Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fair Trade and Fabulous - Shea Butter - Karité

Karité is one of the few economic commodities under women’s control in African savanna societies.

The co-op that our Shea Butter is produced through is made up of women from various ethnic groups, which each have their own languages and religious preferences. Everyone involved is encouraged to dress as they wish, speak their own languages, and practice their traditional beliefs. The women are not required to speak or write French, which is a prerequisite for employment in almost every organization in Togo.

These policies help to preserve local languages and cultures. This promotes and values the deeply embedded indigenous African knowledge of handcrafting Shea Butter.

Your purchase of our shea butter products, including soap wrapped in handmade papers supports these efforts and Fair Trade.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Adulterated olive oil.

I make 100% Olive Liquid Soap - Made From TESTED TO BE PURE OLIVE OIL, organic is available too

Unfortunately there is A LOT of adulterated olive oil and olive pomace oil out there. Myself and another local soap maker, whom I work closely with, had some locally distributed olive oil tested and found it to be adulterated with soy oil (heck, it was mostly soy with a wee bit of olive added - totally undisclosed on the label).

Luckily we have found a source for true blue unadulterated olive oil and olive pomace oil, but the article and paragraph below highlights how, in addition to being a corrupt business practice, the misbranding of olive oil (and anything) can be sickening to people with food allergies.

It reveals an issue that goes well beyond the practice of undisclosed cutting of pomace and olive oils with cheap oils such as soy.


On August 10, 1991, a rusty tanker called the Mazal II docked at the industrial port of Ordu, in Turkey, and pumped twenty-two hundred tons of hazelnut oil into its hold. The ship then embarked on a meandering voyage through the Mediterranean and the North Sea. By September 21st, when the Mazal II reached Barletta, a port in Puglia, in southern Italy, its cargo had become, on the ship’s official documents, Greek Olive Oil.

Read the full article here:


Hopefully by making folks aware of this, we will be able to help prevent or at least minimize this kind of crapola ...

A Little Ol'Factory - Since 1999
Organic 100% Extra Virgin Olive Liquid Soap

Friday, November 9, 2007

Soft as a baby's bottom

This is the diaper ointment I made for my sons when they were that age. I hope it keeps your baby's bottom as happy as it did my cloth diapered boys'.

~ Make it yourself! ~

Diaper Ointment Recipe

Clean and dry baby's skin before sparingly applying this ointment to the diaper area.
A great way to do that is to use our 100% Organic Olive Baby Soap!

1 Tablespoon Zinc Oxide powder to begin with
1 Tablespoon Fractionated Coconut Oil to begin with
2 teaspoons Jojoba to begin with
Drop of Vitamin E
Drop of diluted to 10% or less Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
or Roman Chamomile Oil (Anthemis nobilis)

Blend well the zinc and oils together, tinkering with amounts, to the consistency you prefer. After blending store in a glass jar with a lid. Make in small batches to keep fresh.

Note: The Jojoba can be infused with calendula flowers for added benefit. For fungal related rashes, I'd use Jojoba infused with taheebo bark.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tea Tree - The Wonder from Down Under

Have you got your bottle of Tea Tree oil?

While rummaging through the medicine cabinet for my vitamins this morning I noticed the little bottle of Tea Tree oil that I keep in there and was reminded of just how wonderful this oil is and how essential it is in my home’s medicine cabinet!

Tea Tree oil is steam distilled from the leaves of Australia’s Melaleuca alternifolia plant. It has a strong, rather medicinal smell, but it is not malodorous, and once you get past that, its all good from there!

It has properties of being antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. There are quite a few scientific studies that back up the claims of tea tree oil being effective at fighting a variety of infections. Many folks use Tea Tree oil for many reasons, including acne, dandruff, toe nail fungus, athlete’s foot, insect bites, scrapes, etc .. I also use it in house cleaning formulas.

Contrary to what some say, be sure to always dilute Tea Tree oil properly before applying it to the skin! When it comes to using essential oils, especially on the skin, less is more and always diluting your essential oils is a smart practice and safer choice than using them "neat" (which means undiluted)! Commonly available carriers are sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, olive oil & jojoba.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Recycling for a future!
Artesanìas La Hormiga

Today we present to you the story behind the handmade paper gift box that we are using as part of some gift sets this holiday season. Made exclusively for CZ LUXE by Artesanìas La Hormiga, here is the wonderful story of how recycling is helping a group of librarians in Honduras build better lives for their community:

Our paper making business was created to ensure the sustainability of our community’s library. The funds generated by the business helps the librarians provide more enriching activities for the youth through the purchase of didactic materials such as paint, construction paper, crayons, and table games.

Our business has also served as a recycling program for our community. The recycled paper we make comes from used paper from the local high school and kindergarten as well as the library. Instead of burning great amounts of paper on a regular basis, we now turn what was once trash into beautiful works of art.

The name of our business is Artesanìas La Hormiga because of the ant’s reputation as hard-working and persevering. It is our hope that the youth of our community will one day exemplify these qualities.

We thank you for your purchase and the opportunities it provides for our children and the entire community. - Artesanìas La Hormiga

Friday, November 2, 2007

Making it our business to build better communities

One of the things I strongly believe is that my business can impact many lives in wonderful ways and that it is my responsibility as a business owner to make choices that improve our world and our communities!

This holiday season we are offering our customers the opportunity to directly help build better communities around the globe with their holiday gift purchases.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks I will post here about each of A Little Ol'Factory's
& CZ Luxe's Fair Trade items, ingredients and the community projects that are directly benefit from our purchases of their materials and artistic creations.

**Added note .. since several folks have contacted me and asked .. the youngling in the image is the child of a rose picker I met in Isparta, Turkey. They were waiting at the weigh station to get the day's haul of rose petals logged in. They are paid a good (by local standards), living wage for their labor, as it should be!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Great Pumpkin Pampering Part II

Halloween is just the beginning of some wonderful holidays, and a fabulous time of year to enjoy and taking full advantage of that brisk Autumn energy!

~Make It Yourself~

Sweet Pumpkin Blossom Puree Mask
16 oz fresh cooked pumpkin (or 1 15 oz can)
1 cup ripe papaya
1 Tbsp Bitter Orange Blossom Hydrosol
1 Tbsp Ground Oats
1 tsp Honey
1 egg

Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Puree until smooth. If thicker mask is desired, add more oats. If a thinner mask is desired, add a bit more hydrosol.

Sensitive skin may want to do a patch test before using on face.

The Great Pumpkin Pampering - Part I

Celebrations of Autumn include luxury pumpkin treatments!

Fresh for the holidays and available now!
Unrefined oils including Organic Virgin Coconut, Extra Virgin Olive, and Shea Butter are baked together with a puree of fresh Organic Pumpkin, Muscovado Brown Sugar, Organic Milk and Chai Spices for a luscious seasonal treat! Wrapped in a beautiful, US Artisan handmade, 100% recycled paper wrapper.

Artisan Luxury Pumpkin Chai Spice Soap
Click here to order at our new CZ Luxe Site!

Buy Pumpkin Chai Spice Soap now and receive a free sample of another seasonal favorite, sure to delight - hand prepared Autumn Simmering Room Perfume/Incense.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Scents of Autumn

Cool Autumn weather has arrived in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This is time of year when we celebrate the harvest and begin to prepare for the long winter nights.

One fabulously easy way to create a comforting, fragrant, Autumn atmosphere in your home is to make aromatic wax tarts. The tarts can be used as sachets to scent small spaces, such as drawers, closets and bathrooms. They can also be melted, in appropriate simmering style diffusers, to scent much larger living areas.

To prepare, simply melt together, and then mold, a little bit of beeswax, floral wax, a few drops of essential oils and voila! Instant olfactory gratification.

Traditional aromatics of this season, for both scenting and flavoring, include rich warm spices such as anise, cinnamon, clove and black peppercorn. Also fitting are woody notes such as cedarwood and copaiba balsam. Certain florals, such as jasmine and rose, can help round out and bring dimension to your Autumn blend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

This woman's junkmail is also her company's packing material and soap wrappers

At least 98% of the packing material that we use here at A Little Ol'Factory is recycled through re-use. We re-use every piece of packing foam, bubble wrap and Styrofoam that comes through our door. We also shred every piece of junk mail that we can and use it as packing material for our shipments.

In addition to using almost all recycled box packing materials, we are also using more and more recycled packaging for our line!

Our brand new new soap wrappers (to be unveiled on the new site in time for the holidays) are handmade in the US, from 100% recycled paper (such as junk mail), natural botanicals and contain embedded seeds such as Italian Basil and Columbine Flowers - so not only are they recycled and recyclable, but they are also reusable! They can be planted in your garden or a flower pot and grow a lovely decorative or edible plant that you and your family can enjoy!

We are very happy to have announced earlier this year the phasing in of 100% Post Consumer Recycled Plastic ( PCR ) PET bottles. One of ours goal is to, by next year, have all of our items that require bottling in plastic to be in PCR PET bottles. Click here to see these bottles that are more than just aesthetically pleasing.

These are but a few very simple implementations that save us (the company) money, saves us (the growing US population) a LOT of landfill space and saves us (the entire human race) valuable resources that would otherwise be squandered.

According to the Center for the New American Dream in Maryland:

* 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S. landfills annually.

* The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.

* 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.

* Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled.

* On average, Americans spend 8 months opening junk mail in the course of their lives.

With little effort, you can be a big part of the solution, both personally and with your pocketbook.

If you don't have a way to recycle and reuse your own junk mail, you can stop if from coming to you in the first place! Check out for more info on how.

Support businesses that support recycling efforts. Contact businesses that don't currently use recycled materials and tell them you'd like them to. When consumers talk, business listens!

Have a wonderful week and remember, it only takes a spark (and a little bit of junk mail ;) to get a fire going!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Voluptuous Vanilla

Synthetically produced vanillin can never compete in flavor and/or fragrance with genuine, prime quality vanilla. Once, an aromatic commodity of nearly untouchable cost, vanilla beans, in recent years, have become rather inexpensive. We can now use vanilla beans to create gourmet food and artisan aromatics liberally without guilt!

To extract the the odorous air of this orchard pod, split vanilla beans may be infused in a high proof alcohol or a fatty oil with a long shelf life (such as fractionated coconut, jojoba, etc ..). It is deliciously decedent when infused in Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

For those who desire a very strong vanilla note in their aromatic blends, Vanilla Absolute is your answer. The variety we have in stock now is strong, gorgeous and full-bodied! Produced by the Old World method for perfumery with undenatured sugar cane alcohol. It took years of searching for a vanilla of this aromatic quality. This is an essential item for the pallet of any aromatic artisan.

Enjoy your weekend, and may every day be as wonderful as vanilla!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On Holiday!

This is pretty much the first vacation, away, I've taken in 4 years.

I am quickly realizing how important it is, especially in this day and age of technology and instant access to people (and work) at all times, to go on holiday and truly enjoy the essence of being on holiday!

While I might seem hypocritical at this moment, posting a blog about not working while on vacation, while I am on vacation, I am relaxed and this is not working :)

I am simply taking less than 5 minutes to share a few images of one of my homes (Colorado) with family and friends while my mom gives the kiddos a bath (aww, how sweet, I just heard Grandma ask the kids which soap they want to wash with and the kids just said "Mommy's soap". I love those cornball moments :)

I hope everyone realizes how important it is to take their vacations, truly enjoy some time off and most important of all, enjoy their loved ones.

Have a great week everyone!

Turquoise Lake Colorado

Turquoise Lake Colorado

Took a trip, Rocky Mountain Way, couldn't get much higher

Friday, August 3, 2007

Keep natural aromatics accessable!

Before you read the latest message from Cropwatch below, I cannot stress enough the importance of what Tony Burfield and his Cropwatch organization are doing FOR US ALL.

If you enjoy aromatherapy, naturally scented toiletries, natural body care and natural perfumes, you'll want to pay attention to this issue very closely as your access to natural aromatics is in danger!

Let's put the power and beauty of our numbers to work! Please volunteer to help him if you have any expertise in the areas he's asking for assistance with, or perhaps you're just a great researcher and can track down the information despite not having these issues in your area of expertise.

If you're shy, you can still contribute to the natural perfumery world, so
please contact Tony at

His latest message:

Dear All,

As we approach critical mass, we have some choices to make.

Perfumery used to be about history, art & culture. Now it seems to be
mainly about the (often nonsensical) regulation of ingredients driven
by a form of imposed & unchallengeable legislatory 'Toxicological

This itself is held in place by fear-culture amongst perfume buyers, who are terrified of media exposure/litigation over supposedly harmful fragrance ingredients. Interest in herbal medicine used to include your right to self-dosing, using traditional active plant extracts. A program of their removal from shop-shelves is the result of back-door lobbying, via pharmaceutical concerns.

Our age-old usage of aromatic plants & essential oils for their useful properties - as biocides, antiseptics etc. etc., is similarly curtailed by this flawed system of Hyperbureaucratic Technocracy within Europe, which is being carbon-copied by authorities in Canada, the US and other countries.

How much longer do we have to put up with this sorry state of affairs where natural ingredient use is often so affected by negligible &* *unquantified risk, before everyone sees that in reality this is an "Emperors New Clothes" situation? The revolution for common sense in aromatic regulation starts here. We are getting ever bigger! Join us!

Please read Cropwatch's August 2007 Newsletter.

Tony Burfield of Cropwatch

P.S. Volunteers are needed to help examine the following areas...

1. Furanocoumarins. Academics & industrialists are helping us construct
a massive data-base, which we will make publicly available, so we can
all see the issues for ourselves. But we need more help.

2. Methyl eugenol carcinogenicity - challenges to the present accepted &
outdated view.

3. Dimethyl & diethyl phthalates - ignored data & any associated
industry conspiracy issues (thanks to the Perfume Foundation for this lead).

4. Sensitisers - ignored contrary evidence to the '26 Sensitisers' issue
& new policy initiatives.

5. Issues of transparency & secrecy, freedom of information & the
withholding of safety data from the public domain within professional
trade & research organisations. This area includes how regulatory
bodies have processed scientific evidence, & examining records of how
scientific decisions were made.

We have limited evidence from a number of academics that an 'expert' EU advisory committee has not properly dealt with (or perhaps have not properly understood) submitted evidence in particular cases; these need public exposure, & we need to establish a more robust code of practice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Floral Waxes

Always wanted to use real jasmine but thought it was way too expensive? Try the floral wax!

For years this fragrant by-product of the absolute making process was mostly discarded!

Then, not long ago, floral waxes became more widely discovered to be a wonderful resource for fragrancing. Scent wise 1 oz of the floral wax is equivalent to 1/2 oz of the corresponding absolute at an INCREDIBLE saving!

For example - currently 1/2 oz of Tuberose Absolute costs about $170 retail. Meanwhile, 1 oz of tuberose floral wax is currently on sale at my site for $10.

That certainly makes creating a fine soap, candle, cream or solid perfume scented with the lovely natural fragrance of tuberose much more affordable!

Currently we have available and ON SALE - Clary Sage Floral Wax, Helichrysum Everlasting Floral Wax, Jasmine Grandiflorum Floral Wax, Jasmine Sambac Floral Wax, Lavender Floral Wax, Tuberose Floral Wax, Violet Leaf Floral Wax & Wild Chamomile Floral Wax.

Rose Floral Wax, Frangipani Floral Wax & Pink Lotus Blossom Floral Wax all will be coming back into stock this Autumn.

With such precious, natural, exotic aromatics at prices like these why wait any longer to indulge? Click here to experience and enjoy these affordable olfactory delights now!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

20th Century Plastic Attitudes - Can we fix it? Yes we can!

I've contacted several of the bottles suppliers many of us smaller toiletry business owners know about, to request they get in this new line of high end, gorgeous 100% Post Consumer Recycled heavy walled PET Plastic bottles, that are FDA approved and are easily as stunning as Virgin PET packaging (no sacrifice in quality here).

Well, I'm sorry to report that so far the ones I've gotten responses from are ho'ing and humming and dragging their feet and either won't do it or say there is no demand for it! This outdated mentality is far too widely accepted.

I find it hard to believe that I am the only business owner/consumer out there that wants more eco-friendly packaging options available, but isn't into aluminum and can't use glass (glass + shower/bathing areas = safety hazard ;)!

Did you realize that only 5% of ALL PET plastic is actually recycled in this country? Did you also realize that currently almost every plastic bottle you use, whether it is as a manufacturer, or as consumer, comes from new (virgin) plastic? This Plastic Attitude is so 20th century!

I will borrow a phrase from the show Bob the Builder (loved by my 4 yr old) - Can we fix it? Yes we can!

It is up to us, and our responsibility, as the business owners and as the consumers of goods supplied to us by other business owners, to start doing the right thing and demand the same from our suppliers.

It is negligent of businesses to not step up and make the positive and necessary changes that would make HUGE differences in the waste put out by our industries. ESPECIALLY if we claim ourselves (as consumers or businesses) to be "green" and "natural" and 'concerned for the environment", etc ...

If you're reading this and you truly care about making a difference when it comes to things like the waste level in this world, write to your bottle suppliers and tell them you want to have access to recycled plastic bottles. Tell your shampoo and lotion makers (little or large) to use recycled plastic bottles, etc ...

Let them know the demand is not only here for more eco-friendly packaging made from recycled plastic, but that it is huge AND it is the wave of the future, here today !!!

Read more about these great bottles (4th paragraph) :

Click Here to buy some PCR PET bottles now!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rose Petal Jam

When I first introduced my husband to rose petal jam while we were dating, he was quite skeptical about trying it. Now he can't live without a jar of it in the house at all times. My sons are just as adoring of it. It has become a staple on our breakfast table, just as it is in the Mediterranean region.

It tastes and smells like Rose Otto, as it is made from petals gathered in the same fields of damascena roses that give us that lovely and precious essential oil of rose and the perfumery oil called Rose Absolute.

Served spread on pancakes, toast, waffles or muffins, rose petal jam is absolutely delicious! It can also be used in making syrup, cookies, cakes, pastries, bakery goods, candies and even savory marinades and sauces. You are limited only by your own epicurean imagination.

We carry varieties from both Turkey and Bulgaria, just like our rose oils and rose hydrosols. They are each an equally luscious treat.

Click here to order

My Sweet Alba Rose

During my visit to Isparta, Turkey several years ago, while touring the damascena rose fields in full bloom, I had the intoxicating opportunity to experience a generous splash of rose hydrosol on my face , warm and fresh from the stills. I was immediately hooked and am always on a quest for the finest that is available each year.

Several weeks ago we brought in an absolutely lovely Alba Rose Hydrosol from Bulgaria. I am really excited to have this most precious and rare NOP certified organic rosy treat.

Alba Roses are hybrids whose antiquity may go back further than the Roman Empire. They are believed to have originated as a cross between the thornless single white R. canina and R. damascena. Pliny the Elder, who lived from 23-79 A.D., mentioned white roses in his writing, entitled Natural History. Many botanists believe these roses may have been Albas.

This exotic treat of is produced by one of the most respected family owned distilleries in Bulgaria, whose rose oils have been featured in famous Fifi award winning perfumes.

Click here to order