Posts filed under handmade

Catholic Craftsman: Faith, Family, and Mad Skills {MountainBOWorks}

"You'd really like this guy, Mom." My oldest son loves everyone he meets so I uh-huh-ed like any good mom would and kept doing the dishes.

No... really. He is incredibly talented and passionate. Catholic to the core... and just proposed to his girlfriend.

How old is he? I asked. (Because that's what good moms are supposed to ask when they hear of an engagement.)

He's 20... I met him on a discernment retreat. 

Twenty... young. I remembered my own wedding day as a 19-year old. Clueless. Passionate. Committed. Catholic. And I thought.... Good for him. He'll have a good life. 

I turned my attention a bit more to my boy's words. He's an amazing craftsman, he said. And of course, I had to see for myself. And when I saw this man's work my heart leapt. Yes, he's a craftsman. An artist. Beautiful work. Thank you, Jesus... the Church and the world need more men who know how to put their souls into their work.

I was not surprised to learn that Jacob McCormick was homeschooled. To be a skilled craftsman at 20-years old is not a common accomplishment and my experience of home education is that it allows for that kind of exploration and dedication. He's also a self-taught pianist and by all accounts (well, my kid's anyway), a gifted magician. But he gives his handcrafted mountain bows something extra special... 

From the MountainBOWorks Etsy shop:

I started my shop after I began having many requests for bows. One day I was walking through our town festival with one of my bows on my back. Someone stopped me and ask me which vendor I had purchased it from. We happened to be standing in front of a vendor that sold these simple kiddie PVC bows. I told the person that I made it and she offered right away to buy it from me. My buddy who was with me suggested we come back the next day and walk around with more bows on our backs. We did and that day I sold 4 more bows, 4 quivers and 12 arrows. When I got home I decided to put my replica bow on Ebay and it sold. I have since sold several more and always have requests for them. Since then I have had contact with the Backyard Bowyer (my mentor and teacher) and he encouraged me to become a part of his PVC Bowyer Directory which I am excited to become a part of. I have continued to explore and build bows of many different styles and artistic elements. I hope you find my bows to be as exciting as I do!

For being handcrafted, these bows are very fairly priced. And knowing that Jacob is preparing a foundation for his home and domestic church... just makes me that much more eager to purchase his beautiful work. And yes... my kids (boys and girls) would love to own one.

Go visit Jacob and his shop... do pray about investing in his beautiful workmanship... and in a blossoming Catholic family. I received no compensation for this post. I just really love being able to support Catholic artisans and families! Deo Gratias!

Posted on January 27, 2016 and filed under Gifts, handmade.

Catholic Soap Artisans {Holiday Guide}

I am not a high maintenance frou frou kind of person. I like to remind my husband (because men do need reminding) that he should be grateful I don't spend much money at all on hair, make-up, and accessories. But I do have my weaknesses. Like handmade soap. Not the melt-and-pour crafts using commercial bases but the real artisan stuff with lye and goats milk and essential oils and... Oh man. You can't buy just one. 

It started when I discovered that almost all commercial soaps and shampoos, lotions, and make-up cause my skin to burn and welt. It ended with... well... it hasn't ended. It has just continued to escalate into a fascination of sorts. And a deep enjoyment of pure, beautiful, handcrafted goodness. 

I love to purchase from small businesses and specifically, small Catholic business. In my search for Catholic soap makers, I have met several lovely artisans and am highlighting their shops and work here today... and giving some of it away! Please take the time to get to know them and consider doing some (or lots) of your Christmas shopping at their stores. Each one is unique. Each one uses good and wholesome ingredients. Each one loves the Lord and strives to honor Him through their handiwork and businesses. And yes, I did receive free products to review so I know what I speak of when I say... they. are. gorgeous. Let's get to it (in no particular order of awesomeness)...


If you love handmade bath and body, you are going to have a ball in Maggie's gorgeous shop. And if you don't, her stuff will be enough to convert you! She has everything from bar soap to lotions to laundry soap and, oh my, her stuff is good. Multiple members of my family use her shampoo bar (grapefruit for girls and rosemary mint for boys) and yes, it does work on long hair. 

The icing on the soap is that Maggie is a really great Catholic mom (the kind you slip into conversation with like old friends even though you have never met in person) who has promised me a tour of her workshop and soap making party next time I'm visiting her area. (In spite of never having met her, this charming woman is surely a BFF. She clearly knows the way to my heart.) This is her official reminder that I have not forgotten! And if I ever get to her place that "looks like a meth lab and smells like a garden," I will be sure to blog about it.

One of the best features of the For Goodness Soap website is the blog where Maggie shares tons of DIY recipes for healthy handmade bath and body. Tooth powder, bug repellent, dishwasher detergent... and she is also working on sharing her secrets for handmade make-up. She convinced me it could be done, gave me instructions and direction and... I'm almost out of my last bit of store bought make-up. My next beauty project? Handmade face. Stay tuned. 

In the meantime, please check out the shop at For Goodness Soap. There really is something there for everyone, including pretty gift sets ready for Christmas, body butter, laundry soap, shampoo bars, clay facial scrubs, bath bombs and salts , hand lotion, liquid foaming soap, shaving soap... so much goodness. Keep an eye out for bulk discounts throughout the store!


I am a real sucker for the work of blogging, soap-making, pro-life, homeschooling, Catholic mothers. I have the same problem with all Catholic soapmakers: The more I know about them, the more I want to buy all their stuff! Shalimar not only rocks handmade, but her words feed my soul.

How does a mama of 9 find time to create? Please, just do yourself a favor and read her family Mission Statement. So good. And everything that she has written on her blog at Life Victorious.

It didn't take much to add Victory Ranch Soaps to my favorites list. True story...
Ever since my midwife dropped a bottle of lavender essential oil into the water of my tub during advanced labor, I can hardly stand the stuff. Too much smell. Too much pain. The smell association was just... too much. However, Shalimar sent me a bar of Lavender Peppermint. I eyed it warily at first. And now I keep it on my hutch just so that I can randomly pick it up, sniff, and walk away happy. My happy soap. This is one of many reasons she is the master soap maker and I am not! 

In addition to goats milk soap, the Masters family handcrafts Catholic jewelry and gifts, beeswax candles (including an Advent set... get on that), lotions, and custom products. The artist's soap would be a perfect Christmas gift for the special creative in your life. To add to the list of the family's many talents and services, they also offer professional accounting service at Accounting Masters.

Need one more huge reason to shop at Victory Ranch? Soaps for Life. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Artist's Soap from Victory Ranch Soaps


When I first read Amy's shop description on her site, I was blown away. I was sure that I needed a bigger soap budget in order to buy everything I found at Sole Sanctifier Soaps. You've got to read it for yourself to see what I mean...

This business is only one way in which I express my love for God. I completely incorporate water together with sodium hydroxide to form lye. I then mix this with God's oils he has placed on this earth for mankind's use. This soap reminds me that I am cleansing my "self" and each time I go closer to my sweet Jesus, I gain new life in the Lord.

Right... see? And her work definitely reflects the purpose she expresses. Beautifully and wholesomely crafted. She even uses blessed water in the processing of her soaps as a reminder of our life in Christ.  I do have to give you one warning though. If you have young people, they will attempt to eat the soap because it smells that good. 

One of the things that separates intentional handmade from big box commercial is how purposeful all ingredients are. Nobody is putting any garbage in that doesn't belong. With that in mind, I think my favorite product from Sole Sanctifier is the Shea Butter Balm. Amy crafted it to meet a need and perfected it to bless others who have skin issues. Without having used it, I recognize the intentionality, the time that went into it, and the purposeful ingredients. Need help? Buy it.

Amy is a busy Catholic wife and mom and I have noticed that her stock does tend to sell quickly. I recommend heading over to make a purchase soon in order to get your top choice!

Free shipping on all orders over $45 with code RESPECTLIFE. A percentage of some soaps go directly to support Rachel's Vineyard. (Twist. my. arm.)

I'm always looking for gorgeous soap and recently asked around the digital homeschool world for recommended Catholic artisans. There were many recommendations but none were listed as many times as Anna from Roots Soap Co. It didn't take me long to discover why.

Aside from the excellence of her soap, her history drew me in. The daughter of a soap maker, she still uses her mother's recipe. Clearly, Roots Soap is not the creature of hasty internet searching, but of intentional crafting and beautiful ingredients. Read more HERE. I don't usually follow companies on Instagram but I made an exception for Anna since the process and details of her business are downright lovely. 

The real genius of Root Soaps is the simple goodness and although Anna portrays it as "soap for the working class," it is clear that wholesome ingredients are luxurious in themselves. You'll see. I dare you to buy the gingerbread and not head straight for the shower to try it out! (And then you'll hide it like the treasure that it is so that your kids won't scrape holes in it next time they take a 30 minutes shower... because kids do things like that.)

In addition to soap, Anna sells Organic Bath Tea, salves and oils, gift sets, laundry soap and shampoo, and custom monogram favor soaps. Don't miss her Black Friday sale... 50% off of soap rounds this week!


One winner will receive:
A box of
representing the shops featured above.

Don't let the rafflecopter scare you off. All entries but one are optional. The others are there to honor the work of these Catholic women and families and get you motivated to check them out.There's no shame in this kind of worthy networking! 

Posted on November 24, 2014 and filed under Beauty, handmade, review.