The beautiful Miss Ashlee came over after school (middle school) last Thursday to start helping me out on little business tasks. I wasn’t really feeling up to making anything and wanted to utilize the chance to get as many opinions for kid options as possible, so we spent the 1 1/2 hours just talking and smelling FOs. We went through things I had made and was in the process of making, through a mail order catalog with kid friendly items that I was considering ordering from to supplement my items in baskets for various age ranges.
The first thing I figured out was that Ash must really be into penguins right now. *grin* Either that, or I really need to invest in all penguin based toys, because I’m gonna get rich! lol I noticed that she pointed out every penguin item in the catalog as being perfect for kids. It helped me develop the idea of color themed baskets, like all black and white products and toys like penguins, but I really doubt that penguins are quite that popular. lol Also, I can totally see her identifying toy musical items like kazoos as an easy little basket stuffer, but I thought about it and will not be ordering those. *grin* I sat there while she looked through the trinket pages and decided to run through the scenario. If I gave a basket to Ash’s little brother, or even her, with noisy items, their mom would probably want a lot less to do with me. Therefore, I think the parents of any prospective basket recipients would thoroughly hate my little business. *small laugh* I learned that pretty much anything in the catalog would be perfect, so I think I’m on the right track of thinking. When in doubt I will ask my friends that are mothers to see how they would react to the basket.
Probably the most important thing that I learned was to not worry about being a perfectionist with the kid products. I showed her the lump of coal soaps, which she inspected and thoroughly delighted in the smell of, and asked her if received it would it look enough like coal to be believable. She looked down at me (yeah, almost a third of my age and she’s taller…*sigh*) and said, “If your package says that it’s coal soap, kids will just believe that’s what it is. Kids believe whatever things say they are.” Cue the cartoon light bulb over my lab coat and glasses clad cartoon character. One, they don’t really know what coal is these days, and two, they don’t care. It smells good and isn’t the boring stuff Mom keeps in the dish, so I’m in the clear. Oh yeah, I did a happy dance after her mom picked her up. *grin*
The most heartwarming moment was when her mom showed up and Ash asked her if Ash was free after school on Monday, so she could come back. *cheesy smile and hunched shoulders* When that didn’t work she started running the days of the week, so I jumped in and said that we’d coordinate schedules, which looks like maybe each Thursday for awhile. It meant the world to me that she wanted to come back on her own (we are a group of friends who usually have full family get togethers as time permits, so this was totally new for a child to be at any of the other homes without the rest of the caboodle) and that I had inspired her. I’ve tried through the years to always encourage her interests, most especially art in the past year. My parents raised me with a real appreciation for art and literature (you can blame them for training me for being a nerd), and if I see that interest in a child, especially one that may not get as much individualized cultivation of that interest as I did, I do everything that I can to help. Anyway, she now is also interested in science, so she is super interested in how bath products are created. Part of it is this amazement that anyone can make daily products, not just some mysterious big manufacturer. It’s sad that crafts that were such a daily activity for hundreds of years are now a novelty and so mind boggling, but I won’t climb on the proverbial soap box. *wink* I realized that my interest in naturally beneficial products is a great way for her to get some hands on understanding of chemistry, artistry, and nature. It’s pretty awesome that I have someone to share in the awe and delight of my hobby.
I had lots to think about and decided the next day to start making a lot of the lump of coal soaps. I’m not really sure where I went wrong in multiplying the recipe (I have a newfound appreciation for mathmeticians since my condition has screwed up my abilities apparently), but the soaps turned out navy blue, but I didn’t know this until yesterday, since the wet soap was just really dark and I thought it was black. I’ll cut, melt, dye, and repour all of them soon, but while they started to set I had another light bulb moment. I was working with the happiness that the kids would not question if the soap looked like coal, but still wanted something a little better to sell. It dawned on me that if I used a fork to push the dried “skin” into the soaps it would give some internal texture and ruin that glossy perfection on the backs of the soaps (the irony is that I seldom can ever get regular soaps that perfect lol). I learned while experimenting that just running the fork through the soap blended the skin and helped to melt it in the warmer liquid centers. So I totally went into Psycho mode and just stabbed multiple spots in each square with the fork. *grin* Hey, I might not be able to do a lot, so I make sure what I do is thoroughly interesting or amusing. lol When I unmolded the soaps it really had helped and I could see a major difference between the two techniques. When I repour I will do the stabbing technique again once it resets, trying to get to what would be the tops of the soaps, so that it is textured and interesting through the entire soap. I’m pretty tickled that I have a pretty easy remedy to please the perfectionist in me just enough while also taking full advantage of no longer worrying about it if it doesn’t turn out like I hope. I’ll post at least one pic of the first successful batch (worded in such a way because I’m not totally confident that I’ll be able to get the color right during the repour lol). I am so relieved and excited!!
By the way, the sugar scrub is still getting firmer. *cracking up* I used it again today, which was an incredibly gentle and awesome exfoliation, and as I tried to scoop some out it became more of a prying action. I’m pretty happy with it still, but think there will be a second version in the works with more glycerin and definitely not additional sugar if the mixture seems thin! I hope you all have a great one and aren’t too upset by the length of the recent posts.