Thursday, October 30, 2014

A better one....

After I looked at the last photo of me with the chickens, I made an appointment to get my hair cut! Ahhhh,hair salons! God bless those people that wash and cut hair. It feels so great to sit back in that chair and let someone pamper you for an hour. I have been known to go for days without brushing, washing, looking at my hair only later to find chunks of clay or paint or fiber all in it. I know, yuck, right?! I will add that usually Gerry was traveling out of town when I let myself get so unkempt. Now that I'm working, in public, it seems like I need to wash my hair every now and then and maybe even give it a brush. But my hair is so thick, it can be very difficult to manage, so I got it all thinned and trimmed and it feels like I lost a couple of pounds. 

Gerry has been off this week and we took some time to get some house projects done. Stained the front porch, back deck, side porch, painted the white trim, tore the carpet out of the upstairs closet where our dog had dug a hole through to the plywood. Painted the wood glossy white, it looks great. We cleaned all the windows, inside and out, they sparkle! Today I drank a pot of french press coffee and zoomed around the house like blogger Sandy Miller! I dusted, vacuumed, washed baseboards, cleaned rugs, moved furniture around, and even managed to get a nice dinner prepared. We are hoping to get our house ready to go on the market by spring, 
but where will we go..... we have been looking for two years with no luck, just can't find an interesting house anywhere. Hopefully something will turn up.

Not really making anything, just tidying up life. I have ignored too many things for clay and weaving, so I'm catching up now. Feels good to get life in order!

Monday, October 27, 2014


October is one of those months you wish could last just a little while longer. The light is golden, the air is fresh and cool, the leaves are colorful and crunchy to walk on. The sunlight on the water sparkles like crystal, the skies are the bluest blue. There is a promise of rebirth to come after the drying and browning of August. October whispers,Spring will be back quick as a wink, just wait for it!

I almost didn't post this photo, I feel like I'm looking a bit like an old crazy chicken lady here, but maybe I am, so what the hell, here it is..... I'm looking at my grandmother Sybil in this photo, she would have been wearing a similar scarf, her hair was long, but she wore it up with lots of hairpins,
always navy blue or black clothing, always. She was a Quaker after all. Only she didn't have those dark circles... I suppose these come with insomnia....... sleeping three to four hours a night gives you that lovely shade under the eyes....

We have been taking advantage of this glorious weather as much as possible. This is Gerry's Instagram post from Hanging Rock State Park.. The paparazzi are our two college mates that we have been friends with since we were 19 and in school together, all of them except me were in the photography program. We had a great day hiking and enjoying the most amazing weather. It's so great to have these friends for so many years and still have a bunch of fun together. Also nice that Wesley can share this time with us. 

 I haven't taken time to blog in awhile, I only have my iPhone and iPad now, and they are not the greatest blogging tools. I am less than motivated to struggle through it most days. My laptop is dying a slow death, the screen blinks on and off, on and off, the battery literally is swollen and bursting open, not kidding, it got hot! And my camera died.

Gerry celebrated 55 years yesterday. Wesley was able to make it home for the day,we weren't sure she would be able to get home,but she is a trooper when it comes to being with us on special occasions. She brought pumpkins with her so she and Gerry could spend the afternoon with their traditional pumpkin carving. This is their thing,not mine. But I love watching!

We had a nice quiet afternoon and then they wanted to watch a scary movie. Again, their thing, not mine. They found Day of the Dead on Netflix and so we watched that. Not scary,just gross, gross, gross, how many people can be ripped apart and eaten by zombies in two hours anyway? I remember Gerry going to see it with Corky (one of the paparazzi in the previous photo) back in the 80's and coming home talking about how it was the scariest movie he had ever seen. Seriously,horror has come a long way since then! 

Work is fun, I actually look forward to going, can't wait for Friday to get here. The customers are all so happy, everyone brewing beer and growing gardens and buying things for their hydroponics and their yards. Best kind of job! Working around all the plants has me wanting to make some flower pots. We sell Guy Wolffe pottery, and I pick it up and think, well, I can make that.... Just stamp my dang name on there! So I might.....

I got Gerry a great japanese Hori Hori knife and a multi purpose hoe type garden tool, yep I got him a hoe and a hori for his birthday,haha! Just what he needs :-)

So, life is good, Child is happy and in love, work is great, Gerry is on vacation this week, so we have house projects to work on and I am in a really good place mentally....

Accepting of things I cannot change and changing the things I cannot accept. 
It's all good, y'all :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

One job, two jobs, one job.....

I'm back from a great week at the beach. We had good luck finding sponsors for the monk tour, ate some great food, and now begins the planning for a Sacred Arts Tour in Myrtle Beach for 2015. 

I also started a new job on Friday. I had no jobs, couldn't find any part time work. Then I found a part time job at the vintage store. Then my favorite store in town called and asked if I wanted to work Fridays and Saturdays. So I'm thinking I could do the vintage store and the garden store, but that didn't work out. I quit the vintage store and now I'm working on Fridays and Saturdays at the 
Fifth Season. I had so much fun the past two days! The hours flew by, I didn't even want to log out. I'm getting to help out with the merchandising, which I love and I am learning more than I ever knew existed about gardening, cheese making,brewing, soils, sooooo much! I'm working with a bunch of really nice young guys, so smart and funny and they just make everything so pleasant. Why can't all jobs be this way!?
They have a great website if you are interested in garden information. It's a very unique store and I am so glad the stars lined up and this job came around. I really needed to get out of the house! 
Wes is home this weekend and came by for a visit. Working Friday and Saturday will change my routines a bit, but not so much that it will be difficult. Just different. These days, different is good. I'll write more later, tired and going to bed for now!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The perfect fit

The last time Wesley was home, we went over to my pal Laura's to make prayer flags. Laura has been to India and had so much to share with Wesley about traveling there. She also gave her the most amazing gift, an outfit that was made for her while she was in India! It fit Wes perfectly and seemed to totally change her personality when she put it on. She is soooo ready for this trip!

I will be in Myrtle Beach for the week, traveling with the Sacred Arts tour coordinator and looking for locations that will also be a perfect fit for the next monk tour. Hopefully Wesley will be filming this group as well. Fingers crossed, tomorrow is her first interview for the Fulbright... Step 1.

I'll be back soon

Saturday, October 11, 2014


 I am getting closer and closer to a soap recipe I like. Thanks to everyone who is asking when I'm going to sell them! I heard from a friend yesterday that he gave a bar to his sister and it has cleared up her eczema, who knew!? Michele Hastings had mentioned in a previous post that sometimes the essential oils bother her skin.

Which leads to me to thinking about fragrance free soaps. One, the essential oils are EXPENSIVE!. Two, I don't know what I'm doing and its a crap shoot if the blend I mix turns out. I am all about problem solving, and this fragrance thing is a problem for me. So, if the oils can be skin irritants why use them? I think clay soaps for oily skin and soap with luxurious ingredients like shea butter and hemp seed oil and calendula petals might be nice on their own without the fragrance. What do you think?

The only thing about this is watching people around soaps. The place I'm working now sells fine french milled soap and every person that looks at the soap picks it up and smells it, first thing. I do it too. I like soap fragrance. But apparently not everyone does.

So maybe there are better reasons to make soap, like good for your skin reasons....

The shop I am working in also had these cute wooden baskets. I suggested while helping on a soap display that we use them to package some of the soaps, I got shot down, so I bought the things and did my own packaging. I added some green spanish moss, got some colored raffia and some clear bags, and voila, instant gift! I also found these tiny little brown paper bags that I thought would be a nice item to tuck in with a purchase, add a couple of soap ends and a card with the soap ingredients, fun!
I have been trying to find a clever way to package soap that isn't like what everyone else is doing. Its a challenge for sure.

I now have a choice to make with this job thing. I have been looking for some part time work to help fund Wesley's school and film costs. I applied first at a local DIY garden shop that sells homebrew supplies, canning, cheese making, organic farm supplies, etc. Its sort of a boutique garden center with the nicest guys ever working there. I love this store and really wanted to work there. Then I applied at the shop where I am nowworking, because the garden shop didn't have any hours available. And you know what happened don't you?!  As soon as I got the job at the vintage store, which I also like a lot, the garden store called and asked if I was still interested. Of course they did. I knew this was going to happen. I was hoping I would be able to work at both places and have all kinds of fun, but they both want me to work Saturdays..... so I have to choose, one or the other, not both..... ugh.

I had an interesting day yesterday at the vintage store. They also sell very expensive clothing and I helped a lady choose an outfit for her class reunion. Without blinking an eye she bought a jacket and some black leggings for almost $300...... I don't think I have spent $300 on clothing this entire year. It amazes me, this money thing. In my mind, $300 is Wesley's rent and groceries, its a car payment, its groceries for us, its a power bill..... it's sure as hell not a jacket and leggings...... I am living in a different Universe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Soap, herbs, cheese, maters, chicks

 Ok here we go. Thanks to Mercury my computer screen died and then flickered back to life. I'm going to get these pics up before it disappears again. I spent the morning putting all my pics on an external hard drive, just in case. Back those computers up, y'all!
Do you have things go wrong during Mercury retrograde? I do every time!

I made four batches of soap this week and they all came out really nice. Think fall. Cedarwood, fir needle, coffee beans, pumpkin, cocoa, cinnamon, patchouli, lemon, orange, dried calendula petals, seed pods, harvested rosemary. All subtle fragrance, but they are very artisan in appearance, I'm very pleased!

I used skin nourishing and moisturizing ingredients and clays and essential oils for soaps that are silky smooth, create great lather and are kind to your skin. They might be ready to go out into the world soooon.
The first bar was made with coffee, it's more brown than the photo shows. It has layers of cocoa, peppermint, patchouli, calendula, and kaolin, all things wintry and cozy.The second one was made with green tea, shea butter, and green clay and it is darker green than the photo. It smells of a fall walk in the woods. Fir needle, cedarwood, ho wood and lemongrass, topped with seed pods from the yard, rosemary from my garden and calendula petals for skin soothing. Third one is made with pumpkin, cardamom tea, cocoa powder and kaolin, with layers of cinnamon and calendula. The fragrance is lemon, ho wood, litsea and cedarwood, like a fall day.  The last one is a shea butter citrus blend of orange and lemon, with labdanum and cedarwood for depth. There is a lower layer of rosemary powder, then topped with calendula petals for nourishing the skin and just decorating the bar with fall happiness.

Soap logs before cutting. This last batch was a major effort and I pushed myself a bit farther than my capabilities right now, but I think it paid off. There are very talented soap makers out there that would certainly put me to shame here, but I'm pleased with these and pleased with the progress I see from the first batch I made and the second failed batch and the third nearly there batch. These are good. Still work to do on the fragrance, but I have been using some of the cured bars from the clay batch and they feel so incredible. Why in the world have I been buying grocery store soaps?!?!?!

I love the layers of pumpkin, cocoa and cinnamon in this one. Looks like a fall harvest.

Gerry gave me a cheese making kit for my birthday and here is my first effort at making mozzarella. It wasn't as stretchy as it should have been, more like a ricotta, but it was delicious. I celebrated by making a tomato sauce with tomatoes, basil and oregano from our garden and topping it with the cheese. Unbelievably good! I took photos but I had the camera on the wrong setting so it looked more like something the dog might have thrown up....

 We have harvested the last of our summer tomatoes. I cut a bunch of my herbs and tied them up for drying. We are getting one egg per day, the other two girls are not interested in the egg making business yet.... but the ones we are getting are so great. I'm quite the homesteader these days, haha!

".....and she said......" , girls just gotta gossip :) , but aren't they the prettiest things!?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Technical difficulties

I spent a good part of the day yesterday photographing my new soap batches to show you today. I was using a camera Gerry loaned me because my camera died. I don't know how to use that camera 
and every photo I shot looked like shite, so I won't be showing you because my soaps are beautiful and I love them and they deserve better. As I was discovering how bad the photos were on my laptop, it also died. I can't consult with anyone in this house about my technical issues because for some reason some people (ahem) get angry with me when I have computer problems. Well, I'm sorry that everyone but me has a new Mac and I have a dinosaur and it has issues. Right now it has no screen. So it looks like I will be blogging by way of iPhone and iPad, ugh. That is not going to be ideal so just hang on until I get this sorted out!  Meanwhile here are some happy pumpkins at Old Salem. I'll just do some iPhone photos tomorrow of the soaps, they are soooo great, very happy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New wheels,new job

Gerry got me some new skateboard wheels for my 54th birthday. My neighborhood is suicidal for a rusty skater like me, lots of steep hills. I went and got a helmet and all sorts of crash pads, never wore anything like this before to skate, but I think I might break a lot easier than when I was 15. 
Still, we went out tonight, Gerry has a long board, and I have this old school Alva, which I recently found on eBay for $200. I'm sure our neighbors wondered what the hell of couple of old folks like us were doing. We have a great hill where Gerry can scream down the hill, and a place where I can gently coast. It's like having a black diamond and a bunny slope on the same hill. We had soooo much fun, Stayed out until it got too dark to see, and I'm feeling more and more steady on my board. It felt good to ride again. I got this thing before I turned 21 and it's still a great board. This photo of me was a bit of a shock, I have never looked so much like my dad in a photo, just my face part is like looking at a photo of him. Even Gerry thought so, it was kind of unsettling......
Click my Instagram on the right to check out a video of Gerry riding, the man is a freak of nature!

Oh yeah, so I also got a part time job at a local antiques/ gifts shop that I have been a fan of since we moved here. They had a sign at the door that they were looking for help, and what do YA know, I'm looking for an income! The store is great, really like the folks that work there, they all love the same things I love, books,old stuff, rusty stuff, soap, interesting things to look at...... I think it will be fun. I'll bathe, brush my hair, put on clean clothes and be with other people. I might even remember how to do all of this! Then I'll come home and go skateboard!