Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm online a lot during the day, checking my orders. In addition to soap, I sell digital products, including some really cute fairy clip art in PSD format that I email to buyers. Earlier this evening I took an hour to eat dinner and watch CNN. Get back online to check my email and find that at 5:13 pm someone bought some of my fairy clip art and paid via PayPal. So far, so good.

The next email I opened, time stamped 5:33 pm, or a brisk 20 minutes later, is a notification from PayPal that the buyer has filed a Non-Receipt of Goods Dispute and my funds had been frozen. I couldn't believe it. My PayPal funds frozen over a 20 minute delay?

Now I am normally a great believer that the customer is always right. I believe in damaged shipments and things that never arrive, even though I've got a delivery confirmation that says it did arrive. I know how things work in real life. Packages get damaged or get lost, and I always replace it. But this buyer opened a dispute over $5.99 within 20 minutes. That is just unbelievable to me. I mean, I once waited 3 weeks to receive a freaking lip balm!

OK, I went to PayPal and communicated with the buyer. I specified the timeline of 20 measly minutes between payment and filing a dispute, stated that I found that kind of behavior astonishing, made a full refund -- and instructed this individual to never buy anything from me ever again. Problem solved.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ginger Orange Handmade Soap

I've got one of my new fall soaps in my shop now, Ginger Orange, and Arabian Spice is back in stock now too.

I spent some time today re-working my Etsy banner. I hadn't opened Poser in a while and it was fun losing myself in some renders. Here's the new look (you have to click to see it full size):

I made my first sale in my HandmadeFuzion shop!

Trimming our dogs' nails is such a horrible experience. They hate it and writhe around and act like we're killing them. Lowell bought a dremel-type thing that has a burr on it to kind of sand down the nails. On TV all the dogs look so calm and happy getting their nails done. Ours acted like they'd been goosed when we tried it.

We are now reverting to our training as behaviorists and gradually exposing them to the evil nail trimmer. The ole desensitization trick. We've been gently rubbing it on their backs and legs first without turning it on, then tried it with the buzzing thing going. They are still very skeptical about it. I guess they should watch more TV to learn how to act.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've been working hard on setting up my newest shop at HandmadeFuzion. It's a juried site, so I'm hoping that selectivity will be an advantage for the sellers.

Vicky was home for a few days and it was so much fun having her here. Now she has gone back to school. The house is less bright and cheerful without her, that's for sure. Tomorrow is her 19th birthday. We celebrated early by going out to Da Ru Ma, her favorite Japanese restaurant, this weekend. It will be a little sad not to be with her on her actual birthday. It's the first one we haven't all celebrated together.

I've been soaping many fall and holiday-ish fragrances this past week. Coming soon: Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry Orange Marmalade and Iced Gingerbread. Also soon: More Arabian Spice and Celtic Moonspice. Man, all these brown soaps. I wish the spicy ones would come out a bit lighter in color!

I recently had my first true soaping disaster. I poured 5.5 oz of Lemon Verbena fragrance into a double plastic cup so it would be pre-measured to add to the soap. So here I am with 8 lbs. of yellow soap, pick up the plastic cup with the fragrance, and it all pours out onto the counter top and floor. It ate right through the bottom of the cups. You wouldn't believe the mess you can make with a little over half a cup of fragrance oil. I had to run and find another scent to go with yellow soap, grabbed some Honeysuckle, mixed it in and realized that I'd tracked the spilled oil onto the Pergo floor.

Meanwhile the dog is coughing, my husband with asthma is wheezing from the stench, and I'm trying to clean up a greasy, stinking, oily mess. You can't just wipe it up, it has to be washed with a grease cutting cleanser in hot water. Geoff comes home and says "Wow, what are you making, lemon bars? I can smell it all the way out in the driveway!" It ended up taking me almost an hour to clean up all of it, even the bits that seeped into the little crack where the stove joins the counter.

This stuff melted the bottom of my Crocs! Note to self: Never, ever again measure fragrance oil into a plastic cup. It's what we psychologists like to call a One Trial Learning Experience. From now on when I smell lemon, I'll probably go into Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Playing in Poser

I found some wonderful new morphs for the little 3D dollie, Sadie, so I had to get them. Is this the cutest little face or what? This makes me want to make a little texture and character package for her. :)

My son is 18 today. It's kind of a shock to realize. He's not a little boy anymore. 18 years ago I was still waddling around trying to get myself into labor to avoid a C-section, but no such luck. This kid is one of the joys of my life. I am so lucky to have had him and his sister. I'm so glad I did not miss out on being a parent.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Weekend Already

Our Geoffrey turns 18 tomorrow! I can hardly believe it. My "baby" is now 6'3" and looks like a grown man. Which he is, officially. He doesn't want to go out on his birthday, he wants this particular soup I make and my homemade bread, and one of my homemade chocolate cakes to celebrate. I am only too pleased to know that he'd like my vegetable soup more than going out to a fancy-schmancy restaurant!

Vicky is going to UCF in Orlando for a football game this weekend. She's meeting new kids (mostly boys, ha ha) and her social life is starting to pick up after the first two lonely weeks of not knowing anyone in Tampa. Every day she calls raving about how much she enjoyed this class or that, learning new things about art and math and sociology. All the things I wish I'd been able to do, going to college and living in a dorm, she is doing. I was an older commuter student when I finally got around to going to college. It's such a pleasure to experience, vicariously, this college student life through her young eyes and experiences.

Lately I've been working on the perfect lip balm formulation. Or as nearly perfect as I can get it. I have a very nice one I've been using for a while, but want to make something a little firmer and heat-resistant to melting, that still has a nice glide. I've got a couple of great customers who are going to test them for me and give me their honest opinions.

Today a new Whole Foods market opened in Naples. I was astonished at how wonderful it is, how big and how practically everyone seemed to be there for the grand opening! I found something I have been trying to find locally for years, but never could -- Explorateur cheese. It smells like the bottom of a diaper pail but is absolutely ambrosial, the best cheese I ever had. It brings back memories of a romantic time when DH and I were first dating and we found this lovely cheese exploring Charleston, SC. Is it like that for others, I wonder? Every treasured or favorite food seems to have a back story for me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Crocheted Baby Dress

My DH's oldest granddaughter is having a baby girl in November. I'm already crocheting for this little girl we all can't wait to meet! I made her a little dress out of Patons Grace, a really lovely lightweight thread. I'm making some ballet slipper type booties and a headband to match too.

What really makes me nostalgic is that I have a photo of myself holding the baby-to-be's mom right after she was born, wearing a little sweater I crocheted for her. And now I'm making things for her baby. It gives me a lump in my throat. Here's the little dress.

Our Vicky was home for the Labor Day weekend. It was so nice having her here, and so hard to watch her drive off again last night. I suppose I will get used to it eventually, but right now it's very hard.

Geoffrey will be 18 in a few days. Last night we took him to get his main birthday present, a brand new laptop. It's really gorgeous and has more RAM and hard drive space than my desktop, which I had custom made only 2 years ago (and paid twice as much for)! He is delirious with this new computer because he's been using a pre-Cambrian laptop we bought 6 years ago and it's as slow as molasses. Now I just have to buy him a few more little things to celebrate his big day.

I've started back trying to exercise hard at least 3 times a week. I've got a walking at home DVD with Leslie Sansone and it's very invigorating. I look like a sweaty, red-faced baboon when I'm done but it's definitely a good workout. I just wish she wouldn't talk and laugh (!) all the way through it. I don't care what she says, it's not fun. Uh uh.