Little did I know that when I joined Etsy to sell, I would soon become a die-hard homemade soap addict. Handmade soaps rock! They are so much better for your skin than store-bought brands, they don't dry out your skin like regular soap, and you don't need a translator to read the list of ingredients. And, most importantly...you don't holler like a banshee if some of the lather gets in your eyes. Makes you wonder what's in those storebought soaps, doesn't it?
I've purchased from a variety of talented Etsy soap sellers. And...I would buy from many of them again. But I keep coming back to the same seller: MapleHillFarm. Please do check out this wonderful shop: http://www.maplehillfarm.etsy.com/. I can assure you, you are in for a treat.
Lynn Culver of maplehillfarm is quite the amazing lady. In my book, she ranks as a master soap maker. As soon as I tried her soaps, I knew they were different than any other handmade soap I had tried. Lynn's soaps are highly fatted with extra olive oil, which results in a very moisturizing soap. The difference is quite noticeable! And the lather is a creamy, lotiony lather that is very skin pampering. That is why I have taken the "lather, rinse, repeat" mantra to new levels. ("Why no, honey...I have no idea why our water bill is so much higher now!") ;-)
One of the reasons why I like Lynn's soaps so much is that they are highly fragranced. But not in a you-just-fell-into-a-vat-of-rose-oil-what-in-the-world-are-you-wearing sort of way, but in a you-smell-amazing-what-are-you-wearing sort of way. You WANT these fragrances to stay with you!
Let's meet Lynn.
She's a doll, isn't she? And....she homeschools her five kids. (Did I mention she's amazing?)
I sat down with (well, okay, I convoed) Lynn a few days ago and interviewed her. Here goes:
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF:
My name is Lynn Culver. I'm a soap maker from Clio, Michigan. Clio is just north of Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors Corporation. As a young, single woman I pursued an MBA and worked as a production supervisor for GM. Most everyone I knew worked for GM in those days. About the time that I finished my MBA, I married, quit work, and began a family. Steve, a graphic designer, and I now have five children - 18,16, 15, 12, and 7, whom we have always home schooled.
WHAT GOT YOU STARTED IN SOAP MAKING, AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IT?
We chose a country lifestyle and bought a little stone cottage on ten acres. We filled it with antique flowers and vegetables, sunflower houses, chickens, and kids. An elderly woman had lived in the house since it was built in 1934 and she had surrounded it with hollyhocks and herbs. I had never grown anything in my life but immediately became hooked on herbs and flowers - particularly the antique varieties like hollyhocks, cosmos, cleome, and sweet peas. I got stacks of books from the library to learn about them, and one of the books introduced herbal soap making. Always a romantic, I loved the idea of using beautiful herbs while learning a historic craft. I've been a soap maker ever since - about ten years now.
WHAT DO YOU FIND IS THE MOST FULFILLING THING ABOUT MAKING SOAP?
Living in a household of artists - hubby, a graphic designer, and kids who draw, sing, play instruments etc.. - I never thought of myself as artistic. But soap making is different somehow. It allows me to have a creative outlet - even though I am only capable of drawing stick figures!
WHAT WAYS WOULD YOU LIKE TO EXPAND YOUR CRAFT?
I would like to expand my craft by offering body butters in some of the soap scents and creating more gift set choices. I also make lip balms and need to get those listed on my web site as well. I would also like to sell my laundry soap in bulk to make it more economical and to start selling soap flakes for cleaning again. So much to do!
Out of all of Lynn's soaps, this one is my favorite: Mineral Salt Spa. Be sure and grab a bar or two of this soap; the fragrance is SO clean and fresh! Just be sure and leave me some. Otherwise, I might have to hurt you.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR SHOP?
I really don't have a favorite item. Since I am so indecisive, I usually have about six bars of soap in the shower at one time. That way I can use a different one each day! (Jeannie: She sounds just like me! My husband is always hollering that there's no room for his Dial. Sooner or later, I will edge that soap right OUTTA HERE!)
WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING SOAP OR HOMESCHOOLING, HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
When I am not making soap or homeschooling, I'm reading, gardening, cooking, knitting, running, or helping hubby restore our turn-of-the-century farmhouse. We moved from the stone cottage four years ago and now live in a big, old house in a grove of maple trees - hence, the Maple Hill Farm name. If I had a whole day to spend at home, I'd choose to make soap, of course. And I would also like to take a walk around the farm through the mounds of yellow leaves.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, SHARE WITH US ONE FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I have a twin sister who is also an Etsian and fellow sheteam member - Beth Roy, of Wired Vintage
Well, there you have it. If you have ever wondered about homemade soaps, do try out Lynn's shop. I've ordered from her several times, and each time I try a different soap. They all are so wonderful! I've given them as gifts many times, and I always hear rave reviews about them.
Gotta go...I hear a shower calling my name.