Friday, September 30, 2011

Finding Stability and Balance - A DIY tale of a soapers dilemma

In this house I make meals and raise children and run a business. One of the most difficult daily tasks is fitting it all in this space that is ours. There has to be a place for toys and food, people and soap.

If you look around you might think that soap is winning the battle for space. As I grow and create new products it becomes more daunting. One of the spaces I use is for curing soap. It's not fancy...purchased metal racks stacked one on the other and I can store about 8-10 batches at one time. If I time my soap making properly, that works out great. I've been using lined cardboard flats to transfer the soap from the cutting station to the drying rack.

If you are a soap maker you are familiar with the phenomenon of the dented bar. This happens to me frequently and last week as a took a cured batch down to box and label several bars took a tumble from my totally unstable transport tray. I knew I had to find something better.

I know many soap makers use the bakers racks used in professional bakeries to hold baked goodies. I have neither the space nor the disposable cash flow for one of those lovely pieces of furniture. So I headed out the garage and devised something smaller and more affordable that would accommodate my typical amount of curing bars.

With some scrap lumber and some cafeteria trays I found on-line, I spent less than $20 on a stable curing rack. I purchased several extra trays to use on the old rack that is still standing. When my arm is healed from the hand saw (remember--I'm not allowed to use power tools!!) I think I'll make a second one. Room for more soap and with any luck...fewer dented bars.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Breathing

Funny how little events can have a huge impact on your thinking and how your attitudes in situations can make or break you as a person and a business woman.

This week I was reminded of several things that can help shape the outcome of any situation.

1) It pays to breathe. Breathe before I react, before I OVER-react. Taking time to get my mental bearings before I speak or write allows me to process the situation fully and allows me to approach it from a calm and respectful manner.

I am fallible. Horribly, awfully, humanly fallible. I forget things....easily. In my forgetfulness I am easily irritated, accusatory even. This also happens when I am not fully awake and haven't had breakfast, but that is another story.

This leads to a third reminder.

I am in need of a better way to track the things I need to do on a daily and weekly basis. I need a better way of keeping track of the things I randomly volunteer my time or my business I'm not reminded of the above.

And finally,

To breathe. Yes, just breathe again. Life is too short to stress those little things. Breathing makes me a nicer person and I hope that niceness reflects out into my business.

This is me, breathing.....

Please take a look at this new web site dedicated to promoting unique handmade and vintage gift giving. Thank you Tim Adam of Handmadeology and Timothy Adam Designs for the opportunity to be a part of the "ground breaking" of Hey Handmade! I think Tim must do alot of breathing because he is super nice and a superior businessman.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn Arrival

I think it is here. Fall, that is. It's official...I donned my first pair of jeans for the season and am contemplating shoes.

I don't know about you, but Fall is really one of my favorite seasons (other than the part about wearing shoes...and for a shoe fanatic, that is saying alot!). I love the crispness in the air, the change of colors, leaf piles, bon fires, hay rides, hot teas, baking smells wafting from the kitchen, and yes, pink fluffies!

And while I'm about to tuck my not so perfectly manicured toes away into fuzzy socks and pink slippers and ankle boots, I still want my feet to feel soft. I want them to be free from the dryness and scale left by a summer of barefoot trips down hot pavement and across drying grasses struggling to survive in summer's end.

With this in mind I've reintroduced my Sandal Feet Pumice Soap Bar. Sandal Feet Bars are packed with clay and pumice for extra cleansing and a good scrub on heels and summer callouses. It now comes in two scents, Tea Tree Mint and Lavender NEW!. Both are fabulous paired up with my solid lotion sticks, which are available in both scents as well.

Don't neglect those feet even though they are hidden away for the winter. Keep them soft and clean with a little pampering now and then.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Killin' Time

School started and I thought I'd have all this time to get things done that I wanted to do...namely business things. Making soap was a high priority. Instead I have been playing taxi driver and doing some volunteer work, which are good in their own respects.

Just when I was getting time to work again, I ran out of a crucial ingredient soap ingredient. This is life. I knew I was out and ordered more just two days before the bucket was empty and then the wait is dreadful when I have these projects tumbling around in my brain.

What do I do while I wait? Tear something up!

I had this dream a few days ago that I painted our kitchen cabinets in this fun lime green with a white overlay. In my dream they were fabulous, fun, and funky! This is what I get from reading craft blogs. Waking....I thought better...but decided to apply this "dream" to my bathroom vanity cabinet. I mean really, they are boring (or so I told myself) and just a standard builder placed what is the harm?

See, these are boring. They do have some awesome wood grain though.

After reading a few tutorials on white-wash paint technique and a few crafty blogs, I took paint in hand and a few power tools (I'm not really allowed to use those-don't ask-all I can say is that last week I was cleaning windows and fell out of the patio chair I was standing on. My track record isn't good). My poor husband just shakes his head as I ban him from the bathroom.

Two stages of the painting.

This took a little trial and error. I did the cabinet part twice to get the right look.

Notice how I cleaned. The base boards even got treated.

Well, there they are. I even got the doors back on straight! It looks so fresh in there now.

My husband was very relieved that my supplies arrived. You'll be happy to know I've used them.

Secretly I want to put up bead board in there too. Guess next time I'm out of soaping materials I'll tackle that one.