Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Bounty

One of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was this year -- my DH got me a much-longed for Kitchen Aid Mixer. Yup, the really expensive one with a 5-1/2 quart bowl and a motor so powerful you could probably mow your lawn with it. I've watched the Barefoot Contessa use hers so many times, wishing I had one...and now I do!

It took a few days to stop being intimidated by it, but yesterday I girded my loins and made whole wheat bread with it. Mmmmmm... And what a relief to not have to spend a long time kneading by hand, especially whole wheat dough, which is very stiff and unyielding. I see a lot of homemade bread and other goodies in our future now. There are attachments you wouldn't believe -- ravioli maker, shredder, sausage grinder and even an ice cream maker.

Someone posted a link to this hilarious Re-useable Shopping Bag the other day, and I just had to get one for myself. I'm going to have to hide it from my daughter, though. I expect her to try to appropriate it.

My son had his impacted wisdom teeth removed this morning. He is so stoic and matter of fact about things like this. I was a nervous wreck and burst into tears when he got home. He's been through so much to get his teeth fixed, 8 years of retainers, then braces, then retainer again, 8 permanent teeth pulled to make room in his mouth and now this. His face is swollen up but he's not complaining. I love that boy so much. How did I get so lucky?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Handmade's Tale

This is a fabulous YouTube video, A Handmade's Tale, all about Etsy! It's worth 4 minutes of your time to watch and I'm blown away by how young the founder of Etsy looks. I loooove Etsy.

When I was a kid, I was always the only young person I knew who crocheted or who wore homemade clothing, made by my mom. Preppie kids at school made fun of my homemade clothes, but I thought it was very cool that she could make me exactly what I wanted, especially during the 60's when she made me "Rudi Gernrich" and Maryanne Faithful dresses, and big wide, flower printed bellbottoms like Cher wore. I sewed my own Barbie clothes (I still have them!) and I kept at it, making many handmade things during the crafting heyday of the 70's. In the late 90's I got into soapmaking and I'm still at it.

I'm so glad that there is a current movement among younger people to revive home crafts. Despite our technological advances, there is something still very satisfying about making beautiful, functional things. It gives people so much pleasure to make things for themselves and the people they love with their own two hands.

When I was in graduate school, I had a summer research assistantship doing library searches for a sociology professor. I had to find and copy articles about "the electric cottage," for his research on how cottage industries had grown due to home computers. At the time, I thought it was just plain weird, that this professor thought that eventually millions of people could work right from their homes, for themselves or for big companies, because they were connected with computers. I am now living proof of his hypothesis, 25 years later.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post Holiday Stirrings

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a lovely one! I took a week to catch up on fulfilling orders and just being with my family. Over the past week my DH and I went to see "The Golden Compass" (loved it, despite some bad reviews I've read) and today I took myself to a solo matinee of "Atonement." Oh my goodness, that movie lived up to the book, which I read long ago when it first came out. Pure sensual, romantic and tragic indulgence.

I added a wonderful new soap to my shop today, Lemon Sugar and Candied Violets! Sounds weird, but smells beautiful and it's tinted yellow naturally by steeping annatto seeds in the olive oil that I use to make the soap.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sister Goldenhair Faery

I finally finished her, and my newest crochet dolly, Sister Goldenhair Faery, is in my shop. I think she turned out really cute.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mermaid Garden

I've been out of this for a while now, and finally the new batch of Mermaid Garden handmade soap is ready. It's filled with pastel soap confetti, in the soap itself and on top, kissed lightly with a dusting of white gold pearl mica for sparkle and shine. This is a really pretty soap and it smells so feminine, a soft floral blend of violet, jasmine, rose, musk, and sandalwood.

Next on my list to make is African Red Bush Tea, a new fragrance I just got that smells pretty amazing. I'm going to make it with real rooibos tea, which I've been drinking for years.

Yesterday I had to take my son to the oral surgeon. After all those years of braces and retainers, now his wisdom teeth are coming in and ruining everything. We saw through a video on the pros and cons of wisdom teeth extraction, then did a consultation. I never knew that some people don't have any wisdom teeth at all. Fortunately he only has them on the bottom, none on top. He's getting them out on 12/31, so he's going to spend part of his Christmas vacation recovering from surgery, poor kid.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Catching My Breath

It's been a whirlwind of activity between keeping up with orders from my shop and family matters the last week or so. Not that I'm complaining about selling a lot of stuff, but it got really crazy with packaging and shipping orders, going to the post office every day and trying to keep the house and kids going in good shape. We are very excited that our daughter, a graduating senior, has been accepted to her top choice college next year, the University of South Florida. She is over the moon!

CelticGoddess was kind enough to write a favorable review of some of my B&B goodies, which I'll share with you here. Thanks Andee! And be sure to check out her shop on Etsy.

I've added a bunch of stuff to my shop, including Pink Peppermint Candy soap, a Lavender Lover's Gift Basket, a Mint Lover's Gift Basket. And one more thing that I'm truly excited about, Skin Frosting Sugar Scrub in your choice of fragrance! You know how sugar scrubs tend to be really oily and separate into an oozing mess? My Skin Frosting Sugar Scrub doesn't do that, it's emulsified into a creamy, foamy frosting texture and it won't separate. It leaves you all soft and polished and fragrant, but not greasy. I adore it!

I mentioned a while back that the Earthpath Artisans Street Team is having a Winter Wonderland Challenge and my entry is a little crocheted Snowflake Faery. The winners will be determined by how many people heart the various entries over on Etsy, all of which you can see here. I loved making that little faery so much, I've started a new one in shades of peach and gold and maize. I'm going to call her Sister Goldenhair Faery, after the old America song. :)

I've been thinking of things to add to my product line once the holidays are past. I've decided I will be making shampoo, conditioner and body washes, from scratch. This required investing a good bit in terms of time studying and learning and testing formulations, as well as buying a lot of pricey ingredients, but I think it will be worth it. I don't see much in the way of handmade, non-base shampoo or body wash on etsy. Well, I've seen some, but there's no way they could possibly foam or cleanse very much, based on the ingredients used. I'm excited about this new challenge I've set for myself.

I still haven't seen "The Golden Compass." A few people I know and whose opinions I respect, said the movie was pretty bad. The reviews in newspapers and magazines have been mixed. But I still want to see it. My DH and I are talking about going to a matinee next week. I'm really looking forward to seeing "Atonement." I love the leading actors and the book was wonderful.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snowflake Faery

I finally finished her for the Earthpath Artisans Street Team's Winter Wonderland Challenge. She's all crocheted with acrylic and wool variety yarns including sparkling threads and shiny beads. I think she turned out pretty darned cute, especially her little fae ears! I have a bunch of photos of her on my Flickr page, here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winter Grapefruit

I've added some more new stuff to my shop. Winter Grapefruit is the most delicious blend of Grapefruit, Juniper, and Italian Lemon and it smells like a Vodka Greyhound -- really! As you can see below, I'm finally getting my swirling mojo down pretty good. These swirls aren't as delicate and feather-y as I want them to be, but I'm getting there. :)

Also new is Afternoon Delight, a gift package of Turkish Mocha and Cuppa Chai soaps paired with Lick My Latte and Chai lip balms. Mmmmmm...

Tonight I finally finished my entry for the Earthpath Artisans Street Team (EAST) "Winter Wonderland" challenge. I decided to go against type and instead of making a bath or body product, I crocheted a luminously pale white and silver and blue winter faery! She turned out so pretty cute, I gotta say it! I'll show you what she looks like soon.

This weekend my daughter is going to Orlando with her school band to march in a parade at Universal Studios, and my son and husband are going camping. So you know what that means, right? Eating whatever I want, long quiet naps with no interruptions, lots of book readings and perhaps a matinee of "The Golden Compass" or "Atonement," or maybe even both.

I've been waiting impatiently for Pullman's book to be made into a movie for a looooong time now. I can't wait to see it. And I loved "Atonement," the book, so I can't wait to see the movie. It's getting great reviews.