Thursday, February 16, 2012

NEW Soap Sliver Bags

I bought one of these a long time ago and fell in love with it.  Fast forward several months, maybe a year and it was starting to fall apart because I used it every single day.  So, I have been keeping an eye out for them.  I actually have tried to find a source for the material, but, it seems like it is a China import item and I cannot get it in less than humongous quantities.

I don't have a regular source for these...yet...but I love them so much I thought I better put them up on the website ( ).  You know the material the bath puffs are made from, right?  These bags are made from several layers of the same material with a little drawstring cord and closer.  Hang them from a hook in your shower.  You can use them for all your little slivers of expensive handmade soap, or, just put a whole bar in them.  They will exfoliate, they lather up wonderfully and then they rinse off completely.  The best thing is that the soap inside dries completely!!!

$5.00  assorted colors

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 6 Weigh-In

Week 6, found me 0.4 lighter than the week before!  Big celebration here as both my parents lost too!!!  Dad was down 2.4 and Mom was down an even 2.  And that was on a week when there were chocolate chip cookies in the house!  I ignored the cookies and my exercise was consistent, so I am very happy with the results.

Our big challenge this week will be dinner out tomorrow night for Valentine's Day.  Where are you going?   What are you doing??  We usually go to one of our local restaurants--our favorite is Carrabbas--and split entrees, add a salad and dessert.  I will not be drinking this year, so, that will be my big sacrifice.  But it's Rod's turn to order, so, it will be Sirloin Marsala with their yummy mashed potatoes--with no salt added please!  Or, maybe I should just get a baked potato?!  Or the brocolli.  Decisions, decisions!

I have been using to track my food and exercise and I am very happy with it.  It is free--a nice bonus--and it works way easier than the trackers on Biggest Loser.  It does take time to enter your favorite recipes.  But, that time it offset by the ease of saving them as favorites to use in your food tracker.  And as you make healthier decisions you can modify the recipes and save them to your food tracker and a recipe box.  Nice touches.  There is an extensive forum and recipe search feature that I haven't spent too much time with, but, so far I am impressed.

The coolest thing by far is seeing how your meals stack up with regards to calories, carbs, fat and protein...and any other "nutrient" you want to track.  For me, I am trying to limit sodium, so it has been less then thrilling to see my number high even though I don't add salt to anything.  LOL  So many prepared foods add way too much sodium (think lunch meats, soups), even food that you think of as diet foods.  Cottage cheese was a huge surprise and my favorite stewed tomatoes too!  So I am really looking for alternatives.  If you have any good substitutions for high salt products, please leave a comment.  :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Soap Dish 101--NEW Bamboo Soap Trays

At the end of the week last week, I had two orders for the soap dish I had been buying from IKEA.  The one that started out at only $0.99, was made from Teak, shipped easily and worked just as you would expect.  We made the trip around the corner to our local IKEA store and found the shelf empty where those soap dishes should be.  Bummer.

Luckily, they had a new soapdish, above.  It is bamboo, quite large with a nice curved shape--the ends sit about one inch higher than the middle.  It looks like it will drain well too!  That is the key with soap dishes, you know.  It must have drainage holes to keep the soap separate from the water that sheds off your hands and the bar of soap.  Ridges do not cut it.  Drainage holes are the KEY if you plan on keeping your nice handmade soaps from getting soggy!

Anyhow, I listed it on the website for $5.  The dimensions are 4" x 7" and several bars will sit on it quite nicely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

We Are Cracking Now!

The Pecan Saga is over!!  It all started with my Mother-in-Law, Cody.  She actually has a friend who somehow gets bags of unshelled pecans.  Four or five times in the last couple of years, I am given one of these huge bags.  We love getting them.  Rod immediately sees a future with Chocolate Chip Cookies with pecans, Banana Bread with pecans and every once in a great while a Pecan Pie!  But two years ago when we did the nuts, my nut cracker and all the hand-held crackers and pics ended up going home with Mom and Dad.  So, we they arrived this year with all the nut-cracking gear in tow, we had two large bags of nuts to crack.  One of the bags were tiny little, dark pecans.  The other had huge nuts with a much lighter color.   

So, three days ago Mom and Dad started the cracking process.  They did that while I worked on Soap Biz stuff.  I joined them the last few days, but, my contribution was tiny compared to theirs!  The yield was 
4 3/4 quarts of nuts!   Since I have been dieting, my housemates have been supporting me by not having too many "restricted" foods around.  Today when we were out and about, I picked up a bag of dark chocolate chips and made three people VERY happy.  Most of all, Mom, who loves baking.  Yield on the cookies:   over 4 dozen.  Healthy concessions: dark chocolate, part whole wheat flour and they are keeping them hidden from me...just in case!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Packaging Changes--New Tissue Paper...again!

The Story of through a visual journey of the tissue paper used in wrapping the handmade shea butter soaps through the years.  {Cue cheesy music}

From the late 1990's

First there was the perfect, elegant STATEMENT tissue paper.  I found it at Micheal's craft store and tracked down the importer.  I bought it for years by the ream with no trouble.  One day my supplier told me they would not sell to individuals anymore.  Even those individuals who were businesses.  Then I found out the paper was discontinued by the manufacturer.

 Then there was the paper I hated.  It was blah.  It was boring.  It was so thin--it tore too easily.  It did fit in with my products o.k.  I switched when the supplier I bought it from discontinued it.  I later found out it was still available on the market, but,  I had already happily moved on to...

Next up,  I switched to handmade mulberry tissue paper.  It was EXPENSIVE.  But, the importer would cut it to the size I needed to wrap soap, so it was a good trade-off.  I liked the variety.  It was heavier than standard tissue so it was so easy to work with and made my part time soap wrapper (Mom) very happy.

A couple more years go by and I find one of my absolute favorites!  So much intense color.  Not bad to work with and the sheets were very generously sized.  It was once again discontinued.  My friend Eve had told me I should go buy a bunch to make sure I would have it...but it was already too late.  I found a guy on eBay who was selling off the end runs of it...but...alas I was too late to get enough of the colors I needed.  I have a few more bars wrapped like this, but, the new tissue is already being used...

Started using in 2012

Not bad.  I like it.  Color, but a little more muted. Nice design  that isn't too big.  
So, maybe I should go buy a few more reams of each????

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mom is on the Clock

Just a snap from the Lake Placid Country Fair this past weekend.  Mom helping to display the soaps.  This was on Saturday morning and by noon she was in a t-shirt.  It turned out to be a beautiful weekend for "Girls Night Out"!  

Will post some more shots on the weekend.  We have been having too much fun with pecans.  Note the very heavy sarcasm...she is a slave driver sometimes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week Five Weigh-In, Woohoo!

What a great Wii Weigh-In this morning.  I was kind of slow getting out of bed.  Not from a Super Bowl Party, more from packing up at the Art Show and then, unloading the van and then preparing the party foods.  I did have a lot of help on that end of things from Rod.   He basically did the cocktail wienies and got the veggie chili stewing away in the crock pot.  He also mixed up taco meat for the taco salad.  That helped a lot, but, I was still beat by 10 p.m.

So, this morning we (Emily, Bonnie and I) all gathered at the Wii for weigh-in.  Bonnie and Emily lost a little weight, I think Em's because I wasn't here this weekend making her eat.  I lost... drum roll please...5.3 pounds.   It think it was partly because I didn't lose much last week, and because I was pretty good at the restaurants I ate at this weekend.  My Mom was pretty good too...but she did splurge on some strawberry shortcake at the show.  (Followed by a really awesome looking chocolate cake at IKEA at lunch today--she isn't quite on board the diet thing...yet!)  

By the time all that was done and my 20 minute routine of yoga and strength exercises, the rest of the house was ready to get on the scale.  Rod was home--he took the day after the Super Bowl off.  That was nice for us, he could join us at IKEA!  Then Mom and I went for a two mile bike ride--about 15 minutes.  It was a nice slightly hilly ride that made her complain just the right amount.  LOL  

This week's goal is to keep the exercise coming.  And not to lose control at night, as always!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shopping Bag Recap for January

OK, I ditched all but one of my cloth bags, and now have 8 really sturdy paper ones.  So how did I do in January.  The first week was easy of course.  Motivation and memory were high.

The second week, I was in line checking out when I remembered.  So, I asked Rod to help me remember for next week.  But, based on how stocked my freezer is right now, what we need at the store may fit in the cloth bag I have in my purse!

The next week I remembered with no problem and even used my cloth bag at a store I went to for non-grocery items.  WIN!

The last week, I was shopping three times.  The first time, with Rod and my parents along, we remembered the bags.  Yea!  But we had two more stops.  One was Sam's Club so I didn't need a bag at all.  The final stop was a Publix in the neighborhood.  It would have been a perfect opportunity to use the cloth bag in my purse...but I forgot.  And the three plastic bags I ended up with could easily have been condensed to only one.

NOTE TO SELF:  The Express Lines are sometimes just that...FAST.  Have your bag ready when you get in line.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Weigh-In Week 4

Well, you can tell I wasn't ready to jump on the bandwagon right away this week.  When you have a good loss you want to yell it from the rooftop.  This week was a little different.   I lost!  But only 0.2 pounds.  Kinda a bummer, but, it's better than gaining.  :)  I exercised hard three times last week too!  So, not a bad week.

My goal for last month--which was just trying to get my night time eating under control is much better.  I had a couple times that I lost control.  BUT, when I stopped and thought about why I wanted to eat and then thought about the hard work I had put in during the day...I was under control.  For me, it's the mindless eating that gets me.  I find I fly though the day doing all the business stuff that has to get done--orders, restocking supplies, making products, eating everything in sight...LOL...that pretty soon that is what I am doing.  And especially at night when Rod goes to bed  so early, it is easy to do without THINKING.

If I stop...listen to myself...then I make good choices.

SO, the goal for the next month is to get back into walking.  I have one little bouncy dog who would love to walk every day.  I just need to convince her that we are walking...not peeing at every mailbox in the neighborhood!

Wish me luck!!!  I will need it!