Canby Independence Day Celebration!

We are super excited to join our friends and neighbors at the 2017 Canby Independence Day Celebration!

When Mermaids Mow Their Lawn

So here are the Garden Gate Hollow, we decided to go on a little harvesting adventure this year for Mother’s Day! So we packed up Vanessa (Our family van) and headed down on a drizzly Oregon morning to Lincoln City. My husband got us a room at the coast, and I absolutely wanted to take advantage of this trip to do a little seaweed harvest! The beach was beautiful. Our daughter dug down until she found the aquifer, and our teenage son, who hates everything even had a good time!


We even caught a glimpse of a few sea lions about 20 feet out, adorable!







The harvest was extremely successful, our basket was full and our stomachs were empty, so to the hotel we went! My husband surprised me with a beautiful hotel, with a fire pit and a hot tub. We enjoyed some lunch and relaxed after a lovely afternoon of shopping at the famous Lincoln City Factory Stores. We had a nice lunch and went for several walks on the beach. All in all, it was a terrific mother’s day weekend! File_006

Black Pearl!

*Black Pearl Activated Charcoal Face Wash*
This is the latest addition to our facial care products. It is crafted with detoxifying activated charcloal, which gives it a beautiful ebony hue. There is also nourishing and hydrating wild carrot seed extract in the mix, with a base of our handcrafted luxurious whipped cream soap. Sugar also lends alpha hydroxy acids which help to slough off dead skin cells.



Make way for baby!

Make way for baby (or baby fine skin).

We are happy to introduce our Wee Sprites Product line!

Wee Sprites are delightful for tiny, delicate hands and bodies as well as adult size and everything in between.

All of our Wee Sprites products are made especially with sensitive skins in mind, they have no added fragrance and are free of any other harsh chemical additives. These Wee Sprites rely on the goodness of nature.




This is fabulous for fussy sprites, fussy skin or simply calming and centering (fussy or not). This lovely lotion is filled with green tea, soothing oats and harmonizing lavender essential oil.

wee sprites tea

Bath Tea


Bath Tea:

Infuses the bath water with skin happy organic oats as well as lavender and chamomile (both grown at the Garden Gate). Put 1 tsp to 1 Tbs of the herbal tea blend into the reusable bag and tie it closed. Either place the tea bag in the water while the tub is filling or steep in a covered mug or boiling water for about 10-1 minutes and add to bath water. Remember, if this is for a baby’s bath, wait for water to cool down to warm, never add scalding water to baby’s tub!


Boo Boo Spray

This is fabulous for Wee Sprites, not so-wee sprites and grown sprites. What’s in it? Organic oats, chamomile, flowers, lavender

Boo Boo Spray:

The perfect size to toss in a diaper bag, purse, or hiking pack. This spray helps to soothe and ease ouchies from scrapes, minor owies and buggie bites. It achieves this through witch hazel infused with calendula petals (used historically to heal wounds), aloe juice (also used historically to calm wounds) and lavender hydrosol (crafted in the Garden Gate Kitchen, with love)



This is gentle on baby’s skin, palm free and free of harsh surfactants. What it does have is moisturizing coconut milk, chamomile, lavender and honey all mixed in to a happy skin creation.

Our Success Is Your Gain

White whale, unicorn…call it what you like, we have successfully wrangled one of ours, and everybody survived the process, including the cannibal!

whipped soap all threeFor a while now, I have been trying to pin down cream soap…whipped cream soap to be precise. I did what anybody nowadays does when my interest was first piqued, I Googled. There is, or at least was, very little information on how to actually make cream soap, let alone pre-created recipes. Everywhere I did go, I found references to a Yahoo! group for experienced soap makers, only that sounded as difficult to join as the Free Masons.

After my initial searching proved basically fruitless, I moved on to other product endeavors. There are, after all, plenty of bath body and spirit products waiting to be imagined and brought to life.

It was probably about a year and a half ago that I first became intdragonflyerested in cream soap. Every few months I would drift back to the subject, with pretty much the same results. Each time, I would get progressively more frustrated.

Finally, several months ago, I thought I had a breakthrough! I came across a reference to a soap calculator to make cream soap. I was thrilled, then I saw the soap calculator….then frustration returned. I did not understand the reason behind most of what was there. It made very little sense to me. I searched again, but found nothing to explain the whats or whys behind formulation. And how can I create something fabulous for you, if I don’t know the whys about what goes into the formulations?

My real breakthrough, if you can call it that, came about one month later when I happened accross noth one, but two recipes for cream soap. One of them had easy to follow directions, with pictures too! I was so desperate, I tried it out, just as she had written. I even had all the oils that she included and everything…it must have been a sign, right? Not really.

This is why I don’t like following someone else’s recipes blindly. I cannot troubleshoot anything properly, if I don’t understand and whys of what’s in it!

This is no different. I followed her directions and did  manage to make a rather nice cream soap. But…it was far too runny and would not whip, let alone form peaks. Aaaaaaghhh! So close I could touch it, but not quite right! It is like panning for gold and finding pyrite.

After that, I decided this was the best I could do and my visions of all of the wondrous products I could make with whipped cream soap would just have to go in the dream column (spoiler, that’s not what happened).raindrops on roses

Shortly after my Moon landing that turned out to just be a slingshot around the moon, we ventured to our local supply shop to restock on a few things. As we were checking out, I impulsed. Right next to the counter was a little booklet titled “Making Cream Soap” by Catherine Failor. I grabbed the book, without glancing through it (I already knew Failor as a liquid soap guru, so I had faith), and tossed (politely placed) it up on the counter.

I read through the booklet that evening, it is only 40 pages, so it did not take long. The heavens opened and the angels sang. This booklet had all of the information I had been looking for. It explains the reasons behind different ingredients, the soap making process, troubleshooting and even has a bit on figuring out how much lye is needed with out needing a soap calculator.

That will come in handy after society and the internet falls.

Using all of the fabulous information she shared, I created my own batch of cream soap, troubleshot it when it wasn’t perfect, then did a little jig after it whipped up perfectly.

S-U-C-C-E-S-S, that is how you spell success! Thank you Catherine Failor!

After searching and discouragement, we have finally achieved one of our goals. I really wanted to have fun with a foaming bath whip type product, without buying a pre done base, we don’t buy bases here. Now, we actually have something that, I think is much better.

Look out for whipped cream soap based creations in the future. I hope you are as excited as we are!

Our Lotion Is Our Devotion

We are going to take a moment to tell you about the various lotions that we offer at this time. I say “at this time” because who knows what the future holds (que the spooky sound effects). No, the reality is that we are frequently adding (and sometimes removing) products, we might create some new lotions to join our lines.

Back to the now!

Let us begin with our basic hand and body lotions. These lotions are anything but “basic”, they are filled with fabulous, skin loving ingredients. A combination of rice bran oil, shea butter and coconut oil, all hailed for their amazing moisturizing and nourishing abilities, makes up the “oil phase” of this lotion. These are then complimented by green tea and aloe juice! Now, as you might know, we are not fans of label fluffing. With that in mind, there is not just a small smattering of aloe juice or green tea, no, together they make up over 50% of this fabulous lotion. After creating this non-greasy formulation, we loved it so much that we decided to master-batch it.

So we make this lotion in large batches of unscented “base”. We then add fragrance at 2%, this gives us a nice “Golidlocks” scent (not too strong, not too weak, but just right). What does this mean for you? It means that the only thing that you have to worry about is finding the fragrance that speaks to you, because the basic lotions will all give you the same fabulous feel and moisturization. As I said, anything but basic.

Another lotion that we are proud to offer is our champagne body souffle. A quick side note…this should not be confused with our shower souffle.0202171740_Film1

So why is it called Champagne body souffle? No, you cannot eat it and get drunk, in fact, all of the alcohol has been boiled off. No alcohol, what’s the point of the champagne? Antioxidants. It also gives this lovely lotion a nice, powdery finish. This, too, has my favorite combination of rice bran oil, shea butter and coconut oil. There is also the delightful addition of calendula glycerite (made in-house from our dried calendula petals) both skin rejuvenating and moisturizing. Right now, we only offer this decadent lotion in three varieties, all made from the same master batch with on theme fragrance added to them, Original, Champagne kisses and Mimosa. This lotion is absolutely something to celebrate.

How about something shimmery? Oh good, that’s what we were going to highlight (get it? shimmer…highlight) next.

While our other lotions are made with no added colorants, these have a fun pop of color and a delightful shimmer and shine. They owe their hue to lovely micas, ultramarines and oxides. They also share their wonderful, skin lotion base with their basic lotion sister (aloe, green tea, rice bran oil, shea butter and coconut oil).  We will regularly change up and add to this line for seasonal inspired fun. So, keep an eye open for new shimmery offerings and don’t wait if you find one that you like, it might disappear with the season.cottingly beck lotion

If feet are what you’re interested in, then we have a lovely eucalyptus lotion for that.

If you want light, moisturizing face lotion, we have that. We make our face lotion without fragrance or essential oils so that it will be gentle on sensitive skins. Instead,, we get our herbal boost from hydrosols, glycerites and infusions made in-house from herbs that are either sustainably wildcrafted or grown in our garden. From our garden to your face, with love.

As of now, these are what we have available to choose from. If you are nearby, then we encourage you to come to one of our shows and try some out, select your favorite fragrance in person (might I recommend Sexy Witch, it’s our best seller). If you aren’t local, we will try our best to give a great description of the fragrance (olfactories may vary), or try a vacation in Oregon, it’s beautiful, wet, but beautiful.

Either in person, or online, watch for new additions to our terrific lotion lines.

It’s All About The Base

So, I’m a bit of a control freak (yes, I know that everybody that knows me is now gasping in disbelief)

That being said, I tend to be very obsessive about knowing exactly what goes into my creations.

Yes, it would be much easier and time saving to use a nice pre-made lotion, soap, lip or shampoo base, but then I have lost control over everything but the color and fragrance…not exactly my cup of tea.

It may be more time consuming, but I find it is so fulfilling to take raw ingredients and transform them into something fantastic. It is very similar to a cook who can either use a pre-made soap base and add to it, or simmer spices in water, creating a delightfully flavorful broth and make a rue to bring the soup together.

Our commitment to you, our wonderful followers, is to only bring you mindfully handcrafted products that are made from scratch with no pre-made bases purchased from other companies (I even make our castile soap from a soap paste that I created!).

We love you enough to bring you only the best!

I love challenges!

So, at a family gathering, not too long ago, my aunt suggested horse shapoo. She and my uncle both have horses and we live in a half rural community, our town even hosts the county fair each year with the most rootin’ tootin’-ist rodeo around…sorry Buckaroos.

I thought “heck yeah, I will accept that challenge!” I love the science that goes into shampoo making, it’s a fascinating process.

First things first, before any preliminary recipe formulations…research! Off to the Computer! I needed to know the PH of horse skin, it turns out that horses and humans have the same PH. Awesome, since I have already been making fabulously balanced shampoos for humans, then I knew basically where to aim for horses.

Next, my aunt specifically requested something to help soothe her horse’s irritated skin. No recipes, yet, more research.

Here at The Garden Gate, we have an affinity for herbs and other plant life. Our yard us teaming with medicine and beneficial plants (many of them, people might call weeds) that have been grown with out pesticides. So, of course I immediately turned to plant friends for hEpona group shotelp with making a shampoo.

The first plants that popped into my mind were comfrey and calendula, with their skin soothing and healing abilities, and lavender, known for its anti inflammatory and balancing abilities. I also had a birch leaf hydrosol I had made and was just itching to use in something. It is goo for skin conditions, so into the shampoo with it!

Now I wanted to get the most ouf of my chosen herbs that I could, they were not just going in for labEpona herb 12ozle appeal, they were supposed to be my heavy hitters. Now, it’s time to formulate!

My shampoos typically contain humectants for added moisturizing, usually honey, glycerin or aloe. I happened to have a calendula glycerite already made, perfect! I chose to include the aloe juice (which I put in almost everything, I love that stuff) and calendula glycerite. Next, water/infusion. Since I wanted this to really pack an herbal punch, I decided to use the comfrey leaf and lavendar decoction (a reduced and concentrated infusion). I had my birch leaf hydrosol, lavender infused apple cider vinegar, to lower the PH, and SLSa (a surfactant derived from coconuts) ready to go! I started scratching our percentages with a few base numbers in mind, 10% vinegar, 5% SLSa, and 2% fragrance. My aunt requested lavender. Then I adjusted the other numbers accordingly, made up a 50g batch and gave it a try, yes on my hair. I thought it was a home run first time at bat, didn’t need to change anything, so, I made up a battle for my aunt and uncle to try out.

Then, I thought…hmm…what about oats, oats are soothing. So I re-figure a few things and created a recipe with oat milk, flax seed infusion and green tea glycerite scented with goat ilk and honey fragrance oil. Another winner! I made up another bottle! Woo hoo! I was on a roll!

Then, I thought, what about…wait,wait,wait. I can get a little obsessed and carried away. Two was a good start, I didn’t want to overwhelm them, once they were delivered, it was time to wait for feedback…the most nerve racking time. But, feedback was swift and I wasn’t the only one who thought we had a winner!

Next, it was time to name our new horse (and human) shampoo. Names are very important and not taken lightly here at The Garden Gate. This one came surprisingly easy, as though it was intended from the start…Epona’s Spirit, after the Celtic horse goddess.

We proudly introduce Epona’s Spirit horse shampoo. Selkie song was my favorite shampoo, but I think this one just bumped it.


How to use Flower Essences

Flower essences are among the many products we offer.

Not sure what a flower essence is? Well, put simply, they are water (preserved in brandy) that has been charged and infused with the energy of specific flowers. This energetic water is then used to work on energy centers (chakras) and emotional/spiritual issues.

They are not essential oils and, when made properly, have no smell (except for a subtle brandy note).

Let's Twist This Flower Essence

I Am and Let’s Twist This Flower Essence

Flower essences are a fabulous way to enlist our plant allies help. But, help with what? The depends entirely on what the various flowers can offer…

I have fabulous Purple Malllow that works wonders on grief (primarily from loss) and softening hardened hearts. We also offer a Queen Anne’s Lace that is great for spiritual emergencies and gently opening your third eye. Or there is Wild Blackberry, which helps us transform ideas into reality!

This is just to name a few. For our complete list of the essences we offer click here.

So, now that you know there is (are) a flower essence, simple or blend, with you in mind, how do you go about utilizing these amazing energies? The reality is there there is are as many ways to use a flower essence as there are flower essences!

The most traditional ways to flower essences are to add 2-3 drops to a glass of water or place 2-3 under you tongue.

What if I don’t want to take it internally? That is not a problem! You don’t have to consume flower essences for them to be effective. The key is to remember that it is a lovely bottle of energy infused water. Whatever liquid just one drop encounters will then become infused with the energy.

With that in mind, make your own essence spray bottle (any size is fine, but I prefer a smaller backpack or purse sized bottle, fill most of the way with spring water, add a splash or two of brandy (or vodka), finish with 3-7 (or what feels right to you) drops of your chosen essence or blend. Put the cap on and shake your bottle (preferably in a clockwise motion), the agitation assists the activation and infusing process, so don’t worry about messing it up, just know that it will work.

Use your spray bottle by spraying yourself (1-3 sprays) as needed, this is great on hot Summer days (use personal bubble yarrow for trips to crowded beaches, parks or fairs!). You can use aloe juice for a nice skin treat.

You can also use this same process for roller bottles , fill most of the bottle with spring water, a splash of brandy, a few drops of essence, and shake. Use this by rolling on your wrists, neck and other pulse points.

Speaking of pulse points, you can simply place a drop or two from your bottle on each wrist.

My personal favorite is adding a few drops to my bath water. Just a few drops is all it takes to infuse and transform a tub full of water!

These are just a few possibilities, there really isn’t a wrong way to use an essence, just what is right for you. The most important part, know it will work.

So get an essence, or a blend, that speaks to you and try it out.


“I’m Not A Soaper…”

No, I’m not a soaper. I just like to research the science behind how things work. No, I’m not a soaper, I’m just fascinated by watching the chemical reaction in my crock pot.

No, I’m not a soaper, I just enjoy the way lye mixes with the oils and traces as I stick  blend away.

No, I’m not a soaper, I just love getting new fragrance oils and need something to use them in.

No, I’m not a soaper, I just want to see ow different additives benefit a receipe.

No, I’m not a soaper, I just….I just…..

Okay, I admit it. Hello, my name is Sarah and I am a soaper (and I will continue to be).

This is how I make a flower essence….

Flower essences are simples or blends of energetically infused and charged water that work on the emotional and energy centers (read as chakra) of our body.

Get a clean jar or bowl (preferably clear), jelly and baby food jars are fine. Fill with enough water to fill storage container half way.

Find a friendly plant with flowers. Have a quick chat with the plant, specifically the flowers, and ask if it is willing to help make a flower essence (it helps if you have had a relationship with this plant, not just meeting it for the first time). Listen and be ready for the answer to be, “no”, if so, say thanks and move on. If yes, get ready! Feel free to ask what it can do

essence wise and listen, this can happen at any time in the process (before, during, or after the actual essence making).

Center yourself, very important. Hold your jar and guide the stems so that the flowers are leaning over the edge of the jar mouth, feel free to touch the flowers to the water only if it won’t strain the plant. Now encourage and direct the energy from the flower(s) into the water (I like to picture a waterfall or cyclone). Continue until the flower says to stop, or you feel the energy flow stop. I have had flowers that seem to have an endless flow and others that give a quick burst. Thank the plant. Give your container a clockwise shake. Now, you can either be done and move on to the finishing step, or pop a lid on your jar or bowl and nestle it at the base of the plant, asking the flowers to contribspray-essencesute any more energy that they can to the essence. Leave the jar/bowl there for an hour or two (whatever feels right).

I don’t worry too much about sun, rain or overcast skies. I don’t use solar infusion as my method. The only time the sun is an issue, is if I wait until late afternoon on a hot, sunny day and the flowers are just too exhausted (kind of like people).
Finish off by pouring the charged water into your storage container, or leave it in the jar if that’s the storage jar. Add brandy until it is a 50/50 mixture (doesn’t need to be exact). Give the container a clockwise shake, label and store. This is the mother essence.

Now, it’s time to make up dosage bottles or blends. Fill a dropper bottle with 75% spring water, 25% brandy and 5 drops from the mother essence.
The key thing to remember is that this essence cannot be diluted, not that you shouldn’t, just that it’s impossible. The energy from the few drops will permeate and transform the rest of the water (which makes adding drops to a bathtub a wonderful way to experience an essence).

Our Approach to Soap

Soap, for me, has become a creative outlet. It is my opportunity to p lay with color, fragrance, and liquid additives, and names!

It started as a way to use some of the fragrance oils I (we) had purchased. We, here at the Garden Gate, have a weakness for frangrance ils, and it was getting way out of hand. Solution, pour them into soap!

So, we began making small runs of soap (four bar loaves), and putting them out at a show. Wow, people loved them! That gave me the green light and justification, plus it was really fun!

I realized something after our small runs of bars sold…I really didn’t want to remake the same things. That didn’t sound like fun at alll ,I wanted to do something different. seaglass

We embraced the idea of not re-doing soaps and decided to make it part of our soap making philosophy. I don’t have to commit to only one color scheme or name for a fragrance oil (something that my Libra personality is very thankful for.) I can use one fragrance oil in a red, yellow and orange soap and call it “Dawn Breaker” AND use the same fragrance in a green and yellow combo calling it Wasabi!

That equals more variety for you! And, because we use the same recipe (coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, olive oil and canola oil with a 5% super fat) you can be guaranteed that each bar is going to be just as fabulous as the last.

I do also like to play with different liquid options, my favorite include beer, wine and fruit/veggie purees. I’ve also tried coffee and tea, I may again, if the mood strikes.


If I ever do use a liquid other than water, then it will be clearly stated on the label, no surprises.

The other kind of soap we enjoy making is 100% pure castile soap. That is soap made only with olive oil. In these, I have a different kind of fun. I like to infuse the olive oil with herbs (mostly from my garden or wild crafted). It is wonderful to see the end result, how it alters the color of the oil and the fragrance, and what benefits it adds to our final soap. It is so much fun, but I am a bit of a herb nut!

What this means for you… can be confident that you will always have a quality bar of soap. You will always have a fun and new variety of soaps to choose from. But, if you see or smell somthing you like, don’t wait, because it might not be there for long, and will likely not be made again.