Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2014 Soap News and Special

Hi Soap Lovers!

August finds me gardening.  I was going to say weeding, but, it is so much more than that here at the new Cottage.  I am a stone mason, an irrigation specialist, a landscape designer and more--only I am not expert at any of those things.  I am at best a beginner--but I am learning every minute I am out in the yard. And best yet, I am loving every moment!  Rod arrives with the first load from Florida tomorrow.  I wonder how much of what I packed to come up here a month ago I will now find that I can live without!?! 

A couple notes, one very, very sad.  My mold and soap cutter maker, Willard Larson, died at age 94 last week.  He was my sister's father-in-law--but that only tells you a fraction of the story of who this wonderful man was.  Known as the Cross Man, a master carpenter who was in the union for 70 years, a founding member of his church here in Rockford, Illinois and a navy vet who served in WWII and Korea--he was the kindest, most faithful man.  Being able to attend his funeral was a life affirming event.  A few of his grandkids and a son-in-law memorialized him...and many tears were shed.  Godspeed, Willard!  More about Willard here.

Also, for any of you having trouble reaching me on my cellphone, I apologize.  The stone cottage is not allowing me to use the cell in the house and my text messages are being delivered only when I leave the house.  (This means when I remember to take it with me as I am getting in the car--and since I am in Illinois and I can't use the phone in the car without a hand's free device--which is in he house on the counter usually--or not charged up--anyhow, you see where this is going!!!)   Please use the house number and leave a message if I am not here.  That number is (815) 708-7200.  It rings in the house, the soap factory and the shop--and I can hear it if I am in the back yard, too! 

Be sure to look around the blog if you want to see what else I have been up to last month!  I have lots of pictures to post.

Show Schedule
August /September 2014
9-10     Mendota IL Corn Festival    
16-17  Lake Geneva WI Venetian Art Festival       
30- Sept 1    Septemberfest Schaumburg IL

Industry News

Have you heard how professional tasters categorize things?  There are hundreds of categories, but, basically you can set them into five basic tastes:  Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami (a Japanese word that means savory).  So now neuroscientists are doing the same thing for scent.  They have settled all scents into TEN basic categories--keep in mind these odors are not all intended to be used in person care products:

1.  Fragrant--like lavender, soapy, cologne
2.  Woody/resinous--for example:   cut grass, mushrooms
3.  Minty/Peppermint--eucalyptus, camphor, tea leaves fall in here
4.  Sweet
5.  Chemical
6.  Popcorn--has it's own category...LOL--but it includes butter, fried chicken like scents too.
7.  Lemon
8.  Fruity--non-citrus
9.  Pungent--garlic, sour milk
10.  Decayed--rotten meat, manure

I think we would have some interesting conversations about where in this spectrum things actually fall.  You know my distaste for Patchouli which I would put in the last category--decayed.  My sister would certainly put it in the Woody category.  What do you think about these categories?

Company News
At the Mount Horeb Art Fair  a couple weeks ago, I again ran across Sue Koehler one of my favorite potters.  I stocked up on a few of her gorgeous and functional soap dishes.  If you are looking for a great gift--for yourself or a friend--think about one of these dishes with a great bar of shea butter soap sitting on top!  I also have a green/blue/tan glaze and a tan/brown glaze dishes available.  You can get them on the soap page here--above the page footer.

I had a batch of the Salt Detox soap go bonkers on me last week.  I will be redoing that batch this weekend, hopefully, to get it ready for the shows coming up.  I am not sure how it will do with the humidity in the new curing building.  Cross fingers!
Soap Specials
Click here to get this month's special--a FREE soap with every six bar purchase of regular priced soaps.  You can always get the special online, by clicking through the green leaf at the bottom of every page where you will be whisked to the Specials page.  Spend a minute there--I also listed some shaving soap endpieces and a VERY limited supply of both the Split Personality and 100% Natural Split Personality soaps.  Be sure to click on the button of whatever specials you are trying to take advantage of...I can't read your mind...if it's not clicked I can't do the special.  But, if you forget something, you can always email me or call.  Enjoy!!
Oh, and don't forget if you really need to stock up or want to split an order with a friend, you get free shipping to one address if you spend $50.  Click here to go to the Specials page, click on the free shipping button and you are good to go!

This Week's Cottage Projects and MORE Pictures

I was at a jewelry party last night, chatting with a group of women I didn't know very well.  Isn't it funny how one topic will get everyone talking.  My friend Robin introduced me as Jackie, her friend from Florida who just bought a TINY HOUSE in town!  Well, those words, TINY HOUSE, ignited the room.  Laura, Robin's best friend had all kinds of questions.  Her daughter, Cassie, said she had been looking at the Pinterest Tiny House boards and was in love with them.  Everyone was either horrified or excited by the fact the new house was only 530 square feet. 

This week I spent hours in the yard, many of them accompanied by my Mom who spent a couple mornings with me helping me to cut back ground covers in the front yard where the English ivy was growing over the boulders and covering them up.  I love the look of the boulders, so the ivy had to go!  Then I refreshed the pea gravel on that side of the driveway.  Too bad it was tiny--more sand like than pinkie nail size--compared to the last batch of gravel from Menards.  I hate when that happens--especially when I was hauling 20 bags of it in my 20 year old minivan along with the last of the edging blocks for the Koi Pond. 


Now don't get too excited.  The Koi Pond is just the previous owner's nickname for the planting bed to the left as you pull in the driveway.  The "pond" is an area of pea gravel sitting in the middle of a mulched berm.  She had always wanted to put some painted wood koi in here to "swim".  I loved that idea, so, I finished off the pond with some Menards's edging along with some rocks and bricks to keep the mulch out of the pond.  I moved the round lily pads (stepping stones) from the front path that I worked on too!  Now, I need about a dozen of these to go in the pond along with some cute turtles and frogs sitting on the lily pads.  Just look at the shipping on those fish to see why I will have to come up with another idea!!!!

The last big project this week was on the two black stone pathways--you can see them in the picture above.  This is going to be a trouble spot as the supplier of that black aggregate is now out of business in town and the only other product I can find that comes close is the fish aquarium gravel you get at the pet store.  (Plus, the size is not the same and the fish stuff is shiny and what I have is more of a flat black.)  That will be a very expensive way to refresh the walks.  I have it in two areas in the back yard too!

So, what I did to help was the put a better separation in the lower path--putting those five square pavers across the path to separate the pea gravel from the black stone.  On the upper path, I had to cut the black plastic tube edging that goes under the driveway, lift it up an inch or so and then backfill it to hold the pea gravel out a bit better.  I also cut back the ivy and other ground covers in this planting bed so show the boulders and the other edging.  This planting bed may become known as my Creeping William/Charlie bed.  Jan, the previous owner said she always reached a point in the summer where she just threw up her hands.   Since I just started the battle, I may make it to the Fall with that war!

This week's yard waste haul was two 30 pound cans and five 50 pound bags.  Yes, not all of that was really yard waste--much of it could have gone on my compost pile.  BUT, that is full already!!

The lilies are about done, but, the Russian Sage is still gorgeous!