Monday, June 30, 2008

Loving the Suds from Suds to Love

As I mentioned here, Trisha from sent me a birthday bundle of yummy handmade soaps. It was a totally unexpected treat! Sadly, I had to get to the other side of a six day stomach problem before I could return to my normal bubble~loving self. Well, I'm back and let me just say~ Trisha's soap rocks! Every shower with her bars has left me OH~LA~LA so soft!

I am like many others who have a hard time using one bar at a time. Except now. I've been treating these soaps like a box of Godiva Chocolates... one bite of this, one bite of that! I can't tell you which I love best. They are all fabulous. I might be able to say that the Sweet Lemon and also the Wasabi Green Tea have been into the shower twice with me, but each scent has it's own wonderful qualities!

Trisha's packaging is also very sweet. Please note the cute paper collars wrapped around each bar. The different paper adds to the individual personality of each bar. What makes it all so fun is that I feel like I've known and loved many of these soaps from afar since Trisha is so great about posting pictures on her blog. Now, seeing them all dressed up and in person is a great treat!!

Thanks Trisha for your generous gift! You are a sweetie pie and you make amazing soap! Big hugs!

Friday, June 27, 2008

FDA Globalization Act of 2008. Your Voice Counts!

I love to poke in on Donna Maria's Indie Business Blog. She's so smart and a really great resource for small indie businesses. She's also really lovely~ I met her at the HSMG Conference. I owe her a huge thank you for the post she did about the FDA Globalization Act of 2008. You should stop reading this and get right over there to sign her petition if you value the freedom to make and buy hand crafted bath & beauty products.

This act says in a nutshell that the government needs to regulate more firmly the cosmetics industry (among others) and that all of us independent crafters should be charged $2,000 annually to register with them and other fees up to $10,000 additional for reasons I haven't quite sorted out. You can read the whole thing here.

When I read Donna Maria's post I was angry and sad. I realized that I really, really love everything about hand crafting bath & body products and I don't want to lose the chance to sell my products. Not only do I believe wholeheartedly in the good vibe of handcrafted products, but I also know how incredibly good they are for us all.

Ironically, indie beauty companies almost universally represent better, safer, more natural and responsible manufacturing ideals, yet they are seen as problematic by the government. My theory is that the corporate detergent makers are running scared because they see the trend moving toward the higher quality product that we all produce.

So, if you're moved, go over to Donna Maria's site and take some action. You don't have to be a manufacturer. If you enjoy the freedom of choosing where to buy your cosmetics/bath & body products, this will also effect you. You'll lose your choice and be stuck with buying from big name, faceless corporations who honestly don't care about your skin or your joy. I promise, all of us who craft bath products with our hands and hearts care a lot about your skin, joy and more!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Since When is Washing Your Hands Fun?

I took some great shots of Trisha's soap this am. The problem is that I can't seem to download them from the camera. Never fear, Gerry will be home soon to save the day. Tomorrow should be a full blown Suds to Love~fest.

Meanwhile, I need to take a moment to share the joy of Foaming Hand Wash. What? You think that's lame and boring? No! Let me tell you about the joy to be had from the simple "task" of washing your hands!

I am a huge hand washer. In my previous life I worked in Food Service (aren't you glad I washed my hands??). For the past 12 years I've been a mom. We all know what kind of things end up on a mom's hands... not so good! So, it's always been one of those things that I've done 20-25 times a day. In fact, when we built our house, the contractors made fun of me because we installed 8 sinks in the house. You can say OCD if you want~it might be a little true. ;)

I used to use lots of Bath & Body Works hand wash. I was addicted to the different fragrances. However, they dried the life out of my hands. Fast forward 6 or 7 years and I've discovered the joy of making Foaming Hand soap in my favorite fragrances. I love the silky feel and the awesome foam! They Vitamin E & Aloe keep my hands from turning dry & yucky. Plus, it's so great to take five minutes to enjoy the amazing fragrances and pretty view out my window! I swear, just a few moments of pleasure in a hectic day are really a gift. Try it... you'll see what I mean!

My favorite summer fragrances are; Blackberry Sage, Vacation, Tuscan Summer & (of course) Pamplemousse. Oh, and don't forget the DragonSlayer or Pink Princess for your kiddos! Let's work together to keep their little mitts clean! Available at Etsy, the best deal is 4/$20 !

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wait Til You See...

...the amazing soaps that Trisha from Suds to Love sent my way! I'm not sure how I got so lucky!!
(maybe turning 41 had something to do with it!) I'm off to take some pix and give these bars all of the attention they deserve! Here's a teaser... Champagne Energy, Strawberries & Creme, Black Pepper Lime, Sweet Lemon... ooh baby! This is going to be a GREAT day!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A's End Their Season With a lot of PRIDE!

The A's played their final game against the Dodgers on Saturday. Although they lost, they are a GREAT TEAM!!! Not only has Peter learned how to be a great baseball player, but he has found new friends and become closer to old ones. The A's were graceful losers. They were the first ones out of the dugout to congratulate the Dodgers. This Friday we'll finish the season with a team picnic and a pick up game. (parents against the kids?) It's very exciting to be one of the parents who gets to celebrate the Mighty A's! Congrats you guys!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ginger Lime Love & a Huge Win for the A's

This is my latest swirly batch. It smells sooo good. The fragrance is Ginger Lime from BrambleBerry. It held up really well in this batch~even through a fairly hot gel phase. It also has a great lather and longevity! You can grab some from Etsy.

Peter's Little League team the A's won their second play-off game last night and earned their spot in the finals. It was a really close, well played game! Both teams played their hearts out and everyone played with great sportsmanship! It was so fun to watch.

I love the A's coaches and the attitude of the kids. They are in it to play well and play hard. They all do their best and they know that winning isn't everything. (Although it is fun!) They play with lots of guts and hustle. Good luck tomorrow in the finals, A's! No matter what you are all winners!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is This Really Something a Mother Should Have to Say to Her Child?!

This is Ella. She's 5. She's bright, funny, kind and a wonderful daughter. Today I had to say something to her that I never dreamed I'd have to say as a mother. I said,
THE CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
That's the first time I've ever had to say that to one of my kids. Will it be the last? Stay tuned!

You Win! Pamplemousse Giveaway Winners

Happy Father's Day to all you wonderful guys who make the world a better place for their kids! My kids love their dad so much! They think they are lucky to have him, but I have the grown up perspective of KNOWING how lucky they are to have him. Gerry is the whole package, for sure.

So, we've got 2 PAMPLEMOUSSE WINNERS! Karin & (one of her several) BFF Kat Bryan are the winners! Send me your addresses at twinbirch(at)verizon(dot)net, girls! I'll get your gifts out!
I loved Kat's poem and Karin must have an email list that's longer than any other, because she had a trillion friends leave comments!

Thanks to all of you for entering! Your comments make me smile & giggle. I appreciate all of your advice & encouragement! The thing about giveaways that kills me is that I want to give something to everyone! The only way I know to get over it is to think up another giveaway, which is just what I'm doing. Stay tuned!.....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Somebody's Watching Me!

Some days opening email is such a drag. I mean, how many new products can Crate & Barrel really have to show me? What is my REAL AGE? I don't really want to know... my math tells me I'll be 41 next Sunday. That's what I'm going with.

Some days it's really fun to open email and see a message from a great friend, a great new product from one of my bubble suppliers or a comment from someone on One Bubble. On Thursday I received a comment from Heidi Richards who is the CEO & Founder of WECAI. Here's here greeting:
"Welcome to the WECAI (pronounced wee-kî) Network™

Network for Women Increases Your Global Visibility and Influence!

Welcome to the WECAI Network™ (also known as the Women’s eCommerce Association, International™) - the “hub” for women and organizations looking for online opportunities to achieve your personal and professional goals, accomplish your business mission and increase your reach worldwide. Representing the professional interests of millions of women around the globe, the WECAI Network™ is working daily to open the doors to networking, business development and leadership opportunities."

Heidi also has a blog called Virtual Woman's Day Celebrations. Imagine my surprise and excitement when she commented here to let me know that she'd picked me as one of the 73
Women Bloggers to Watch for Summer 2008!
Heidi offers a fun list of blogs to peek at and some really great advice to increase visability on the web. I am taking her tips and running with them and I know you all will find some smart info there, too.

Thanks so much Heidi, for noticing One Bubble! It's so fun to know that somebody's watching!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Austen the Graduate

Huge hugs and congratulations to Austen! He graduated from Randolph Elementary School yesterday and is headed for Junior High School in the Fall. Austen had about 65 kids in his class. Most of them have shared their days since Kindergarten. They are a great & diverse group of kids. Austen has a super sweet group of close friends, and I know he counts all of his classmates as buddies. Here he is (center) with Lance (l) & Kyle (r). Special thanks to all of the teachers & staff who made Austen's years at RES so great!

The graduation ceremony was adorable. I had some tears, but they were all happy, amazed tears.
So happy that Austen is growing up & so amazed at how quickly these little people became strong, smart pre-teens. When did that happen? My favorite part was the slide show that the kids put together. The background songs were, "Finally" by Fergie &"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts.
I know I wasn't the only Mom with a few tears... Congrats, Austen! You're a star!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Long Winters... Incredible Summers!

Since I did so much complaining about the exceptionally long winter (see here & here), I thought I should take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful weather we've been enjoying lately. Although the calendar disagrees, summer is most assuredly here! Today is day three of temps in the low 90's. Hello, Sunshine!!! Here's to some great summer living!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ella the Graduate

For the seventh time, we were so happy to go to the School Street Montessori End of the Year Party yesterday. It was a big day for Gerry and me because Ella graduated from pre-school and is headed off to Kindergarten in the fall. We were giggling about having been there for the two years that Peter attended, the three years that Cora attended and the three years that Ella attended. Wait! that's eight... wow. (Austen attended Gifford Pre-School but has been named an honorary alum of S.S. Montessori!)

Anyway, we were treated to lots of cute songs, great conversation with fellow parents and dear friends & watching Ella get her Montessori Diploma. She also received a blue ribbon for being the "Best Monkey Bar Climber" in the class! She and Cora have shared that title for the past 4 years. You can see her in the picture wearing her brand-new-most-favorite-of-the-moment- pink dress with polka dots. Very fancy!

There aren't words to describe how amazing and wonderful our experience with Montessori has been. Carmen, Marla, Sally, Edie, Cindy & Kirsten have taught and loved our kids in such a magical way. They have shared,with so many kids in our community, the wonder of exploration, learning and good friends. Our kids and so many others in our town are very blessed to have had the chance to take their first steps into the "big world" with all of the amazing women there!

So, yesterday's ceremony was bitter sweet. I am so proud of Ella and I can see that she is really ready to start the next phase of her life. But, I have really enjoyed watching Ella grow with Carmen and her staff! I can't imagine life without a few 5 or 6 minute chats with Ella's sweet teachers. I can't imagine leaving behind the place that shared its magic with my family for all of these years. Most of all, I can't imagine the end of the days of standing by the playstructure in the Montessori yard watching one of my wee ones crossing over the Monkey Bars and yelling, "Mommy! Watch!".

Thank you, Carmen and all of you wonderful ladies. My family is a better group for having shared these years with you.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bubble Class Blast

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm going to let the photos from last night do the talking.
Here are some quick details: 5 awesome women~all amazing professionals at Gifford Medical Center, 15,000 giggles, 987 belly laughs, (we made) cold process soap and sparkling bath treatment. Thanks so much girls for all of the fun! It was such a blast for me and you all are the best "Twin Birch Soap Class Pioneers" ever!! Can't wait til our next class!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Teacher! Teacher!

Does anyone remember that song from .38 Special? Well, I get to play teacher tomorrow night and I'm so excited!! There's a craft club of 5 or 6 women here in Randolph. It's the coolest idea. From what I understand, they get together regularly and do different crafty things. Doesn't that sound like a blast? Anyway, one of the ladies, Sadie, asked me a little while ago if I was interested in teaching them how to make soap. Who wouldn't be?

Initially, I thought they'd want to do a little melt and pour soaping. You know, it's quick, instant gratification. That shows what I know! These girls are hard core! They opted for the CP class, complete with goggles and gloves! Well, we are going to each make a 1 lb batch so my students :) can take home their soap right away and stare at it while it cures.

So today I did my last practice run to make sure that my recipe would behave itself. Can you believe I've never made less than a 4 lb batch of soap? I am so happy with the one pound recipe I used. It's in Alicia Grosso's Everything Soapmaking Book. See here to read about how much I love her! It's simple and manageable. I'm only worried about how to get everyone emulsified.
I have 2 stick blenders, so we'll probably just take turns.

This batch has Brambleberry's Kumquat FO, Wholesale Supplies Plus Yellow Iron Oxide & water soluable titanium dioxide. I topped one with calendula, inspired by Joanna's Bath Bomb photo and the other has cranberry seeds just for fun. The Kumquat was perfect to work with. No acceleration that I could note and the scent (so far) is nice and bright! I think I'm in love!

I'm so excited about class! I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, June 2, 2008

14 Days Till the Give Away Drawing!!

As I enjoy my last few days of 40, I'm looking forward to drawing the names for the One Bubble PAMPLEMOUSSE GIFT SET GIVE AWAY!! Here is the link to the original post! Leave your comment there and you'll be IN the drawing!

Thanks to all of you for sending your Best Girlfriends over!! It's been so fun to read all of the comments and check out new blogs!! Happy June, everyone! xoxo Heather