Tuesday, November 30, 2010
We carry two handmade beer soaps, Amber Ale Soap made from Widmer's Drop Top Amber Ale, and IPA Soap, made from Widmer's Broken Halo IPA. The idea of beer soap is off-putting to many people because they don't want to emerge from the shower smelling like they've been knocking back a few. The truth is that most beer soaps have a subdued scent similar to fresh baked bread, and little or no fragrance will linger after rinsing. If you've ever visited a brewpub and smelled the blend of yeast and hops, you have an idea of what most beer soaps will smell like. Our beer soaps are not novelties: beer is a logical ingredient to use in soaps. It has antimicrobial properties, suds well (of course!), and provides an appealing color and fragrance. Our beer soaps qualify as natural soaps as there are no sythetic ingredients. They make cool offbeat gifts, but I also urge anyone who wants a nice handmade soap that lathers exceptionally well to give beer soap a try.
We have dozens of gifts that won't break the bank, ranging from Iwako erasers starting at $.99 to beautiful African baskets at $19.99. Felted soaps make a perfect stocking stuffer and are beautiful, fragrant, and useful. This recycled silk hat is only $17.99, and we have plenty of other great hats from Nepal for the same price. The bamboo clutch pictured here comes in multiple colors and is a steal at $14.95. The list goes on: beautiful chopsticks for $1.99-$2.49, sea salt scrub bars for $5.99, Kenyan ox bone necklaces for $19.99, and much, much more. To find more great deals, choose a category on our website and select an option under Shop by Price on the left side of your screen.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Natural soaps by definition contain no artificial ingredients. Some of our Tango Zulu brand soaps qualify as natural, others don't. Here's what they all have in common: they are handmade with all natural vegetable oils, lye, shea butter, and in some cases a natural colorant. Some contain additional natural ingredients, including sugar, oatmeal, anise powder, dried lavender, and many other items to add fragrance, visual appeal, or texture. What separates our natural soaps from the others is the fragrance. We use synthetic fragrances for some of our soaps because it is simply not possible to get every fragrance in the form of a natural essential oil. A great example is our Plum Spice soap, which is our best selling soap. There is no such thing as plum essential oil, so we use a synthetic fragrance that is non-toxic and accounts for less than 2% of the soap.
We're also very much aware that many people wish to avoid even small amounts of synthetic products in their skin care, and we're proud to carry several varieties of natural soaps. Our beer soaps are fantastic. Beer is naturally antimicrobial, and as you know from watching it foam, it lathers up just fine! Beer soap tends to have a scent similar to fresh baked bread, and the color ranges from golden amber to rich dark red - depending, of course, on the type of beer used. We also carry peppermint natural soap, which is singularly invigorating and refreshing. Our lavender soap is a natural soap as well, and it looks beautiful and smells divine. For an ultra mild, fragrance-free natural soap, try our olive oil soap. We also always include at least one natural sea salt scrub bar in the rotation - currently Ginger Citrus and Peppermint.
Long story short, if we only carried natural soaps we couldn't provide all the fragrances people expect and love. However, even our soaps with synthetic fragrances are far closer to a true natural soap than the vast majority of mass produced soaps.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Felted wool soaps have arrived, freshly made, fragrant, and beautiful! For those who aren't familiar with them, felted wool soaps are simply soaps that have been wrapped in sheep's wool. When the soap gets wet, it lathers up through the felted wool, which exfoliates as it cleans. The wool shrinks as the soap diminishes, and when the soap is all gone you can keep the wool as a scrub cloth, or cut a slit in it and insert a new soap. We think ours rival anyone's in terms of price and quality. The soap is the same great quality handmade soap made by the cold process method as our other Tango Zulu brand soaps. I think a great holiday gift idea is a small flower Bolga basket with a few felted wool soaps in it!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Our African basket collection has grown large enough to warrant its own category on the website, so you will now see an African Baskets section with subcategories by style, such as Market Baskets and Oval Baskets. We still have a catch-all Handwoven Baskets subcategory under home and Garden that encompasses all the African baskets as well as those from other areas, like our Thai water hyacinth baskets and our felted wool baskets from Nepal, seen here.