Beeswax Belsnickles, Nativities, Father Christmas

Hello friends,



  Today I want to share my beeswax ornies and belsnickles. 

  The age old craft of casting wax into holiday treasures has been handed down through the generations. German chocolatiers and bakers took great pride in their beautiful molds. They wanted to display their chocolate in the windows to attract customers but the heat melted the chocolate so they cast them in beeswax which has a high melt point. 

  Over the years, they created beeswax ornaments using their intricate hand carved chocolate and cookie molds. Beautiful examples 300 years old, can be found in museums in throughout Europe. Beeswax figures dating over 3000 years have been found in Egypt. The beeswax still carries the honey fragrance and remains pliable.

  Your Allegheny Hearth handmade beeswax ornament should last a lifetime. The beeswax often develops a "bloom" a whitish dusting, this is a natural process. Some enjoy the rustic bloom and leave it develop or you can remove it with gentle buffing, light application of heat from a blow dryer or wash it away - just be careful, not too hot or you will melt the detail.


Exquisite presentations of Father Christmas and holiday images captured in pure natural beeswax. These intricately detailed figures will grace your holiday decor with charm and a delightful light honey kissed scent that emanates from the natural bees wax, no fragrance added.


 Traditional German Style Belsnickle Santa


The Belsnickle is an old tradition of a stern Santa who delivered coal and switches to all the naughty children, thus the muse for these pieces.  An old world custom is to rub the belsnickle with dark spices like clove, allspice and cinnamon. This creates a dark black belsnickle and adds another fragrance profile to the honey scent.



 Pere Noel

Utilizing pure golden beeswax direct from local Amish bee keepers, these hand cast ornament are reminiscent of beautiful European antique chocolate molds. Inspired by the work of the bee. A bee visits 10 flowers to gather a drop of nectar. It takes 10 drops of nectar to yield a drop of honey and 10 drops of honey for every drop of wax. The bee gathers nectar from 1000 flowers to produce just one drop of this precious beeswax



 Exquisite Nativity Scene Beeswax Springerle


 Magnificent natural beeswax manger scene is hand cast in a reproduction old world German Springerle cookie mold.  The naturally fragrant Amish beeswax varies in shades of light golden tan to a deep rich brown depending on the wax of the bee.  

 This beautifully detailed  rendering of the sacred Nativity features St. Joseph, Mary, the Child Jesus, the Magi, shepherd, cherubs and sheep and comes with a wire easel stand for ease of display.

The true spirit of Christmas is captured and recreated in warm, fragrant pure beeswax. A lovely adornment to grace your mantel or entice visitors to a quiet little corner table. 





Beeswax ornies make charming, unique gifts when you want to present a little something that will impress everyone. Great idea for grandparents, teachers, choir directors, pastors, cherished friends and family.










I offer a  full selection of Old World beeswax Belsnickles, Father Christmas, Pere Noel figurines and more, all cast with locally harvested beeswax from the Amish farms of the Cove area of Central Pennsylvania.



****PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE MADE TO ORDER, POURED FRESH WITH A 48 HOUR CURE TIME.   YOUR ORDER WILL SHIP WITHIN 5 DAYS - THANKS!****

Thanks for visiting,

New Powder Dish Sets

Hello friends,

I just received a shipment of new style mercury glass powder dish sets, now available for gifting. I offer many other varieties of vanity dish sets, you can see them in my on line studio - AlleghenyHearth.com


click to purchase


Extra large vanity jar with crystal knob handle presents my handmade body powder and opulent puffs in stunning mercury glass style. The lidded vanity jars are an elegant addition to your bath or boudoir. This silky blend glides over your body for a soothing, gentle treat. The luxurious merino wool powder puff is included and is the perfect applicator for a touch of glamour recalling the charm of by gone days. The crystal handle on these jars are various natural shades from off white to pinkish tones.

The powder puffs are created by me, in my artisan studio located in Pennsylvania.  I select the finest components.  For this puff, I have chosen a gorgeous crystal glass knob handle with satin ribbon rosette which serves as a perfect match to this elegant powder dish.   I offer a nice selection of assorted handles to fit any occasion. You can choose a different handle version  for the handle at no extra charge, just ask.  If needed, these puffs can be gently laundered with cool water, allowed to air dry and brushed to return them to their fluffy fullness.  




 This dish style is large enough for my opulent powder puffs.


Also available is this more petite gold tone mercury glass dish.  This dish comes with my fabric style puff but is not large enough for the luxury wool puffs.  It sure is pretty!




The classic formulated dusting powder is made with all natural ingredients of arrowroot and cornstarch. The addition of lavender and chamomile pure essential oils provides a delicate fragrance that is suitable for daily use. If you prefer an unscented powder, please choose that option at check out.

Visit my studio for this same powder in unscented versions as well as a nice assortment of glass powder shakers, ceramic and glass powder jars and handled powder puffs.  

My hand crafted body powders, puffs and dishes make a wonderful presentation for the special person on your gift list. Of course, you can treat your self to this ultimate indulgence, the pinnacle of femininity,  you deserve it!

Refills are available in either lavender chamomile or unscented.

Thanks for visiting!

Bonnie




Sparkling Snowflake Soap


Hello Friends,


This weekend I am stocking up on my popular Sparkling Snowflake Soaps


Inspired by nature's artistry of the silent falling snowflakes blanketing the forest and field with snowy white radiance, this exquisite set of six assorted soaps is a treasure. The soap is hand cast in my artisan studio located in the beautiful Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania. 



I create the bars in pretty pearly blue hues, sparkling clear and stunning white pearl using my own blended high quality transparent soap to create each of these soaps in a wide variety of colors and shapes. My transparent glycerin soaps will fill your tub or shower with mounds of fragrant lather that will leave your skin feeling cleansed and refreshed.



This listing is for 6 beautiful snowflake soaps colored with cosmetic grade soft azure blue, pearl and silver mica that shimmers like a glistening Winter morning. Your powder room will be decked for the holiday to the delight of your guests. Perfect for Hanukkah as well. You will receive two of each shape and color (two blue, two white, two clear) for a total weight of over one pound of soap presented in a white window box that is suitable for gifting.



Just like real snowflakes, each of my snowflakes are unique. Hand cast in highly detailed molds, these soaps come in glittering colors. I scent them with my own blend of fresh mountain air fragrance oil that is a blend of ozone notes, with a touch of fresh floral and sweet orange.






Wonderful little gift item, the perfect token for your hostess or stocking stuffer when you need a little something special to present to family and friends. These soaps would make marvelous wedding favors for a winter wonderland theme.




Thanks for visiting,

Bonnie

Distilling Herbs



Hello friends,



I have a small copper alembic still that I use for steam distillation of hydrosols and it even yields a little essential oils from my garden herbs. The still is truly a beautiful little work of craftsmanship with a long history of centuries of use.



 The still consists of three parts: The cucurbit or pot which holds the liquid and plant material to be distilled, the anbik cap or onion which fits over the cucurbit and receives the steam vapors- it has an attached tube to carry the steam downward into the coil condenser which is cooled with ice water. Copper is the preferred material for distilling hydrosols as copper is an excellent conductor of heat, improves the fragrance and reduces contamination from bacteria.



Legend holds that in the 10th century, Avicenna discovered how to extract rose and herbal oils and waters by distillation. The practice of the distillation process spread to all parts of the ancient world. Steam distillation of herbs and blossoms resulted in "sweet waters or herbal waters".  This water is the hydrosol, a by-product of extracting essential oils.




Hydrosols are similar to essential oils in that they contain the essence of the entire plant but in such a low concentration they can safely be used straight where essential oils are too strong for use "neat" on the skin. The chemicals of hydrosols are water loving acids. Bacteria do not thrive in acids so properly prepared hydrosols have a long shelf life without preservatives. Hydrosols are astringent which makes them great as skin toners and fresheners.




 While the floral water can be a by product of the process to extract the essential oil, the very best hydrosols come when the distiller works the plant material with the intention of creating a hydrosol. This is because the finest quality hydroflorates form in the early part of the steam distillation process. To get the most essential oil yield, the process continues longer to be sure you are extracting as much of the precious oil as possible but that can result in a lower quality of hydrosol. The early floral/herb distillates are brighter, pleasingly fragrant and more desirable than the later portion.  Since the essential oil gathered in small home distillers is negligible anyway, I process my plant materials and end the process early enough to achieve the highest quality hydrosol.


Steam distillation a simple method of extracting the plant's oils.  You can use fresh or dried botanical materials. Herbs are wonderful because of their essential oil content.  Blossoms are desirable as well. When I use fresh plant material I gather the plants, leaves and stems early in the morning while the plant is at its peak.  I find it useful to apply a rough chop and allow the foliage to wilt a little so you can easily fit more plant material into the still.




 If I use dried components, I soak them for a few hours before loading the pot so the steam process is more efficient. If I use a fine ingredient like dried citrus peel or spices, I often place those in a heat sealed tea bag to keep it from settling at the bottom of the still and burning. You want the botanical materials suspended in the water and the grate that fits in my still has holes that would allow tiny particles to burn.


Herbal distilling floral water
You fill the pot about 3/4 of the way with spring water and place the copper steamer disc on the bottom to keep the herbs, spices, citrus and blossom petals suspended above the bottom of the pot to prevent burning. Add the botanical material, spices, citrus peels etc. so that they float freely in the pot. You don't want to pack it tight.






The onion cap is fitted onto the filled pot and secured with either a rye flour paste or silicone tape.  The onion cap is attached to the condenser coil. Cooling water fills the condenser unit and heat is applied to bring the pot to boil.  









   As the water is heated it creates steam, which rises through the plant material, bursting the sacks containing the essence of the botanical materials. That allows the aromatic molecules to be carried along with the steam through the tubing into the condenser coil.  

 The coil is submersed in cold water which converts the steam back into liquid form resulting in a hydrosol and essential oil.  The water surrounding the condenser coil need to be kept cool. You can add ice to the coil cup but I find it easier to use a simple aquarium or fountain pump to keep pumping cool water into the unit.  You insert the tubing that the draws the cold water into the bottom of the cup and the output tubing is at the top of the cup.





Once the vapor comes into contact with the cold surface of the copper coil it condenses to a liquid state and drips down into the final collection container. You won't want a fast, heavy flow. The most desirable is a slow drip rate so if it is flowing too fast, regulate the heat to reduce the boil.  You can see a good rate on the video at the end of my blog post-it shows spurts of small amounts of the condensed liquid flowing into the collection container.



Allowing the final collection to rest will allow separation of the essential oil and hydrosol. I use a separator funnel to facilitate the process of collection the essential oil simpler.  You only get a few drops of actual essential oil from each batch, the majority of the collection is the hydrosol.   Most essential oils are lighter than water so the oil floats on the surface of the hydrosol.  The hydrosol often has a milky appearance.  The French refer to hydrosols as hydrolats  -' hydro’ water and ‘lat’ milk. Properly stored, I like to use dark violet or amber bottles, these preparations have a good shelf life



 
You can make a simple single note hydrosol as we often see in Rose 
Water or Witch Hazel but I also like to combine herbs, spices, citrus and florals. Be sure to use organically grown or wild gathered materials without chemical contamination.



Lemon Balm Hydrosol

Many species are suitable for creating the perfect hydrosol whether you are searching for invigorating, freshening, cooling, soothing, toning or relaxing; you can create your perfect distillate.

Classics:

Rose Petal or Rose Hip
Orange Blossom
Jasmine
Geranium/Rose Geranimum
Yarrow
Plantain
Dandelion

Lavender
Thyme
Rosemary
Mints of all varieties
Lemon Balm or Verbena
Laurel Bay
Calendula
Chamomile
Clary Sage
Helichrysum
Basil
Sage

Juniper
Fir
Cypress
Witch Hazel
Elderberry
Ginger root
Frankinsence


Orange - sweet orange, blood orange, tangerine
Lemon
Lime 
Grapefruit
(to increase essential oil, use just the zest of the fruit peel without the pith)

Cucumber is nice in combination with mints. Placing the hydrosol in a fine mister makes a delightful freshening addition to your facial care routine.

You can add a few whole spices like clove or star anise along with your plant materials, but don't over do it as spice oils can be irritating to the skin.



Rosemary Bay Herbal Water

Hydrosols have many uses:

Facial toner
Facial steams
As the liquid in face clay  masks
Bath additives
Linen or iron water sprays

I do not recommend using hydrosols for internal use. While my small still doesn't provide enough product to sell the hydrosols, I do use them in my products - soaps, creams, lotions and balms.



I hope you enjoyed my journey in the art of steam distillation of herbs from my garden.  Thanks for visiting!

Bonnie

















Sacred Amber


Hello friends,

Today I present my line of Sacred Amber and Infused Oils.




Amber is the king of scents. Dark, deep and mysterious fragrance. Amber resin is formulated with natural essential oils, waxes and powders. Sandalwood, Patchouli, Ylang-ylang, Vetiver, Lavender, stryax tree resin and beeswax.  The pure natural powders, oils, waxes and resins are blended carrying the combination determined by the artisan.


 Sacred Amber Oil

Amber resin was developed in ancient times by a physician as a mood enhancing formula. It is renowned as a spiritual aid in meditation and elevation. Irresistible fragrance enjoyed as a natural body fragrance, sachet, dream pillows etc. 



This fragrance is enticing and very strong. You can use it by gently applying the resin to pulse points, open the vessel and allow the aroma to fragrance your room, infuse it in oil etc. Just a little gives you fragrance that will last the entire day.





I offer my blended Amber as resin nuggets in charming little soapstone vessels or in infused oils.  I infuse the amber resin in pure organic jojoba oil and present the precious oil in one of a kind artisan glass perfume bottles.  





Try a little amber resin and revel in the heady natural aroma - 
an ancient ritual scent that fills the senses and enhances relaxation!

Thanks for visiting,

Bonnie