Sunday, September 30, 2007

Some New Products and Saving Moolah

I'm a woman who clips coupons and I'm not afraid to use 'em! Every Sunday I get out the scissors and get all the 40% off coupons for JoAnne's, Michaels and ACMoore's. It's amazing how much money you can save that way. I used to make fun of my mom when she'd clip coupons. I'm sure she's laughing, somewhere, about my coupon-cutting now. Sorry Moms. Your were onto something. :D

There's some new stuff in my shop. I'm the proudest of my Halloween Gift Baskets, I made the fabric basket covers myself, and the baskets are filled with lots of bath and body goodies. My Lavender Amber Sonnet soap finally cured and made its debut too. It's got a little dusting of copper mica on it that makes it look so pretty. And last but not least, I finished lining the Flower Child Crocheted Purse, big and slouchy, with room for everything.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ginger Peach

I added a couple of new things to my shop in the last several days. One is Ginger Peach Lip Balm, nice and sweet and mostly peachy with just a touch of ginger. It's yummy! And I added my Caribbean Dreams soap too. I think it's the prettiest soap I've ever made, I just love that seafoam green color with pearly white mica on top, it looks like a gentle surf to me. :D

Yesterday I found the cutest round wooden buckets at Target, very inexpensive. I want to make some Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets of B&B products for the holidays, so I'll be covering them with fabric. Wally-World had the most adorable Halloween print fabric for $2 a yard, I just had to get some for these baskets. I so much want to stop buying stuff there because of the trade imbalance and safety issues with Chinese products, but dang, it's hard to resist really cute material for two bucks a yard.

Today I am going to work on several healing balms made with some very pricey oils and butters I've ordered. I've made calendula-infused oil, and just received some amazing Meadowfoam Oil, as well as new mango and shea butters. I have in mind a Baby Butt Balm, a mango butter face cream and a tattoo healing balm. I'm just waiting on delivery of the 2 oz. tins for these.

We had visitors the other day, one of whom lives in the mountains of North Georgia and has her own studio in an outbuilding on her property. When she described it, I was green with envy. I long to have a workshop apart from the house. I'd love to have one of those big sheds that you could practically live in, but since I'm way down in South Florida, it would need to be air conditioned and de-humidified. One of these days...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Coconut Lemongrass

I love how the photos of my new Coconut Lemongrass soap turned out. I made this with real coconut milk, it makes the most insanely creamy, rich lather, kind of like goatsmilk soap but I think it smells better. :)

How about that artsy tie of lemongrass? I have a huge plant that's been growing in my front yard for 17 years now. It's incredible when I make Thai food.

I'm going to hunt on TV now to see if the Tampa Bucs game is being shown by any of the bazillion stations we get on cable. I would love to see my daughter dance at halftime.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Love Swaps

In a soaping forum I frequent, I've participated in several swaps. The one I'm doing now is a Medieval Stillroom swap. I gave this a lot of thought and decided to make my dream pillows for this swap, so I had to make a dozen of them. Then I got carried away with the packaging, like I always do, and used a magickal render I did a couple years ago to explain the dream pillow. Here's the front (with the illustration) and the back, which just shows the fabric I used. I love the way these turned out. :D

My daughter left in the wee hours of the morning with her band for Disney. The kids are performing at the Disney parade at 1:00, then they have the rest of the day to play. Tomorrow they go to Tampa to perform at the Tampa Bay Buc's halftime show. So she's gone all weekend, which is hard to bear. I miss my girl when she's not here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Granny Squares

I never get tired of the basic, good old crocheted granny square. I'm making a purse right now with a pale, dusty pink double flower in the middle of the square. I was looking for a lining fabric that would pick up all the colors, but couldn't find anything with that same pink, ivory and green, so I got a pretty close match in a shades of green print. Here's what it looks like so far, lining fabric up top.

Our daughter is going to be appearing with her band in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers halftime show on Sunday. This is the second year that Gulf Coast High School has been asked to perform at the halftime show. Usually high school bands don't get the chance to perform at pro games, so it's a big deal for the kids. Last year we didn't get to see them, no local stations carried the game. I've heard a rumor that Fox TV might show the game on Sunday, so we might get to actually see her dance this time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tag, I'm It!

I was tagged by Summersea, so I had to figure out what it means to be tagged. I'm going to tell you 6 peculiar things about myself and tag 6 other people. :)

(1) I actually like getting up early and being the first person awake in the morning.

(2) I always keep fussing with things I'm making, even when I know I should stop, I can't leave well enough alone.

(3) I've been addicted to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese since childhood. In fact, my picture should be on the box. Hard to square that with efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, but there you go.

(4) I dream about problems I'm having with my 3D characters or a soaping dilemma and usually come up with solutions. I do some of my best problem-solving in my sleep.

(5) I can't stand to have other people serve me food on my plate. I always want to do everything myself. Possibly a control issue. :D

(6) I get motion sickness so easy it's not even funny, even just driving on winding mountain roads makes me ill. I am not much fun at the Youth Fair.

Now I'm going to tag some other bloggers!

Pearl's Grace

Today is our daughter's 18th birthday. It hardly seems possible. She leaves for school so early, we're doing the presents and cake after school. We're going to take her out to dinner later. I just hope she doesn't do something crazy like get a tattoo (her heart's dear desire) just because she can, now that she's 18. But if she does get one, I hope it's beautiful, small, discreet and well done!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rosemary Mint Heel Butter

I've added an eye-opening Rosemary Mint Heel Butter to my shop, richer than my Lotion Bars, for really dry and cracked heels. But it's also great for elbows, knees, cuticles and anywhere else that needs a little extra TLC.

I had an experience today that restored my faith in fast food restaurants. I had just cashed a check because my wallet was totally empty. Then I stopped at Chik-Fill-A for a sandwich, then on to Joanne's Craft Store. While paying for my stuff I noticed that I didn't have the right amount of money in my wallet, and realized that the restaurant had shorted me $10 in my change.

It was really hot and I just wanted to go home, but I kept thinking "Hey, $10 is a lot of money!" So I went back to Chick-Fill-A, found a manager and explained what happened. He was really, really nice! He counted out the drawer of the guy who'd waited on me, and sure enough, it was $10 over. So he gave me back my $10, plus two free coupons for breakfast. That's what I call customer service!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Busy Making Stuff

That's how I like to stay, busy making cool stuff and living a creative life. I spent the morning packing up two big orders and making more Luscious Skin Sugar Scrub in Apricot Freesia. I had some left over, so I put it in smaller, 2 oz. jars for sample sizes.

Yesterday I put in my shop a real bargain, a Handmade Soap Bonanza, any 5 bars of my cold processed soap for only $18. I've sold a couple already! Finally all my soaping in the past couple of months to build up stock has paid off. I am finally able to add Sandalwood Vanilla to my shop. It's a wonderful, unisex blend of exotic sandalwood and the smooth sweetness of vanilla. Yummy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Photo Op

I finally got my camera working and got two new items into my shop, both featuring Sweet Orange essential oil: Sweet Orange Mango Lip Butter and Patchouli and Sweet Orange soap. Yum!

And I took a photo of my Caribbean Dreams soap, which turned out really pretty even though it accelerated on me so quickly, I had to use a spatula to smooth it into the mold. It was pure serendipity, because the white and aqua parts blended together like waves, all textured. I rubbed some white gold mica on the tops for seam foam. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For Lack of a Battery

I couldn't take photos of the new things I made today because the memory thingie for my Mavica needs new batteries. I've got all kinds of stuff I need to photograph, including Patchouli Sweet Orange soap and new things I've made.

I did have fun this morning making a really wonderful Sweet Orange Mango Lip Butter. I think "butter" is a better way to describe this, rather than a "balm," because it's slightly less firm, with more slip to it. It needs a little pot instead of a tube.

This lip butter is very rich, with mango butter, and castor, jojoba, olive and sunflower oils, sweetened naturally with Sweet Orange essential oil. feels so good on my lips.

I'm also working on a series of Total Indulgence packages -- soap, perfume and body cream in coordinated scents. First up is going to be Gardenia! I have to admit that I'm not a purist. I like my essential oils, but I also love my fragrance oils too.

Once I get some batteries I'm going to have to take more promotional photos. Being on Etsy is forcing me to re-evaluate my product photos and become a better photographer.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Gah, I've had the worst cold for the past few days. It knocked me for a loop. Everyone in my family got sick and I thought I'd escape the germs, but noooooo...I always get what they get after everyone else is over it.

Finally, building up my soap stock is paying off. I put into my shop today my Lilac, and my Lavender soaps. Here's a photo of the Lilac, it's the prettiest pastel blue. The soap is posing on a beautiful knitted face cloth Jennifer sent me years ago. :D

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ah, Gardenia

Finally, after a long month of curing, Gardenia handmade soap is back in my shop. This is a knock your socks off, romantic, feminine scent and it's very rich with Shea butter. For gardenia lovers, it's totally swoon-worthy. :)

Today I am making some balms and small roller ball perfumes. I finally got my big orders of supplies and I'm ready to rock.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Creating an Avatar

An online friend asked for some help making an avatar that takes into account how she looks, her hair and eye color, and so on. I'm using my 3D character Lizzie, with my Justine skin texture and a wild mane of red hair. I think she turned out kind of pretty.

My big order from Majestic Mountain Sage arrived today. I got some wonderful small, low profile jars with sleek lids, packaging supplies and cool stuff for making lotions and potions. Now I'm just waiting on the one from Brambleberry so I can get some new products into my shop.

We took our son out last night to celebrate his birthday. He loves Applebee's and consumed an entire 12 oz. steak with garlic mashed potatoes all by himself! Then we came home and had a cake. I know it's only a box cake mix, but homemade cakes just taste so much better than cakes you buy at the grocery store bakery. I put rainbow sprinkles on it too!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New Fragrances

I made two big orders and one small order just before the Labor Day weekend. Is there anything cooler for a crafter than to get a big shipment of new supplies? I'm kind of stoked about the stuff I'm waiting for -- spendy oils like Meadowfoam, more essential oils, jars and lids and sealers, stuff to make even better lotions, perfume making supplies, etc.

Today I got the smallest order, 3 new fragrances. The one that intrigues me most upon sniffing is Lavender and Amber Sonnet, plus another new one, Secrets of India. The woman who blends these fragrances has what you would call a "nose," she has got an amazing talent for blending and duplicating famous fragrances and creating new ones. I don't know which one of these to soap first.

Today is my son's 17 birthday. It hardly seems possible that 17 years ago I was waddling around, barely able to breathe, awaiting the birth of my first biological child at age 42. Now he is a handsome 6'3" hunk who drives his own big, black truck and has girls calling him. And my daughter will be 18 in a few weeks. Yes, I had two kids under a year old at one semi-psychotic point in my life! :D

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Botanical Soaps

I'm restocking my shelves right now and have a line of botanical soaps in mind. I blogged about my Lavender with cocoa butter, very rich, with a blue swirl and decorated with lavender buds, a few days ago. This one is Spearmint and Sweet Orange essential oils with ground up organic Calendula blossoms in the soap and on top for decoration. It should be ready to go in another two weeks or so. :D

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Luscious Skin Sugar Scrub

I've been working on these for a while now, refining my formula to make it rich and luxurious but not greasy, and to leave your skin polished and fragrant. Finally, I've got my Luscious Skin Sugar Scrub into my shop. I'm making these a custom item, where buyers can select their own fragrances. I love this Apricot Freesia, I'm keeping it for myself. The fragrance is amazing. :)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Busy Labor Day

I've been running around all day, literally. We had to get our daughter a computer. So many school projects require them to be online and using MS Office (especially PowerPoint). So we got her a laptop, an early birthday present, and got the Office suite installed at Best Buy. She is thrilled!

This morning I took advantage of the beautiful, non-glaring light around our lily pond to take photos of my latest batch of Lavender soap. It has a purple-blue swirl, is topped with dried lavender flowers and looks so good in a handcrafted blue ceramic soapdish I bought recently.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Lazy Sunday...and some Spearmint

I love Sundays, and I try not to get too ambitious about them. Got up late, had my coffee, read the paper, did some yoga, took a nap. Like that! :)

But this afternoon I was itching to use the beautiful golden organic calendula petals I got from Summersea, so (of course) I made some soap. This one is Spearmint and Sweet Orange Essential Oils with finely chopped calendula petals in the soap and sprinkled on top.

It really smells good and the flowers look so pretty. The soap has a golden-orange tint and is gorgeous. Calendula is one of the few dried herbs which keep their vivid color in cold process soap. Alas, most everything else ends up looking like mouse turds.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Coconut Lemongrass

I just made a batch of Coconut Lemongrass soap, using real coconut milk, and it looks and smells out of this world. Coconut milk adds such a lovely, creamy texture to the lather, very similar to goat's milk soap, plus it adds its own ethereal coconut fragrance. I was going to do a pale yellow swirl, but once the coconut milk was added to the lye water, it traced (thickens up and looks like pudding) very fast and there was no time for a swirl. But I think the pale, creamy ivory color is perfect for the fragrance, as it is.

I have some very tiny blue clay beads that I've been looking forward to working with. Clay adds such nice, gentle exfoliation to soaps, plus it looks so pretty. I'm trying to decide which soap to use it in. Decisions, decisions!

We had our big morning out today -- to First Watch for brunch, then to the bookstore to use up our Borders 25% off coupons. Then I got to make soap. The perfect day! It doesn't take much to make me happy.