Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Today is Memorial Day. This day is for all those who fell while fighting for our freedom at home here in America, and for the freedom of others around the world. This photo is from my private collection.

There's many video tributes for this day on YouTube. I've took a look this morning while remembering what makes this country so great. I think this one is one of the best.

God bless America, every fallen hero, and all who have served and continue to serve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm Cured...

The soaps above are now being wrapped and stock quantities on the web site will be updated this weekend. In order of appearance: Lemon Poppo Mint, Ruby Moon, Complexion Samplers, and Lime and Thyme O'Lyptus.

Other soaps reaching their curing date during the new month: Spearmint Grapefruit, A Twist of Lemongrass, Orange Tree Blast, Calendula Calm & Co., Butter Me Better and a few others that escape me right now.

At this pace, come the beginning of July, I'll be all caught up on the out of stock soaps. And... there should be more than a bar or two of new additions to the Art House page.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Look Ma No Hands

Up with the larks I was this morning. Crack of dawn, opening the workshop to turn out the soap from the molds. I had a good day yesterday. I love soaping. I love it best when I'm on a soapfest. Back to back batches, and a wonderful bounty day after day after day. It might sound daft, but for me... there's no finer feeling in all of my work. Okay... maybe when I get an email from one of you telling me how you like the soap I've made. Yes... that's a mighty fine feeling. And many days it lifts me, especially when I get to face the clean up at the end of the day.

I'm now trying to get ahead with things. How crazy is that? For the last few weeks I've been playing catch up. But with a plane from England due in a couple of weeks, I need to be able to forget soaping for the time my visitors are here. So, although this next two weeks is normally my annual break, I'm happily working through it so I can have some good family time with my son when he arrives.

He plays piano, and he's a gifted man. I know... all mother's say things like that about their children. But, he plays by ear. He's one of those rare folk, who can play whatever you ask. Stick on a song he's never heard, and he'll be playing it before the chorus has really kicked in. And I don't mean plinking the tune.

For the two weeks he is here, my house will be filled with music. It's a wonderful feeling. It truly is. My heart will be so full, each and every day. Those hands above are going to bring me so much joy. I am so proud of him. I feel so blessed.

The title of today's post is one of my favorites. It's by Elton John. It can be found here on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Be Right Back

Well, that was a short list of priorities. I worked last night until 1:30am. Got up this morning, and after the doctor's visit, I came back and I've just finished now. It's 7:15 and for those of you who are eagerly waiting to hear what I decided from last night's post, here's the notice from the front page of the web site...

"The office is currently closed for annual inventory/break until Wednesday June 16th. We will not be taking orders during this time. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive a special coupon when we reopen. All current orders have shipped. Thank you."

I'll still be blogging because I'm doing inventory, etc., but this next few weeks is going to be good.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Top of the World...

I've just spent the last two weeks fully focused and getting on top of things. Well, getting on top of the things that were all the priorities left from a pared down list as long as my arm and then some. When it feels like you've got the world on your shoulders, I do believe you should sit down with a good hot cup of whatever you drink and write a list of everything that you feel is weighing you down. Then, when you've exhausted every single thing no matter how big or minuscule it might seem, it's a deep breath in as you start to cross off everything that doesn't definitely have to be done right away.

So, I set myself two weeks. It was important for me to focus fully on what really was a priority and strike out what was being let go of. So I got to last night (Sunday), which was my target night, rather proud of myself. Products made that needed to be made, labeled and shrinkwrapped, all ready to go to stock. Many wrapped soaps. Loads and loads of little wax wrapped parcels, sitting labeled and ready to go to stock. Bottles, jars, lotion tubes, lip balms and the list goes on and on. All ready to go to stock. I think you're getting the picture. I managed to stay on top even though I had newsletter week last week. And last night, I finally closed the workshop door and thought "Brilliant!". I made my cuppa tea and sat down with a huge great sigh and relaxed.

You see, there's a reason I've had to get on top of everything. It's not just because I'm behind, because if I have to, I'll work 18 hours a day for three or four days. And that's usually good enough. But this was May. And every May, we close for a full two weeks to take a break, do inventory, and recharge our batteries. This year, more than any other year, was really important to us because it's been hard going. If you've been following the blog, you'll know what I mean.

I've got up this morning to some wonderful news. My son and his girlfriend are coming over to visit in June. I've not seen them since early last year. So now I'm working out how long to close the office for. Whether to close for two weeks, reopen and close again. Whether to close for two weeks and then stay closed while they visit. Or whether to close and reopen and stay open the whole time.

After an exciting day, I feel like right back to where I was two weeks ago. I've got a list to write tomorrow morning and I'm going to be trimming it down to priorities. Which should be much easier after the cortisone injection I'm getting in my soaping shoulder. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? Like I said, it's been hard getting on top of things...

Monday, May 10, 2010

New to the Manor

New to the Manor this week, are the first two soaps from my new line of Art House Soaps. These small batch soaps are creatively fashioned and hand cut by yours truly, and I've given each one of them my own artistic twist. More Art House designs are on the curing shelves, and will be released over the summer as they reach their curing dates.

If you want to try them now, you can take advantage of the discount coupon running between now and Friday at midnight. Just enter the coupon code HEY2MAY in the coupon box at checkout and receive 15% off your order.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stopping the Circus Act

Well, I finally got to Sunday evening, and I'm on schedule for the May newsletter going out tomorrow night. I think once I stopped chasing my own tail where the new products were concerned, I had clear focus on directing my full energies on what needed to be done, and what needed to be let go of.

I really wish I'd have let go sooner, and just accepted that the weeks of Jason's recovery were just as valid a setback as the initial weeks of his major surgery. It's not that his recovery took any longer than normal, it's more that I didn't take into proper account that he could only do light duties for a good twelve weeks.

Okay. I'm not SuperWoman. And for many of us who manage a 24/7 balancing act between home, family, and work, that's a hard lesson to learn. I'm caught up on what was important, and I've another ten days of busying about before I'll feel much more happier in myself. Many soaps are made and curing, but stocks won't be back to normal for at least another 4 weeks.

On the plus side, right hand man Jason came through again for me and completed the long awaited label for the Art House soaps. Oooh, did something new make the web site afterall? You bet it did. I'll see you tomorrow with the newsletter. It's going to be a good week. I can feel it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's a Wrap!

It's the end of Hump Day. I'm almost past the middle of the week. The picture above is just part of my bounty for my working day today.

I've also potted up face cremes, made lotion sticks, and all four flavors of sugar scrubs. It's 7:15pm now and the last hour and a half has been spent packing order boxes ready for tomorrow's carrier pickup.

I've just made myself a cup of tea and it's back into the workshop now for some cleanup duties. Roll on, Thursday...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Freebie

Every month I get to enjoy giving away a free bar of soap with every order. Never a mystery and always full size, the order box freebie for the month of May is the silently sensual Ruby Moon. Check out the freebie page to see what else can be free inside your order box this month.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beauty in a Bottle

Olive oil is a wonderful friend to many home beauty treatments. Used alone, or with other kitchen cupboard staples, olive oil is a favorite among natural beauty enthusiasts.

Nails and Cuticles: A twenty minute soak in a small cup of olive oil does wonders for brittle nails and rough cuticles. Add a little sugar when you're done soaking for a moisturizing hand massage.

Hands: If your hands are feeling the rough of the season, massage in a little olive oil before bed and slip on some cotton gloves.

Bath: Add a drizzle of olive oil to your bath water for an all over moisturizing treat. A few drops of lavender essential oil makes for a nice soothing calm.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Welcome to my Wonderland

I'm late with the website changeover. I'm late with my new soaps. I'm late with my staple soaps. I'm late with the new labels. I'm late with my more recent reviews. I'm late with new product write ups. I'm playing catch up in almost every direction that I turn.

I'm late with my hair. I'm late with my own pedicure. I'm late with my fave television shows. I'm late with my morning sleep ins. I'm late with my own exfoliating. I'm late with my eyebrows.

I'm late with my blog posting.

The words "clock", "rabbit hole," and "house of cards" spring to mind. So, to get off this 2 month Alice in Wonderland treadmill I've been on since Jason's recovery from surgery , I have spent today whittling down a long list of things that need catching up on. Armed with said list, I'm holding back the newsletter until next Monday evening while I spend this next week making more soap, filling more bottles, potting up jars, wrapping soaps, and penning new product write ups.

And being the taskmaster that I am, I've written Jason a shortlist of priorities too. Hopefully he will have the website updated tomorrow night, and new labels for my new soaps completed in time for the newsletter.