Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What City Do You Belong In?

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?

I have never actually been to Rome, although, I have always wanted to go there for a visit. Actually, the only place I have ever been to in Europe, per se, is England. How sad is that? I never did the backpack though Europe when I was in college. I could never persuade my friends to go and I was to afraid to go myself. Perhaps I won't be too "uncool" or too poor to take my girls when they are older or that they would want to go. Princess already told me she wants to go to Israel (How great is that?!?!)

The Romance thing, that is a whole other story, Definitely a true romantic. Why else would I love to look at Impressionism, love classical Ballet, Audrey Hepburn Movies and to listen to Tchaikovsky's music?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

''Kung Hei Fat Choy!''

Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the year of the Boar. My husband and I, through my father, have the honor of being invited to at least one Chinese New year's banquet a year. We went last night.

We arrived about a half an hour late (which is okay since even though it was called for 7 the meal didn't actually start till 9) to the sound of fire crackers and two dancing dragons on the sidewalk. If you have never seen this, you have to at least once. We get up to the banquet hall where it is being held, ushered to our table as honored guests (my dad has been an attorney for the Chinese community for over 30 years) and we are sitting at a table with numerous other honored guests. One in particular was very interesting to me, a candidate for mayor of the city! He was a very personable fellow, did the political thing, very pleasant. I was even told he is the favorite candidate so since I met him, I hope he wins. We don't live in the city, so I wouldn't get to vote for him.

Then there was another Dragon dance, a Lion dance, young ladies dances, women from the organization dancing and singing. I snapped some pictures with my phone. Perhaps I. got a good one and can upload it later. Then the food and more food and more food. All told, 13 courses. Fish, meat, soup, rice, noodles, all with a purpose and mean to bring luck, prosperity and long life. Not your typical meal, not your typical selections. All unique, all delicious. Well, what I could eat of it since I don't usually eat most of it. Okay from what my parents and husband told me

The Chinese have a rich culture and history that has existed longer than any other and it is an honor to be allowed to be a small little part of it every year.

(Philadelphia's Chinatown)

Monday, February 26, 2007


The thing most soapers hate to do most. Make and put on labels. Not sure which they hate more. Cleaning out the soap pot after they have made soap or labels.

I actually do not mind making labels. After working so many years for all intensive purposes an advertising agency (bossy lady called it a marketing consulting and wanted it to be a strategic marketing firm but lets face facts here, with the type of work we really were doing and with boss lady's real experience we pretty much were doing marketing communications work. No shame in that just call an apple and apple KWIM?) I like to figure out what my soap or lotion labels are going to look like. I can get creative with their layout, what font, what picture, etc. Last year I redesigned the whole look and feel and I like them a lot better now. Sometimes I come up with a new product just so I can create a new label. Or even a new swap item. It is actually easier to come up with a new swap item than a new product for my line because then I don't really have to worry about adding it to my line and if there are any leftovers, I can give them away. (unless you are a customer reading this and would like to try my onesy twosy new inventions, let me know *wink*)

The part I don't like is cutting them and putting them on the product. Like my web site and my labels say, it is handmade and the labels are no exception. I cut them by hand. Yes, I can get a gizmo to do it for me but what would be the fun in that? Yes, I could have my labels professionally done but, I could also have my soaps professionally made. Hey wait, they are! Personally, I like the kitchiness that each label is slightly different in shape and size, just like the soaps and that each one isn't a perfect shape. If my customer wanted that, I guess they wouldn't want handmade. There are handmade soapers out there that strive for that and more power to them. That does bring me back to having to do it by hand and the fact that I can't cut a straight line. I am getting better at it.

I guess you have to have one thing that isn't your favorite and being that I have to label a lot of soap in the coming days it was top of mind today. I just have to jump in with both feet and go to it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Credit Card Bill

My husband usually just pays the credit card bill without a glance at it. Occasionally he does look at it though. Pays probably double or triple to minimum. Sometimes pays off the whole thing, depends where we are financially that month. January and February are usually a bit tougher since we just came through the holiday month and the sale months. Ah the sale months. Since I have been back to knitting those are the toughest months. even tougher than the kids birthday months or even the holiday months. January is a tough month on the pocketbook.

All those flashy signs for the after holiday sales. Most of the time I don't even have to my tush out of my seat from in front of my computer. All my favorite online stores send me emails about all my favorite yarns that are going on sale. this past January was no exception. well, there was one. one of my favorite types of yarn was being discontinued. OH NO. THE HORROR. When that happens to a knitted it is terrible. You need to run out and buy it all up even if you have no idea what you are going to make out of it all. Well, I really could not go and do that but, I could go and buy some to make several projects with it. it is an extremely think chenille so event though this brand was not going to make it someone else will or does. I think. I hope. What if they don't. Wait, I am sure they do. (Shake it off) Then there was this GORGEOUS cotton yarn in hand dyed colorways that the new colorways were much darker. I prefer the older ones so I had to buy all my favorites. A bag of each. But it was discounted so it was okay. Oh did I forget to mention that once the sale was over they have a sister company that sold the leftovers on Ebay even cheaper? So when I decide oh wait I should have bought that I could now on ebay but, I was fighting over it with other people. I got it for even less than sale price though. I can get a good bargain.

During one of my yarn splurges is when my husband decides to look at the bill. "Who is Knit Picks?" yarn company. "Who is Handpaint Heaven?" yarn company. "Who is Trash and Treasure?" yarn company. "Who is Yarn Xpress?" yarn company. I was waiting for the explosion. and waiting and waiting. he made a face and moved on. Perhaps he has finally realized there is nothing he can do about my addiction or he realized if he can have his with his computer gadgets, I can have mine.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Case of the Disappearing Swap

I used to do a ton of soap swaps. This is where you send to a host/hostess a set number of items and s/he separates them out and sends you back a variety of goodies from various participates so you can try different people's goodies. It could be soap, lotion, bath salts or what have you. Sometimes there is a theme like it has to represent your state or for spring or something that is new to you. Sometimes it gets very creative like you have to use only vanilla, use herbs or base it on a classic novel.

I used to do swaps maybe two or three a month. I couldn't pass one up. I loved getting a box in the mail. Opening it up and seeing what goodies I would get. I loved the themed ones more than the general ones and especially ones that would include a recipe booklet. If one would get posted on a group I would have to sign up for it. My husband thought I was crazy. We had so much stuff pouring in, I was giving stuff away to my MIL, Mom, sister and good friends. As you can imagine, it got to be way too much. I went cold turkey last fall. It was very difficult. My two best soaping buddies couldn't believe it.

Well, after an almost 6 month hiatus, I was ready to get back into swapping but, slowly. I signed up for two swaps. One small and one not so small. For the not so small one, it has a very nice theme, for a terrific group of soapers and I will get a booklet. For the other group, also a very terrific group of soapers. This was a more general swap, a private swap among friends. I had wanted to send something special but it seems to have disappeared in my house. If you could see my house (and have been reading my blog) you could understand. They will get a very nice swap contribution but not the one I originally intended.

I belong to a group that just does swaps. I went and signed up for more swaps. I guess they are back and not disappearing anymore.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Best Teacher is Coming Back

I couldn't think of what to post about today and the Princess suggested I write about how she is very excited that her teacher is coming back from maternity leave. She has had a substitute teacher since mid-November but I think she will be very happy when her regular teacher comes back. The princess likes Mrs. (that is what princess wanted me to call her regular teacher on my blog ala her favorite book we read together) more because she is sweet, listens and is a good teacher for her. Princess learns a lot from Mrs. more so than the substitute. Mrs. is more in tune with how sensitive princess is whereas substitute is just that a long term sub and although I am sure she I a caring person you could tell she wasn't too invested in these kids. The Princess will be much happier and her creative thinking, I hope, will come back in full force. She really hasn't want to do much in the way of crafts and has gotten too laid back in her way of creative "writing" so to speak. I have missed Mrs. too and will be very glad she is back too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hello my name is....and I have a knit addiction I think

I already have a soaping addiction which my friends and husband are well aware of since the stuff is all over my house. My husband has come to terms with it already, I think. Now, however, i think I have a new addiction, knitting. I am reading one of The Yarn Harlot's books and I am only on the chapter where she is talking about your stash but I can sort of see what road I am head towards. I have already posted that my stash is small but, I rationalize my yarn purchases more and more. I am the worlds slowest knitter for various reasons (I am pretty slow, the girls take up a lot of my time, Sunshine likes to pull out my knitting needles, I have my other addiction soap making, etc) but I keep telling myself I will eventually get to this or that yarn. OR I will look for patterns, books or talk to other knitters about patterns books for yarn that I have to eventual knit but still have not knit.

Last night at my Sit N Knit group, I was referred to yet another wonderful book by a wonderful knitter for my yarn for lace, which I have been holding onto for months. Of course, when I got home I went online bought that book and a few others so that book wouldn't be lonely in the box to my house.

I don't think I could only buy yarn for the project I am going to be working on, meaning pick the project first then the yarn. I know there are knitters out there int he universe that do that. I see the yarn, have to have the yarn, and then I will think of a project for it late. perhaps much later. So of the yarn I have might even be years later and I don't even have that much, in my opinion, yet.

I am creating a soaping room in my parents' basement. I am now beginning to wonder if I buy some of those huge plastic tubs, think I could get away with storing some yarn and knitting books there too? JUST KIDDING!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lovely Lace

I have always been afraid of lace patterns but, I have finally jump in the deep end and started a lace scarf with some inexpensive yarn just in case I mess it up. So far it doesn't look half bad. It is a pretty simple pattern that I got off of Knitter's Review ( ) in their section The Essentials of Knitted Lace. Of Course I couldn't use the recommended yarn but took my yarn and went one needle size up. here is a picture of it so far.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Blanket that Needs an Owner

I finished my second blanket. To me, this is a great acomplishment since I have no delay of gratification and do not like projects that take forever. This could be the reason I like a lot of those chunky and bulky yarns and like those really big needles because things knit up very fast on them. I also get bored with a project very easily. Okay, granted, a good portion of this project was completed by my knitting group's organizer but still, I finished it nonetheless.

I originally intended to give the blanket to my sister for her birthday, which is in May but, now, I am not so sure about that either. You know when you first have something in mind then you finish the project and you aren't so sure the piece matches the future potential owner? This is such the case with this blanket. Sunshine swears it is her blanket and even attempted to take it to bed with her last night. The Princess thought it would make a very nice gift for a very good friend of ours who is having a baby in a couple of months but, we know she is having a girl and it is her third. I think she has enough baby blankets besides, it is too big for that. I am sure we will find the right owner for this blanket. it will not go without an owner.

I do have several scarves and a baby vest that sit without owners. scarves always sit without owners in my home because they are quick in between projects, will make a quick gift at some point and are easy to store. In fact just this week I pulled a very nice fluffy green scarf and put it in a gift bag and gave it to my husband to give it to someone that he needed a gift for. I can't even remember when I knitted the thing. The baby vest, well, it took me so long to knit the darn thing, the baby out grew it and I really wasn't that friendly with the mother any more by the time I was finished with it either. I will find a baby for it eventually. It is kind of boyish so I have to wait till someone I know has a boy baby.

So, back to the blanket. I need to think about it a bit. I hav a few options. It definitely is too big for a baby but would fit a twin bed. My cousin's daughter's birthday is coming up. (I have no nieces, only nephews, so I have to stretch a bit to get to a girl other than my own) or perhaps one of my daughter's closests friends. Although I tend to knit them little purses or fluffy scarves. They think those are kind of trendy. Not to fear, it will find a happy home with a perfect owner.

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day

Today is President's Day and you would think that there would be programs to remind us about how wonderful the past presidents were that founded this great country of ours, the struggles of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, even a little bit about each of our past presidents on a TV show. No such luck. President's Day has become as commercial as every other holiday and is all about the sales. That is all you hear about, read about or see is about the sales. Why even bother having the day off from school? The kids would learn more about the holiday if they were actually in school they being at home. I know, I just wrote blasphemy taking a day off away from the kids and the teachers and the government workers. Seriously, though, are we really commemorating anything other than President's Day sales?

Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy the extra day with the Princess and Little Miss Sunshine. We are planning a day of sleeping in (we did that already and cuddled in my bed), crafts, perhaps a trip to Michael's or AC Moore or even Rainbow Crafts, an indoor picnic on the floor and a movie of whomever screams the loudest choice. It is always special to have an extra day that isn't a Saturday or Sunday. I just wish they didn't try to attach some holiday to it where they take the meaning away from it and turn it into a shopping extravaganza.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What American accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Northeast
The Midland
The Inland North
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I saw this on someone else's blog and just had to do it tonight. Isn't it funny how it came out so true?

Foam Stickers

When my Princess was much younger, say 18 months - 2 years old, and wanted to do crafts and I just did not have the energy to put everything out and clean everything up my saving grace were these foam stickers. they had these great kits for door hangers, tiaras or every bookmarks. Simple little put together kits that where one, two, there and you were done. As she got older, we still kept buying these kits because it was what we were used to and they were so simple, put together and clean. The key word to me was clean. I am not the most neat and organized person so any thing that I could pick up easily for a child craft was for me.

As the princess got more verbal, she wanted to be able to still do the foam stickers (we NEVER bought the ones that need to be glued because to me that was a mess) but she wanted to buy these HUGE tubs of them. I hemmed and hawed but finally caved. it was more cost effective and we could make more than one at a time. We bought a tub of girlie shapes, one of letters and one of flowers and a few frames, a few doorhangers and something else I can't remember.

Well, princess got home, got all excited and dumped EVERYTHING ALL OVER THE FLOOR! There were little foam pieces every where!! She was so excited and got right to work. I was trying to smile but inside panicking. How in the work am I going to clean this all up?! She was having a blast. Making something for pop-pop, Ita, grandma, all her Aunts, even her cousins. Anyone she could think of. Even the fish. heck she even made a collage of foam pieces to hang on the kitchen art way exhibit. I just wanted everything picked up before little Mary Sunshine woke from her nap. Thankfully, Sunshine was a good napper (at the time) but we we heard her start to stir, we rushed around to try to get everything up off the floor as quickly as possible. Princess was not too happy about that but, she would not have been to happy if Sunshine ruined her precious crafts either. Sunshine has had the tendency to ruin very precious crafts in the past.

We learned from that little foam sticker day. We never dump everything out at once anymore. Especially since Sunshine likes to pick everything up and peel the backs off all the stickers and stick them to herself. Also because it is way to hard to pick everything up and we don't want Mom to panic. Also because the Princess has become more of a neat freak than Mom and very protective of her crafts. Sunshine doesn't nap anymore although we all wish she did.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

World of Warcraft

My husband started playing this game a long time ago. I actually can't even remember when he began. It seems like a lifetime and one obsession ago. Now it is as if it is all he does. he schedules his life around that game. He comes home from work. turns on his computer and even eats dinner in front of that game. He does get home well after dinner time (around 8-8:30) so I can't begrudge him for not sitting down at the dinner table with me and the girls. If I asked him what are we doing this weekend can we do this or that, he used to say, well we were going to do this raid or that thing in the game and I don't want to miss it. Can you take the girls yourself? GRRRR. IT IS JUST A GAME!!!! OR is it an obsession?

He has asked me a bazillion times to create my own account and my own character so I could play the game with him. He has met several couples who play the game together and even one that held their wedding ceremony in the virtual world. That is just way too weird for me. He speaks to people who literally live all over the world who seem to be on the computer all times of the day. Don't these people have lives?

Well, since he can't get me to play this game, he has gotten our girls to play and even got them, finally, their own account. I am not so sure how I feel about an almost 4 year old and 6 year old playing a game that is live over the Internet where the get approached by other people to chat. Our 6 year old is curious and wants to make friends although we tell her not to talk to strangers and just send stuff to dad and only chat with people if Mom or dad is around so we can monitor. The 4 year old, well, she just likes running her character around and turning her into a ghost. She used to like killing her fathers characters off but that cost her father too much stuff and made him angry. I guess that is what got him to get them their own account.

The game does, to my dismay, help in some of their creativity when they create new characters. They get to design them, give characteristics, hair, style and even a name. Then they get to choose a path that they take. I do wish they would spend less time playing this game but at least it is something they can chat with their father about.

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Everywhere!!

When I first started making bath and body products out of my home, it was all neat and organized and contained in a small little shelf in a closet in the hallway. As it grew to more and more products it just started taking over. It was in the front hall, the den, the living room, the dining room, the girls bedrooms and even om the rare occasion my bedroom. There were boxes and boxes of bottles, lids, jars, sprayers, bags. All different sizes, shapes and colors. Soap dishes, bath poufs and other packaging materials and that was just what the end product went into.

When you make a product, rather than offer a service, you need raw materials. It is oh so much cheaper to buy the raw materials in bulk than it is to buy small quantities. You have to store this stuff some where, right? There are the drums of coconut oil, palm oil, shea butter and various liquid oils. Huge containers that a 3 year old just loves to climb on top of. Then I have the dried herbs in HUGE bags as well as the waxes and other wonderful ingredients that go into soaps and lotions. Let's not forget the dozens of bottles of essential oils, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, lemon, lime, grapefruit and so on. The fragrance oils of coconut, vanilla, mango, pomegranate, Margarita, Jasmine and more. The 2, 4, 8 and 16 ounce bottles all having to find a happy home somewhere in my home. The variety, the scents. There are oh so many of them and I just have to try them when i read their descriptions from my vendors.

Then there are the raw materials you just want to try. There was the coffee butter I just had to try. Then it arrived but who wanted to smell like coffee all the time? It went into a soap that I swapped with some other soap makers. There was the Godiva Fragrance Oils for that special Valentine's Day Gift Set. It all eventual sold by Christmas that year. I guess everyone would rather eat chocolate than smell like it. Oh, there was the bowel from Pampered Chef that goes in the freezer to make my Whipped Body Butters. It works wonders but who ever has a freezer empty enough to be able to get the bowel in the freezer to use it?

Then I go to the huge trade show in New York City and see all these wonderful items great ideas and I just want to try them and incorporate them into my product line somehow. Then of course I finally track down the distributor of the bottle I am looking for that I just have to use and they want me to buy how many of those bottles? 100,000 of them?!?!? What are you crazy!?!?! Think my wholesale bottle company would decide to carry them? Maybe, but it might be a few years down the road so, I need to think of some other bottle in the meantime. Oh, wait, I think I found something that looks almost the same but I have to buy 300 of them at once. I can swing that. It comes in the bottle, lid and cap. They are perfect!! It has the same exact functionality I was looking for and they are on sale!! I can't bet the price! Sure, they fit oh so nicely right in my dining room. So what if I haven't been able to have dinner on the very nice table my parents bought for us when we moved in here 7 years ago.

I am supposed to move everything to my parents nice empty basement. I actually have most of my finished products there now anyway although I would not recommend going there to browse. Perhaps I will have more time this summer to actually do it. Everything is store in nice boxes so, it is feasible. I will have a lot more work space and space for all my pots, mixing bowels and perhaps I might even invest in a better blender for soap making or even a fancier standing mixer for whipped butters. My good friend has one of those and I am so jealous. Perhaps then I can reclaim my dining room.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chamomile and Calendula

When I was first reading and learning about the herb Calendula, I was reading it the way I read most herbs for the first time, reading them the way I read most foreign words, as phonetically as posible and that is most likely with using Spanish sounds. That could possibly be because my first language was Spanish or it could be because I was always a terrible reader and speller even though I do love to read. Who in their right mind would think there was a "g" or "j" sound in there? As my oldest daughter's kindy teacher is always saying, "English is a funny language" Then again, Calendula isn't English, Pot Marigold, as it is also know as, is orinially from Egypt. I have never actually seen the flower before it is dried but, I have seen pictures. Once the petals are dried, the petals are infused in oil or made out of a tea and are great for mature skin but also skin sores, inflamations, diaper rash and sunburn. I guess that is why calendula is always found in natural ointments for babies tushies.

Chamomile, on the other hand, is an herb most have heard about often. You've probably had a cup of Chamomile tea or two in your life. It is soothing and relaxing. There are lots of types of Chamomile, Egyptian, Roman, German, Hungarian. You can grow it in the states very readily, well, not too readily in Pennsylvania (or perhaps it is just me that does not really have a green thumb). It is a type of ragweed, so some people might be allergic to it so be careful if you have those type of allergies.

To me, when I first take a huge whiff of a freshly aquired bag of the dried herb it actually smells a bit like apples. (not the tea bags you get at the store They have been sitting on the shelf for too long but will do in a pinch if necessary for a project). Chamomile has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and it works well against inflammation, muscle spasms, irritated skin, eczema, and psoriasis. Camomile infused oils are also found in alot of ointments.

I actually use a lot of both Chamomile and Calendula oils and teas in my soaps, lotions and salves. I love both herbs for their healing properties and they have done wonders for my eczema let alone my girls tushies when they were younger. What made me think of these herbs and to write about them? The cold, actually. Although you might not be able to find Calendula, you can definitely find Chamomile in your local supermarket although it goes back to thefact that you don't know how long it has been sitting on the shelf, it will work in a pinch. I know that after I have been outside for extended periods of time in this cold clearing the ice or my hands get overly dried and cracked because of this heat, I love rubbing some Chamomile infused oil on them.

Olive or Sunflower Oil
Dried Chamomile (if you are using tea, make sure it is JUST chamomile tea and leave it in the tea bags)
Mason jar

Place several tea bags at the bottom of jar
put enough oil to cover bags
Put jar on shelf in a cabinent for two - four weeks, shake every two days
After two - four weeks remove bags and the oil is ready to use

You can use other herbs in this process as well and the fresher DRIED the better (DO NOT use fresh herbs they will mold.

Obviously, this will be oily but will help in a pinch.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I am so not into this craft. I just do not get it. I don't want to belittle someone else's craft but, I am so not into scrapbooking. Oh I could definitely see how I could personally get into to it. All that paper, stickers, lettering, phrasing, quotes, tools, albums, so many goodies to choose from. It can all be so overwhelming, so fascinating, so creative. You walk into a craft store, browse all those aisles after aisle. Wondrous items that I haven't a clue as to what they are for. I have even bought a few of the doohickeys for soap making packaging, well, for swap packaging to make it more interesting. I can definitely see how it can keep you busy for hours.

My oldest daughter takes after me in that she is the crafty one. She has been into a ton of crafts already in her oh so short life of 6 years. She has done tons of finger paintings, door hangers, bead brackets, those loom potholders, a hook rug that is some where in this house unfinished, tons of painted wooden items like jewelry boxes and picture frames and treasure boxes. She has made glycerin soaps and lotions with me. Has tried her hand at lip balms and measured out oils for me for cold process soaps. However her latest craze craft is something I just cannot get into. You guessed it, scrapbooking.

She loves it. She asked for one of those little kits you see at Michael's for her birthday and couldn't get enough of it and asked for me for another. A good friend of mine, who is really into it, recommended one of these real little kits for her. It was pink with some very cute stickers and paper. I printed out some wallet size pictures for her from the computer and she got to work and she was done her little book very quickly and wanted more and more. I take her to Michael's or AC Moore and she is in Heaven. She now has an entire assortment of this stuff that I don't quite get in a box that she just loves to decorate her pictures with.

Today, since we had no school thanks to the snow and ice, was such a day that she spread everything all over my bedroom floor and wanted me to do it with her. I tried, I really did. After about half an hour I made all kinds of excuses of things I needed to do and left her alone in my room and went and did other things. When I finally got back to her she had completely a few pages and was ready to move on to something else, thankfully.

If this isn't one of her crafty phases, I either better get used to this, find her some friends of her own or mine to scrapbook with or persuade her that Mom can keep her company but I, am just not into it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Well, it is snowing here today so everyone is freaking out. Before there was even a coating on the sidewalks they were already canceling after school activities so my after school job was cancelled. The girls are home safe and sound. Not sure what tomorrow will bring. Everything is supposed to freeze over but, I never trust the weather man. He never really knows what he is talking about. Does he? Perhaps we will get a chance to play in some snow tomorrow or perhaps not.

At least today I got to finish a sleeve on the first sweater I am making for my oldest daughter. I have made some garments for babies for friends and donations but never for my own kids. This is the first one. The front and backs are done also and pinned together. Now just one more sleeve, sew it together and we are done. If we have a snow day and the girls are kept busy, I might get lucky. Maybe I can persuade the oldest to scrapbook tomorrow. Right now she is telling me she is bored and since out of three computers only this one is working properly, I am going to have to make this short and give in to her since she is being a very good big sister today. At least we are all warm and cozy inside.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Why Soap making?

So why did I begin soap making? It is a question I get asked often believe it or not. It isn't a hobby you just pick up or, for most, born into or handed down from generation to generation like knitting. (speaking of which, my grandmother did teach me how to knit, but I guess that is another posting)

When I was very young, younger than my soon to be four year old, I'd venture to say even a baby, my Mom noticed that I would get rashes very often. She took me to the pediatrician who was a very famous doctor in our area at the time and proclaimed that I had eczema amongst other dermatitis type rashes and that he wanted to patch test me on all types of soaps, lotions and other topical ointments which he then proceeded to do. Turns out I was allergic to them ALL. I became one of those people who would say, I am allergic to soap and lotion. I of course, did not know any better at the time.

Over the course of the next several years I was covered literally from head to toe in some rash or another prescribed some cream, soap, shampoo, ointment, steroid cream, experimental whatever, even my uncle, the doctor, from Colombia got in on the act trying to give me some kind of relief from the itching and the scratching. I was constantly switching and changing what I used so my body wouldn't get to used to it and fight it off, which usually happened anyway. Thankfully, amazingly, I never got one of those rashes on my face.

I bought those very expensive soaps with cocoa butter or Shea butter, unscented of course, natural soaps in the natural stores with no fillers or junk added to them. I bought large varieties and if i found one that I could tolerate, I'd buy them in the case load and rotate them so that I could keep using them (I still rotate soaps, btw)

As for lotions, I could never really used them. Some pure Shea butter, which was hard to find. Some unscented stuff and some stuff i am ashamed to mentioned I used so I am blocking it out of my memory.

So, about a year after having my oldest, a friend at the time says to me lets make holiday gifts this year. I thought, well she is crafty, why not. Then she says, lets make those cookie mix jars, some homemade apple sauce, some cranberry sauce, candles and...... handmade glycerin soap. Soap?!?!? Can you make soap? I guess you can because we did and it was a hit. I got a ton of request for more soap, not much else that was in the gift baskets. which surprised me. I didn't think the Supplies we bought at Michael's were really that good so off to the Internet I went. Being the good researcher I am I found a whole lot more. Before I knew it I was making body butters, bath salts, lip balms, and really good glycerin soaps I could actually use. I even started learning how to make lotions I could use for the first time in my life. I discovered what it really was in soaps and lotions I was actually allergic to and what I could actual use on my skin. It was like it was my birthday come early.

Those first few months back in 2001-2002 when I just started this adventure I had some interesting credit card bills and tons of experiments, online conversations, classes, lessons and read a tons of information. If I was going to do this and make my own, I wanted to do it right. I make sure I speak to my raw materials manufacturers, preservatives manufacturers, packaging distributors and keep up to date with the FDA regulations. I actually still keep up to date on materials, labeling and packaging.

It is actually my sister's fault that I originally started selling my products. She took some of my body butter to work with her way back when and all the ladies who work with her wanted some. Coconut Body Butter, the first products I ever sold to non-family members. I don't even make it anymore. Perhaps I should reconsider. Anyway, from there I just started making more and more items and my little soap business was built. It is definitely a little addiction and something I can pass down to my girls and to their children.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Yarn

Everyday I look over at the corner of my bedroom at the bags and bags and one huge container (that my Mom bought me) of yarn that I have. Avid knitters would call it my yarn stash. Avid knitters would actually laugh at my pitiful little stash because it actually fits to one side of my bedroom and doesn't spill into every corner of my house. No, every corner of my house is filled with something else, soap supplies. I don't think yarn and essential oils mix very well. That is a story for another post though.

I am very allergic to wool, well really any animal fiber. It makes me itch, then the itch turns to a rash and then sometimes hives. When i was younger my Mom tried to put on me sweaters with even the smallest amounts of wool because they do make for the warmest of sweaters and she'd put a thick turtle neck underneath and I would STILL get a rash. Wool just wasn't for me. Later in life I realized it wasn't just the wool either. I couldn't use products with the lanolin either. That is for another post too.

So this baby stash I have. Non of it is wool either. I have some very nice cottons. Although I have been looking at the new organic Cotton my Lion Brand. Boy, does that look nice. i have some nice cottons from Cherry Tree Hill. They had a VERY nice sale around New Year's this year so I bought some Rainbow ribbon in various shades and some Plush. Plush, oh don't get me started on Chenille. I LOVE chenilles. I have no clue what I am going to make with them but , I love buying them. My first chenille was Lion Brand's and I made my Mom a hat and scarf matching set. It was very pretty and she still wears them. then I discovered Blue Heron Yarns. Very nice and pricey. I slowly started buying it but never using it. I think I have like 5 or 6 hanks of it that my friend Aileen graciously wound for me (this is before I went and bought myself my own swift and winder). It is very lovely shades of purple and blues. Now I have the Plush. I bought some in neutrals and then in blues and greens because my youngest daughter loves the color green.

I tell myself that chenille takes up a lot of space because it is so big and bulky as does one of my other favorites, Jiffy thick and Quick. What a terrible name for a yarn but it knits up very quickly and since I have no delay of gratification, it I great for me.

I have this gorgeous lace weight yarn that I forget what the fiber is, not wool of course, to make a shawl. I have no idea what I was thinking because that would take forever to make. One of these days it will happen. I probably need to wait till my youngest is not so hands on, full of energy, gets into everything anymore. I can't tell you how many times I have had to start projects over again becasue of her

I have a ton of Sugar and Cream cotton to make wash clothes to go with the soaps I make. Some fun fur for those last minute gifts my husband tends to spring on me, tons of onesy twosy pink yarns that my oldest picks out because it is her favorite color and if she happens to go to the store with me we end up buying one or two because I have to make her something that never actually gets made.

I did use up a lot of my oddball yarn on an blanket (that is the picture I have added here) for my Mother's birthday this past January. Four strands together of different yarns on size 50 needles. Went very quickly. I need to make another on of those

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Energy and Computers

Wow, has it been over a year since I posted to this blog? I guess it really has. As I look at my soon to be four year old run from a kitchen chair to the couch, across the couch back to the chair, I can see why I can never find the time to do the thing I'd love to do in a day. She can definitely suck the energy right out of you just by watching her. I really and truly have no clue where she gets it all from especially since she doesn't ever sleep. Her bed time might be 8:30 or 9 but that does exactly mean she goes to sleep at that time. Nor does it mean she falls asleep much before 11 some nights. Then on occasion she wakes up in the middle of the sleep cycle to curl up on the floor next to me with her pillow and her blanket. Mind you I have hardwood floors in my bedroom.

She is done with the chair/couch hopping and is now running the length of the playroom and running up and down the stairs to the kitchen repeatedly with some switching to running in circles in the living room. It is too cold to go outside (I am guessing it is definitely below 20 degrees today) so she has decided to run her mini marathon inside the house today. I should get on her exercise program.

I have a good friend who's husband does an Iron Man every year or so and tells me that my little one gives him a run for his money in the energy department. I told him he could take her to train with this summer but he thought perhaps she would tire him out, LOL. When both families go to the playground during the warmer months my friend's husband is always amazed at how she NEVER slows down.

Then again, he has never seen her at the computer. The computer is the only thing my soon to be 4 year old will slow down for. She is already a wiz kid at that. Actually both my girls are very good at the computer already. even before either of them could speak, they could work a mouse. Now if I could only answer the bazillion dollar question, "how do I get them to share a computer?"