Background - Isabelle

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weird and Wonderful Collection on Artfire!

My Mermaid Rubber Ducky Soap Has been included in an Artfire Collection!

It's Better Handmade - Wedding Collection on Artfire!

My Cherry Blossom Soap Petals AND Soap Crystals were BOTH included in a Collection on Artfire!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rosemary Lemon and Vanilla Home Freshener

During my long crawls over the internet, I came across a wonderful blog by a woman who used to work for Williams Sonoma. Apparently, they use this simple yet amazing recipe to freshen the air in their stores.

This was posted a while back, but hopefully, I'm not the only late-comer to the party :)

I mixed this concoction up and it is simmering away on my stove as I write, and it smells absolutely divine!

What to do:
Fill stockpot 2/3 full of water.
Add 1 sliced lemon
Add few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Add 2-3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Throw everything into the stockpot and simmer away!

Add water throughout the day, as needed; this concoction is supposed to last up to two days.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

But what about the mystique?

I wish I could remember who linked me to the following story, because I would love to give them credit for finding it!

Why your secrets don't matter.

In summary, this story tells a tale about 2 bakers and their very different approaches to their craft.

Ever since I have been in business for myself, I have met all sorts of different personalities in this same trade.

More often than I'd like to admit, when I have met another "soaper" in person, they are more than willing to talk to me and they smile and explain what they do with so much passion. Sadly, the instant they find out that I also make soap they change...

One woman immediately became angry and loudly proclaimed that I didn't get up every morning and milk my own goats like she did. Another woman that I ran into at a craft show refused to speak to me. When I approached her booth to welcome her (she arrived on the 2nd day of a 2 day show) she turned her back to me and pretended to be busy with someone else. That woman then came to (the area of) my booth after I had to leave the building and stood far back from my display to scrutinize what I had but wouldn't speak or make eye contact with my helper.

At the last show I did, there was another soap booth right across from me. I was reasonably busy during the day so I didn't get to visit any other vendors till the end of the day. I noticed that this other "soap lady" would be looking at me when I would look up but then she would quickly look away. I remember thinking, "Not this again..."

When I got the time, I approached her anyways. She turned out to be one of the sweetest people ever!

In hindsight, I wonder if she thought I was going to be like the others also...

I absolutely love what I do. Every moment of every day, I'm thinking about soap. Even when I'm making jewelry, I'm thinking about soap! I have taught many of my friends how to make soap and even have an apprentice of sorts. I would absolutely welcome my neighbors into my home to teach them how to make soap too, but I don't think they really care as much as I do about it! I've had people message me about something I made and I explain to them how I did it!

I love what I do so much that I want every one else to be able to enjoy it just the same.

I can appreciate those out there that carefully guard their secret recipes that they've worked long and hard to figure out, but why treat everyone as though they are trying to steal something from you?

I get 80% of my inspiration from others! I'm so glad there are so many pioneers ahead of me, forging the way so that I can learn from them! Its because of this that I never forget that I was once new to this also, and I always try to make time to help someone who asks.

“I must correct you: I am not a perfectionist, I am a striver for excellence. Arnaud is making bread for Arnaud; I am making it for my people. I am seeking to please them, to delight them, to make them smile. And that is what they pay me for.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Smoochie Poochie

This is Brandi.

Brandi is a Border Collie/Aussie Shepherd Mix that adopted me in 2007 when she was about 6 months old.

At the time, I worked for a Police Department. I was working an extra graveyard shift, and when I got to work it was almost 10pm and it was storming like crazy. As I was getting ready to start my shift, the Animal Control officer came up to me and told me that he had something for me outside.

Curious, I followed him out to "the van." When he opened the door, I saw this dirty little Muppet staring up at me, and I knew she was mine.

We held onto her for the required amount of days, but no one claimed her!

Brandi happens to be her "dad's" first dog. He was a bit resistant to her at first, but within 2 days they became attached at the hip.

We spent hundreds of dollars on the vet, beds, treats and toys, and of course only the best dog food. She was very sick and we found out that she had a severe bladder infection that was causing her to void blood :(

We got that taken care of right away, plus all the appropriate shots and whatnot. As soon as we could, we had her spayed.

Almost every weekend, she went to the dog park to make new friends.

 Then one weekend, she was playing near a fence at the dog park and halfway ripped out one of her toenails! The vet just ripped it all the way out so she would grow a new one...

This was her 2nd cone of shame, but this time she got a cool "cast."

Then it happened... After Brandi was all healed up, she went back to the dog park. After a day of running and playing, she came home limping. At first we assumed it was a sprain, but by the next morning she didn't want to move and wouldn't stop shivering.

We took her back to the vet that handled the toenail incident. After several x-rays they told us that she had a torn ligament in her knee and that it was up to us whether or not we wanted to do surgery. We explained how much pain she was in, how she wouldn't move or eat, and that she just shivered all the time. The vet told us she was just cold and to keep her covered up. Of course, we wanted the surgery done, so the vet told us that he would do the surgery in one month after he got back from vacation. The vet also insisted that Brandi was not in pain and that she would be fine to wait. This whole process took approximately 2 weeks.

As soon as we got home, we started to do some research and confirmed that the shivering was a coping mechanism for pain. We contacted the vet that spayed her and they advised to bring her right away. Immediately, they gave us pain medication for Brandi and referred us to a surgery center. We met with the surgery center within the week and Brandi had her surgery.

When we went back to pick her up, not only did she have a new cone of shame, but some spiffy staples too.

The vet gave me a test tube that had some chunks of bone in it, he said that they were floating inside her knee and were most likely pulled off of the bone by the tendon when it came off and that he was certain they were causing Brandi a great deal of pain.

Brandi was never the same after this. While she healed up very nicely, she never wanted to run anymore. She wouldn't jump up when someone was at the door. She had to be picked up to be put in the truck. She had to be coaxed into eating dinner. Walks became drags. She slept so much that we nicknamed her Planky.

Her front feet began to deform...

Back to the vet again...

Brandi was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is in constant pain, this is why she was no longer active. It is possible that it was exaggerated by allowing the injury to go for so long without being treated by the first vet.

Brandi was placed on Rimadyl and within a day she was starting to play again. By the end of the week, it was like having a puppy all over again! Brandi is about 4 years old now, and she is just now KINDA able to enjoy life.

Walks are still drags (who has ever heard of a border collie or aussie shepherd that doesn't like to walk???) and we still call her Planky, but it isn't nearly as bad as it was before.

Hopefully, its smooth sailing from here on out.