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Sharon Vile

I've had a decades-long fascination with herbs and natural healing and found over the years that many such treatments can be quite successful.

I'm also an avid do-it-yourselfer. This was partly from necessity, but the need to morph into Mr. or Ms. Fix-It is just an inescapable fact of home ownership, unless you are rich.

My interest in essential oils dates back to the 1970s, when there was an herb store in my neighborhood that carried scores of essential oils, and I loved blending them into some often very unlikely perfumes.

Later, I learned to make homemade lotions. In recent years I developed an interest in making soap and skin-care products.

When I realized that soap-making is both "sciencey" and artistic--involving color, fragrance, and the plastic arts, and is also a practical art--soap-making turned into a passion.

Soap-making is also an art that allowed me to make use of some of that natural-healing background knowledge, since herbs, essential oils, and clays can be incorporated in soap for many skin benefits.

My interest in soap-making turned into a "quasi" businesses of selling soap and body-care products at farmers' markets and craft fairs.