Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thirteen for Thursday

Random catch-ups for the past week or so:

1. My mom harvested my loofah gourds this week, so now I have to figure out how to peel and dry them to make sponges. Hopefully some of them are ripe enough. We seem to have had a late season with the gourds, so they might not have matured before the first snow/frost.

2. Yes, we have a little dusting of snow on the deck and fenceposts!

3. Yesterday was the first day to turn on our furnace. My husband is in some kind of bragging rights contest at work. He won, although I wonder if he told them we run a space heater in the baby's room.

4. Exercise and weight loss around here have kind of plateaued. Actually, exercise still happens; but proper eating has been neglected.

5. Soap making is in full force. Holiday preparations are happening. Someday I would love to attend a few area craft fairs, but I've come to realize that this year is still not the right time.

6. The hunter/gatherer for the family has bagged one deer (doe) thus far. I believe we are in the midst of archery and early muzzleloader season.

7. We have a church dinner tomorrow night (celebrating Reformation Day), and a new recipe is to be attempted. White chili sounded like something tasty, so we'll see how it turns out! I'll prepare the chicken meat and broth today and then combine everything in the crockpot tomorrow.

8. I love this time of year because baking and cooking make the house a pleasant warm not a hot and sticky warm.

9. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but my son told me that the only time he can accompany my husband in the hunting blind is if I pack him snacks!

10. My littlest one, Susanna, is going through the separation anxiety stage that the others experienced. It's sweet, but occasionally hard too.

11. Abigail is learning about being a good sport; the girl does not like to lose. So, my husband thought he would try some reverse psychology with her and let her win at checkers. He told her he was going to let her win, and made the game so obvious. At the end he asked her how that went (thinking that it was no fun to win that easily). She told him that she really enjoyed it, and that she really likes to win. So, we'll keep working on that.

12. Our dog is now the bionic dog. She has more collars: a gentle leader for walking on the leash, and electric collar for the underground fence around the yard, and an electric collar controlled by a remote for training. Yesterday I was trying to get out of the house to run errands, and the dog was bopping around in the yard with my mother-in-law's dog completely ignoring my "come". I'm buzzing the remote for her caller and just getting thoroughly frustrated because I called my husband to complain, and he starts with, "is her collar on?" Oh. Right.

13. My kids are learning the joys of hot oatmeal for breakfast - especially when there is an array of toppings!! I wonder where they got such a sweet tooth....sigh.

Happy day to you!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Updates on my Home Business

This post is about my business - making soaps and lotions for you! If you care to read no further, I will try not to hold it against you :)

Actually, I have been so blessed this year in reaching new customers, helping people soften and heal their skin, and develop a few new products for my shop. Thank you for your help in many ways: encouragement, actual purchasing of my things, referrals, and honest feedback. While I am home with my kids I am thankful for this time to pursue a hobby and help others too!

Since I am committed to only using pure essential oils in my products, you will not be seeing artificial perfumes and fragrances. I choose to add in herbs and spices that might naturally shade my items; there are no dyes and colorants added either. Where possible I use my own honey and local beeswax (my bees aren't making enough wax to harvest yet!) to further enhance the lotion bars and body butters. My goal is to provide an enjoyable product that you can use with confidence on your own and your family's skin.

I continue to make handmilled soaps (where I began), and I hope to get my soap into your home. Everybody needs to get clean, so would you consider a bar of my soap for your bath, shower (I even have shampoo bars and shaving soap), kitchen sink, or guest bathroom?

My solid lotion bars have received great feedback for healing AND preventing dry and cracked skin. Similarly, the lip balms have been soothing and refreshing.

This past year I have focused on the body butters; and this is such a joy. I fill the 4 oz jelly jars (so far I've liked using glass jars for their quality and the ability to recycle them for other purposes) with the butter. Yes, there is no water incorporated in my recipe; and I make small batches to keep things fresh and effective.

Lastly, sugar scrubs have been making an appearance around here. Upon special request from a customer, some recipes were researched and a few varieties (for the body and the feet) have been made. The scrubs really make a day feel a bit luxurious!

For the future, I hope to create some bath bombs. I am in the research phase for that. For my own family's use I have made diaper rash cream and sunscreen, so I'm looking into sharing that with you. A roll-on body oil (scented with essential oils) has also been in rotation at my bathroom sink....keep an eye out! I hope to continue with each of the products detailed above with even more ingredients coming from my own backyard (from the honey bees and from my herb garden). I'm blessed to have a wonderful supplier of highest quality essential oils and other great resources for my ingredients.

I could use your help in several ways, as my business continues to grow. The handmade community is a great place! First, please buy my things :) Each of my products is useful and, I hope, enjoyable. Also, everything makes great gift items (yes, even some things for guys!). Secondly, you can help me just by telling others about my things. I do have an etsy shop as well as a facebook page (links provided below) and my things for sale in a few physical locations. I love to sell to people around me (locally), so that I can talk and share and everything; but I appreciate being able to send my items far and wide too. My business cards are readily available if you would take some to distribute. Questions about the products or help with anything is provided through email, phone, or in-person demonstrations. My facebook page is very close to 200 "likes", and I will be having some kind of prize for someone at that point. I hope to continue that - providing little incentives and giveaways as a thank you. "Sharing" my facebook page is much appreciated as is following my etsy shop. Thirdly, I appreciate the feedback. It helps me further sharpen my skills and raise the bar higher and higher on my products' quality. I am learning so much!

Here are a few links:

Liberty Galleria - a wonderful store in Franklin, PA with a gathering of about 50 artisans and vendors.

Wolf Creek Yarns - a sweet yarn shop in Grove City, PA. Join us to knit on Thursday evenings!

My facebook business page
- "likes" and "shares" are awesome!

My etsy shop - a comprehensive list of what I have on hand (contact me with special requests!)

Thank you for the wonderful words of support and encouragement. It is a true blessing to be able to share something that I love (both making and using) with you!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How do you Like Your Eggs?

This morning my kids discovered the joys of a "dippy egg" otherwise known as an egg cooked "over light". We haven't quite ventured into sunny side up territory, but first one child, then another, then a third ate at least one dippy egg today. The baby still cannot be trusted with something messy.

So, our egg repertoire includes: scrambled, hard-boiled, fried hard or over light, and egg salad. Next to try is poached eggs - I've been reading about methods where you don't need the little cups.

How do you cook your eggs? We have plenty coming in now, and we are up for new ideas.

Oh! I almost forgot the ever-popular egg in a hole! We do enjoy a fried egg inside a fried piece of bread (hole or nest).

Happy Thursday to you!