Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Phoenix

Everyone knows the Phoenix. Different cultures all have their own versions of this immortal creature. There are Native American, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Egyptian versions of the Phoenix. I have been reading up on the similarities.

Thinking about making some soaps based on the phoenix. Don't know if that is too cheesy though. Just thinking about reinvention and our capacity to rise again. Reds, oranges and purples. Something spicy. Don't know if that's overkill.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Line

So I have been slowly working on our Spring Soaps. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Coconut Lime
Sweet Pea
Clary Sage
Cherry Almond
Vanilla Oatmeal
Oatmeal, Milk and Honey
Bay Rum
White Tea and Ginger
Red Lychee Tea
Green/Matcha Tea

Lavender, Chamomile Teatree blend I make...I need a snappy name.

Friday, January 21, 2011

★★★★ Believing in ourselves ★★★★

I came across this blog post today and I think it is a great read for ANYONE. Artist or not. I was stressed out and upset about some things and an old friend that has seen me upset over my perceptions of my apparent flaws told me to embrace them. No matter how much and how long I try to change them, I can't. Once I stop fighting them I will realize that they aren't so bad. They are what make me. Baby steps. I truly believe that...


by Luann Udell

Do you realize how amazing you are?
Why are we so willing to believe the worst about ourselves?

I had a conversation with a friend recently. She tends to believe she presents herself worse than she does. She accentuates her perceived weaknesses and berates herself for being “stuck”.
When I commented on her strengths and her perceived weaknesses (more on that), she smiled. “Yeah”, she said, “A friend once told me what my real problem is. My friend said, ‘Your problem is, you don’t realize how amazing you are.”
I agree with her friend.
I told her about a presentation I made last year, to an auditorium full of people. I’d goofed pretty badly–thought I was doing a presentation on one topic, only to realize the night before I was committed to a different one.
I was still more than adequately prepared. I’ve taught this workshop before, and have plenty of material on hand. But throughout the presentation, I kept apologizing. “I’m handing out a resource list–I’m so sorry, it would have been longer….” “Blah blah blah, sorry!, blah blah.”
When I read the evaluations later, everyone raved about me.
Except for one astute soul who commented, “The presentation was excellent, good information. Just one negative. She apologized too much. I found it distracting.”
It’s time to quit apologizing for ourselves.
It’s so easy to see this in other people. So hard to see it in ourselves: Not trusting our instincts. Focusing on our weaknesses and flaws. Taking our strengths for granted.
Taking ourselves for granted.
So in the interest of full disclosure, here’s the back story behind my blog:
I merrily make my art/write my column/prepare a seminar. Things are humming along. Life is good!
Then I hit roadblocks. An envious peer. A missed deadline. A new injury (usually acquired doing something absolutely stupid.) A rejection from a show. Oh, and a very low checking account balance.
Some people thrive in adversity. Yay for them! (And we all can do that sometimes.) But often we are struck in vulnerable places. The roadblock looks similar to a struggle in our past. And there are some people in this world, in a kind of pain themselves, who know exactly where to aim their blows.
If I’m in my powerful place, I shrug these off as annoying but manageable, tiny little bumps in my path. I will not be deterred from my journey.
But if I’m in a fragile period, I get knocked off-center. “Why do I bother making this work? Nobody likes it!” “How can I make her like me and stop being so mean?” “I’m so disorganized!”
Soon I feel like there’s no place for me in the world. No gifts I can offer. No way I can contribute. I’m just a whirling bundle of fret and anxiety and unkindness and ineptitude. (I thought I was making that last word up, but spell check says no, I’m good to go. Until I spelled “spellcheck” wrong….)
I eventually sit down to write. I dump it all out onto paper. I whine, I cry, I resent, I blame.
And then something wonderful happens.
I realize how amazing I am.
Not in the swelled-head, I’m-okay-you’re-not, aren’t-I-grand kinda way.
Just…amazing…in the ordinary way. A person, here in this world, in this time, trying to love and be loved. Trying to be kind. Trying to shine. Trying to do the work I was put here to do. Trying to do the best I can. (Another friend, years ago, said to me, “I like to believe people are doing the best they can.” It brought tears to my eyes.) (Although it’s hard to remember that when someone cuts me off in traffic.)
For a few wonderful, incredible minutes, maybe a few hours, maybe even an entire day, I see how powerful I am, how brightly I shine. Just enough for me to get back in the saddle and try again. (OH! A riding metaphor!)
At some point, this struggle, this journey, turns into a blog article, or a keynote speech, or a new wall hanging. If it’s funny, it goes to my column at The Crafts Report.
I write about the struggle. I write about how I end up in the hard place, and how I find my way back from there.
And how I still end up there again.
And find my way back home, to my own heart–again.
I write about how our weaknesses are not something to be cried over, but something to be celebrated. Because our weaknesses are the true source of our strength, if we let this awareness happen.
If we are the victim of cruelty, we can still choose to be kind.
If we are gripped by sadness, we can simply embrace that, for now. Or we can choose to act as if we are happy. Or we can help someone else who is sad.
If we grieve, it is because we loved. Or because we wanted to love, or to be loved.
These things are not imperfections. Or rather, they are imperfections. They are what make us beautiful, just as as stress, flaw, disease and even death make something beautiful in wood.
If we don’t think we are amazing, it is simply because we are afraid of what that might mean. We think we don’t know what that looks like. We don’t know what might change or what we might lose, or that we are setting ourselves up for even bigger failure. We are afraid we will have to work harder, and we are afraid we won’t be able to.

We are afraid we are not enough.

And yet, in each of us, is the potential to simply be ourselves. To be present. To respect our gifts, and USE them.
What inspires me, what makes me cry, is that this very place that’s so hard for us–”I am not enough”–comes from a very powerful, very beautiful place–”I want to be somebody</em, somebody worthy of love, respect, kindness, joy, achievement. I want to be seen and cherished. I want to do good work. I want to be remembered after I'm gone."
Don't you think it's amazing that we all want these things?
Isn't it astonishing that this desire drives everything we do, every choice we make, whether we act on this consciously ("I'm going to hold the door open for that person behind me.") to unconsciously ("Huh! That person cut in front of me! He acted as if I were totally not worth his kindness!" or choice words to that effect….)? (I am praying you did not get lost in the punctuation of that last sentence.)
And that's why, when people say I'M amazing, or do such beautiful work, or write something good, I do a little foot shuffle and blush, and say, "Aw, tweren't nuthin'…"
Because I DON'T have this all figured out, or rather, it doesn't STAY worked out. I'll have to do the same thing tomorrow, and next month, and probably for the rest of my life–fall down, cry, take hope and get back up.
I know I just have to do this. And I don't have to do it perfectly, either.
Because when I look at my work, at my art, at the artifacts, the fiber work, the little bears and otters, the grumpy fish, the horses….oh, the horses!
When I remember my story I tell about myself and this work, what it's done for me spiritually, and what others say it does for them….
When I remember how far I've come from that lonely, sad place, where I was so sure there was no place in this world, I actually tried to leave it….
When I look at the wonderful guy who is my life partner, and our children, our friends and family, even the stranger on the street who chooses to be kind… When I realize all the opportunities there are in life to BE that partner, that child, that friend, that stranger…
I realize we truly are all made of stars.
I am. And so are you.
p.s. Thank you, Moby, for the title of this post.

Here is a link to the blog:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow day photos!

We had a snowday today. I know most teachers love snowdays, but only being at school every other day now is hard. Now I won't see my students until Thursday.

Bay Rum with Blue Oxide and Parsley Powder Swirl. The washcloth was made by my friend and colleague Sue Gomes. Don't they go perfect together?!

So aside from shoveling and going to the dentist (YAY)...I guess what? Took some photos! We have been experimenting with more natural colorants such as clays and herbs. Look at some of the greens we got from Parsley Powder. It give me a nice green in the Bay Rum, but it also did with the Clary Sage. Parsley powder in soap is also thought to be soothing, cleansing and detoxifying.

Another Bay Rum set. I am going to sell them on Etsy and at the craft fairs.

Clary Sage- All natural soap. There isn't anything synthetic in this soap at all.
Clary Sage has balancing and relaxation aromatherapy benefits. I think I might mix some Frankincense essential oil in it next time.

I purchased Bay Rum oil after my friend Kristin asked me about it. Jim loves it! Great for men. Think Bay leaves, some spice and orange peel.

Monday, January 17, 2011

March Craft Shows- In like a Lion out like a Lamb!

March is going to be busy!

Here is our calender:

Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 10 AM – 3 PM. Rensselaer High School
A Craft Fair of over 30 vendors will be held at Rensselaer High School which is located at 25 Van Rensselaer Drive in Rensselaer.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 from  10 AM – 3 PM. Pine Grove Methodist Church
Over 30 vendors and crafters!
1580 Central Ave, Colonie, NY 12205

Saturday, March 26, 2011 10AM- . Little Sisters of the Poor- Our Lady of Hope Residence
Hello Spring Craft Fair!
1 Jeanne Jugan Lane
Latham, New York 12110-9003

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Photos!

Mix and match  only 5 for $20!

Coconut Lime with Cedar Soap Saver

Cedar soap deck/ soap saver

If you see anything you like visit our esty storefront today!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Etsy Account is up and Running!

Our Etsy account is up and running! Spread the word!!! Anyone can reorder, or order from there. We will have most listings up this week.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2011!

My mantra for the year will be "all glory comes from daring to begin."

Jim and I had a wonderful time at all of the craft fairs this year. I can't believe how far we've come! I am working on our standard lists of soaps that we will always have available and what special ones to bring around on at certain times.

I think I will break up  the soaps into Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer soaps lines.

On the agenda:

1)We still need to name our business (besides my name)....that will happen this year. My dad thinks Theresa's Love. I don't know about that.

2) Finish my Etsy Account:

3) Find more stores and boutiques to carry my soaps.

2010 was a great start...