Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Holidays + My Lack Of Everything But Family Time

I have lazed about with my children for so many days and I have loved every minute of it. There have been days that I've sat around in my pajamas for the entire day, played Bananagrams, cards, baked muffins, played more, taken naps, then taken a shower just to change into clean pajamas to make dinner and lounge around some more, maybe watch a movie, or play more games. I have spent almost no time on the computer, I have done no work at all which has really been the point. I have been ill from working so much and from the stress I've been under, soooooo, I forced myself to take a holiday. Also, my kids have been saying I am always at the shop and never around (not so true but makes me sad nonetheless).

I hope you all have been enjoying your holidays with your friends or family or with your pets or at work. Whatever you have done, I hope you have had a warm and safe time and found love somewhere. Here is a little love from me :)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Harry Potter Is British Too

I found out about Tiggy Fiander of Future Primitive about a year ago and have been admiring her soaps from afar since then. She bursts with personality, charm and hysterical humor. I enjoy her company immensely when we chat on Twitter and I think she is an original all around. As a person and as a soaper. One of these days, I hope to meet her in person and and trade bars of soaps as we shake hands. ;) Wouldn't that be fun? Yup. One day, hopefully I will get my hands on some soap of hers and I'll share my thoughts with you. Recently, I was looking around for eye candy on her website and this beauty knocked me out of my chair. I am just loving it!

Potters Bar organic soap
over at Future Primitive.

This is what Tiggy Fiander says about this soap:

Originally designed and made for Matt....who likes to make pots. His hands always seem to be red...from the clay he uses; so we made this soap with wheatbran to exfoliate and remove ground in clay and grime. Gardener? Then this will work equally as well for you. It will remove all the compost and slugs from your hands, leaving them feeling sparkly clean and softenend. Scented with Lavender, Eucalyptus & Lemon essential oils. We also added raw silk and unrefined organic cocoa butter.
Below are some other lovelies she makes....

Cyclone ~
Essential oils of Juniper, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Geranium & Clary Sage
lend themselves to bring an ozonic aroma with a kick.

Elijah's Comfort -
a rose scented soap

No.11 organic soap

Follow Tiggy on Twitter!
Check out her blog!
Go see her website!
She is a slammin' good soaper.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Natural Laundry Soap ~ Under The Willow

Carrie Garvin (a.k.a. Carrie Gigi) sent me some handmade laundry soap to review and I was super excited. I had heard about laundry soap being made from cold process soap, but never actually tried it. How could it work? Wouldn't it be weird and not leave a nice scent behind?

Carrie sent me three handmade pouches in different patterns and included a fine stitched washcloth with a small plastic scoop tucked neatly in its pocket to scoop out the perfect amount of soap for each load of laundry. There were directions for top loading machines and high efficiency (HE) machines that are front loaders (which I have and actually loathe- another story, another day).

I was eager to get home and try the soap, but not so eager to do the wash. You know how that is. But since it was Carrie's soap, wellllll... I got going. I tried the Cambridge Rum because we were a fan of her Cambridge Rum soap in this family. I opened the bag. Woah. The smell was strong! I started a load and ran it right through to the end and when I dumped out the dried clothes on my bed and put the warm clothes to my nose, my senses were tickled pink with delight. It was a soft, delicate, clean scent that was unique, and very Cambridge Rum-my for those of you who are familiar with her Cambridge Rum scent, you know exactly what I mean. It is a hard scent to describe. I'll give you her description: A rich bay rum scent with notes of woods, the shore, & more... So, yes, it is wildly strong out of the bag. In fact, it helps my garage not smell so much like a garage, which is a godsend of sorts. But when you run the soap through the wash the clothes smell delicately scented, not smeared through perfume. Oh no, it is the perfect whisper of scent, I assure you.

Her laundry soap comes in three gorgeous scents: Home For The Holidays, Cambridge Rum and Lavender Grace. They really all smell amazing and our wash is clean clean clean!! For $8.00 for 2 cups, (80 loads!!) it's a no-brainer. Get yourself a batch, because not only will your clothes smell fresh and wonderful, but you will be supporting an independent soap maker, and another thing: Carrie Gigi ROCKS.

Here's some usage information:
Usage (each envelope): 2 cups will clean up to 80 loads!
Top load: 20 very LARGE loads, 40 medium/ small loads
HE/front load: 40 LARGE loads, 80 medium/small loads

Some interesting facts about Whispering Willow Natural Laundry Soap:
--Little or NO suds(no detergent!)
--NO fabric softner needed~ clothes dry very soft
--Use in all temperatures
--Created with all natural ingredients
--Measuring scoop will be included
--White decorative washing cloth will be included
--Sample of other scents will be included
--Laundry envelope is an exclusive pattern created ONLY from Under the Willow

This pretty metal spoon wasn't included, but a cute plastic one was for perfect measuring.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Mall And Getting old - My Mother's Tale

This was over this past weekend. My mother tells her story of the time she had with my kids:

Today I had a good taste of what Christmas was all about. My grandkids were unusually cranky, Nina was carrying this baby doll around for 4 days as part of a health science class assignment. At first I said "not to the mall." Nina replied, "I have to because I can't find a babysitter at this late time and mom doesn't want to babysit again." Joanna has been incredibly supportive, but Brad says Nina is suffering from postpartum depression because she has been crying a lot lately. Of course this is the funniest thing I ever heard, which makes Nina cry even more (those damn hormones)

Anyway, Desmond was very irritable and tired today. We got to the mall, he ate ravenously, then proceeded to fall asleep on a seat outside of Bloomies. Nina is prancing around outside of Jessica McClintock to show me the different "formal" dresses she likes. Of course, there is no prom, no weddings, no parties, which is usually why we buy such an evening dress, but hey, why should I burst her bubble. Now Desi wakes up and says, I saw something in Brookstone that I'd like to get. After all, Nina is getting a princess dress, why shouldn't I have a remote motorcycle. Off we go, and Nina is in the mall prancing around looking for her grandmother to show the blue taffeta pick. I just keep moving and don't look back.

Now I call my daughter, who is home trying to spend an hour or two with her husband. After all, she worked all day (today is Sunday) trying to drum up business at a holiday parade that passed in front of her store. "Jo, could you come rescue me. The kids are due for a melt down and I can't do another one with them." Sure she says.

Jo & Brad show up 1/2 hour later, pull the kids together like they always do, effortlessly, confidently, without the screaming & threats which their grandmother sometimes resorts to. What a beautiful sight. I believe it's called competence.

Anyway, we all kiss good bye and I proceed to leave the mall and spend the next 2 hours searching for my car in a security van. How embarrassing. It's hard growing older. I do believe what I want for Hanukkah or Christmas is one of those pink plastic flowers you put on the aerial of your car (aerial. Nobody has an aerial anymore. I'd better stop while I'm ahead). Is this humiliating?

I got into my car at 9:00 p.m., pulled out my pump of creme fresh, smeared it all over my hands, lips, arms and under my nose. I knew it would bring me out of my temporary depression about getting old, senile and everything else. As usual, it did the trick. I'm not my mother after all. She never smelled this good. Good night.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Quick Note: The Soap Bar Ad Sale For Dec.

Letting everyone know that this blog is offering JUST this once, $15 ad spots for non-animated jpeg links for the the rest of December. It is not long, but there are only a few days left before Christmas so if you want your wares to sell and you want a little extra exposure, who knows? It might work!

Anyway, write to me: jo(at)productbody(dot)com if you are interested. Otherwise, have a
Happy Day.

Upcoming review: Laundry soap from Under The Willow!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

International Blues:: Soap Porn

If you can't travel this holiday season, I thought it would be fitting to bring the far away to you. Since you might be feeling a tad blue about not getting away, I figured blue was apropos for my soap porn today.

Aqua Heaven by SOAPERSTAR (Ireland)

No. 11 Organic Soap by Future Primitive (UK)

There are so many talented soapers out there, but I was having trouble finding blue. It's still morning and I tend to zone with my computer before I fully wake up. You are so lucky to have me before I am fully caffeinated. ;)

Bear with me...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Missing Lemon Biscotti

Way back when....oh, in June (?) perhaps, I received beautiful soaps that smelled wonderful and I quickly put them aside to keep them safe while I clean up my house for a showing. We were in the process of selling our house and when you have something like a parcel with tissue paper and soap hanging out, what do you do? I did the most logical thing and I packed it right up and stuck it in the foot of my closet so the place didn't look dirty when the prospective buyers came through.

That was the last time I saw that package until 5 nights ago.

The sublime Lemon Biscotti taunted me from the Etsy shop. I kept eyeballing it. I KNEW I had it here, but where? I clearly had forgotten where I had put the package.... Did I use it and black out? Did it accidentally get lost? I was beside myself because I remember smelling it and feeling so full of excitement about hitting the shower and trying that baby out! But it ran away, and took it's pastry-ness with it.

The Muse and I wrote back and forth. We were sad together. I blamed my husband, as I was sure he had done some stupid thing with it. He does that. But then... so do I. All too often, sadly. Finally, I had just assumed it got carried off with the trash somehow. UGH!

All that frustration fell away, I moved on, and Karen of Alchemic Muse sent me a small sample to replace the full bar. Oh yeah, it smelled good. It is hard to do a review on a sliver, folks. It's hard to have the full experience in the shower. So the sliver was nice but didn't impress. I like to shower with a full bar of soap 2 or 3 times to get the full effect and then continue to see how the fragrance changes, because it often does change. Morphs. The quality bars have subtle changes and I like to experience the ride. The quality fragrance oils morph beautifully while the crappier ones fall flat and ruin the soap experience. One can make a great soap but if you use an inferior fragrance oil, your reputation will suffer. And so....

So when I found the box of soaps Karen sent me I yelped with delight. Yeah, true story. Yelped. Squealed, really. It was like my birthday. I was sitting on the floor cleaning out my closet. The floor of my closet was getting taller and taller and I couldn't stand it any longer so it was time to pull everything out and reorganize. You know when the bottom of your closet starts touching the things that are hanging? That's the sign.

Ahhhh, I found my long awaited Lemon Biscotti and it still smelled heavenly....

I have to tell you, when I walked to the shower with that full bar of Lemon Biscotti, I was thinking to myself, "You better be good, be reallllllly good, because I lost you, there was drama. I found you, and much is resting on this review. Make me love you!"

I mean, I was really talking to it walking to the shower.

It did not disappoint. In fact, I was beyond happy. The bar itself smelled heavenly: Not too lemony and citrusy, or astringent, and definately not too sweet and bakery-like. This had a perfect biscotti-balance. The name was spot on. The consistency of the bar is what made me fall in love. It is an exfoliating bar, which I LOVE! Not only was it scratchy good, but it didn't slip out of my hands. :)

I do not have a photograph of my Lemon Biscotti bar because I was too excited to shoot the sucker before I showered with it and now it just is a washed up (he he, pun intended) soapie bar, It wouldn't show it justice if I shot it now. Below are a few soaps that I've hand picked from the bunch that you can purchase at the Alchemic Muse Etsy shop.

I have to tell you, the Lemon Biscotti-pastry-citrus-God made me believe in lemon bars again. MWAH!

Ginger Cake ~ limited edition
sweet cinnamon, spicy cardamom and warm ginger topped with fresh
orange slices finished off with a light dusting of sugary vanilla.

Amber Crush
This decadent soap is naturally scented with fragrant amber resins
and a touch of vanilla in a base of earthy patchouli.

Black Walnut ~ limited edition
Light notes of warm citrus rests atop a heart of roasted walnuts, brown sugar, and hazelnut java, fused
with black anise seed, earthy patchouli, and Madagascar vanilla, and winds down to a rich musk base.

Thank you Karen for your patience with the situation and my journey from start to finish. I am glad the ending was so sweet.

Just in!!

Pictures from the lady herself!!

look at the yummy bits!

Here was the Etsy description:

A delicious, bakery fresh recipe of lemon and bitter almond essential oils to brighten and refresh dull skin.

Traditionally, lemon has been used in many cultures to brighten and refresh the complexion. Moisturizing sweet clover honey helps soothe and condition the skin, while creating an extra bubbly lather.

We added sweet almond meal to this all natural soap for exfoliation to leave skin soft, smooth, and sweet.

Aromatherapy Benefits: Uplifting, Refreshing, Clarifying


Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Honey, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Citrus Gandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Yellow Iron Oxide, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond) Fruit

Oh she must make this again, so that you, too, can experience it, too.

Off The Soap Topic... Etsy Find!

Can I just say I love this?



Heavy duty steampunk pendant and necklace. $74.99

The focal point of this piece is a skeleton face pocket watch movement that has great gearing and cog detail. The front of the pendant has roman numerals with visible gears which move as time ticks away. The back of the pendant has gold and silver gears and is accented with red jewels. The piece is encased in a magnifying orb with pronounces the details of the pendant.

The piece also has a winder with a blue tip and a small bell like tassel. It has a brass like finish which goes very well with the heavy weight link chain which measures 20 inches. The pendant measures 2 inches across.

The pendant and chain will be mailed in a velvet cinch pouch.

Here is another awesome item qa create is offering:

Sterling Silver Ring with Peridot Crystal $69.99


Industrial style with simple elegance.

Handcrafted steampunk ring made with a watch movement that contains complete gearing. The watch works has gold cogs and multiple jewels.

I secured the movement to a sterling silver ring that has a very elegant band. The ring is a size 5.

The oval movement measures approximately 1/2 inch. I added a stunning peridot Swarovski Crystal.

I will ship the ring a velvet cinch pouch

I love the things I find on Etsy!!