Friday, September 23, 2011

My Life with Boys

Keegan came home from school the other day with a large piece of paper, poster board size, in his backpack.  When unfolded, there were the answers to a series of questions a classmate had asked as part of an interview.  In large orange letters:  "My favourite subject is art.  My favourite animals are dogs.  My favourite planet is (you know what I am going to write, don't you?) Uranus."  Even several days later, it still makes me giggle proving that one is never too old for a good Uranus joke, if such a thing exists.  I actually have to take the blame for this one since I was the person who decided, over the summer, that they boys were ready to learn the subtle humour behind the word "Uranus."  I was right.  They were ready but I misjudged their ability to filter the humour in public.  Ooops.

A couple of days ago, I had to quickly explain to Quinn the inappropriateness of taking a picture of one's penis.  I'm not sure that they quite got it as he and Keegan crept upstairs a few minutes later  with giggles and whispers.

On this dreary, wet fall day, I had the urge to look back at some summer photos.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How It All Began

Prompted by a friend's question, I have been thinking a lot lately about what brought me to soap making and why I love it so much.

10 years ago, when I was finishing my degree in chemistry and biology, I started making lip balms, body butters and other bath products for personal use.  Books on the subject were not easy to find and the internet was pretty much nonexistent for me at the time.  Supplies were also difficult to find but a local health food store carried a small amount of beeswax, oils and butters.  I remember finding a book on soapmaking in a second hand bookstore.  By flipping through the pages of that book, I could imagine the stuff I could make if only I could find lye.  Lye was not easy to come by and I have to admit the process was a wee bit intimidating.  So my dreams of making my own soap lay dormant for many years until recently.

I keep thinking about it and I realize my journey to soap making did not begin ten years ago.  I think it actually began when I was a small girl.  You see, I was the little girl who loved to make concoctions (LOVE that word).  Unfortunately for my mother, that often involved her make-up and shampoos and whatever else I could find in a bottle.  I loved squeezing toothpaste out of its tube.  I loved watching a stream of shampoo as it poured out of its bottle.  And I loved using my hands to mix this shampoo with its matching conditioner or a hand lotion or a powder.  Mom, you knew I did this, right? Or have I unknowingly committed to something that was better left unknown. (Well, I know that you know about the time that I poured your make-up out the upstairs window because you caught me.  Keegan got revenge for you when he was two years old and he smeared a bottle of cream all over my bed.  I didn't get mad.  I know karma when I meet it.)  My experiments did not include only cosmetic products.  I liked paints, glue and don't even get me started on mud.  My mud pie adventures deserve a post all to themselves.


A couple of years ago I was reading something (blog, magazine, book).  I wish I could remember what I was reading so I could give the author credit.  The gist of it was that often, what makes a person happy as an adult is what made them happy when they were 5 years old.  That thought has stayed with me as I watch my two boys grow up and discover themselves.  It returns to me as I consider what seems to make me really happy as a 40 year  old woman -- mixing and pouring but with less of a nuisance factor involved.  I hope.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And the Winner Is . . .

Denise, I will be contacting you later today to let you know the different soaps I will have available.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Over Tea

There was a point this afternoon when I so wanted to sit down with my youngest and, over a glass of red wine, discuss what had gone wrong with the day.  Instead we shared a pot of tea and the day suddenly got much better.

If you haven't already done so, read this  post for a chance to win a bar of my hand made soap.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Year

I should be writing this post in five days but I'm a little excited.  I could wait but I don't want to.

September 17 marks my one year blogiversary.  When I began reading blogs about five years ago, I never would have thought I would write a blog myself.  I was a lurker, rarely even leaving comments on the blogs I read.  Last summer, when I made the decision to start a blog, I don't really know what I was thinking.  I think perhaps I was looking for another creative outlet while I stayed home with my two boys.  Well, I certainly found that and so much more.  It may sound cliche.  It certainly won't be unique because I have read it written by the writers of many of my favourite blogs.  Through this little space I have carved here, I have found a community I didn't realize existed.  Through your kind comments you have encouraged me.  Through your words you have inspired me.  And I'd like to thank you for that.

As a way of saying "thank you", I would like to offer one of you a bar of my hand made soap.  A bar of your choice.  Wander through my Etsy shop.  Get an idea for the type of soap I like to make but keep in mind that my stock is a little low at the moment.  August was a busy month.  In the last week of September, I will have several new batches ready and you can pick from some of my new soaps:  Groovy, Green Clay and Tiger Tail are just a few.

To enter, just leave a comment here.  May be tell me about something you found unexpectedly or just say hi.  No geographical boundaries here.  I am pretty sure hand made soap is welcome everywhere.  If you have never left a comment, now is the time to do it.

The contest will remain open until Friday, September 17 at 8 p.m. EST.  I will announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Summer Soap Kitchen

My soap kitchen has been busy this summer and promises to continue being busy through the fall.  Here's a little look at the soapy goodness I have been creating.

Blue Clay Soap

Blue Clay soap contains shea butter, rice bran oil and, of course, blue clay.   I designed this soap specifically as a facial soap.   Blue Clay is efficient in absorbing excess oils and removing harmful toxins from the skin. Due to its potent purification properties, it is beneficial to oily and other problematic skin types. Rice bran oil promotes collagen formation and is easily absorbed into the skin with no greasy residue. Shea butter is rich in fatty acids which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity.  Honestly, this is the first soap I have ever been able to use on my face without it feeling dry, tight and "stretched".  There.  The horn tooting stops now.

Choco Mint Soap

The next soap was inspired by afternoon chats over coffee with a good friend.

Java Love Soap

Java Love is scented with coffee, vanilla and chocolate fragrance oils.

Chai Soap

I have recently fallen in love with shampoo soaps.

Lemon Squeezy Shampoo Soap

Lemon Squeezy Shampoo soap is scented with lemon and peppermint essential oils.  Instead of water, I used a rosemary herbal tea made with my own rosemary.  I was surprised with the interest shown in shampoo soap.  I currently have a second shampoo soap curing made with beer and scented with rosemary and peppermint essential oils.

Tiger Tail Soap
Tiger Tail Soap is scented with anise star and sweet orange essential oils.  When Mike smelled it, his first comment was: "Hmm, smells like jellybeans."  It is yummy.  The black colour is due to the addition of activated charcoal while the warm orange was obtained by infusing olive oil with paprika.

I recently took the plunge and opened a second Etsy shop devoted to my soaps.  Several of the above soaps can be found there.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Good Decision

Tuesday was a busy day.  From the moment I woke up, it seemed I was doing something that had to be done right then or perhaps even 10 minutes ago.  Although I had spent the entire day with the boys, I felt like I hadn't really spent any time with  them.  So when the time arrived to begin preparing supper, I thought of the anxiety of feeding two hungry boys ("I'm hungry!"), of the number of times I would have to tell a little person that I couldn't read a book or go outside at the moment because I was preparing supper and I made a decision.

I grabbed the picnic blanket, a glass of wine, a bowl of homemade salsa (so I had kind of contributed to the meal), a bag of tortilla chips and some books and we headed outside to the backyard for some much needed outdoor time.


This last photo made all of us giggle.

If nothing else, I made one good decision that day.