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Drumroll please…*grin*  Hi there!  I just wanted to make a quick note that in honor of Cyber Monday I will be offering 10% off all orders (excluding shipping fees and gift certificates) on December 1st.  Why fight the crowds when you can shop in your pajamas? 🙂

Event Prep

Well, the craft sale event in Overbrook starts in a few hours and I’m actually extremely calm about it. *smile* I got almost every single goal for prior to the event accomplished even! Booyah!

I was in the throes of insomnia last night, and since my mind was circling all of the things I wanted and needed to get done, I figured that I might as well burn the midnight oil and get a lot of work done. I made a ton of changes to my website. There are a few new scents that I still need to create descriptions and identifications of, but didn’t worry about the ones that I haven’t been working with yet. I even put away the dunce cap (somedays I swear I need to slap one on lol) and remembered how to create a picture slideshow, so I now have a slideshow of some of my pre-made baskets. Somedays I manage to impress myself. *grin* I need to take a few more pics of some baskets, but overall I think the site has come a long way. By 7:30 Friday AM I figured that whatever I ended up changing or writing had high odds of coming out poorly, so I saved the changes and called it good. Lol. I admit that it took a while to quiet my mind even then, to get even a few hours of sleep. I’m really proud of my site though. I now have three rows on my page menu too!! *cheesy grin* I’m bizarrely delighted over that. Lol. I have another page that I didn’t set to be viewable my the public yet, too, called customer and tester feedback. I’m excited to include some of those! I really need to add an ingredients page since I no longer have to put ingredient labels on products and happily take advantage of that. However, I feel that people should have the ability to review the ingredients and want to make it possible. (Hey Z, I’m going to add that to a spreadsheet of things to remember. *teasing smile*)

Young Miss Ash came Thursday and Friday afternoon (hey, I lose track of the days and have an odd concept of days, since mine can be 30 hours long lol. Might as well prevent a bit of the confusion! *grin*). We worked on a price sign for the basket of lump of coals soaps, but it’s more of a holiday scene sketch, so I dated and noted her info on the back, and it’s in my china hutch instead. I made a pretty basic little $2 sign and slapped it on the basket a bit ago. Lol. We managed to get my inventory properly counted and documented (yeppers, another spreadsheet!! Spreadsheets, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…lol) and I now have an accurate spreadsheet to have sales and need to make for orders at my fingertips during the event. It’s also handy as a cheat sheet when people ask what the prices of stuff is, since it so wildly varies. We ended up having some coming of age discussions while I packed up everything. By the way, I did an (oh yeah, totally picture my groovy happy dance for this) awesome job at packing!! I packed that rolling tote so well that it took all of my strength just to pull the handle and wheel it a few inches to make a gathering spot for everything to take. Lol. As to Larry lifting and putting it in the Blazer, I’m sure it won’t be that big of deal. If it is, I might feel guilty, but I’m still tickled that I did a damn fine job of packing it! *finishing out my happy dance* I managed (again, impressing myself) to cushion between the bath salt jars, since I didn’t want to risk them hitting each other during transport and breaking. I cushioned them with the bath tea bags that needed to be packed! Instead of just putting the tea bags in their basket in a box, I figured I’d use less space and take advantage of their natural cushiness. Even thought ahead and put my samples all together in the little removable tray that sits in the top of the tote. Set up should be easy peasy! Ash was thoroughly disappointed that I didn’t make any crackling firewood room and linen spray. We made sprays together Thursday and as soon as she smelled that one, which is a component of a custom blend that I made, she was massively hooked. Every time I turned around she was huffing that FO when she wasn’t spraying the squirt gun into Bo’s water bowl (squirt gun is Bo’s arch rival. It’s his punishment and incentive to do what he’s told when outside, but Ash was fascinated by the stream of the Nerf variety lol). I’ll make her a spray for Christmas, since she argued that SHE would use a spray of just that scent, when I had replied that I hadn’t made any of just it previously because most people don’t want to smell like firewood. Lol. She asked if I made some while she was gone and didn’t hide the disappointment when I said I had to focus on packing instead of making new stuff. She said that my baskets were “super cool”, although the coffee combo got a nose wrinkle and a teen dramatic statement that “I just don’t understand how people can like that. It’s so gross! It…stinks!”. Lol. Gotta love teens and preteens. *grin*

Anyway, Larry loaded the tables and chairs into the blazer when he got home and I stopped him (thankfully) from hauling my boxes of products out so we would just take off when we get up. Somedays I have to wonder what he thinks lotion and bath washes are made out of, since he’s nearly left them out in near freezing temps a few times. Lol. So I have a nice tower of stuff to haul out at 6:30. I’m just freaking proud I took my time, set my mind to it, and got it all done all by myself at my pace.

Wish me luck that I at least get some sales, if not orders, please. *smile* At some point I figure I need to sell what I’ve made before I get to keep making new stuff. Lol. What an annoying little technicality that I need to heed. And I’m hoping that the Twilight force is with me. I’d love to cash in on the new release and share these scents. I’m too dang proud to be the only one using them! I tossed in a set of Twilight stickers and bookmarks to sweeten the deal for a limited time offer. I’d love to sell out of all of my combos/baskets. That would remove two boxes from hauling back home and make me feel pretty successful. Lol. Anyway, I’m being to ramble (okay, okay…it’s all been near insane rambling, but I’m sticking with the delusion that I just started *sassy grin*) and need to get up in 4 hours (I need to find some night owl events from now on lol). I hope you have a fabulous Saturday and look forward to *crossing fingers* gushing about the insane popularity of my booth later. *laugh* Thanks for putting up with me and sharing in my booyah moments!!

Exciting new items

I’m so excited about the new supplies that are being shipped to me! I needed to replace some nearly empty scents since I’ve been trying to stock a bookcase with pre-made products, ready for events and any holiday orders (hopefully! *crossing fingers*). I decided that since I was approved for disability, I’d finally get some stuff (okay, a whole lot lol) that I’ve had in my wish list.

One thing that has been bothering me is that although I try to make sure that there is something beneficial in my products, I really want to use more Essential Oils (EOs), and maximize the natural benefits. One near and dear product goal is to make a lotion or oil that helps relieve muscle aches and pain, especially one that helps with arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Well, I finally get a chance to try. *grin* I found menthol crystals to add to products that naturally helps to relieve symptoms. Most people don’t realize that vapor rubs can be used for aches. The main ingredient in most rubs is menthol. Crafter reviews state that their homemade products that they added the crystals to have a really nice tingling sensation. Some EOs that I ordered that are thought to be anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterials, or antispasmodics are cinnamon leaf and sweet orange. I all ready have peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary, among others, so I have a start. I’ll have to figure out a blend that is harmonious while having the potential to be super beneficial. It sounds like an odd group of scents, though. Lol.

I am bounce-in-my-chair excited about some new FOs *cheesy grin*. As you have read before I am always reading crafter reviews and forums to get tips, cautionary info, and ideas. While reading the reviews for the Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake FO (oh man!), I found a really neat idea. A reviewer recommended adding one of the coconut FOs with it (at specific ratios) and it’ll smell just like an almond joy bar. Wow! What a fantastic idea! So I ordered a plain Coconut FO (others have layered scents and I figure that complex blends won’t make the right scent, so I’m trying plain ol’ basic first). I’m going to have to make a page on my site dedicated just to my dessert scents lol. Anyway, I got chocolate mousse (free customer loyalty gift – rock on!), Cafe Latte, Strawberry Jam, Mistletoe, Lavender, Rainforest (a complex earthy blend which I think will be an awesome base for some new custom scents), Crackling Firewood (to add a complex layer to mens products), Sleep Time (actually an EO of lavender, chamomile, and vanilla if I remember right), Brown Sugar, Black Amber Musk, South Pacific Waters, Over the Hill (couldn’t resist lol), Black Forest Cake (since my attempt failed; this blend is actually quite complex and layered), Indonesian Teakwood (mens and as a layer for complex custom scents), Sand Dune, Gingersnap Cookies (has a 5 star rating and a lot of positive reviews, so I’ll give this one a whirl. If it sucks like plain Gingerbread does, I’ll be so disappointed!), Autumn Breeze, Santa’s Workshop (crafters wrote that they use it all year around in their mens line, so that made me try it), and Spiced Gumdrops. The wholesaler I use was having a fantastic sale, so I went a little crazy lol. Man oh man! I’m so looking forward to that delivery. I’m going to pass out from huffing all the new scents out, since it’ll probably take an hour to check them all out. *grin* What a way to go! As you can see I really want to work on more mens options and want to add some complex layers to what I all ready have. When Ash (my helper) was looking at my molds and saw the sea creatures she said I had to do some beach scents instead of just kid ones. I guess I was a bit off base with making bubblegum and jellybean (er, bunny farts *wink*) sea slug soaps. Buh me, I guess. Lol.

It took about 2 hours to read through the FO options (they seriously must have close to a thousand FOs and EOs), but I’m stoked with what I ordered and got a bunch of ideas for new scent names (see previous post… and don’t forget to let me know if you have some creative name ideas pretty please! *grin*).

I also found Vita Burst Beads. I think these will be awesome! They’re the little colored balls in some bath gels or body washes. I always wondered what they were when I had them in stuff I bought. Those little beads are full of skin nourishing vitamins! I was amazed that a tiny little thing can pack in so many nutrients. They dissolve with heat (and here I was always thinking I accidentally washed them off without them doing anything but adding texture!) and pressure (so it is okay to roll them between your fingers or smear them across your skin if you like to play with unusual textures *teasing grin*). I also bought some sliced loofa (or luffa depending on what region you’re in). I read about embedding them in soaps so you exfoliate while lathering up. It’s especially handy for rough heel soaps. Such a cool idea in my opinion.

I also got a honey soap base. Honey is a natural antibacterial and really helps with acne, so it dawned on me that it would be a great base for my acne soaps. The Shea Butter base is awesome, but this will give that extra boost of natural help.

Top it all off I found two black dyes hidden in a different section than I’d ever noticed. No more frustrations with the coal soaps!I

Anyway, I’m running out of space on my app, so have a great night!

Bunny Farts

I was laying on the couch in my usual state of insomnia in the wee hours a few days ago and I realized that I’m really tired of being boring. lol I’ve really enjoyed thinking about and discussing fun names for my products. Therefore, no more “buttercream lotion”, “lilac body and massage oil”, etc. I want to redo my product names at some point, but most importantly only use fun names for the new products that I’m working on. I think the “sex in the shower” FO is really what tickled my mind and started this, honestly. It caught my eye so well in a list of hundreds of FOs and that impressed me. I want the same for my items.

Anyway, I’ve always taken a few days to roll around the possible titles of my writing in my mind. Usually something just feels right, much like how a name can really suit a pet. I’ve been waiting for that with the latest sugar scrub. Since “Cherry on Top” (the A comes and goes lol) has remained dominant in my mind, that is probably what I’ll name it. I know that I want a fairly decent line in the scent, no matter what I name it.

Regardless, you probably wonder what in the world the name of this post has to do with anything! *grin* I have no idea why, but the name “bunny farts” has been in my mind ever since and I’m thinking it’ll be a fun one especially for Easter! Most likely I’m going to change the “jellybean” line to that. For years I’ve seen the little mechanical bunnies that drop jellybeans through themselves at the turn of the knob. It’s crude humor, but I sure remember it. Apparently my mind decided to bookmark that item and run with it while I was in the odd in between state of awareness. The words “bunny farts” just continually play in my mind and I know from writing that I have to use it.

My modem went down while writing this post on my computer and I have been unable to access to finish until now. In the meantime I have all ready posted a request for name ideas on FB. Hopefully my random request on FB now makes sense. I confess that due to the interesting new ways that my brain has worked since starting my relapse, I tend to have some wildly random comments and questions anyway, so maybe this is just amusing now. *grin*

Anyway, I have been writing a list of ideas, but few continually scroll through my mind as much as bunny farts. Lol. My beautiful helper will be here in about thirteen hours to help label and package the newest finished products and I plan to tap into the immediate creativity of the youthful mind. Plus, I know it’s kid approved all ready *cue mock evil laugh* I look forward to sharing the fun ideas as I take this journey.

On to a little side note – I got the registration forms for the craft sale event in Overbrook a month from now. We went and started looking at better event presentation today (technically yesterday, but for an insomniac the day lasts until I actually fall asleep lol). I will be getting the second table once they’re back in stock (seriously…why in the world were all of the folding tables sold out?! What memo did I miss that said we were all required to get them? I’m not as unique as I like to think!) and I think I’ll be getting a heavy duty rolling tote. It’s that kind made out of what looks like truck bed lining rofl. Has a handle, locks, and will make loading/ unloading a whole lot easier! Heavier, but realistically, I’ll never be lifting it anyway lol. There are still really good people out there that are very kind to lift out things or carry for a petite woman with a cane that looks like I’m trying out my zombie costume (remember the insomnia? It’s not pretty and that’s freaking annoying! I have limited resources here to work with, so I don’t need additional issues!). Worst case scenario is that I’ll be asking a guy to load it in Mom’s blazer since she will be taking me home that day, since Larry will have to be at work before I am packed after the event. I’ll be posting more about what we end up buying since we may see if we can figure something else out.

Okay, I’m going to go pour some coal soaps to add to Ash’s labeling project. Hope you’ve enjoyed my random conversation *grin* I promise to provide more at a later date! Lol I seriously should consider trying to sleep maybe…

Cherry on Top army

A blend of cherry, vanilla buttercream, and chocolate FOs

The final result of “A Cherry on Top”. A small invading army of jars that really need to get labels and officially named. lol

A Cherry on Top

I made a massive batch (massive for me, at least) of sugar body scrub the other night and thought I’d give a little inside view into the creation.  Don’t critique the pictures since I was having to work fast one-handed and try to snap a shot as I could.  *grin*  Another soapcrafter had posted the recipe for sugar scrub and it had a few super beneficial additives that I had never thought of, so I thought I’d adapt it to my interest and give it a whirl.  Lo and behold, my inner calculator while reading the recipe was incredibly broken!  I had no real clue that it would be so much until the liquid turned into the amazing fluff.  lol  With a sigh I realized that there was no turning back and grabbed my phone for some pictures to always remind me to not read product recipes when I have insomnia, since I apparently suck at math then.  *cheesy smile* 

All right, I had my dramatic sigh, so I’ll leave my pride for my next post, and will recount the rest without worrying about how clueless I was.  lol  I approach most bath recipes, and especially when creating my own product recipes, much as I do with a baking recipe.  Instead of food I get out what supplies I’ll need and will measure out the appropriate amounts of ingredients, if I know, to help minimize mistakes.  (Yeah, how I missed just how much 5 cups of sugar is while making this is still a mystery to me…)  I decided that I really wanted to try making the black forest cake scent blend that I’ve been pondering for quite a while and got those FOs out.  Oh yeah, I was prepared with a paper plate to hold the pipettes (awesome super tip a crafter wrote in a review on an FO that I bought was to rubber band a pipette to each bottle of FO and EO, fragrance and essential oil, and always use it just for that oil.  It cuts down on the waste and cost, since you’re not washing them out every single time you need a ML of another scent or tossing it in the trash when you’re done.  Also, no cross contamination, since no matter how careful you are at rinsing those pipettes or even measuring spoons, a little bit of that oil will find a way to hitchhike to the next oil, which doesn’t happen with this method!), measured out the glycerin into a beaker, diced and melted the soap, and then set the rest of the ingredients on the other counter, since they were variables.  At first I thought I would multitask like the recipe describes (I know, I know – stop laughing!), so I added the bath whip and glycerin to the mixer while the soap was melting.  Well, until my whip spatula (*raising an eyebrow* don’t even go there) decided that it didn’t want to get the last two ounces out of the container and I realized that the soap was going to get way too warm and frothy if I took much longer.  You guessed it…mixer going on low, spatula stuck in the jar (tipped over, of course, since if one thing is going to go wrong, it wants company), and stumbled over the sleeping dog at my feet to turn off the microwave.  Soap doesn’t have a real set time for it to melt…it’s more like a car started in the snow…it’ll be warm when it wants to be, so I set it for a set amount, then hit add 10 seconds or stop depending on how it is behaving (which also depends on if I’m wearing shoes and can see into the microwave, of course…otherwise it has to go another 10 if I had to pull it out to peek lol).  Of course the soap was fully melted at this point and I got it out just before it became frothy (it’s not a bad thing if it becomes frothy, per se, it just means there will be more bubbles in the pour, so it becomes a habit to think of bubbles as bad, even when it’s never going to be seen…soap can burn, but thankfully I’m too nervous to ever let it sit that long unattended).  I pour the soap into the mixing bowl,  then end up with elbows out, jar in every position possible, trying to get the remaining whip with a spoon as quickly as possible, since soap loves to set when you need a little more time.  Thankfully the spoon worked and the three ingredients transformed into this incredibly awesome fluff.  Do you ever get that moment when you’re warming the jar of marshmallow creme/fluff, it starts to bubble out of the jar, and your inner child starts to urge you to poke the cool looking cloud of marshmallow?  (I know it’s not just me *grin*)  Well, I was given an excuse to play in the fluff this time!  Cue evil laugh…Anyway, as I slowly started to add the sugar to the fluff I had to scrape down the sides, just like with a frosting (by the way, sugar isn’t that fond of bath whip I learned…the main portion of the mixture resisted the sugar as long as it could), and then I indulged the desire to stab it with the spatula a few times.  I may or may not have yelled en garde as well.  *shrug*  I started noticing after the third cup just how much scrub was in the mixture now and slowly added the rest as directed.  I then scooped out some scrub into two bowls to get mixed with some scent and color later (that’s one part I will not describe; oh man did it take forever to scoop that, since I have no big spoons that are sanitized for using with my products, because I’ve never needed one before).  Yet again I managed to screw up and eyeballed the amounts instead of measuring, since measuring always means that some portion of the mixture will be lost from sticking to everything used.  I ended up with half of the mixture in my mixing bowl and the other bowls being more like a quarter each, instead of dividing into three equally.  I added my new cherry FO and some color, and my fluff looked so beautiful!  I suddenly had a WTH moment and realized that I hadn’t thought out the whole three different colors and scents thing, since I only have one mixing bowl.  A massive Pampered Chef measuring bowl came to the rescue (I made 8 cups of cherry alone!  Duh) and I dump one of the remaining portions into the mixing bowl.  Since it would all be touching in the jars I didn’t wash it down and knew that it would help the scents to connect if there was a tiny bit of the residue from the first in the next, etc.  I was delighted with the wafting aroma of chocolate with a touch of cherry (I hadn’t realized at this time that I had been leaning over the empty bowl and had the little bit remaining all over myself) and started coloring.  It, uh, well, the colors decided they had their own agenda.  Instead of a chocolate color we decided that periwinkle would be an interesting shade (yeah, such a wth moment) and I realized that this wasn’t working out right, so I dumped the other remaining bowl into the mix and added the buttercream FO.  In for a pound now anyway.  Well, that’s apparently enough FO to give a thin texture to the scrub at this stage, so I, being a quick thinker (it’s okay, you can shake your head if you all ready figured out what happens), slowly added another cup of sugar, which thickened it well, but it was still runny compared to the airy beautiful bowl of cherry scrub waiting.  Another half cup of sugar helped the super sweet mixture a bit more, but it was never destined to be the star.  I called it good and got both bowls situated with spoons for scooping, and a line of ready glass jars.  (I was apparently still enjoying my sudden lack of intelligence, since at first I only lined up the five glass jars that I had bought for this, which would hold approximately 20-25 oz…I turned on my brain just in time to realize that 25 oz is nothing compared to 12 cups…*rolling eyes*)  I spooned the runny portion into the bottom of a jar waiting on the scale, then added the lovely airy cherry on top, and as I got to the end of the glass jars is when (duh?!) it hit me and I grabbed some of my smaller plastic jars to continue the packaging.  I reserved a nice amount to test as I started to debate on what to call this, since it really doesn’t smell like black forest cake.  lol  I’m not sure yet (which is why I have an army of unlabeled jars on my counter), but I think “A Cherry on Top” may just be my happy accident.

A Learning Experience

I packed up and went down to the Sunset Stroll to sell my products before the cancer walk last Wednesday.  Sadly I made only one sale at $6.00.  I’m going to call it a learning experience to keep from getting down about it.  It’s hard not to be though lol.  Apparently a lot of the attendees were unaware that there would be vendors, so they didn’t bring money with them and the “I do custom orders” isn’t clear enough *cheeky grin* I was asked multiple times if I’d have a booth at the church craft fair there in Overbrook next month, so I need to get on the ball and get signed up for that. 

Another learning experience to it is to somehow make “replaces soap” a little clearer.  I lost track of how many people stuck their fingers in the bath whip and rubbed it into their hands/arms.  The label says it and I kept repeating that you use it instead of a bar of soap, like shower gel is used, but this is more luxurious and creamy.  Then that finger creeps into the jar and as I repeat myself I watch it get rubbed in.  I didn’t foresee this happening, so I didn’t have wet wipes or anything for rinsing product off.  Honestly, I only had a few testers which were up front, clearly marked, and were lotions.  That creamy bit of heaven was too much temptation though.  The first time all I could think was “dang it, now I have to write off $6 of bath whip, because it’s contaminated”.  The second and third was dumbfounded blinking because I had made sure to stress the soap aspect a lot more.  After that I just gave up worrying about it and left the thing open for smelling (which, I admit, is my total fav whip at the moment – pumpkin buttercream).  My mom runs a store in the town, so I told her about it and my concern about people saying that they might have had a reaction after “trying that stuff out”.  I explained what had occurred and that if they told her about it, to clarify if it was the whip (soap) that reacted since it sat on the skin throughout the walk.  *sigh*  I tried to think of cautions and even put “do not eat” on it, which tends to be an issue since the scents are so rich, but never would I have thought of this.  Next month I will have some removal station prepared, that’s for sure!

Another lesson…I have too much stuff!  *grin*  I have so many different products, each with a variety of scent options, and tried to have a diverse premade variety on hand for the event.  My heavy duty table that I had originally bought for a marketing event as a billing consultant just doesn’t have enough room.  lol  In the next couple of weeks I will get another table, especially since I’m going to start cranking out a lot of holiday stuff.   Also, put only one of each thing out.  Apparently I’m an odd shopper, because I prefer to see my options, smell them, etc.  Others get intimidated if there is a variety, which should improve with more space, so it’s not close together.

I need a name badge or custom shirt with my info.  As I absolutely hate name tags I think I’ll get my information embroidered or iron transferred onto a few shirts.  I all ready was working on getting a banner made, but hadn’t thought of a shirt. 

The honor system can seriously cost me.  I was going over my inventory spreadsheet (to those of you that know me well – stop laughing right now *grin*) and discovered that there was a healthy amount of products stolen from the booth at the craft mall.  I knew there was a risk, but really hoped it wouldn’t happen. 

People want to test my knowledge.  lol  Thankfully I always knew the answers for this event, but next time I’ll do some cramming right before, so I’m on top of my game.  Also, greet them with my card in hand.  Most will probably end up in the trash, but hopefully a few will check my site out.  People were hesitant to get a card on their own.  They’d even ask about my site, look at the card, but would not take it out of the holder.  Yet another aspect that I definitely didn’t foresee being an issue. 

One thing I did very well was having stuff packed in the baskets that I wanted them displayed in.  Open a box and put the basket right on the table, straighten up any items that got a little wild during the ride, and we’re ready!  That will be the way I always do events now.  Having them in the baskets also helped make the table look very organized and professional. 

While standing there and realizing that the one customer was it, I suddenly had Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” playing in my head.  lol  I thought about all of the fun research and learning I’d be doing for the new products I want to learn to make for the holidays, the shopping I’ll do, and stuff like that.  “…always look on the bright side of death…” The worst that can happen is that friends and family get a whole lot of bath stuff for gifts.  Plus, I’ll just be stuck with some of my favorite products.  *whistling the refrain of the song*  Bummer  *wink*

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