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Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 | 2 comments

Meet the Maker: Mellenie’s Soap Subscription

Meet the Maker: Mellenie’s Soap Subscription

We’ve been big fans of Mellenie Runion’s eco-friendly soap business, Truly-Life, ever since discovering it a few years ago. In fact, her garden was one of the stops on this summer’s Urban Farm Tour. We love sharing news of local makers and Mellenie’s homemade business keeps getting bigger and better, now with a subscription service. Mellenie grows and creates her skin care products right here in her Del Ray home. The lavender that makes her soap and bath fizz so soothing grows in her backyard. The loofah grow on vines supported by a homemade trellis. It’s then dried and sliced and delicately tied with a ribbon on her packages (that little pot contains a bonus: seeds to start your own loofah plants at home). Her mud masks are made from coffee beans sourced from local coffee roaster Swing’s and the box is lined with, of course, part of a burlap coffee bean bag. Mellenie is now offering a subscription service where you can order — for yourself or as...

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Steffanie’s Old Town Suds

Steffanie’s Old Town Suds

Soap-making is a true DIY venture, one we’ve talked about before on DIY Del Ray. We’ve seen different techniques from soapers like Mellenie from Truly-Life and Rachel from Wessex Soaps (all locally sold), but what makes Steffanie’s version stand out is she includes ingredients you can both eat AND drink. Beer soap? Wine soap? Yes, it’s a thing! I visited Steffanie at her Alexandria condo to learn about the soap-making process, something Steffanie first learned about by watching YouTube videos. In addition to bar soap, she also makes produce wash, bath bombs, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners and disinfecting spray — all eco-friendly and homemade in her small kitchen workshop. Today, she walked me through the process of making bar soaps. Each recipe is a precise science — you must have the correct ratio of lye, water and oils. Why? Because one of the most important ingredients, lye, or sodium hydroxide, is extremely caustic and the wrong amount could lead to dangerous results. It’s such a volatile ingredient that in...

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Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 | 3 comments

Home-Grown Loofah: Cleaning the Eco-Friendly Way

Home-Grown Loofah: Cleaning the Eco-Friendly Way

One of the best parts about DIY is that you are always learning something new. One little tidbit I just learned is that you can grow loofah right in your backyard. I never knew those hard spongy things you use as a body scrub were actually plants, let alone something you could grow yourself. Local resident Mellenie Runion grows and sells loofah as part of her business, Truly-Life Eco-Friendly Gifts. At the recomendation of a friend, I stopped by her house over the weekend to see what growing loofah was all about. While the recent cold snap has been harsh on the loofah plants, there were still a few holding strong on the vines. They grow in full sun and need supports like the ones you would have for tomatoes. Next year Mellenie plans to build a small structure to better support the plants. After the loofah have grown (they look a lot like cucumbers), you simply remove from the vine, peel off the green exterior, and let them dry...

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Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 | 6 comments

DIY Studio Tour: Wessex Soap

DIY Studio Tour: Wessex Soap

Perhaps the modern version of potpourri in a wicker basket is homemade scented soap. I visited a local resident who makes natural soap in her house and the aroma that hit me when she opened the door was simply divine. Rachel Wilhelm sells her Wessex Soap at Bellies & Babies consignment boutique in Del Ray. I’ve bought them to give as hostess and birthday gifts. I’ve also become used to having two bars of natural soap in my bathroom at all times. The essential oils waft through the house, especially after someone showers. Making high quality soap is by necessity a DIY venture. It has to be done in small batches, making approximately 18 bars. When I visited Rachel, she showed me the process of making a batch of unscented soap for friends whose children are sensitive to scents and for clients who suffer from eczema. In fact, she first started making her own soap to treat her son’s eczema. Ten years ago when she lived in Idaho, Rachel and...

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