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!!