Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Featured on About.com!

My Soap Sampler was featured on About.com today -- Check it out but you have to scroll all the way down to #11! Thanks Jen! :)

Tomorrow we get to move Vicky back home for the summer. It doesn't seem possible that her whole freshman year is finished now. It will be so lovely having her home again for a few months. I miss her so much.

Geoff will graduate from high school on May 29th. Then he gets to go to new student orientation at FGCU and will begin classes there in August. I keep saying it, but Wah! My babies have grown up. Sometimes I don't like it very much.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shakespeare's Birthday

In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, the Shakespearean Insult Generator! Cool stuff like this, "Thou yeasty toad-spotted clotpole."

There's been terrible fires out in the Everglades the last few days, and this morning the wind is blowing them west right into Naples. It's so smoky outside it made my eyes water and I'm coughing like crazy. Even Claritin isn't working. We do need a good hard rain around here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A New Mold!

I'm pretty stoked about this -- Today I ordered a new 3 chamber divider log mold from SoapHutch! I'm really happy to be selling more soap, but my molds just aren't big enough to keep up with sales. It's just as much work to measure out oils, mix lye, pour soap and clean up to make 18 bars as it would be to make a much larger batch. If I could make more at one time, I wouldn't have to worry all the time about running out of a particular kind.

This new mold will give me the ability to make 36 bars at a time, which is double the size of my current largest mold. And if I want to just fill one or two chambers of the mold for a smaller batch, I can do that too. I've heard such good things about these molds, I can't wait to get mine!

I made a new fragrance yesterday, Tangerine Lavender. Mmmm, it smells so good!

Because all soap and no play makes me a dull girl, I've joined up on Ravelry. It will be fun to have a place to talk about my crocheting with other yarn types. I made my first entry here, about my little Snowflake Faery.

Monday, April 20, 2009

1,500 Sales!

Today I hit 1,500 sales on Etsy! That's kind of misleading because one sale could be a lip balm, or it could be a huge custom order of 100 soaps. But one way or another, it's a lot of sales and it makes me happy.

I've had a really good month, sales-wise. More sales are coming directly from my Sea Sprite Soaps domain site, which is great -- fewer listing and transactions fees to pay out of my profit. As a result of good sales, I'm starting to get low on some of my more popular soaps. The past few days have been a soaping marathon to catch up -- Lemon Verbena, Calabrian Violet and Bergamot, Wild Honeysuckle, Gardenia, Vanilla de Madagascar, Tassie Lavender, Honey Patchouli (a new one) and another new one, Wisteria.

Ah that Wisteria, it was a heartbreaker. Instant purple soap-on-a-stick the minute the fragrance hit the soap. It's lumpy and bumpy because I could barely get it into the mold before it set up. It does smell divine, though.

I'm up to viewing Episode 4 of The Tudors, Season 3. I absolutely love that series!

Next week we get to bring Vicky home from school for the summer. It doesn't seem possible that she is finished with her freshman year already!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Featured on a Blog

My Lavender Vanilla Lip Balm has been featured in a piece on the EtsyMoms team on VenezieBag's blog. Thanks Karen! That lip balm is one of my favorites. I know lavender and vanilla sounds like an odd combination of flavors, but it's actually pretty yummy!

My Lemon Verbena soap is featured in this beautiful, sunny treasury too!

Yesterday was a frustrating, slogging, but ultimately successful experience in fixing Stuff That Can Go Wrong With Zen Cart. For some reason, email quit coming to tell me when I'd made a sale. Then I was double checking my password and could no longer get into my own admin panel. I was ready to delete the whole thing and go back to using my old HTML shop with PayPal buy now buttons. Pretty primitive, but at least it was functional.

But I spent two solid weeks putting that shopping cart up, customizing it and getting all the shipping and zone tables to work, adding and editing products, etc. I didn't want to just scrap it. So I spent hours on the Zen Cart forums and getting help from my wonderful hosting service, JaguarPC. I learned how to edit the my SQL database, a sphincter-tightening experience.

So now my shopping cart works again. Learning can be a painful thing, but it's very satisfying to persist and finally get it right. I feel more confident now about my ability to puzzle things out and troubleshoot until I can make it work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Surprise: Soap Cleans Your Hands Best

Yes, plain old true soap does the best job of cleaning your hands, according to a microbiological study at UNC Chapel Hill, reported in Science Daily. So you can feel good and smug now about buying yourself handmade soap!

I can't believe it, but in two weeks Vicky will finish up her freshman year at USF. It will be so nice to have her at home for the summer. She'll be working and taking classes at FGCU over the summer, so I don't think she'll actually be at home that much. But I'll take what I can get. I still miss her so much. Then in the fall, Geoff will start as a freshman at FGCU. Talk about an empty nest.

Vicky was at a mall in Tampa a few months ago with a friend, when they say 3 girls beating up another girl. They stuck around to be witnesses for the girl who was beaten (pretty badly too). One of the assailants pleaded guilty, but today Vicky and her friend had to go to court to testify about what they observed. She felt like it was important to stand up for what's right.

Can you believe this, the two other girls who beat the victim are identical twins? They even dressed exactly alike in court. Jeez, do you think the defense attorney had any part of that strategy? So my daughter is supposed to identify which one did what to the victim. I was proud of her because she admitted she couldn't tell them apart, but that both of them were wailing on this poor girl.

I'm glad she didn't feel pressured to say what one attorney or the other wanted her to say. She told the truth about what she saw, and that's it. I'm so proud of the woman she's grown up to be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Etsy Feedback

Woo hoo, today I hit 1,200 positive feedback on my Etsy shop! And up to 2,049 hearts!

I'm in several cool Etsy treasuries today -- check them out! Lovely Lilacs, My Beautiful Loves and Exotic Goodies.

I'm always seeing stuff that I would love to buy on Etsy. Take a look at this adorable Lilac Pink Butterfly In The Garden Trinket Soap Dish! I had to heart that one.

I did a new intro page graphic for my Sea Sprite Soaps site. It is my fervent hope to sell more from my domain site over time, because it would be great not to have to pay so much in listing and transaction fees every month. I've gotten a SSL certificate for my site, so everything is safe and secure. My next task on the domain site is to use the Zen Cart newsletter so I can quit paying Constant Contact a young fortune every month.

My son Geoff is on spring break this week. He and his friends were determined to drive all the way up to Venice beach this morning (100 miles north of here) to hunt for shark's teeth. Of course their trip coincided with the first cold front we've had in weeks and it was so windy and cool on the beach, they gave up on playing volleyball and headed back early. But he did find some shark's teeth and got to take his new Altima for a good long drive.

Vicky is coming home this weekend for Easter. She said she didn't want to miss out on getting her chocolate bunny. They never really grow up too much, do they? Thank goodness! I'm going to World Market tomorrow to get some wonderful chocolate and other Easter goodies for the kids' baskets.


Well, it's almost Easter and you know what that means. Peeps! Lots and lots of them. I like them stale especially, when they get that little crust and are kind of chewy inside. An acquired taste! In honor of peeps, here's some cool peeps stuff!

Peeps Sunflower Cake (Definitely have to make this)

Scientific Research on Peeps

Peeps Art

Everything Else Peeps

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Little More Bettine

Well, I'm still having fun with Bettine for A4. I did a formal portrait of her today. :)