Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October Ramblings and Holiday Elegance Collection

I normally LOVE this time of year--the crisp, autumn air smells like leaves, there's lots to do outside, shopping for pumpkins and decorations and playing with kids. This year, however, it's been gloomy, rainy, snowy, and just plain yucky. They keep saying on the news that we are setting a record for lack of sun. Oh yes, please, keep telling us that! It really helps everyone's mood.

So I've been keeping busy inside as much as possible. Cooking (mostly big pots of yummy soup), sewing (the little fabric bags for HAEE orders), and playing with my perfume goodies! I know I should be cleaning, but I like a sunny day for that (with the windows cracked open and the stereo blasting). Because we have no sun, I'm not going to clean. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I recently sent out sample bags to Snowberry Creek, but in order to do that, I had to have my Holiday Elegance Collection ready to go. So I spent a few days playing and I ended up with 13 scents for the collection! Once I got started I just couldn't stop. After we make the scents, we test them on people and in rooms. (Some scents make incredible soy tarts and candles, some make wonderful bath and body products. In my opinion, there's scents I'd definitely have in my house but that I wouldn't wear myself, and vice versa.)

So without further ado, here is the list of scents and a brief description. These will be added to the website in November. "Holiday Elegance 2009" consists of:

Winter's Kiss--pretty, girly, perfumy, like the first snow glistening on the ground.

Torcolato--the name belongs to an Italian dessert wine. This one is a little sweet, heavy, and lightly spicy. It too would make an incredible dessert wine.

Snowbunny--I used to downhill ski and I remember going into the lounge after a long day on the slopes and having a rich hot chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps, whipped cream, and little marshmallows. This is it!

Ice--not the kind you find here in Minnesota on the lakes! No, we're talking diamonds here. Clear, brilliant, attention-getting.

Gift of the Magi--this is one of those scents that sneaks into your senses, grabs hold, and doesn't let go...I'm a big foodie, this is not a foodie scent, but I love it and can't get enough! It's lightly floral. One of my new favorites!

Caramel Embrace--Here's a foodie, it's OMG yummy! It's a White Russian drink meets Caramel. It's fantastic as a Whipped Sugar Scrub or Shine On Shampoo!

Winterberry Musk--this scent is Christmas in a bottle! It's greenery, it's pomegranates, it's musk. I just had to test this with soy tarts and it made my house smell so wonderful I wanted to start putting up decorations! (It's not even Halloween yet.)

Chateau Noel 2009--continuing the tradition that Michele started several years ago, we have our Chateau entry. Noel smells sexy and mysterious.

Christmas Moon--a holiday delight, this is reminiscent of sugar plum fairies, sugared nuts and fruits, and light spices.

Krumkake--a Norwegian tradition, Krumkake is a dessert that I grew up with. This scent is so close you'll want to eat it.

Coconut Truffle--another dessert foodie and I love it! Yay, my favorites all wrapped in one--rich, dreamy chocolate, coconut, a creamy filling. Try this as a Whipped Sugar Scrub, Shine On Shampoo, or Damage Remedy Conditioner! You can't handle it as a lotion, because you'll be licking it off all day.

Hazelnut Cappucino--exactly what you'd think--creamy, dreamy, delicious!

No name yet--a sexy, dark fragrance, great for men! With fabulous Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Vetiver, it will knock your socks off. Or his. (There's a kitten?)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On Being a "Maker"

A funny thing happened the other day...I was really, really stressed out because too many things were going on and I was being pulled in too many directions at once. I kept thinking to myself, "All I want to do is be alone with all my ingredients and create a coffee scrub...why can't I just do that?" It's my comfort zone--creating something. It's also my obsession. It often doesn't matter what I'm creating, just that I AM creating. It's the process, it keeps me going.

It also gets me in SOOOOO much trouble! I have issues saying "no" to people because in my mind what they ask will "only take me a few minutes". Hahaha, yeah right. My head knows better, but my heart always wants to help out. (So I can sleep later in the week, or maybe next week....)

I made it through that day and took care of the hundred or so things on my list, and the next day too. But the first open spot on my schedule was filled with the creation of a spectacular coffee scrub! I enjoyed every minute of it, looking like a mad scientist in her laboratory, adding a little bit of this, a little bit of that, sneaking in bites of really good chocolate to keep me going. So now I'm good for a little while.

Or so I thought...

This past weekend I bought a drop-spindle so I can make my own yarn from various types of fiber. I'm starting with alpaca and we'll see how that goes. I have to laugh at myself because I already have tons of crafty hobbies that I do not have time for...ah well, what's one more?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Inspirations from Nature's Bounty

Yes, I'm writing again about soap! It's now the dog days of summer and we are in the midst of a bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables, grown and harvested by our own hands. What a beautiful way to celebrate nature's bounty than to make soap from it all!

I just finished creating Pumpkin and Flax Seed Bars, Apple and Honey Soap, and Alex's Fresh Cucumber Soap! The honey is from our bees, the apples from our tree, and Alex grew the cucumbers. At almost 8 years old, he is really getting into growing vegetables; he goes out every day and checks to see what is there. And he is quite proud of the fact that they are organic! I'm just glad that he is aware of what that means.

Next it will be carrot and zucchini soap, I think the bars will be very pretty. A woman I know asked if I would create soap with Dill, I'll have to go to the farmer's market and get some to try it out. I just have to come up with ideas of what to combine it with and what recipe to use.

Last week I also made a batch of Margarita Soap! I was at the local liquor store getting a bottle of Port (which will make a very fine soap for Winter!), and spotted a bottle of pre-made Mango Margarita on sale. "Why not try that in soap?" I asked myself. OMG, it is fabulous. It's curing right now, but smells incredible--I added Mango, Pineapple, and Juicy Lime for fragrances. Smells good enough to drink and the bars are absolutely beautiful. (By the way, yes, the guys at the liquor store think I'm crazy!)

I have also finished creating our Autumn Harvest 2009 Collection, which will be released in September. Ooooh, I have some yummy fragrances coming out! Some are dark and sexy, some are light, and oh yes, we have some foodie desserts as always. You just can't go wrong with pumpkin for fall! Here are the names and brief descriptions:

Echoes of Madness, dark, with Sandalwood, sexy

King's Library, very autumn-y (this one is my favorite), named after one of my favorite authors

Sorceress Sculd, a Norsk warrior and sorceress, with Nag Champa, perfume-y

Butter Rum Blondie, a butterscotchy brownie that makes an awesome sugar scrub (you'll want to chew your arm right off)

Tortured Soul, very complex

Bonne Bouche, french for an elegant tidbit (dessert), a decadent, creamy, white chocolate, almond biscotti cookie, very fattening

Arabella, light but with Tamarind Nectar, spices, rum, and baked apples

Pumpkin Honey Spirits, a truly fantastic dessert fragrance with pumpkin, honey, several kinds of cake, vanilla bourbon, and spices. This one makes an awesome soy tart, your entire house smells like an expensive boutique in the fall!

Candy Corn, of course, we offer this every fall, makes an excellent sugar scrub or shampoo

I recently released a new scent called L'Exploratrice Indomptable as a request for our new friend Rachel. Scott loves it on me, told me I should wear it instead of my dessert scents. (I'll add it to my collection, but nobody tells me to get rid of my foodie scents! LOL)

New for fall, we will also be offering a solid shampoo bar for dogs, shaped like a dog bone! It's called the Pampered Pet Shampoo Bar and makes a great gift, stocking stuffer, and it's good for the dogs! No nasty chemicals, it's good for their coat and skin, and it smells wonderful.
That's it for now, back to work!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Ride in the Moonlight

I had the opportunity last evening to do something I've never done before, which made me feel closer to the land than I've ever been. The moon was full, looking like a giant peach, and hanging low in the sky. I was driving an antique John Deere tractor pulling an even older hay rack through a field, while another pioneer-type loaded small square bales on the rack. By the time we finished, the rack was loaded with over a hundred bales, the sky was black as coal, but that beautiful moon was still watching over us.

It took a long time to perform this task, the old tractor slowly putt-putting through the field, stopping here and there. But I can imagine that 70 years ago, this was an incredible marvel that greatly increased feed production. What excitement it must have caused! Today, combines and tractors cruise through the fields with computers, A/C, stereo systems, and GPS to guide them. I think the farmers are losing their touch with the land with this technological separation.

But I got in touch with it last night on a wonderful, satisfying moonlit ride that I will never forget. I now appreciate those bales of hay more than ever, because a lot of sweat and hard work went into each one. And I got to help.

New Love
My newest love is a handsome guy, a little on the short side, but sweet and a gentleman. I've named him Prince Norbert as he needed a regal name. He's a 4-year-old Hackney and he's broke to ride and drive. He's lean and muscular, almost all black except for the white socks on his rear legs and a white smudge on his nose. It looks like he got all dressed up for a night on the town, but forgot his dress socks.

Next to our Belgians he looks like a toy, but he'll pull the antique buggy and sleigh we have with no problems. He has a fancy gait, it looks like he's dancing when he walks. He'll do very well in the parades next year and I'm very pleased that he found and adopted us.
Welcome to our family, Prince Norbert, we will treat you like royalty. And it will be a pleasure to feed you some of that full-moon-harvested hay.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Confessions of a Soap-Making Fool

Welcome to my new blog!

I wanted to start with something relevant, and I cannot think of anything more relevant at the current time than soap. Yes, soap! A few weeks ago I went on this crazy soap trip--I was totally obsessed with making cold process soaps for Heaven and Earth Essentials. I haven't had time to do it in the past year or so, and it seemed like it was building up inside me like pressurized lava in a volcano. So I made the time and just did it. It felt incredible! I tried all kinds of things and the more I created, the more I wanted to create. I kept creating until I ran out of ingredients--and room to store the finished product! But they are all so beautiful and smell incredible, I can only describe them with words.

One of the best parts of creating these soaps was the fact that my son (almost 8 now) was very interested in how the process works, so he was with me through a lot of the process, constantly asking questions and then later, even making suggestions! When we went to the liquor store to purchase wine for the wine soap, he even explained to the clerk that it wasn't for drinking, it was for making soap. I'm sure the clerk thought "Uh-huh, THAT'S the story your mom came up with? Whatever..." LOL

What is next? I'm working on a custom scent for a new friend, Rachel. Very complex, very "Lara Croft". I have everything ready, I'm just waiting for the inspiration...
I'm also getting ready to create the scents for our Autumn Collection. I already have names and ideas, I just need to get a day alone with my muse and my perfume components. (Oh, yes, there will be a need for more soaps, with an autumn "flavor". Pumpkin for sure!)