Friday, June 15, 2018

Soapy Friday: New Soap Studio

We still have about 1/2 dozen random boxes to unpack and we're finally at the point where we can start hanging some art on the wall. But more importantly, I MADE SOAP!

Oh, you have NO idea how I've missed this. The last time I made soap was in March...maybe late April. Anyway, here's my new soaping studio!

New "Soap Lounge" ...LOL!
It looks more like a "soap lounge" though, doesn't it? It's all cool... I can hang out there while I'm waiting for my oils to cool or heat up. But I love that it's finished, clean and bright!

I even have company! Bucky looks like he's ready to party, but he's in a rocking chair, so maybe not?

Chillin' like a villain 
It's a little messy now, as I'm still trying to find my rhythm down here, plus I made soap! I made a big log of my "Super Scrub" as I've really, really, really liked how the last batch turned out. It's funny...the first time I made this soap, I also made pickles that week. I made this soap and pickles this week too!

"Super Scrub" Soap
I thought I had enough of my fragrance oil blend to make such a large batch, but I didn't so it smells just a bit different. Kinda bummed about that, but it turned out gorgeous and it works wonders on dirty hands or bodies.

"Super Scrub" topped with Dried Calendula Petals

Friday, June 08, 2018

Soapy Friday: Bath Bomb Success!

Whenever I share or mention to someone that I now make high-quality, handcrafted body and skin care products, I’m almost always asked, “Do you have a website? Do you sell? How can I get some?”

Finally....bath bomb success!
You would think that with this foresight, I would immediately run home, build a website, put my stuff up on Etsy, and start selling, but no.

When I first started this journey, I remember reading somewhere that a person doesn’t just decide one day they are going to make and sell bath and body products and start doing it. It takes lots, and lots, and lots of time, practice, experimentation, persistence, mini-wins along the way, and failure.

Naming a dream is easy. What’s far less popular is the disciplined practice of a craft – the thousands of thankless hours it takes to become good – even great – at something before sharing it with the world.

I believe there’s no such thing as talent, only practice.

So, after almost 2 years of making bath bombs – at some point every single day – I’ve finally gotten a particular part of my bath bomb recipe down pat and they do exactly what I want them to do every time. This goes back to asking yourself, "What do I want my bath bomb to do?" If I just wanted a rock hard bath bomb that fizzed like mad, but sunk like a rock, I would have been done a long time ago.

But no, I also wanted the "fun stuff," and that meant my bath bombs had to align with what I call "The Four Fs for Bath Bomb Success":

  • Form - They dry rock hard, are not crumbly, soft, or fall apart
  • Fizz - They fizz and spin without "marshmallowing" out 
  • Float - They float!
  • Foam - They provide "bath art" with a surfactant

At some point in the future, I'll make a video of one of these in action!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

Ugh. Monday.

It's been interesting watching this neighborhood's routines outside my new office window. Lots of animals come-and-go, cats, dogs, people walking dogs, kids going to or coming from the bus stop, neighbors checking mail, garbage trucks, the mail carrier. Ah, suburbia!

The kittehs have adjusted amazingly well, although they are not used to looking out the window and seeing so much activity. It still spooks them.

We've "officially" been in this house 3 weeks now and have only just been able to start upacking the upstairs due to oh....so....many...issues...with...this...house. I can't even begin to start.

I will say that simply maintaining a home and keeping it safe and clean are two entirely different things - both of which the current owners were not very good at.

ANYWHO...

I'm keeping this box here as a reminder that I have a package to send out to my sister. But the kittehs have claimed it a their new, favorite perch. Now what do I do?

Rainy day observation perch

Friday, May 25, 2018

Goodbye Country Home

Some amazing memories were made here!

Today we settle on our beautiful country home. We’ve absolutely loved living there, and it’s been truly heartbreaking to let it go, but our decision to sell has been for the right reasons. We are looking forward to having more time to focus on the next chapter in our lives, which is to put us in a position to work and do what we want to do versus what we HAVE to do to make a living. Also, we want to start focusing on where we want to eventually retire, and it might not be here in the NOVA/D.C. area.

Secondly, selling was a smart business decision being executed at the right time. The market is up, we got a great comp for a sale, and we seized the moment.

But we will truly miss our country beauty. We are thrilled with the young family that is buying the place and we know they will love living there as much as we have.

Goodbye country beauty; we will always love you.

Friday, May 18, 2018

In Life, A Person Will Come And Go From Many Homes

In one week from today, we will say goodbye to our lovely, country home.

I am here now, waiting on a contractor to "de squeak" some of the upstairs floorboards. I always considered the noise they made when you walked across them part of the charm of this house.  I tried to sell it to the new owners as a perk to know when their kids might sneak around past bedtime, but no.

An empty house makes many noises
So, a de-squeaking we will go.

I picked these peonies from the front yard this morning. It's the first time I had enough from all the small bushes to make a bouquet. A big bouquet of fresh peonies is one of my most favorite things in the world.


They are mostly heirloom "Primevere Peony" which smell heavenly like roses. Most peonies that you buy from the florist or store have no scent at all.  Someday, I hope to grow them again.

Primevere Peony
The new home we are in has it's issues...mostly with the state of some things the owners left for us to deal with. So, we haven't settled in yet and it will take time. Next week we are having most of the upstairs carpeting replaced there...seems like flooring is the hot ticket for this move.

But I HATE that feeling...being unsettled. Living in limbo.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Bittersweet Blooms

This is the last week we are here at the house. It is truly bittersweet. ALL of my bearded irises are blooming for me this year, some of which I've never seen bloom in the 4-5 years I've had them. They've been moved 2 or more times, recovered from iris borers 3 years ago, and finally I found a spot where they would be happy. Since they basically had to start over from naked rhizomes on more than one occasion, it's taken all this time to get them established so they'll bloom.

To make this even MORE of a tearjerker, I found my order sheet from when I ordered them while packing things away and I have the names for them!!! Since they've been moved so many times and never bloomed, I didn't know who-was-who, and which ones survived over the years.

It's almost as if they are giving me a goodbye kiss...

Iris bed in bloom

Dorothy Davenport

Highmaster

Voltaire's Cloak

Table For Two

Limonada

Even my False Indigo, which is notoriously finicky and has never bloomed since I got it 3 years ago, bloomed for me. I ended up sticking it in one of the garden beds to let it nurse it's way back...it seems to like it there.

False Indigo
Everything here is really, really taking off ...FINALLY. Even my black raspberries, which I've moved twice, will give a bumper crop this year.

I will miss all of this for sure, but it's easy to see things now when the weather is nice and everything is pretty, and there are no bugs...except ticks. But during the summer, when it's close to 100° and we haven't had rain for 6 weeks, and I'm struggling to keep up with keeping everyone watered and alive....well I won't miss that. 

Bittersweet...

Friday, April 27, 2018

Soapy Friday - No Soap This Week

Just got back from L.A. last night for work. The work was stressful, but the location was cherry. I didn't want to come back.

Goin back to Cali, Cali, Cali...
The hotel I stayed at was right at the beach across from a marina. I could hear the seals barking out in the water.

Follow the barking seals
The kittehs are glad I'm back but did NOT pull their end of the packing while I was gone. Total slackers.

We watchin' you
There IS no soap for this week because it's all in boxes...well most of it. To be continued. Lastly, I need a moment of silence for a dear friend that I lost this morning.

Goodbye Ruskie...we had 6 beautiful years together. You will be missed.

R.I.P. Ruskie

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