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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Christmas Bazaars and Such


This is Nag Champa soap, one of my soaps that will be featured at the upcoming bazaar.


There may be a lot of you artist/crafter types that thrive on being a part of the latest bazaar and there a lots of them that start showing up in the next few months. I love attending these bazaars but have had such time constraints that I haven't actually been a participant at a bazaar yet.

Well, I am finally getting my opportunity. There is an upcoming bazaar this coming November 8th that I will actually have a booth there. It is a local bazaar here in Vancouver, WA. at the Lutheran church that borders along 162nd ave between 28th st and 39th st.

There will be door prizes and proceeds that the church makes goes to help a women's homeless shelter.

Come look me up and check out my soap "in real life" on November 8th!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Online Sites for Handmade Items

When I first started making soaps and actually considered the idea of selling them, I wasn't really sure where to go with the idea. Should I just sell them locally, or was there a way to sell online?
You see, I worked full time and this soaping thing was definitely a sideline, a dream, a desire, a hope for an outlet for my creativity and actually get some reimbursement for it.
Because of time constraints of working full time, which included weekends, I chose to start selling my wares online and began searching for the spot in which to do that. Asked friends and co-workers and they all said, "You should try E Bay. I buy there all the time." Sure, OK. Why not?
I had never even looked at E Bay before. It sounded way to intimidating! But that was where I looked first.
Hmmm, seemed easy enough. Let's post a couple of things and see what happens! So I did.
Nothing happened. I mean NOTHING! My listing ran out. I relisted it and NOTHING happened...nothing at all. I tried one more time and when that failed too. I sat back and scratched my head, thinking, "Is there something wrong with my product that no one even wants to look or bid or buy? Is my price out of range? WHAT'S WRONG?" As far as I could tell, the prices were very reasonable, was a good product, but the pictures were a bit dull. I looked at other E Bay sites that had soap and they didn't seem to be offering anything better or more exciting than me, so I started searching for another alternative.
Quite by accident, I ran into a site called etsy.com that I checked out. WOW! The stuff here is ALL handmade. Cool! I opened a shop and put some of my same things on etsy that were neglected on E Bay. It was a slow process, but I eventually began to sell my soaps. I found some tricks and secrets to get my name out there a bit better and have done relatively well for the most part. Not great, but I can't complain either. Etsy has grown and grown since I've been there with soap shops coming out of the woodwork. Some shops seem to get a lot of glory and others seem to hang out in the background despite all the hard work. I began to search for sites that I could show off some of my soaps without scratching daily to get to the top of the pile on etsy.
In my search, I found some really cool places and some not so great. I don't claim to be an advocate for every site, only to say that there are some great alternatives to selling handmade items. Most are not near as popular as E Bay or Etsy, but I feel they have some great potential in this age where more and more folks are looking to supplement income or escape from this mad working world...yes, it is pure insanity, don't you think?
Although I don't have personal experience with all of these sites, here is a list of what I currently know of:

www.eCrater.com Although I have visited the site, I really don't know much about them. Some artists have told me that they don't get much there.

DaWanda.com I also have little experience with this site. This site seems to cater more to the European crowd, which is great. Seems a bit similar to etsy.com

silkfair.com Here is one that I am more familiar with. Has some really cool ideas there for showing off product, like videos etc. They have a forum for other sellers and members to talk. It seems a bit slow sometimes though. I have had some difficulty navigating aspects of this site. But the site generally has a good, clean look about it. It is NOT just handmade items though, so there is all kinds of things here.

madeitmyself.com OK, this site is pretty explanatory. All handmade items. Fairly easy navigation, also has a forum, an area for folks to favorite their sellers etc.

shophandmade.com Here is another one that is pretty explanatory and there is folks who support some seller expenses and you get the option to support the environment with your sales as well. Nice, clean, easy to navigate, no queing up to get your items on the top of the pile.

lov.li.com Here is a site that I am still working hard to navigate also, but has some really great groups there.


I know there are a few more out there that I haven't really investigated yet, but those are a start for those of you who want an alternative to selling on E Bay. I am not anti-E Bay, just didn't really have a good experience there. So many more sites have more options for the handmade artist.

Happy hunting and finding what you need out there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Featuring....LouAnn's Designs



I've picked a few of my favorite items from LouAnn's shop and have pictured them here. She is such a talented artist and works in a variety of mediums, but I have to say that her gourds are probably my favorites. There is just something earthy and unique about gourd art and the thing LouAnn can do with a gourd is amazing. She is definitely one of my favorite artists on etsy.

Recently, I asked if I could ask her a few questions about her and her work to feature on this blog. She honored my request and so I am pleased to feature such a talented person on my blog site.

Here is LouAnn in her own words:









I AM A MARRIED TO A WONDERFUL MAN AND RETIRED. MOVED TO NORTH CAROLINA ABOUT 9 YEARS AGO FROM NEW YORK. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN CRAFTING. AT ONE TIME I OWNED AND OPERATED A BOUTIQUE AND CRAFT SHOP IN MY HOMETOWN OF OSSINING NEW YORK. WHEN I MOVED TO NORTH CAROLINA, I WAS INTRODUCED TO GOURDS.





WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR ARTWORK?

I AM INSPIRED BY JUST THE FASCINATION OF WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH A GOURD, OF WHAT CAN BE MADE FROM A GOURD. I JUST LET MY IMAGINATION RUN WITH THIS FRUIT. I'VE BOUGHT EVERY GOURD BOOK THAT HAS BEEN PRINTED AND I GET LOTS OF IDEAS FROM THEM.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS TYPE OF CRAFT?

MY HUSBAND AND I WENT TO A FESTIVAL IN A NEARBY TOWN. LOW AND BEHOLD, I STUMBLED ONTO A LADY SELLING BEAUTIFUL GOURDS THAT SHE PAINTED ON. I TOLD MY HUSBAND I AM GOING TO BUY ONE OF HER PIECES AND I DID. I WAS HOOKED AND TOTALY FASCINATED WITH THESE GOURDS. THEY ARE FASCINATING. NO TWO ARE EXACTLY ALIKE. WE HAD A STUDIO BUILT BECAUSE THEY WERE TAKING OVER OUR GUEST ROOM. NOW THEY ARE TAKING OVER THE STUDIO. THESE ARE GOD'S CREATIONS AND HE IS LETTING ME CREATE. THEY GIVE ME PEACE AND RELAXATION IN MY SENIOR YEARS.


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN YOUR CRAFT?

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A CRAFTER OF SOME SORT. I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH GOURDS FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS. THEY ARE VERY CUMBERSOME IN MANY WAYS. THEY COME TO ME ALL DIRTY. THEY HAVE TO BE WASHED AND CLEANED. I DO NOT GROW THEM. THEY COME FROM CALIFORNIA MOSTLY; PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GIVING ME A LOT TOO. WITH GOURDS, WHEN YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE, IT BECOMES QUITE INVOLVED, TIME WISE.

DO YOU SELL LOCALLY?

I DO TRY TO SELL LOCALLY, AT DIFFERENT CRAFT SHOWS, BUT I AM GETTING OLDER AND THE PACKING, SETTING UP AND UNPACKING IS QUITE TIRESOME, SO I DUE VERY FEW SHOWS NOW. I DO BELONG TO A COUPLE OF GALLERIES. FALLING RIVERS GALLERY 119 W. MAIN STREET ALBEMARLE NC. THE OLD MILL GALLERY 514 N WASHINGTON STREET WADESBORO NC 28170 www.oldemillgallery.org. THESE ARE THE ONLY TWO FOR NOW. I HAVE SHOP ON ETSY.COM
www.louannsdesigns.etsy.com

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT I AM A CHRISTIAN AND PROUD OF IT. JESUS HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME FOR 68 YEARS. I LOVE TO SERVE HIM; I GIVE HIM ALL THE PRAISE BECAUSE HE IS THE LORD OF MY LIFE. GOD GAVE ME MY GIFT OF CREATING BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN MY SENIOR YEARS. HE SAID "I WANT YOU TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO THAT WILL BRING MORE JOY IN YOUR LIFE." HE ALREADY KNEW THAT HE WAS THE JOY IN MY LIFE BUT HE WANTED ME TO HAVE MORE, SO THAT IS WHY HE GAVE ME MY CRAFT. WITH GOD I AM EVERYTHING. WITHOUT HIM I AM NOTHING. I AM TRULY BLESSED; I GIVE THANKS TO HIM EVERYDAY.


Thanks, LouAnn, for sharing your precious gift that God has given you. It brings all of us joy too!

Be sure to visit LouAnn's shop at

www.Louannsdesigns.etsy.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

In October...





I love October for a variety of different reasons. It is a lovely month full of color, there is an air about the whole time that signifies change...leaves turning color, blustery days and warm days all at once as if it can't seem to make up its mind which way to go. It is also the month in which I was born. It is also my wedding anniversary and I've been married a long time to a wonderful man. So, you can see that I am quite partial to the month of October.

I've also just recently made several soaps that will be ready for October too. In addition to ones I've mentioned previously, here a few new ones.



The soap above is Frankincense and Myrrh. A bit eclectic looking, it has a lovely spicy sweet fragrance that is perfect for the fall season. It also has a slight touch of Sandlewood mixed in which gives it a pleasant sweet clean touch too.






This next soap pictured is Mountain Blackberry. I took this picture barely 48 hours after making the soap, and haven't added my "topping" yet which is a layer of dried calendula blossoms on top. This is similar to one of my best selling soaps, Blackberry Kumquat but I've removed the Kumquat and added a sweet grass fragrance to the blackberry...a lovely combo. If you love the berry kind of fragrance, this soap is for you.






This soap pictured above is a remake of one of the first soaps I ever made and the fragrance is still my hubby's favorite. Seeing as how this month is our anniversary, I thought I would re-introduce this revised version of my Tropical Escape soap because he loves it so much.
Although my previous Tropical Escape was a great cleansing soap, it was a bit dull and boring looking, so I "spiced" it up a bit by adding some pinky orange color to the mix and swirled it in. It has the lovely combo fragrances of mango, lime, and ginger. My daughter suggested that I should've added coconut because "dad loves coconut you know." She suggested this the day after I made it so it was a bit too late to change my mind, but I think she is right. Coconut would've been a great addition! Maybe next time around...I'll add the revised revised edition :D
So come and enjoy what's coming up in October. It is a time for change and expectation. I'm looking forward to this month, how about you?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Gained 5 Pounds Just by LOOKING at This!




A dessert soap that looks like it was made to go with coffee. Please don't eat it even if it smells and looks like you should!

This is Raspberry Mocha Soap. A hint of raspberries combined with the warm heady scent of mocha. A white chocolate scented drizzle to top the whole thing off.

OH MY!!!!!!!

Available end of September, this one will feel so decadent! Superfatted with coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil and vitamin E.

What coming up in a few weeks? Nag Champa!




Unique, eclectic, sophisticated and earthy all at the same time! That's Nag Champa. This soap has the spicy-sweet-mystique fragrance of Nag Champa along with unique splash design that you see in the above picture. This was just as fun to make as it looks.

Actually, Nag Champa will be availabe the end of September. Check it out on my site at SoapyBlessings.etsy.com

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gifts of Glory


Visit Gifts of Glory

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Sale




Ok, so Andrew Lauderstein, that really cool looking Australian swimmer pictured above is NOT for sale in my shop! I just thought he would catch your attention. NOW, that I have your attention, I'd like to let you know that there is a sale going on through September 15,2008 on my shop at http://www.SoapyBlessings.etsy.com

Lots and lots of sale items there that are up to 25% off original price.

And, YES, all previous purchasers may apply their coupons to these sales too. So, this is really a great deal for you previous purchasers.

Stop by and visit.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hemp Soaps




Most everyone knows what hemp is. It is a very versatile plant that people make wonderful things out of...rope, yarn, oil, brownies (ahem...), lotions and soaps too. The oil has a distinctive nutty sweet fragrance and it is very good for your skin as well. So, I've decided that I would make some soaps out of this very versatile oil.

If you have any experience with handmade soap, you already know how great the stuff is. You probably also know that soapmakers all over the world vie for your attention in making bright, beautiful, one of a kind soap in various colors and fragrances. The possibilities seem endless. I am also one of those soapmakers that would like for you to say, "Wow! Soapy Blessings is the best there is!" I may be great at some things, not so great in others. My soaps are only limited by my imagination and cost of making the soap itself. If others like it and buy, then I retrieve some of that cost. Otherwise...well, it is the chance all artists take.

Because there are so many options out there to grab your attention to different soaps...tons of colors and fragrances etc, I've decided to try something a little bit different. I made a soap that has NONE of those things! No fragrance except what naturally occurs in the oils; no color except what naturally occurs in the oils.

The result?

NO FRILLS! Soap. It is made with the natural nutty sweet hemp oil which is a very pale green color. I've mixed other oils, including coconut, palm and olive oil to make a well-rounded hard but great on lather soap.

Tired of all the attention grabbing soaps? Try something that is just plain and simple...called NO FRILLS! It will not be available for sale in any of my shops until September of 2008, so stay tuned.

Oh...and for those of you who love all the frills and hemp oil too, I made a hemp oil soap with Cranberry Orange Spice fragrance mixed with a deep cranberry red and vibrant orange. Also not available until September '08.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Get ready for August! Upcoming Soaps.







Pictured above are two soaps that I've recently made. The top soap is called "Solar Energy" and the bottom picture is "Jasmine Dreams".

Solar Energy was not made using solar energy, OK? It is more of a color and fragrance thing. I wanted to emulate the colors of sunsets or fiery colors...sun related somehow and the fragrance oil I added to it is called "Energy" which is a fresh, citrusy...BAM! type fragrance. A waker-upper. Not overwhelming, but makes its presence known all at the same time. The picture was taken less than 24 hours after making the soap. I had just cut them into bars so they are still a bit rough around the edges.

The second soap is a gentle, tropical floral fragrance with just a hint of green tea in the background. Jasmine dreams has pink and white swirls throughout the entire bar. I love jasmine as a fragrance so these are a favorite of mine. Like the Solar Energy, I had just cut them into bars shortly before taking the picture.

Both of these soaps will be curing into a gentle, lathery soap over the next six weeks and will not be ready until August 27th.

An announcement will be made when they are ready and an immediate 20% discount to anyone who purchases one of these soaps in the first week they are on sale. This discount is ONLY good for those who have read this blog and mention this blog at the time of sale.

Anyone interested in reserving any or both of these soaps in advance, please let me know at either of my shop sites.


www.SoapyBlessings.etsy.com
www.SoapyBlessings.silkfair.com

Each soap is 3 1/2 oz. each and are $3.75 regular price

With 20% discount, you receive each bar for $3.00 (not including shipping of course)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Specials found only on my blog site

With each soap order, I send out specials. I also have specials that are posted on this site only that you can redeem on either my etsy or silkfair site.

Want to keep up on any specials? Sign up for my blogger newsletter.

This special lasts until July 31st, 2008

FREE SHIPPING! Applies to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

The next applies to anyone in the world: Buy two, get one free! Third item must be of equal or lesser value than your lowest priced purchase. AND YES, free shipping is still in effect for U.S. and Canadian residents.

This offer also good through July 31st, 2008.



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lemon Chiffon...Soap?






Time to make more soap. The question is, what kind should I make? What are people going to want to look at? What are they interested in? What will spark their interest?

In these increasingly tough economic times, these are important questions to ask. I don't want to waste my time making something no one wants or is willing to purchase. Despite the artistic value of my craft, I still have to look at the financial aspect of things. That is what makes good business sense.

That being said, I chose to make this soap that you see in the picture approximately 20 hours ago. It turned out the way I hoped it would, which is a good thing. Sometimes things turn out quite differently than what I hope for and then I have to decide if it is still marketable or a fun little giveaway....or do I just hide it away in my own shower and tell no one? I have a lot of those "tell no one" soaps, by the way. I just don't tell anyone...until now.

This soap is an interesting combination of three different soaping methods. The bottom portion is a method called "cold process" soap making. It is the method that has been used for generations. The ingredients might be a bit different than they were a hundred years ago, but the method is essentially the same. The top portion (whipped cream look) is a method where the soap is whipped with a beater until it becomes frothy and merengue-looking. The ingredients are a tad different than the lower portion so that it whips better and has that light, whipped coloring. The "lemon shavings" on top are a very simple method of soap making called Melt and Pour, where I've taken an opaque, pre-made soap, then colored and shaped it to whatever I prefer.

All three methods are a blast to make and I enjoy them all. Here is a soap that combines all of them to make a soap that looks like something I would want to serve for dessert. It smells like lemons also. Since lemon fragrance doesn't always hold well in cold process soapmaking, I've cheated a bit by adding other essential oils that tend to mimic the lemon-like fragrance, and I've added real lemon juice to the mix.

Just an FYI, my work area smells like a lemon grove right now...ahhhhhhhhh!

Since these types of soaps take 6-8 weeks to cure enough so that they are gentle and lucious for your skin, they will not show up on Silkfair until the end of July. If you are interested in reserving some now, let me know. I've already pre-sold a large percentage of this batch.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Joys and Woes



OK, I LIKE this picture, no crime in using it twice in a row.


Almost everyone looks forward to summer. There's a lot to look forward to; such as warm days, soaking in the sun, swimming, gardening, hiking, boating, camping and just generally getting out of doors. I love summer. Everyone and everything gets out and gets productive in one sense or another. Everything...including bugs.

Most of us don't consider bugs our favorite thing in the summer, yet they are a part of the summer season, like it or not. We have to put up with them.

Or, do we?

For those of you who aren't fond of the little creatures landing on your body and biting you, there are options, like bug repellent. Most of the commercial bug repellents out there are chemically enhanced to keep bugs away. Most of them work quite well, but there are some drawbacks...the spray-ons getting into your eyes and down your lungs, the less than attractive smells, and all the strange-sounding, unpronounceable chemical words that you're are slathering on your body, trusting they won't make you grow a third eye.

Or, will they?

OK,OK, I have a point here. There are more natural options (Drumroll, please).
There are NATURAL oils found in many plants that have repel buggy critters and they can be found in one of my soaps. I'm not the only soapmaker that has this, but I think mine is the prettiest and most fashionable looking. I also have a matching lotion stick available that goes hand in hand with the soap. During summer camping or general outdoor season, you use your Bug Be Gone soap and then enhance that with my lotion stick for natural bug repellent effect. I use only natural plant oils in this soap that are known to repel bugs, including catnip oil, so I guess you'll be real popular with the canine crowd while wearing this stuff too. Just an added benefit unless you're allergic to cats. Nevertheless, catnip oil is known to be one of the most effective natural ways to repel bugs. Cats aren't so dumb!

It certainly smells much nicer than any of those chemically enhanced bug repellent products out there and you are getting a natural product that doesn't make you grow a third eye either.

What a concept!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dasselmom Loves my Soap





My Bug Be Gone Soap was included in her blog site with a theme towards camping. Tis' the season after all. My soap was grouped with a variety of other green camping themed items and it is a lovely grouping. Check it out at
www.findingcalminchaos.blogspot.com

Bug Be Gone Soap has been a real big seller for the past few weeks along with Bug Be Gone Lotion Stick. A great camping item to keep clean and keep bugs away.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coconut Oil-Free Soap...Better Picture




Finally! A sunny day in Vancouver, WA. and I can take a better picture of my newest soap. By now it is cut up into individual bars and curing. Sometimes the colors change a bit from first adding the colors to after the soap has dried and I was hoping that none of colors would fade out or look nasty after drying...they didn't fade or turn colors. If anything, the colors became even brighter. The green in the picture is truly a VERY bright green, the orange stayed orange, the pale lavender swirl still seems more white than lavender, but it shows well against the darker lavender background.

Overall, I am satisfied.

Now, to the actual ingredients. I mentioned before that this soap was made using palm kernel oil instead of coconut oil. It is a formula that I have had laying around for quite awhile but have seldom used...only because coconut oil is such a versatile oil that I've stayed with it, a certain familiarity with how coconut oil responds has kept me using it and I've stayed in my "comfort zone".

Coconut oil contains a variety of fatty acids that give the properties that make it a good "soap oil" like large amounts of lauric acid which contribute to creating a hard bar of soap, great cleansing qualities and creates a wonderful lather. It also contains a fair amount of myristic acid, which have similar qualities to lauric acid. It then contains small amounts of palmitic acid, which stabilizes the lather, oleic acid (conditioning the skin), and stearic acid (lather stabilizer and contributes to hard bar).

Palm Kernel oil has many of the same qualities that coconut oil has, but in different quanities It contains lauric acid in almost the same amount as coconut oil, only about half the amount of stearic acid, almost the same amount of myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. So, probably the biggest difference between the two oils is hardness of the bar and the lather may be a bit less stable.

But here's a good thing with this formula, I increased the amount of olive oil content, which is almost all conditioning. This bar will caress your skin like crazy.
I also added some bentonite clay (a type of kaolin clay) to give a "slipperiness" that makes it an ideal shaving soap. Sometimes, an overabundance of clay can cause your skin to feel a bit dry intially. Clays do have astringent and cleansing properties too, but too much can sometimes cause your skin to feel a little dry. With this smaller batch of soap I added about 2 tablespoons to the soap batch.

Since soap takes over a month to cure, it will not be listed on Silkfair or etsy until next month. If you are interested in advance ordering, please let me know. I would be happy to save one for you. I made a very small batch, only nine bars came from this formula, so these may not last long.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lavender Chamomile Bergamot Soap



This is the top of my soap batch that I made last night. Like I promised, I would take a picture.

Unfortunately, this is the best lighting I took it in since I didn't get home until after dark and prefer to use natural sunlight for my picture taking.

But this does give you an idea of the design on the top. this pic is a slab of soap and you are seeing the slab from the top. I haven't actually cut the soap into bars yet. I prefer to use horizontal soap molds rather than vertical ones. I like the look of them better for the most part even though they tend to take up more table space.

Fun looking, isn't it? I tried to get the color as true as possible in the pic, but I fear the green is a bit off. The green IS a bright green, and the light color swirl is actually a very pale lavender. the background color is a lavender color as the pic shows and the orange/yellow is actually a bit brighter I think than what it shows.

Coming Next Month (end of June)

Just finished making a small batch of coconut oil-free soap last evening. At the request of several who have stated they have a sensitivity to coconut oil, I have replaced some oils to accomodate their sensitivities. The soap contains palm kernel oil instead, which is a much harder oil than coconut, the olive oil content is higher as a result, making this soap a very gentle soap for your skin.

I then played with it some more and added lavender, chamomile and bergamot to make it a heavenly fragrance.

NOT ONLY THAT, I also added some bentonite clay to give this soap just enough "slip" so that it will make a great shaving soap.

Still not quite satisfied, I went one step further and added a lovely artsitic little design on the top of the entire batch. I haven't taken a picture yet, but I'll post it when I do.

Have a coconut oil sensitivity? Want a fragrant shaving soap? Love artistry and color design? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then this soap is for you.

Stay tuned. More info coming later.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To Wrap or Not to Wrap...





Handmade soaps can be so cotton pickin' beautiful, it is almost a shame to wrap them up.

Since I sell most of my soap online, I can at least show a picture of what my buyers are getting.

The next question is, when someone does buy it, should I wrap it in a lovely package or not?

As you can see from the pictures, I've tried a variety of different ways to wrap my soap, some pretty extensive and some a bit more simple, but I've found that this packaging can come with a price tag and I am beginning to feel the economic crunch of the times, not to mention the additional time it takes to individually wrap each of these babies.

I now have decided that special packaging may need to cost a bit extra. For all intents and purposes, unless my customer specifically requests gift packaging, I will be sending soaps wrapped in simple tissue or small paper bag with information inside as to soap name, ingredients, etc.

I'm just curious, how many out there really care whether their soaps are wrapped in pretty or unique packaging? Yes, it is an added touch, but is it worth it?

Until folks are willing to pay the price for routine packaging, I suspect I won't be adding that extra touch for now, much to my chagrin. It has been one more tough decision I've had to make to make things work in these times.

Here's to hoping that things will be on an upswing soon and we can all enjoy lovely packaging again as a given customer service.

Sheesh! I'm beginning to sound like a passenger airline service!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

El Tropical Azul

OK, so I am beginning to get the hang of this treasury thing :0
I have a new treasury on etsy now. Please check it out on http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=46456

It is one way for me to introduce a new etsy site of mine.

For several months now, I have kept my old site on etsy.com with my old name...Jabon.
Nice name..it means "soap" in Spanish but I've found that there are a variety of other soap sites that use this also and I didn't wish to be confused with them. So, I chose the name Soapy Blessings by Trish.

However, my etsy site name could not be changed unless I chose a new site, so I am now in the process of doing just that.

I started my new site today and it is SoapyBlessings.etsy.com

I will still have jabon.etsy.com until I get my new site established.

Please feel free to check out both. My new site hardly has a thing on it yet, but it will soon :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ode to Joy

This is the name of the etsy Treasury that I set up yesterday. Yes, it is the name of a hymn also, I know that. That's why it is called that. This is my first Treasury that I've been able to do, so I'm very excited about it.

There's a problem here though. I am assuming that everyone that reads this is a part of etsy.com and many of aren't. I know that because I look at my stats and I know that many of you have probably never even heard of etsy. So, allow me to backtrack for just a moment and tell you what it is I'm talking about.

Etsy.com is a shopping site for folks who want to shop for handmade, individual items of almost every sort, vintage items or craft supplies. It is a Crafters Mall kind of place, the largest arts and crafts fair ever. So, if you like arts and crafts fairs, etsy is the place for you.

Some people are shoppers on etsy, some people are shop owners on etsy, and some people are actually both on etsy. I'm a shopper and shop owner there.

Now, on to the Treasury part. A treasury is a grouping of items available on etsy that is chosen by an etsy member to be displayed on the Treasury site of etsy. The items can be anything on etsy, in any type of grouping. The grouping can have a theme, color scheme...whatever. As the treasury is placed, other etsians have the opportunity to look at your grouping, make comments, or purchase from the vendors that you have chosen. The treasury you have chosen lasts for 3 days, then allows room for other treasuries to open up.

The hard part is actually finding an opening to get a treasury in there in the first place. There are literally hundreds of etsians looking for an opening...kind of like finding a parking place for the biggest sale in town on Christmas eve...or the day after Thanksgiving. I sat at the computer and calculated how long it would take for the next treasury spot to open up, based on how many minutes or hours left on the older treasuries there were. Then, I set my timer to about 30 minutes before that calculated time just to make sure I didn't muff up.

It was a good thing I did that too. Apparently, I did some miscalculation because when the timer went off, I was at the computer, staring at the treasury section, my finger on my mouse, ready to click when the time was right. I only had to wait 10 minutes before an opening popped up. When it did, I clicked my mouse at the spot so hard, the mouse almost flew out of my hand! I guess I didn't realize how much anticipation I was in until then. I opened up another window to etsy and began to transfer the information on the items I wanted in my treasury, finished it and then proudly watched my treasury being viewed by dozens of people.

Now, it was time to start notifying the shop owners that I had put them in a treasury. Usually, they like to know that sort of thing. So, I began to e mail them. Then, I e mailed or sent bulletins on my social web sites to let people know that they should come and look at my treasury.

When my treasury started, it was page 27 of the treasury (the least looked at and clicked on). I watched most of the evening as my treasury slowly made its way through the ranks and finally hit page 6 by bedtime.

This morning, I looked again and low and behold, it is now on page 4. Wow! My treasury is a hot mama in the world of treasuries!

OK, so what is so great about a treasury? First off, lots of people see you as the maker of the treasury, so you get some exposure. You link up with other shop owners in the process of choosing them for your treasury, so you get some networking exposure too. It is basically a win win scenario.

Can't wait to find another treasury opening now. I'm hooked!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Treasury on Etsy.com

I was finally able to post a treasury on etsy.com
Some of the stores and folks are from Ruebee and also from Castteam.
Check it out at this link
http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=44265

http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=44265


I was able to post a treasury on etsy.com
Check out some beautiful items on it and click on some of them to see some great shops from wonderful people

Rain, Rain, Go Away...





I live in the Northwest, not far from the Pacific Ocean. It rains here.

Alot.

Don't get me wrong; I like rain...in moderation.

There doesn't seem to be a rain in moderation around here though.
We just have it most of the time from October through...well, it is May and it's still raining.

I think I might have an idea of how Noah felt when it rained 40 days and 40 nights.
The difference about the rain here is that it doesn't generally come down in buckets. More often than not it is a gentle, misty kind of rain spread out through the year.

There is less rain in the summer and there can be some beautiful sunny days here. When the days are sunny, people here really relish it in a way that can only appreciated if you live in a rainy climate. People just come out into the sun and look around with a dumbfounded look on their faces.

I'm ready to be dumbfounded for a few days.

Come on out, sun...clouds go away. Give me a sunny, sunny day...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It Washes White as Snow!!!



These soaps (Yes...they are soaps) remind me of an old song we occasionally sing in church. The words go something like this...

Oh, the blood of Jesus
Oh, the blood of Jesus
Oh, the blood of Jesus
It washes white as snow...

Bright and catchy, these soaps will catch anyone's attention, don't you think? I added fragrances of lavender mixed with green garden and kentish rain. The result? A really fresh smelling lavender soap, like walking in a garden after the rain and smelling the lavender. The dark blue in the pic is truly a very dark blue with a light blue background.

These were done using a melt and pour method of soap making.

These soaps will be posted online at both of my shops at http://www.jabon.etsy.com and at http://www.SoapyBlessings.silkfair.com

Monday, May 5, 2008

When Good Opossums Go Bad!!!



The photo above is a opossum...not the opossum that I am writing about, however.
THAT opossum is usually too clever to be caught out in the open.
However, he (or I suspect, a she) was caught off guard a few mornings ago.

My daughter was walking to her friend's house before school the other morning, which is only a few blocks away. It was about 6:30am and she was only one house away when she saw a opossum come out from a very large evergreen tree in the neighbor's yard. She is not normally afraid of opossums, but THIS particular opossum decided it didn't like my daughter right from the get go.

It growled in a nasally, high-pitched squeak/growl, mouth wide open, and came toward her. To make matters worse, as it came near her, it leaped into the air toward her.

Frightened out of her wits, my daughter let out a blood-curdling scream that received no response from either sleeping or deaf neighbors. Her automatic response to this leaping, snarling ball of fur was to give it a swift kick as it was in mid-air.

The opossum was caught mid chest and fell to the ground rolling backward while my daughter stood her ground (shaking). The opossum got back up on its feet and walked away from her across the street to the other side, looking back at her while walking, snarling/growling/squeaking at her the entire time.

Shaking and in tears, she continued on to her friend's house and recounted her terrifying tale. Both she and her friend concluded that they didn't like opossums from this day forward.

Prior to this encounter, my daughter, an avid animal lover, loved all living things, including the odd, furry, rat-faced, rat-tailed looking opossums. Not wishing for the entire population of opossoms to be forever on her "hit" list of things she hated just because of one, I explained that there was probably a good reason that this opossum acted the way it did. Perhaps it was a mother and felt that my daughter threatened her babies in some way.

My daughter shrugged and stated that this particular opossum "looked old, and messed up a bit, like it had been run over by a car a few times..."

Suddenly, this opossum was taking on a persona in my daughter's mind as possessed, crotchety, hateful, possibly demented or "Cujo-like".

Well, Cujo the Opossum hasn't reared its ugly head since that day...but neighbors beware! She could strike again!

I say, give Cujo a break, let her raise her kids in peace and give her wide berth next time around.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Table Full of Soaps



So, what happens now that my table is full? This picture shows a variety of my handmade soaps that are currently in various stages of the process of "curing" and my table is full.

Soap is a funny thing. The first time I had even considered that soap wasn't something that you just buy at the grocery store was when I was a kid, watching a re-run of the TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillys".

If you've never seen this show, well...it was a top sitcom back in the 1960s where a poor hillbilly, Jed Clampett finds oil and becomes suddenly rich beyond his wildest dreams. He decides to move his family to Beverly Hills and live in a gorgeous mansion, but he and his family can't seem to get the hang of living in Beverly Hills and fitting in with the crowd there. They still hang on to their old habits, creating a rather funny, silly comedy show. OK, OK...I am digressing just a bit here.

Now, about the soap part. In the one particular episode I am referring to, Granny (I can't remember what they called her in the show, it's been so long) is "out back, cookin' up some soap." She is dressed in goggles, a large apron, gloves up to her elbows and stirring a huge pot of steaming stuff. Like I said, I was a kid at the time when I saw it and considered this to be just another wild exaggeration that was notorious for that show anyway and didn't give it a second thought...until I learned how to make soap.

It actually was truer than I realized. My family know that I'm up something when I get out my huge pot, stirring tools, oils, water and sodium hydroxide...aka lye (can't make soap without it), put on my apron, don my forearm length Playtex gloves and set my safety glasses in place. My family realizes that I am now in "mad scientist" mode and back away. Such is the process of making soap.

All the soaps you see above were made using this humble process similar to the Beverly Hillbillies. Of course, I'm not "out back" necesarily, but I am in a room that is well ventilated so I am not overcome with the fumes created by the reaction of sodium hydroxide and water mix. All soaps start out this way, but can end up into lovely scented artsy creations you see above with just a little work.

Next time you go to an arts and crafts fair or see "handmade soap" for sale online for $4.00 for one bar, remember what it took for that soap to get like that. It is hard work, individuality, creativity and a whole lot of love for the craft. It is well worth the money compared to mass-produced store items full of unpronounceable ingredients that leave your skin itchy. They give soap a bad name...and don't think for one moment that liquid soap is any more pure or better. Often it has more chemicals in it than the bar stuff.

Just in case you are wondering what kind of soaps those are in the picture, the light ones in upper left are Pomegranite with a little designer artwork on it, upper right is also Pomegranite fragrance but has apricot seed powder on the darker side and smooth on the lighter side. Lower left (green) is a naturally scented bug repellent soap...has a minty, menthol-like natural fragrance from the essentials oils added to it. The lower right are Pink Grapefruit scented soaps.

Now, my table is full of soaps, why don't I just wrap them up and pile them away? Here's why...once you have finished "cookin'" your soaps, they aren't ready to be used yet. They have "set awhile" and cure for several weeks. During this cure time, the sodium hydroxide is still reacting to the oils and a chemical reaction is ocurring that turns soap into soap. They slowly harden up and become gentle on your skin. Right now, though they look lovely, they would probably be quite irritating on your skin.

Once the soap hardens up, you can wrap them in "breathable" packaging. I tend to wrap them in tissue with a little ingredient tag inside the tissue for regular orders. I also use special wrapping for those who are buying but want to give them away as gifts. I use special handmade paper and raffia ties, or corrugated cardboard with raffia for those occasions...never plastic or shrink wrap for these guys. Melt and Pour method soap is different and great for shrink wrap, but not these soaps.

Come tour my soaps sometime if your on Flickr!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange. What is it?

This is a site that you join, (for free) that works much the same as Paypal does. The difference is that you don't pay fees when you use like Paypal. Another good thing is that you automatically start with $25 in your account just for signing up. And one more thing, you get a referral bonus when others sign up.

The drawback? Your customer needs to have RME to purchase, so I'm in the process of allowing that option on my etsy site. Or they can use Paypal, or whatever other method that is approved.

The good thing is that I will give the buyer using RME a 5% discount on every item they purchase with RME.

An icon that is clickable has been added to my blog site here. Check it out and see if this is something that works for you.

I've listed below what the RME site says about itself below.


"Why Pay to Get Paid?
Collect online payments for free when your customers use MoneyExchange.

It's free to collect online payments from buyers with MoneyExchange.
Sending and receiving payments online between accountholders is free.
Online transfers to and from your bank account are free.
Get $10 for accounts you refer — up to $500.*
Plus, your customers, can sign up for free, and they will get a $25 bonus** if they open an account before May 15, 2008."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A design experiment



Wanting to do something a little different than just the usual swirl a couple of colors around when making cold process soap, I decided to make a small batch of soap the other day. Rather than swirl the colors throughout the soap, I chose to dab some colors on top and make a design. Never having done this before, I wasn't sure how it would all turn out. I figured since it was a small batch, I can afford to be just a little bold and chose black as one of my colors...black, marigold and hot pink on a peachy/pink background of pomegranite scented soap.

The above picture was my end result.

Kind of pretty...even better, the whole concept spurred my think tank to other fun little ideas I could do with the same concept.

This is the kind of experimentation that doesn't blow up in your face. Safe, fun when it turns out well...it would've been fun even if it turned out ugly.

Either way, it is a learning experience and that is what I love about it the best.

These soaps are still in the curing phase which takes several weeks. They won't be ready to use until late May.

Now, on to my next experiment.................

Friday, April 25, 2008

My 2008 Spring Soap Collection

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Joys of the Cameo Look



I love the look of cameo. It reminds me of days gone by...long before I was born gone by days. The Victorian look.

My grandmother was born in the 1880s and I recall that she had a lot of cameo pieces in her jewelry box. She wore her jewelry with great relish too, as most older women seem to do.

I chose to give my latest soap creations a little cameo look as you see in the picture. Mother's Day is coming up and they might be a great addition for a gift for Mother's Day. They are selling online in my etsy shop as of today.

The process I used was a simple melt and pour method. The quality of the soap in this process depends on the base melt and pour product you purchase and I always choose to purchase the higher end product. It is nicer on your skin, lathers better, doesn't change color and I know what I'm getting for the most part. Once, and only once I chose to purchase a different melt and pour product on sale from a different vendor and was sadly disappointed. Most of the soaps I made from that batch did not perform well and I gave away most of the batch. It certainly did not save me any money in the long run.

With the melt and pour process, I have much less say in what goes into my soaps and need to trust the processer of the melt and pour product. So, from now on, I make sure I know my vendor well.

The above soaps are made from a trusted source and is a well-performing soap. It is very daintily scented with rose, chamomile, bergamot and lemongrass.

Makes me want to take out my lace outfits (oops, don't have any-but if I did...) and my cameo necklaces and brooches.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snow in Vancouver, Washington...in April???



Vancouver Washington is not known for it's overabundance of snow. We are a wet, rainy climate here and it rarely gets cold enough to actually snow and stick for any length of time. About the only time is snows here is for a few days in December, and then perhaps again for a few days in January.

I'm not a native of Vancouver, but have lived in this area for over ten years. Today was the first time I have ever seen snow on the valley floor in the month of April. Highly unusual!!!

The snow was only a tiny amount in the eastern Vancouver city limits, similar to the picture above. No, the picture is not one taken today. It is only a likeness of the amount of snow that occurred here.

People freak out a bit here when it snows. They forget how to drive, or forget that they need to take the tiniest of precautions of slowing down just a bit, just like any wet weather condition. It just doesn't snow often enough here for folks to get used the concept I think.

Anyway, just a tad bit of snow in Vancouver in April, which is odd weather for us, that's for sure.

As for the previous blog...any other folk have any thoughts on it? Perfect Water? Still am scratching my head over that one.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Time Constraints



I have five minutes to finish this blog entry before I have to get ready for work. I will be working for the next twelve hours. That's a long time. My day is spent already just thinking about it. (Sigh)

Not only is it twelve hours but it isn't one just sitting at a desk either. It is a full of activity kind of job that leaves me both physically and mentally drained by the end of the shift. I have no brain left by the end of the day. It's a wonder I remember where I live by that time!

Oh, that I could stay here and write. What would I give? Since I don't have much to start with, including time, it is nothing more than a mental exercize in frustration.

I'd like to just sit here and muse over...anything but getting ready for work.

Uh-oh! I'm already a minute over my allotted time. Now what? I'm half-way through a thought process. Maybe THAT'S how people get dementia in their old age. It's the constant interruption of thought by outside time constraints!

I doubt that theory would hold up under scientific investigation, but I'd like to think it was true anyway.

Well, that's it for me. I'm doomed!!!

Won't be back until tomorrow when I might possibly be able to write an intelligent blog entry...or clean my house.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Family Ties...




These pics show me along with other (human) members of my family. I'm the blonde mother, by the way. Everyone else obviously looks like their dad. Some friends of my kids have even asked if they were adopted when they see me with my kids. Once they meet dad, it is obvious why they look the way they do.

We are a pretty close little group. We have to be. There are no extended family that live nearby, no living grandmothers or grandfathers either. We literally have begun our own little family legacy out of necessity.

Christmas and other holidays are spent with...us for the most part. There are no family gatherings where cousins get to meet each other or catch up where they left off from last gathering.

We have a church that we attend and consider them our family instead. It is a fairly closeknit church that started off small but is now growing by leaps and bounds.

Families come in all different sizes, some big and some small. Ours happens to be small with some other extended family out in the great distance that we meet up with occasionally. There are positives and negatives to all sizes of families. My feeling is that this is what we have. We make the best of it and I don't mean that in a negative way. We have had the opportunity to grow close to one another through thick and thin of things. It's the glue that holds us together...relationship and caring. And our trust, faith and belief in God.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gravity





Gravity.

Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to give it serious consideration. He came up with a rule or law of universal gravitation which the following definition is noted as follows:

Each particle of matter attracts every other particle with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Excuse me, what did that say?

In a nutshell, it means that here on earth, when you drop something, it falls to the ground unless there is some other force preventing it from happening.

We have all experienced Newton's Law on a personal level. I would like to give a few examples of what has occurred to me and my family as a result of Newton's Law.

When I was five, I was a tree-climbing fool until one day when all the kids in the neighborhood, including myself, were being called to come home. After all, it was almost dark. Here I was, about eight feet up in a tree, trying to figure the easiest and fastest way to get down. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I chose to use "Newton's Law" to remove myself from the tree. As a result of it, I bit my tongue on impact, causing extreme pain and a whole lot of bleeding.

I didn't eat dinner that night.

Newton's Law has caused me some injury time and again on the playground at school when my hands mismaneuvered themselves on the monkey bars too.

Newton's Law helped me fall off a ladder one day when I was a teen while working in an apple orchard, thinning apples. A grasshopper had somehow found his way under my shirt and proceeded to spit repeatedly while trying to find a way out. It startled me so much that I practically ripped the shirt off in an attempt to be rid of him and fell off the ladder in the process.

I learned how to ski as a young adult and spent many hours experiencing Newton's Law in downhill skiing. In fact, if it wasn't for Newton's Law, downhill skiing really wouldn't be much fun at all.

Then there was karate. I can't tell you how many times I've ended up on the floor during karate because of Newton's Law. I don't take karate anymore.

There were times when I had the stomach flu that I had wished Newton's Law was a bit stronger as I made mad dashes for the toilet. I'm sure that there were some drunks who may have felt the same.

My kids have experienced Newton's Law in personal ways quite unique to them as well.

My oldest son decided to take his bike on a downhill run behind our house one day. The road ended, but he kept going. We had to pick dirt and rocks out of his back for days afterward.

My daughter had a lovely personal experience with Newton's Law in an unusual format. At the adorable age of three, she was running in our yard one day while geese flew overhead. One of those geese decided he needed to rid himself of some goosemade by-product in mid-air. It landed smack on my daughter's head and proceeded to ooze down her face while she let out a blood-curdling scream. To this day, she is not fond of geese.

Last but not least, my youngest son had an early experience with Newton's Law, when he chose to perform a mountain-climbing act on the back or our recliner at the ripe age of fourteen months. He fell over the back of the chair before I could stop him, breaking his arm in the process. He had the most fun with his little, tiny arm cast afterward, banging it incessantly on everything he could possibly find. It was especially useful at mealtimes on his high-chair. He must've loved the resonance of that sound echoing through the house.

Now, you know what Newton's Law can do. It is a powerful energy, causing memorable occasions for all humankind.

Actually, I chose to speak of Newton's Law just to tell you all about those other silly little but memorable episodes in my family's life.

Thanks, Sir Isaac.

Treasure Hunt




Currently on my etsy site at http://www.jabon.etsy.com I have a Treasure Hunt going on. Every week, I have a different item listed that has free shipping. I don't say what the item is on etsy, you have to "hunt" for it, but for this week, I am posted what that item is here on my blog site.

It is the above item, guest soaps, set of four scented in English Rose fragrance.
Start thinking about Mother's Day...it'll be here before you know it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Floaters



And you thought I was talking about something else, didn't ya?
No, I'm talking about soaps that float. These little fellas pictured above have had air whipped into them via my mixer, then colored, fragranced into a sweet lilac scent, pumped out of a cake decorator thingy pumper thing, allowed to dry for about six weeks, then they turn out looking something like this.

Each one is a bit different, on purpose, because I was having a blast with the whole process.

They smell like my lilac bush in my back yard.

And they are for sale in my etsy store, just put them on this week. I am selling them in groups of six, but have more than that, just in case.

I love the smell of lilacs...reminds me of springtime.

They are a fun little soap...got them all piled up in a straw basket here at home with paper wrapping over the top of them, just waiting for someone to come along and use them in the bath.

These are the first floating, whipped soaps that I've decided to put for sale. I've had so much fun making them, I plan to make lots more whipped soaps, whipped soap toppings and other things all whipped up.

Yep, I'm now into "floaters"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Chemical Romance... VERY SPECIAL Backstage Passes!





OK...you My Chemical Romance fans! Here's something to eat your heart out about. Take a look at the pictures above.

Yes, that is Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance in a picture with my daughter (the really short brunette in front with G's hand on her shoulder).

She had a backstage special pass to meet the band along with her friend and her family.

How, how, how can this happen, you say?

Well, ya jus' gotta know the right people, folks and that's all there is to it.


And the other picture...well, yes it is true. That is Ray Toro sitting on my daughter's lap. He's a nice fella. Loves his fiance...really.

And the next picture. That is Frank Iero alright with his brand new, custom made guitar made by the guy next to him, Steve. Steve is my daughter's best friend's dad.

My daughter had a great time talking with these guys before and after the concert in Portland, OR. at The Crystal Ballroom.

Even more fun, her picture will now be on My Chemical Romance's myspace site, hopefully soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

In Remembrance....



I have spoken a lot about our chihuahuas recently, but I have never mentioned this guy. There is a reason for that. It has been difficult for me to write about him.

His name was Zico, named by my husband after a Brazilian soccer player (futbol for the rest of the world not in the U.S.)

We lived in eastern Washington when we got Zico. He was a mix of lhasa apso and some sort of terrier that jumped the fence. He was desperately needing a good home. We gave him one. He was a tiny little ball of fur when we first got him..the runt of the litter. He melted our hearts immediately and became the love of all our lives.

Zico was a small dog, but with a big dog bark. He used his bark generously in all situations...even some that we would've preferred left silent. He was the barking doorbell in our home. He warned when the phone rang. He warned us when there was any strange goings on in the home or outside the home that shouldn't happen. He was small, but a wonderful guard dog.

He had a few other idiosyncracies that caused some problems. He was a very poor traveler and didn't tolerate car rides at all. Everytime he got in a car, he threw up. We concluded that he simply just became carsick and so we avoided car trips with him. That was tough because he really wanted so much to be with us when we went anywhere too.

Zico hated strangers. He loved his immediate family but anyone he did not consider family was not very welcome. We had the same babysitter for almost 10 years and he never really warmed up to her. She simply wasn't family. By the end of his life, she only had gained the status of "barely tolerated" in his mind.

It was last summer that we knew that Zico was not doing well. He had gained weight, poor energy,and simply "looked unwell". We were so strapped for money at the time until late this winter that we could not afford to take him to the vet. But I knew what was wrong with him and I also knew that the only thing a vet could offer was to put him to sleep. None of us could bear to part with him and he seemed to want to be with us so much.

We coddled him and cared for him until the last. He had lived with us thirteen years and his time was close. One night, he seemed to want to be very close to me all evening. On the way to bed, he walked with me to my bedroom. I sat down and looked at him and he watched me for a moment. Then, he plopped down right in front of me, laid on his side, turned his head to look at me....and died. I held him very close and cried for a few minutes before wrapping him up in a blanket and placing him in our cool garage until morning. My husband had already left for work, my son was sleeping and my daughter was staying the night with friends when this happened, and it was two days before Christmas.

Zico was a very special family dog. Losing him really was like losing a part of our family. We all loved him dearly.

We had made a myspace site about him before he died and it still exists.
http://www.myspace.com/zico_the_dog

We created a myspace in rememberance of him and I wrote one little blog...written as if it were Zico writing it, as follows:


I now reside in heaven

I'm Zico, and my family made this site about me. They didn't make it for me, they made it about me. They tried hard to understand everything I was thinking and tried to put those thoughts into this site. They didn't get it all right, but the gist of it is mostly true.

I love my family. They have always loved me and taken care of me. However, in the last few weeks of my life, it became too hard to take care of me. They considered ending my life artificially at the vets to ease my suffering, but they couldn't let go. I understand that. I didn't want to let them go either. As hard as it was for me, I wanted to stay with them every minute and be with them.

Today was the last day of my life here on earth. I knew it was coming. I felt the need to be so close to my family all day, but I knew it was time.

It was about 10:45pm and dad had just left for work like he usually does. Mom was getting ready to go to bed. I had to follow her into the bedroom because I didn't want to be alone. She went into the bathroom and sat down and watched me while I came in the bathroom door. She saw me, bent down to pet me behind my ears like she always does. I've always loved that and she knew it. I was tired, so very tired and I laid down. Suddenly, I felt something very odd, turned on my side to look at her...and saw her face one last time.

It was a really strange sensation, I could hear her voice and feel her hand on me, but then everything just sort of faded away and the next thing I know I am in the best place ever. I'm no longer sick. I can run around and be a young dog again. That's the best part. I miss my family but something tells me I'll see them again.

I love all of you and will never forget you!!!! Don't cry though, because I really am doing well and in a better place now. Be happy for me, please!



Love,

Zico

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

FLOWER POWER.......



An old "ism" from the 60s that has had some recent rejuvenation, Flower Power was a representation of the desire for peace and harmony with one another. Not a bad idea by any means.

Without going into the history of the phenomena, let's get back to the flower part. These 60s era flowers have made it back to American daily life in the form of nostalgia, "what goes around comes around again" themes. I should've saved all those 60s memorabilia stuff I had scattered around my room when I was a teenager I guess.

I was playing around with my "whipped soap" formula one day, trying to come up with some fun ideas for it and the picture above is the end result. When I took the picture, these soaps were still very fresh, just made them only the day before, so as they continue to cure, the colors will be changing somewhat. Whipped soap takes a lot of pigment to get the bright colors. The colors tend to fade as the soap dries and turn more pastel. Pastel or bright, they were still fun to make.

I'm not a cake decorator and have very little experience pumping out frosting (or soap in this case) from a tube...cake decorator thingy, paper funnel with a cake decorating tip on the end, or whatever you call those things. So, the flowers are not "perfect", but I think that sort of adds to the 60s ambience.

The fragrance is all the same for these flowers since they all came out of the same batch. I chose a fun combo of fragrance oils for this and combined peach with cucumber melon. The end result was a fresh peach scent. I scratched my head as to what to call it and came up with "Peachy Summer" since the fragrance is obviously peach but combined with the fresh vegetable garden smell that cucumbers and melons bring out.

Overall, I had a fun time making them. Hope you had a fun time taking a look :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Aiiiiii....Chihuahua Time!!!!!!!!!!!!



These two cute little fellas are chihuahuas that were dog pound saved. I happened to work with the sister of the owner of these two little adorable pups. Her brother was having some medical problems that could not be resolved in a short period of time and knew he had to give away these fellas. He was nervous about making sure that these little guys went to a good home, so we offered to take these two and invited him, his sis, and mother to come over and make sure so that their minds were eased.

Initially, they wanted to give away the "son", (the tan/black dog in the pic) and wanted to keep the father, "Pancho".

Circumstances dictated otherwise and they asked if we could take both.

Now, you need to realize that we already had one dog...an older Lhasa Apso/Terrier mix that was older and fading in health. We weren't sure how long he would last, but knew that time was short.

After speaking with my husband about this, we decided that we would be willing to take on the addtional two chihuahuas.

We renamed the puppy to "Rocko", from the Nickolodeon cartoon, believe it or not. He actually fits his name very well though.

These two have captured our hearts in many ways, although it has been a struggle at first. I will discuss some of the struggles in future blogs, just like I said would discuss my Alaskan adventures and other travels. I haven't yet finished any of those yet. If you are new to this blog, you have a lot in store for you. Travels to different countries, dog "whispering" experiences, soaping scenarios, writing novel bloopers, and other crazed adventures :) (All I can do is smile.................)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Promoting Shamelessly




For those of you who read my blog and make a comment, I have some special for you! From March 27th through March 31st, I have a BOGO on my etsy site at http://www.jabon.etsy.com

Buy one item and receive the second item of equal or lesser value for free.

This also includes free shipping through March 31st.

To receive this offer, go to my site and when you purchase your items, please message me there on etsy that you saw this on my blog and made a comment. I will adjust the price accordingly when I see that through Paypal.

Yes, I am shamelessly promoting my site.

Yes, I have really great soaps.

Yes, I want the world to know that.

Yes, yes, yes.....yes!!!!

Whew! I feel better now.


By the way, today I made some really fun soaps that I hope you will also enjoy. They are Floating Flower Power Soaps. They float in the water, great lather, good for your skin, look like little retro "flower power" flowers from the 60s, complete with the swirled psychedelic rainbow of colors. Fragranced with "Peachy Summer" which is a peach top note, followed by fresh notes of cucumber, melon and background with a tad of spice.

The drawback is that they won't be ready until May.

However, coming up in April, I have another floating soap that will knock your socks off. Fragranced in Lilac, these multi-toned purple/lavender soaps are rather odd looking characters. Simply called "Lilac Floats", these are lovely little mounds of floating soap pumped out like a cake decoration. Approximately 3 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 - 2 inches high at its peak, they are fun for kids and adults a like.

Just an idea of what is up and coming in my shop.

Oh, pictured above is another soap called Strawberry Lemon. It is a Melt and Pour method soap that combines Shea Butter soap with Clear soap, then Lemon scented grated soap curls are decorated on top. Fun to make, fun to give away for gifts, and lovely to decorate in your bathroom. It is one of my teeagers favorite soaps.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ugly Duckling Look...Swan Fragrance



When I first started making this soap, I had visions of a beautiful swirled in color and fragrance soap...the epitome of elegance and beauty.

Look at the above picture....this is the end result of my gorgeous soap.

OK, so it isn't the epitome of elegance and beauty. Something happened that I didn't quite calculate into the formula. One of the fragrance oils I used caused my soap to turn colors. The fragrance oil cancelled out all the gorgeous colored oxides I put into it. It was SUPPOSED to be a swirled 2 tone pink with white, but this is what I got.

OOPS!

Face it, my "beautiful" soap is ugly. Come on, go ahead, you can say it. I can face the truth. It's UGLY!

But the ugliness hides some beautiful facts about this soap. It is fantastic when it comes to lathering up, it is good for your skin and doesn't cause your skin to dry out or itch after using it. And the fragrance...is to die for! But don't die yet before you try it.

I used fragrance oils that combine oatmeal, milk, honey and roses. It is mainly rose with that underlying homey oatmeal-honey-milk fragrance present.

It reminds me of sitting in a huge tube floating with rose petals, surrounded by candles and.....wait a minute....Grandma is cooking oatmeal downstairs?

NO NO NO...that's not it at all!

Try this again.

It reminds me of sitting in a huge tube floating with rose petals, surrounded by candles and soothing oatmeal water caressing my skin, dissolving irritations of the day away, milk and honey caressing and toning up my skin.

Yeah...that's more like it.

You get the idea. This soap may ugly, but it is a beauty in all other ways. When I make my next batch, I will work on the coloring of it and it will be a "Swan" in all ways.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

With the Music in my Head



I'm a hummer. At home, work, no matter what I'm doing, I hum or sing a tune without realizing it half the time.

Up until recently, I never gave this habit much thought. It has always been a part of who I am and I considered it a normal occurence in everyone's life.

Last week however, a co-worker was speaking to me about how depression ran in her family. Her son was recently diagnosed with depression and was put on some medication to treat it. After several trials and errors, the right medication and right dose was discovered for him. He told his mom one day that he had a rather odd side effect. He often woke up in the morning with a song running through his head and several songs would just arbitrarily "pop up" throughout the day. He found this to be a unique and delightful addition in his life.

Then she stopped and said, "You always seem to be humming. Do you hear music too?"

"All the time," I said. "Ever since I was a kid. I don't recall NOT hearing music."

She smiled. "Really? You don't take antidepressants...it is just something normal for you?"

"I guess so. Up until now, I just assumed that everyone heard music."

She shook her head. "No, I think it is a sign of a healthy and happy mind. You don't ever get depressed?"

"Yeah, I get a little down once in awhile, just like everyone. In fact, I went through a lot of depression years ago. I sometimes had to force the music then, or hear it on tape rather than in my head. It was the only way I could get myself out of the funk I was in." I thought hard for a moment. "You know, if I didn't have that ability, I think my life would be pretty miserable. It is no wonder that your son is so delighted by it."

She and I left the conversation at that for the time because we had to get back to work. Then, again today, I was just getting off work and she said something that reminded me of a song (practically everything does, you know) and I started singing a little chorus to an old sixties motown song without realizing it. She laughed and said, "There you go again. I'm amazed at all the songs in your head. I counted today how many songs you hummed that I recognized, must've been at least twenty in the last couple hours." She shook her head and smiled, "Amazing...how you do that."

I shrugged. "Habit I think. When things aren't looking their best...I always think of a song to cheer me up. I know that sounds an awful lot like 'The Sound of Music' but it really does work."

"I'm going to have to get into that habit, then," she said as we left the building together to go home.



Music in my head...something I've always had and taken for granted. I will no longer take it for granted anymore. I now realize what a precious gift it really is. Not everyone has this ability and I am so grateful for this gift.

Oh, and the picture of the sleeping chihuahua? I'm certain he hears music in his sleep. I think all dogs do. They are always so darn happy all the time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eggs, eggs, and More Eggs






Soap eggs...that's what I'm talking about. I loved making these little chicken sized colorful soap eggs. I had been looking for this mold ever since last spring and didn't find it until I ran into (literally) into a store display at a local pharmacy...yes, a pharmacy.

My mother had egg shaped molds when I was a kid and used them for a variety of things all the time. I don't know whatever happened to them but couldn't find them anywhere.

Once I ran into, and nearly knocked over the entire display, I was delighted to find what I ran into and got two of them. I wished I had more now.

Although I made these eggs specifically for the Spring time, I plan on making them in a variety of styles and colors throughout the year.

Decorated eggs are given as a token of true love in many cultures throughout the world so eggs are not just for Easter and Spring time. They can be for anytime of the year. I give my hubby an egg every year for that reason. We are still in love, best friends and soul mates after 16 years of marriage.