28 December 2008

Sale! Sale! Sale!

Ahhhhhh, who doesn't like hearing those words? After talking to my soapbud, Shawna, last night, hearing about her plans for her business this year and realizing that I have no real plans for mine (as of yet, though I acknowledge that can and will change), I started thinking about what products I wanted to highlight and which ones I wanted to get rid of. With a hopeful, possible move in the next six months or so, I definitely want to scale down the lagging portion of my inventory and get rid of some scents.

So, the first thing I decided to do was to mark down some of my handcasted soaps. Right now for a limited time, two-tone swirled soaps are 25% off. I'm also discounting my Just Plain Soaps (the glycerin ones), 25% off. Quantities on these are limited, so I recommend using the "Contact Us" link and either calling or emailing me to verify the quantity of your chosen soap that's in stock. However, they'll be like Christmas snow (remember this from "Frosty the Snowman"?) - these scents won't be gone for good. They'll be back in handmade soaps, brilliantly scented, most with lovely colors or swirls and still just as functional, only of a much higher quality.

I've also discounted a few of my holiday soaps, including Apple Jack soap, Christmas Spice soap and Hanukkah soap (also appropriate for other Jewish holidays, as well as just a general appreciation for Jewish culture). Also on sale, my goat's milk lotion in Christmas scents. If you've ever tried the Nutcracker scent and loved it, - or maybe have wanted to try it - now's the time to pick some up. My supplier has discontinued that scent (to my utter and cOmPlEtE disappointment), so when I run out of it, I won't be able to get any more. Well, I'm sure they'll let me buy the 50-gallon drum of the scent on a special order, but where in the world would I store it??? I guess I could put it where the kitchen table is and place a piece of plywood on top and let it double as our kitchen table. I'm not so sure my husband would groove with that, though.

Shop happy, and look for new products to come in the next few months. Looks like I'll be filling that new curing rack sooner than even I had anticipated.

24 December 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, Christmas is very nearly here. The trees are trimmed, the stockings are hung and the presents are wrapped... sort of. This is the day when those in my household are scurrying through the house, furtively clutching bags to our chests, hoping others don't see them. There are the hollers, "Honey, where are you?" "Up here." "OK, stay there." Bags and receipts are quickly stashed under furniture (thank goodness for skirts on chairs!), to be put in a better place at the first good opportunity.

Hot spiced cider is meditating in the slow cooker on the kitchen counter. Fresh-baked cookies are waiting to be set out on a plate for Santa. Christmas music plays on the radio, leading to impromptu singing and dancing as we enjoy the day. Later, my daughter and I will be baking coconut cakes for tomorrow, and I'm sure my husband will take maximum advantage of our distraction.

Then, tonight, things will slow down considerably. After dinner, we'll head out to the local Moravian church for their Christmas Eve Lovefeast service, something I've wanted to experience for several years. We'll enjoy koinonia (Christian fellowship), agape (Christian love) and that sense of being kindred, as we enjoy music and the opportunity just to stop... and reflect and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas. Afterwards, the Princess will be asleep, and Hubby and I will put in "It's a Wonderful Life" (his favorite holiday movie) as we assemble Santa gifts.

Then we will go to bed, warm, comfortable, snuggled in each other's arms, trying to grab as much sleep as possible before we hear "Mommy, did Santa come last night?" And in the warm, quiet night as we drift off, I'll remember a night - just as cold, if not colder - more than 2,000 years ago, when a young new mother had only a feeding trough in which to lay her newborn son, and there was no escaping the drafts of cold wind creeping through the stable. There was little sleep to be had that night, as animals lowed and stirred and shepherds came calling, telling her and her husband what they knew: "Unto you is born this day, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas, everyone! Peace on Earth, and goodwill to all people.

21 December 2008

Break Time! - Coffee Break, that is

I'm happy to say that the Coffee Break sets are all ready to go! These took a lot longer than expected to cure, but the results are very well worth it; I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Each set features a coffee-scented soap with a cream "swirl" in a coffee cup and two slices (approximately 3 ounces each) of Cinnamon Coffee Cake scented soap. They come in two sizes, small and large.

The small Coffee Break set includes 6 ounces of Coffee Soap and two 3-ounce slices of Cinnamon Coffee Cake. They sell for $15.00 each.

The larger size comes with 8 ounces of Coffee soap (2 4-ounce bars, sliced across) and two 3-ounce slices of Cinnamon Coffee Cake soap. These sell for $20.00 each.

No two Coffee Cup soaps are completely identical; each has a slightly different swirl pattern. Quantities are limited on these. I have 2 small sets and 3 large sets, so if you have a coffee lover on your list, now's the time to snatch these up!

They will be posted to my website later today.

16 December 2008

Light up your world

There are some luxuries in life that are not to be missed. At the same time, there are some lovely luxuries that are rather necessary. Soap, for example... We have to have soap to get clean. It bonds with the dirt and germs on skin and washes down the drain.

Well, some products are just pure luxuries, like the joy of enjoying a relaxing bath. Just think of it. It's cold outside with winds and snow over much of the country. Christmas is next week, and you might be frazzled with holiday parties, shopping and meal planning. So, you just need a few minutes, a 30-minute vacation, a little time to yourself away from to-do lists, demands and commitments. Tub teas are a fantastic way to enjoy the aromatherapeutic, greatly beneficial tub bath. Ooh La La-vender is my personal favorite, though they're all divine.

Then there's the rest of the pleasure. It's so simple, really. Wouldn't it be so wondrous to have an array of votive candles around the bathroom, providing golden, ambient, delightfully fragrant light?

Check out LKay Creations for all your candle needs. Linda is the owner, and she's got an amazing array of scents available and makes only pure soy candles and tarts. Soy burns cleaner and has a fantastic scent throw. She does provide free scent samples to help you decide which luscious scent would be best for you. I chose a Spiced Cranberry candle, Water Blossom Ivy tarts and Summer Night tarts to give as Christmas gifts, and I have been very pleased with the service and the quality of the products. Even better, candles are those little luxuries that can become quite necessary when the power goes out.

So, enjoy a bit of luxury, a bit of relaxation, a bit of "me time" to help you unwind and recapture the true spirit of Christmas.

Oh, how embarrassing!

I have Google Analytics on my website, which helps me track how many hits my website gets each day. I didn't hit my site yesterday, nor did I have any maintenance to do on it. When I checked my Analytics this morning, I was shocked to see that my site had no hits yesterday! This never happens! I was checking on something for a local phone customer/friend on my website this afternoon, only to discover that an element had crashed, bringing the whole site down with it! Ack! Usually, website maintenance takes a few hours - 3 hours and 55 minutes to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it (with a combination of the Zen Cart FAQs section, the ZC forums and my ZC manual) - then 5 minutes to fix it and check it. I was tired this afternoon and really didn't want to deal with it while my daughter was napping; I wanted to take advantage of the quiet and the grey, cold, rainy day. However, as soon as I woke up, I tackled the issue and was pleasantly surprised that the whole fix only took about ten or fifteen minutes. I'm happy to say that the website is completely fixed and back to being operational.

In another embarrassing moment, I was getting an order ready for a customer and discovered I'm out of Black Cat (Perfect Pumpkin scent) soaps. So, I'm calling these "out of stock," but if your heart is set on this soap, it doesn't take long to make it.

To my loyal customers and site visitors, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. All is not lost, and there's still two days left to get orders in for Christmas delivery.

13 December 2008

Domestic Goddess at Work

Most people don't think it's enough that I make my own spectacular soaps. Some people know that I put together my own flower arrangements, love to cook, and have created my own Christmas wreaths. That, however, is where the domestic deity-esque traits come to an end.

Until today.

For those of you who may've just woken up from a coma or have been in space for the past year, now's as good a time as any to tell you we're in a recession. And not like a recession's bad enough - I can pretty creatively stretch a dollar if I have to - but a recession on top of Christmas is a nightmare! It's one thing to make that dollar stretch to cover food, rent and bills, but adding presents on top of that is a challenge. Well, as sometimes happens, I had the money in hand, I went to the grocery store and I forgot laundry detergent with at least three loads in queue. Yea. I trotted upstairs to start at least the first load, thinking that I had enough detergent to get something accomplished before I had to run buy more later. I'm pouring the detergent into the lid... And a bit pours out... Then it slows to a trickle... And I've got not even an ounce of detergent in there. Hrmmmmm, what to do?

Then I remembered...

A few months ago, I started researching homemade laundry soap with the intent of making my own. The main thing is, the soap for laundry soap needs to be a bit more on the harsher side, and I just haven't had the time to make a batch like that. I did have one leftover bar, though, that pretty much crumbled the moment I tried to cut it, so I ran it through the food processor and turned it into powder. It's just been sitting and meditating on the meaning of life for a while now. This morning, I turned it into laundry soap by combining 2 parts soap to 1 part borax to 1 part washing soda. It seems to be working pretty well, though the real test will be my husband's nasty work clothes.

It only takes 2 tablespoons (one ounce) of the laundry powder to get the clothes clean. It doesn't lather or bubble like detergents do, but that's the trade-off when using a natural product. Besides, it's not the bubbles that get clothes clean; it's the soap itself. The borax softens water and the washing soda is a laundry booster.

Yes, I'm quite well aware I told you how I made my laundry soap. After all, you can Google to find the directions. I just figure, ya know, we're all in this recession together. Even if you happen to be reading this post from the office in your Paris flat, the recession's still impacting you, too. Some soapmakers are just soooooooo snooty about their formulas and techniques, believing that they're so much better than everyone else, that they won't even think of sharing even the simplest recipe. However, these ingredients are easy for everyone to find, and I'm certainly happy to share even this small way of making life a little easier and cheaper for everyone dealing with financial hardships, or maybe just those who are looking for a healthier, greener way to wash clothes.

01 December 2008

The EPA Show - My Big One of the Year

It may seem sort of silly, that this show, this one event - 6 hours one day a year - would be my big one of the year, but it is. I don't run the show circuit like some crafters do (more power to them!), so I select the shows in which I participate very carefully. The EPA one has been my favorite and best event for the 6 years I've been doing it. It's always a pleasure to me to see returning customers and new ones. Many of these customers will only buy from me this one time a year, but that's OK.

So many of these fine people have done a lot over the years to boost my business - faithful patronage, patience on special orders and sharing their love of my products to others - that I wanted to give a little something back. Soooooo... I'm offering a special coupon for EPA employees. For a limited time, enjoy 25% off your purchase. Use coupon code EPA25 at checkout, and when choosing a shipping option, choose "store pickup" if you'd like me to deliver it to the office. Follow-up sales from this event always get free delivery.

Thanks everyone, for yet another great year with you, and I look forward to seeing y'all next year! :)