Sunday, 24 January 2010

Dreaming of Spring

While I am still enjoying what is left of winter (we still have some snow left, it's a 'nice-type' of cold out in the air), I am looking forward to the fact that spring is coming in a few moths.

At this end, I am thinking of spring themes -

I have just placed in my store, VANILLA BEAN WITH ROSE PETAL SOAP.

Whole vanilla beans are cut up into tiny, small pieces. Vanilla bean oil is a powerful anti-oxidant, and the smell is a great calmer and relaxer.

And what can I say? The rose petals are just gorgeous.

In addition, when I've not been making soap, I've been working on other stuff. The little time that I do sit in front of the tv is not spent completely vegging out. My personality just does not allow it.
So I've been making some lacy wash cloths with a gorgeous shell pattern. These are made with cotton thread, and will probably be made in great quantities in a large number of colors.

I'm very excited to see what the year to come with bring me.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Your skin is an amazing part of your body. It's the heaviest organ of the human body, weighs approx. 11 kilograms (just over 24 lbs) and if it was stretched out it would take up 1.7 square meters of space (of 18.3 square feet) - which is basically the same size a a single bed.

Queasiness aside, this phenomenal creation also has the ability to absorb up to 60% of topical products that are put upon it. Hormone therapy and medications to curb smoking urges have taken advantage of this by using patches placed on the skin.

But interesting enough, the skin will not absorb everything. Vitamins A, D and E are absorbed through the skin, yet none of the others. Most minerals are not absorbed through the skin, while at the same time early research is showing that it is quite possible that some air pollution is.

Finally, it is interesting to note the skin is the organ that the body pays the least attention to. Of all the nutrients and vitamins that are taken into the body through digestion, all major internal organs are the first to receive their share and the skin is the absolute last. In a perfect world with good eating and exercise, the heart and lungs will stay comparatively healthy and strong, while the skin begins to deteriorate with age. It underlines the importance to take care of the skin from both the inside and out.

Here is a reminder of what it takes to keep the entire body, but especially the skin healthy:

1) Drink lots of water - it is the main transport means in your body for delivering both vitamins and nutrients and taking away waste matters.

2) Eat lots of fruit and vegitables, preferably raw.

3) Find skin products that you believe you can trust - there are a lot out there, making a lot of claims. But the general rule is that the more organically made the product is, the better it probably is for you. Research and ask questions before spending a lot of money - and research has shown the more money you spend, the less you receive for your money.

4) Protect your skin against the sun, wind and cold - all year round

Thursday, 14 January 2010

50th Soap Sold = 2 Free Bars of Soap

Above is probably the postcard I will be printing out - with a list of the usual soaps that will be found in my store.... :)

And I've decided to promote in a fun way - things are going really well with steady sales. Because of this I've decided that for every 50th soap that is sold, that person will have the opportunity to have 2 free bars of their choice added to their shipment.

As it stands now, I am at soap 47.


Quick! Before it's too late!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Crazy, Crazy Soaps

It's been a bit of a rush the last while - lots of priorities at home that need to be constantly re-organized. Along with my working full time (and these past days being home with sick kids), juggling driving the kids the to karate and gymnastics, keeping the house running, etc - we've packed away Christmas and I've taken the oppurtunity to go over the house completely: washing down, washing up, deciding if things need to be thrown out or given away, etc, etc.

My poor kids; they were given the message that if they could not keep themselvs occupied for a while they would be given a list of jobs to do to help me. Needless to say I didn't see them for hours even though they were in the same building as me. :)

I've been wanting to show off some really cool soaps that I've made a while ago.

Above is my Turmeric Soap - which is almost ready to be sold (just a couple more weeks until it is completely finished curing).

Turmeric has been used for centuries for a lot of reasons. It has anti-inflammatory properites and has been known to enhance beauty by adding a healthy glow to the skin. There have also been studies (there are also on-going studies as well) showing how turmeric fights against cancer and tumors, including skin cancer and melanoma -which is NOT to say that we should stop using sun screen protection.

Above is a bar of CAYENNE PEPPER SOAP -

Cayenne pepper???? (I can hear the crowds gasping and shaking their heads).

This first batch is almost ready, and ready to share. Cayenne pepper first and formost helps to increase blood circulation in the body. This is true when it is ingested into the body, or applied toppically. Secondly, when applied topically, it offers pain relief and is used by those suffering from joint pain or minor arthritis. It can also offer temporary relief from psoriasis. And finally, for those who suffer from cold hands and feet - this might be exactly what you were looking for.

Finally, we have CARROT SOAP - perhaps not so 'crazy' as 'clever'.
Carrots are chock full of great stuff that can be ingested or absorbed directly through the skin. These include but are not limited to: Vitamin A, vitamin E, and anti-oxidants such as carotenoids and tocopheryls. Studies have shown that these can provide some protection against the sun as well as repair minor sun burn damage.

Keep an eye out in my store for these great soaps!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Grecian Artist Supreme

My latest interview is from an artist who has to have the cutest products I have seen in a long time. She too is a member of the European Street Team and has such a great personality that I just needed to share her with all of my friends and collegues. Enjoy this interview - :)

Important Information:

Name: Maria
Occupation: Studying for my Master’s degree in Business Administration

My Etsy shop: Heart Shaped Creations
My gallery in Deviantart: Click Here
My Flickr gallery: Click Here

What term would you use to describe your creative talent: artist/craftsman(woman)/creator/other. Why is it you see yourself in this way?

I’d have to say that I think of myself as an artist. I constantly seek for inspiration all around me and I consider my creations as a mean to express a part of my personality.

How did you begin with this creative process (working with clay) and how does it add to your life?

I started working with clay by an urge to experiment, when I purchased my first blocks of clay during my wanderings in a craft-store. Working with this medium has offered me so many things, that I wouldn’t even know from where to begin. I think it’s important for me to say, that my starting point was when my life had taken a rough turn and focusing on my art was something that let the sunlight go through my heart and helped me in a great way to overcome that period.

Were you creative before this time? If so, what other creative arts do/did you dabble in?

I guess I’ve always been involved in some sort of creative process as long as I can remember myself. When I was younger, I used to draw, make collages, later I got “addicted” with the art of decoupage and now clay has become my new medium of expressing myself. I guess having a mum that is a writer and a painter didn’t leave me with much of a choice of embracing art as well!

Can you remember the first clay creation that you made?

My very first clay creation was a bear. I remember that it took me almost a day to finish it! As you can imagine, that first creation had nothing to do with the figurines I create now. However, I will never forget how happy and proud of myself I was for bringing that little bear to “life”.

Is there something else that you made that you are particularly proud of?

Generally, I always feel content everytime I finish a figurine. Despite the fact that, some of them can prove quite tiring and demanding, when I make the final touches and I can say that I’m happy with the final result, then I go to sleep with a smile!

Is there something in particular that you find inspiring?

I love and respect life in any form, therefore I draw my inspiration from nature, but also from fantastic worlds and generally from anything that makes me smile.

When you have a quiet moment to indulge yourself and there's no one around to bother you, what is it you like to do best?

I enjoy those moments of solitude by watching a movie on my couch or by flicking through the pages of artbooks from my favourite Fantasy Artists.

How would you envision the perfect dinner? Who would be there (famous/family/fictional/etc)? Would it be formal/informal? What would be served?

Hmmmm…perfect dinner? I think if I had Hugh Jackman across the table I wouldn’t mind about formalities or the meal! :-D

What type of music are you listening to at the moment? What does this music do for you?

Generally speaking I’ve always been fond of rock music. For the past few years, I only listen to symphonic/rock metal, ambient and Celtic artists. Music always helps me to relax, let off steam etc. Most of the times I pick the music that I will listen to according to my current mood.

Where is the place that you have visited in the past that you have particular fond memories of? Why?

I have to say the Greek island of Milos, which I visited with my parents when I was a child. Its wild beauty is something that is engraved in my mind eversince and I really want to go back there one day.

Where is the one place you would really like to travel to one day? Why?

I would like to travel to numerous places, but my fondest dream has always been to visit Scotland. It’s one of the countries that captures my imagination…

Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview that you feel our readers should know?

"Why do we have to listen to our hearts? Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure” Paolo Coelho
Thank you so much Marie, for being willing to share some time with us!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

New Soaps - Yeah!

I have been working on a bunch of different soaps since Christmas..... and some of them are selling in my store now. The rest will be ready to sell in a couple of weeks.

Above: Winter Spice Soap - a lighter version of my Christmas Spice Soap. This soap has cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg.... and smells wonderful. These spices and combinations of them have been used as anti-inflammtory and anti-bacterial ingredients. Nutmeg has also been traditionally used to promote skin reparation. Everything we need during the cold chilly days of winter.

Above: Chocoalte and Oatmeal Soap. This soap is just fun, fun, fun. It smells so good and has good qualities for your skin.

Above - My already popular Cucumber Oatmeal Soap. This soap contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLORS OR PERFUMES. That great color comes from the cucumber itself. Both Cucumbers and Oatmeal has great qualities that help the skin.
Above - Passionfruit Tea Soap - this soap is pretty much scentless, and looks gorgeous. A lovely Olive oil and Coconut oil soap with warm swirls and hints of purple.
Finally - Crushed Mint Soap - A soap with a lovely fresh smell that provides coolness to hands and feet. Perfect for hard workers and warm summer days.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Day in Winter Wonderland

Today is the last day of our winter holidays. We all slept late, and after eating a quick breakfast and watching a bit of tv, we all decided that this is not how we wanted to spend our day.

So we split into teams: hubby packed the car, scraped windows, and put lots of wood into the fireplace so that the house would be warm when we came back. I dressed the kids in various layers of wool, as well as winter suits, made hot chocolate and quickly packed other necessities.

Like all 5-years my little princess had managed to get one of the many pairs of mittens we took with us soaking wet. At least we had a place where they would dry out over the hour long drive to get to our cabin.

After a peaceful drive we come where we spend most of our summers. Even though we have a four-wheel drive, we had decided even before arriving that we would NOT drive down the long hill to where our property lies, but instead to use the vast number of sleighs we've been collecting over the years.

Our children were supposed to help us, but before we even had a chance to unload what we had taken with us from town, they were off like a shot.

This was clearly a battle we were destined to lose.

When we finally made it down to our property, my husband decided to take a quick visit into the cabin to check for any mouse invasion, or potential water problems, while I took a short trip around our property and dreamed of harvesting ingredients for my soaps next summer.

Along the way I ran across some fox tracks. Not long after this I saw some hare tracks as well. I wonder if these two met for dinner or not.
One might notice how blue the pictures are. This is due to the angle of the earth against the sun... the low level of light. This day there was exactly 2 hours and 9 minutes of direct sunlight.

Onto my future summer plans - below is where I have my small garden. Here I have grown carrots, zucchini as well as potatoes. I have also been working on a contraption that will work like a greenhouse..... or really a greenhouse with lots of open windows. So it's really a question if my idea will work or not. I will have to blog more about it in a few months.

On the upper part of the property is where I find my juniper berries... though I admit it's hard to see the difference between the juniper bushes and the other surrounding vegitation.

In amongst all the wild raspberry plants that can be seen grows a horrendous amount of nettles, fireweed, or burning grass. This plant has been used as a medicinal plant for many centuries and I plan to cut it all down, take it through a quick parboil, and then store it for further use with my soap.
These are the wild roses where I have collected my rosehips to make my rosehip soap.

While my hubby and I were busy doing our business, my creative daughter was making ice-sculptures by breaking apart the frozen layers of snow. This one she has called 'Frozen Christmas Tree.'
Meanwhile my son was having fun playing in his own fantasy world.

We get the fire started......

And soon we're all roasting sausages.

It's not often that I get captured in photographs, but here I am with my two favorite kids in the whole, wide world.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the last day of Christmas Holidays.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A family day of sledding....

Today the entire family was home, it was frightening cold (well okay, not really) and there was lots and lots of snow (that part is true).

We have been horribly unlucky through the Christmas holidays with not enough family time, just us four, no one else, no responsibilities. Today was not going to be like that. We put everything on hold, invited some friends who we really like, took our biggest and fastest rocket sleds and went to find the best hill on the island.

Here it is - a hill on an old farm no longer in use.


Here is my son and his best friend way up on the top of the hill. They had said that they were not going to let anything stop them and come down the hill as fast they could.

Here comes my son, racing down full speed ahead!

And before my camea can allow me to take another picture, he's down at the bottom, hiding behind the sparse vegitation.

Lots of fun was had by all, and we all spent 3 hours getting great exercise climbing up the hill (myself included) and racing down, being blinded by flying snow and praying to the higher power of choice not to break any bones. And in between all of this fun, lots of hot chocolate and chocolate covered healthy granola bars.

A wonderful day.

Friday, 1 January 2010

2010 Has Arrived

2010 has arrived, and I am sitting here in my living room watching tiny bits of snow fall down from the sky. In the distant I can see low cloud cover the tops of the mountains of Bergen, but if you allow your eyes to follow the valley eastward, you can see where the sun is trying to break through.

Not a bad way to start the year.

2009 was an incredible year in all ways. I stood on skis for, really, the first time in my life. We lost a family member through unbearable circumstances. After 10 years I found a workplace where I like to be, where I know I can grow and where I feel wanted and appreciated. In 2008, through my 6-year-old so I was lucky to meet adults I would not normally have come into contact with. These relationships have grown through 2009 and have greatly enriched my life. I look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring.

2009 was a huge turning point for me. After living in Norway for more than 10 years, I had finally come to a place where this country was more than just a good place to live, in comparison to a lot of good places to live. In 2009 something shifted in myself and this country became a place where I wanted to be. For the first time it was not a problem that I will probably spend the rest of my life here. On the contrary, it was a positive thing.

I see 2010 as a vast open space, where I can go where I want, do what I choose and take advantage of any oppurtunity I see. I have looked forward to all new years with hope, but this is the first time I have come into a new year with expectation of good things to come.

I leave this post wishing everyone, friends, collegues, family as well as a flood of new traffic from places unknown the absolute best in 2010. May your lives be over run by good luck, hard work and good experiences. And may we all come to this day next year with smiles on our faces and peace in our hearts.