Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Featured in the Body Portal

I'm just getting home after Day 2 of the HSMG Conference. It's been another crazy busy day filled with information and fantastic people. I promise to share everything once I am home and can sort it all out. At this moment I am the best kind of worn out and tired! :)

Sorting through all my emails, I opened one that says " Your listing at TalentDatabase.com has been spotlighted in the Body Portal." Hmmm. Well, jeez! That's kind of fun! You can check it out if you want! If you do, you'll also find fellow bloggers Elizabeth Gassner and Sarah Auclair. Here's the link to Talent Database.

Stay tuned for the conference report!

Even Sweeter in Person

I am so psyched about the HSMG Conference! It's bursting with information and tons of great people. I've met so many talented soapers and I've already had about 16 "AH-HA!" moments!

I had the chance to say hi to Anne-Marie Faiola from Brambleberry for a brief moment! It was so great to meet her and see her in person! She is an amazing and dynamic speaker! She's funny and natural. Plus, she shared fantastic information! The greatest part is that it's info that actually applies to my business and ideas that I walked away with to help Twin Birch grow! I'm such a happy girl!

Sadly, my phone's camera is LAME!, so the picture I snapped while she was speaking is pathetic!
And, I have to admit that I was slightly (ok a lot!) star struck when I talked to her! I mean, there she was! Live! In person! Anne-Marie the Soap Queen! *gasp*! All I can say is that she is even sweeter in person and I'm so happy to have met her!

Off to the showers and another day of super-fun learning!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Off to the HSMG Conference

I can't believe the HSMG Conference starts tomorrow. It seems like time has flown since I registered. I'm excited about the great schedule! I promise to report back to you all as soon as I can!

In other news, there has been a run on Out of the World Alien Bath Bizzies on Etsy. I've sold 9 "orders" since Thursday. Eight of those (24 bizzies) are a custom order to be used as birthday party favors for a little girl named Ella who will be 1. Our Ella was very excited to know that she is now a Big Ella!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Soy Joy!

I have been making candles for about six months. It's hard! Each batch has been challenging and part of a big learning curve! I have so much respect for chandlers! Thank goodness for all of the fabulous forums out there! I've been reading WSP's forum which has a lot of information for trouble shooting when candle-making. There are also fabulous people on Pixie Lee's Soap Forum who are a wealth of information and super, super nice!

Anyway, tonight the soy angels were taking pity on me! Somehow, I was able to pour a lovely Blue Sky All Natural Soy Candle that didn't have cracks, sink holes or a sadly out of place wick! Like all other B&B people, as soon as I saw how well it came out, I began to stress about duplicating it! :) Of course, I'm going to make a bizillion of them and list them on Etsy! Anybody got a match?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Inner Preppy

I grew up at the peak of Preppy. Muffy, Biff, ribbon barrettes, Izods with oxford shirts over them and co-ordinating Levis... There was even a Preppy Handbook. Everything was pink & green.

So here's my take on it all. It's Preppy Kaleidosoap in Pamplemousse. It's naturally yummy and moisturizing, smells great & will leave you thanking the heavens that you don't have to wear courduroys with whales or palm trees on them anymore! Unless you want to... Available on Etsy, of course!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hello, Lover! (Gushing about Product Body)

This is my favorite line from Sex in the City! Carrie sees a pair of Prada heels in a store window and walks up to them with stars in her eyes and says, "Hello, Lover!" It's great!

That is exactly how I felt when I opened a box of the yummiest bath & body goodies I have ever been lucky enough to receive! The sweet sender was Joanna from Product Body. She is a rock-star Bath & Body formulator from the sunny land of Florida! Her line is called Product Body and it is super wonderful! I've been enjoying her blogs for a long time and admiring her Product from afar! Honestly, I think I'm in love with this stuff!

The box she sent me was over-flowing with amazing treats to take to the shower for some wonderful body pampering! She sent Crush on You (a deliciously moisturizing sugar scrub) in Pink Grapefruit and Tangerine, Sugarfoot Scrub (for the peds, of course!) Ruby Red Grapefruit, a sweet little bar of her CP soap (which I read about on her blog when she made it). I'm not sure of the fragrance but it's just lovely. It has a spa quality to it. Maybe Lemongrass? MMMMM I don't know, but it smells like serenity! To top it all off (literally) Joanna tucked in a jar of her Double Whipped Shea Butter in Sweet Vanilla Mango.

All of Joanna's Products are amazing and I love them. I had a fantabulous shower yesterday morning and I spend all day feeling soft and yummy! I have to say that the Double Whipped Shea Butter in Sweet Vanilla Mango made me a little teary! Using it gave me a moment of pure indulgence! Like everyone else, my moments of self-care are few and far between (and I MAKE products for pampering!) Joanna's Shea Butter disappeared into my skin within 2 minutes and left me feeling well-cared for and super moisturized. I covered myself in Double Whipped Shea Butter from head to toe... really. Face too. It wasn't greasy or sticky. My skin drank it right in. The fragrance is heavenly. It's not really sweet, it's really sunny day-at-the-beach feeling good! I loved it.

So, yesterday was my very own Spa Day thanks to Joanna at Product Body. I am soft, exfoliated, polished and smelling fabulous. You must get yourself over to the Product Body site and click yourself some Product! I promise you will be sooo happy! Thanks Joanna for your generous box! I have many more Product Spa Days ahead of me!~ :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Your Way Embroidery Rocks!

If you are looking for customized logo work to promote your business, you MUST check out Your Way Embroidery on Etsy!! I have spent many hours looking for a way to add my logo to promo products. I went to LL Bean and a couple of those Promos-R-Us type of sites. They were all expensive with huge minimums and set up fees. I had given up.

Then the promo angels led me to Whitney at Your Way Embroidery!! My experience working with her was fun! She made it easy to figure out all of the details and come up with the PERFECT look for my shiny new aprons!!! Aren't they great?! She is fantastic! Check her out!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In Search of Starbucks

My friend Laurel is the one who tells me about all of the amazing new things in the world. Click here to see her adorable baby, Beckett. She has always been in front of the style curve, technology curve & retail curve. Here's her latest addition to my life:

I'm probably the last to know about it. It's a customized Starbucks Card. You can choose your background, what you look like & a tag line. I let the kids help me design it. For the record, I like to think that my hair is more of a mocha/cappuccino than a naturally curly Frieda Red. Plus, I don't usually wear my tiara that much. :)

The sad part? Starbucks is no closer than 60 miles from my Vermont home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ella!

Ella turned 5 on Saturday! It's hard to imagine, since she's our "baby"! I had a lot of those Mommy Moments all day; remembering the night she was born, the 3 sibs coming to meet her in at the hospital, wondering where the time has gone and how I've survived having so many (amazing) little ones! I think birthdays are a gift to the parents to remember how lucky they are to have the gift of their children.

We went to see Horton Hears a Who (four stars & six thumbs up!) and then came back for a sleepover here with the Famous Ashworth Four. It was a great day. Happy Birthday Ella-bean!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Puppy Love

As the proud (and frequently over-whelmed) mama of Max, our 130 lb Yellow Lab/Donkey mix, I am happy to have come up with some fun doggie products for our four-legged BFFs. I call it my Birch Bark line and it is dedicated to the gentle, soothing, tender care of our pups.

I was so flattered and happy to get to send a Puppy Pack to Carrie~Gigi at Under the Willow a few weeks ago. Then came an order from Trisha at Suds to Love. It's extra special to send orders to my blog-friends because I think they are so super sweet, funny & talented. You can read the extra generous blog post that C~G wrote about her order here.

So here are a couple of items from the line. I offer Birch Bark Dog Wash in 5 great scents. Perfect Pooch is a great blend of Rosemary & Peppermint. Then we have the New England Sampler with a nod to this great part of the country. Those fragrances include: Nantucket Hound, Portland Pointer (could apply to all of you sweeties in the NW, too!) Green Mountain Rover & Fenway Fever Retriever. (GO SOX!!) The wash is gentle on the skin and eyes of our pooches. Although, I wouldn't wash near their eyes just in case!

Shake! is a great Dry Dog Shampoo. It's perfect for a quick freshen up for your dog. It's an All Natural blend of botanicals & EO's. You'll enjoy some great quality time as you shake it on and rub it all over your Rover. :) Wait a couple of minutes and brush/vacuum it off and he/she's smelling sweet and needing a treat! They are all on Etsy and ready to pamper your pup!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Peanut Allergy

I have a peanut allergy. I just decided that this morning. It's not what you think, though. I know how fortunate I am not to have to contend with a food allergy. But, I'll tell you what- I CANNOT STAND PACKING PEANUTS!!! They are the quickest way to ruin my euphoria when a new order of soap making supplies comes in.
I will admit that this is a spill-inspired rant.

I am crazy fanatical about packing orders up so that they arrive in perfect condition. (I have a little bit of perfectly-perfect syndrome!) I also think it's important to reuse all of the packing materials that I can. I want to be green! But, I can't make myself re-use those #%@$ peanuts! I think it's a total buzz-kill to have to deal with them. I'm into making people feel good and relaxed. Opening a box of peanuts makes me tense and a little crazy! :)

So...who's with me in the PEANUT FREE ZONE?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Green Thumb Gift Idea

Even though our growing season is fairly short, we here in Zone 5 do love digging in the dirt. And I know we're not alone! Now that the weather is turning the corner, all of my FWGT (Friends With Green Thumbs) are ready to grab their shovels and turn some soil.

This cute Spring Fling Gardener's Tote is listed on Etsy and packed with products to pamper after a day in the dirt! It features BubbleBlossoms (which are so fun in the guest bath!) Gardener's Soap~loaded with Fuller's Earth to help get the grime off of your hands, Shea Butter Hand Cream which will soak right in and leave you so soft, Gardener's Balm for the little cracks that hurt so much, a 4 oz Soy Candle in BB's Tomato Leaf (it's intoxicating!) & a cute honey bee guest soap.
Everything is packed with love in a cute tote with tools for getting your garden started!!

So, I'm just asking...is your Mom a gardener? :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sun Worship

I think I'm going to make it. The sun was out in all of its glory today. It was working hard melting the snow, warming the Earth and giving me the Vitamin D that Dr. Oz says I'm missing!
I guess I'm not the only one who is Vitamin D deficient. Max was doing some serious basking today! Happy Spring to all of you! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Back to Bunker Hill

When we heard that Austen's class was scheduled to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, we volunteered to chaperone the trip... all of us. Although it must be a little horrifying to be a 12 year old with your whole family schlepping around on your 6th grade field trip, he was a real sport about it. Austen has a super nice class and it was great to share the experience with all of them.

The day was "raw" as we say here in New England. It was gray, rainy, windy and 40 degrees. The trip started and ended at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. We crossed the Charles River Bridge into Boston and visited the Old North Church ("one if by sea, two if by land") , Paul Revere's house, Old South Meeting House (home of the Tea Debate which led to the Boston Tea Party) & had lunch in Faneuil Hall. The kids re-enacted the Tea Debate which was amazing! We ended up back at the Bunker Hill Monument about 6 hours after we started. We were freezing and some of us had super curly hair (me and the girls!) but we had a blast. I couldn't believe how great the kids all were in less that perfect weather conditions! If you are coming to New England for any reason, go spend a day in Boston. It's got great history, shopping, food and culture.

Bunker Hill is important to us for a few reasons. Gerry's mother's mother was a Breed of Marblehead, MA. Breed's Hill abuts Bunker Hill and was part of the famous Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. Austen's middle name is Breed to carry the family name, and his Auntie Kristin is Kristin Breed.

About 25 years ago *gasp* I was on a bus with several high school classmates and several more French exchange students on a field trip to Boston which included a visit to Bunker Hill. That's where I met my best girlfriend Laurel. She and I have shared more than I'll ever reveal during our friendship.

So, that's where we ended up on Friday night after the field trip... Laurel's house in Andover.
She and her most adorable son Beckett were nice enough to let us crash and warm up after our field trip adventure with Austen and his class!

Here's a cutie picture of Beckett. Laurel adopted him from Ethiopia almost a year ago. He'll be 2 in July and will be welcoming a baby brother when Laurel gets the call, hopefully around Christmas time!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Under the Willow Love & the Pedi Winner

I have never met Carrie~Gigi from Under the Willow Gifts in person, but I know for sure that she is one of the nicest ladies around. Her words of encouragement and excitement jump out and give the reader a huge hug. Her talent runs full spectrum from her gorgeous Billows to her amazing soaps to her great talent as a blog writer on Under the Willows. She is kind and warm and I love every message I get from her.

Today I cued up her blog, like I always do, and was shocked to see that the topic was... me! Ok, actually it wasn't all about me, it was about some Birch Bark Dog Shampoo that she ordered from Etsy. Her words were so kind and wonderful! I'm still pink from blushing and excitement! And I'm not the only one blushing! Max the dog (our 3 year old yellow lab) has a huge crush on her ever-so-delicate Bella-Cinderella! Make sure you check out Under the Willow Gifts and Mud Puddle Girl, her adorable line for little girls. Here's the link to Mud Puddle Girl the blog Much love Carrie~Gigi! Thank you for adding so much to my bubble fun!

So, now for the winner of the Tingle Pedi Kit! In my very un-scientific way, I found the winner by taking 4+4 (4/4 was the date I was supposed to announce, but we'll be in rainy Boston on a field trip with Austen's class) so that's 8 and I counted to the 8th comment on the Pedi Post.
So, the winner is gracefruit! I get to send my pedi kit to Scotland! If you haven't read gracefruit's blog, click here and lay your eyes on some gorgeous soap!!! Here's the link to her site for her Longcroft Soap Company. Gracefruit, leave me your address in the comments box and I'll send the kit along!! I wish I could come with it! :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Buggin' Out!

I am such a sucker for cuteness. Anytime I see something cute, I'm all over it. Hence, my ownership of the adorable little bug bags. I couldn't wait for them to get here (through snow, rain, wind... ) so that I could fill them up with fun potions.

Since I'm the mama of two little princesses (and two not-so-little princes) I had to fill them with Birch Kids products. Today, they are sporting some yummy Pink Princess body wash & shea butter body cream. They are called the Buggy Cute Pink Princess Set. I just posted them on Etsy and I'm getting ready to tote a bunch off to a craft fair in my hometown of Andover. Hopefully, they will be fun for Princesses everywhere!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Somebody Get Me Some Sushi!

First of all, big hugs and lots of bubble love to Teresa for her blog about my SoapCakes! Click here to read it and then poke around! Her blog is great~ it's called "Life, Homesteading & Everything"
very fun! Thanks, Teresa! :)

I promised I'd stop talking about the weather. Thanks to all of you who put up with my rants!
Instead of weather, I'm talking about SPICY WASABI today! I made a batch of CP using BB Wasabi FO on Saturday. OMG! I am in LOVE with that fragrance! We had some peeps over for wine & darts on Saturday night and when they came to the Bubble Lab/Dart Room, they were sniffin' like mad fools! (I'm sure the Prosecco had nothing to do with it!) Anyway... here's the shot
Just four weeks away from some Spicy Shower Fun!