Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Pumpkin Spice

It’s that time of year again, folks! I think autumn must be one of a knitter’s favorite seasons, the renewed crisp in the air and the need for woollen goodness can really inspire yarn-y creativity. I’m not ashamed to say that I look forward to fall and all of its spice-filled goodness, and while I’ll surely miss the sun-drenched days of summer, I’m thrilled to bring my Pumpkin Spice lotion bar back for the season.

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Pumpkin Spice | Woolen Diversions

Pumpkin Spice lotion bar

Why I love it: The Pumpkin Spice fragrance is warm and comforting, with layers of cinnamon and nutmeg spices over a sweet, fresh, pumpkin base. Confession time: I used my Pumpkin Spice sample size bar year-round. It lived at my desk in my office and I just finished the final bits of it last month. This fragrance brings me joy at any time of the year!

What it pairs well with: It’s the first of the autumn scents that I’ve reintroduced so the others aren’t out yet, but typically I include Pumpkin Spice in a sample set with Frosted Cranberry (tart, sweet, juicy) and Apple Butter (sweet, spicy, autumnal). If you wanted to maximize cinnamon goodness, I’d recommend Cinnamon Chai, and if you wanted to pair it with another baked sweet scent, I’d recommend Lemon Cake. Keep an eye out for some Pumpkin Spice-scented soap in the future, too!

Don’t forget, Sweet Sheep will be vending at the Squam Art Fair tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 19th, 7:30 – 10 pm in Holderness, NH. Hope to see you there!

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Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Lavender EO

This week’s featured lotion bar fragrance is a very love it or hate it type of scent: Lavender EO. The ‘EO’ in the name indicates that the bar is scented with the botanically-derived essential oil (rather than a man-made fragrance oil). My mom is allergic to lavender, so I was never really exposed to the scent while growing up and didn’t particularly care for it. My favorite aunt, on the other hand, is a lavender junkie who hits me up for more lotion bars and lip balms every time I go back home. Now that I am constantly making lavender-scented products, it’s really grown on me. I even keep bar by my bed to put on before I go to sleep as the essential oil is known to have a soothing, calming, and restful effect (and I’ll take all the help I can get shutting off my brain at night).

Lavender EO lotion bars

Lavender EO lotion bars

Why I love it: As far as florals go, Lavender is not cloying at all. It’s more herbal and earthy than it is flowery and sweet. Its herbaceous nature is what I think turns some people off of it, but it’s also exactly what I love about it. For the record, lavender buds are edible and add a delicious spicy/floral note to tea, mixed drinks (try a lavender-infused simple syrup mixed with lemon juice and gin!), and even chocolate cookies (which I’m dying to make).

What it pairs well with: I’ve included Lavender EO in the All Natural gift set alongside Spearmint EO and Unscented Cocoa, all of which are scented with essential oils or the natural chocolate fragrance of cocoa butter. It pairs well with citrus scents (like Kumquat) or the gently floral/citrus tea scent of Chamomile Bergamot.

Summer Fields handmade soap

Summer Fields handmade soap

I’ve also embedded bits of Lavender and Vanille soap in an aloe vera gel base that I call Summer Fields. The earthy Lavender pairs well with the sweetness of the Vanilla and the freshly-mown grass scent used in the base. I’ve been showering with this soap daily and it’s like a little burst of summertime happiness every morning.

What about you, do you like Lavender? Are you in the love it or hate it camp? Do you use the essential oil for any of its therapeutic properties?

Sweet Sheep In Da House

I realized when I posted a picture on Instagram of a nearly-finished lotion bar, that I’ve been in business for over a year and have only one other time actually finished a bar. The first scent I ever made, Sweet Almond, is the only one I’ve completely finished using up. Why is that? Yeah, the bars are really long-lasting because you only use a tiny bit at a time, but it’s also because I literally have lotion bars in different scents all over the house.

I keep a sample-sized bar at work (Pumpkin Spice), in my purse (Kumquat), in the desk in my office (Coconut LIme), in the yarn bowl in my knitting corner (Basmati Rice), and on my bedside table (Lavender EO). When I tell shoppers at fairs and festivals that it’s handy to have one in multiple places, I’m not just selling them a line,  I mean it, I live it! That old adage of the shoemaker’s family going barefoot apparently doesn’t extend to handmade body products, because my skin is never, ever dry. 🙂

In addition to that silliness above, I wanted to let you know that I’ve restocked some soap!

First, I’ve made more of my popular Lavendar Vanilla soap. This version is made with a honey soap base (purple) and topped with whipped goat’s milk and castille (olive oil) soap (white). These went quickly at my last market so I was eager to make some more!

And second, I used slivers from the edges of the Lavender Vanilla soap as embedded pieces in my new Summer Fields soap. This contains the honey and goat’s milk goodness of the Lavender Vanilla soap within an aloe vera gel soap base. It’s scented with a new-to-me fragrance oil that I can’t get enough of called Grass Stain. I know, the name sounds crazy, but this fragrance is totally delightful. It’s herbal and sweetly floral, while being refreshing and not overwhelming in the slightest. It reminds me of rolling around in the grass on a warm, sunny summer day.

I have so many more soap plans rolling around in my head but only limited time to make them lately so that’s all I have for now. What’s your favorite summer scent?

On Competition and Community

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! The Fiasco and I were quite busy, we vended at the wonderful Mount Hope Farmers Market, attended the culmination event of the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl, and went on our first bicycle ride of the season (pro tip: bike paths near the bay are bloody freezing in April winds). There were many, may wonderful moments but there was one unfortunate interaction that put an unpleasant cast over things.

On Competition and Community | Woolen Diversions

Rockin’ my new sweater at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market.

There is a regular market vendor who sells cold process soap and salt scrubs, etc. As we usually do at these events, the Fiasco and I made the rounds introducing ourselves and checking out everybody’s wares. We try to buy a little something from each vendor (which gets us into trouble at the baked good stalls!) or at the very least admire their work. My love of handmade soap is well-established and I was hoping to buy a new bar from this seller. There was a band playing right near her table so I had a hard time hearing her but during the course of what I thought was polite conversation about her soap scents, the word “competition” made it through the background noise and I realized that something was wrong. I had taken one of her cards so I could add her to my Etsy favorites and promote her as a local artisan, in response to which she said something along the lines of “It’s really frustrating that you’re taking one of my cards when you clearly have no intention of buying my products, you’re the competition.” And then she stormed off to complain to the market manager.

On Competition and Community | Woolen Diversions

Photo via xoginalove.tumblr.com, snagged from Buzzfeed (click for link).

I was floored, to say the least. Stunned, upset, and somehow embarassed, like I imagine most people would feel when treated with unexpected hostility. The Fiasco and I just kept making wounded-sad-puppy-dog-eyes at each other and we were outright bummed in the slow-burning-rage kind of way. I found out later that this particular seller is “sensitive” about competition because she apparently had a bad experience with someone swiping her ideas, her logo, etc. But still, I don’t think that excuses her behavior and it was completely jarring in a creative community where (in my experience) people are usually overwhelmingly supportive of one another. And we weren’t even selling the same items! Even if I had brought soap with me, we make entirely different kinds of soap (hers from raw oils that undergo the saponification process, mine from pre-made soap bases to which I add color, scent, and fun shapes/structure). Did I freak out about another vendor selling lip balms? No, hers were highlighting beeswax from a local honey farm, mine featured lanolin. There is room in the world for multiple types of body care products. Thankfully, the rest of the vendors were wonderfully warm and inviting and we were mostly able to shake off that ugly nastiness by the end of the day.

On Competition and Community | Woolen Diversions

Great Rhody Yarn Crawl haul.

The Great Rhody Yarn Crawl celebration the next day went a great way towards restoring my faith in the creative community. I met up with my friends in the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild and spent a pleasant afternoon spinning and shopping in good company. I’ve spent many years as something of a nomad, living in different states for just 1 – 3 years at a time. We’re on our third year here in Rhode Island and the fiber community is one of the reasons why I could envision calling this place home in the long term. Most people are so kind and generous with their knowledge, and I love walking into a marketplace and knowing half the vendors by name. The delectable yarn above is from Dirty Water DyeWorks (Lillian superwash Merino fingering base in March Sky, Pumice, and Topaz) and Play at Life Fiber Arts (Skinny Scrumpet MCN fingering base in Cinnamon Jelly) and they helped brighten the weekend considerably. Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised to meet Tammy of Life and Yarn and Yarn and Life in person! She came by to say hello and it was so lovely to put a face to her blog. She has a great run-down of info on Connecticut yarn shops (and elsewhere), too.

A Playful Day

I appear to have inadvertently blogged along this week’s Love Your Blog challenge theme of “Ugly”, so I’m linking up with everyone over at A Playful Day. While not directly blog-related, I think the idea of jealousy in the handmade marketplace is equally relevant and something that doesn’t get acknowledged very often. Perhaps I’m just being naive to not have expected encountering such hostility myself. What are your thoughts on competition in creative communities? Have your experiences leaned one way or another?

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Honey Beeswax

Before I jump straight into the featured lotion bar fragrance, I wanted to let you know that the Fiasco and I will be vending Sweet Sheep products TOMORROW (Saturday 4/18) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mount Hope Farmer’s Market in Bristol, RI. Stop by and say hi! And sorry for the late notice, between deadlines and a conference I’ve worked 10+ hours every day this week and have not had a moment to breathe, let alone blog (and we’ll all be lucky if I’m not slumped face-first in the lip balms by noon tomorrow). Altough now that I check, I don’t see our name on the vendor list… so, err, hopefully we’ll be at the market and if not, we’ll be selling out of the back of our car, because we’re not waking up at the crack of dawn for nothing! #spaz #indiebizfail

Onwards and upwards, this week I’m featuring our Honey Beeswax scent!

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Honey Beeswax | Woolen Diversions

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Honey Beeswax

Why I love it: This fragrance is the one I recommend when people ask advice for gift-giving but have no idea what the recipient might like. It’s an all-around appealing scent that not a single person has ever said “Ugh!” to when they smell it (I’m endlessly fascinated by the reactions people have to different scents). Most people respond with “oh, that’s nice!” in a slightly surprised tone. It’s a subtle scent, not overpowering, a little bit sweet, and a little bit sultry. It smells… warm. Like a summer day.

What it pairs well with: I include Honey Beeswax in a Sweet Treats gift set along with Sweet Almond and Chipotle Caramel. However, it’s not particularly candy-like and would work equally well with floral scents. If you were interested in building your own custom mix pack, I think it would mix nicely with Spring Meadow (a light floral) or Chamomile Bergamot (a fresh new tea fragrance that I have not yet added to the shop due to lack of photos).

So that’s Honey Beeswax in a nutshell: a rich, warm scent that plays well with others.

I’ll be at Mount Hope again on Sunday (just as a spectator) to celebrate the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl and buy stuff from awesome vendors, so if you don’t make it Saturday, perhaps I’ll see you Sunday! I’ll be the one spinning (haha that’s a joke because there will be so many spinners). #sotired #lamejokes #delirium #fortheloveofallthatisholystophashtagging

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Basmati Rice

It’s time to highlight another of my favorite Sweet Sheep lotion bar scents in a featured fragrance post. This time, I’d like to gush about the mysterious and alluring Basmati Rice.

Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice lotion bar by Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

When I first came across this fragrance oil on Brambleberry, I didn’t know what to make of it. I believe my first thought was “Rice? Really?” but I was hooked by their description of it as “a mix of fruity florals and cedarwood” and became quite curious. I’m glad I gave it a try because it’s become one of my favorite scents.

Why I love it: This fragrance is the perfect representation of what I think of when I hear the word ‘exotic’. It somehow combines floral top notes with fruity middle notes over a wonderfully creamy, vanilla-y, woodsy base. That sounds like an impossible mix of just too many things, but I promise, it works. Subtly sweet and gently perfumed, it manages to captivate without overwhelming.

What it pairs well with: I include Basmati Rice in the Exotica gift/sample set, along with Down by the Bay (a bright, tangy, earthy scent) and Sandalwood Vanilla (another woodsy/vanilla/floral favorite). If you were interested in building your own custom mix pack, I think it would mix quite well with more complex foodie scents like Turkish Mocha (mmmmm chocolatey/coffee goodness) and Cinnamon Chai (spicy & sweet forever).

Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe survey

Take a survey, get a coupon, enter to win a prize!

While we’re on the topic of Sweet Sheep, I’d like to do a little market research about other body care products (besides lotion bars and lip balms) you’d like to see in the shop. I’m working on producing a variety of things, and in truth, I have so many ideas that I’m not sure where to start! Since it would not be cost effective to make all the things at once I’d love some input into the kinds of products and scents you’d most like offered in the near future. Please follow this link to take a 10 question survey about Sweet Sheep. I’ll send a coupon code to everyone who participates, and by April 5th I’ll draw 10 names from the participants to receive a free, sample size lotion bar. Thank you in advance for your help, and please spread the word!

Checking In

Happy Monday, folks! I hope your weeks are off to a good start. In a surprise twist (that should surprise exactly no one), not only did I fail to resist the call of the Malabrigo March KALs, but I ended up choosing a completely different pattern than the ones I discussed in my last Inspiration Saturday post.

Beginnings of a Sundry shawl. Click for project page.

This is the beginning of a Sundry shawl, designed by Jennifer Dassau. I’ve admired the simple shawl/scarf hybrid for some time, and I think the two-color houndstooth section will be smashing in the Turquesa and Indigo colorways. I decided against the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl because I do believe I would like to knit that out of a lightweight cashmere yarn someday (vs. my sport weight Merino) and I wanted something a little more mindless than the Katana shawl (which some knitters said was difficult to track). Plus, the designer of the Sundry shawl is a Malabrigo Junkie herself, so it felt extra appropriate.

I think 2-year-olds are always blurry, am I right?

I visited my little niece-by-association over the weekend and attempted to snap a picture of her wearing the Troll hat that I made. This was the best I could do. I made the toddler size, but am thinking I should have made the child size as this one just fits (I knit at the pattern gauge and the unstretched circumference was around 16″). Since the hat was super quick and adorable, I have no doubt another will hit my needles eventually.

I was a busy bee this weekend re-stocking sold out items for Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. Sandalwood Vanilla, Green Tea, Winter Gardenia, and Fresh Snow (hands-down my most relevant scent right now, am I right? #nomoresnow) lotion bars have been re-stocked, as well as my popular Winter Clementine lip balms. I’ve got a new lip balm flavor coming as soon as I can take some decent product photos (French Macaron, swoon!) and hope to spend much of March developing whole new lines of products, so keep an eye out for those, as well!

Are you participating in Malabrigo March this year, or any other fun KALs at the moment?

Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Kumquat

I thought it would be fun every once in a while to choose a Sweet Sheep lotion bar or lip balm fragrance/flavor to highlight. Sometimes really great things get lost in the shuffle and I’d like to give them their chance to shine. Without further ado, this week’s featured fragrance is Kumquat!

Kumquat lotion bar

For those who have never had the pleasure of eating one, kumquats are strange little citrus fruits that have a really sweet, edible rind surrounding a sour inner pulp. The fruits in the photo above were dried and candied, I unfortunately couldn’t find any fresh ones in my area (and am now having a wicked kumquat craving).

Why I love it: This bar is essentially sunshine in a tin. It’s a bright, tart, pure citrus scent that makes me smile whenever I sniff it. It essentially smells like a more vibrant and interesting version of an orange. There’s just something so perfectly uplifting about sweet citrus scents in the dead of winter, isn’t there?

What it pairs well with: In case you were considering a made-to-order mix pack of scents for yourself or for a gift, I’d suggest pairing Kumquat with Spearmint EO and Green Tea to create a fresh and invigorating mix. If you’d like to lean more towards the exotic, pairing it with Basmati Rice and Lavender EO would do nicely. (I had a lavender orange tea once that was quite addicting.) And finally, if you feel like getting a little adventurous, I think that Champagne Fizz (bright fizziness) and Turkish Mocha (mmmm, chocolate and citrus) pair well with Kumquat, too.

Tell me what you’d like!

As always, if there’s a scent I mentioned that you don’t currently see in the shop (stock is running low right now, I’m working on replenishing) you could always request it through a custom lotion bar order, at no extra charge. There is just a slightly longer turnaround time for custom orders, versus ready-made stock.

What’s your favorite citrus scent? What other fragrances would you associate with it?

FOFri #36: That’s A Lot of Falkland

I have yarn! I present to you the first finished handspun to come off of my Lendrum wheel. (You can hover over photos for captions, or click to enlarge.)

Isn’t it lovely? I basically just want to wallow in those gigantic skeins. You might recognize the smaller one from the ply experiment I conducted where I spun and swatched samples with different amounts of ply twist (oh, the #spingeek-ery!). I learned a lot from that little exercise and I truly love the finished product.

I’m still working out what types of details I want to track about my spinning projects, but for this one I recorded a variety of information. Here’s a recap:

  • Dates: Dec. 1st 2014 – Feb. 12th 2015
  • Fiber: Ashland Bay Falkland Wool commercial top, 16 oz in finished yarn (1 oz used up in sampling).
  • Singles: Spun with Z twist (clockwise) on middle whorl of regular flyer (8:1 ratio). Used a semi-worsted backwards drafting style, occasionally from the fold. Measured 25 WPI (wraps per inch) and 2350 ypp (yards per pound).
  • Ply: Three plies with S twist (counterclockwise) on larger whorl of regular flyer (6:1 ratio). Treadled 4-5 times per length of yarn. Measured 10 WPI and 600 – 900 ypp (measured 600 in reality and 900 on the balance).
  • Yardage: Skein 1 had 306 yards on the winder but after wet-finishing the skein measured 255 yards. Skein 2 had 438 yards on the winder but measured 340 yards after finishing.

Even though the yardage measurements are unclear (I suspect a yardage counter could be handy in the future), I likely have somewhere between 595 and 745 yards of approximately worsted weight yarn. That’s enough for a generous cozy shawl, a boat-load of accessories, or if I spin a little more Falkland up, perhaps a vest? I haven’t decided if I will dye these skeins or not. I’m tempted to try a rainbow skein like what The Lemonade Shop dyes or something like the Tipsy skeins at Blue Moon Fiber Arts but I don’t want to ruin so much spinning if it goes wrong. What would you do?

lovesale

Clicky-clicky!

There are still a few days left to receive a discount on your Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe lotion bar or gift set order. The coupon code ‘love10’ is good through Sunday. Treat yourself or a friend to some sassy sweet Ribbon Candy, tart juicy Kumquat, cinnamon-kissed Gingersnap, or refined and stately Black Tea (to name a few). As always, if you don’t see a scent in stock that you’d like, you can request whatever suits your fancy from over 30 options with a custom lotion bar or custom gift set order.

I don’t think I’ll make it to this space over the weekend, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Better Late Than Never

While we’re cutting it a little close for Christmas, I did finally get the last of my holiday lotion bar scents up in the shop!

Ribbon Candy is a delightfully sweet, berry-kissed scent that is both festive and delicious. It is included in the Season’s Treats sample-sized gift set (along with Peppermint Cocoa and Gingersnap). I’ve also created a Winter Wonderland gift set that contains Fresh Snow, the now-well-known-Jingleberry, and Winter Gardenia. There’s still time to ship before the holidays if you place your order soon! (Last day to order is Dec. 19th.)

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that the Yarn Harlot suggested my bars as part of her most excellent Gifts for Knitters series! She in fact said that they “look fabulous”… which basically made my day/year/life. 😀 Woohoo for Sweet Sheep!

Packing a bulk order.

I spent much of the weekend busily re-stocking the shop and filling bulk orders. My house smelled… intense. Crisp Pear, Apple Butter, Sandalwood Vanilla, Cinnamon Chai, and Black Tea don’t mix quite as well as one would think, when they linger in the air. In fact, all the combined scents gave me a massive headache for most of Sunday, so I took it pretty easy after that. I could hardly even knit!

Coutness Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar in Petrol.

So I spun a bit here and there instead. I even made time on Saturday to head out to the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild monthly meeting. I haven’t been to a meeting in so long, but every time I actually get myself over there I’m always so glad I went. I don’t think there’s a lovelier, friendlier group of spinners around. Everyone is so welcoming and willing to share their knowledge, their fiber tools, and their skills. It’s wonderful. I highly recommend joining a group if you haven’t yet. It’s well worth making time for, even in the middle of this busy season.

Are you part of a guild or knitting/spinning group? If not, what’s holding you back?