Why I Became a Soapmaker

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For years I wanted to make soap but I will confess to being afraid of the process. I worried about the lye around my children, and I worried it would be one of those things I invested a lot of money in and never stuck with long enough to get really good at. Continue reading

The Value of a Gift From Scratch

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What if you could give someone the feeling of a sunny summer day in an apple orchard as a gift? Or the warm comfort of your kitchen as the aroma of chocolate chip cookies drifts from the oven? Continue reading

How To Make Hand-Dipped Candles

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Making hand-dipped tapers is one of the oldest ways to make candles, and also the most hands-on. But, like anything, once you go through the process it becomes simpler each time you repeat it. Continue reading

Making It Yourself: Why Bother?

Kathy's homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Kathy’s homemade soap. Find the supplies you need to make yours at Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

I recently taught a workshop on soapmaking at our local folk school. I was telling a friend about it and she asked a pretty profound question: Why do you bother? Continue reading

DIY: How to Carve Wooden Spoons

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There is an aura surrounding handmade wooden products — something that goes beyond the higher price tag and quality of the items. It is the notion that a tree sprouted many years ago; season upon season it grew; and from that tree came the raw material for the chair you sit upon, the table you set at suppertime, or the swing on your grandmother’s porch. Continue reading

How To Make Your Own Window Quilts

Window QuiltEditor’s Note: This is one of the most popular posts in the history of our blog. Re-sharing the information – hopefully it helps you in 2018!

Instant insulation for (about) $20!

When I was little and my grandfather was building our home “up in the sticks” of rural Massachusetts, we lived in three rooms plus an enclosed porch while the second phase was being added onto the back. It would become another two bedrooms and a bathroom, but for one winter I recall, it was enclosed but not insulated or finished, so an army surplus blanket hung in the roughed-in doorway at one back corner of the kitchen. Continue reading

Enter to Win Your Christmas – On Us!

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Always wanted to try ___? Start smart with a kit.

Our starter set includes everything you need to make several batches - enough to wash more than 800 loads at less than 7¢ per load.

Our starter set includes everything you need to make several batches of homemade laundry soap – enough to wash more than 800 loads at less than 7¢ per load.

Contrary to popular opinion, it just isn’t possible to make a living selling some honey, maple syrup and candles at a farm stand. I have to do other things — many, many other things — to avoid leaving home and hearth to pay the bills. I do a fair bit of writing and I teach a lot of workshops. Some have to do with my work with children impacted by abuse, neglect and foster care (my other life) and many are focused on teaching traditional skills like soap making, candle dipping, food preservation and making herbal salves and ointments.

I teach classes on how to do these things the traditional way, but I’m definitely not a purist. In fact, I’m a big fan of beginner’s kits. There are all kinds of kits available for all of the skills mentioned and just about any other you can think of. In fact, I got my start in mastering a lot of skills by purchasing said kits. Continue reading

Very Cool Customers … and Their Stories

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Organic Gardener Karen Geiser enthralls a crowd at Lehman’s May Daze Celebration this past spring.

Organic gardener, author, blog contributor, and mother of five, Karen Geiser, is no stranger to country living. She shares her expert advice with customers just as if they have pulled up a chair on her front porch. . . and all the while shelling peas, pitting cherries, or churning butter (depending on what is in season on her farm). 

We always enjoy hearing about fascinating customer connections that happen in our store. And Karen certainly has the pleasure of interacting with many visitors and hearing their stories!

Here are some recent tidbits she reports:

  • Last week I met folks from Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil (Must have been Latin America day).
  • A fellow from Pennsylvania visits frequently and always tells me about his garlic (which he got from me) that has won several blue ribbons at the county
    Karen Geiser demonstrates our Dazey Butter Churn, which she uses to make butter with cream from her family's Jersey cow.

    Karen Geiser demonstrates our Dazey Butter Churn, which she uses to make butter with cream from her family’s Jersey cow

    fair.

  • This week there were many good conversations over edible weeds – around the table were an herbalist from New Mexico and a family from West Virginia who really knew their plants.
  • An interesting couple from Virginia who has lived off grid for many years visited the store to finally buy the luxury of a gas refrigerator – mainly to have ice. It’s hard to believe they could live without a fridge for so long, and they described how they can their butter.
  • This week a lady said she was there from Robinson, IL because she heard me speak at the Master Gardener conference over a year ago. She had no idea she would run into me, and we had a good laugh together as she told me about the things she grew because I recommended them (like mouse melons). I helped her figure out other places to hit for her first adventure in Amish country. She said some of her girlfriends have visited Lehman’s after the conference, too. 

Stop by Lehman’s on Thursdays, from April through early November to visit Karen and learn from her wealth of hands-on knowledge.