July 2, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Shinigami

Inspired by the "gods of death" from the anime series, Death Note, Shinigami manages to be both fruity and earthy.
Shinigami Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The design is an apple the Shinigami are so obsessed with surrounded by swirls of smoky black, electric blue, and white. The fragrance is a blend of fresh apple, blackberry, sage, tea, cedar wood, sandalwood, leather, amber, dirt, moss, and cashmere musk.

June 30, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Amazon D

Today's fragrance was inspired by the famous Amazonian, Diana, otherwise known as Wonder Woman. This deep, complicated, and feminine scent is a blend of lily of the valley, strawberries, grapefruit, orange blossom, citrus, lavender, white sandalwood, cedar wood, patchouli, frankincense, rosemary, and musk.

Amazon D Goat Milk and Glycerin Soap
The soaps are largely glycerin with a couple of goat milk stars inserted into the blue. This was another experimental technique born out of attempts to use molds I already had on hand. I attempted to use an insert wedged into the mold and held in place by a thin layer of clear glycerin to separate the red and blue. Unfortunately, a slice long enough to suit this purpose will push up from the bottom of a silicone mold, and any even a millimeter too small allows color leak through. Additionally, my small star molds are rounded, which led to problems with small bubbles getting trapped in the rounded portion of the stars that couldn't be seen until the soaps were removed from the molds.

June 26, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Through the Wardrobe

Today's fragrance is yet another request. It was for a scent honoring winter in Narnia.

Through the Wardrobe Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
A color pallet of cobalt and creamy white with golden flecks of sparkle entered my mind at the suggestion. The fragrance is a crisp, cool, and refreshing blend of white gardenia, evergreen, crackling firewood, and peppermint with just a hint of raspberry and vanilla.

I was afraid directly inserting the snowflake patterns into the goat milk would hide or distort them, so I experimented with using a thin top layer of clear glycerin. Unfortunately, displacement thickened the glycerin layer enough to create a seam between the insert's backing and the rest of the goat milk soap. I did insert one directly into a bar of extra goat milk soap to see if they turned out differently. That one, though undersized, turned out to be my favorite. The snowflake showed up almost perfectly, and there wasn't much of a seam between the insert and the rest of the bar at all. So, there will likely be a slight adjustment to the design next go around.

June 24, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Solid Luck

Thanks to a month where one or the other of us were sick with one thing after another, I'm a lot later getting started producing the new line of fragrances this year. But now that I'm back in the grove, I'm working like mad to have them all ready to debut at Con Kasterborous here in a couple of weeks.

Solid Luck Glycerin Soaps
Today's fragrance is another request. I was asked to create something in honor of the Felix Felicis potion from the Harry Potter series. Solid Luck is the result.

The soaps are all glycerin and colored with a sparkling gold mica powder, so it looks like the Felix Felicis potion in solid form. The scent is a light and crisp blend of ginger, lime, basil, fresh greens, bergamot, and white tea.

May 13, 2015

Long Term Plans... Well, Maybe Goals is More Accurate

Last week I told you about the patio garden we started after a couple of years slowly building up the supplies. It wasn't completely finished, but we made a decent start on it. It still isn't done, but we're a couple steps closer to finishing our establishing goal for this year.

patio vegetable and herb garden week 2
Here's our patio garden as of Sunday morning.
We found some Italian oregano, lavender, more rosemary and basil, lemon balm, marigolds, alliums, and geraniums this past Saturday, and those got planted super early Sunday morning. Our seed packets arrived on Friday, but we're still working on digging out and edging the chamomile garden. I'm hoping I can get it done today, so the seeds can be scattered before rain blows in tomorrow and sets in for the next week.

May 5, 2015

Patio Vegetable Garden: Getting Started

We've been talking about starting a patio garden for two or three years. It's one of those things that can be a bit pricy to get going. So, we've been accumulating pots, tools, and bags of drainage rock here and there over the last few years. While irritating, it's been for the best since it gave the girls time to grow into being able to take active roles in tending the garden with us.

Gardening with children.
The girls learned how to transplant seedlings. They were so gentle with their beans!
Thus far, 2015 seems to be the year to get started as things finally fell into place with only bags of high quality potting soil and seedlings left to go. So with the girls' bean plants outgrowing our kitchen table, we devoted Friday afternoon and just about all day Saturday to setting up our first patio vegetable garden.

April 30, 2015

Summer Science, Math, and Home Ec.

As those who have small children in school probably already know, kindergarten through third grade pretty much all cover the same lessons with each year just being a bit more involved than the year before. This helps lay a foundation of the fundamentals in a way that really "sticks" since we all learn through repetition. Now that Boo Bear is in third grade, we've had our hands full with projects and in depth explanations more than we have in the past three years.

She's so incredibly proud of her baby bean plants!
Both girls have always had a strong interest in science, with the biological sciences being of particular interest. So, we're going all out in our life science studies this year, which is one reason we put off the subject throughout the winter in favor of making it a spring and summer subject. Our biggest project of the year started a couple of weeks ago when we did the usual sprout beans in a plastic baggie experiment, and it will end this fall when we're harvesting the fruits of our family's labor.

April 23, 2015

Branching Out Our Taste Buds

One day back in late February, I was out grocery shopping with the girls and bemoaning the fact our local Aldi had once again run out of gluten free bread. A woman overheard us talking and told us about a new store getting ready to open just up the road called Sprouts purportedly like a lower cost Earth Fare or Whole Foods. Of course I had to go home and look it up.

Inside Sprouts from their website. Not a sponsored post, just an excited mama.

A few weeks later this new Sprouts Market opened. We weren't there at the opening itself, but it didn't take us long to go check it out.

April 16, 2015

Finding Balance Yet Again

There's been a lot of chatter in women's blogs and magazines about establishing a work/life balance over the past several years. Funny how most of those articles and discussions make it seem like something you set up and that just keeps on going on its own. Yet it always seems I'm having to take stock of what's going on in our lives and striving to find a way to "balance" it out every few months. Am I alone in this?

We've come a long way since 2012!
Perhaps it's simply a matter of the type of jobs Hubby and I have. Upheaval's to be expected for a teacher without tenure, owning a small business, and a failed attempt at career change. Somehow I doubt that's it though. Even when Hubby stuck with the same school for several years in a row and I was simply staying home and schooling our then preschoolers, this was going on.

February 20, 2015

Reorienting in Coping with Dyslexia

I came across this photo making the rounds on Facebook today. It sparked a bit of nostalgia in me.

Yet another Facebook, "If you can read this," meme.
Learning to read backwards and upside down is how I learned to reorient letters. I seriously thought everyone could do it until I asked a coworker about something on a sign posted outside our window, and they responded by questioning how I could read the sign. It was only five years ago, when Hubby was taking the Ortton-Gillingham training that I learned it was one of the earliest methods of helping children with dyslexia learn how to reorient letters. Unfortunately, it's also a method that's effective for just 5% of those dealing with dyslexia, and while I might be part of that percentage, the girls aren't.