Gardendreamsherbals's Blog

My inspiration for making all natural body products was seeded from my experience on an organic CSA farm over 12 years ago. At our peak, our farm of less than 5 acres produced two grocery bags full of fresh organic vegetables and fruits for a 16 week season to over 100 families!!! Eating fresh fruits and vegetables was the norm for me.

Even now, eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables are part of my core values. One way I celebrate this is with a morning smoothie. There are many variations on smoothies. One important fruit I always incorporate is the blueberry for its antioxidant property as well as taste. Experiment with fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, hemp seed, and more!  Always remove all seeds from fruit before adding to blender.

My morning smoothie recipe:

One organic banana
4 oz. organic blueberries
4 oz. plain organic yogurt
1 tablespoon flaxseeds (great source of fiber)
6 oz. Orange Juice

Mix well in blender. If too thick, add more oj!

Enjoy and celebrate the day!!!!

There are many great smoothie recipe sites.  Just google “smoothie recipes”.


{August 18, 2009}   Artisan Show in Lovell, ME

Jen posing for the camera at the show

Jen posing for the camera at the show

It is finally summer in Northern New England.  Attending artisan shows is a great way for me to promote my creams, oils and soap.  I enjoy doing shows that benefit something, which is why I love the show in Lovell, ME.  Our booth fee goes directly  to the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library.  The day starts of with a fantastic book sale, lunch (including the famous cukes and cream cheese with dill) and of course, the beautiful arts and artisan show.

This time around, I ran into a ton of fellow artisans.  Many of my artisan friends attend this show because it is about 20 minutes from the Conway, NH area.

Donna and friends enjoying some Group Therapy

Donna and friends enjoying some Group Therapy

Donna and friends spend their ladies weekend at the Arts and Artisans Show in Lovell. They enjoy doing a little shopping then head back to their abode for some  Group Therapy (aka drinking wine) .  They stock up on Garden Dreams and share a laugh or two with me. I always enjoy the visit and  I am looking forward to seeing them next year.

Now for my artisan friends:

Janet Prescott is a talented handbag designer with a company called Sally Bags.

Janet showing off some new fabric on one of her wonderful bags.

Janet showing off some new fabric on one of her wonderful bags.

Her latest design is called the Commuter.  It holds a small day planner with two pockets on the outside for keys, cell phone, sunglasses, etc. and two zipper pockets on the inside with two open pockets.  I am notorious for having a disorganized pocket book, but the Commuter has me organized.  She will be doing the Fryeburg Fair again this year.  Look for her in the Craft Center.  She is a blast to be around at shows. Look for more about her.  I have some many stories and fond moments of our travelling together to shows.

Barbara Boxer of Tribal Trills

Barbara Boxer of Tribal Trills

Barbara Boxer of Tribal Trills has created beautiful clay animals that are one of a kind creations that are individually hand-sculpted from stoneware clay (you can microwave them… hahaha Barb) and decorated with non-toxic acrylic paints.

(I took some of the wording  above from Barb’s website.  She would have me for dinner if I described her wares wrong. She took a class on ocarinas while teaching art  and never went back.)  Each piece is painted differently and the whistles sound incredible.  This year Barb has added frig magnets to her collections, they are spectacular.  Oh yeah and her Loon whistle sounds just like the calls you would hear from a Loon off a lake in the middle of the lake, haunting and delighting.

Getting her booth ready at the Lovell Show

Betsy is a hoot.  Betsy Brisbois, owner of Rutabaga, has been a weaver, dyer and clothing designer for what seems like forever.  It is rare to see her at a show because her upholstery business has taken off.  While I was trying to get a photo of her, she would not stop talking.  It was so funny.  Finally I told her to be quiet for a second so I could snap a shot. She was excitedly talking about her upcoming trip to Paris with her wonderful mom, Karen Brisbois.

Celia so happy at 7:30 am set-up!!!

Celia so happy at 7:30 am set-up!!!

Celia is the owner and creator of Pottery By Celia.  She and I have been doing shows together for over 1o years. I fell in love with what I call her relief pottery.  She used textures from nature to provide the designs on the outside of her plates, bowls, mugs, vases and more.  Many of my friends have receive the birch bark canoe.  Doing shows with folks, we become friends and watch families grow.  Celia’s daughter Sylvia is no execption, a delightful young woman.  During the Fryeburg Fair, Sylvie was around a bunch.  When she was little, she would bounce around to our booths visiting.  It was great when you needed a laugh or just the sweet smile from a little girl.  She has graduated from high school and is off to school this fall.

My next show is going to be in North Conway, NH over Labor Day Weekend.  The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce is putting on the show. It will be next to the Gibson Center in downtown North Conway Saturday and Sunday.  Come by and say hello.

Jen Kovach at the Designing Women show in Bar HarborWhat a wonderful drive to Bar Harbor for a craft show!  The Northeast has experienced such a large amount of rain for most of June and July.  So far August has been delightful.  My journey began when I headed up to Edgecomb, ME on Friday night.  I lodged at the home and studion of my very dear friends Andrea and Joe of Cabin Pottery. They are very busy potters in Maine.  If you meet them, you will immediately notice how kind and genuine they are.  They make a great team, Andrea is a true artisit, she can draw, paint, sew, design oh yeah, and throw pots, Joe, the business guy, keeps her on track and creates pottery too. (I will get a few photos of them soon:)

Driving Route 1 North at 4 am toward Bar Harbor is a breeze.  There are no cars on the road.  I enjoyed a goregous sunrise over the ocean.  What a life I have!!  My job is to drive to different places in the country selling products I love.   I arrive in Bar Harbor a little late.  I wanted to keep driving Rt. 1, but in order to get to Bar Harbor,  I need to go straight in Ellsworth on Rt.3.

I arrived at the Atlantic Oakes Conference Center a little frazzled, a little late, but was soon surrounded by helpful artisans who are part of Designing WomenDesigning Women is an organization of women artisans and craftpeople from Maine and NH founded in 1991.  They produce several artisan shows a year with a donation at the door going to a women and or children’s non-profit.

A few of the wonderful women assisted me in unloading my car so I could focus on setting up my booth.

The day was lovely.  Here are a few of the people I came across.

Joelle Webber of Mermaid BinderyJoelle Webber of Mermaid Bindery is a such a doll.  She creates wonderful journals, books and such.  Last year at a show in Kennebunk, Joelle and I were across from each other discussing the book the Secret and saying how important staying positive and focusing on our work will lead us to success.  I mentioned to Joelle that I was close to reaching my goal for that particular show.  We had only about a half hour left of the show and it was getting very quiet in the aisles.  A man and a woman came into my booth, the man was very interested in my products and how I made then and such.  The woman looked around my booth, but left entering Mermaid Bindery.  As I totalled up the man purchased, I realized he had just about helped me make my goal.  I told him the story about talking with Joelle and such.  Well, wouldn’t you know, he bought a few more things getting into the excitement of the moment and pushed me past my goal!!!!  What a wonderful guy!!!  After he left, I shared the experience with Joelle and she stated that the woman purchased a bunch of journals and such.  She had made her goal as well.  It was such a powerful day for me and terrific that Joelle and I shared it together.   She is a kind heart and lovely woman.

Michelle Henning

I really enjoy the commraderie of the Designing Woman. Michelle Henning is no exception.I have known her for many years through the shows.  She is a smiling supportive person. Her porcelain jewelry is spectacular.  During this show Michelle and I were talking about how quickly the summer seems to be going by us.  I mentioned that one way the I am able to remain sane in the busy fair season is to take a day off every week and go to the ocean.  Michelle mentioned that she lives only five mintues from the ocean, but has only been there twice.  I asked her why and she said that she had a trying couple firings. (That is when she puts her clay jewelry into the kiln for “curing”.)  She has one “batch” completely fail. She lost about 6 weeks worth of work.  NOW THAT IS STRESSFUL…I understand how that feels. Every now and then, if the weather is off or I am off , I lose a batch of soap.  Not only do you lose the product, but the time and enerfy  put into it oh yeah, and the money.  But despite her challenge of lost product, her booth looked lovely as ever with some colorful and fabulous items.  Seeing her booth always inspires me to continue to critique and improve mine.

This show we had our youngest Designing Woman, Grace.  She created some wonderful items made out of polymer clay.  She also has great rhythm and kept us entertained for the afternoon.Grace and Lisa

Grace is the daughter of Lisa Eaton creator of Heart and Sew. Lisa has been making ties, bowties and more since 1994.  Her ties are so colorful and beautifully presented in her booth.  She and I had many life discussionsLisa Eaton throughout the day.  When I asked if I could take her picture for this blog about life of artisans and such, she was most helpful.  As I took a picture, she started with her face down and then looked up with a huge professional smile on her face.  When I asked her why she started looking down then coming up with a smile, she said that she learned that on Channel 6 out of Portland.  I cracked up and agreed with her.  This was the best picture of her for the day thanks to Channel 6.  Try it yourself.  It works.
Next time you are watching your local news, you may notice the newsanchors doing this.  I guess it keeps the look fresh.  Lisa is a refreshing part of the show.  Always ready to lug a box or a table to your booth space when you are running a bit behind.  Being an entreprenuer, I sometimes find it difficult to ask for help or even realize that help is needed. Lisa helped our with her kind soul and quick wit.


The Yarmouth Clam Festival was a wonderful event. I set-up on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by many friendly faces. Artisans see each other at many shows and cultivate friendships after years on the road. Spending three full days next to other artisans allows many philosophical conversations about selling products on the road, views on life and love and secrets about where the best places to dine in the area. The Clam Festival is an enjoyable event.  People attend the festival year after year. Grandparents bring their grandchildren to enjoy all the festival has to offer. They love the parade (no rain on the parade this year!!!), the music, the food and the artisans.  This event is a tradition for

many. Below are some of the characters I have known over the years.

Again this year I was across from the infamous Judith Barker


and her ever so helpful husband, Paul. Judith noted that she has been successfully selling her gold and silver jewelry long enough to have daughters of her customers seeking her out for ware for themselves. WHAT A TESTAMENT TO HER AND HER WORK. She is a selling machine. She takes each customer into her arms an

d listens to them to find the perfect piece for them for for a gift. People come back year after year to see her and find another treasure

Next to me is a very successful artist, Woody Jackson. He is the fella whose cow you see every time you open up a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.  He sells his art on t-shirts, canvas, calendars, mugs and more.  He is a great Vermonter and philosophical straight man.   I enjoy watching people be dazzled by his cows and other terrific scenery.  His heart is in his work, something you want to take with you.  Oh yeah…. I (happily) sold most of his wares on Sunday because he was busy “getting down” to the Wicked Good Band.  DSC01973

Bestey Golon of Common Folk Farm was next to Woody so I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her laugh.  Such a hearty loving laugh.  You can imagine that she would love to invite you in for a cup of tea if she had time.


Her garden are bustling at this time of year.  She is collaborating with the Shakers in Maine as well as tending gardens of her own, teaching, and selling herbs at shows.  She and her husband Dale are wonderful people, some of the first I met as a vendor.  We share time and space at the Fryeburg

Fair, 8 days of talks, laughs and support.

I enjoy going to the festivals and artisan shows to sell my products.  Culitvating friendships with my customers has been extremely rewarding. This weekend was no exception.  Many repeat customers visited my booth to stock up on everything from Baby Bum Butter to Goat Milk Soap.DSC01982

When my very busy Michelle Delucia and Eric Fisher stopped by the Clam Festival, I was humbled that they come to the festival, not only to eat the great food, but to stock up on soap.  They own and run a very successful gardening business, felting business and more called Sunshine Daydreams Gardens.

What is nice about craft shows, festivals and such is that vendors have a chance to talk shop about trends, good shows, good tents, and best prices for hotels, food and more.  We find it important to support each other as well.  Most of us purchase our gifts from each other.  Whether we trade or buy out right, we know we need to stick together.  Dan, the hot sauce guy, was my first sale on Saturday morning.  He bought my Aftershave for men.  So if you see him, make sure you tell him he smells good!!! HAHA!  Dan is a great business man. DSC01978 He sells his hot sauces like there is no tomorrow.  He gives people a friendly hard time, just like your big brother or smartie pants uncle.  I was so honored to have him buy my lotion.  His website is An example of how successful and “dan” he is.  Friday night he was selling the heck out of his sauces and ran out of $1 bills.  He was telling people it is $10 is you don’t have exact chance, if you do, it is $8 a bottle.  We asked him if he sold any for $10 and he said yes.  HOW DOES HE DO IT?  Great sauce, check it out.

Days can be long and sometimes hot as a vendor (and customer).  When we are selling are wares alone, it is always nice when someone will watch the booth, bring you a snack or even a smile.


My friend Kevin is just the guy.  He surprised me on Saturday with a cold drink and a smile.  He helped closed the show that night.  What a great guy.  He is a super salesman with a terrific sense of humor.  Kevin took a picture of himself while I was taking a break from the booth.  Yes, Kevin, there is proof that you were working. HAHA!!!  He said that while he was taking the shot, a woman in another vendor’s booth thought he was taking a picture of her and waved to him.  HAHA!!!  SO much fun!!!

Well, that is about it from the Yarmouth Clam Festival.  My next show is Grand Lake Stream, July 24 and 25th.  More friends, vendors, music and merriment.

Every third weekend in July, Yarmouth, Maine turns into a mecca for those who love wholesome fun and food. In Yarmouth, Maine, they have a wonderful festival called the Yarmouth Clam Festival. It draws thousands of people to its celebration. The whole town gets involved. All the local non-profits have food booths selling everything from lemonade to that is right….. FRIED CLAMS!!! My guess is that each non-profit raising a significant portion of their yearly income from this festival.

In addition to food, there are live bands, a midway, two dimensional arts, crafters, bike race, parade and more. It is a weekend full of family fun events.

I am fortunate enough to be part of the festival. I sell my herbal body care products. The people that attend the event are interested in handmade arts and crafts. They like to know that my products are all natural, made from scratch by me. When they purchase my Bug-Off Bug Lotion, they know they are receiving a products that will keep the mosquitoes away without chemicals and harsh ingredients. I take pride in making products that are good for people without hurting the environment. People enjoying meeting me, knowing I am the creator of such fine herbal products. It is a tiny peek behind the scenes of the producer of a product. They can ask question about ingredients I use, how I produce the creams and lotion and get a small glimpse into my life. It is a chance for them to make a connection to something they use on their skin everyday.
The excitement overtakes you immediately as you enter the Main Street. You will notice the lawn chairs lining the street on Thursday for the parade on Friday night at 6 sharp. One of my favorite parts of the parade are the Kiwannis on their tiny motorcycles.

Jen enjoying  makiing lotion for the Yarmouth Clam Festival

Jen enjoying makiing lotion for the Yarmouth Clam Festival

I am just a small part of the festival, but going to shows and festivals like Yarmouth Clam Festival, makes having my own business fun and have meaning. Being part of something bigger than myself is terrific.

Hope you stop by this weekend, but if not… see you at another show!!!

Meg, Amy, Rebecca, and I spent a lovely rainy afternoon in Bridgton, ME making soap at the Rufus Porter Museum and Cultural Heritage Center. We used goat’s milk from my goats, olive oil, safflower oil, and a few secrets to make our Lemongrass/Orange, Lavender with Calendula and Rose with rose petals. What a wonderful day. These pictures show the basic process.

Thank you ladies!!!

My brother, Matt, enjoys outdoor acitivies as much as I do.  We tend to ski at least once a week together at the local weekly community ski race called Mountain Meisters.  The race is on a Nastar course at Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, NH.  Both of us are new to the sport and racing, both beginning in our 30s, but having fun and learning quickly.  Watch out hot jocks.

There is nothing like driving 5 miles down the road to a beautiful tree farm to choose my holiday tree.  My friend Kevin and I went to get trees yesterday.  What fun!  It definitely put me in the holiday spirit.  As we drove home with our beautiful trees, I realized that not everyone drives the 5 miles from their home to a tree farm that is pristinely taken care of by a wonderful friend, Ward Simonton.  I love living rural and having the opportunity to enjoy the seasons, forest, weather and simple things in life.

There are so many things to be grateful for this year.  I am grateful for a new president, my home, my job, my friends and the wonderful snow on the ground.

I encourage you to take a moment, look at all your blessings, and tell someone why you love and appreciate them.

What are you grateful for this year?  Have a wonderful holiday season.  Remember it is the quality of time spent by loved ones, not the quanity spent on loved ones.

Love, Jen

{November 18, 2008}   Goats in the Fall

After my morning ritual of Earle Grey tea with Yerba Mate and journal writing, I mosey up the hill to feed my Nubian goats. (I have been raising goats for 10 years using their milk for soap , cheese and drinking). They are adorable. Each with a different personality. As I approach their pen, they bleat to say hello. They are looking for their grain and in the fall apples or extra hay. In the summer there is a movable electric fence. They are moved around the field eating brush, grass and leaves. When they are enclosed around a stone wall, they devour the tiny saplings leaving the large trees to continue to grow. Their presence is calming and connects me to the earth as well as reminds me of the simple things in life.

The building in the photos is their summer home. It protects them from the sun and rain when they feel they need a break from the weather. Goats are very hardy and are fine under a tree for shelter from the rain and harsh weather.
In the winter they are housed inside. On nice days in the winter, I enjoy taking them for a walk. Yes, they follow me. Why would they run away from the person who not only loves them, but feeds and waters them?

{November 13, 2008}   New Car Venture

Yesterday I was informed that my reliable sturdy old friend, Ruby the Astro Van is terminal. Ruby’s transmission is very sick. So we talked and agreed that I needed to move on. She got me to many artisan shows in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I sell my products via the website, stores and artisan shows.

Ruby actually went to Ohio and Illinois on a few occasions. Out for a few family gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Cousin Rachel’s wedding.

I will miss her, but know that she will be glad that I am that going to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle.

It is funny how some of us can grow attached to our mode of transportation and others buy and sell their car like trading futures.

I am looking at a 1998 Volvo AWD Wagon. I am quite excited to get back into a car.

Love, Jen

{November 7, 2008}   Clay Face Mask at the Ocean
My skin is going to be so smooth after this Clay Face Mask

My skin is going to be so smooth after this Clay Face Mask

During the summer I tried to go to the ocean once a week.  Living in Northern New Hampshire that prospect was easy.  A drive to the Maine coast took about an hour and half.  The ocean purifies the soul, the salt water refreshes the skin and the sun warms the body. I enjoyed walking the beach looking for sand dollars, sea glass and other treasures.  One day I decided to try my Clay Face Mask at the beach. I used sea water to reconstitute the clay and applied it to my face and body.  It is easy to put all over because I was in my swim suit and washing it off require me to run into the waves and splash water on my face and clay covered body.  The Maine Coast is known for cool water, but it was refreshing none the less.  The experience left my face soothe and free of dead skin, my soul uplifted and ready to face the daily stresses in life.

It is so important to take time for ourselves and have fun with friends.  This picture was taken by my good friend Kevin who made a pact with me in early summer. We would go together to the ocean once a week. We had a wonderful time.

I would suggest purchasing my clay face mask and trying it out at home, girls’ night in, or on your next trip to the ocean. Love, Jen

{October 27, 2008}   Garden Dreams and the Blog

I am very excited to start blogging daily life of a woman entreprenuer in Northern New Hampshire.  Events happen everyday that I would like to share with my friends, customers and potential customers.

Life is too short to forget what is important.  Enjoying living life.
More to come.

Living Large at Monday Night Dinner

Living Large at Monday Night Dinner

Proving what you already knew about hand sanitizer: It’s bad..

et cetera