Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Visit Photos

Today is the last day of Gen's visit. We took advantage of a mostly sunny morning to visit the charming town of Chagrin Falls. We admired the falls, the foliage, and the quaint little town with all the wonderful shops.

Here's a view from the bridge to one section of the falls. The town does such a nice job of planting the flower baskets on the railings. Here I am on the stairway down to the water.
I don't know how these falls are really identified, but I think of them as the "lower" falls. These are steeper than the ones near the bridge (photo above).
Here's a close-up of that cabbage in the planter. See the little jewel-like dew drop?
Isn't this a charming village? Look at the clouds moving in.
Here I am in the park, next to the river.
The ducks and geese float in the water above the "upper" falls. This goose is wearing a leaf like some sort of breast plate!
So here we are, my beautiful baby and me. Tell me, how did a pygmy like me, have this tall, gorgeous, slender daughter?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Autumn Scenes

We have company right now (my sweet Jenny-woo) so not a lot of talk to post, but thought you all might enjoy some country scenes from NE Ohio, with the changing leaves and local beauty. I'll have more to talk about after our visit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Soaping, Cleaning, and Fruit Flies

It's been a busy crazy weekend. Saturday seemed to be the day of errands. Every time we'd get home from a trip to a hardware store, or picking up the repaired hedge trimmer, we'd remember something else we needed, and we were off again! Can you believe we had to make four stops to find a store that carried plain old, every day juice glasses? One thing led to another and another, and we frittered away the early part of the day with
multiple stops.

Above, baby shower favor soaps in the mold; below, baby shower favors, still to be wrapped and decorated.

In the afternoon, I did work on some more soap. I got a very nice order from the B&B folks, for personal things - baby shower tokens - and made the last of those bars and a few others. I cut a bunch of bars, including four tester fragrances: almond oatmeal, green bamboo, violet, green tea & cucumber. I love green scents; the gals on my soap list always tease me about my green nose. I'm also experimenting more and more with simple florals. All the industry publications I've read lately are pointing to the resurgence of simple or single-note florals. The violet fragrance that I tested in soap really freaked me out. I test in a plain white base, and when I added the violet fragrance, it immediately turned the soap orange! I covered the molds and walked away, worrying the whole time about what I would do if this turned out to smell like THE violet I want to stock, and the darn stuff makes orange soap. Not to worry - it calmed down to a lovely creamy white color, but it sure was a suprise. I'm still wondering how that will affect things if people who use it want to tint their soap.

Guest bars, out of the mold but uncut.

Vaniglia soap (above) smells divine, but is always dark brown.

Above, one of my favorite soaps, a minty-scented "Four Seasons."

The green tea & cucumber is nice, too. It has that sharp green under-current, that bitter under the skin note that gives just the right edge to some blends. The green bamboo is a little sweeter than I expected - kind of a green and floral blend, almost like an after shave or a body spritzer. I don't know if I'll be adding it to the line or not.

One of the prettiest soaps I make, the three toned Honey Ginger

I'm most intrigued with the oatmeal almond. I've had a couple of requests for Oatmeal Milk & Honey, but most fragrance suppliers have some version of that. This gives me that warm, comforting, foody fragrance that so many seem to seek, yet it's not the same old thing. This has a musky sophistication to it, as well as the comfort notes. I hope it holds up in soap.

The house now has lots of clean and shiny floors. I've been getting ready for a visit from my youngest daughter, and I don't want to waste our precious time with housework when she's here. I've been cleaning this weekend, Oldtimer's been cleaning and sorting, and even the dogs went in for a grooming.

The hibiscus waited all season to bloom

While we were out yesterday, I found a place where the trees had given up their Osage Oranges. My Oldtimer stopped the truck and let me pick up a bunch. I made a lovely arrangement with them and some pine cones and seed pods, for the buffet in our living/dining room. At dinner tonight, I noticed that our bananas and apple had about 70 fruit flies. When I went to dust the buffet in the living room, I realized that the Osage Oranges were LOADED with the things. My artful arrangement is now sitting out on the deck!

(Please note that all of the pics of soap, above, are curing or uncut and not yet beveled or buffed. Every bar is hand trimmed and "polished" before it is labeled and sent out of here.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cool Weather Arrives

Yes, it's really about time for the cool weather in NE Ohio. It's been unusually warm and dry this year, and the leaves are very late changing color. At this time last week, it was so unusually warm, I had to run the a/c. Yesterday, after two days of waking up in a very chilly house, I finally broke down and turned on the furnace. I hate to transition from a/c to furnace in one week. Not only are my sinuses wonky, I miss having a week or three or six to fling open the windows and let in some fresh air.

Before firing up the furnace, we tried just having the gas log burn for a while. It was a lovely way to start my Saturday, with my latte and a Victoria magazine and a fire in the fireplace, but...there was soap to make and dirt to spread (well, actually I had to watch someone else spread the dirt), and other Saturday chores. Cosmo, however, took full advantage of a lengthy snooze near the fire.
We have new topsoil in the bare spots in the lawn, and we're about to have all of that hydro-seeded. I'll share some before, during, and after pix soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What a Mail Day!

Oh my goodness, I think I've gone to heaven. Back a few months ago, I mentioned that Victoria magazine was making a comeback. My first issue arrived in the mail today, and it's as good as it was back when. It's like an old friend, or going "back home" and having it still be comfortable after an extended absence. I haven't finished making my way through the entire magazine yet, but I already have websites to visit, a trip to take, and new perfumes to sniff.

THEN, I got the box of fabrics I ordered from! Last week, I had to follow-up on the wonderful and amusing fabrics I spotted on Monica Magness' blog, which led me to make a purchase in the first place. Aren't these something?And while I was there, I had to get a couple more of the Laurel Burch mermaid fabrics. Look at these:
I love the dots. My mother always told me that polka dots are lucky.

Now...the other wonderful thing I ordered! eQuilter sells a surprise package of 3 pounds of scraps. These aren't junky and mis-shapen scraps, they are end pieces and nice sizes. The only problem I can see is that I've absolutely fallen in love with a couple of the scraps, and I really hope I can find them in yardage. Granted, there are a couple I might not use, but there are more that I will. Here's the cute little 3 pound bundle, all tied up nicely with bow-printed fabric:

Look at these red polka dots, and the beautiful green concentric rings:
But the front three on this batch have to be my real favorites. Look at that orange and fuschia stripe! And the black and white floral! And the pink and brown floral. Oh my goodness, I love that pink and brown floral! (I think I just used my weekly allotment of exclamation points.)
Tomorrow is Saturday! (oops) Even though it's going to be chilly, my Oldtimer has yardwork planned. I have lots of things to do here, including a B&B soap shipment, a soap order to pour, and playing in the treehouse with my fabrics! (What is wrong with me? It appears I've been possessed by the exclamatory gremlins.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Working on DIPs

This weekend, I decided to take a leaf from JudiA's book, and try to finish a couple of projects. I worked on, but did not finish, two dolls. First, I'm still working on the green doll, taking my time. She has lots of hand beading, as you can see around the "bra," and the hem of her skirt:
This is the doll I tested for Judi Wellnitz. I still haven't finished, but realized I really wanted to use the cheesecloth I dyed last week (inspired by a project in the first issue of Fibre and Stitch). So, I dipped it in Paverpol, and used the cheesecloth for a draped skirt on this doll:
See how it hardens? I'm holding it sideways, and the skirt is still draped:
I finally know how I want to finish this doll. I can't wait till it's dry enough to work some more.
The green doll hasn't provided her name to me yet, but the purple is going to be Lucrezia. Incidentally, the green doll's pattern is from Patti Culea's second doll book.

Here Fishie, Fishie!

Earlier this summer, when the grandchildren visited, we bought feeder goldfish from PetsMart and let the kids put them in the pond. We figure we put in more than 70 goldfish, and though we've only found about a dozen that didn't make it, we also feel fairly certain that we lost others. Still, we were pretty excited to see a bunch of them feeding today, and they've grown a lot!
We also have "wild" fish, brought in on the legs of the ducks that landed in the spring, and some may have washed over from the neighbor's pond. They're good sized, too.

This school looks like all the wild ones:

Another lone wild one:
A mixed group, look at the color variation:
Here's a pair of the "feeder fish" - they aren't feeders any more:
This redhead especially pleases me. He's almost identical to one we had to leave behind in NC:
Fish lips (left side of leaf)!

Incidentally, we found the now-deceased turtle at the bottom of the pond. It's so sad - I hope we get another.

The Party Line

We've noticed these birds on the wire facing the sunrise the past few mornings. Do you suppose this is what they mean by "a party line"?
Here's a shot with a little more perspective. Pretty morning, isn't it?