Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hello World-It's Me, Patrice!

A video about absolutely NOTHING!!!!

Have Ya'll Seen This?

One of my favorite blogs hands down is Etsy Bitch. They are dedicated to not only highlighting Etsy's faults and shortcomings, but they slaughter them in the process. Posting this probably won't win me a featured seller spotlight, but when I saw this, I laughed my ass off. Discuss.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff On My Mind Like: Keep Your Blog Fresh!

What do I mean by that? If you want people to follow your blog, then post more than once a week or month-seriously. I love to follow blogs with content-meaning the blogger posts at least 2-3 times a week or more. Not only is it a way to reach out to your followers, but it will attract new ones. There are so many great blogs out there that I'd love to follow, but when I check them out, they haven't posted since August! Come on! You just lost one! I do, however, believe in returning the favor (you know, follow me, I'll follow you.) One of my goals for 2009 is to blog no less than 3 times a week. I'm also going to be hosting giveaways-with a catch (more details coming in early January.) I'm off now to play with my new camera and plan my blog topics for the next week. Yeah, I actually plan my posts. I am, after all, a former Elementary Education major. Can you imagine me as your kid's teacher? Nope? That's why I'm now an Operations Specialist for a bank....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Little Holiday Booty!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I won't chastise you again with the "you should be grateful speech," so let's get on to the fun stuff! What did ya'll get as gifts? I got some really nice things, but the gift o' the year has to be my new Canon Powershot A1000 IS. I never thought I could fall in love with an inanimate object-until now. Ricky doesn't realize that not only has he bought me an awesome gift, but he just invested in the future success of my business. This camera is awesome. I'm still tinkering with it, but me likey what I see so far. I love how when I take a vertical shot, the camera automatically detects that. I no longer have to re-adjust the pic after I've downloaded it. That's just the beginning. I have much to learn and so little time. I'm totally re-doing my blog and my online craft venues for the '09! Followers and linkers, please note that my blog address is now: http://thesoapseduction.blogspot.com/. Here are a few early shots with my new luva! Til next time.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry KwanChristmakah!!!

(My sister Myia at age 2 and me at age 10 on Christmas morning)

(My sister Myia and I last Christmas-NO FAT JOKES!!!)

Yeah, I made that up, and it's lame, but I'm pressed for time and words! I want to wish everyone the merriest and safest of holidays whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa. Spend this time with friends and family and be grateful what you have instead of dwelling on what you don't. Be thankful for that crappy job because you could have easily been one of the 550,000+ who filed for unemployment benefits last month. So you live in a cramped apartment or house? Guess what? So do I, but it's mine and I don't have to stand in line just to get a hot meal or a warm bed every day. Sometimes we lose sight of our many blessings. We take so much for granted because we've been conditioned to want more STUFF or the latest and greatest. I am so happy to be employed and able to support myself. I'm so thankful that I'm healthy, and I'm able to see and hear and walk and talk. So the next time you're feeling like you have nothing, just turn on the news. There is always someone worse off than you. Count your blessings and rejoice in this glorious time of the year.

I'm off to spend some quality time with my family. I'll be back on Friday to talk about the gifts I've received. Yay!!!! I'm still like a little kid when it comes to Christmas. Peace!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My First Artfire Sale-Whoohoo!!!!

I blogged very recently, albeit briefly about craft sites other than Etsy. I joined Art Fire, the "anti-Etsy," and 1000 Markets. I honestly only joined these sites to gain exposure, not thinking I'd seriously garner any sales, but lo and behold I got one off of Art Fire, and I am so stoked, psyched, overjoyed, and all other happy feelings in between. I sold this Chocolate Fantasy Cold Processed soap, and I feel like I can do anything now. It only takes one to spark the fire (no pun intended.)

I'm going to now more actively market my shops on these venues. There is an audience out there waiting to be "entertained."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree...

Oh Christmas Tree, why every year do you fail me?
I can't get a darn Christmas tree right to save my life! It looks dull and lifeless. Only half of my lights work-the bottom half, so I didn't even plug them in. It's missing something, but I can't put my finger on it. I am definitely going to hit up Target on December 26th and rack up on bulbs, lights, and other cute ornaments. Last year I was in mourning and did not want to be bothered, so I put up this lame pink tree. This year, I'm feeling like my old self somewhat, so I put up this lame green tree. I give up....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cheap-N-Chic Gift

So I get suckered into playing Secret Santa at work. It's 4 days of gift-giving up until December 24th, and I'm sticking to my handmade creed! I actually stole this idea from Oprah, but I put my own little spin on it. This gal that I picked loves chocolate, so I decided to make her a little homemade cocoa brew.

I took my fanciest candle jar with the rose patterned flat top lid and filled it with powdered cocoa, marshmallows, and Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. Voila! Cheap and chic! I wrapped it in an old cloth wine bag I bought from Pottery Barn about 10 years ago. I spent about $10.00 on this gift altogether. When the drink is all gone, she can use the jar for whatever...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turning Trash Into Treasure

Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, but is it me or do companies send out freebies of their least-selling product or overstock? Case in point, I ordered some stuff from Brambleberry recently, and I got this soap mold of a bear. My first response was "Ugh!!! I don't want this crap," and I tossed it to the side. Three weeks later, I'm cleaning my work space, and I find this mold buried under some bubble wrap, and a light bulb goes off: Add it to your Soapy Critters collection dummy! Well, a bear is a hell of a critter, but I'm now in love with this mold. It holds a whopping 6+ oz of MP soap, and I love the look of this bar! I decided to stick with Brambleberry throughout this creation, and I used their Almond fragrance oil. This thing smells so good, I want to bite it. I'm using an olive oil soap base. The pigments are from Peacock dyes. I used Paula's Tool Kit from PJ soaps. As a MP soap artist (as I like to refer to myself,) you must have this kit. It has everything you need to color all those little crevices of your soap mold. It's a time-consuming process, but the end result is so worth it. I use it on my Monkey Bars and all my other little critters.
So, in parting, I say "Thank you, Brambleberry for unloading (or bestowing) your extras on me." Honestly, it was a nice departure from the mini FO sample I usually get.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flame Porn: Candle Confections

It's Monday, so I'm doing my regular, weekly feature. This week's Queen of Flame is the owner of Candle Confections. I met Sherry months ago thru an Etsy convo, and we've sort of lost touch, but I've never forgotten her or her scrumptious-looking flames. I told her how in awe of work I was, and that I was insanely jealous of her talent. Look at this delicious Strawberry Covered Chocolate Cake in a jar. Don't you just want to grab a spoon and dig in? Oh how I long for smell-o-vision! One day I'll try to make my own version of this decadent candle. Look for a tutorial soon. I think this would make a nice gift for the person who has it all

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recession Follow Up!

The party is over and my meatballs were a hit. I got lots of compliments on them, so I think I'm kinda stuck making these from now on. Also, I decided to participate in the white elephant game. It was disastrous on so many levels, but I ended up putting together a couple of candles in a shoebox, and I wrapped it in brown paper. I then wrote the first verse to My Favorite Things on the top.."Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things...."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't They Know We're In A Freakin' Recession?

Whether you choose to admit it or not, we are, and for the life of me, I can't understand why I got some strange looks from my co-workers when I told them I was NOT participating in the holiday gift exchange. Give me a freakin' break! I'm broke! I'm a single lady living (barely) on the outskirts of one of the most expensive cities in the country, and I'm a struggling entrepreneur. I am struggling financially as I am sure lots of people are, so please forgive me if I'm sounding a little Scrooge-ish. Ninety percent of my gifts this year will be handmade-if not by me-then by my fellow crafters. I don't feel the need to play white elephant with a bunch of folks who barely give me the time of day as it is, and $25 is more than I'm spending on gifts for my own family! Okay, I'm jumping off my soap box. I just had to get that off my chest! Oh, I also forgot to mention that I'm making turkey meatballs for these moochers. Okay, I'm done for real this time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pardon Me, But I Prefer Foodie To Glutton or Pig

Who am I kidding? I am a weekend glutton and a part-time pig-sometimes. I love the smell of food-particularly baked goods, and that translates into the scents I offer for my soaps and candles. For the life of me, I've tried to fall in love with florals, and orientals, and smoky scents, but I keep gravitating toward chocolate, cream, and vanilla-based scents. I find them comforting and appetite-suppressing. Weird, huh? When I burn my banana bread pillars, I don't feel the need to have a snack because I'm constantly inhaling the scent. It doesn't always work. When I want chocolate, I have to have chocolate!

So I'm off to make food-shaped candles while I burn my banana bread candle. They're always a big hit around the holidays, and of course, my family always waits til the last minute to order a bunch for their co-workers, friends, kids' teachers...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flame Porn

No I aint talkin' about gay porn you pervs (smile), I'm talking about candles! Everyone in the soaping circle knows that soap porn is a popular feature, but dangit, I want some candle porn! I love candles, and I want to spread the love! First up, someone I consider the queen of flame, Misty-owner of Burnt Mill Candles and Soap. This gal's got skills! Check these candles out! I am so jealous right now I could scream! Look at the craftmanship and the color. These are awesome. I actually ordered some from her that are waiting for me at the post office (can't leave work earlier enough to pick them up-will get them this weekend for sure!)

I'm gonna make this a weekly feature. Chandlers need love too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Move Over Etsy...

There's some new sheriffs in town-at least deputies anyway. Let's be frank shall we: Etsy is pissing a lot of people off for a number of reasons. Let's break down a few of 'em:

  1. Flooded marketplace
  2. Sneaky re-sellers
  3. Obvious favoritism: Same shops being featured on front page, gift guides, etc.
  4. Admin having shops and not disclosing that they're admin
  5. Admin just not doing their job of policing the site for breaking the rules

I could go on and on, but Etsy gets enough publicity from their top sellers. I'm here to talk about some up and coming craft venues. I've joined two of them recently in an attempt to hopefully stand out a little more. The first is 1000 Markets. I actually found this site thru a member of EAOC (Etsy Artists of Color.) It's a growing online marketplace for crafters and the look and feel is very different from Etsy. It's much more streamlined and "cleaner" in its overall appearance. I haven't garnered any sales yet, one because I've been busy and haven't been actively promoting it-yet. The second site is called Art Fire. I found this one thru Etsy Bitch. If you haven't visited Etsy Bitch, then you should check it out. This is a site totally dedicated to sticking it to Etsy by calling them out for every thing done or gone wrong. The talk is frank, candid, and admittedly, dead-on. Anyway, Art Fire is really cool because there are two sign up options: The verified and basic packages. There are NO listing/commission fees except for the verified package which is a flat $7.00 a month fee.

It's good to have options. This isn't an Etsy bash post. I like Etsy. I've made many friends thru Etsy, but Etsy isn't the only choice. Check out 1000 Markets and Art Fire to name a few. Maybe you'll find a new home for your handmade goods.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Like A Moth To A Flame...

burned by the fire. I love my candles, can't you see my desire? Okay, I stole that from Janet Jackson, but I've been on a candle kick lately. I made this strawberry shortcake one that I just listed on Etsy. I've been neglecting my flames, and I need to get back on track. I've been so consumed with soap lately, that I actually forgot how to make this friggin candle. Can you believe it? It's not rocket science, but I have my ways of doing things. The strawberries are made wax made just for embedding. I don't use soy wax for my embeds because its too soft, and I can't get it out of my molds. I just don't recommend soy wax for embedding. If you know of how to use soy wax to make embeds, let me know.

I'm off to make more candles. We're having a gift exchange next week, and I'm making a gift basket of my different offerings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

That Darn Cat!

Every time I turn around, this little monkey is into something she has no business being into. Pepper loves my light box. For one, it's a box. Cats love them for some reason. I'm surprised she actually "posed" for this pic. Getting her to keep still is like pulling teeth. I love her though.

Yeah, it's a slow day. Can't you tell?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Well Aint I Just Miss Popularity Today???

Last night I tossed and turned and did not get one hour's worth of sleep, so I was tired, cranky, and downright bitchy all day today. I publicly apologize to anyone I've pissed off today. I'm tired!!!

One of the first things I do when I get home is fire up the ole laptop and pop a Mike's Hard Lime in the freezer. I then change into something comfy, feed my greedy cat, and plop down on my pleather (it may be leather-I inherited it from my late father) sofa to begin my evening routine: unwind by emptying my brain from reading all my favorite gossip blogs. It's so nice to know the rich and famous are screwed up just as badly as us regular folk. The next thing I do is read all of my favorite craft blogs. By this time, a good hour has passed. Oh, I eat in between this too. Next I skim my blog for comments even though I get those e-mail notices that I have one. Well whattaya know? There's a comment on my latest post about the Monkey Bars. It's from Delightful Divas In Business telling me how cute they are and that I'm featured on her blog today. I'm so blown! I usually do the courting when I want to be recognized, but to be featured on some one's blog because they really like your product or your shop is truly an honor. Check out what DDIB has to say here.

Lastly, I check my e-mail. Maybe I'll have an order or two. Mostly it's tons of ads (I shop way too much) and countless SPAM (die Spammer scum of the earth!) letting me know I can buy drugs of any type without a prescription! Anyway, I get one from a fellow Etsian who's also a member of Etsy CREST (Capital Region Etsy Street Team.) I'm in her treasury. Yay!! So, a sh*tty day has been made a little less sh*tty with all the love flowing from my fellow crafters. Ahhhhhhhh........

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who Knew.....

that this monkey soap would be my best seller? Not only is it my most popular soap, but it's the most time-consuming and difficult to make. Don't get me wrong, I love my Monkey Bars, but whenever I get an order for one, I'm like, "Don't make any plans for the next hour and a half...."

I truly love the art of melt and pour soap crafting, especially when there are multiple crevices involved such as this one. Take a look at all the individually-colored parts of this soap: the fruit (looks like a mango, but I color it yellow to make it pop), the stem on the fruit; the monkey's eyes; his face; his body; and finally the background. When I first started making this soap as the first pic will show, I colored the monkey one color all the way through. I was too intimidated to try to show the detail of its face. Then I discovered these crafting tools from PJ Soaps. They are another "why didn't I think of that..." I let each section dry for at least 20-30 minutes depending on the size. When I'm working with small sections like the fruit and the monkey itself, I don't scent it. I save the scent for the background since it's the "meat" of the soap. Monkey Farts (a delicious blend of banana, mango, strawberry, and bubblegum) is a powerful scent, and all you need is a little.

Well, I'm waiting on my little monkey to harden before I pop it out of the mold. I let these set a full 24 hours because in the past I've always popped it out too soon, and I'd lose an eyeball or the fruit would stick. Then I'm like "%$#%P%" and have to start all over!