Frutta V

Frutta V
Maria's Best Selling Giclee Print to Date

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Soapmaker's Tales of Bathing - Historicaly Speaking



The Baths & Bathing - Historically Speaking

I know - you are asking what the History of Bathing has to do with "The Artful Life of Maria."  All aspects of cleaning everyday objects, dwellings, animals and persons finally make a connection to soap.  That is where I, the soapmaker, comes into the picture.  And to this artisan, the history of almost everything is worth researching.

Inside the Colosseum

Having just been to Rome I can begin with the ancient Roman Baths. The Romans were famous for their baths and brought them to Gaul and Britain.  Roman manors had smaller private baths while other Romans used the public baths where there was a fee. At the peak of popularity there were hot and cold baths for different purposes, thermal baths, space and exercise rooms where personal training may have been offered. Food, wine and entertainment where sometimes offered while patrons lounged.  It is suggested bathing also became a social activity and not one for hygiene.  During different periods men and women bathed together.  Christianity did change that factor.  Common folk had more difficulty as they had to carry water from the aqueducts. Basically daily they would wash their arms and legs which were usually exposed.  For feast days they would wash the entire body.

Hunting Mosiac
Roman Circus Mosiac
Sea Creature Mosiac
Outdoor Scene = Villa Romana
del Casale
Restoring a Mosiac

 











Another example of baths were Thermal Baths as the unearthed  Villa Romana del Casale.  The Villa Romana del Casale is a Roman villa built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, southern Italy. Containing the richest, largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, it is one of 44 World Heritage Sites in Italy.
   These thermal baths follow the common scheme for roman baths. Starting from the entrance to the baths, where people could undress, there is the exercise room, the cold bath with a pool, the warm bath and at last the steam baths. At the very end of the complex are the ovens, that were used to heat the baths.
   The normal procedure in the thermal baths would be to undress, and enter the steam bath. After the steam bath one would enter the warm bath, to wash, anoint with oil and scrape off sweat, oil and dirt. Once clean one would enter the cold bath.
The success of the bathhouses was short lived as many plagues, epidemics and diseases were quickly spread by water throughout the population of Europe and England.

Historic Turkish Bath
 Not only Europeans, but also many other cultures had a passion for the many pleasures bathhouses offered them. The Turks developed very hot baths, which to this day are still known as Turkish Bath or steam baths.
Historic Japanese Bath
The London Plague, 1665
Provisions for bathing were scant because there was not enough simple plumbing to make household consumption available. When the plagues hit England in the early 1800's, so many people became ill or died that, an immediate investigation was made as to how to connect the average home with water. It was found that water was not the cause of the problem but part of the cure. England spent a lot of time and money researching this and soon became a leader in bathroom technology.

A fear of bathing still lingered from the ravages of the Plague in Medieval Europe. Unfortunately, the knowledge that fleas transported plague, not clean water, was not known, so getting clean meant sponging off, usually just face and hands. A few of the finer homes furnished bedrooms with chinaware washbasins. Servants supplied the water, heated in the kitchen or laundry, and laid out clean dresses for the ladies and fresh dress shirts for the gentlemen. Traditionally, a shirt concealed the sweat that often flowed beneath it the top garment, and kept it from staining the elegant silk, or velvet waistcoat, or the frock coat that went over it. If you were a wealthy man, or woman, you might have many changes of clothes.

In America's colonial days...
If a Gentleman or Lady insisted on a thorough scrub...The servants would fill a wooden tub with hot water. But it required very hard work. The tub had to be lugged from wherever it was stored, and then filled with water, hoisted from the well. First, the water had to be heated over a fire in the hearth. That done, the colonial Americans didn’t have towels, so something had to be found to use as a towel. Also, at the time soap had to be made and cured in the household. Of course there was a shortage of homemade soap. With all this fuss, a good, soaking bath was a luxury of only the well served, and few of them tackled the job more than a couple of times a year. Everyone knew that too much bathing would destroy your natural oils. 

In the 1830’s approximately 33% of the homes in London, England had indoor plumbing. Paris hesitated fearing that it would cause their houses to become damp. With the Civil War in the United States, came an awareness through the Sanitation Commission (a forerunner of the Red Cross), headed by Frederick L. Olmstead, who designed Central Park in New York, that washing people, scrubbing walls, and changing linens created less illnesses and reduced infections among patients. By the end of the 1800’s, soap advertising started to become big business.

The weekly Saturday night bath was common in Christian industrialized lands in the 19th and early 20th century. A half day's work on Saturday was the norm for factory workers allowing them some leisure to prepare for the Sunday day of rest. The half day off allowed time for the considerable labor of drawing, carrying, and heating water, filling the bath and then afterward emptying it.  Indoor plumbing became more common in the 20th century and commercial advertising campaigns pushing new bath products began to influence public ideas about cleanliness, promoting the idea of a daily shower or bath.

For centuries, Japan has been another culture known for its bathing customs and obsession about cleanliness. Spiritual pursuits of purity, hygiene and ritual purification were an important part of Japanese culture and bathing was done communally without regard for division of the sexes.

The Muslims also erected bathhouses where one could meditate, pray to the Creator, or think. It 
was the custom to cleanse at a public bath before going to the mosque to worship and many mosques were therefore conveniently erected in the same streets as the bathhouses.

As time passed by, various citizens began to protest against the sins of the bathers. The new Christian trend was to become grubby because cleanliness was considered to be too sensuous and sexual. Dirt was a symbol of one's spiritual purity and indicated that the focus was outside one's self, rather than on personal hygiene. Refusing to bathe was proof one was beyond such things and thus not egotistical or self absorbed.  Dirt was thought a protection from germs due to the numerous plagues that had killed a large population of England and Europe. They engages the smell of body odour was thought to be magnetic and a turn on. Powders, perfumes, wigs, cosmetics, and layers of clothes hid the grime and body scent. If overwhelmed by a particularly potent smell, a bit of snuff to clear one's nostrils was all that was needed.









 "The order of the bath"; Pears soap advertisement.
Soap reached a mass market with the new middle class obsession with cleanliness.


 

 The growing middle class used sought gentility and upper-class status. The gospel of hygiene then trickled down to the lower classes and immigrants in the late 1800s, when reformers taught them the rudiments of cleanliness in order to improve their health and assimilate them into the American way of life.

Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, large cities across America undertook public works projects to build municipal water and sewer lines. These improvements in plumbing and sanitation necessitated that fixtures be attached to a maze of pipes. A separate room was now required to house these fixtures, making portable containers and accessories obsolete. As bathrooms were gradually added to homes, new innovations and inventions also offered a wide range of options, including pumping one's own shower.

The ritual of personal hygiene was now entrenched in the routine of American life. 



Natural Whipped Soap Cup Cakes
by Coastal Cottage Soaps
Natural Olive Oil Soaps
by Coastal Cottage Soaps
Artsy Designer Soaps
by Coastal Cottage Soaps















coastalcottagesoaps.com

Handcrafted
by
Maria Liberto Bessette
blog writer
The Artful Life of Maria




Now for a relaxing hot bath, with heavenly scented soaps!





Monday, January 27, 2014

BUON ANNO! HAPPY NEW 2014

Buon Anno! (Italian for Happy New Year!)

So much for this creative girl to catch up on!  Life has been so busy since my last post.

But my holiday wish is all contained in this image which includes my "Amaryllis" painting of a few years ago: 


The holidays of 2013 held many creative events and projects. 

The "Market Faire" on November 2, an 18th century array of artists, merchants and entertainers, The Green, Dover DE was a wonderful success!  Our abundant array of natural bath, kitchen, shaving and laundry soaps, old time after shave, ladies fragrant floral splash sold completely out. 




 
air drying/curing soap




Shaving brush, bowl & soap





 
Ron was captured in this photo by a friend




All soap varieties had to be replenished for I was to present our Coastal Cottage Soaps at a few other Holiday Shows locally.  Off to my soap studio to measure, heat, whip and pour.  Then slicing, curing and labeling.

A good supply of lovely natural soaps are ready for purchase, packaging and shipping this new year.


Creativity takes on many different forms in my life.

A great creative sewing project involved making 2 custom swivel club chair slipcovers and a lined swag window treatment for our family room.  A trip to the famous interior design fabric store, The Interior Alternative, in Newark, De was the basic requirement.  I have purchased yards and yards of fabric over the years for window treatments, slipcovers, pillows and duvae covers.

Moving the sewing machine down to the family room really helped with the continuous measuring, fitting, pinning and sewing.  So I happily created while watching old classic movies far into each night.  This project also kept me company while my husband was down with a serious case of the "shingles".

A few similar sketches of my projects:

 
 

     

Friday, October 25, 2013

Backstory to My Italian Dream Vacation 2013

 Boungiorno!

Tuscany, Italy

I had thought and dreamed about visiting Italy and Sicily for a long, long time.  My curiosity and love of all things historical is embedded in my being of 50 percent Sicilian.  A suppose this greater percentage of Italian genes makes me feel more this than the 25 percent German and 25 percent most likely Irish.

As we age, or mature, ideas and goals move around or change.  Questions we now have could have been asked of our parents and family members years ago when they were alive.  Now there are few to ask when it is now more important to us.  And not still too late to pass on to the generations to follow. 

My Family Tree?


I am the granddaughter of two of the 4,000,000 Italians who immigrated to the US between 1880 and 1920, Leonardo Liberto and Domenica Gelfo.  Eighty percent of those were from southern Italy and Sicily.  Half the population of their town, Baucina, Sicily (Palermo Province) left the village.  Obviously I have great knowledge of the whereabouts of my grandparents after they stepped on United States soil.  I knew my aunts, uncles and cousins and have learned of other close friends tied who were tied to the little village, Baucina.

So my questions and curiosity directed me to research online, write letters, and question a few older family members. I researched  off and on for 15 years.  At the same time I researched my grandfather, Alfred E Anderson, and family (my mother's father). I conducted more research online and at Delaware's Pubic Archives and traveled to Ellis Island for a first hand look and experience.  I have become obsessed with the research.  I can find little more here in the US beyond immigration to the US.  Italian records have not been digitized or microfilmed and cannot be found online.  

At Ellis Island

cir 1900, Ellis Island Ferry taking immigrants from their "ship" to Ellis Island


Statue of Liberty

Maria at Liberty Island
(Ellis Island far left)

I dream of going to Italy.  I want to go to Italy.  I must go to Italy!  Over the last 20 years my husband has stated that we shall go someday. But when?  My sister is also feeling the need to travel and see Italy.  She brings up the Italian vacation many times.  Over time (months that seem like years) it is decided that we will plan to go to Italy with my sister and her husband.  Yea!  Wonderful!  Great News!   I cannot believe it!   But my one stipulation is that we must also go to Sicily.  We must go to Baucina, the homeland of our grandparents.  I cannot go to Italy without visiting Baucina. 

 Maria's hand created collage,
 "One Day I Will Go to Italy & Sicily."
1995 

So in January of this year we started to research and make plans.  With many tours available it took time to narrow down our choices.  Since this was our first visit to Italy we needed to be with a tour group to get the most for our investment.  We also wanted to see the major cities of Rome, Venice and Florence and also Tuscany.  We wanted history, museums, historic sites, gondola rides, Greek ruins, medieval sites, Italian food, art, etc.  We also needed time to visit Sicily.  A tour could not provide us with the extra time for research and visit to Baucina.  So we (the four of us) decided to book an Italy 9 day "Italian Dream" tour with Trafalgar Tours and tour Sicily on our own.  Since we did not have passports, we applied and paid for those.  They arrived in about 4 weeks. 


I thought that I really needed a real live contact in Baucina in order for my ultimate wish to succeed.  I did more research of the village of Baucina.  The Italian White Pages, via internet ( www.paginebianche.it) showed a listing of at least 6 persons with the Liberto surname in Baucina.  I will write letters to these Liberto's in hopes someone will respond.  I will write letters and emails to the Commune of Baucina requesting permission to research during my visit to the village. I am not versed in the Italian language, but thanks to Google Translate, I was able to accomplish this task.
But I did not receive an answer from the town of Baucina.  I did receive one email and one phone call from the letters I sent to the Liberto's - all dead ends.

My husband volunteered to put together a plan and arrangements for our time in Sicily.  It did take time to coordinate the Sicily tour.  Being a very detail oriented person, he did a fine job and thought of everything.  We also learned that getting to the little village would be almost impossible, even from Palermo.  There were no trains, buses were not dependable if they  ran at all and we would be carting our own luggage. 



And then an angel named Cinzia called from Sicily.  I could not believe my ears.  This lady speaking in broken English was calling for her friend, Rosalia Liberto who had received one of my letters.  Rosalia wanted us to come visit.  She did not speak English, but showed the letter to her friend Cinzia who helped translate the Google Italian.  I wept, I was so touched.  Cinzia and her husband also owned an Agriturismo B in the next village, Case Varisco Agritirismo, Ventimiglia Di Sicilia.  We could stay there if we wished.  She would email back with details. Cinzia repeated "not to worry, everything would work out." (A true Sicilian statement.)  I was now truly blessed with the generosity of Rosalia and Cinzia.   

I became worried when Cinzia did not email back quickly.  So I did more research and traced the her international phone number to her B&B.  So of course I called her to verify that we would be surely visit and finalized details to stay at Case Varisco.  She was willing to pick us up at the airport, she will help us rent a car or a driver.  She will be our interpreter.  She was willing to assist us Americans whom she did not know.  She had already become a good friend. She was still saying, "not to worry - it will all work out." 

We decided we would rent a car in Palermo to drive ourselves to Baucina.  Brother-in-law Bill was willing to do the driving having vast experience on rural mountain roads in Virginia.  All Italian towns and cities are filled with little cars and scooters where drivers follow absolutely no rules.  But how bad can the Italian country roads be?

There were several more phone calls and emails between Cinzia and I.  She provided me with the name of an English speaking lady in Baucina's town office.  She would assist us with the language problem.  We finalized the day of our visit for research and the visit with the wonderful lady Rosalia Liberto in Baucina.

Ron had finalized the plans to tour Sicily from east to west. Most of the trip was paid for already.  He ordered Euros from our bank.  We made 2 copies of all documents, one to leave with family and one to take.  We had made arrangements through www.dogvacay.com for Winston, our Wheaton Terrier, to stay at a wonderful home where he had recently stay for a trial visit.  By then it was mid September and we were departing from Dulles Airport on September 22 for Rome Italy.

My Italian Dream was actually coming true. 
I still could not believe it.

Read about the trip in a future posting! 
 
CIAO to all !
.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Beloved Artists of the Month of March

March is the month that is between Winter and Summer.  Yes, spring starts in March, but not where I live in the Mid-Alantic.

The word 'March' comes from the Roman 'Martius'. This was originally the first month of the Roman calendar and was named after Mars, the god of war.  March was the beginning of our calendar year. We changed to the 'New Style' or 'Gregorian calendar in 1752, and it is only since then when we the year began on 1st January.


I am about to share with you the month of March from an artist's point of view.

March 1:  Augustus Saint-Gaudens born 1848, Dublin, Ireland—died Aug. 3, 1907, Cornish, New Hampshire, U.S., generally acknowledged to be the foremost American sculptor of the late 19th century, noted for his evocative memorial statues and for the subtle modeling of his low reliefs.Saint-Gaudens also made many medallions, originally as a diversion from more serious tasks. These works show the influence of Renaissance medals as well as his early cameos. Among them are designs for U.S. coins.
Sherman Memorial by Saint-Gaudens

Gold $20 Coin by Saint-Gaudens



March 2:  Bedrich Smetana, Czech composer, born 1824.
                 Kurt Weill, German composer, born 1900.

March 5:  Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer, born 1887.

March 6:  Renaissance genius Michelangelo (1475- February 18, 1564) was born in Caprese, Italy. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, poet and visionary best known for his fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and his sculptures David and The Pieta. Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.


Sistine Chapel
 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet, (orn 1806 – 29 June 1861) was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime.[1] A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
                                                          I shall but love thee better after death.                                                               
                                                                    Elizabeth Barrett Browning


March 7:    Maurice Ravel, French composer, born 1875.
March 9:    Samuel Barber, American composer, born 1910.
March 10:  Arthur Honegger, French composer, born 1892.
March 11:  Torquato Tasso, Italian poet, born 1544. 
March 12:   Gabriele d'Annunzio, Italian poet, born 1863.
March 13:  Johann Wyss, Swiss author, born 1781

March 14:  Johann Strauss was born October 25, 1825, in Vienna, Austria. His father, Johann Strauss the Elder, was a self-taught musician who established a musical dynasty in Vienna, writing waltzes, galops, polkas, and quadrilles and publishing more than 250 works. Johann the Younger left his family in 1842 and surpassed his father's popularity and productivity, becoming known as the “Waltz King.”

March 18:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer, born 1844

March 19:  Ballet producer Sergei Diaghilev born 1872.
March 20:  Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet and dramatist, born 1828.
                  Lauritz Melchior, Danish tenor, born 1890.

March 21: Organist and composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was born in Eissenach, Germany. His output included thousands of compositions, many used in churches. Among his best known works; The Brandenburg Concertos for orchestra, The Well-Tempered Clavier for keyboard, the St. John and St. Matthew passions, and the Mass in B Minor.

St. Matthews Passions, As sung by the Helsinki Boy's Choir

 March 21:  Modest Mussorgsky, Russian composer, born 1839

March 22:   Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Flemish painter, born 1599.    

                   Randolph Caldecott, English illustrator, born 1846.

March 23:   Roger Martin du Gard, French novelist and Nobel Prize-winner for literature, born 1881.

March 24:  1834 - Oct 3, 1896, William Morris was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement. He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century.

Two Angels, Stained Glass, William Morris 

Strawberry Thief, furnishing fabric, designed Morris, 1883

William Morris Tiles

March 25:  Arturo Toscanini, Italian conductor, born 1867.
                   Bela Bartok, Hungarian composer, born 1881.

March 26:   A. E. Housman, English poet, born 1859.
                    Robert Frost, American poet, born 1874.
March 26:  American playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. His works featured Southern settings and include; The Glass Menagerie, Night of the Iguana, and two Pulitzer Prize winning plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof .

        


March 27:  Lithographer Nathaniel Currier born 1813 – November 20, 1888 was an American lithographer, who headed the company Currier & Ives with James Ives.

March 30:  Vincent Van Gogh(1853-1890) was born in Groot Zundert, Holland. He was a Postimpressionist painter, generally considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt. During his short (10-year) painting career he produced over 800 oil paintings and 700 drawings, but sold only one during his lifetime. In 1987, the sale of his painting Irises brought $53.9 million, the highest price ever paid for a work of art up to that time. During his life, Van Gogh suffered from despair and bouts of mental illness, at one point cutting off part of his own left ear. He committed suicide in 1890 by gunshot.

Vincent van Gogh Starry Night Painting
"Starry Night", Van Gogh


"Irises", Van Gogh
March 30:  Francisco Goya, Spanish painter, born 1746

Dona Isabel Cobos De Porcel - Francisco De Goya y Lucientes - www.franciscodegoya.net

Isabel Cobos De Porcel by Goya
March 31:  Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was born in Rohrau, Austria. Considered the father of the symphony and the string quartet, his works include 107 symphonies, 50 divertimenti, 84 string quartets, 58 piano sonatas, and 13 masses. Based in Vienna, Mozart was his friend and Beethoven was a pupil.
  
.   


March Poems:
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."
William Wordsworth, Daffodils

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"March is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know,
The Persons of Prognostication
Are coming now.
We try to sham becoming firmness,
But pompous joy
Betrays us, as his first betrothal
Betrays a boy."
Emily Dickinson, XLVIII

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees."
Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!"
-  Robert Browning

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Plays about March:

Beware the ides of March

Caesar:
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer:
Beware the ides of March.
Caesar:
What man is that?
Brutus:
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19
 by Shakespeare
The "ides" of March is the fifteenth; which day of the month the ides is depends on a complicated system of calculation Caesar himself established when he instituted the Julian calendar.
The importance of the ides of March for Caesar is that it is the day he will be assassinated by a group of conspirators.  Shakespeare borrowed this scene, along with other details of Caesar's demise, from Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let us remember and salute what these great artists have given the world!

Best to all,

Maria

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What is Soap? Where is the Lye in Soap? The Mystery of Soap Making



We have contemplated spring through the gloomy and cold days of winter.  But through that time much has been happening!
"Back in the day" we would have already used half of our yearly supply of soap made last fall. Fall was the time to slaughter animals, and use the tallow and lard for soap making.  Water was steeped through ashes to produce the alkali or lye water of an undetermined strength, which produced soap of an undetermined hardness.


Maria Making Soap in Modern Times

Making Soap From Lye in Colonial Days


What is soap?  What are the ingredients? 
Where did the Lye Go?


The term saponification is the name given to the chemical reaction that occurs when a vegetable oil or animal fat is mixed with a strong alkali. The products of the reaction are two: soap and glycerin. Water does not enter into the chemical reaction. The water is only a vehicle for the alkali, which is otherwise a dry powder.
The name saponification literally means "soap making". The root word, "sapo",
is Latin for soap. The Italian word for soap is sapone. Soap making as an art
has its origins in ancient Babylon around 2500 - 2800 BC.
The oils used in modern handmade soap are carefully chosen. Coconut oil creates lots of glycerin, makes big bubbly lather, and is very stable. Olive oil has natural antioxidants and its soap makes a creamier lather. Many other oils can be used,
each one for a specific reason.
The alkali used in modern soap is either potassium hydroxide, which is used to make soft soap or liquid soap because of its greater solubility, or sodium hydroxide, which is used to make bar soap. The common term for the alkali became simply "lye".
Soap made in cottages and on farms in earlier American times became known as "lye soap". That term now denotes a harsh soap with excessive amount of caustic. Weighing and measuring techniques were crude, and knowledge of soap chemistry
was elementary or non-existent.
The true fact is that modern handcrafted soap, though necessarily made with lye to get
true soap, has no lye in the final product. It has all been reacted with the oils to
form soap and glycerin.
 A fact about the most common massed-produced soap found in the grocery store does
 have a small amount of excess alkali in it. Also, all of its naturally-occurring glycerin
is removed to be sold as a separate commodity. Why? Greater profit. An important difference between most commercial soap and our Coastal Cottage Soaps is
that the glycerin is left in and thus it retains its natural
moisturizing property.
from Real Handmade Soap

COASTAL COTTAGES SOAPS MADE THIS WINTER
The soap shop has produced limited quantities of soap after the made holiday rush.  We are now whipping up popular and new varieties.

Photo: Wow, it is already close to Valentine's Day!  
Don't forget about handcrafted artisan soaps to brighten your winter woes.  Check out "Pink Swirl" Artsy Soaps and many others.  My soap shop continues to create a great line of soaps & products. Order on line or message me on FB for special delivery in Kent County Delaware.  Remember every day is "Small Business Day."  Find it all at:  http://www.coastalcottagesoaps.com/#!our-store./vstc1=artsy-artisan-glycerine-collection
Pink Swirl Artsy Glycerin Soap
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Restocking newly made "Castile Soap" for an online customer. Only 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, no other vegetable or animal fats. First made in the Castile region of Spain in the 16th century and the 1st example of hard, white soap.
     Ca
stile soap is moisturizing and gentle to the skin, containing no colors, dyes or detergents so it can be used on babies and people with sensitive skin. This batch is unscented, but smells like "Clean Linen." New large 5 oz size. I will be adding lavender, peppermint, and pomegranate to this product line called, Liberto's Castile Sopone.  Check out coastalcottagesoaps.com to purchase.

Photo: Restocking newly made "Castile Soap" for an online customner. Only 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, no other vegetable or animal fats.  First made in the Castile region of Spain in the 16th century and the 1st example of hard, white soap. 
  Castile soap is moisturizing and gentle to the skin, containing no colors, dyes or detergents so it can be used on babies and people with sensitive skin. This batch is unscented, but smells like "Clean Linen."  New large 5 oz size.  I will be adding lavender, peppermint, and pomigrante to this product line called, Liberto's Castile Soaps. 
 
It is a clean business:  www.coastalcottagesoaps.com
Order on-line or FB message.
Liberto's Unscented Castile Sopone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     As colorful as Easter Eggs! Here is my assortment of Coastal Cottage WOOL FELTED SOAPS, the latest craze by wool fiber artists and soap makers. Imagine soap wrapped with it's own wash cloth and lots of
 natural lather to cleanse your body.
     Colorful wool fibers are wrapped around each handmade bar of soap made by this soap maker
and then hand felted to the bar.
     As you use the sudsy soap the wool will shrink with the size of the bar. Sorry no selection of
fragrance, I send whatever is in stock.

2 Bar Set: $9.95 which includes all natural ingredients.
Go to coastalcottagesoaps.com to purchase!


Photo: As colorful as Easter Eggs!  Here is my assortment of Coastal Cottage WOOL FELTED SOAPS,  the latest craze by wool fiber artists and soap makers.  Imagine soap wrapped with it's own wash cloth and lots of natural lather to cleanse your body.  
   Colorful wool fibers are wrapped around each handmade bar of soap made by this soapmaker and then hand felted to the bar. 
   As you use the sudsy soap the wool will shrink with the size of the bar. Sorry no selection of fragrance, I send whatever is in stock.
2 Bar Set:  $9.95 which includes all natural ingredients.
Felted Wool Natural Soaps
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is a rather new edition to the line up of soap.  Unscented Aloe Vera & Calendula, a great product for those with blemished and other problems.  The healing properties of Aloe and Calendula in a totally natural and unscented bar has been tested with positive results.  Just ask my grandsons!

Unscented Aloe Vera & Calendula Soap


Thanks for taking the soap making journey with me.  I continue to produce many varieties of natural and artsy designer soaps.  It is a satisfying and clean business. 
I am blessed to be on this journey.


My Best to all,
Maria Liberto Bessette