Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aaaaand... this has nothing to do with soap.

But it has everything to do with stuff I'm thinking about. So I hope you like it too.

I'm resigned to the fact at this point that I'm not posting in my blog all that often. Every once in awhile though, inspiration will strike and I will feel like I absolutely must share what I'm thinking about here. Mainly because I know that there are folks out there who *do* read my blog when I get around to posting. And they let me know that they appreciate it. Which is really, really nice. I'm pretty crummy at using the phone, (and the pen as it turns out.) Maybe when I'm older I'll grow back into that. There's always hope.

Last week my youngest had her tonsils and adenoids removed. I'll spare you the details. But she's home. Doing well considering and, onward ho.

In my garden, I have given said youngest free reign to plant carrots basically wherever she pleases. I mean really, they take *so* long to grow and you get them in ones and twos so why stop it?

This morning I went out to water and discovered one very happy carrot ready to be picked. She gets to pull any and all carrots since she planted them, after all. But she is sure to face certain death if she eats the carrot. (Tonsils & all...)

So... off I went to find a recipe for soft carrots. What I found instead is an article and recipe for Carrot Pudding. Michael Procopio writes a really nice piece that weaves together Carrot Pudding and the phenomenon of how 1st generation Americans inherit the recipes of their parents, but over time, they change. "They are still recognizable, but they bear the branding of adaptation, of assimilation."

This is something that I've thought a lot about. I like traditional foods. My maternal side of the family came to "America" well over 200 years ago. Don't know of any food traditions there. Probably because it was hand to mouth in those days. Paternal side came from Germany. Or maybe Poland. We don't know for sure. But hey! They were bakers! Yay! But wait... that was in the late 1800's and um... no recipes. Hey guys, what gives? (Now, I must give credit to my awesome aunt who gave all of us cousins a book of recipes from my grandmother's personal collection. And I have a family cheesecake recipe that I guard with my life.) Which brings me to...

The Bialy Eaters.

Easily one of my favorite books of all time. Not a new book. But I read it earlier this summer. Mouthwatering and heartbreaking. Bialys are named after Bialystok in Poland. An authentic Bialy is next to impossible to find. No one even makes Bialys in Bialystok anymore. (Before I read this book, I thought a Bialy was just a Bagel without a hole. Wrong again, Einstein.)

I wish I could know what my ancestors ate. I'm sure there's culture in there somewhere.

With all of the picking of berries, carrots and jam making we've done this summer, I've wondered whether way back when, "my people" were gatherers. Meanwhile. I'll try out this carrot pudding and see how we like it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Catching Up!

Well! I've been nicely busy! Nice in that it's manageable. I am never, ever, bored.

Edit 11:20am - I saw this *great* dragonfly this morning. Had to insert it into the blog!

So let's see... last week one of my projects was trying to dislodge some soap out of a round mold. This particular mold is an air assist mold which has worked great in the past, but this time the seal broke. There I was looking at a really nice smelling PVC pipe.

Ugh. So I set out to fix the seal. Which I did. The problem was that the seal in the soap tube was stronger than the two top epoxy. So the air assist wasn't going to work. The seal is still plenty usable. All is not lost. I just have to fix the other parts of the mold now. Because I broke it.

But in the end, four cans of veggies and some serious force... we got it out.

And the end result is worth it.

I will be able to fix the mold and use it again. I've also found a liner to use in it. The soap meanwhile, is curing on the rack. It's nicely scented with Red Apple fragrance. I'll let everyone know when it's in the Etsy shop. -H

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Happy Place

Note: What you won't see pictures of in today's post:

1. Me & my girls at the gas station trying to pump air into my vertical soap mold and having no luck.
2. Me at my local hardware store getting 2 ton glue to fix the seal on said vertical mold.

I am relatively confident that I'll get the soap out of my vertical mold by the end of next week. How's that for confidence? Meanwhile... today was a long day of soaping away. Pictures of soap will have to wait because yesterday we lived in our happy place. Yaaaaaaaaay!

This is one of the amazing dragonflies that hangs out in our yard. They are huge and I love them.

In the mornings I try and spend time in the garden when it's quiet and cool. The quiet is what I like best.

While I'm out there, I snitch peas.

And I spoil the bunny. After that I do stuff. You know. Clean. Laundry. Buy milk. Make trips to the library. Make stuff. Break stuff. Glamorous stuff like that.

Until the bat phone rings and then we go to the beach. And we wait. And play. And if we're lucky...

... we see whales. Not the best photo... but hey. Whatever. Not bad for a quick trip to the beach. -H

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Righting the ship

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." ~Lucille Ball

Baby Grapes - I counted 12 clusters.

I had an amazing week. Beach time, friend time, family time, fun time.

I hear your voices out there. they're saying, "Hey, I don't see any soap photos here, missy."

This is true. I also had some great business time. One things that I learned this week is that what I do and who I am are intertwined. Often, I try to keep it all separate. But how will you why I picked certain colors for a soap if I don't tell you all about that amazing caterpillar I saw? I don't make soap so I can say that I run a business. I make soap because I like to make soap. My husband says that my business statement should be, "Make soap I like and maybe sell some." I have something else in mind. I'm working on a mission statement and not really a business statement. It has me thinking. And enjoying what I do a lot more.

I hope you do too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Really now. It's not like I don't have anything to say.

By now you know that blogging is something that I do in fits and starts. I had a particularly productive week last week so, you know the back of the mind says, "Cool. Stuff to blog about."

No good deed goes unpunished though, and as a result I've been having image issues. Not "that" kind of image issues... the jpg kind. Sheesh.

Anyway. No images will upload to my Sandbar Soaps Facbook page directly from my computer. This is a complete hassle since I keep everyone up to date on the soap thing there.

So with no further ado... let me attempt to introduce you, for the 48th time, my most recent soap baybee!

Coconut Rose

Hooray. It worked. So this tells me that this is a Facebook problem. So for the short term... I won't be able to share my photos right to my Facebook wall. Wah. But for those of you who like me to blog... I'll be spending a little more time with you.

And of course, as I type, I am hearing the FedEx guy THROW my soap materials delivery on to the porch (and I'm a little worried about broken glass.) So until next time... adios. -H

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just Desserts

I get tons of soap inspiration from foods. I will often sit and have soap brainstorming sessions solely based on food. It's just fun really.

But, I thought I knew my desserts, I really did. I've traveled some, and when you travel... you eat out. And when you eat out, you get to try whatever local specialty they've got.

Well. Last year I got to go spend some time with some great friends for a weekend away. I got to eat some pretty yummy stuff. But I also got to sit and brainstorm. There's something about the lingering taste of pancakes and maple syrup, right? Well hang on. I'm a texture person, and these mamma jamma's were cooked with lots of FROSTED FLAKES in the batter and fresh strawberries. Super decadent. Wait. I'm off track.

Back on topic. I was brainstorming and one of my friends recommended that I do a Raspberry Coulis soap. Sure. Why not. I got this amazing soap fragrance oil from Bramble Berry called Raspberry Porter recently and I figured this was my big chance.

This friend of mine (you know who you are) also LOVES hearts. Raspberry Coulis Hearts. So it is. But it turns out that a Coulis is actually a sauce. I guess I was thinking of a Clafoutis, which is kind of like a cobbler of sorts. So... there I was... mixing, pouring, coloring. Generally trying to loosen up a little. I was having fun even! (Actually if you are a Facebook "liker" of Sandbar Soaps, you got a sneaky peeky.)

Today I took pictures of the little babies. And what we have here people, is Raspberry Chiffon Hearts!

I really love these. I used a melt & pour base with shea butter. I wasn't going for perfection. (Can you tell I'm working on that?) So there are these cool little textured bits on the sides. (i.e. Cracks.) Normally, cracks would send me over the edge... but I like them here. They make the hearts look, dare I say, "rustic?" So that was my fun. Enjoy! - H

Monday, January 17, 2011

Over Thinking. It's a Problem.

In my little soap world, 2011 is all about focus. Over thinking can really throw a wrench in trying to focus. Creative, yet up tight people are like that. How can I create, yet totally be a control freak about my project? (And yes, I just called myself "creative.")

This most recent soap was a great exercise in not over thinking but just going for it. And here’s the outcome:

I really wanted to play with my brick red pigment. The control freak guy on my left shoulder told me that if I used red, it would turn pink. "So what," says the recovering sod who was once spontaneous a million years ago.

So yeah, I hear you out there... "oooh! Red mica... wild living." Well all I have to say about that is, "It takes all kinds... and I guess I'm that kind." Broken down, you've got my preferred blend of oils, shea butter being the star, boosted with sunflower oil and scented with Black Tea fragrance oil. It's a complex scent. Not your southern sweet tea... but a dark, smoky blend. One for a black eyeliner day. Not that I ever have those...

Meanwhile... windy yet dry makes for an excuse to go to the lighthouse.

Next up... CP swirls. - H