The Herbarie

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Swimming Through the Changes

Fall is a time for transitions and changes. I've never especially liked change so this is a challenge for me and moves me from my comfort zone. Autumn, although beautiful, is not my favorite time of year. I'm always at odds with Autumn. While others happily notice the leaves turning from green to gold and the weather becoming brisk and cool, I tend to notice the zinnias sadly dying and squirrels frantically scurrying and feel that I must hurry too.

For the past few weeks I have been busy, busy, busy with day to day details. I was beginning to feel like those squirrels scurrying back and forth across the road - hurrying and trying to go in several directions at once. This past week I realized that I had not spent time in my garden for over two weeks. I had been outside to quickly harvest botanicals, but I didn't linger. I didn't watch the birds or butterflies and surely didn't stop to smell the roses. I had stopped doing my yoga routine since the mornings were too chilly in the garden and decided that I just didn't have time anyway. Then yesterday I realized that I didn't feel well. I could think of a million things that need to be done to run the business and a million things that need to be done to take care of the other day to day stuff, but couldn't tell you what I had eaten for lunch or even if I had eaten lunch. I was losing touch with myself. Are the squirrels trying to tell me something?? I know what I need to do to be whole and healthy, but usually put myself last because so many other things need to be done - isn't this what we all often do?

I have to remind myself that in order to be able to give my best to others I have to be healthy and well. For me to be well in mind, body and soul, I know I must be in touch with myself and grounded with the earth, the plants and the animals and those who are dear to me. Yes, it's literally about taking time to smell the roses, touch the roses, dig in the earth, nibble on the herbs, water the plants, feed the fish, talk to the frogs - yes talk to the frogs!

Yesterday, I spent the day in the garden pulling up my dear dying zinnias. They are still trying their best to grow tall with brilliant orange and yellow flowers and it's not easy for me to pull them up. But I give honor to the plants as I realize they have lived their season and it's time to go. And now I understand and have faith that their seeds will sprout life for flowers that bloom next summer. As I pull them up, we make way for the beautiful Camellia sasanqua, Pineapple Sage, Mexican Sage and others that are now in bloom.

Next, I cleaned my pond and spent time with Spot and Plain, my two goldfish that have grown from one inch to 6 inches. I sang songs to my frogs and whoever else could tolerate my off key songs. I sat for a while and just enjoyed being alive. It felt good to see the blue sky and notice how my collards are growing so nicely. I remembered to eat lunch.

Again, I am always sad when the ruby throated summer hummers leave and we've not seen them since the end of September. But while I sat in the garden I was surprised to hear the familiar humming sound and I noticed one little hummer at the flowering sage! My first thought was of Joy, my winter hummer from two years ago - could it be? Then I told myself that's it's far more likely one of the summer hummers passing through. I didn't get a good look so I'm not sure. I always leave the sugar water feeders up through the winter just in case we do have visitors and just in case Joy or one of her family decides to come back. I'll be watching for her.

Now, I've changed from my morning yoga routine in the garden to morning yoga inside with exquisite Gary Stadler music. Instead of the aromatherapy of my outside garden I enjoy my inside garden with my ferns and orchids and my atomizer with essential oils of Geranium, Clary Sage, Cedarwood virginiana. The view of the forest as the sun comes up is beautiful and I am reassured of the cyclical changes of the seasons. We've been this way before and we'll come this way again.

Spot and Plain will soon be wintering in our basement in a nice, new aquarium. They will be a part of my morning yoga class! My Zinnias have thrown their seeds to the earth and will be back next summer. Next summer will be the 10th or 11th year they have reseeded themselves. I try to keep the faith and look forward to the next generation.

Go with the flow, live through the cycles - be like Spot and Plain - just keep swimming.

Best Fall Wishes To You!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everyone Loves Aloe Vera!

Aloe Vera Loves You Too!

I’ve created a light summer lotion (or skin care serum) formula and I want to share it with you! This formula is chock full of Aloe Vera and features Plantamulse Pastilles as the complete emulsifier. For those who want to make a smooth, very fine particle size lotion or serum, Plantamulse Pastilles can do it!!

Here are the details on Plantamulse Pastilles:

ECOCERT PlantaMulse™ Pastilles - Natural Plant Source, PEG-free, biodegradable emulsifier and emollient made from the esters of glycerin and fatty acids.
PlantaMulse™Pastilles has the ability to form lamellar liquid-crystalline structures in water which provides exceptional stability and superb re-fatting properties and sensory characteristics.

PlantaMulse™Pastilles functions as an o/w emulsifier and emollient for creams, lotions, serums, and other emulsions and will leave skin feeling exceptionally soft, smooth and conditioned.

Formulating Guidelines:

● PlantaMulse™Pastilles can be used as a complete self-emulsifier for elegant light lotions or serums at very low percentages - typically 3.0%.
● For creams and lotions where greater viscosity is desired, 1-2% fatty alcohol (ie. behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol), fatty acid (stearic acid), or medium HLB co-emulsifier (PlantaEm), or low HLB co-emulsifier (ie. glyceryl stearate or sorbitan stearate or lecithin) is recommended.
● Water phase viscosity/sensory enhancing ingredients such as VenaSilk, OryzaSilk, UltraMaize, XanThix, or HEC are recommended.

Product Characteristics:

●PlantaMulse™Pastilles provides all natural, PEG-free emulsification for skin care lotions, serums, and other emulsions.
●PlantaMulse™Pastilles has excellent compatibility with most ingredients and due to its lamellar liquid-crystalline structure is a perfect carrier for active ingredients.
●PlantaMulse™Pastilles is supplied in easy to use pastilles and will form smooth white emulsions with a soft conditioned feel.
●PlantaMulse™Pastilles exhibits excellent stability at elevated temperatures and good freeze/thaw stability from pH 4.5-8.5.
●PlantaMulse™Pastilles is free from ethylene oxide and nitrosamines, is biocompatible and biodegradable.

Recommended Usage: 3.0% for most emulsions
INCI Name: Polyglyceryl-3 Methyglucose Distearate
Physical Form: Creamy white pastilles
HLB Value: 12


I am loving this cool, silky and soothing emulsion! I'm often asked about non-whitening, non-soaping emulsion formulas. I am also asked every day about formulas with Aloe Vera! So, for this formula my goal was to formulate a light, cool, non-whitening lotion with Aloe Vera!

Fatty alcohols are key ingredients for building body and viscosity in emulsions, but do create a whitening or soaping effect. So I had to come up with a different strategy for building body and viscosity. I used HEC to build stability/viscosity from the water phase. I used skin loving Shealoe to build viscosity from the oil phase. The result: Very light, non-soaping emulsion!

● Fabulous for a light summer lotion!
● Excellent for a silky skin care serum!
● Effective as an after-sun, skin soother!
Shealoe and Lavender Skin Soothing Lotion with Plantamulse Pastilles

All natural Plantamulse Pastilles is the complete emulsifier in this very stable and silky smooth emulsion. Shealoe offers well known skin care benefits of aloe vera and shea butter and also provides viscosity to this formula. Aloe Vera Oil Extract, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, and Calendula Extract OS further enrich and soothe skin.

HEC (Hydroxyethyl Cellulose) builds viscosity through the water phase and adds a nice feel in application. The Herbarie’s Lavender Hydrosol and Aloe Vera 100% Liquid are utilized as the entire water phase of this formula.

Our preservative system for this formula includes Aloe Advanced Leucidal as the primary antimicrobial along with Rosemary Antioxidant CO2 Extract and Lavender Essential Oil. Rosemary CO2 Extract also serves as the powerful antioxidant in the formula and Lavender EO is valued for its fresh clean scent as well as its benefits to skin.

This natural system works synergistically to soothe, moisturize, and condition skin - without greasiness or a “soaping/whitening effect” - and leaves skin fabulously soft and silky. The finished emulsion is medium to low viscosity and could function as a skin care serum or light lotion especially nice in summer, but lovely to use any time of the year.

Part A
Lavender Hydrosol 69.40% = 347 grams
Aloe Vera 100% Liquid 10.0% = 50 grams
Part B
Plantamulse Pastilles 3.0% = 15 grams
Shealoe 3.0% = 15 grams
Aloe Vera Oil Extract 3.0% = 15grams
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 3.0% = 15grams
Calendula Extract OS 3.0% = 15grams
HEC 1.5% = 7.5 grams

Part C
Aloe Advanced Leucidal 3.0% = 15 grams
Lavender Essential Oil 1.0% = 5 grams
Rosemary CO2 Extract 0.1% = 0.5 grams

Total: 100% = 500 grams

Part A (water phase) – Combine and heat ingredients to 175F.

Part B (oil phase) - Weigh HEC and set aside. Combine all other ingredients in and heat to melt point (approximately 175F). Remove melted/hot oils from heat. Disperse HEC into hot oils, stirring to separate particles.

Add Part A (water phase) to Part B (oil phase). Allow emulsion to stand for one minute before mixing. After one minute, begin mixing and continue until cooldown. Cool to 50C/122F, add Part D and mix until smooth.

I've used our Magic Airless Dispensers for this emulsion. But our Pearl Airless Dispensers can also be used. We offer several sizes: 50 ml Magic Airless White, 30 ml Pearl Airless, and coming soon - 200 ml Magic Frosted and Magic White.


Well, it's daylight and time to go outside. I love my ponds and water creatures!

Keep cool and let's hope for rain soon!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Thoughts About Hot Summertime!

Dear Friends,
The temperature is soaring with high humidity here in South Carolina, yet the soil is dry as a bone at Stoney Hill Farm. We are carefully watering our gardens from our two very deep wells. But we cannot give water to the fields and woodlands. It's sad for me to know they are thirsty and there is nothing I can do. I see clouds and hear thunder, but there is no rain.

In the early morning I'm out in the garden and think about the grand white oak at the edge of our woods. I think about how this spectacular, strong oak tree has been here for 100+ years and has weathered storms and drought by sending its roots deep into the soil. I notice how the willow trees grow in colonies beside the creek and pond and survive by bending with the breeze. I consider our trees and plants to be my good friends and teachers so always try to learn from them.

It looks like rain is on the way for next week - we are hopeful!


I've been spending part of each morning tending to my water gardens. One of the gardens has a waterfall with plants and some small fish and frogs. I enjoy feeding the fish each morning.

See one of the frogs on the lily pad?

The water lily flower is absolute perfection!

I've named my new secret garden Hummer Haven because the hummingbirds love the Rose of Sharon, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla and other bloomers.

In this area we created another small pond with a few plants and some mosquito fish and frogs. A small solar fountain helps to keep oxygen in the water.

During this drought, I am refreshed by my ponds, water plants and water creatures. I also find our heat loving plants to be refreshing as well. This year I'm growing Holy Tulsi Basil as well as the usual varieties of sweet basil. Basil loves hot weather!

I've distilled a lovely Hydrosol from our Holy Tulsi Basil! I enjoy using our Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol as a cooling spritzer.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol (Ocimum sanctum) is distilled from several varieties of Ocimum sanctum - Rama, Vana, Kapoor and Krishna. These plants are grown from Organic Certified seed.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol is recommended for use in skin care and hair care.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol can be used for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and soothing characteristics.

All varieties of Basil are native to India where it is used in Ayurveda medicine. Holy Tulsi Basil(Ocimum sanctum) is considered to be a sacred plant and is used to open the heart and bring harmony to the mind. Our Holy Tulsi Basil plants grow in a special place in our garden and are honored for their many gifts to us.

Basil smells like summertime and thrives in hot weather, but the fresh scent of Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol can be enjoyed all year!


More soon..........stay cool!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Dear Blog Friends,
I am finally finding some time to write again! As usual, this has been a very busy spring and summer.

Right now we are in the middle of "dog days" - hot and humid! Each morning in the summer, I wake up very early and go into the garden. Daybreak is my favorite time - every day new and fresh with possibilities. I enjoy spending an hour or so going through my yoga routine, meditating, watering plants, pulling weeds. I listen to the birds' wake up calls, breakfast on grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and blackberries.

The hummers are wide awake at 6:30am - chirping and zooming around from flower to flower and the many sugar water feeders in the gardens.

If the sugar water feeders are low, they will get my attention by zooming by me until I notice and refill the feeders. I love my hummers!

As the world wakes up, I can catch the earthy, carrot scent of the Queen Anne's Lace while I appreciate her delicate, lacy beauty. I am so thankful to be able to enjoy nature's symphony and aromatherapy every morning in my garden!

Many of the roses are resting now. I've given most of them a summer shearing which will rejuvenate them for their glorious Fall Bloom. Dorsey still blooms and the pretty little Cecile Brunner, Marie Pavie, Borderer and Roxy are still lush and blooming and seem very happy - even in our extreme summer heat.

The sunflowers and zinnias have sown themselves in the gardens and are now everywhere. Zinnias and Sunflowers love hot summertime and seem to exude joyfulness!

Our vivacious Zinnias seem proud to be Stoney Hill Farm Cheerleaders in the gardens with their hot pink, neon orange, sunny yellow and every shade in between petals.

Each year the butterflies, bees and I enjoy them immensely.

My pretty lavender plants are flowering profusely right now and the scent is wonderfully clean and fresh. I always enjoy distilling Lavender Hydrosol because it's so aromatic.

I treated myself to a new version of my Luscious Lavender Natramulsion which is very, very conditioning and smells wonderful! This all natural formula is based on Natramulse which is one of our several plant-based emulsifiers. This formula is full of skin softening and conditioning ingredients! Natramulse, Shea butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Botanical Complex LSCD form the richly conditioning oil phase. I also loaded this formula with skin nourishing oats - Avena Oat Extract WS, VenaSilk and Symglucan - and all work in synergy to moisturize and nourish dry skin. I used our Lavender Hydrosol as the entire water phase. Our new, multifunctional Antioxidant Synergy Blend will protect the formula from oxidation as well as serve as a powerful antioxidant for skin. Lavender Essential Oil gives the formula a nice clean, fresh scent while lending some antimicrobial/preservative activity. Leucidal Liquid, manufactured by Active Micro Technologies, is my favorite natural preservative and serves as the primary preservative in the formula.

I've packaged this cream in our new Magic Airless Dispensers. This formula is very substantial so during our hot southern summer I only use it at nighttime after showering and as a hand cream during the day. I keep one dispenser in my office to condition my dry hands after coming inside from the garden and also keep one at home to use at nighttime. Here's the formula:

Ultra Moisturizing Oats and Lavender Natramulsion

Oil Phase
8% Natramulse
12% Organic Shea Butter
5% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3% Botanical Complex LSCD
2% VenaSilk

Water Phase
56.75% Lavender Hydrosol
5% Symglucan
5% Avena Oat Extract WS

Cool Down Phase
0.25% Antioxidant Synergy Blend
2% Leucidal Liquid
1% Lavender Essential Oil

-Oil Phase: Weigh and combine first 4 ingredients (weigh VenaSilk and set aside) in a stainless steel or heat safe pot/vessel. Heat to approximately 175F or until solids have melted and the oil phase is clear, not cloudy. Once the solids in the oil phase have melted, remove from heat and disperse VenaSilk to the hot/melted oils.
-Water Phase: weigh, combine and heat ingredients to approximately 175F
-Add heated Water Phase to heated Oil Phase and mix continuously until cooldown (approximately 100F).
-Cool Down Phase: When temperature of emulsion has cooled to about 100F, add Cool Down ingredients. Mix until homogeneous.
-The finished emulsion is thick and creamy. I used our new airless dispensers which work beautifully. - Pearl Airless and Magic Airless.

Tip 1: Using an electric stovetop is preferable - just be sure to monitor carefully.
Tip 2: Even though VenaSilk is mostly water soluble, we disperse it into the oil phase so the particles will more easily separate.
Tip 3: Adding the water phase to the oil phase is easier and creates a very stable emulsion.
Tip 4: When the emulsion has cooled, scoop into a gallon size freezer bag, remove air and seal. then cut a tiny tip off the corner and "squirt" into containers - no mess and easy peasy :-)


Since my last blog, we've brought in a number of new products including Avena Oat Extract WS, Antioxidant Synergy Blend, Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol, and SCI Pearl.

We are offering a Special Introductory Sale on these new products so now is the best time to try them! We are also very pleased to offer airless dispensers - Magic Airless (50ml) and Pearl Airless (30ml). I just love these new dispensers! I'm so excited about all these new products and have been talking with many of you about them already. But here are the details that you can also view on our website:

Our Avena Oat Extract WS is derived from the entire oatstraw herb which includes the green stalks, the leaves and the milky grain. Constituents include polysaccharides such as beta glucan, flavonoids, silica, triterpenoid saponins (including avenacosides), and phenolic compounds (avenanthramides).

Avena sativa is a member of the Poaceae, or “grasses” family. Wild oats (Avena) likely originated in Eurasia and were first cultivated (sativa) in Greece and Rome around 400BC to 1st century AD. This nutrient-rich, ancient grass is now cultivated throughout the world and valued for its many uses. While the traditional use of oats in folklore is well-established and has stood the test of time, modern science has documented excellent efficacy as well. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of oats and oat derivatives in skin care products.

These constituents are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and moisturizing characteristics. When used topically, Avena sativa can soothe, smooth, and nourish skin and hair.

Avena Oat Extract WS is recommended for all skin types, but especially for sensitive skin and dry and flaky skin. Avena Oat Extract WS is recommended for all hair types, but particularly for dry or damaged hair or flaky scalp. Avena Oat Extract WS is useful in moisturizers, anti-aging products, smoothing and soothing products. Avena Oat Extract WS, can be used in hair care products to improve conditioning and manageability.

Avena Oat Extract WS is a water soluble extract and can be used in toners, facial cleansers, shower gels, creams and lotions, shampoo, and conditioners.


Antioxidant Synergy Blend (ASB) is a multifunctional, proprietary blend of ascorbic acid, rosemary extract, and tocopherols. This powerful antioxidant blend has the potential to function as a topical free radical scavenger for skin care products as well as inhibit oxidation and delay rancidity in natural oils and products that contain oil.

Human skin is our natural barrier that serves as a protective shield. Our skin is constantly bombarded by physical and chemical stressors. These environmental stressors can directly or indirectly produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS molecules upset the natural balance of human skin which can lead to skin damage and premature aging. Topical antioxidants have the capacity to neutralize ROS and help restore skin’s natural balance.

Antioxidant Synergy Blend (ASB) contains Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Rosemary Extract, and Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) in a vegetable oil base.

Ascorbic Acid functions as the initial free radical scavenger and can help to regenerate natural antioxidants in lipid systems and is good for skin.

Rosemary Extract functions as the long-term, broad spectrum antioxidant by offering carnosic acid/carnosol components to the blend.

Natural mixed tocopherols isolated from vegetable oils and concentrated to contain naturally occurring d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta tocopherols Mixed tocopherol compounds enhance and compliment one another to increase their overall antioxidant activity.

This powerful, all natural, synergistic blend offers unique antioxidant functionality for cosmetic formulators.


Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol (Daucus carota) is excellent for all skin types, but is especially recommended for sensitive skin or mature skin. Suzanne Catty says Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol soothes eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, and promotes the growth of healthy new skin cells. Some sources report reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.

Daucus carota is commonly called Queen Anne’s Lace. Daucus carota is a biennial plant – growing from seed the first year and blooming the second year. Queen Anne’s Lace reseeds every year and grows beautifully and happily in our gardens. The delicate, umbrella shaped blooms are actually comprised of hundreds of tiny, white flowers with one dark red flower in the center. Legend suggests Daucus carota is called Queen Anne’s Lace because the delicate flower cluster resembles lace and the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. We harvest Daucus carota when the flower cluster matures and “turns to seed”. The Herbarie’s Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol is distilled from the seed heads and flowers of this beautiful plant.

Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol has a mild, earthy, carrot scent and is recommended for use in body spray/splash, the water portion in lotions and creams, antiaging products, anti-inflammatory products, and facial toners.

I made a super cool facial toner with our Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol, Cucumber Extract WS, Aloe Vera 100% Liquid, and Avena Oat Extract WS that I'd like to share with you. The formula is very simple, but quite nice. I've weighed and measured a 200 gram batch for those who do not yet have a scale:

Cucumber Aloe Facial Toner with Avena Oat & Wild Carrot

Cucumber Extract WS 25% = 50 grams = 1/4 cup
Aloe Vera 100% Liquid 25% = 50 grams = 1/4
Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol 10% = 20 grams = 2 tablespoons
Avena Oat Extract WS 5% = 10 grams = 2 teaspoons
Distilled Water 33% = 66 grams = 1/3 cup
Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid 2% = 4 grams = 1 teaspoon

This formula can be used as a facial toner after cleansing your face or it can be used as a cool, spritzer any time of day. Just combine all ingredients in a bottle with a dispensing cap or spray mister. For a more concentrated toner, do not add the distilled water or the Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid. This is the way I made mine - I just combined all the ingredients without Distilled Water or Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid - very nice!


SCI Pearl offers dense, luxurious lather and leaves skin feeling soft and conditioned after rinse off. SCI Pearl is an easy to use, buttery form of the mild, anionic primary surfactant sodium cocoyl isethionate.

With a low melting point (50-60C), SCI Pearl is much easier to disperse into water than SCI 85% Flake or Noodle.

Formulating Guidelines:
-Can be combined with one or more of our other surfactants (SMC Taurate, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, DLS Mild, Plantapon, Coco Silky Cleanse, etc.). When used at 20% or greater will yield

creamy/pearly/opaque product. Lower percentages will yield clear product. Heat together with water to melt point (about 120F), stirring to incorporate. See Formulary for more information.

This coconut derived, biodegradable surfactant can be used to create elegant and mild shampoo, body wash, facial cleansers and other personal care products.

-Mild to skin and eyes
-Excellent foamer in hard or soft water
-Imparts a soft afterfeel to skin or hair
-Based on fatty acids from natural, renewable coconut oil
-Easy to use paste form
-50% Activity
-Contains 5.0-8.5% free fatty acid
-pH 10% solution @ 35C: 6.2-7.2
-Yields opaque, creamy, and pearly products at higher percentages
-Yields clear products when used at lower percentages
-Can be used for solid cleansing bars

I've enjoyed making creamy shampoo and body wash for friends, family and myself with our new SCI Pearl!
SCI Pearlicious Body Wash (Recipe)

Naturally derived SCI Pearl and Cocoamidopropyl Betaine provide luscious foam and gentle cleansing in this pearly, cream formula. Raspberry Dimethicone WS is an excellent water soluble emollient that will soften skin and also help to solubilize Lavender Essential Oil. Glucamate LT is used to thicken this formula. Aloe Advanced Leucidal is the natural preservative for this formula. Lavender Essential Oil provides a fresh, clean scent.

SCI Pearlicious Body Wash is an easy to make formula. This elegant formula will leave skin feeling silky soft after rinse off. It’s perfect for first-time or experienced formulators. In addition, we have provided approximate fluid/volume measurements for those who do not yet have a scale.

Please note that our formulas are created using percentages and calculated by weight which is always best and most accurate. We have calculated a 500 gram batch for this formula. In addition, we have provided approximate fluid/volume measurements for those who do not yet have a scale.


Part A
SCI Pearl
Cocoamidopropyl Betaine
Distilled Water

Part B
Raspberry Dimethicone WS
Lavender Essential Oil
Aloe Advanced Leucidal

Part C
Glucamate LT



25.0% = 125 grams = 1 cup
10.0% = 50 grams = 3 tblsp.
58% = 290 grams = 1 + 1/2 cups
3.0% = 15 grams = 1 tblsp.
1.0% = 5 grams = 2 tsp.
2.0% = 10 grams = 2 tsp.
1% = 5 grams = 1 tsp.

100.0% = 500 grams = approx. 16 oz.

-In Part A, combine SCI Pearl and Cocoamidopropyl Betaine with one half distilled water portion. Heat slowly on a hotplate or stovetop while stirring constantly. Once the SCI Pearl has melted, remove from the heat source and add the remainder of the water portion. Continue to stir gently until temperature is 100F or less.
In Part B, combine Raspberry Dimethicone WS (solubilizer and refatting agent) with Lavender Essential Oil, add to the surfactant mixture (in Part A) with gentle stirring. Add Aloe Advanced Leucidal (preservative) to the mixture with gentle stirring.
-In Part C, add Glucamate LT (thickener) to combined Parts A and B with gentle stirring (whisk and nylon spatula are useful). Pour into bottles with dispensing closures. The formula will thicken and become more opaque/pearly within 24 hours. The finished pH of this formula is 6.0.


Here is a picture of the dried botanical wreath on the front door of our house. If you look closely, you can see the nest with three eggs. A house finch decided this would be the perfect spot to raise her babies! How cute is that?

Today is July 11, my own baby girl Amy is 25 today! Happy Birthday Amy :-)

Best Wishes for a Great Summer!


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Roses Are Blooming!!

Dear Blog Friends!
The roses bloomed early this year!

In April, we had several garden tours and gatherings to celebrate Spring, the blooming of the roses, and my birthday! So many of you have expressed interest in our farm and gardens and I wanted to share our celebration with you all.

Welcome to my Garden!

This is my Secret Garden looking out towards the farm and new waterfall and Kiwi bed. I created a mandala of sorts including pavers with some of my favorite symbols - hummingbird, butterfly, bee, and leaf.

We built this trellis for Alister Stella Grey last year when she outgrew the porch pillar. I've been so looking forward to her blooming this spring and she has not disappointed me!

Alister Stella Grey is a noisette rose and she will bloom all summer. The fragrance is lovely. This spot is just outside my lab so I can smell her fragrant blossoms whenever I walk outside on the porch!

Sarah Van Fleet (to the left and up close below) is a Rugosa and quite thorny, but beautiful and fragrant. Late winter (February) she was pruned back and has provided lush, healthy growth and good blooming this spring.

Hot Pink Madame Isaac Pereire is a Bourbon rose and smells heavenly! She will bloom off and on all summer.

I call this rose Dorsey in honor of the person's home where I found it. I took a cutting about 10 years ago and rooted the plant in this picture. Since then, I've taken several cuttings to root and pass on to friends.

I believe this rose is more than likely Don Juan. The fragrance and flower are "classic rose". I've featured the bud (far right) on our website header as it is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

If you ask me which rose is my favorite, I'll answer by saying they are ALL my favorites! But this year I did seem to have a special affinity for Constance Spry seen in these three pictures.

Constance Spry was the first of David Austin's English Roses. As you can see this shrub rose is very graceful with arching branches that reach at least 10 feet wide and six feet high. Instead of pruning her back, I've let her dominate the garden with her lush, yet delicate beauty.

Constance Spry blooms only once in spring, but oh what a blooming! These gorgeous cup shaped, pearly pink, almost translucent blossoms produce the most intoxicating fragrance that David Austin describes as "myrrh".

I simply could not get enough of Constance Spry this spring. Constance Spry, as well as everyone else on this page, have been transformed into our 2011 Rose Hydrosol. As you can see from my basket in front of Constance Spry, I took one last picture of her glorious bloom prior to harvesting her blossoms.

Our big Belinda rose is the show stopper whenever she blooms. Belinda is a Hybrid Musk with one big bloom in Spring. She will bloom a bit off and on throughout the summer, but not the big Spring Show as you see here. The bees love her and there is a constant buzz when she is in bloom.

Well, that ends our 2011 Rose Garden Tour at Stoney Hill Farm! I hope you have enjoyed it!

Back soon with more from The Herbarie - new products and interesting information. Oh, and please be sure to take advantage of our Rose Hydrosol Spring Sale!

Love and Best Wishes for Beautiful Blooming!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Early Spring 2011!

After the snow and ice in January, we now have a beautiful early Spring! The hyacinths and daffodils have bloomed, the fresh green leaves of Plantain have emerged and the Roses will soon be blooming!

Our huge Lady Banks roses are in bud and ready to bloom in a week or so. The other roses will bloom in late April and early May. What a wonderful time of year!

I've been busy as usual this winter. So much to do, so little time! We have almost completed our Kiwi garden bed with the river rock pond and water fall. I've planted Camellia sasanquas everywhere! In between the rocks of the water garden, I've planted Thyme and Lavender and a few succulents and they smell so good! In April, I will finish this garden bed by planting small rose bushes among the Sasanquas and water plants in the pond. I'll be sure to share pictures once it's completed!

I've also reworked my Secret Garden to include pea gravel paths, paver designs, and a new pergola. The winter sun felt good as we sat under the pergola watching the birds at the feeders and listening to the water fall sounds from the Kiwi garden. The pergola was built for the new Reve d'Or rose that will be planted in a few weeks. I can imagine the sunrise colored Reve d'Or covering the pergola in a few years to provide us with shade in summer and a heavenly fragrance and beauty.

My next project is the new garden room behind my Secret Garden. In addition to the two new pergolas, I plan to create a small terraced bed with a small pond for water lilies. I'll use more Camellia sasanquas and, of course, roses.

I've planted sugar peas and snow peas this week and am looking forward to our asparagus which will be sending up stalks very soon. Asparagus is so delicious when picked fresh from the garden. I should be starting seeds for tomato and pepper and eggplant inside, but just haven't done it yet. Maybe next week I'll get to it. I want these plants to be ready to put into the garden in April or early May.

We also need to complete the paperwork for our USDA NOP Organic Farm Certification. It's a mountain of paperwork and record keeping, but hopefully we will be able to find the time very soon. We should be able to meet the criteria with no problem since we have been adhering to the practices for quite some time. It would be fun to be able to sell our rose products and other botanicals as NOP certified!

Spending time outside and in my garden brings joy to my heart and soul.

From The Herbarie Lab

As much as I love my garden and being outside, I also love working in my lab! Today I will be distilling chamomile hydrosol and look forward to the gentle sweet scent. While distilling, I will likely make myself some herbal tea - maybe dandelion with lemon balm and mint - perhaps some Rosemary? My Rosemary is blooming and very beautiful. Rosemary grows well here and I've planted it everywhere. Earlier this week, I distilled some of our aromatic Rosemary Hydrosol which is excellent for hair care or skin care. Soon, the Melissa will be lush and full and ready for harvest for our skin and hair care botanical extracts and hydrosol.

As anyone can tell from previous blogs, I am fascinated with microbiology in general and especially interested in using it to our advantage for cosmetics and toiletries. It's such a pleasure to work with Active Micro Technology and be a part of their cutting edge technology. They have developed techniques to combine the performance of botanical extracts and fermentation products with the natural defense mechanisms employed by microorganisms. The Active Micro Technology line of natural antimicrobials offers cosmetic formulators excellent alternatives to older, traditional cosmetic preservatives.

At The Herbarie, we currently distribute Aspen Bark Extract, Aloe Advanced Leucidal, and Leucidal Liquid. I've worked extensively with Leucidal Liquid and have found it to have excellent antimicrobial efficacy in many of my formulations. The microbiology testing from Botanical Olive Natural Lotion May 2011 batch still look very good. Results have come back
with <1 APC and <10 yeast/mold. The 2009 Natramulsion formula sample still yields the same results. I typically use Leucidal Liquid as the primary antimicrobial, but also include Rosemary Antioxidant CO2 Extract as well as essential oils in my formulas. I'm considering a switch to Leucidal Liquid for some of our hydrosols and other botanical products.

The Aloe Advanced Leucidal utilizes aloe vera and the fermentation process to offer traditonal skin care benefits and antimicrobial characteristics. The only drawback is incompatibility with some materials such as XanThix, Natramulse, Olivem 1000 and also Sugarmulse. Aloe Advanced Leucidal is compatible in Polawax or EmBlend CA 20 formulas as well as in BTMS Conditioning Emulsifier (cationic) formulas. Aloe Advanced Leucidal seems to disrupt the emulsion structure of Olivem 1000 and also Sugarmulse. Anionics (XanThix and Natramulse) also seem to be a problem. We recommend using regular Leucidal Liquid with these materials as there are no compatibility issues.

I've used Aloe Advanced Leucidal in toner formulas and also in formulas with BTMS with great results. I've also been evaluating Bamboo Advanced Leucidal in the same formulas and will likely decide to offer it as well. For those who are interested, I'd be happy to discuss these products - just send me an email:

  • More New Products Coming Soon!

--Avena Oat Extract is an aqueous product that is made from the green oat straw of Avena sativa. Green oat straw contains silicic acid, flavones, triterpenoid saponins, carotenoids and is soothing to dry, flaky, damaged, and itchy skin. Avena Oat Extract is recommended for use in creams and lotions for dry or itchy skin, baby products, and products for mature skin.

--Eyeseryl Solution B is an aqueous product from Lipotec with a proven efficacy in reducing puffy under eye bags. Eyeseryl® Solution B also enhances skin elasticity, skin smoothness and shows a decongesting effect. Eyeseryl® Solution B can be incorporated in cosmetic formulations such as emulsions, gels, serums, etc. where a reduction of puffiness under the eye is desired. I've been using Eyeseryl® Solution B for two weeks and have already noticed a reduction in my under eye puffiness. I am using it at 5% in a simple eye cream made with BTMS Conditioning Emulsifier and plan to continue.

--Melfade PF is an aqueous solution of purified Bearberry Leaf Extract (natural source of arbutin) and a stable Vitamin C derivative (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate). Melfade PF is a product from DSM that has demonstrated good efficacy for skin lightening. In one study, Melfade PF was used at 10% for 3 months and significant skin lightening was demonstrated. As with all skin lightening agents, use of a sunscreen is recommended.

************************************************************************************* Today I am remembering Joy, my little Rufous hummer, since it's been exactly one year since she left my garden. She continues to be a great inspiration for me.

Last Fall, we had another unusual visitor to our garden - a white rabbit! We have no idea where he came from, but he seemed to want to stay close to Tinkerbell, our Dutch Belted bunny who lives under the shelter of the old smoke house. For several weeks, the white rabbit hopped all around the garden, going between Tinkerbell's cage and the warehouse, but he would always spend the night near Tinkerbell. I began to fear for his safety since I knew he would be very easy prey for the many predators that live in the wild.

So after much deliberation, I decided that we would build a house for him. So, we named him Peter Pan and he now lives beside Tinkerbell and seems very happy.

Hippity Hoppity Happy Early Spring from me and the critters at Stoney Hill Farm!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year - 2011!!

During our holiday break, I was so happy to be able to spend time walking in the woods and also working in the garden. As part of the reconstruction of my Secret Garden and big rose and vegetable garden, we are building several pergolas and trellises and privacy screens. I love having roses and other plants growing on pergolas and trellises! They are beautiful and also provide a nice shady spot during our hot summers. Our hardy kiwi are planted on three pergolas in our center garden bed and we have finally built our pond with waterfall!

I'm planning to use beautiful evergreen Camellia sasanqua to create garden "rooms" with paths to tie everything together. In Spring, we'll add water lilies and other plants to our little garden pond. Hopefully this summer the Hardy Kiwi will cover the new pergolas to give us a lush shade.

We've taken advantage of winter dormancy to transplant several roses and other plants to areas where they will be able to grow to their full potential. These winter projects are so much fun!


But now it's great to be back to work after a nice, relaxing holiday with family and friends! I'm pleased to begin 2011 with a superb staff including Andy, Alden, Earl, Jean, Wanda and of course me. Everyone has been hard at work processing orders that came in over the break and most are completed.

On Sunday evening, the big winter storm of the southeast gave us 6 inches of gorgeous, fluffy snow! Here's a picture of little Rose Cottage here on the farm. Earl and Sally and I had fun playing outside and walking in the woods!

It rarely snows in our area and I can't remember having as much as 6 inches in quite a long time. On Monday, the snow turned to sleet and we ended up with 1/2 inch of ice on top of the snow!

Snowy and icy weather will bring most things in the south to a halt - especially in rural areas. Since we aren't equipped to handle this much snow and ice, most schools and businesses simply close. Today is Wednesday and most schools and businesses are still closed. While the interstate is somewhat clear, it's still not really safe to drive. Several of our vendors in Atlanta and Charlotte were closed yesterday because employees could not get in to work.

Stoney Hill Farm is in a very rural area about 4 miles outside of a little town called Prosperity. The back roads in our neck of the woods will never see a snow plow so we have to do the best we can. As one might imagine, this storm has had an impact on our business as well. Earl and I have been working in the warehouse as usual, but other staff could not make it in on Monday. UPS couldn't make it out here either. On Tuesday, Andy and Wanda were able to make it in to work, but UPS still could not make it out to this area. We are hoping UPS will be able to make it out today which is Wednesday. So, this has delayed shipping for all orders that were placed since last Thursday. We are hoping to have our shipping be back on schedule by Thursday or Friday.

Stay Warm and I'll post more later!

Best Wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!