Subject: The Shoppe Newsletter No. 48

-The Shoppe Newsletter No. 48-
In this issue: Understanding the Power of Advertising
                                                     Getting Off the Consumerism Cycle
                                      What's Best for the Planet? Soap or Detergent?
         Practising Anti-Consumerism
                        Ways to replace detergents with Soap
     Recipe: Making Soap Jelly
             Soap jelly questions & answers
                                                    Do you have calendula flowers growing in your garden?
   Natural Baby Body-Care

Understanding the Power of Advertising!
   Advertising has changed. It’s no longer what it used to be. Over the years (since its inception) it has developed into a powerful tool that cleverly plays on the heart-strings of the consumer. Much of what advertising contains is deeply subconscious and manipulates the innermost desires and hopes of nearly every human being. Most of the time we are not aware of it because we interpret what we see, feel and hear in advertising through our heart – not our head. It’s through the heart – our emotional being – that most people ‘act without thinking’ – without rationale. This is how advertising ‘makes money’. If we thought about our response to advertising more deeply and put our emotions aside we would probably do things differently. But that’s NOT the response moneymaking profiteers want!

   For example: Music from the past is used in advertising to target a specific age group. Here's my example: I’m standing in the kitchen doing the dishes – I can hear coming from the television in the background a song from the past – I can’t see it (I’m doing the dishes!) but it ‘connects’ anyway. My curiosity is awakened and I check to see what this ‘wonderful, romantic, feel good’ music is connected to…..and they have me! It’s for a new car (of course) – a brand new four-wheel drive! I’m not interested in a new car, nor do I long to float through the fields of green in one – but some people might want a new car that floats them through the fields of green – and for them it will connect – and that’s how it works. I recently met someone who actually bought one of those vehicles from what she called ‘the aromatherapy ad’ selling cars! So it works!

    If we all have cash in hand and can afford to buy a new car at a moment’s notice - that’s OK – but usually we don’t. Most people use credit to purchase all those wonderful things portrayed in advertising. Worse still – advertising, big companies and the government tell us it’s ‘OK’ to buy, buy, buy and increase our debt. This is reflected by the ever-increasing consumer debt – now in the billions of dollars. How much longer can we continue in this direction? Who will pay the price when the ‘direction’ changes? I suspect the consumer, not the government, not the banks and probably not the profiteering companies.
    Advertising fuels negativity and depression by setting up expectations about what is considered 'normal' goals for the community (a new car, for example). When those expectations are not met people feel let down or a sense of failure or inadequacy. This sets a pattern for aspiring toward unfulfilling or unrealistic goals and living way beyond our means - not only is this detrimental to the individual but the community as a whole and the environmen
Is Nothing Sacred?
    What affects us emotionally becomes a powerful tool for the advertising moguls to reap rewards. It is particularly disturbing at present the many ads that tap into people’s concern about the plight of the planet to sell goods and services. This may be effective initially – but then people become immune, switch off, having been bombarded with it every day and night through the many advertising mediums. So people ‘forget’ or become desensitised to the issue and it falls by the way-side (unless of course they can use a catchy musical ditty to maintain attention!). When really, the plight of the planet should be a foremost concern to every clear thinking person on the planet – and should not be used as the emotional basis to sell MORE mass produced products (the very cause of our environmental problems).
Getting Off the Consumerism Cycle
Well the good news is: We can release ourselves from the power of advertising and consumerism – here's a few tips:

1. Decide - Make a concerted decision that its time to break from the cycle of ‘consumerism’ (and advertising manipulation) to a better life of emotional freedom.
2. Observe - The 'advertising manipulation techniques' and our responses. It’s all around us – make a mental note so that the ‘control’ is less.
3. Be aware of the ‘vulnerability of desire’. It blinds clear thinking. While we 'long' for something we are vulnerable. There's a difference between 'need' and 'want'. Happiness is not necessarily all about materialism and consumerism.
4. Change shopping habits. Avoid large supermarkets and department stores that use powerful advertising. Shop at smaller stores, markets, etc. (They could do with the extra support anyway - big retailers have been slowly eroding sales from smaller businesses)
5. Shop by morals instead of emotions - stop allowing 'cheaper' prices to influence shopping choices. A few dollars gained here and there is a huge price to pay for loss of human values and morality. Purchase Australian-made and/or environmentally responsible items or goods with less packaging. Buy based upon ‘personal morals’ and judgement about what’s right and wrong rather than the advertising jargon and manipulation that’s in the media.
6.Make your own' and/or find cheaper, natural alternatives (whether it be food, personal goods, cosmetics, etc.). There are plenty of options available and its particularly good for the planet!

To Finish: It’s easier to stay on the powerful consumer cycle then get off! Its easier to ‘go with the flow’ than to resist and change. But if a significant number of people applied these simple techniques advertising would soon loose its power and better it will be for us all – and for the planet.

(Reprinted from Issue No. 14 of The Shoppe Newsletter. For list of back issues go to: Shoppe Newsletter
What's Best for the Planet?
Soap or Detergent?

     Following the article last Shoppe Newsletter on natural hair care alternatives many people have asked to know more about the issue of soap and detergent....

    Most cleaning products (except a bar of soap or soap flakes) are detergents (even though they may be labelled 'soap'). Examples of detergents are: laundry detergents (powdered or liquid), dish-washing detergents, hair shampoos, liquid soap gels and hand-washes, shower gels, pet shampoos, etc.
Detergents are chemical formulas designed to 'strip' grease and dirt. They contain many harsh chemicals that take thousands of years to break down in the environment and cause chemical reactions in humans (detergent is the most common chemical we come into contact with many times on a daily basis through it's various mediums). Thousands of tonnes of detergents end up in the environment every day via our waterways - poisoning plants, animals, the earth and damaging the normal cycles of nature (ecological balance of the environment). The other problem is that all these commercial detergent based products come in containers (usually plastic) - the disposal of which is a continuing ecological problem.
    Soap, on the other hand, is environmentally friendly, natural and safer to use. Using soap in place of detergents when-ever possible will benefit both you and the environment. Soap is also cheaper when compared with the huge array of detergent based cleaning products available.

Practising Anti-commercialism
   In Grandma's day (before the advent of 'modern society') a simple bar of soap was used for all personal and household cleaning tasks. She cleaned absolutely everything in the home: herself, the kids, the laundry, the dishes, floors, etc. with just soap. It was both cheap and effective. Today there is a myriad of cleaning products in the supermarket for every conceivable cleaning task. That's how commercialism works: More products for the consumer to buy the more money in the manufacturers' and retailers' hands. This philosophy is detrimental to you and the environment and the future of our fair planet.
   By saying 'No' to the range of detergent products available commercially and, instead, using one single product - such as soap, you are choosing to not take part in the power of consumerism and live more accordingly with the needs of ourselves and the planet.
When it comes to cleaning the bottom line is: It does not matter with 'what' you have cleaned, as long as it is clean. It makes no difference to your status in society, how you are judged by others or your personal happiness whether you have cleaned with the latest expensive commercial concoctions or just a bar of soap!

What can you do?   Ways to replace detergents with soap

1. Use a bar of soap for hand washing, bathing, showering, etc – instead of ‘liquid soaps’ or shower gels.
2. Use a homemade soap-saver by placing a bar of soap or soap pieces in a net bag (recycled orange or onion bag). Hang under the tap or swish through the water before washing dishes, hands, etc.
3. Grated soap can used to replace detergent powders (i.e. in the washing machine, when floor washing, surface cleaning, etc.). Make sure to completely dissolve the soap in hot water before adding to the wash. (Grate the soap in a metal grater or place walnut size soap pieces in food processor and process to a fine powder).
4. Make 'soap jelly' which is of similar consistency to liquid detergents so can be used in place of laundry and dish detergent, shampoos, body washes and liquid soaps. (It will also save money as a cheaper alternative to the many detergent based products on offer).

Recipe: Economical Soap Jelly Mix.
Grate one bar of soap. Pour one half into a 9 litre bucket. Pour the other half into another 9 litre bucket. Add ½ cup washing soda* and 2 litres of boiling water to each bucket. Stir both buckets until mixture has dissolved. Top each bucket up to full with water. Leave to cool to form a thick jelly. (For the thicker, richer soap jelly use less water).
How to Use: Use in place of liquid detergents. Use approximately one cup of this mixture per full tub (in the washing machine) or use for dish-washing, hand washing (liquid soap), shampoo, etc. in place of detergents.

*Sodium carbonate - a water softener available from the laundry section of the supermarket or use bicarb soda.

Availability - What type of soap to use
1. Bar of soap (any soap – commercial or homemade, non-animal-based or animal based, beauty soap, laundry soap, bath soap, etc.). Choose a soap that suits you – for example a 'soft' soap (beauty/bathroom bar), vegetable based soap, cheap laundry soap (if on a budget), good quality soap (such as from a health food store) or make your own. Homemade soap is very easy to make and contains less chemicals than commercial soap. Check the ingredients of commercial soap before buying as some contain added chemicals.
2. Soap flakes (e.g. Lux) may be used and has the added advantage of not needing
to be grated.
Get creative with soap jelly
   Soap jelly is wonderfully versatile and can be used as a base to make a range of environmentally friendly liquid soaps. By adding food colourings (or natural colourings like beetroot juice, turmeric, etc.) and perfumes, scents or food flavourings you can create a range of hand and body washes and cleaners for household and personal use just like what you buy commercially!. Here's some examples: mix rose scented oil with pink colouring or lavender oil with purple colouring to make hand and body washes. Add lemon juice or peppermint food favouring and yellow or green colouring to soap jelly to make dish washing soap. e-Booklet No. 50 has all the recipes and more ideas) Click here for more information.
Soap Jelly Questions and Answers
    In my workshops I encourage people to switch from using detergents to soap. Here's some common questions from people about their soap jelly and my answer to the problem:

Q: My soap jelly becomes watery around the edges - what does this mean and how can I avoid it? The soap jelly we made in the workshop did not do this.
A. The outcome of making soap jelly depends on the type of soap used. Some are good and others have additives that affect the consistency of the soap jelly. The economical soap jelly mix is more likely to have a water residue than the rich soap mix (both recipes are in Booklet No. 50) because of it's higher ratio of water to soap.
For my workshops I make and use the rich soap jelly mix (as per e-Booklet No. 50) as it produces a thick soap jelly that allows for leeway when adding water and other ingredients without affecting the mix. However that can also sometimes separate. In such cases I use my stick blender to re-blend the mix. Do not use a hand-whisk or electric beater as it will cause the mix to froth excessively.

Q: Is the soap jelly OK if little bits of soap have not melted and float to the top of the mix?
A: Pieces of grated soap are only a problem in the washing machine - as sometimes they cling to the clothing leaving unsightly white flecks on the washing (after it has dried). Finely grated soap (i.e. in the food processor) will dissolve better than coarse soap. If washing in hot water most often the soap pieces will dissolve in the wash, but as most people use a warm or cold cycle the soap does not melt and remains in the wash water.
To avoid the problem you can either dissolve the soap jelly (and any soap pieces it may contain) in boiling hot water before adding to the washing machine water - or when making your soap jelly place the grated soap in a saucepan with water (and softener) and bring it to the boil whisking occasionally to make sure all the soap dissolves. (But take care as it boils over really quickly). Next pour the melted mix into 2 buckets and top up with water (use less water - approx 1/2 bucket - if making a richer soap mix).

Q: Can I use soap jelly in my front loader washing machine?
A: Soap jelly can be used in all types of washing machines - front and top loaders - and dishwashers. Often the 'manufacturers' recommendation is to not use soap (i.e. only use powdered detergents). I have found no evidence to suggest that soap is detrimental to the workings of the washing machine. I purchased a new top loader in 2000 - and have used soap jelly for every wash - and the machine is still functioning. Pouring a cup of vinegar into the wash water on a regular basis will clean out any soap residue in the machine (pipes and pump) and ensure it has a long working life.

Q: My soap jelly is really 'hard' and difficult to use. Does it matter what type of soap I use to make the jelly. Will it make any difference to the soap jelly?
A. Different soaps result in different outcomes when making the jelly – some soap jellies are runny some are really hard - it all depends on the components of the commercial soap as all soaps are made differently. Hard soap jelly is the best outcome. If my jelly is very thick and 'hard' I first slice it with a knife, then blend it with a stick blender to soften the mix – adding a little hot water will help break down the jelly. The outcome will be a ‘runny jelly’ that will be easier to use.

Further Information and Reading:
e-Booklet No. 50 - Recycling Soap:
   Transforming a simple bar of soap into a array of safe, environmentally friendly products - either in the form of grated soap or soap jelly. Contains recipes for: rose liquid hand soap, lemon dish-washing soap, rosemary & lavender hair shampoo, soap-based garden spray, wash-balls, heavy-duty cleansing powder, soap-bags, old English wash-balls, 'gourmet soaps' (pet soap, honey soap, etc.), beeswax polish (containing soap) and other interesting uses. You'll be amazed at the things that can be done with a simple bar of soap - including making putty, poultice and as a drawer liner. Price: $12.00   Download here
e-Booklet No. 3 - Simple Soap-Making:
   Using just 3 ingredients: lard, caustic soda (lye) and water, soap is surprisingly easy to make. This simple method for making soap is similar to Grandma's approach to soap-making. Instructions are step-by-step covering moulds, possible problems, maturation, colouring, scenting, utensils, precautions, history of soap. Information includes variations to basic recipe for: almond oil soap, oatmeal, honey, herbal, scented, cucumber, sand-soap, antiseptic soap.  Price: $12.00 Download here
e-Booklet No. 25 - More Soap-Making Recipes.            Follow-on booklet from No. 3 - Simple Soap-Making - containing more recipes and ideas for making soap. Covers: glycerin soap, chamomile & milk, lanolin, borax, heavy duty cleaning soap, soap without animal products, soap without caustic soda, rich rose soap and more.  Price: $12.00  Download here
e-Booklet No. 23 - Green Cleaning:
   Alternatives for commercial cleaning products using four basic ingredients: bicarb soda, vinegar, eucalyptus oil and pure soap. Covers an array of common commercial products and lists what can be used 'instead of'. Safe, economical, practical and good for the planet! Includes quick reference Green Cleaning Chart. Recipes for : soap jelly, surface spray, oven cleaner, disinfectant, carpet deodoriser, heavy duty scouring paste, air-freshener spray & more.  Price: $12.00   Download here
Do you have calendula flowers growing in your garden?
   This attractive bright yellow-orange flower is growing in abundance in many people's gardens this time of year. In fact it's so abundant that some consider it a weed! But calendula is a particularly useful plant because it is very healing to the skin and a natural way to eradicate skin blemishes and maintain clear healthy skin.

Here's some ways to utilise the healing properties of fresh calendula flowers:

1. Bathing: Add freshly picked calendula flower heads to bath water when bathing

2. Bath-bag: Tie fresh flower heads into a fabric bag (such as a handkerchief) along with a tablespoon or two of grated soap. Use to wash face and hands or tie under the tap when filling the bath or hand-basin.

3. Calendula infusion: Place approx. 10 fresh calendula heads in an earthenware or glass container. Gently crush the heads with the back of a spoon (to aid release of essential oils). Add 250ml boiling water. Leave to steep for about 5 minutes or for a stronger infusion leave longer - until it has cooled. Strain. Use as a skin astringent by splashing onto the face after bathing or cleansing. Do no wash off - leave to dry on the skin. Use daily for maximum effect.

4. Calendula oil: You'll need a clean recycled glass jar that has an air-tight lid. Half fill the jar with fresh calendula flowers. Top up with good quality oil of your choice (almond, grape-seed or olive oil). Attach the lid and leave to steep for 4 to 6 weeks. It's best left in infused sunlight (window shelf). Turn or gently shake every second day. Strain through cheesecloth, muslin or similar open-weave fabric. Discard the flower heads. Use the remaining calendula infused oil as a simple moisturiser for the skin - apply to face, hands, knees, legs and other areas with blemishes and marks.

You'll find more information about things to do with common garden plants and herbs in:
e-Booklet No. 61 - Harnessing Herbs:
Techniques for making use of and harnessing the potent properties of herbs and plants to appreciate all year round. Covers: growing and harvesting plus infusion, maceration, decoction and drying techniques. Recipes for: cosmetic waters & vinegar, culinary oils, infusions, herbal products (honey, butter, cheese), bath oils, and more. Price: $12.00 Download here

e-Booklet No. 45 - Home Distillation of Essential Oils: Essential oils purchased commercially are expensive. This booklet covers simple home-based techniques for extracting essential oils from your own garden using herbs and flowers. Covers: basic techniques, suitable flowers & plants, special blends, recipes for homemade eau-de-cologne, perfumed water. Price: $12.00 Download here
Baby Body Care
    I've had q few requests lately to run my 'Eco-Baby - Baby Body Care' Workshop. Using chemically based products on the delicate skin of young babies is not beneficial and could result in reactions, sensitivities and allergies later in life. So I encourage  mothers to use natural, chemical free alternatives. For more information see the following e-booklet:
e-Booklet No. No. 79 - Baby Body Care:
   Chemical free and safe alternatives for baby body care. Covers: body powders, baby oils, oatmeal (skin-care), plants and herbs for baby. Includes recipes for baby healing oil, milk and lavender bath powder, chamomile baby powder, herbal infusion, honey & milk moisturiser, natural soap-based products, make-your-own baby wipes and homemade rusks. Price: $12.00 Download here
   Thanks for your interest in The Shoppe newsletter. Keep well - and I'll catch you next time.
                        Pam Marshall -The Self-Sufficiency Shoppe email:

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