Mum's shed

 Last month I visited Mum.  She was confined to a hospital bed with a broken leg & ankle.

I stayed in her home with my brother Allan who lives in Oz.  One afternoon I poked around in her shed which is full of gardening tools, soil, lawnmowers, paint cans & things long forgotten.

I discovered a box of essential oils in her shed, which had been there for a few seasons.  When I visited her at the hospital I asked if I could have them, as she now has macular degeneration so is beyond using them.  There were no witnesses, but she said yes!

I returned to California excited to use her essential oils in a soap batch...and I did.

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 Mum's 1 box of magnolia essential oil was used to scent the soap batch.  Magnolia costs $72.00 (5ml 1/6oz) & 2 boxes were required.  Lime essential oil was suggested to compliment magnolia so that was added. The soap batch is called "Irene's garden" as she always loved being in her garden.  Last week I returned to Auckland with the curing soaps & asked Mum what she thought of the smell.  She replied she liked it but not a favourite... So "Irene's garden" is a one time batch unless she would like to purchase some more boxes of magnolia essential oil!

Thanks for stopping by, stay in touch and keep it light,


The finest home spun soaps, cushions and poems


All cured and ready for delivery.


This entrepreneur in Portland had  plenty of business when I spotted him yesterday.  He will write the perfect, original poem for you. Choose a topic and tell him how much you will pay.  With a smile on his face he taps on his typewriter as the words flow. The young woman in the photo seemed very delighted when she read her poem.


The bee print, from our collection of "nature cushions" is compliments of the Graphics Fairy

                                             "The Bee is an exquisite chemist"

I hope everything is working out well in your part of the garden.  Thanks for visiting, and as always stay in touch,  LIzzie

Enjoying Boyd Soaps and Designs.

When our handmade soaps are ordered they are wrapped in fabric bags. We have just finished sewing a variety of bags so it was time to change the color of the buttons. The magnificent nasturtium colors inspired the change. I love the nasturtium's brilliant display in the garden so naturally they were the energetic color the soap bags needed.

It has been the perfect time to brighten up all the designs.

Artisans understanding copyright.                        

At Boyd Soaps & Designs we our respectful of the laws and doing things by the book. It came as a surprise a month ago when we were informed that a pillow design was violating the copyright law. It took some research to find out what this meant as the poet's name was printed under the quote.  It was a common quote printed on all types of merchandise.  Copyright law is very specific. Quotes written before 1923 are public domain and can be freely used. After that date, if the quote is on an item for commercial purposes and permission is not given, it is a violation.

We feel most grateful to have found out the easy way.  Just thought you might like to know.


 At Cushion - ologie we are changing pillow cover designs due to the copyright issue. Our research is turning up all kinds of wonderful sayings and ideas. The tree on the pillow cover is complements of the graphics fairy.  It is a magnificent print to enliven any room.

That's it for now folks.  Thanks for visiting and stay in touch, Lizzie.

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"Nature in her green, tranquil woods, heals and soothes all afflictions."   - John Muir


Gathering at Boyd Soaps & Designs.

Life is good. I have just finished a delivery of n.m.boyd soaps.

We are having lights and a new ceiling added to the kitchen.  Our contractor taped thin particle boards over the kitchen floor to protect it.   Looking at all the stains from oils & butters that have spilled during soap making made Dax realize it might be a good idea to keep them down all the time.  Is anyone else as messy as me?

Despite the constant splotches on the floor it is fun mixing ordinary oils and butters together, adding plant colors and fragrances and letting alchemy work its magic to make soap bars. Once it a while when there is an unexpected mess it doesn't seem too magical.. but the adventure continues.


"If soap wont wash it away, try gratitude."

- unknown 

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Your kindness made a difference.

This dance is for  Boyd Jackson . I bought a soap beveler from his etsy shop in February but I have been unable to find replacement blades for it.  I contacted Boyd asking where I could buy the blades.  He helped me out by putting two blades in the mail and said he had included the packet so I could hunt them down. Boyd, take a bow because you have earned it with your generosity and excellent customer service.

That's it for now folks.  Thanks for visiting.  Stay in touch, Lizzie


June days

Making handmade soaps, designing pillow covers and mastering life now seem effortless as our new water well has been drilled. We struck "gold" at 380 feet, which is a new depth for the area. Many people have dry wells in northern California. We are very grateful knowing we now have enough water for a long time.

Yesterday I listened to a TED talk on the radio. It was given by a brilliant story teller Boyd Varty  He was raised on a game reserve in South Africa. His mission is to bring the order and replenishment of nature to help us navigate modern life. His memoir "Cathedral of the Wild," is my next read. I became very excited as I listened to him, as one of our latest pillow covers has a magnificent depiction of the inter-connectedness of nature.

This magnificent color plate of the web of life and light was compliments of the British Museum

Photographer, Jane King carefully adjusted the color so Boyd Soaps & Designs could use it on their pillow cover.

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Thanks for stopping by & visiting.

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These flowers are for you. Enjoy them and stay in touch, Lizzie


Honey & dandelion soap.

I recently purchased the Nerdy Farm Wife's book "Natural Soap Making." I couldn't wait to try her honey & dandelion soap recipe 

I had been protecting the beautiful dandelions from the heat, lawn mover and all toxins. Today it's 98 °F (26 °C) and later in the week, it is expected to be 108 °F (42 °C). The heat was the perfect excuse to pick them and make dandelion tea!

I really enjoyed making this soap. I have been checking on it over the last couple of days, and today, I finally cut the magnificent yellow soap log into bars. I can't wait for this one to cure as I know it will be beautiful to use.


Many thanks to the Nerdy Farm Wife for sharing her dandelion soap recipe and for all her DIY recipes for soaps, salves, tinctures, bath products, body lotions and herbal remedies that she so generously shares.

Her gorgeous photos of flowers and herbs from her garden are stunning, as is her knowledge of plants and their power.

Stay well & keep in touch, Lizzie


"Does this spark joy?" Marie Kondo.

I never thought after all these years I would need to read a book about how to sort through "stuff", however Genevieve told us about a book she claimed was very helpful. She was correct. One technique is to hold the item up & ask," Does this spark joy?"  Dax was excited so he purchased Marie Kondos book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." It was a spark indeed as lots of unemotional clearing out followed. & we intend to to keep going. 

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 Recently while returning from Oregon I spotted a family who  had embraced a simplistic lifestyle. On top of their "home" (a bus they had turned into a piece of art ) was their chicken coop). This certainly is a new definition for free range chickens & I counted 2. Hopefully they were chickens & not roosters.  Unfortunately I can't acknowledge who this free spirited family are, but I am sure they are well known in Southern Oregon. Maybe after all our cleaning out & downsizing the gypsy in Dax & I may entertain the idea of mimicking the free range life! We still have plenty of paint in the garage boasting all kinds of beautiful colors. 

Thanks for visiting, Keep in touch, Lizzie


"Soap making Naturally."

In Whole Foods last week, I discovered Bev Missing's book, "Soap Making Naturally."  I bought it as there were some soaping techniques I just had to try. I loved Bev's story behind her brand RAIN- what an inspiring story that continues! On Monday, I tried her column pour technique using a Pringles container (the best part was eating the crisps!). The circular patterns are created by pouring the soap mixture over a cardboard triangle inserted at the top of the container. It was a long 3 days before I could take it out. Tah dah!

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Thanks for stopping by. All the best, Lizzie.

Spring is here !

Spring has arrived and she is magnificent.The last couple of rainy days have resulted in the most brilliant green everywhere.The verdant landscape will be a very temporary visitor as the summer temperatures soar & everything unwatered will be yellow. For now it is magnificent & energizing. All nature is budding while inside Boyd Soaps & Designs have been sensing this spring fever. We are busily making new pillow covers & using some beautiful photos & prints that have been shared by very talented & generous artists. Many thanks to photographer Jane King for sharing this gorgeous photo below of her daughter frolicking in their meadow in Oregon.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say,"I used up everything you gave me."  -Erma Bombeck

Check out Jane King's beautiful Airbnb on the Oregon coast here:

Coloring soaps with wheat grass.

Jean Baitallilon accurately quoted that "Really we create nothing.We merely plagiarize nature."  It feels so comfortable to be a copy cater & try to replicate nature's colors,especially now in spring when all is so fresh, vibrant & alive . We love to color our soaps green,and we tried to find the perfect lasting green. We have added spirulina,green clay,wheat grass,ground parsley,chlorella powder,olive leaf powder& moringa powder. It is exciting to watch the shades of green when the batch is first poured & then the color at curing 4-6 weeks later. Sometimes we think we have outsmarted nature & mastered the'trick 'for keeping the color stable.....but like all green in nature it slowly fades & the color becomes yellow. Seeing all the green outside fired us to try once again to captivate it our soap. We scanned the soap making books & googled how to keep the green green.  "The Soap Queen" explained the technique in an informative tutorial, on putting soaps through the gel phase. We had the solution..At the perfect time wheat grass was added for coloring. We poured at higher temperatures & wrapped the batch in a blanket as directed for this process. Tah dah! What a  stunning green, however we will enjoy it for now,  as we know in nature & life that "all things shall pass."

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