Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

There is a lot of buzz about new year resolutions on the internet. Have you resolved to make one?

I found a site that I could relate to when it comes to how hard it is to change something. You can go to and read Anna Johnson's take on what it takes to make and keep a resolution.

I started my soap vending business 4 years ago January 18. The first year, I forgot I had a family. My second year, I resolved to spend time with my family. Each year, I make a little more time for my family without compromising my business. It is slow, but there is progress.

I think it hard to change a habit, too. I quit smoking four years ago last October 8. This was not a gradual thing; I quit cold turkey on October 8. I had a lung infection, it was not hard to start the quit, though maintaining it was difficult. And, I still want one occasionally.

I personally think everyone should resolve to try at least one handmade natural soap this year; from me would be nice, too. :) This way, they can find out how wonderful their skin was made to feel upon bathing - so clean, soft, and not dry.

Whatever you decide to do, Happy New Year to You! ♥

Monday, December 29, 2008

When Is a Pattern Yours?

I crochet and have for many, many years. I have come to the point in my crocheting in which I don’t refer to any pattern. I see what I want to crochet (albeit crocheted, knitted, sewed, or manufactured), and I crochet something as close as I can get it. This leads me to a serious question: When can you call a pattern yours?

It is my thinking that most everything that can be done with yarn has been done, at least as regards to patterns. I see new yarns coming out all the time, and I know these “new” yarns are really new. There are yarns being made out of milk fibers and shrimp shells, for goodness sakes! But, patterns? I really don’t see much that is new.

But, I have seen the same pattern claimed by many. That is odd.

I crochet a skinny scarf I have been crocheting for years for gifts and to sell. It is a simple mesh stitch that I did not look up, but I know it must be a common pattern. It is just a simple mesh stitch all through the scarf. But, is it mine?

If I wanted to write a Crochet Pattern Book, what patterns can I claim? If I create something I haven’t seen before, at what lengths do I have to look to see if it is out there by someone else? I know I cannot claim the patterns I find and duplicate.

I found a beautiful pattern for a pair of fingerless gloves. This pattern is not mine. But, if I find a different stitch and make one in the same dimensions, is that mine? If I cut it quite a bit shorter, is it mine? If I trim it out differently, does that make it mine?

This topic has been heavy on my mind, lately, so I thought I would write about it. I would be so glad to hear any comments from anyone so inclined.

Thanks for reading me out! :)

ps: I will be introducing some of my hand crocheted pieces in my etsy shop this month.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vinegar Rinse or No?

Hi guys:

You know I have a store at etsy. Well, I have learned how to bring etsy to you. Up above includes some of my etsy finds. Some of my favorite sellers are up there. You might be interested, too. All you have to do is click on the picture, and it will take you to that listing in their store. Happy shopping.

And, here on the right are my own etsy items. You will find all these items in my shop at the etsy store.

And, it seems we are still discussing shampoo bars. Do they need a vinegar or acid rinse or not? This seems to be a hot question online today.

NO, should be the answer we soap makers give to all our customers. "No, you do not NEED a acid rinse to use and benefit from a shampoo bar."

Here's the scoop on acid or vinegar rinses:

The first reason they were ever used, back before there were bottled conditioners or any type of synthetic soap, was to soften the hard water with which we rinsed our hair. In my herb books, this rinse is explained as the way our grandmothers conditioned their hair. Much of our water here in the states is hard. Limestone and other minerals abound in our water. And, most of us use water that runs through metal pipes, which adds mineral to the water. So, we deal with hard water. Vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, and other acids will work to soften water; thereby softening our hair.

Now, as I peruse shampoo bar threads, I see that many people are under the misconception that a vinegar rinse is needed if you shampoo you hair.

I might be guilty for part of that, because I recommend using vinegar if you feel the need for a conditioner after using a shampoo bar. Why do I recommend this? Because, we want to keep it all natural on our head. That is the only reason.

We do not need an acid rinse to rinse out all the shampoo. In fact, an acid rinse just might do more harm than good. Because, if a shampoo bar is made well enough, then there will be lots of glycerin to condition the hair (without any help), and an acid rinse just might rinse out that extra glycerin. That would be sad.

I used vinegar for quite some time. My water is heavy in limestone, and I added essential oils for extra hair care. When I quit, my hair has less in it to weigh it down so it feels lighter and just as soft as ever. I thank the customer who challenged me on this.

And, I get a lot of these questions, because a lot of people are reading an acid rinse with shampoo bars is either necessary or makes it better. And, it just isn't true.

Well, I have said my piece. Everyone probably has one! :)

BTW, I made two soaps is Cucumber Parsley Face Soap (swirled), and the other is Eucalyptus Shampoo bar. It will be four weeks to list them.

Thanks, guys. I appreciate being your read. ;)

ps. Hi Mom♥

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Products in the Making♥

Hi guys:

It has been awhile, but I have been so busy you would not believe. Not so much with orders (though I have had a few), but with everything...making soap, making salves and lip balms, cleaning house for the holidays, attending my son’s basketball games, unpacking from the craft shows, taking pictures for online stores, building new stores, baking, etc., etc.!

My Mom received her fingerless gloves, and I think she likes them. Thanks to everyone who asked. I would like to say what I am making her for Christmas, but someone told her about my blog, and I think she is reading it now. So, that will be a secret until after I send them. –

I am making some fun products this week. Yesterday, I remade a very popular fragranced soap: Honey Almond. It is an all natural fragrance oil put out by They have a few others, as well. I’m not crazy about their cucumber, but it may smell better in the soap. I haven’t tried that one, yet. But the Honey Almond I made in August wasn’t here long, so I am doing it again. Then, my UPS driver buys 6 of them, and they are not even out of the mold yet, much less cured for 4 weeks! lol

I’ve been using a recipe in which olive oil is the major oil with enough coconut and castor oils to make this olive oil a lathering soap. I give this recipe out at, if you are interested. But, the fun part is deciding on the additives. This soap, my additives are aloe butter, grape seed oil, calendula petals, paprika, and honey almond fragrance oil. I swirled the calendula and paprika mixed in with some of the soap into the base soap. And, it looks beautiful (it is pictured at the top of this blog). The calendula and paprika mixed to create a beautiful almond brown color.

Today, I am making my recipe for my Tropical Butter Salve. This is the first salve I made for the business. The gist of this recipe comes from Glory Bee’s catalog of 2004. It is rich in butters, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vitamin e with a fragrance of vanilla fragrance oil and grapefruit essential oil for a very tropical, “Where’s that Pina Colada?” At least, that is what I think of. It is very popular in its texture and fragrance both. I have a wholesale order for a few 1 oz. sizes that I am filling today.

When it rains, I have no Internet service. I use wildblue satellite, and it doesn’t do rain at all. It is rainy today, and I wrote this on Word. As soon as it stops raining, I will post it.

Thanks for coming by. I appreciate you doing so. Kathleen

(I am working on a new store at Only 3 soaps listed so far, but when the rain stops today, I will be putting up more. Thanks, guys!
It is now December 13 – and sun is shining. Up goes the post! ☻

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So much to learn...

Hi folks:

I see by my google analytics that I have a few visitors popping in. Thanks for stopping by. It is good to know that I am not writing for naught! :)
I have a couple of things to say today:
1. I thought I had published my former blog a few days back. It is just going up today. I thought it had posted, but it was sitting in my list of blogs on my dashboard but nowhere on my blog page. It is published now, though, if you care to read it. It is what I promised to show when I finished my crocheted fingerless gloves.
And, I still have to learn how to post links to other sites on my blog. Haven't learned that one, yet. Well, I consider myself slow to catch on, but once there, never gone! I have an eBay store that I just got to look the way I wanted months ago. I guess that is not a bad thing unless you are online, then the speed thing kind of takes over!

2. This post is about my shampoo bars. I have been following a forum thread that is reviewing shampoo bars from different soap makers. I think mine is the 9th one reviewed, and it was a long wait. But, oh, so worth the wait. It received an excellent review from said author of blog. And, I have already received a customer from this review. See how fast everything is here online? Oh, gosh, you already know that!

She has a review of 9 different shampoo bars, and she is now comparing interview questions for 5 soaps makers, and I find this just as exciting as the reviews. If you would like to check her out, you might find some interesting reading.

I am answering questions on Yahoo, too, to spread my business name a bit; but also to let people know there are all natural alternatives to all health and beauty situations. And, interestingly enough, I am getting great feedback from the questioners regarding my answers.

And, real important to know is it does not have to be expensive. Watch those companies that want to take advantage of the "natural" trend. You want to stick with those who will be doing this before during and after a trend passes through. Their prices will be reasonable and consistent.
I am going to work on this page today and try to learn a few things. If you have any comments, I'd like to hear them. Otherwise, have safe fun! (At 52, safe fun is very good!)

Thanks, Kathleen

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Finished Product!

Hello folks:

I have not blogged in a while, because I said I would show you a finished pair of fingerless gloves I was making for my mom on her birthday coming up.

It took more time than I thought. I am doing so very much that I did not finish this pair until last night – too late to take pictures. So, I took some pictures this morning, and I wanted to show them to you today.

Remember I said the site of the pattern is at . Christie Pruitt is the author of the pattern for what she calls Lacy Fingerless Gloves. I think they are more beautiful in person than on a picture, that’s for sure.

Other news:

I am having a free shipping sale at my eBay store through December 1. I am listing new products by the hour.

I have listed some new items in my Etsy store that are no where else. You may want to check out the two sites, if you so wish. :)

As always, thanks for stopping by. Kathleen

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ordeal of Tooth Extraction No Fun

Good Morning, bloggers:

I have already wrote this story once, and I lost the whole thing due to an error on the part of this website. That teaches me to write the story first on Word, and then paste it here.

Well, anyway, let me write it again. It was an ordeal. I had two extracted, one pulled out and the other cut out (due to the stitches I feel on that side). Two teeth, one on each side of my head and of the upper teeth…one infected and one abscessed.

The Doctor surgeon asks if I want anesthesia. I think there is no way I’m going through this without it!

I wake up with gauze sticking out of both sides of my mouth. And, for some reason, I think I have a lot to say, with a lot of gauze in my mouth. Well, you get the picture.

My dearest friend drives me home. It is an hour drive, and it is the Longest Drive! I asked my friend to pull over twice to pull up that anesthesia from my belly (if you know what I mean :}). No pain but I was very nauseated from that anesthesia.

I crawled into bed soon after I am home, with my friend pulling off my clothes along the way to the bedroom. I crash for two hours.

Two days later, I am better but not great….but, definitely better. I feel a healing rather than a persistent problem. I think, though, the one that was cut out will heal more slowly than the other. It sure pains me more. And, nothing like the look of teeth missing in the in the mouth!!

While I am recuperating (yeah, right), and resting (LOL), I am crocheting the cutest pattern for wristlets or fingerless gloves I could find on the internet. I am making them for my mom on her soon to be birthday. ♥

I found the pattern at this site: . I thought they were so elegant looking. I am making my mom’s in Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in a coppery brown color. This yarn is so soft against the skin. I might edge it in a hand painted silk yarn, or edge it in the Alpaca Silk. I have not yet decided.

I hope to have the pair finished by my next blog. I will show a picture of the finished product. It is my first attempt at fingerless gloves, and I am enjoying the process.

In the meantime, you bloggers have fun. Please leave comments if you wish, and come back to check on my crochet project the next time. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Changing of the Guard


I don’t want to turn this blog into something political, but I am going to say that I am so glad the elections are over!

There has been tension in my home since the campaigns began. I have heard this for a lot of other households, as well. There is still a wait-and-see attitude; but the time for trying to convince another to see it a certain way is past. And, I, for one, am very glad about that.

It had been a long campaign, and never did it feel so long as when I realized it was over. It is like a weight being lifted off the shoulders, and that I may breathe easier now. I wonder if you feel the same.

And, my guess is that everybody has a wait and see attitude about our new president, Barack Obama. But that may be said about every new president we have had. And, my guess is that some party or other has always predicted doom when it is the other party in power. And, yet, here we are still.

I, personally, think we did something noble when we elected our first African-American president. It was inevitable sometime along the way, and I am glad it is sooner rather than later. And, historically, the African-American got the vote before the Woman did.

Woman will have to be a president, too….sometime along the way!

Isn’t this fun?

Did you know that basil makes a strong spicy cup of tea that wakes a body up? It is delicious with or without a drop of honey, and the drinking of it promotes being alert! A plant on a windowsill also deters houseflies.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breezy News

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Good morning folks:

I have been getting ready for my 3 day Christmas craft show that is this weekend. It is in Kingsport, Tennessee at the Civic Auditorium, a big deal around here. I'm introducing a couple of new products...aromatherapy sprays in 2 ounce aluminum bottles, natural perfume oils, and a cuticle oil. I will be putting them up on my sites next week.

I operate two stores online, and they are more fun than any computer game I have ever played. I don't know if I'm winning or not (!), but I am sure having a lot of fun.
The above pledge sticker can be found on front page. I took the pledge as I think everyone at etsy is doing. You can take the pledge there or just by clicking on the above sticker. We have over 2200 pages of sign-ups! Wow! I have been doing this for years, but it is harder now...I have a 13 year old boy. He has his own mind about what he wants for Christmas. I believe it is dirt bike gear. Maybe he can get that another way.
It almost feels like a comfort that the election/campaigning is over. Like there is room in the brain for something else. Whew!
I'll be back Monday morning with a report on the Craft Show. These shows are almost over, and I will be able to regroup and come out again next year with more inventory, some new products, and a better way to display it!. We got a greenhouse this fall, and I cannot wait to jump in there this winter, too.
Y'all have a great weekend whatever you do. And, I'll be back Monday. Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to have your comments.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Howdy Folks:

The big thing in skin care today seems to be shampoo bars. Well, since I make some of these babies, I thought I might take this opportunity and speak about them, too.

I began making shampoo bars 4 years ago. I did the research, because I am into making my own recipes. I had already learned different oils do different things in the process of becoming soap.

I have read many shampoo bars are not very lathering. This does not have to be. There are quite a few good oils out there that create the lather we enjoy so very much.

There are three good oils for that big bubbly lather that does not last long. It is called unstable lather. Coconut, Babassu, and Palm Kernel are the oils. If someone is allergic to nuts, Babassu oil can take the place of coconut. Babassu is a higher end oil in the price bracket, though, than Palm Kernel, but they are both from a palm tree.

If the shampoo bar has none of these, then that big, bubbly lather will not happen. And, all three oils will harden the bar, make the unstable lather, and help the bar become soap more quickly. They do nothing for the hair, however, and so they should not be the only oils used in making the shampoo bar. I lean toward Dr. Bob McDaniel’s’ line of thought from his book, Essentially Soap, and that is to use this oil at about 30-40% for its properties. Too much of these oils can dry out the skin and hair.

Then, I think, castor oil becomes another major contributor in shampoo bars. First, there is not an oil like it for its rich and humectant properties; it contains 95% ricinoleic acid. It is the only oil to carry that acid that is so rich and conditioning to our skin and hair. And, I think castor oil creates an abundance of glycerin that so conditions our hair.

There are other nice oils. But, the key here is to make sure that most of the oil’s molecules will turn to soap. There are many skin rich oils available that have too many molecules that resist becoming soap which makes the oil not soapworthy.

Castor oil has some molecules that will not turn to soap, but most will. In fact, it can be used alone to make soap! People don’t do it, because they say it will make a very soft bar of soap.

Castor oil gives an abundance of creamy, stable lather that complements the big, bubbly, unstable lather. Between the two, you have a very lathering bar of soap.

The rest of the oils are soap maker dependent (as really all the oils are!). I like extra virgin olive oil for the properties it lends skin and hair. I use jojoba, too. And both these oils help create that stable lather and conditioning for the hair, along with the castor oil.

So, I think there really is no reason why we cannot have shampoo bars that lather very well. I think also this is one of the perks of shampooing…the lather! We have always had fun playing with it! We should not have to give that up if we don’t have to…and, we don’t have to!
Thanks for listening to me. Have fun today!

Essentially Soap, Dr. Robert S. McDaniel
And this is the site that tells us what we don’t want in our shampoos!

Some of my soaps and shampoo bars :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where Are the Craft Show Display Pieces???

Hi folks:

Do you know how hard it is to find craft show display pieces? I have tried to find display pieces for my soaps and salves for three years, and there is so little out there to choose from.

There are plenty of lip balm display pieces. I have bought quite a few. When I open a wholesale account and they buy lip balms, they like a way to display them. So, I supply a piece with the first order.

I have found one site with soap display pieces. Heavy wood and quality craftsmanship - but the price goes with it. I need something a little less pricey. And, while their might be a piece or two for 1 ounce oil bottles, (and unfortunately I sell nothing in this size bottle), there is nothing out there for 1 ounce jar salves, 1 ounce roll on bottles, 1/3 ounce roll on bottles, 4 ounce glass bottles, etc.

I think it would be fab if there were a site that claimed to be the display site for all craft vendors, or most especially soap craft vendors. I don't think I am the only soap crafts person selling in craft shows.

Ah well, if anyone is reading this that likes this me when you have your site up! :)

Thanks, guys. Everyone needs to vent occasionally.


ps. if you know a site that might be of help to me, please post it for me, and I will check it out and let you know what I think.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Very First Blog :)

Hi folks:

I am so glad to be here. I am learning more and more about surfing the web, and I am enjoying it all.

I sell at two online sites; and while I enjoy doing this very much, I would like a place to just talk about many things.

I am a soapmaker, and this makes me want to talk about making soap. I invite any and all questions about soap making; and if I don't know the answer, maybe we will find out together. I want to learn more from others. This is a dear subject to me.

I am a crocheter. I love to crochet especially with new yarns. I am a crocheter of many years (more than 40!), and I make many of my own designs now. This is another dear subject!

I am in my 50's with a teenage boy and hard-working husband. We live in the country woods and garden an acre + herbs and vegetables. We use many of our herbs in my skin care products.

I hope to fix this blogging page and make it eye appealing as well as informative. I hope it is always just a lot of fun and learning.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you come back,