Thanks,

Michelle Duprey (The Soap Nurses Youngest Daughter)


 


   

Getting Started Making Hot Process Soap - Part 1

Posted on March 30, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (1)

We started with a hot process recipe as our first experiment in the soap making world. You will need to research on the internet, read books and blogs etc. to get familiar with what is needed for this process. Bramble Berry has some really good videos on how to make hot process soaps and information on safety. Please review the safety videos 1st before trying soap making. The Soap Queen is also a good reference for all aspects of soap making. 


Things you need to think about before starting your first batch of soap. 

 

Q: What kind of oils do you want to use?


A: Do research so you understand the ratio's between hard and soft oils. A hard oil would be considered coconut, soy bean and coco butter etc. A soft oil would be olive, grapeseed, almond etc. You can view the guide to common soapmaking oils here.   

Q: What oils will benefit or improve your skin?


A: Olive oil is very moisturizing and castor oil lathers well. The guide to common soapmaking oils will also have the attributes of each oil that will help you decide which ones to use. 

Q: Where do I buy my oils from? Can they be bought from the grocery store? Are they a specialty item that can only be purchased from a soaper store?


A: It is always best to research all options to get the best pricing on your oils. The internet will be your best friend during this process. We recommend when creating your first few batches to purchase from your local store. Then once you have your recipe, save money by purchasing bulk oils and supplies online. Remember to run your recipe through a lye calculator so your lye/oil ratio is correct or you could end of with burn skin.  

Q: Where are you going to purchase the lye from?


A: You can normally get this from any hardware store, ebay, or locally. 

Q: What requirements does the lye need to meet to be used in soaping?


A: The lye has to be 100% pure lye with no additives. Please read the ingredients on all lye bottles before purchasing. 

Q: Where are you going to get the fragrance from? Are you going to use Fragrance oils or Essential oils?


A: It is very important you understand the difference between the two. Essential oils are much more costly. Bramble Berry is a good source for this, but do research online. Sometimes, cheaper fragrance oils are not always better, because they are diluted and therefore are not as strong in the soap. 

Q: How much of each fragrance or essential oil will you need to make your batch?


A: This depends on how big of a batch you are going to make. Most of the fragrance

oil companies will have recommendations on the percentage to use or they will have a fragrance calculator.


Q: How do fragrance oils act in the soaping process?


A: We have learned that some fragrance oils act differently after adding them to the soap. Sometimes it can cause the soap to excel the setup process which makes it hard when doing cold process soap making. Also some will change the color of your soap and can make them turn dark brown. Each fragrance oil has a flash point; which is the temperature the scent will burn off at. Research ahead of time so you are prepared for whatever might happen. Most of the time, the flash point and reaction of the fragrance oil will be listed in the description from the company you purchase the oil from. 


Once you have this part mastered, now start collecting the necessary equipment you will need. I recommend getting most of your stuff from second hand stores. When you find the perfect soap making pot, it is best to only use this pot for soap making. Your pots need to be stainless steel or enameled with no chips in them or the lye will eat through the pot. Spoons and spatulas should be stainless steel or a really hard plastic material which are great, because they are less expensive and when one starts to go bad, you can just throw it out and get another one. You will also need a scale that reads in ounces and grams and a few heavy plastic bowls that are heat resistant. Heavy plastic pitchers will need to be used to hold your lye water. Please remember that when you add the lye to your COLD water the temperature of the water gets to 250 to 280 degrees, so glass pitchers will not work. The glass will crack and leave you with a huge hazardous mess to clean up. If you happen to spill lye water make sure to use your safety gloves and a towel you plan on throwing away. The lye will eat right through anything you use to clean up a mess like this. As mentioned above, I said to add the lye to COLD water, because if you add it to warm or hot water you will have a volcano of an explosion on your hands. My daughter did this and we had one heck of a mess to clean up and let me tell you it was not fun. Lye water turns white when it dry's and we were finding lye water spots around our certified kitchen for days after this explosion. Another important tip when working with lye is to always have vinegar soaked in sponges available to neutralize the lye mixture if it gets on your skin and to wipe up spills. Just rub the sponge on the spot that is burning and the vinegar neutralizes that spot on your skin.


Next you will need a large crock pot (for a 2 pound recipe). A turkey cooker works perfect for bigger batches (10 pounds). Just pick one up from a second hand store, garage sale or even check craigslist.org for a free one. You will be cooking your soap in this, so it does not need to be anything too fancy. The crock pot will have a shiny surface in the beginning, but will be eaten away by the lye when you make your first batch, so don't be concerned when you see a dull surface after cleaning your crock. 


Below is a complete list of items you will need when making your 1st batch of soap. Hopefully this will make gathering your materials much easier for you. 


Digital Thermometer (Needs to go over 300 degrees)

9X13 Cake Pan for your mold (Lined with plastic wrap)

Ice Cream Scoop (with thumb lever)

Crock Pot (Large size)

Your 2 pound soap recipe 

Spoons & Spatulas

Heat Proof Bowls

Stick Blender

Paper to Cover Workstation

Paper Towels

Regular Towels

Hot Pads

Measuring Cups & Spoons

Digital Scale (Measures in ounces)

Plastic Pitcher (2 Qts)

Stainless Steel Pot (4 Qts)

Safety Supplies

Timer

Dawn Dishwashing Soap (For Cleanup) 

 

Now it's time to start your first batch of hot process soap. In our next blog post, we will walk you through the process of making your 1st batch of soap with all of the supplies listed above. 



The Soap Nurse  

 

The Beginning

Posted on February 17, 2016 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi, my name is Karlon Stephen AKA The Soap Nurse! I'm the other half of Stephen's Orchard and Apiary. I started my interest in homemade soap 15 years ago. I bought homemade soap from people at craft shows and various other vendors. I got to thinking how it was made and started my research online. I remembered my great grandmother talking about lye soap and how she made it with wood ash for lye water with animal fats. When we started our Apiary, our Bee Club NEKBA had a presentation on honey by-products. One of the presentations was cold process soap, with beeswax in it. They offered a beginning soap making class. By this time, I had been playing around with several recipes, but wasn't very successful. I studied several books. The time finally came for the soap making class my youngest daughter Michelle and I attended the class. 


It all started to come together now. Watching someone else do what the books talked about made it all click. We went home that same day with 4 pounds of cold process soap we made ourselves. The soap had to cure for 4 weeks before we could use it. We were SOOOOO excited to try this new recipe that we had made. Well, let's just say we were very disappointed! The soap was very drying to the skin and was rough and just plain awful. We now understood the process and just needed to create the perfect skin smoothing/moisturizing soap recipe of our own. After several months of trying, I finally found a recipe we liked. I started with hot process and changed it until the final result pleased the whole family. All of our family and friends ended up being soap testers.


Around this time, we had a new grandson named Noah. He had extreme eczema. This encouraged me to perfect our current recipe so it was gentle on the skin and moisturizing to help keep the eczema at bay. I have now been selling soap for 7 years and really enjoy making both hot process and cold process soaps. It is really fun to play with the colors and designs when making a cold process soap batch. This is just the beginning of our story. With this blog you will also see posts from my husband Walt pertaining to bees and honey and my daughter Michelle on all natural products and her view on homemade soap making. Stay tuned, because next time we will be talking about our experience making hot process soap.


Thank you for checking out our blog. Until next time…


Karlon - The Soap Nurse

 


Karlon & Walt Stephen

 

 


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