Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Playing Tag with Soap Friends

I've been tagged by Elizabeth at Gassner Custom Soaps
These are the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading)
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below)
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them (This is only a game)
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up

OK, so here goes random:

1. I was in the band with my future husband in elementary school. He played the Sax and I played the flute. He was in 5th grade and I was in 4th.2. I weighed 80 lbs more than I do now after I had Ella. My two best friends were Ben & Jerry.

3. I live 90 miles away from the nearest Target. I've been to Target twice in my life... and I loved it!
4. Gerry took all of my siblings, their spouses, my bff Laurel and me out for the best night of my life for my 40th birthday. He took care of all of the details which included a limo into Boston, a spectacular meal and a night for the 2 of us at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. It was a blast!

5. I got a tatoo when I was 39 and my MIL didn't know about it until this year (2 years later.) I don't think she loves tatoos... :)

6. I never in a million years would have considered myself crafty enough to be a soaper, but it has become the second most fun thing I do~next to being a Mom/Wi
fe.So now it's time for tagging.....

1. Sherrie at Birch Bark Soap
2. Michelle at Oats and Honey
3.Jennie at Beehive and Bird's Nest
4.That Guy from Soap with Balls
5. Elizabeth from Gracefruit
6. Diana from Shea Bath

Love to you all!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Soap? A Moisturizer? Both!

I am a scrub junkie from way back. I used to buy all those scrubs that you'd find in the mall or at department stores. No more. Once I started making soap, I fell in love with making scrubs as well. I love the concept of getting clean and soft in the shower. It's my thing.

So here's the first of two of my fav. scrub products. It's called Sweet Birch Shower Butter and it's really yummy. It's a whipped cleanser loaded with pure cane sugar, sweet almond oil & glycerin. Just imagine being in the shower and scrubbing with a soothing, smoothing, creamy butter. You'll rinse off clean and dry off soft. It's so fun!

Click on my Etsy site to read more. It's currently available in Ginger Lime, Summer Green & Pamplemousse.

I can't believe that I am working on Autumn/Winter products already, but I am. Let me know what your favorite seasonal fragrances are. I love to hear what you are craving!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Bubble Class.. A New Teacher

Austen and Peter have known their friend, Jacob, since they were tiny. Peter and Jacob are about 4 month apart in age and they have been buddies since the beginning. In fact, we have known Jon & Ann (his parents) since days before kids. (I don't remember those days, but I know they happened!) Jacob also has a brother, Isaac, who is Cora's age and a sister, Olivia, who is Ella's age. Anyway, Jacob came over for some play time the other day and brought Jarvis, who stayed with the Kaplans for 2 weeks as part of the Fresh Air Fund.

Austen thought it would be fun to make some soap with the boys, so off they went to get some suds going. It's amazing how little I have to participate in these projects now that the boys are so much older. Austen took on the role of lead instructor. He did a great job explaining the technique of making Melt & Pour soap. Peter was right there with him showing Jacob and Jarvis some of his favorite molds and fragrances.

Jarvis left for home the next morning. We are all happy to think of his family getting bubbly in the Bronx with the soap that he made up here in the Green Mountains.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Red Belt Success!

Last night the Randolph Blue Wave TKD clan traveled up to the Burlington Blue Wave Dojang for a great night of testing. Once a student has reached 3rd Gup (Blue Belt with Red Stripe), they must test outside of their home dojang. Gerry was notified last week that he would be testing in Burlington for his RED belt. This is a huge deal because earning your Red Belt leaves you only 2 tests away from BLACK BELT! It also means testing in front of a formidable panel of Black BeltsTesting is really hard physically and pretty intense emotionally. Here's a quick vid. of Gerry's Board Breaking and Sparring segments. You can see that he kicked Master White and Miss Essig when he tried to break. It looked painful. Gerry apologized after the testing. He did an amazing job during his testing! He was very focused and looked great!!

I get the sense that being a Red Belt is kind of like pledging for a fraternity. Master White was telling the dojang last night that lots and lots of people quit TKD as Red Belts and that students have to stay focused and determined to make it all the way. They often have to drop and do push-ups for whatever reason a Black Belt comes up with. They also fetch the Black Belts their coffee, serve ice cream to 350 people at Summer Camp and do other types of scrub work.

I can't wait for the day that my three boys test for their Black Belt. Although Austen and Peter weren't quite ready for this testing, they are working really hard to earn the right to test before the Fall. Gerry has said that his goal is to test with the boys for Black Belt. Big congrats to Sonja and Mike who also earned their Red Belts and Ramsey who earned her Red Stripe! Huge congratulations to Gerry for his outstanding job!! We are all so proud of you!!!

Meanwhile, I will test (with Ella?) for my yellow stripe on Tues 7.29. I'm nervous, but I totally love the personal challenge that TKD is making me face. TKD couldn't possibly be any further out of my comfort zone and I am totally into it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Too Much Soaping Lately?

Remember "Castaway", the movie starring Tom Hanks and a volleyball? He named the ball Wilson (it was a Wilson volleyball), and made it/him his friend. I think I have my very own Wilson. Is that... wrong?

I was having a hard time coming up with a name for a new fragrance formulation. I'm a girl who can head into space pretty quickly, so that's where I went to try to solve my problem. When I came back into focus (literally and figuratively), I spied this little soap ball that had been tossed aside about a month ago. It was part of a batch of Kumquat soap. The batch was nice, but a little too soft so I made a few soap spheres with it. I had also topped the batch with calendula petals, which ended up on top.

Still without a name for my new fragrance, I found myself decorating my soap ball and turning him into Bubba. This is a sure sign that I need more fresh air in my days!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Counting My Blessings

Last night was Bubble Class #2 with the Blessings Craft Club. This group is perfectly named! Each one of the five ladies is sweet, funny, kind and uber~crafty! Last night's class was a mixture of fun and hard work as we kicked through 3 projects. We made melt & pour projects, re~usable dryer sachets & (my favorite) shea & sugar scrub.

It's so fun to get to know someone based on their sensuality. I'm not teetering on nasty talk, I mean getting to know which fragrances, colors and textures appeal to one's senses. I'm not as good at guessing as I'd like to be. The Blessings Girls cover the spectrum. The best, BEST thing is watching someone's face when they get it just the way the like it! It's a magic moment. Just look at their beautiful work! Fragrances like Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Bonsai, Creme Brulee and
a really yummy China Rain, Vanilla & Rose blend (courtesy of Brambleberry) filled the air!
Life is so good!

Thanks again to all of you girls! I may "teach" the class, but you all make it so fun! These are evenings that I really look forward to!! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Great Cape Escape

We had a blast on the Cape. The weather was fantastic, the kids were wonderful and it was a really nice time spent with Gerry's parents. I just love the salty air of the beach. As much as I adore living in Vermont, I do miss the Great Atlantic and beachy living. Thank goodness I can go get my fix in Cotuit. Huge thanks and hugs to Gerry's 'rents for inviting us down year after year for great times with family!

I have a ton of soaping to do! My BFF Laurel's future SIL has her bridal shower in Sun Valley, Idaho on August 3rd and I am making the favors! I'm so excited to do it and I'm anticipating some mad production in the next couple of days.

I'm also so excited to have the "Blessings Crafters" coming back for a Bubble Class on Thursday. You can read about their first class here. These ladies are a riot. I expect lots of laughter and some wonderful creativity!

Now I'm running off to pick up Max. I haven't seen him since last Thursday. I'm sure he'll be jumping for joy. (did I mention that he's part kangaroo?) I can't wait to see that crazy puppy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Off to the Cape

Woo Hoo! We're off to the Cape (Cod, that is) for a few precious days of sun & sand! Gerry & I have both been going to the Cape since we were wee ones. It's great to bring our family down there to spend quality time with family and sea life! Gerry's parents are there for the summer, so all of the sibling families rotate through. (How lucky are we?) If I had my way, we'd be there for at least a week. Alas, responsibility will have us back here in a few days. Hope you all have an amazing weekend.
I'll be thinking of you as I slather on the sun screen & chow down on "LOBSTAH"!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the Aussie Soap Groove

A couple of months ago, darling Michelle from Oats & Honey picked me to win her amazing Pink Gift Bag. It was full of yummy stuff! She sent me Granola Scrub, avocado and yoghurt (I just love that h) soap, carrot and calendula soap as well as a box of two chocolate bubble muffins! Now it's time to tell y'all just how lucky I am!

Michelle's products are fantastic! The carrot & calendula soap and the avocado & yogurt soap are super smooth and creamy. I've been using both on my face and I just love them. They are a softening bit of bubble heaven! The Granola Scrub is amazing! It smells so good! Michelle uses vanilla bean and cocoa butter in this one and it's a homerun! This scrub goes on gently and cleans off nicely. It leaves you soft and delish! The only bits left from this great goody bag are the chocolate bubble muffins. I promised Ella & Cora a little spa moment with them, so we're holding on for just the right moment.

Do stop over to visit Michelle's fun blog! She is such a love. Not only is she an incredible bubble formulator, but she's also a full time student. How does she do it?? If you can get some of her soap, grab it! You'll feel her super sweet personality in every one of her products!! Thanks again, Michelle!!! You are way too kind! :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Prayers for Brooke

Usually I sit down to post with a smile on my face and ready to share about something fun or interesting or (hopefully) inspiring. Today I'm heartbroken. You may have known from watching the news the story of Brooke Bennett. She was the subject of Vermont's first ever Amber Alert. She disappeared on Wednesday 6/26 from Randolph, which is where we live. It's hard to even type these words. She was found murdered near her uncle's house last Wednesday, one week later. Our community is heartsick. We celebrated the 4th as a town, but there was a cloud over the day. Today you can feel the sadness in the air again.

We are all praying for Brooke and her family. None of us can make sense of what happened. I didn't know Brooke, but it is clear that she was a sunny, spunky presence in town. It is so hard to see the sadness in the eyes of her friends. It is so wrong that they have to deal with this at all.

I have come to love my connections with all of you who read my blog. You are all so sweet and encouraging, kind and creative. I know that as you're reading this, you're sending your prayers to Brooke's family and friends. That's what I'm counting on. They need them. Thanks.

Just Passing Through

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! It's a special day around here because it's Austen's birthday. He turned twelve yesterday! How'd that happen? :) After our time honored tradition of watching the Fourth of July Parade, we came home and had our 11th Annual Tallman Fourth of July Party. It is was so great for us to share a beautiful, sunny day with so many of our sweetest, nicest, zaniest friends! We've had a hard time here in town for the past 10 days. Gathering with our friends helped to remind us of how special they are and how lucky we are. Those friendships for the parents and kids are truly gifts to us.
In a quieter moment, we noticed this sweet little deer over by the chicken coop, visiting. He was probably so happy to much a little of their feed and enjoy their frenetic company. Alas, Max noticed him after a few minutes and decided to join the party. He broke up the meeting with his loud lab bark and a big charge across the yard. Then he grabbed a stick, thinking maybe a little fetch was in order. We call that a Party Foul!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This Little Piggy

I am so happy it's summer!! We are in the middle of a beautiful week up here in the Green Mountains! I've been barefoot or wearing flip flops for weeks and I've fallen in love again with my Tingle foot care products! With menthol, calendula & eucalyptus, our pedicure line provides the perfect pampering experience for our summertime feet! This is a gift kit I did for the crafty club that I've been teaching. It includes Fabulous Foot Soak, Fabulous Foot Scrub & Fabulous Foot Lotion, along with a slice of loofah to do the hard work! Wouldn't it be perfect for bridesmaids or future MIL's? And really, we all deserve to enjoy life's simple pleasures ~ like clean, shiny feet! A full size pedi kit is available here on etsy.

Hope your piggies are enjoying summer, too!