Sunday, October 25, 2009

Suds to Love

Wedding favors are a bit like bridesmaids dresses. Prospective brides (and grooms) often try to choose something that will actually be used again once their guests walk out the door. But like in the movie 27 Dresses, the couple's good intentions often miss the mark. Food is good: chocolates, petit fours, or candy, but those are gone in one or two bites. Even better is to choose a wedding favor that your guests will use over and over again...reminding them of the lovely time that they had at your event and all the care that went into planning it.

Give soap a chance. Think about it: everybody uses it, it lasts
much longer than a piece of candy or cake, it smells good, it's customizable, and it's symbolically wholesome. Nothing says purity and clean living like soap. Even if it's not your first marriage, soap is the perfect wedding favor because it says 'we're making a fresh start'. Soap can come in so many shapes, sizes, colors and packages...the possibilities are endless. Soap: the suds to love.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Manly Man

My Dad is a manly man. There's very little on the ranch that he can't fix, build or do. I think, even though he's now approaching the age of 70, he's still probably the strongest person I know. When I was growing up I remember him stacking hay bales, one in each hand, like they were grocery bags. He could split wood with one easy swipe and could push a horse across a corral if he needed to.

His poor hands have taken a real beating over the years, as has the rest of his body. He's broken bones many times, has knee problems from horseback riding injuries and heavy lifting, has frequent pulled muscles, bruises and cuts. To help alleviate the discomfort from all of these things, and because he likes the quiet of it, my Dad likes to take baths. He's not a shower guy.
My Dad clearly deserves a nice Manly Man Soap. I have to say though, that when I was trying to decide on the actual scent for this soap, I had to diverge a bit from what my Dad would probably prefer. You see, even with all of his manly toughness, he's really a flower guy.

That's the other side to my childhood memories about him. He would take me on walks frequently to a place we call Flower Mountain. It's really just a hillside on the ranch, but it always had the best collection of spring wildflowers: Queen Anne's Lace, Yellow Bells, Spring Beauties and Dogtooth Violets. We would go and pick flowers for my Mom or my Grandma Evie. I remember my Dad's gnarly working hands holding the scissors to trim the stems before putting the wildflower bouquet in a jelly jar "vase" to be placed on my Grandma's Formica table.

If I had been choosing a scent just for him, it would probably be more of a Girlie Man scent than Manly Man, but that's an idea for a different day. Instead, I decided to use the traditional oils of clary sage, vetiver and lime. All of these essential oils were commonly used in men's fragrances before the age of synthetic smells and Irish Spring. It's a classic manly smell, hearkening back to an earlier time. It makes me think of my there was another Manly Man...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't Smell Like Sasquatch

When I was growing up in Idaho, my stepfather taught college literature and creative writing...and dabbled in cryptozoology. Huh? What's that, you say? crypto=from the Greek meaning hidden, and zoology=the study of animal life. Now, before you think 'that man sounds like a total kook!', let me also say that he was very involved in studying local folklore, which is integrally tied to the study of mysterious creatures. Most communities have local legends about some strange sighting and his crypto group went out to investigate. I learned all the scientific and unscientific 'facts' about Ogopogo, the Pend Orielle Paddler, and of course...Bigfoot. I wouldn't say that I'm a true believer, but there's some very interesting evidence out there to support the existence of Sasquatch. And rumor has it that s/he's very SMELLY.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I'm sitting around the kitchen table discussing new soap ideas with my brothers. The general consensus was that if Sasquatch existed, s/he would definitely need some soap. Sasquatch Soap was born! I decided that, in keeping with the theme, it should be brown and contain woodsy essential oils (tea tree and cedarwood) and ingredients (black walnut hull powder) that would help protect from insects and to heal the cuts and bruises that would inevitably come from tromping around in the forest all day. And it is, of course, all-natural because Bigfoot cares about the earth too.

Now this isn't all to say that if you use the soap you necessarily started out smelling like Sasquatch. It's great for anyone who likes that woodsy scent and values the properties of tea tree and cedarwood oils. Who knows...maybe it actually helps keep the real Sasquatch at bay when you're adventuring in the great outdoors?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

North Beach Arts & Crafts Fair

Next Saturday, October 10th is the 30th annual North Beach Arts & Crafts Fair here in Ballard. It's a great event. This year, in addition to the craft booths, there will be a raffle, hot kettle corn, a bake sale, a kids' carnival with a bouncy house, and great food vendors: Gabriel's Fire BBQ, Dante's Dogs & Skillet Street Food.

I will have a booth selling soap in the lunchroom, near the stage and our 4-H club will be right next to me selling dog biscuits, book marks, greeting cards and...wait for it...soap! All items were made by the young entrepreneurs themselves. The club is raising money to donate to charity (last year we donated half of our profits to the Seattle Animal Shelter) and to support club activities like our summer camping trip. Come out and join the festivities!