Friday, November 30, 2007

Lick My Latte Lip Balm

I added Lick My Latte Lip Balm to my shop today. It tastes amazing!

I spent the morning running around and going back to WW after missing last week. Even with Thanksgiving and some rampant bread eating, I still managed to lose 0.4 lbs. It's a lot better than gaining, and holidays are deadly for weight gain. I gotta get back into writing down every bite I eat and tracking my points.

This afternoon I spent a couple of pleasurable hours packaging up 4 holiday gift sets. I love doing gift packs! The only part I don't like is the clear, sparkley shred that goes in the boxes, oy, it gets all over everything!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flower Bath Teas

I frequent a wonderful forum, The Soap Dish, where people generously share ideas and inspirations. I was going to put together some Bath Teas anyway, and had ordered some big, heat-sealable tea bags. But the other day I learned how to make these adorable little Flower Bath Teas and have added them to my shop. Aren't they pretty?

These are really fiddly and time-consuming to make, each layer of the flower has to be hand-tinted, but the results are worth it. They're stuffed with skin-soothing oatmeal and milk powder, dried lavender, chamomile, calendula and roses, herbs and essential oils.

I got such a nice blend for these bath teas I made big honking Mega Bath Teas too, packed into 100% cotton wash cloths and tied up with ribbon and a flower. Here's a peek at them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Quiet Forest

I just added a really lovely, intriguing new soap to my shop, Quiet Forest. It's hard to describe verbally, but it went straight from my nose to my brain's wowee! lobe -- a complex blend of woods, orange, brown sugar, walnut, patchouli and vanilla. Mmmmmmm.

And I did a little more soaping today, Vanilla Latte. It smells just like the kind I get at Borders, which I'm on a book and coffee splurge.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cyber Monday?

Well, so far it's been a bust. But at 20 cents a pop, I think Etsy is making a young fortune today on sellers who are re-listing lots and lots of items, LOL!

I have been concentrating on getting some more holiday-themed packages into my shop. I've recently added a Holiday Penguins Handmade Soap Gift Bag, and a little handmade sparkling red felt Christmas Stocking Vegan Lip Balm Trio. I also just added my all-time favorite soap fragrance, Relaxing.

Here's a peek at my little Christmas stocking.

I don't know if I mentioned this or not before, but I'm switching all my lip balms to a vegan formula. And I've added some fantastic new flavors: Chai, Latte, Pina Colada, Sangria and (my personal fave) Rum Raisin! Check them out!

I've been shopping around IRL and online for new holiday packaging ideas and found some adorable 12 oz. clear cookie jar-type canisters with blue snowflakes on them. I'm thinking they'd be perfect for bath salts.

Something I'm trying to do a couple of times a day is spend 15-20 minutes in the Promotions forum on Etsy. Often after I've posted a link to a thread asking about specific kinds of products, I'll get a sale. At least often enough for me to notice and feel that it's worth doing. You start a thread that says "L is for..." and chances are I'm going to post "Lemongrass Coconut" with a link. You ask about products with penguins, I'm going to post a link to my Holiday Penguins gifts.

Seems pretty straightforward and democratic to me. Sellers who invest time and energy in capitalizing on these opportunities to promote their shops are likely to get more sales. After all, it's not kindergarden where everyone is guaranteed the exact same number of oatmeal cookies. We gotta work for our cookies on Etsy. So I'm sometimes amazed at how many people complain about how other sellers are too aggressive or pushy in promoting their products.

Um....hello? It's the Promotions forum, right? Instead of complaining about sellers who make an effort to promote, put that energy to work in a more positive way to get your own products noticed. Or sit around going "Wah, no one complimented me on my widget, they just posted links to their own widget," it's up to you. Working hard to get noticed doesn't necessarily making you a philistine. But it might make you more successful.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my friends in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! We got a turkey, potatoes, gravy and dressing from Publix this year instead of cooking our own. I'm still going to make my family's favorite part of the meal, the sweet potato casserole with cranberries and a streusel topping covered with mini-marshmallows, and green bean casserole. I have to weigh in at WW tomorrow, not looking forward to it!

I added a couple more holiday gift baskets to my shop, packaged in really gorgeous velvet boxes, shown below.

Check out the Velvet Gift Boxed Skin Pampering Set and Velvet Gift Box Handmade Soap Trio. And finally, Turkish Mocha soap is back in stock.

Etsy started a series of Gift Guides for shoppers. I was pleased to see my Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap listed in the House Warming section. It's here on this page.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pepper is gone

Our dog Pepper died Friday night. We're still weepy and feeling lost. She would have been 9 in January. After fighting Ehrlichia and meningitis, then dealing with thyroid disease, we figured she was OK and had a few good years left in her. She's been fine and feisty and playful all along. But Friday night she suddenly laid down on the floor and had a seizure. This was about 7:00 pm.

We rushed her to the emergency pet clinic and they took her right in. Her heartrate was only 30 beats a minute, about 1/4 of what it should be. She crashed and they revived her, but EKG's interpreted by the people doctor said 3 of the 4 chambers of her heart just weren't functioning. She was in a coma and even a pacemaker might not be enough to save her. While we went in to see her, she died in our arms. It was 9:30 pm, so in the space of 2-1/2 hours she was gone. Here is a picture of her after we first got her.

At least Pepper didn't suffer a long time. I only hope that when my time comes, I will go as quickly. We've buried her in the back yard, in her favorite spot where she used to sun herself. We kept a candle burning for her all night. We don't know how to live without her. We're weepy and weak and lost. I'm going to miss her every day forever. It is a comfort that we still have Taffy, her little brother. He seems lost too.

Some friends on the Welsh Terrier mailing list sent us some old photos we'd circulated on the list from years ago. Thank goodness they still had them, I'd lost them when my computer crashed a long time ago. It was an unexpected gift to get them again from our friends. One of them sent a beautiful quote about animals that I'll share with you because it sums up perfectly how I feel about it.

"...For the animal shall not be measured by the man. In a world older and more complex than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not bretheren, they are not underlings, they are nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Stuff

I added a bunch of new stuff to my Etsy shop today: Lavender and Sweet Orange Essential Oil Lip Balm, Passionfruit Rose Lip Balm and Lavender Mint Essential Oil Fizzy Bath Salts.

Our 18 year old is taking her first overnight trip on her own with just a couple girlfriends on Friday night. She's going to see "Slightly Stupid" in concert in Tampa, about 120 miles from here. We didn't want her to be driving home late at night afterward, so I spent a very frustrating several hours yesterday trying to book a hotel room for 4 teenage girls.

It's not as easy as you might think. Hotels require that the reservation be made in the name of someone at least 21 years old, and the name of the person has to match the credit card you use to make the reservation. So even though 18 year olds can serve liquor as waitresses, vote for the President of the United States or die fighting in a war in the Mideast, apparently they can't check into a hotel room on their own.

Thanks to a really helpful agent on, we were able to work a deal with the manager of a nice hotel right near the concert so that the girls can check in on their own. We have special dispensation from a hotel manager named Frank whom I'd like to give a big hug for being a nice and flexible guy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tub Truffles...and a Sampler

I've been wanting to make a bath melt/tub truffle for a while now, and finally found some nice gold foil candy papers to wrap them in. Today I added cocoa butter Tub Truffles to my shop, you just throw them in the warm bath while it's running, and it fizzes up and adds the divine skin-lovingness of cocoa butter. Mmmmmm...and they even look like little heart shaped candies.

Something else I've wanted to do is a soap sampler, since so many people have asked me why I don't have any. I guess they are pretty popular, as I sold one within an hour of listing it. My Soap Sampler has 1/2 oz hand cuts from my 16 most popular soaps.

Using up some coupons at the craft store, I got several sheets of metallic-flaked red felt yesterday. I'm thinking of making some little Christmas stockings that will hold a couple of lip balms, then the stockings could do double duty as ornaments.

Cute Indie Finds is a new blog I found, and she and the Soap Bar are having a Yummy Soap contest. I'm going to try to come up with something. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Holiday Gift Tins

I added some Holiday Gift Tins to my shop the other day. I found some really pretty Debbie Mumm designer tins to hold various combinations of my bath and body goodies and priced them nicely for painless gift-giving! Check them out! :)

This is pretty exciting, my Turkish Mocha handmade soap is in a Treasury West on Etsy this morning!

I plan to spend the weekend scent-blending and doing a bit more soaping. I have several new fragrances I want to soap and they all smell fabulous. I can't decide which one to do first. I may go with the Spearmint Eucalyptus today. Yesterday I made Relaxing, which is a divine blend of French lavender and fir pine, enhanced with Egyptian jasmine, sweetened with pure vanilla and softened with delicate musks.

If only so many cold process soaps didn't turn dark! But that is the fate of all cold process soaps fragranced with vanilla -- which turns them anywhere from tan to dark brown, depending on how much vanilla is in the fragrance. For a true vanilla lover like me, though, it's worth it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lavender Peppermint Oatmeal

It's finally done curing and I've just added to my shop a 100% natural, essential oil soap -- Lavender Peppermint Oatmeal. Definitely an eye-opener for your morning shower, with lots of gentle scrubbiness from the finely ground oatmeal. :)

I added a bunch of soap photos to my Flickr album today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Three Tenors

I've been waiting forever for Blockbuster Online to send me "The Three Tenors," the live performance in Rome by Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti from 1990. Sure I have the DVD, but I wanted to see it too. Yesterday it finally arrived and I got tears in my eyes hearing Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma. Totally amazing. It was a great way to honor his memory, to listen to him sing when his voice was still at its peak. Ciao, Luciano, you brought so much pleasure to so many people.

The books I've been waiting for from finally came too. Two books are about perfume making by Mandy Aftel, "Essence and Alchemy" and "Scents & Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well-Being." Great books for anyone, like me, who yearns to learn the perfumer's art. I would so love to get ahold of her Oil Kit to do some experimenting.

The thing about perfumery though is that it is so expensive. It's not something you just dabble in, especially because the price of many essential oils has gone way up because of drought all over the world. The cost of patchouli oil alone has gone up 3X or more in the past month.

One thing I've considered doing is getting a small still, one that will work with a smaller amount of plant material, to produce my own essential oils. I might ask for a still for Christmas. Weird, I know. That's just how I am.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lavender Lover Gift Basket

I finally got cracking and made the basket I wanted for my Lavender Lover Gift Basket. The basket was crocheted with many, many 2" strips of fabric which I painstakingly tore up and then crocheted with the most humonguous crochet hook you've ever seen! I didn't even know they made crochet hooks as big as your forearm, LOL! But it worked great.

The basket is nice and rustic and looks so pretty filled with all those lavender goodies: Lavender and Lavender Peppermint Oatmeal soaps, Lavender Fizzy Bath Salts, Lavender Vanilla Lip Balm, Lavender Roll-on Perfume and a Lavender sachet.

Yesterday I managed to take photos of the Cuppa Chai soap and posed them with one of Lowell's beautiful tea pots. I love taking photos outside by the lily pond, the light is so beautiful out there in the early morning and late afternoon.

My next project is an ocean-themed basket, I'm almost done with it.