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Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Short Stack and a Stroll

It’s actually taken me a few days to finish everything up so that I could write about all of it. Thankfully my insomnia (never usually used together, but for once it was handy) helped me get quite a bit done in the wee hours.

One night I had the random weird thought that I could retry the pancake mold and do red velvet pancakes instead. I figured that it would let me experiment with the new brown dye and a red that I seldom ever use, plus try the new technique that I read about using a monoject for fine line soap decorating. The camera didn’t capture the color quite right, but it’s a medium brown soap with a hint of red to it. I ended up doing two thin pancakes for a short stack (three looked weird for some reason).

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While those soaps were cooling I spotted that hot pink powder pigment that I was so excited about months ago, but never got around to trying. I have to clarify a possible misconception here. I like pink, sometimes a lot, and pampering myself, more than a lot, but I’m not a girly girl usually. I discovered about a year ago that hot pink for some reason makes me feel like a badass. Especially when it’s paired with black. There’s that little “Oh, I’m feminine” and then a bit of “And I’m obnoxiously in-your-face. Whatcha gonna do about it?!” I know, I have issues, but don’t judge. We all have our little badass quirks. Mine is oddly focused around a color. Lol. So… I got out the gorgeous packet and broke the seal with what was most likely an evil smile. Since it was 6AM by this point I decided I’d only do a few small star soaps and that Cotton Candy FO seemed to fit this soap. *Starts fidgeting now and whistling innocently* Now, keep in mind that I hadn’t slept in nearly 24 hours at this point. I wasn’t in a highly intelligent mode by then. But I was still as stubborn as ever and wanted to finish up. Figured it out yet? I totally screwed up when I added the pigment. I don’t usually ever use powder pigments and it honestly never hit my sluggish brain that it has to be incorporated differently than the regular stuff. I sprinkled the powder into the melted soap and watched as it chunked up like bad gravy clumps. Even whisking like I was possessed didn’t save the soap. However, I saw hot pink and my badass side whispered to just go for it even if it’s all wrong.

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The stars are kind of cute with the concentrated spots and I plan to play it off as though I wanted this all along. The hint of glitter in there just adds to that feeling that it was all done on purpose. I was concerned about people actually turning hot pink though when coming into contact with those clumps, so one star sacrificed itself to some rigorous use. No body parts were harmed in this test and I remained as pasty as Casper, so I’m declaring it safe. See, my badass side is totally cool with imperfection. Too bad that one doesn’t control my OCDs, but oh well.

Still high on my hot pinkness a few days later I unmolded the super chocolaty smelling pancake soaps and opened my special monojects. Being able to do find detail soap would allow me to carry out a ton of ideas that have been set to mute for now, because they need that extra special detail work. I melted some white soap, left it unscented, and sucked some up in the monoject. I rushed over to the short stack and tried to eject the soap while I swished my hand back and forth to do that fancy squiggle chefs do with icing or sauces. I tried so hard to depress the plunger that my hand actually hit the soap when the plunger finally sent itself flying backward. (There’s a tiny smudge that I tried to cover with the next round of “cream cheese”, but hopefully it’s not super noticeable.) Apparently getting the soap extra hot didn’t overcome how quickly it can cool in a thin tip.

So, yeah, that happened. Air is not stronger than quickly congealed soap and the air will fight to come out the only other path that it has, so make sure you’re wearing goggles. Lol.

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It took several light burns and two days to get all traces of soap out. Seriously. Lol.

I ended up saving what soap I could and using a beaker with a spout to try and make the lines. Instead of looking like a fine chef did them it’s more like a kid using the frosting packet on those toaster strudel things. *cracking up* Here’s where I challenge the customer to just use their imagination a little. I tried. It’s still soap and won’t look like this anyway once you use it. It shrink wrapped up pretty perfectly too. Yay! Something went right!

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I decided to add the red velvet short stack to my basket that I’m donating for the raffle for the Sunset Stroll next month in Overbrook, KS. Although the event is now fundraising for all forms of cancer instead of just breast cancer, I stuck with some of the pink theme and aimed for a young girl themed donation for the first time. Fruity Patootie Bubble Wash, Fruity Loopy Goat’s Milk V2 Lotion sample, some of the hot pink star soaps, the stack, a bottle of Monsters Away, and a princess rubber duck all tucked into a heart basket with pink Easter grass. I kind of like it actually, even though the cutesy stuff doesn’t usually work for me.

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Along with the basket I’m donating fifty of those heat sealed lotion packets that I love and am terrified of ever trying to make again. *laugh* I kind of think it’s worth the burns for such a sharp little sample.

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So, maybe I’ll put on the hot pink and black striped scarf I just crocheted and get the nerve to make some more packets. Well, not today. I want to try to sleep and there’s a heat advisory warning all ready at 3:48 in the morning. I’d probably give myself heat stroke working in the kitchen with hot stuff while wearing a huge scarf. Lol. *raising my finger (and probably an eyebrow – that sucker moves around on its own like a thin caterpillar some days)* I will get my hot pink badass on and make more heat seal packets one of these days.

What gives you a super jolt of confidence? A red power suit or lipstick? Sleek leather pants? Naughty drawers that you keep a secret? Dare to share? ūüôā

I’m Feeling Hot, Hot…oh never mind

The coordinator for the Sunset Stroll, an annual cancer awareness event (previously the theme was breast cancer, but it has been expanded to raise awareness and funds for all cancers), got hold of me and confirmed that the event will be September 25th in Overbrook, KS. I decided it probably wasn’t smart to reserve booth space this time, so I’m sticking with samples for the swag bags for the first 100 people and then a gift basket for a raffle.

Now, I don’t know if you read the previous posts with the new sample packets that I found to use for this event. They look awesome and are such a cool idea. I mean, silver heat seal packets. That’s sharp! I managed to get in the kitchen and work on some of the samples.

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While the lotion and emulsifying wax were getting hot and cozy I hit the reviews on the bags to see if anyone had some tips, since that opening is incredibly tiny and heated lotion is blistering hot. I’m seriously glad that I found a tip to use a flat iron instead of a standard iron (you know, that hunk of metal and plastic that’s hiding in the closet with buttons you’ve never figured out), but absolutely nobody had tips on actually getting the lotion in there. I had a stroke of “brilliance”, yeah, we’ll go with that word for now, and got out the monoject I had gotten for piping details on soap. It took some trial and error until I found a good amount of lotion while leaving space to seal the packets.

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The monoject worked well for a bit and I figured out that I could carry the blistering hot packet in the beaker and iron it right in there, then just slide it out onto the counter.

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(The pictures of ironing the end are rather odd looking, so only the photo streaming troll will ever see those weird shots. Use that awesome imagination that I’m sure you have. *grin*)

Back to that brilliant idea of the monoject…at about twenty-five completed packets it kind of exploded. Let me tell you that lotion smells nauseating when it splatters onto a burner and sizzles into a weird black patch. *wrinkling nose in disgust* We won’t talk about the pool of lotion that didn’t mop up overly well at first. Lol.

Thankfully I’m a creative problem solver and will persistent despite minor fingertip burns, and I got fifty samples all done up. They need labels, but I need my feet up and a root beer way more. *grin*

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I think they look like there is a generous sample inside too, when in reality there’s less than a half ounce in each packet. I’m pretty happy with them, despite such a steep learning curve. Another upside to this, as I told my friend, if you need anything heat sealed after this I’m your huckleberry. ūüėČ

A Candid Discussion

As you’ve probably figured I’ve been incredibly sick and then recovering from a small head injury, too, so I didn’t focus on a whole lot of anything.¬† Now that I’m finally starting to do better I am trying to get back into the groove of things.¬† I know that typically I write on here about the mishaps and amusements of what I’m working on or am dreaming of.¬† However, today I’m going to go serious and it’s totally not about bath or body products, so if you stop reading here, I understand.¬† *smile*¬† Recently something occurred in my neighborhood that really bothered me, though, and even if it helps raise awareness with one person, then it’s well worth it to me.

 

I live in a very small, and usually quiet, town in rural Kansas.¬† It’s not quite Mayberry, but the town’s violent crime rate in 2010 “…was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 100%…” and it “…was lower than the national property crime rate average by 100%” (via CityRating.com).¬† After spending half of my life in a very rough city in California this is a safe little haven usually, although I sure miss pizza delivery, especially now that I can’t drive.¬† Lol.¬† Anyway, things do happen behind closed doors, despite the statistics, and I’m here almost 24/7, so I usually know when things are hitting the fan on my sleepy little street.¬†

 

For the past year the peace was disturbed by a couple that moved into the rental next door.¬† Screaming, yelling, loud thumps, crying, and even things being thrown around outside.¬† When I heard crying and a sudden silence I called the police, because I was scared that she had been seriously injured or killed.¬† Sadly in rural areas the police aren’t usually in the area, so it often takes twenty or so minutes to report to a scene.¬† Thankfully she wasn’t seriously hurt, but didn’t press charges.¬† For several months they continued a horrible cycle of their form of peace and then have violent fights, sometimes leaving her with a black eye and once even an injured arm.¬† I called the sheriff every time and finally a few days back there was a huge fight as they were being evicted.¬† Police officers and sheriffs descended on the neighbors as things started to quiet down, and they were both arrested.¬† There’s a lot more to the story, but that last fight really scared me.¬† The guy had always creeped me out anyway and I don’t handle being around angry guys very well, and the police had made the mistake the first few times of making it obvious that I had been the one to call in.¬† I heard the shouts and looked out the curtain to see them shoving each other next to a fire in their backyard.¬† Then he looked up and saw me as she dashed inside.¬† I figured that yet again nothing would come of it, but that I had to call the sheriff and try to get her help.¬† I couldn’t do much for her, but I could do what no one did for me.

 

It’s not something that I discuss often, but that last fight that the neighbors had, and the anger on that guy’s face when he looked at me, triggered a flood of memories and fears.¬† Just a few months after I turned 18 I moved away to a city with some¬†“friends” (what we think of as friends when we’re young and na√Įve) and shortly after that I got raped while I was passed out¬†from drinking some stuff that this hot guy kept pressuring me to drink.¬† Ah, the na√Įve belief in humanity was strong back then.¬†¬†To make a long story short I was ashamed and didn’t know what to do when I realized that I was pregnant from that almost completely blanked out night.¬†¬†I was raised that¬†bad things didn’t happen to good girls.¬† And it was one of the few times I had colored outside of the lines, so to speak, so obviously I was bad and had to¬†figure it out on my own.¬† When I told the father he insisted that the child would know him and spun lots of stories about how well things would work out.¬† I give him¬†credit for being a really amazing speaker that is incredibly believable and could probably¬†talk you into buying a bag of dog poop from him.¬† Add being terrified out of my mind to that skill and I¬†believed it would all work out.¬†

 

As I was getting ready for work one morning, about four-and-a-half months along, my preparations woke him and he was furious.¬† He didn’t even bother to fully get out of bed when he hit me square in the stomach.¬† Of course¬†he wouldn’t let me go to the hospital or¬†leave the house,¬†because no one could know what had happened, and it was somehow my fault anyway, so I¬†miscarried there at the apartment.¬† He threatened to kill my parents and their pets if I ever told or left, and since he had killed his own baby, I believed it and stayed.¬† Thankfully I can’t remember all of the abuse over the following six or so months and what I do doesn’t need to weigh on anyone else’s heart or mind.¬†¬†I tried so many times to get away, but no one ever opened the door when I¬†managed to run outside and was crying for help.¬† None of my roommates ever called either.¬† Every time I would be punished and reminded that my parents were going to die if I¬†left or told.¬† He made sure I was isolated and worked hard at making me feel absolutely worthless, not to mention terrified for my family.¬† I didn’t have much to live for anymore, but they didn’t deserve to be hurt by what I had gotten into.

 

Finally in April¬†of 1999 he attempted to strangle me to death.¬† I can’t tell anyone about most of the details, but when I blacked out I had this moment.¬† You can call it a¬†hallucination from lack of oxygen or a clarifying moment of faith, but a sense of calm washed over me and the words that if I didn’t¬†get away tomorrow I would die that night went through my mind, and I¬†knew¬†it was true.¬† I wouldn’t die this time, but I wouldn’t survive another.¬† When I came to he was crying and shaking me, with lots of apologies and reasons that it was my fault¬†tumbling¬†from¬†his mouth.¬† I stared at the ceiling and didn’t move for hours, except when he ordered me to do things, and then I would obey.

 

He made a mistake that next day and left the car with me with promises of how he would make things up to me once he got off work.¬† I drove to the town where my mom and stepdad lived and called them from a payphone.¬† Some rules that he had ingrained into me were still hard to shake, even after what he had done, and I wasn’t allowed to go to their house.¬† Thankfully¬†just by my saying where I was¬†my parents dropped everything and came to me.¬† I didn’t even tell them about the abuse.¬† They simply asked if I wanted to leave and if I did they would move me out that day before he got off work.¬† And that’s what we did.¬† I started my life over on¬†a Good Friday.¬† ¬†

 

It’s been a hard journey, but I found a “good ol’ boy” that wasn’t afraid of my emotional¬†baggage and helped me learn to trust again.¬† I still look over my shoulder when we go to that city, although we usually avoid it, and I still have problems when men are angry or upset.¬† Time and ten years of marriage has helped with a lot of that, but seeing my neighbor with that look, the same as what I looked into as I was being strangled, shook me.¬†

 

So I ask that if you suspect that something is going on behind closed doors, please call for help.¬† The worst case is that the police check and find nothing wrong.¬† If someone is danger and doesn’t feel as if they can get away, they might not make it out alive if you don’t spare those few seconds and free phone call.¬† It’s a small thing that can truly save lives.¬† We all know the police, but if you happen to know someone, or are yourself, that has survived, the following information can help them on the road to recovery.¬† www.thehotline.org or 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can help those that are dealing with the effects of abuse, and most have such a jumbled up view of their self worth anymore that they consider suicide, so 1-800-273-TALK (8255) can be a very valuable resource when they are feeling lost.¬† The necklace of bruises faded long before I learned where to turn for help.¬† Bad things happen to everyone and we really need to raise awareness.¬† Domestic abuse and suicidal ideation shouldn’t be ignored and we DO need to get involved.¬† Help is a phone call away.¬† Even if you write these numbers down and leave them stuck to the refrigerator or bulletin board, or this confession spurs a discussion with someone, you might just save a life.¬†

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