Monday, August 24, 2009

Personas for Firefox

This is really clever, if you use Firefox and want to dress it up a bit with colorful "skins." You can get Personas for your browser! I have a colorful Japanese tattoo across the top of mine now. You can get directions on how to make your own, too. I might try making one, just for fun.

I made Calabrian Violet & Bergamot and Scheherezade soap today. I love swirling colors and the first one has purple and green swirls that turned out perfectly -- feathery and delicate! I've got so much soap to make, especially new ones for the holiday season: Mint Sugar Cookies, Ginger Orange, Cozy Christmas, Plumberry Spice and Holiday Candy.

Both kids started classes at their universities today. We won't get to see them now until the weekend. It seems like such a long time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

I've mentioned before that my son, Geoff, is starting at FGCU next week. He's already moved into his dorm and just waiting to start classes tomorrow. He and all of the other incoming freshmen had a summer reading assignment: "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson. The book describes Mortenson's 15+ years dedicating himself to building schools for children in the most remote, mountainous areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, at considerable cost to Mortenson's own personal life and often his very safety. I love that he says educating girls is especially important because it helps to break the cycles of poverty and violence so often found in these areas.

I already had the book and so Lowell and I both read it along with Geoff, discussing the chapters as we finished them. I was pleasantly surprised that Geoff liked the book and found it interesting. We often marveled at how one man can make such a difference in the lives of so many people, so far away, through sheer dedication and determination.

Today was the Freshman Convocation at FGCU, a formal and moving way to begin one's college career, I believe. After speeches from faculty and administrators, Greg Mortenson was the featured speaker. He was a charming, erudite, funny, self-effacing and inspirational speaker. The crowd of students and parents were uniformly captivated. It makes your heart glad to know that there are people in this world like Greg Mortenson.

We drove Geoff back to his dorm and didn't expect to hear from him for a while. But he called a few hours later from the cafeteria, very excited, because "Guess what mom? I shook hands with Greg, and I got my picture taken with him!" Already on a first name basis, that's what kind of guy this is. I told Geoff he has to send me a copy of this picture! Someday he will look back on this and maybe he'll have a photo of himself with a Nobel Peace Prize winner -- Mortenson has been nominated for the award this year!

We are having a quiet evening at home now. I made homemade pesto from the basil plant in my backyard, a big showy, glorious shrub of fragrant green goodness. If there was ever a reason to be thankful you have a nose, basil is as good a reason as any.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I was really pleased to see that Downtime featured a number of my soaps in her Squidoo Lens Etsy artists love the beach! Thanks!

Tomorrow is the kids' last day of summer vacation. Wednesday we take Vicky to Tampa, then Geoff moves into his dorm on Thursday. I'm not liking this very much. :(

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ocean Rain Handmade Soap

New in my shop today, Ocean Rain soap! It's really hard to describe the fragrance, but it does actually smell fresh and clean and ozone-ish, like rain on seawater.

Less than a week to go before Geoff moves into the dorms at FGCU. Next day, he's going to help us move Vicky back into her USF dorm. Then it's going to be just me and Lowell at home. Sniff.

One thing we will be trying when we're on our own (at least during week days, the kids come home on weekends) is more vegan recipes. It's not a philosophical or moral issue to eat vegan. We were shocked and impressed by a book we read recently called "The China Study." The book summarizes extensive, well conducted, large scale research showing that dairy and meat products, especially casein, cause cancer cells to grow and cutting them from your diet slows tumor growth. Since my DH has just been through his second bout with cancer, I figure anything that might help prevent any further illness is worth a shot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I love Treasuries

I was lucky that my Rosemary Mint Heel Butter was featured in this Treasury today! Check it out, there's the cutest thumbnail in there for a baby sleeping in a big basket, totally zonked out with his arm hanging out of the basket! Too cute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Bundt Pan

I've always wanted a bundt pain, but couldn't bring myself to spend money on it. But the Neelys on Food Network made a chocolate bundt cake Saturday that looked so delicious, I couldn't put it off anymore. I actually ended up making this recipe, which is absolutely divine and has a smidge of expresso powder and cardamom in it. The recipe forgets to mention that you need chocolate in the ingredients, so I used some chocolate chips I'd been saving for cookies. OMG. Chocolate decadence is right! Go on, you know you want to make one.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Family Pic

This is the first family photo we've had for a long while, taken around the new year on our last visit to Miami. From L to R it's Lowell's granddaughter's husband, his granddaughter, Lowell, me (striped shirt), Geoff, Vicky, Lowell's grandson and his daughter.

I ordered a big, 10 lb. box of MaryJane's Farm's baking mix. I love the stuff! But it's reeeeeally big. Keeping little critters and ants out is a big problem in South Florida. I just ordered a highly rated air-tight container that should do the trick on I sure hope it works! I made a peach cobbler with the baking mix the other night and it was fantastic. Of course you can't go wrong with 10 dead ripe peaches, right? I love the perfume of peaches.

I received some wonderful soap from AromaArtisan yesterday, her Turkish Cafe Luxury, and OMG it is amazing. She sent me two natural perfume samples that are exquisite too, Delilah and Eden. At first the Eden grabbed my attention, but Delilah developed the most heavenly, rich and deep scent after I'd worn it a while. If you love natural perfumes, you must try that one!

It occurs to me that I am totally bonkers about fragrance. It makes me happy and I study and learn as much about perfumes as I can. I'm the one wearing Je Reviens or L'Heure Bleue with my 10 year old t-shirt, jeans and flipflops. I'm a woman with priorities, and smelling great is one of them. If I ever win Lotto, I would love to take a formal class in perfume making. Not necessarily all natural perfumes, but that would be a good place to start. It's just that ingredients are so expensive, and I don't have time in my days for one more Learning Experience.

The countdown has begun for my kids going off to college. On the one hand it will be quieter around here and our grocery bill will go way down. On the other hand, it is going to be too quiet and boring. With both kids off to college on August 20th, our whole lives will change again. Thank goodness Geoff can be home on weekends in 1/2 hour, and Vicky can be here in 2 hours. If they were in California or Wisconsin or something, I don't know if I could bear it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1800 Sales!

I've reached a milestone of sorts on Etsy -- 1800 sales! It's very gratifying to see that number.

New in my shop: Lolita Lemicka and Beach Handmade Soap! These are also available in my Sea Sprite Soaps shop.

Coming soon: Ocean Rain, Sandalwood Rose and Caribbean Coconut.

In a little over two weeks, Vicky goes back to USF and Geoff begins as a freshman at FGCU. The summer has gone by too quickly. The house is going to be so quiet with just me and Lowell around. Hopefully they will come home often on weekends. Hope, hope.