Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Around the World in 40 Treasuries - Part I

Celebrating the amazing, talented diversity on Etsy! We are beginning our adventure in our home town of Columbia, MO. Won't you join us on the trip?

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Place to Call Soap

Creating products in my home can often be a challenge. We live in a regular sized slab foundation home. It sports three bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a wonderfully bright breakfast nook where we partake all of our meals. I have a nice walk in closet and a beautiful covered patio. We have a two car garage to park our vehicles in and a laundry room that I can shut the door on. By most standards today is probably considered small for our size of family. But really it is perfect for us and our life style....with one glaring problem.....my workspace.


this is the area I typically work...it is way to small and right now is cluttered waiting for a clean-up

All of product production occurs in the kitchen after I've thoroughly sanitized after regular use of the kitchen (you know as a place to prepare food-I sometimes get in the notion to cook up a pan of brownies). I then have to re-sanitize after production is complete. I also have a small hutch with a counter that I work from in the nook area Small ingredients and equipment are stored on and in the hutch. It is kind of a pain to do all this cleaning, re-cleaning, and sharing of space. It takes careful planning to be sure I have my soapy messes done in time to also have time to prepare a meal for my ever hungry family.


the hutch....in process of being moved...obviously not worable at the moment

Storage is also an issue. Most of my time is spent hauling the bulk ingredients from another room into the work area and back again for storage. This is not conducive to high productivity or any sense of organization. It always seems that no matter what new method I come up with I still overflow into other areas of our home and I don't always remember where things are. I'm tired of it.

I've considered renting a studio, but I don't want the extra expense or to be tied to something like that. I also really like being at home waiting for the kids when they get home from school. I can run in a pinch to pick someone up or chat on-line with my sisters, or run to grab a meal ingredient I'm out of without having to worry about locking down or leaving something plugged in for a bit. I just want a little corner in our world to call soap.

So, I've been working toward creating a more optimized work space. All of my creating is going to occur in the kitchen-ette and if all the shelving I need will fit, the bulk ingredients will also be stored here. Finished products will go into the third bedroom where most of the packaging supplies, my laptop, and labeling stuff is anyway. The spare room has been completely cleaned out (well not the closet), but is already in use. I've already cleared the nook wall for the table and storage unit I have my eye on.


the nook in progress...moving furniture, mopping, wiping down walls

It may take me some time to get it all together and I'll update with the finally results or progress as I go. I still have to order the storage rack and it will be October before the table arrives, but I'm getting ready now and can't wait to get it all in line. Of course this doesn't necessarily mean I won't be "spreading" out more. The more new products I create and the more orders I get, the more space I need. Maybe I'll have to think about that studio a little harder.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making THE Adjustment

Last week I sent my youngest off into the big bad world...well, to Kindergarten!

He loves it! He's a quick learner, already is friends with most everyone in his class, and especially loves his teacher. He is doing great! It is so exciting for him to get home at one o'clock (he goes half days). He always has so much to say about his day. Typically it is about recess, lunch, and some stuff he learned that "he can't remember".



So how am I doing? The first two days I made it through (I didn't even shed a tear) by cleaning my house from top to bottom. The third day I got to looking at photos and "remembering" and I lost my cool for a few minutes, but just a few. There is this quiet that surrounds me all morning that I am still trying to get accustomed to. There is no one following me around, asking me questions, needing my help, wanting a hug.

Now that my house is clean again, I am trying to get myself a"work" schedule. Being a stay at home mom you learn to be flexible and get things done on the spur of the moment. It's been a long time since I've worked on any time line and I desperately need to accomplish some of the business things I've been neglecting the past 3 years.

I'm not really sure how I'm going to make it work, but I've started with organizing my recipes and catching up on my summer book keeping. I've also tried my best to limit my time on the computer (ok on Facebook and in the Etsy forums). Doing these things has helped me gain an entire day to actually making things!! That is the exciting part for me, as that is really what I enjoy.

Next, I need to have a true daily schedule for creating, books, social media/advertising, and still work in the household things like dishes, laundry, and grocery shopping.

It will get there and then I'll have to readjust for summer vacation, but I am confident that now I can put more time in my business, while still getting to enjoy the return of my boys at the end of the day instead of trying to cram it all in together. I think I'm going to like it. Only time will tell, and I may just survive being SAHM without kids!

How have you made adjustments in your day to either accommodate children still at home or adjusting to them NOT being at home?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Midwest Etsy Collaboration

A while back I made a purchase from one of Etsy's featured sellers, MidwestFinds. Their shop is filled with fabulous vintage items that include old mason jars and these wonderful zinc lid and reproduction lid pumps that fit on canning jars. You can use them for liquid soap and lotions.



I was immediately drawn to the jar lid pumps as I was working on introducing my liquid soaps. So I had to try them out. As expected I love, love, love them. They are perfect for my vintage, eclectic style...just a little different than what most people would have. They look great sink side in either the bath or the kitchen and in either a vintage type decor or in a modern bath depending on the jar you choose to place it on. I've been giving them to family members as gifts!

It wasn't long after that Jenna from MidwestFinds contacted me about collaborating and making some gift baskets with each others products. After a little chit-chat back and forth we found we had much in common and both being from the Midwest (I'm in Missouri, they are in Illinois), it seemed a perfect fit.

I am super pleased to introduce my 2 versions of the gift basket that includes my liquid soap and their fabulous jar lids on a cute quilted 4 oz canning jar.

Version 1: 8 oz of Liquid Soap with one 4 oz quilted jar with pump.



Version 2: Full Gift Basket with 8 oz of Liquid Soap with one 4 oz quilted jar with pump,
1 bar soap and handcrafted wooden soap deck.



You can purchase sets and baskets in my Etsy shop or on my Facebook page using the Shop Now feature.

Of course you can find other jar sizes and styles plus many other jar items and vintage finds in MidwestFinds shop. Please give them a looksy and their read their Etsy interview. Great customer service and wonderfully unique items. Enjoy!

1 Million Pillowcase Challenge Update

I always like to get the kids involved in crafting activities and it is even better when it has an element of giving attached. Since neither one are big enough for me to turn loose on the sewing machine, I cut out pillowcase sized fronts from unbleached cotton muslin and let them draw pictures with fabric markers which we heat set before tossing in the laundry with our handmade laundry soap. Then each one selected their favorite fabrics out of my "stash" and I created a back and ends to coordinate with their drawings.

Here are our results.

L to R: Ryan (5 yrs) Sunshine, mine, Ethan (8 yrs) Puppy, mine



I ended up creating a third pillowcase with polka dots.

Today we hand delivered these to our local collection spot, Satin Stitches. The boys were very excited to get to carry their own cases into the shop. There we were pleased to find out our pillowcases will be donated locally. I am so glad I ran across this article about the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge and hope that you can find a way to get involved. It really is amazing.

To find out more about this project see the AllPeopleQuilt website.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life SEW Simple - Sewing for a Cause

Life isn't always so simple for everyone. It is far too easy to get swept up in our busy lives and not take notice of the strife that happens in our own communities, in our own neighborhoods. Across our country children are placed in foster care, women seek shelter from abusive situations, elderly are left without family in nursing homes, and people of all ages suffer the effects of cancer.

American Patchwork & Quilting has challenged readers to create 1 Million Pillowcases for charitable organizations across the nation that support nursing homes, hospitals, foster care children, and womens shelters. It has been awhile since I seriously did any sewing beyond hemming pants, but I am looking forward to
heading over to my local participating shop to look for some colorful fabrics. Then I'll dust off my sewing machine and brush up on my skills to make a few pillowcases to brighten the lives of someone who is less fortunate, who needs a little bit of hope and encouragement.

To read more about this project head over to AllPeopleQuilt for complete challenge details and help finding a participation shop near you.

I'll post some photos when I make some progress. In the meantime, how many pillowcases will you be making?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open for Business - Grand Opening Event

We are officially open! Our shop is loaded with most of our current items (we are adding daily). It is very exciting to see it all come together and having many of you asking when we were going to be back. Thank you for keeping tabs on us and thank you for being patient while we had a face-lift.

There are two ways you can shop with us. The first is on Etsy where you can shop via their payment system using PayPal.

You now also have the ability to shop with us on Facebook right on our Fan page. It is really easy....click on the "SHOP NOW" tab, use the "Browse Categories" menu to find what you are looking for, add to cart, check out using Payvment's easy check out system and I'll send you your package within 48 hours of payment. You will find that if you are a "fan" of our page you receive automatic discounts, so be sure to check it out!

You will find many of your old favorites such as Sea Salt Soap bars and Lip Balms in some new, exciting flavors. You might notice that the soap bars are all now 5 ounces or more and remain at $5.50 each (same as our original 4 ounce bars).



You will also see we've added Liquid soap to our repertoire. Our liquid soaps are made with olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and castor oil and have a gentle, creamy lather. They are also made without chemical detergents or alcohol. There are a number of scents to choose from, but our favorite is the Tangerine Dream. It is a blend of citruses along with litsea and a hint of patchouli.


Mon., Aug. 2 thru Sun., Aug 8, 2010


In honor of our GRAND "re"- OPENING, we are offering you, our valued customer a few discounts. No codes are necessary, all discounts will be offered via Paypal refunds when you purchase through our Etsy store front.


10% off orders of at least $15
20% off orders of at least $25
30% off orders of at least $50

*may not be combined with any other offer or discount.


We will be adding new items daily over the next couple of weeks so be sure to check back in if you don't see something you've been looking for. Of course you can always contact us a support@lifesoapsimple.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

At Life Soap Simple we are dedicated to bringing you products that are simple and purposeful. Each formula is something we use in our day to day lives...truly handmade soap, body and household products to live by. We keep our ingredients fresh and few, use color and scent sparingly, and only use preservatives when absolutely necessary. All of our products include a full ingredient disclosure and up to date images so you know exactly what will be arriving on your door step.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Little Update

If you are a regular reader, you might have noticed we have started making some changes on our blog to reflect our new image. We are slowly eliminating all traces of Soap Scent-sations and replacing with Life Soap Simple. We hope the look and feel is inviting and peaceful. Here is a sneak peek at our new logo and we also have a new Facebook home if you like to continue getting updates and special offers there.





If you happen to live locally, we will be introducing some of our new products at Artlandish Gallery in downtown Columbia on Friday, July 23 from 4-9pm and Saturday, July 24 from 10-5pm.

We hope you'll stick around to see the final results which will include a continued look upgrade here and of course the new products!

Friday, July 9, 2010

We are Still Here

Just thought I'd share a bit of what we've been up to on our "vacation". We are thoroughly enjoying every minute. Playing, relaxing, creating, and even soaping. It won't be long now and I'm so excited about all the new things that are coming. Here is a little sneak peak!



See you soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

I've been debating when best to let this little tid-bit out and have decided that there is no time like the present! I've been busy behind the scenes preparing for this moment and can't wait for you to share in my joy! If you are on my mailing list you already know...if not, you can read the letter below.

----------------------
Thank you for your continued support of Soap Scent-sations over the past
couple of years. Your business is greatly appreciated. We have recently
decided to make some changes to our way of doing business and we want to
share the exciting news with you.

We will no longer be known as Soap Scent-sations, but LIFE SOAP SIMPLE.
This name change better reflects our philosophy and mission as a growing
bath and body business. We are still under the same ownership and will
continue to create our products with your skin in mind using fresh,
quality ingredients. Along with the name change will come a re-vamping
of our look and packaging and some new, exciting products. It is our
hope that you will continue to enjoy your favorite products and discover
a few new ones.

To make for a smooth transition I will be closing temporarily to
complete some of the business details, restock my shelves, and prepare
for the busy fall season. I will also take some time to enjoy my active
and quickly growing boys.

In the meantime, I am offering 50% off all current products. You can
find the list of in-stock items at http://www.soapscentsations.etsy.com
. The sale will run from now until Thursday, July 1st. To receive this
discount, shop via Etsy and use a PayPal account to make payment. I will
refund you at time of shipment.


Other important information:

LAST CHANCE: The last local opportunity to purchase products from us as
Soap Scent-sations will be Sunday, June 27, 2010 from 11:00am - 2:00pm
at Smarr Custom Homes Home of Possibilities located 2304 Redmond Court,
Columbia, MO. More details can be found at
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=119856228056480&ref=mf
25% of our sales at this event will be donated to the Ronald McDonald
House.

PREVIEW: A preview of the new us as LIFE SOAP SIMPLE will be at
Artlandish Art Gallery during the Catacombs Art Market event on Friday,
July 23 and Saturday July 24th . See their Facebook for more details.
http://www.facebook.com/klmott#!/event.php?eid=111547665558714&ref=mf

REWARDS: If you have been collecting Five 4 Free cards, please hang on
to them. I will honor them through October 2010 and will be implementing
a similar reward system for life soap simple.


Be on the look out for more updates regarding our Grand Re-Opening and
special offers for LIFE SOAP SIMPLE.


Beginning August first you can find us here:
web: http://www.lifesoapsimple.com
email: support@lifesoapsimple.com


Please be aware that the above web address is currently being directed
to our Soap Scent-sations Etsy shop while our new location is being
constructed.

Again, thank you for your business. We hope to see you very soon!


Kristi Mott, owner
Soap Scent-sations / LIFE SOAP SIMPLE

http://www.soapscentsations.etsy.com / http://www.lifesoapsimple.com
getsudsy@mindspring.com / support@lifesoapsimple.com


If you would have any concerns or questions regarding the upcoming changes or would like to receive our soapy updates please contact us at support@lifesoapsimple.com We are more than happy to address your questions.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Change is in the Air

After months of going in all the wrong directions, Soap Scent-sations will be making some exciting and much needed changes in the months to follow. During this transition period I may be a little "off", but I will still be here with your favorite products.

For the time being I am going to be offering some major discounts on currently available products. I also will be limiting custom work. So if you have being wanting to try something new or stock up on your absolute favorites, now is the time, as there will be some items that will not be returning. You can find all current items in my Etsy shop. Be sure to check out the BIG SOAP SALE section for already reduced soap bars and discounts on bulk shipping.



I hope to have more details ironed out for you in the weeks to come. Don't worry.....I'll still be here happily making soap bars, lotion bars, and much more and doing it better than before.

Thank you for your loyalty and understanding.

Have a wonderfully sudsy day!

Kristi @
Soap Scent-sations

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For all you Grease Monkeys out there....

My parents have owned their own business...auto and tractor parts and supplies....since I was about 8 or 9 years old. We spent alot of "quality" time at the shop and took an active roll in the business, from dusting shelves to waiting on customers, looking up parts, and even some of the book keeping according to the various stages of our capabilities.

One of the things I remember the most about being up there was being dirty and Dad was often greasy from cutting hydraulic hoses, repairing lawn mowers, or helping customers replace car batteries. The single sink only had cold water (that is another story) and a bar of some hard scratchy soap that left your hands so dry and unpleasant smelling you dreaded getting dirty. And let me tell you, while being dirty wasn't a big deal to us, being the girls that we were, we weren't into having dry, cracked hands.


image from: TrueStory.etsy.com

When I was thinking about making another batch of my Gardener's Soap I also had in mind something that would really get down to business with the dirtiest of dirty, the kind I grew up around. And thus, Grease Monkey was born.

Grease Monkey Soap
is the same great formula of the Gardener's Soap, packed with pumice and cornmeal to really go after that ground in dirt. It is also loaded with cocoa butter and plenty of avocado and olive oil to be sure you aren't dry to the bone when washing is done. Scented with a pleasing but not sissy blend of Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Fir Needle essential oils. I choose to tint this bar black so that you aren't left with a really nasty looking bar after scrubbing off all that grit and grime. And the Monkey??? Well, that is for grins and for my dad!



Whether your dad is the mechanic type, the farmer type, or the artist type....he is going to love getting clean with this bar. Just ask my dad...he's given his seal of approval and that's all the proof I need.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Make Mine Handmade

How many products did you use this morning in the bathroom? Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, foundation, blush, powder, eyeliner, hair gel......okay, you get the idea. I got to counting one day and I had used nearly 20 products before I even left the bathroom. So I've been trying really, really hard to limit how many things I use everyday and also making a conscious effort to use natural and handmade when I can.

Some of my favorite things are bath and body products and while I make many of them for myself, I do like to try out other products. Time just doesn't allow for me to make everything for myself, nor does space or knowledge. Being part of the Etsy community, I often turn there for those day to day things that I can't seem to go without.

Today I used this beautiful shampoo bar from SwanMountainSoaps. The great thing about it is that it duos as a body bar so there was one less product I needed today. I used a fresh squeezed lemon as a hair rinse so that got rid of the conditioner.



My shower followed up with a homemade body oil with my favorite essential oils- lavender and geranium and handmade deodorant from UrbanEden. I love that this tube is twist up so easy to use, has a super glide, and leaves no white mess on the tail of my shirt (oh it smells nice too!)



A sultry perfume to finish it off from Anhoki and I'm ready for the day!



Today was a make-up free day, but I love the powder foundation and Grapecicle eyeshadow by PureNaturalMinerals and I've thrown out all the commercial stuff (except for a concealer stick that I haven't found a good natural option for--I'm still learning!!)



They are just little things and only a small handful of the wonderful products available, but I know they are better for me and better for my surroundings. I think that puts me at 3 products today, 4 if you count the lemon! So much better than the original 20. I am making improvements, how about you? What are you doing to decrease your consumption?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Once a Mommy, Always A Mommy

When I was a little girl I used to play "mommy" and plan out how many kids I was going to have (two girls and one boy) and give them all cute little names (Kendra, Eliza, and Colin). Then I was a teen and a young college woman and even a young wife. The last thing on my mind was being a MOM! But that all changed the moment I realized I was pregnant the first time. I cannot imagine myself as anything but momma to these two beautiful boys. How does that happen? I don't know but it is a special miracle.

I created this tribute to all you mommas, mommies, mums, mothers out there who will always be mom...no matter how old our children grow to be.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother's Day Scavenger Hunt and Promotional Code

All you mom's out there......you know who you are....the one's who work from son up til son down (and usually well into the wee hours just to keep caught up). Or maybe you know a mom just like this who deserves a little pampering.
The SAFEteam of Etsy has put together an amazing pamper basket just for MOM filled to the brim with bath and body products from 16 talented soapers . You could win it by finding 15 rubber ducks hidden in team member shops. Visit the team blog for further details on how to participate.


Because at Soap Scent-sations we think Mom deserves to be treated special we are offering 25% off all Cold Process Soaps. Now through Mother's Day (May 9th) use promotional code: MOMsoap25 when pampering Mom (or yourself). Let us know if you would like to have your package shipped directly to your mom. Gift wrap and personalized note available upon request for an additional fee.



Have a Very Happy Mother's Day!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Missouri Mondays - Earth Friendly Missourian

Earth Day falls this week and my Missouri featured artist knows there is no "monkeying" around when it comes to creating Earth friendly products. Not only does she talk the talk, but she walks the walk when it comes to eco-friendly baby products. I met Jolene through my local team and enjoy many of the same local art/craft events. I had the opportunity to get to know Jolene of locoMOmomma a little better this week and hope you enjoy our conversation.



How long have you lived in Missouri?

We moved here from St Paul 8 years ago. We had just started a family and wanted to raise our kids in a smaller community. Columbia was ideal since it has the arts and entertainment of a big city yet the quaintness of a small town (plus, you can drive across town in 30 minutes or less!) My brother also lives here, and we always enjoyed visiting. Almost instantly after we decided we wanted to live in Columbia, my husband found a job, we found a house and church to call home....it was as if we were meant to be here.

What is something you love about living in Mid-MO?

I really enjoy the sense of community here. People here honestly care about their neighbors and help each other out.

How did you get started in your craft/art?

What things around you inspire you to create?I taught myself how to crochet over 30 years ago to fend off boredom (I grew up with two older brothers on a dairy farm in Iowa.) My grandma and mom also taught me embroidery, latch hook, and macrame.

What is your favorite craft tool to use?

For "coolness factor" I like my crochet hook that lights up. It's great in low light situations and takes the stress off of my eyes.

What things around you inspire you to create?

Yarn or crafting websites like Ravelry can suck me in for hours. Other Etsy artists inspire me to no end. I have always loved amigurumi and Amy Gaines -- her patterns are so sweet. Another shop I recently discovered was Prim and Plush, which is a perfect mix of science geekery and amigurumi -- I was a Microbiologist in my former life. Of course for my designs, I like to put an earth-friendly, baby-safe spin on everyday toys.

Earth Day falls this week. How do your products and lifestyle reflect the ideals Earth Day stands for? How does Etsy allow you to promote these idea?

I only use 100% organic cotton to crochet my baby toys. Some of the yarn is color-grown, so no dyes are used; and the yarn I use for my teething rings is grown, spun and dyed according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (the highest in the textile industry). My plush items are stuffed with natural kapok fiber (from the kapok tree, which grows naturally in the rain forest). Kapok is: moisture-resistant, quick-drying, resilient, buoyant, lightweight, completely hypo-allergenic, dust mite and mold resistant and odorless. Also, chemicals are not needed for this crop to grow. Nor is the ground tilled, which keeps the rainforest alive and healthy, and provides sustainable jobs in the rainforest. I use clean recycled packaging materials when I send my Etsy orders and I encourage my customers to "close the loop" by reusing/recycling the package. I belong to the Etsy Earth Team, which is committed to sustainability, aware of current eco-issues, taking responsibility for making the best, well-balanced choices with the safety and quality of their products in mind.

Why did you choose Etsy to sell your products?

I chose Etsy because it had a large following, even back in 2007. Also, you can list an item for pennies!

What is one thing you can tell other artists to help them keep moving forward with their aspirations?

I think surrounding yourself with creative people and carving time out of your schedule to create motivates most artists.

Ok, I have to ask this one: Cardinals or Royals? ;) sorry--Twins or Cubs.



You can find locoMOmomma products on Etsy and on Facebook!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/locoMOmomma

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/LocoMOmomma?ref=ts

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Let the Sun Shine Down

I do this every year...so anxious to get my hands in the earth, to feel the warmth of Spring sun on my skin that I forget my skin is pale...pastie even and NEEDS coverage. After a day of yard work, removing dead foliage, trimming wild stems, turning soil, and starting fresh new seedlings into the ground my bare arms and neck were a nice shade of pink.

I know this is not good for me or my skin. I do know that in the long run that it is better for me to "cover" up with a commercial sun block, but I would much rather use something a little more natural. I did a little research on "natural" sunscreens that I thought I would share with you.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that sun block should have an SPF of at least 15 but higher numbers are suggested for longer lasting protection. SPF is not the only factor in providing protection of course. Ingredients are a very important aspect. Ingredients that provide the most UVA coverage are avobenzone, ecamsule, and zinc oxide.

The Daily Green has a list of top ten Natural and Organic sunscreens that were tested by the EWG as being safe and effective.

Other measures you can take include wearing dark or UV protected clothing, broad brimmed hats, and of course limit your exposure in general to the sun.



Of course if you are like me and forget to apply sunscreen those first Spring days out whether it be sunny or cloudy, you can help replenish your skin with a good dollop of natural aloe vera gel or liquid and stay out of the sun for a few days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Clean

When it comes to Spring the SAFEteam really knows how to get clean. For their Spring Challenge, members were asked to create a Spring inspired product and write a poem telling about their favorite thing about Spring.

I was inspired to create two soaps. The first was a Jelly bean soap with lots of vibrant colors and all the fruity fragrances of a bag of jelly beans (with the black ones included).

The second piece I created and the one I entered into the Challenge is Easter Egg Hunt. It is scented with Cotton Blossom-a fresh, crisp scnt that reminds me of clean clothes hanging in the warm Spring breeze. Five pastel layers, similar to the painted layers of the Easter eggs we color and hide every year.

The accompanying poem attempts to engender what Easter and Spring mean to me--beyond the bunnies, chocolates, jelly beans, and even the Easter eggs themselves.

The Hunt
Daffodils, crocus, and tulips,
New beauty all around.
Easter bonnets, cotton dresses,
Lace and ribbons do abound
Chocolate bunnies and colored eggs
Cast upon the moist Spring ground.

The hunt is on, but wait!
What’s this they’ve found?
A lamb so pure and white,
Never the likes seen on mortal ground.
Lived as man, once slain, now risen,
With promises of grace profound.

The yearly hunt is over now.
Baskets full and round,
Yet still within their hearts
Praises and hallelujahs resound.
Full of life and light and love,
Proclaiming blessings all around.

For a chance to win a bar of soap check out the team blog to vote on your favorite Spring soap.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Missouri Monday Featured Artist

Today I would like to introduce you to an artist that I met well over a year ago...maybe nearing two years. I've really lost track of time and I can't really say how we first met, but I do know that it was on Etsy somehow! I fell in love with her art immediately, it is so colorful and unique! But I've also come to know her as a friend and hope you find her as much fun as I do!

Laura, of Sleepless Imagination was kind enough to share a bit about her life as an artist and her Missouri experience.

How long have you lived in Missouri?

I moved here from Shawnee, Kansas on New Year’s Eve 1995. My Dad lives here and my boyfriend (now husband) and I loved it here.

What is something you love about living in Mid-MO?

There are lots of bike trails, parks and easy access to rural areas. It’s nice to be in a college town where there are a variety of fun and interesting things to do, without having to live in a big city. I think it’s a good place for us to raise our kids.

How did you get started in your craft/art?

I have always enjoyed doing art. I took art classes all through junior high and high school. It wasn’t until after my kids were born that I started doing as much art as I’m doing now. I think there were two main motivators: my kids wanted me to make things for them, which got the creative juices flowing again and I needed something that would keep me from going crazy while I was staying home with the kids. I needed to be doing something that was separate from my being a wife and mom.

What is your favorite tool to use?

I don’t really have just one favorite tool– I have many favorites. It’s difficult for me not to find other things I want to try. Right now, it’s paper, ink, paint and markers. One can never have too many of these things!

What things around you inspire you to create?

I love to look at books, magazines and other pieces of art. Sometimes I get tons of ideas and other times I feel like “the well” is bone dry. Lately, if I feel uninspired, I’ll just work on doodles in my sketchbook. It’s therapeutic and helps me to just do something. Doodles can turn into the coolest pieces of art. My kids inspire me too. They come up with ideas and my job is to think of ways to execute those ideas. It’s really good for my middle-aged mom brain!

Why did you choose Etsy to sell your products?

My friend has a shop on Etsy. I had never heard of it and when she told me she was selling things on Etsy, I said “Etsy? What’s that?” In my memory, the clouds parted, rays of sunshine fell upon my face and the angels began singing the “Hallalujah Chorus”. Once I got my first things listed, I got so much positive support from others on Etsy, it helped give me the confidence to keep going. I’m hardly a successful seller, but I really love it. I continue to work on figuring out the business side of Etsy and hope someday to be a successful seller.

Is there anything/any artist on Etsy that motivates you to improve what you are doing?

I hope I’m not hogging up too much space if I say I have at least four who motivate me. Two people I actually know and have met in person, two I haven’t met before.

Not to sound like a “suck up”, but you, Kristi Mott, motivate me to improve. I am so impressed by your business skills and the success you’ve had on Etsy. I also love your soaps. Whenever I use them, I feel like I am giving myself a special treat (no kidding!).

My friend Lisa Bartlett (lisabartlett.etsy.com) motivates me to improve and she has given me more opportunities than I ever dreamed I would have. I took one of her mixed media collage workshops a couple of years ago, and since then, she has encouraged me to do all kinds of things related to art. She owns a B&M, Artlandish Gallery, in downtown Columbia, Missouri. I’ve been fortunate enough to sell several things in her shop and I’m now helping her coordinate workshops for the store. She’s an awesome artist and very good about promoting others and providing opportunities for artists to get their work seen.

There is a Canadian artist named Jessica Doyle (JessicaDoyle.etsy.com) who motivates me. She works hard, is good about sharing information, is a wonderful business woman and is very emotionally honest in her blog posts. I sometimes feel like we’re great friends, even though we’ve never met in person and have only corresponded a couple of times.

If I can mention one more artist, it’s Geninne (geninne.etsy.com). Her art is gorgeous, with bright colors, beautiful illustrations and it makes me very happy. She paints birds and flowers – usually in watercolor and ink. I am so excited when she has a new blog post! She is so generous with the information she shares with her readers - which I think is the best evidence of a confident artist. She did a tutorial on rubber stamp carving a while back and one on watercolor painting. I feel like I benefited greatly by watching her work. I really appreciate when an artist shares his/her knowledge.

What is one thing you can tell other artists to help them keep moving forward with their aspirations?

I believe the desire to create and make art is a gift from God. It is part of who you are and you will never be content if you aren’t finding some sort of outlet for that creativity. Consider it an honor to have the desire and go out there and make something!

Ok, I have to ask this one: Cardinals or Royals? ;)

Thanks for not asking “Jayhawks or Tigers” because I’ve heard that question asked too many times over the past few years (it’s Jayhawks, by the way). Since I’m from the Kansas City area, it has to be Royals. But I have to add that I am not at all a loyal sports fan!


Find more about Laura in her shop profile and her brilliant blog. I love catching up on her artistic musings! Of course if you need colorful art cards, prints, or original art....check out her shop and be sure to ask her about her handmade stamps! I have one and it is amazing!

http://sleeplessimagination.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/Sleeplessimagination

http://twitter.com/Laura_Lynne

www.sleeplessimagination.etsy.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

Missouri Mondays

It's Monday again....and yes, I know I skipped last week when I said I was NOT going to do that. And it is getting a little late in the day here! But I am posting as I want to announce an upcoming twist on my Monday posts. They will now be called Missouri Mondays. Why?

Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of Missouri and all these fabulous artists around me, from here local, the east, the west, and as far as the southern corner. I'd like to dedicate some time each week to share some of the fabulous talent I've found here in Missouri with the rest of the world.

So stay tuned. Next week there WILL be a fabulous post!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Teaching Opportunity

I had another topic planned last week, but over the weekend I had the opportunity to share some of my knowledge with some elementary/middle school kids and wanted to share that for my Monday post this week instead.

It has been quite awhile since I've done any teaching, and it reminded me how much I do enjoy it. Of course this was a really low stress class with 4 elementary school students (and a 5 yr old whose mother later said she was "teaching" her dolls about soap later that evening!) who are involved in a local 4-H Chapter. They participate in various "projects" throughout the year in preparation for the County Fair. This group of kids are in the Crafts Project and are introduced to a variety of arts and crafts. When their project leader asked if I would be interested in presenting during one session, I didn't really have to hesitate.

What was the topic? Soap of course.

I introduced them to the concepts of Handmade soap vs. Commercial Soap, safety and cleanliness while soaping, and then we made some products of our own.
We started with a simple Melt and Pour soap project where they were able to melt down their own soap base, scent and color as desired, and mold. After we had the soap base poured we moved on to making a simple bath salt recipe and decorated and labeled jars. The recipe is as follows:

No Slip Bath Crystals

Ingredients:

½ cup Epsom Salt
½ cup non-iodized sea salt (fine or course grain)
½ cup baking soda
10 drops essential oil or fragrance oil
colorant (FD&C)



Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a gallon sized zip bag.
Mix thoroughly until color and scent are well blended.
Transfer to clean jars or containers.
Label and give.


Label information:

Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium Chloride (sea salt), Magnesium sulfate, fragrance, and FD&C color.

They will be able to use these as projects to take to the county fair over the summer. They also made extra salts that will be incorporated into an upcoming auction.

I enjoyed being able to share some basic knowledge and skills to the kids. I hope they will be able to benefit from the information provided and I know they ended up with some great products to include in their projects.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finding My Muse....

It has been a long time since I really wrote, truly wrote. I used to write alot...especially poetry. But that was back when I was a teen and had "angst"! Now I barely get a chance to read (with the exception of picture books and Scooby Doo Chapter books)! That really limits one's vocabulary and throws my writing skills out the door.

Taking all this into consideration I think it is a miracle that I was able to complete the most recent SAFEteam (Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy) Soap Challenge. We were asked to create a St. Patrick's Day themed bath and body product and instead of our usual description we were to write a limerick! I am always up for a good challenge so I signed up, not even taking into consideration that I would actually be required to pull prose from my soggy Scoobified brain.

The easy part was creating the product. I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Then came time to write the limerick. OH NO!! I even asked for assistance from friends. They only wrote limericks about ME:

There once was a soapster named Kristi,
Who hawked her wares daily on Etsy.
Her friends find her silly,
and though miles away
We giggle the days away!

Finally I resolved to do this myself. I started by looking up how to write a limerick, because as I said before my writing skills are shot! Once I got the rhyme pattern (A A B B A) in my head and a few rhyming words that described my product I set to work.

I found myself sketching as I was attempting to find my muse and came up with a sketch and than a full color drawing rather than a poem. I am such a visual person! He is a cute little leprechaun and perfectly fits my product and the limerick I finally wrote---



...oh that is still a secret until all the entrants are revealed on the SAFEteam blog later this week.

I have a feeling the winner of this challenge will be the one who can write the funniest limerick. I'm not expecting to win, that is unless you all head over and vote for mine later this week! Now that might be more of a miracle than me writing a limerick at all.

I will post again this week with ALL of the details! It should be fun to see what everyone came up with.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Yarn to Tell

By nature, I am a crafter and artist. I spend most of my time trying one thing or another. Some I stick to, some I float back and forth from, some I try and move on. I'm not sure if that is a need to see if I can or I am never quite content doing the same things over and over again. I sew, quilt, paint, embroider, mosaic, soap of course, scrapbook, and that is just a short list. My most recent undertaking has been knitting.

I've attempted to knit and crochet in the past with no success. I can crochet a chain for miles on end, but can't create anything of shape or substance! Knitting needles just proved how uncoordinated I really am! Every so often I'll take up one or the other in another sad attempt, just to put it down in frustration.

So when I went to spend a gift card from Christmas (my grandma knows me all too well!!) and saw a knitting loom my heart sang!! I knew this I could do. Within a couple of afternoons I was making scarves, squares, booties, leg warmers, hats. You name, it can be done on a loom!!! I don't know if hardcore knitters consider this "cheating", but I love it because it lets me do something that previously evaded me. Now when I see yarn I get excited about what I could make next.



After practicing a bit with commercial instructions and the understanding of the stitches, I made my own pattern for a soap sack (because in my soapy world everything has to do with soap). Soap sacks are a handy little thing to tie-up all your soap scraps to make them usable down to the last sliver.



Soap sacks are nice and all, but I really wanted something different so I played some more and came up with the "Soap Surround".

What is a soap surround anyway? A soap surround is a 100% cotton loom knitted "sack" of sorts that you place your entire bar of soap in. It turns your ordinary (or rather, extraordinary handmade artisan bar) of soap into the ultimate scrubbing machine. It has a convenient handle so you don't loose grip of your soap while in the shower and it comes in a variety of colors. It is washable to use over and over again bar after bar!



I have a new addiction to yarn and knitting. I have an even greater addiction to Soap Surrounds. They are beginning to pile up much like the soap at my house. Thankfully they are selling in my Etsy shop! I am unstoppable. I've even taken it with me in the car, to appointments, and anywhere I just have to sit (even in bed watching TV!) Whatever was I thinking?

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Charmed Life

I must say that I have really never known true failure. I credit that to the encouraging environment that I grew up in. I was never told that I couldn't do something, but was let try. That didn't mean that everything I tried came out peaches and cream, but rather I learned to "learn" from my mistakes and move on. Even now as a married woman with two children I still live in a very encouraging realm. My husband is very tolerant of my projects and messes as I am constantly trying new things. My children think I can do no wrong (and what better way to have it!!) and the many friends I have are constant support groups for me.

The SAFEteam on Etsy is one of the biggest support groups I have in my soaping/business life. I am constantly learning from them, encouraged by them, and truly inspired by them.

This weekend as I entered my "Soap Kitchen" the SAFEteam was a huge resource for me. I am in the process of completing some things for an up coming show and needed to make two batches. I was at a point where I didn't really know what to create as I've made many different things the past couple weeks and really was running out of inspiration. I turned to the team and had an almost immediate response from one of team leaders, affectionately known as An (from Anhoki) on how to combine some fragrances I had on hand to make it my "own" -- which I am very into (do my own thing--not following the crowd). Thus the first batch was created and for the time being I am calling it Garden Walk. It is a floral blend with citrus notes. I like it and don't think it was too bad for a first attempt at blending. I am quite pleased with the way the color came out on this one. I am especially grateful to An for sharing her knowledge and telling me I CAN!



The second batch I had the fragrance picked out. It is called Basil Lime Papaya. Sounds complicated huh? I was first introduced to this scent last year in a SAFEteam swap (then known as the CYA team). This soap was made by Dana at Moon Maiden Soaps on Etsy and was so luxurious and the scent devine. She has since closed up shop to pursue other things, but when I first joined the team Dana was always so friendly, encouraging and uplifting. And while I didn't really get to know her as well as some other memebers perhaps did...I still cherish those early kindnesses. I didn't want to make this bar exactly like hers (a goats milk soap), but I wanted it to be reminiscent so I gave it a teal stripe.



Thank you everyone who inspires and encourages me along the way...I really feel blessed to be surrounded by such amazing friends, family and talented artists.

Monday, February 1, 2010

2 Year Anniversary

We are celebrating 2 years this month on Etsy. We have certainly come a long way since our first blurry pictures, awkward shipping rates, inconsistent labels, and general lack of know-how. We owe a great deal to the many friends we have made on Etsy and of course to the loyal customers who have stood by us and our products through the thick and thin of it.



To honor the loyal customers at Soap Scent-sations, we have two specials going on. The first is a 5% discount on all purchases now through February 11th (our Etsy opening day!). Just place 2Year in the comments to receive your discount...made via paypal.

We are also starting a new customer appreciatioin program called Five 4 FREE.

Now what in the world does that mean? For every on-line purchase; however great or small, you (the customer) will receive a card. Collect 5 cards, return them to the mailing address on the cards with a return address, and we will ship you a full sized cold process bar of soap for FREE! shipping included!! How much better can it get?!

Well, what is stopping you? Start collecting those cards!!