Colonial Craft Show: Mixing Business and Education

Colonial Craft Show: Mixing Business and Education

Colonial Craft Show

Our family honey bee and beeswax product business finds us at farmers’ markets most Saturdays from spring through early fall, and at some amazing craft shows after that. This past September we were juried into Penn’s Colony, in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania for the Colonial Craft Show. The really unique aspect of this craft show is that all the vendors dressed in colonial period costumes (1750s-1770s) and most performed a demonstration of their craft. The attraction for us was both financial and educational.

Learning from History

Leading up to the craft show, I sewed each member of our family a colonial costume, complete with a jabot and tricorn hat. I revamped our canopy to resemble an 18th century tent. We did unit studies on the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. This included creative writing assignments entailing life as an American spy, and reading about key political figures, such as George Washington. We also included historical fiction boos such as Johnny Tremain. My husband even threatened taxation without representation within our “family government” to help them understand the anger and frustration the colonist felt. The boys came away with a real interest and hunger to learn more about this time period.

While at the craft show, the boys witnessed glass blowing, weaving, spinning, woodworking, colonial artifacts, period music, historic entertainment, and battle re-enactments. Because we spent a total of four days as a vendor, the boys had plenty of time to soak it all in. In between selling on the weekend, we were able to do a little touring and visited places that George Washington had traveled through. This included a visit to Murdering Town, where Washington was shot at in an altercation leading up to the French and Indians War. The trip also afforded us the opportunity to learn about geography as we traveled, visited a few other historical sites, and learned about the geology and biology of that area of Pennsylvania. We even had time for swimming, canoeing, hiking, and a few games of tag.

The boys also interacted with our customers, telling them about our products, and using our observation hive to teach them about honey bees. They also did quick mental arithmetic to add up orders and make change. Most of these interactions ended with out customers being thoroughly impressed with the boys’ knowledge, manners, and communication skills.

More Memories to be Made

Working side by side next to our boys is profitable in so many ways. Bee Lovely Botanicals™ did well, but I think the lessons the boys learned and the opportunity to work, play, and learn together was the real treasure we found. We are excited to be able to have the opportunity to journey back to Saxonburg, Pennsylvania to make more amazing memories at this year’s Colonial Craft Show September 16-17 and 23-24.


So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So what is Cold Process Soap, anyway?

Cold process soap is made the old fashioned way with oils, water, and lye. It is a very exact science. Too much lye, and your soap is dangerous, too little, and you’ve got an ooey gooey mess.

All the heat of this reaction is intrinsic, meaning it comes from the reaction itself. Because no heat is added, it’s relatively slow, as in it takes at least 4 weeks for a batch of natural soap to cure! During the curing process, all of the lye is used up breaking down oils, and water is slowly evaporated, leaving a gentle, hard bar of soap. It takes patience to do cold process soap right!!

Activated charcoal propolis complexion soap

Activated Charcoal + Propolis Complexion Soap

Hydrolysis is oils being broken down by lye.

Fatty acids, such as coconut oil, palm oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter are being hydrolyzed, or broken down by the lye water. We always leave a little bit of the oils intact to help moisturize skin. It’s cool to be super fat when you’re a bar of soap! Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the saponification (soap making) reaction, and boosts lather and moisturizes skin.

These broken fatty acids end up with a water loving end (hydrophilic) and an oil loving end (hydrophobic). The way true soap works is the oil loving end grabs onto dirt and germs. The water loving end grabs a hold of the water as the soap is rinsed off, taking those bad boys for a wild ride down the drain.

Cold Process Soap with Calendula Petals

Calendula Bar Soap to help decrease the appearance of redness.

Cold Process Soap is Natural Soap.

Cold process soap differs from synthetic detergents in its ability to grab a hold of oils. Synthetic detergents, such as dish soap, and some liquid hand soaps and shampoos are very good at removing oils. A little too good, as they tend to strip skin of its natural oils and could leave your skin dry and itchy.

Cold Process Soap with oatmeal, honey, yogurt, and slippery elm

Oatmeal, Honey, Slippery Elm Bark, and Yogurt Powder make this bar great for sensitive skin.

Cold Process Soap is nothing like Melt and Pour Soap.

Just a little pet peeve here: glycerin melt and pour soap is not cold process soap! It is the left over glycerin from commercial soap manufacturing. To make it you just buy it, melt it (even zap it in the microwave), and pour it into whatever fancy little shape you want. After a few minutes it will harden up and your done. Even organic brands of melt and pour contain ingredients such as propylene glycol, sorbitan, and sorbitan oleate as well as undisclosed processing aids. It would be the same as comparing ice cream from the store that was scooped into a bowl to ice cream that was made from scratch, with tempered eggs, and slowly churned as it was freezing. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box, now!


Cold process soap is formulated with such a strong base, and it often has a high pH. Our soap is formulated to be very close to a neutral pH of 7. They clock in at around 7.5 to 8, which is great news for your skin!!

We add tussah silk fibers and honey to each batch, and some even contain pollen, and propolis! We also use many different natural actives, such as clay, activated charcoal, slippery elm bark, and oatmeal to name a just a few!

Check out all of our natural honey soap right here, and see which bar is right for you!


Bee Friendly Yard Ideas

Bee Friendly Yard Ideas

Bee Friendly Plants Not everyone can or wants to be a beekeeper, but most people want to help bees out.  One of the best ways to do that is to plant bee friendly gardens around your house. There are tons of flowers that can be planted around your home that will add...

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10 Tips for Summer Skincare

10 Tips for Summer Skincare

This post was originally written in 2019, and was updated July 2020. Everyone lets loose a little in the summer. Long weekends, picnics, days at the beach, vacations, fun drinks and bbqs under the summer sun are good for the soul, but maybe not as much for the...

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Alligator Skin (Dry skin Do’s and Don’ts)

Alligator Skin (Dry skin Do’s and Don’ts)

Dry skin is a fact of life for most of us at some point. Hormones, age, weather, daily habits, and diet can all affect the integrity of our skin, but there are some easy steps we can take to protect our largest organ.


  1. Avoid synthetic detergents like the plague!  Synthetic detergents or syn-dets are man made detergents meant to remove oil and dirt.  They are usually clear, liquid soaps.  Think of your dishwashing detergent.  It’s powerful grease removing ability is great for getting rid of oil and food particles from your dishes, but it’s also stripping your skin of its natural oils.  The same is true of clear liquid hand soaps.  Try using a gentle all natural bar soap to wash your hands, and minimize your exposure to harsh dish detergent by having everyone take turns washing dishes, and wearing gloves.
  2. Avoid alcohol based hand sanitizers. Alcohol can be very drying to skin.  Our skin is our first line of defense against germs, and we need to keep it soft and pliable.  If it’s dried out to the point of cracking and bleeding, there is a definite hole in our defense, and an open door to germs. If your hands sting and burn when you use sanitizer, there are chinks in your armor!
  3. Stay hydrated!  Our bodies are always losing water through transepidermal water loss, or water evaporating from our bodies into the air through our skin.  It is a major factor in dry skin.  The best way to make sure our bodies and skin don’t become dehydrated it to drink enough water.  A good place to start is 8 fluid ounces 8 times per day, or 4 16 oz water bottles per day.  A little more accurate way to figure it is to multiply your weight by 2/3.  The total is the number of ounces of water you should drink in a day.  Using a protective barrier cream on your skin, such as beeswax, lanolin, or cocoa butter and keeping the air in your home at 40-50% relative humidity will also help prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
  4. Exfoliate!  The outside layer of your skin, called the dry horny layer, is composed of several layers of dead skin cells.  By removing some of the outer layers of dead skin, you are keeping skin supple and preventing the skin from cracking.  Natural oatmeal soap is a simple and gentle way to exfoliate dead skin.
  5. Get a good cream, and use it! Dry skin needs to be protected from trans-epidermal water loss, and kept soft and moist with nourishing oils.  Key ingredients to look for in a good barrier cream are beeswax, lanolin, and cocoa butter.  These are dense oils that form a protective barrier on skin.  Also look for some lighter oils to sink in and nourish skin.  Extra virgin organic coconut oil is about the best skin softening oil there is.  Be careful to avoid questionable ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol, and drying ingredients such as alcohol. All of Bee Lovely Botanicals’ products are free of those questionable ingredients. We make an all natural beeswax hand cream with organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic sunflower oil, beeswax from our own naturally treated hives, lanolin,cocoa butter, water, glycerin, and an organic preservative made from probiotics.  We also make a hand salve version of our hand cream with allantoin, the active ingredient in aloe and comfrey root.  Studies have shown that allantoin actually speeds up wound healing, and it also beefs up the barrier protection of the salve. You can learn more about our hand cream and hand salve by visiting our website.  For a limited time we are offering a free cuticle balm when you sign up for our e-mail newsletter. 




The Clandestine Keeper

The Clandestine Keeper

“Just sit right here, Butch, and the bees won’t bother you.”  I’d heard this story before.  As my father continues the tale, I imagine my great grandfather, looking somewhat like the old man from the Mountain Dew bottle, leaping in the air and being chased by a cloud of angry bees.  “And sit right there I did.  Grampa was right, the bees didn’t bother me at all.  He ran right past me and the bees chased him all the way down the path, but I didn’t get stung once,” Dad IMG_3629concludes.

This was my first exposure to beekeeping, and never did I imagine myself to be a homesteading, homeschooling mama with a beekeeping business.  The only way that I can expain it is that God is good, and sometimes He sneaks up on

In 2007, while I was pregnant with my second son, we found a swarm of bees living in a hollowed out maple tree.  The entrance to the hive was near the ground and Jaden (my oldest) and I would sit and watch the bees return with their baskets full of colorful pollen.  Later that fall, I read many, many beekeeping books while nursing the baby.  The more I learned about bees, the more intrigued I became.  The following spring we started a great adventure with our first package of bees.

During the next year, my husband, Joshua, was laid off when the local high school cut the ag program he taught.  We also found out we would be welcoming a third son into our family.  This was just the nudge we needed to turn our beekeeping hobby into a sideline business.
I spent many delightfully frustrating hours developing our brand, revising labels and product formulations, and coming up with eye catching displays.  While I worked at this, my husband, a biologist with experience in wildlife and agriculture, delved into natural hive treatments, integrated pest management techniques, bee genetics, and efficient home remedies for bee stings.  Our boys fostered a natural interest in pleasing aesthetics IMG_3611 (2)and the scientific process by watching us and helping us work through these things over time.  As our boys continued to grow and mature, our business did, too.  A clear brand emerged, and our natural beekeeping practices became sound and successful.  Soon, we were able to identify our niche.  The boys learned this intuitively from speaking with customers at farmers markets.  Recognizing our niche helped us to not only identify potential customers, but helped us pin point where to sell and advertise.  Being able to choose profitable venues and advertisements increased our sales and helped our bee business continue to grow and expand.

Throughout the last few years, the boys have worked alongside us in the bee yard.  They suffered the occasional sting for the privilege of doing what Mom and Dad were doing (and a small smackeral of honey now and then).  On the days when the whole family wasn’t going to the farmers market, they debated who should get to wake up at 4:30 AM to go with Dad.  Neighboring vendors supposed the boy that got to go had drawn the short straw, it was actually just the opposite.  They’re so excited and enthusiastic to share what our family has worked on.  They’ve set up our booth, packed up products, and lugged display pieces bigger than they are.  Our customers are always impressed with the boys’ maturity, their work ethic, and their knowledge of honeybees and our products.  Work ethic, maturity, and business knowledge weren’t purposefully taught to our boys, but they were inferred through the many interactions we share working together.

I don’t think we ever would have dreamed this path for our family.  It’s definitely full of mistakes and challenges, but we are so grateful to God for leading us on this adventure.  He provides for our family in such interesting and rewarding ways, and blesses us with the opportunity to spend time working, and playing together.