Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Let's Make Kombucha!

It seems Kombucha Tea is all the rave at the moment. Whether it's store bought or home brewed, everyone seems to be drinking it all of a sudden. And if they're not drinking it, they're talking about and searching out info on how to make it. Funny thing is, I've been making it since the very early 80's. Way back when nobody had even heard of it.
So, since many friends have begged me to do a tutorial on making Kombucha tea, here we go :)


  • 1 Glass Gallon Jar - preferably wide mouth (a glass, Pyrex bowl will work too as long as it holds 1 gallon. 
  • 1 Stainless Steel or Pyrex saucepan or pot
  • 1 Gal. purified or distilled water
  • A clean, breathable cloth like a handkerchief, 4-5 layers think of cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, etc.
  • 1 rubber band or a length of string or twine to secure the cloth on top of the jar or bowl  
  • Sugar - Any kind will do but it MUST be actual real sugar. NOT honey, syrup, stevia, etc.
  • Tea - loose leaf or tea bags. Black or Green. The higher the caffeine the better
  • 1 Cup of Kombucha tea from a previous batch
  • 1 Kombucha culture (scoby)


1 gallon purified or distilled water (DO NOT use chlorinated water!)
5-7 tea bags or 5-7 Tbsp. (black tea, green tea or a combination work best. The higher the caffeine content the better)
1 cup of sugar (white sugar, raw sugar or organic pure cane sugar)
1 cup of Kombucha tea from a previous batch
1 Kombucha culture (scoby)

Place your filtered water in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Dissolve the sugar in the water as it is coming to a boil. Once the sugar is fully dissolved (about 5 min.), remove from heat and add your tea. Cover and let steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags or strain if loose leaf and allow to cool to room temperature.Once cool, pour into your glass jar or bowl, add the cup of reserved kombucha tea and stir well. Place the kombucha culture (scoby) into the jar. Cover with cloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or string. Place in a warm, dark place where it will not be disturbed. In approximated 1 week do a taste test, if it is not to your liking, cover and let set for a another few days. Try not to let it go much past 10 day or it can start to take on a very vinegary flavor. Strain, pour into smaller jars or bottles and refrigerate to stop the fermenting process. Don't forget to hold back 1 cup to make a new batch with. Enjoy!! Make a new batch!


Where we get all our tea:
Starwest Botanicals

The kind of tea we use:
Gunpowder Green Tea Organic 1 lb.

Jasmine Tea Organic 1 lb.

We recommend the following books:


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Addressing the TAT Issue

Good Morning Clan,
I hope you are all having a fine start to your Memorial Day weekend. Please remember what this weekend signifies and take a moment to pay your respects to our fallen soldiers this weekend. That said, I need to address something that seems to be becoming an issue. And that is our TAT. I'd like to preface this by saying a huge thank you to all of you that have been so kind, patient and supportive through-out this time of growth. We love you all <3

So, the past week in a half or so we have been getting disgruntled emails & reviews that our TAT is too long and that we have been remiss is communicating with our customers about that. I would like to point out a paragraph taken directly from our Shipping & Policies page which when making a purchase, everyone has to check a box stating that they have read and agree to before they check out.
"We are what is known as a "custom" shop. Many of our product are custom orders. With the exception of our Luxury Cold Process Soap and some Artisan Wax products, our products are made fresh when you order to ensure the best quality and maximum shelf life. We DO NOT have RTS items sitting on the shelf ready to toss into boxes. We are also a small "Mom & Pop" (literally) Indie Business. Just the two of us, a husband and wife operation. Due to this custom handmade nature, please allow a minimum of 10-25 business days for processing in addition to 5-15 business days shipping time, for your order to arrive. International orders may take up to 45 business days to arrive depending on certain customs regulations. Our mail carrier picks up between 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm PST and they are no longer allowed to scan packages. So keep in mind that if you received a shipping notice from us, your package WILL NOT likely be scanned until 6:00 that night or as late as the next day when the main carrier comes from Eugene for the bulk pick-up."

I would also like to point out that Matt posts to the group almost every day where we are at progress wise on the orders. Posting what order dates we are working on and which ones have finished processing and have shipped. So I feel that we do a pretty good job of keeping everyone "in the know" on the progress of their orders.

Yes, I know that it is frustrating sometimes to have to wait for your product. And I know that it can be a bit irritating when you get an email asking you to review a product that you haven't even received yet. Believe me, we DO understand. We are working 7 days a week. Most days, Matt puts in over 12 hours a day. We feel just as bad as you do that our TAT is no longer just 7 days. But with the newly found growth and the higher demand for custom products, that just is no longer feasible. And it does us no good when we get ugly emails and ugly reviews from angry people who have already "supposedly" read & agreed to the policies that offer them full disclosure on this subject. It only adds more stress to the pile. The options are that we can either stop being the unique custom shop that we enjoy being and have worked so hard to build a reputation for, or we can become an exclusive shop that only opens for restocks then closes up for months at a time cutting off our customers for the majority of the year. Or we can "conform" and become a carbon copy of all the other B&B shops in the sea of grey indie shops with products made from pre-made bases and designer dupe fragrances. Or we can go on like we have been and folks can learn to be patient, understanding. Or, at the risk of sounding arrogant, which I'm really not, you're getting some of the best damn product you will find in the indie bath & body world AND you're being treated like royalty with every order packed as if was being sent to a King or Queen. And if waiting for that kind of special quality upsets you, then maybe we're not the right company for you and you would be happier shopping at Bath & Body Works.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Cleaning Sale

We're having a quick little Spring Cleaning Sale!! Sale items can be found on the SALE page of our website. We've also tossed in some great Mystery Bags. Quantities are very limited. In the past, the Mystery Bags move faster than a speeding bullet! Well...almost ;) 
Sale will run until supplies are gone. Have fun!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

When the Nose DOESN'T Know

Jasmine Flowers
"Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other of our senses and recognition of smell is immediate. Other senses like touch and taste must travel through the body via neurons and the spinal cord before reaching the brain whereas the olfactory response is immediate, extending directly to the brain. This is the only place where our central nervous system is directly exposed to the environment" (von Have, Serene Aromatherapy)

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has strict guidelines for safe usage of fragrant chemicals and essential oils in perfumes and skincare. And we are bound by law and by a Code of Ethics to adhere to those percentages. Having been in this business for over 20 years now, we've learned a thing or two about the dangers of over scenting products are inhaled and those which come in contact with our skin. Valhalla has always had our own percentage rates which we deem as safe that we use to scent each of our products. They fall well within the IFRA guidelines while also giving us a little "wiggle" room for the occasional stubborn or delicate scents that don't stick well or are very light in their nature.

When you work around different scents all day long like we do there will be occasions when your nose fails you and takes a vacation. When it just can't possibly smell one...more...smell. We find this to sometimes be true with some of our customers as well. Especially those who like to burn candles or melt tarts allot in their homes.

The olfactory system is uber sensitive and there are a myriad of factors that can interfere with our sense of smell. Allergies, medications, past medication or drug use, illness or disease, age, what was cooked in the house recently, chronic exposure to over scented products like tarts, B&B products (especially B&B Works and LUSH who is notorious for overly scenting their products), chronic exposure to over scented candles which can create soot which gets in the nose clogging it, environment (air pollution, smog, smoke, etc.), cigarette smoking, mineral deficiencies, and so on. The list is exhaustive.

If you're finding that all your Valhalla smell goods are starting to smell the same, or not at all, then it is very likely that you have a one or more of the listed factors going on. We suggest giving the the following tips a try:

 A). Fill a glass jar with good quality coffee beans and when you notice that you're having trouble telling different scents apart, or smelling anything at all, take the lid off your jar of coffee beans, stick your nose down in it and take a few good deep sniffs. This will cleanse your palate. Then seal your jar back up, put it away in a handy place and take a few breathes of clean air. Now try sniffing your various scents again. This will usually clear out your palate. If it doesn't work, move on to step B.

B). If step A. was not successful in clearing your palate, then we suggest you pick up a bottle of Ocean Nasal Spray which is an all natural saline solution and can be found in the pharmacy section of most stores. Follow the directions on the bottle for both nostrils. You may have to do it a couple times. This WILL make your nose run for a few minutes so have some tissue ready. Then try sniffing your various scents again.

If either of these tricks fail to work for you, then you may have something more serious going on medically, like a sinus infection or polyps on your sinuses or whatnot and we suggest you seek medical advice.  

More interesting reading about our sense of smell: