Saturday, May 15, 2010

French Milled Soap

Since opening the store I have become such a fan of 'French Milled Soap". When a new order of soap arrives, I love opening the boxes to release that wonderful sweet fragrance. What is French Milled or Triple Milled Soap you ask? The triple milling process was developed by French soap makers in the 1700s and thus receives its alternate name, French milled soap. The French people are one of the staunch supporters of aromatherapy. In fact the known originator of aromatherapy in the modern times is a Frenchman. They believed in the healing properties of aromatics from essential oils, herbs, spices and other alternative ways of achieving good health. It is no surprise then the French had innovated plenty of products related to aromatherapy, not just with candles but soap as well. Hence the French soap was born. Triple milled soaps, or French milled soaps, are made of a typical combination of a fatty acid (oil or fat) in reaction with lye (sodium hydrochloride). After the soap is made, it is dried into crystals, then rolled at least three times between large stainless steel rollers until a paste is formed. The paste is then pressed into soap molds, and triple milled soap is created. The triple milling process allows for soap that is completely uniform and smooth, without impurities, and is longer lasting than other types of soap produced.
One line of French Soap that I carry in the store is from "Mistral". Hand-crafted in the heart of Provence, France, Mistral soaps are made according to a three-hundred year old tradition of purity and excellence. Following a time honored know-how, or "savoir-faire," they produce the finest triple milled soaps in the world by carefully selecting the highest quality oils of olive, palm or coconut and combining them with skin-softening African shea butter, renowned for its protective, rejuvenating properties. Their quality craftsmanship produces pure vegetable soaps praised for a rich lather, silky texture, and exquisite fragrance.


Soon to arrive is one of my favorites from Mistral called "Lilac of May". This soap smells like you just picked a fresh bouquet right off the tree.
If you would like to reserve a bar for yourself just email me or call me at the store.   

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lily of the Valley....a May Day Tradition in France

The French tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers (Muguet-du-Bois) on May Day is believed  to have begun on May 1st, 1561, when King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year. History does not record who it was that presented the king with this perfumed gift, but he took a shine to this idea and began the custom of presenting lily-of-the-valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1st. From around 1900, it became traditional in France for men to present a bouquet of lily-of-the-valley flowers to their sweethearts to express their love and affection. Nowadays “muguet” flowers are also given as a general token of appreciation between close friends and family members as a way to wish them good luck and happiness for the year ahead.  

Hello Bonjour....

Well this is my first attempt at blogging! It's been quite a year and a half for me. I retired from the Federal Government after 34 years and in October 2006, I started a new retail store called "French Vanilla Home and Garden". In July 2007 I launched my store's e-commerce website and now this....blogging! Who would have thought! Has it been challenging?....a bit, stressful?.... some days, rewarding?....most definitely! I love owning my own retail store, filling it with things I love and helping my customers find that perfect item or gift! I am enjoying this new phase of my life and look forward to learning new things, having new adventures and making new friends along the way!

Sheila
(established July/2008)