Archive for the ‘DIY Personal Care Products and Projects’ Category

 handmade lotion making
I’ve received a number of questions about handmade lotion. Today, I am sharing portions of these conversations with you.

Is lotion difficult to make? 

No, no, and no.

For years, I made soap and nothing more.  I had this idea that lotion making would be extremely difficult to grasp. It ended up being so easy. My thoughts were, what took me so long to do this?

The mixing of water and oil…

So, how does water mix with oil? An emulsion is a suspension of water and oil, and to obtain this perfect blend that does not separate, an “emulsifier” is added to the formula. 

Does all-natural lotion require a preservative? 

Yes! Trust me, I attempted to make lotion without a “real” preservative. The green nasties wasted no time in turning my skin-nourishing lotion into something that looked and smelled (and was) toxic. Who wants mold smeared on their skin? If you sell your products, you definitely do not want that liability.

What else can I do to keep the nasties out of my lotion formula?

Speaking of formula preservation. Scruptulously clean, sanitized equipment and containers, is a must first-step in lotion making. 

Always use DISTILLED water in a water-based formula. Both tap and bottled water contains contaminants. These contaminants compromise the safety of your lotion formula, and may also lead to inconsistent results from batch to batch. 

Pour before the lotion batch cools down…

When I initially set out on my lotion crafting journey I made 16 ounce batches at a time. This is one of joys of making your own cosmetics. By using simple math, you can made a 4 ounce bottle of lotion or face cream, or 16 ounces (pick your size), in no-time flat. I often made 110-pound batches of lotion in my soap studio. I used a large stainless steel stock pot and a commercial stick blender (which weighted in at 26 pounds). Tip to eliminate pouring woes when making large sized batches: pour as soon as soon as blending is complete. When lotion cools down it may become difficult to pour.

What else can I tell you?

You know, one of my joys in life is to teach others. To be helpful. So, this is why I wrote a simple lotion making book, Essential Lotion Making: Skin Care Made Easy, to share what I have learned with you. 

Okay, final thoughts of wisdom here, can you match the absolute truth of knowing what you put on your own skin? Your skin is the largest organ of your body, treat it with love!

(Please note: lotion is considered a cosmetic. The sale of cosmetics is governed in the United States by the FDA,      http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/default.htm. I also outlined basic labeling, testing, and other requirements and safety recommendations in my book.)

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indexEssential Lotion Making: Skin Care Made Easy has published! The paperback is available (here), and the Kindle is listed (here).

After I made soap for a number of years I purchased pre-made lotion bases in bulk because I thought lotion making was going to be too difficult to tackle. Lotion formulating ended up being less difficult than soap making. This lead to the writing of this book, to teach others how easy lotion making really is.

I included a list of the most common preservatives in this book, in answer to the many questions I have received, as well as how to make and preserve goat milk lotion.

Handmade cosmetics are so good for the skin…and a big part of that reason is when we know what goes into the bottle, we also know what we are putting on our precious skin!

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start writing www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie may not have goats in the barn at this point, and she is only in the thinking stages of returning to soap making, but she is definitely glued to some major tasks – book writing!

Update on my books:

Annie’s All About Goats is in the hands of my trusted, talented and extremely appreciated editing team! Progress!

Annie’s lotion making book is approximately 80% complete. In this book I teach the simple process of basic lotion making for the crafty person that wishes to personally benefit from their own made-from-scratch lotion, with goat milk as an ingredient as well. If that were all that I wanted to include in this book, however, the manuscript would be finished. I am in the process of adding product information for people that desire to sell lotions and creams as a business. I have also included my Annie’s Goat Hill formula in the book, which is a creamy viscous lotion that easily squeezes out of thicker pump tubes. A former customer said, “This is goat milk cream!”

Annie also has a youth fiction book which is in the advanced stages of completion. The antics of those two kids! Need I say more?

At this point, I’ll not go into detail about my other book projects – most of which are handwritten on notebook paper and in journals.

Let me know if you have any questions…and look for my books to come!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps…Where You Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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essential oil safety, aromatherapy www.anniesgoathill.com

Be careful…be very careful.

I am speaking out about formulas, recipes and instructions that I’ve seen in print – over the internet (Facebook, social media in general, soap making lists), and in books that I’ve downloaded, that have included very poor and/or misinformation about essential oil use.

So, today I am sharing a compilation of basic truths that I feel cannot be expressed enough.


  • Essential oils are not safe for ingestion! Do not drink them, and do not include them in your food.
  • Essential oils cannot be derived from each and every species of plant. Other than citrus, a fruit scented liquid that is labeled essential oil is not so! A fruit scented oil (such as strawberry, blueberry, banana, apple, coconut, etc…) is a fragrance oil.
  • Essential oils should not be applied neat (oils must always be diluted – normally with a carrier oil – before applying to the skin).
  • Essential oils must be used with caution – and even more so with the elderly, people that are sick or weak, and children. Use extra caution, or avoid usage altogether, on infants and animals.
  • An absolute diluted in a carrier oil does not equate to a pure essential oil. (Example: Vanilla is in its best form as an absolute. It does not distill well as an essential oil. Vanilla absolute can be diluted with a carrier oil, but the result is NOT to be labeled as pure essential oil). 
  • Any book that teaches essential oil blending, aromatherapy, or the formulating of products that contain essential oils, should include safe usage instructions and warnings.
  • Your nose knows! When an aromatherapist is in training, oils are studied by the book (chemistry make up and how the oil is derived), and through scent. The trained nose becomes familiar with good oils (oils that have not been adulterated). Trust your nose! If you suspect that an oil is not as labeled, you are more than likely correct. Do not use an oil that smells “off”.

Please help protect the freedom we have to use these oils. Misuse and misinformation will speed the boat up that could carry regulation to our doors, or worse, someone could die or become very sick. Stop the dreaded words, “It is natural, so what can it hurt?” It can hurt much…natural does not equate to safe or non-toxic.


My background: I am a base level aromatherapist. I took a course through a well-known school, completed projects with actual people, made formulas and products, took a detailed final exam, and received a certificate. Even at that, this does not make me an expert. I have a good understanding of the basics of aromatherapy – safety, usage and chemistry.

Annie’s Goat Hill, Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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reversable apron, crocheting www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie’s is not dead. Sound like a familiar movie title? Well … Annie’s Is Not Dead!

Annie’s Goat Hill currently does not have goats on the apartment patio, nor does it have fresh soap in the (non-existent) spare room…but Annie’s is alive and kicking.

Annie (Mary Humphrey – myself) has authored books (Essential Soapmaking and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery), along with stories she contributed to the Selah Press anthology 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope, all of these books are available on her blogs, and on her Amazon.com author page. She’s also polishing her first edition, soon to be published, of Annie’s All About Goats. Behind this writing project is the first draft completed of Jackson and Delilah’s Adventures, a fiction youth novel. Devotionals follow suit, which are in the stage of notes written in pen and ink. There may also be books from the kitchen, because this woman can cook. Did you know that? She cooks from scratch and follows the little-bit-of-this-and-that method.

Soap creation and sales may return to the agenda in late 2014. Can you imagine creamy, skin loving goat milk soap once again coming from Annie’s studio? It just might happen.

What you absolutely have not heard about, until today, is Creative Expressions by Annie. You know, she thrives on creativity – writing, DIY personal care products, sewing, crocheting, soap making, aromatherapy and crafts that work all of these things together. The photo above is a sample of things to come – a series of blog posts that she hopes inspires you to new (or renew) your passions. The world is full of beautiful things…and the freedom to use your imagination!

“In this time of ‘information overload’, people do not need more information. They want a story they can relate to.”  – Maarten Schafer

Annie’s Goat Hill – Smell and Feel the Goodness!


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www.anniesgoathill.com coconut oil

I plunked my money down on a name brand skin care product that promised nightly renewal with rich vitamins and skin-nutritional ingredients. What did I get? A heavy cream that absorbed quickly, but without any noticeable softness or sign of skin rejuvenation. In fact, after several weeks of use I developed peeling patches on either side of my nose. My skin was dryer than before I used the product!

I always keep a jar of organic coconut oil in my pantry. Coconut oil is healthy for cooking, is great for seasoning pans (or as a coating to prevent sticking), and I use it for one more thing – my bulldog’s dry nose. Seriously! I keep a small container of coconut oil in my dog care kit. I apply a small dab to his nose when I routinely clean his folds and ears. I am sure the coconut oil is healthier than the much more expensive petroleum-based salves and ointments made for bully noses.

A few weeks ago I dabbed coconut oil on my dry skin patches. It melted luxuriously and immediately felt soothing. Then I applied a small amount to my face, and to my hair as a leave-in overnight conditioner. It left my hair looking oily, but it washed out beautifully the following morning, with a noticeable soft result.

After I experienced a difference in my skin condition, I decided to take it a step further by swirling up (hand stirring) a batch of my own natural coconut oil skin care moisturizer…simple!!!

Mature Skin Moisturizer

6 ounces of organic coconut oil (white solid that melts at 76 degrees)

1-2 drops each of the the following oils which are well-known for mature skin care – elasticity, wrinkles, and dryness

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) can be drying, use 1 drop

Rose (Rosa damascena) cell regeneration

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) anti-inflammatory, can be drying, use 1 drop

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrh)

Cedarwood (Cedra atlantica) can be drying, use 1 drop

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Unfortunately, I did not have Neroli (Citrus aurantium) and Carrot seed (Daucas carota) oils in my possession. Add 1-2 drops each for additional nourishing and anti-aging properties.

Store in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, in a cool area to prevent melting of the product.

This formula does leave a healthy glimmer to the skin. It does not create an oil-slicked look and feel, but that also depends upon the dryness of your skin and the amount of moisturizer applied. A small amount is all that is needed.

The scent of this formula is not overpowering. I personally cannot tolerate fragrance. I have to cover my nose as I walk through the detergent aisle in a store! I can live with pure unadulterated essential oils…but I cannot tolerate a hint of fragrance. If you are sensitive to fragrance, are you also sensitive to fragrance free products? I am. I believe I am sensitive to the chemicals that are used to mask the ingredient odors, fragrance or not. If this is also your situation, you might consider eliminating fragrance from your life entirely – and go with products that are as natural as possible.

Note: When working with essential oils, always test the formula for allergies and sensitivities by applying a small amount to a patch of skin before applying to larger areas. I test for allergic reactions on the soft skin inside my elbow.

Some oils are photosensitive, meaning, they can cause an adverse reaction or sensitivity when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Avoid using any skin care products containing these oils (do your research beforehand) if you are going to be exposed to sunlight.

I have a foundation level certificate in aromatherapy, I am not a licensed practitioner. I am telling you this because I do not want you to dabble in essential oils without knowing your stuff. Essential oils can be dangerous! Natural does not mean safe! Natural can be toxic, especially when essential oils are either not diluted in a carrier oil (1% is a great start), or if the oils are taken internally.

Do not blindly use essential oils on young children, pets, pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone suffering from a health condition! Leave it to trained professionals.


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Many of us need a second or third (in addition to a first) income stream to make financial ends meet.

Thankfully, starting a small business does not always require the investment of thousands of dollars.

Right off the top of my head I think of a soap making or beauty product business. Begin with research – look at other small businesses in the industry, study how to make soap or beauty products, determine where to purchase supplies, and ask yourself where you will sell your product and determine your pricing (how you will make a profit).

Start small, and place your profits back into your business. Continue on a small scale, do not spend money on unnecessary supplies. With a much loved product, like hand-made soap, it will not be long before you turn your business into an income producer.

Other small start-up businesses that do not require a fat bank account or additional funding: baking, cooking, cleaning, writing (blogging, books, editing), delivery service, personal trainer, personal shopper and/or errand runner, farmer’s markets (hand-made items, home grown, resale). The list is endless, depending upon your personal interests, willingness to work hard, and your initial investment.

Always consider your local business codes, laws, and insurance requirements.

I urge people, especially women that want to work from home, to give entrepreneurship a try. I strongly believe God gave each of us talents, gifts, that we may never realize if we do not let go, let Him, help us branch out.

After a decade of owning small businesses, I can tell you my experiences have been rewarding, challenging, fruitful, wisdom gaining, and I continue to take on more avenues that keep me independent with additional streams of income. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Freedom!

Email me if you have any questions about starting a soap making or small business. I also recommend:

Books by Selah Press, Kayla Fioravanti, How to Self-Publish, DIY Kitchen Chemistry, The Art, Science and Business of Aromatherapy, Melt & Pour Soap Base From Scratch

Books and business coaching by Bath and Body Academy, Alyssa Middleton, as well as her most recent Kindle book, 12 Revenue Streams for Your Bath and Body Business (Beauty Business Basics), in which she shares additional ways to expand a beauty business to bring in additional revenue streams. I highly recommend this book to people entering the handmade bath and personal product industry, and to business owners in need of fresh ideas for their existing businesses.

I offer two books, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton, the first of which helps you get started in soap making, along with the business basics, Essential Soapmaking, and Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, which focuses on progressive methods of soapmaking.

Before I began to write books, and before I shifted my motto to Share, Encourage and Grow (blogging both here and at www.hispasturepress.com), one book made an incredible impact on me, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, by Laurie Beth Jones. After reading the book, I developed a precisely clear vision of my life and work mission.

I also recommend the Indie Business Network (IBN), especially their social site where both well-versed and budding entrepreneurs share in the discussion forum. IBN serves the handmade and beauty industry with an enormous amount of support for their paid members (including liability insurance).

I look forward to your comments, especially if you list additional resources for budding entrepreneurs (even outside of the handmade beauty industry).

Share, Encourage, and Grow!

Mary Humphrey



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Advanced Soap Making; Removing the Mystery www.anniesgoathill.com

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton of Vintage Body Spa.

Coverage from our Amazon.com page, where the book is available, “Enter the world of progressive soap making through Advanced Soap Making: Removing the Mystery. As if you were attending one of their private classes, the authors, Mary Humphrey and Alyssa Middleton lead you through step-by-step instructions, tips and formulas: * How to create unique soap formulas and size the formula to any mold * How to make luxurious goat milk soap * How to beautifully swirl and layer * How to blend natural scents like a pro * How to embed and rebatch natural soaps You will also gain extensive knowledge of common and exotic soap making oils, butters, herbs, unique liquids, hardeners and waxes. The glossary and resource guide erase any remaining advanced soap making doubts with easy to read terminology and locations to shop for ingredients, packaging and other soap making needs.”

My personal goat milk soap making techniques are included in the book, as well as the formula that I follow. Goat milk soap, including most made from scratch soaps, are worth every penny you either put (or pay) into them! Learning how to make the soap yourself really does pay off – for the health of your skin!

If you are new at soap making, or even if you are more experienced, I feel you will find this book to be a great resource.

Happy reading, and happy soaping!


Share, Encourage, and Grow

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diy plarn rug www.anniesgoathill.com

I am enthused with the early results of  my latest project, a crocheted outdoor mat made solely from recycled plastic bags cut into strips (plarn).

I’ve seen various instructions online for these types of projects, but I opted to be stubborn and begin this do-it-yourself project without a set pattern. You know how it is, instructions tend to confuse me. You too?

Materials needed:

  • plastic bags (grocery, bread, or shopping bags of fairly equal thickness)
  • scissors
  • aluminum crochet hook size N  – 9.000 MM


  1. Cut the bottom off of bags
  2. Cut the bags into strips  (plastic yarn = plarn) 3/4” wide medium-thin plastic, up to 1 1/4” wide very thin plastic (cut one continuous strip from each bag  – picture an apple peeled in one spiral strip)
  3. Chain plarn (to desired length or width of rug)
  4. Single crochet in each chain
  5. Chain one
  6. Single crochet in each single crochet
  7. Repeat steps 5 -6 until desired length (or width) of rug is obtained

I plan to single crochet around the outer edges of the finished rug, and I might add a decorative fringe.

I’ll post updates as the rug progresses.

What do you think? Do you like it too?

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dish cloth pattern www.anniesgoathill.com

I’ve picked up a hobby between book writing. So far, I have crocheted a stack of dish cloths.

They are 100% cotton, which I love. They are machine washable and dryable.

I appreciate the pattern because it provides texture, which is always helpful when cleaning up messes or hand washing dishes.

Did I mention, they are easy to make? Isn’t that a plus?

They make great gifts, which is why I’ve needed to make more since my prior post.

Here’s another photo of some of the color varieties that I’ve made –

hand made dish cloths #2 www.anniesgoathill.com


crochet hook, size H/8, 5.00 MM

100% cotton yarn, approximately 1.75 ounces per finished dish cloth, worsted, 4 ply


13 dc and 6 1/2 rows –  ins (10 cm)

Stitch Types

sl st (slip stitch)

ch (chain)

sc (single crochet)

dc (double crochet)


Ch 5. Join with sl st to form a ring

1st round

Ch 3 (counts as dc). (Ch 2, 4 dc) 3 times in ring. Ch 2. Join with sl st to top of ch 3.

2nd round

Ch 3 (counts as dc). 1dc in each of next 3 dc (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch-2 space. *1 dc in each of the next  4 dc (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch-2 space. Repeat from * twice more. join with sl st to top of ch 3.

3rd to 8th rounds

Ch 3 (counts as dc). *1 dc in each dc to next ch-2 space (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in next ch-2 space. Repeat from * 3 times more. 1 dc in each dc to end of round. Join with sl st to top of ch 3.

9th round

Ch 1. 1 sc in each dc around, having 3 sc in corner ch-2 spaces. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

You can also find these instructions inside the sleeve of the Peaches and Cream brand 100% cotton yarn –

handmade discloth www.anniesgoathill.com

Next, I plan to delve into place mats, followed by throw rugs. If you know of some great (and simple) patterns, let me know.

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