Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scenic Sunday

Here is the photo for this week...the answer to last week's photo was Mount Rainier in Washington.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taking the Day Off!

I decided to take the day off today....hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Firsts.... I didn't make a purchase today, but here are a few new shops just waiting for their first go ahead and make someone's weekend!

This beautiful pottery set from potterybykay She just opened up shop about a week ago and has some really wonderful pieces.

pinkpalmstudio has these cute little chalkboard pots. It appears as though she is having her grand opening currently going on.

This awesome bag from Cottage Closet.....who couldn't use a good bag?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Theme

So last week's guesses went well...yes. The Wizard of Oz was the answer. I dedcided that I would go ahead and make this a fun little contest. Any and all comments will be placed into a drawing for some little prize....winner announced next Thursday. Ok, so here is the theme for this week:

Spinach seeds from Thebearfootshaman

Sweet pea flower seeds from farmerjulie

It's A Jeep (Jeep) Thing pendant from cre8agift

sailor print from traceyaxelrod

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes

I was so excited to finally have my oven back...that I baked today! I guess I was pretty lucky though, I baked all day Friday. I got all my loaves of bread baked. I did not use the oven on Saturday at all, went to use it on Sunday and NOTHING! So I was without an oven Sunday and Monday. I know that doesn't seem like much, but I felt almost like I was without internet....I really need to get a life! LOL!!

But I am thinking I am going to definately sell these on Saturday at Market. All the testers gave the rave reviews. I was initially afraid that I made them too rich...but everyone said to leave them as they were. Now all I need to do is get a cupcake "tree" or stand. I can probably come up with one on my own...but if anyone has any display ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So I just now realized that I never uploaded pictures to go with my post on Saturday. Sorry about that! So here are some pictures from the Farmer's Market....better late than never, I guess! LOL And this is a picture of my booth. I love the green display stand Mr. Moose built for me using old shutters.

After my oven went on strike...I will hopefully be back in commission tomorrow and will show off my chocholate turtle cupcakes! I hope to start selling them this weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day....AND Winner Announced!

Hope everyone is enjoying their extra day off! Be safe celebrating this Memorial Day! So now, what everyone has been waiting for.....the winner is.......Jessica! She also has a blog, jessmiloo. Please be sure to stop over and check it out!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Scenic Sunday

So the answer to last week's pic was Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park. Here is the pic for this week! Enjoy!! Also...Last day to enter the giveaway! Hurry...time is ticking down.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Market Day!

Since today is Market Day! I thought I would share some photos from Market last week AND I have a special treat for you. We have some special video footage of the crazy dancing people! They show up everywhere....and just dance. They dance whenever the feeling moves them....even in the middle of the grocery store parking lot! They are some odd ducks....but you know, market wouldn't be the same without them. I love seeing the reaction of newcomers when they first notice them. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.

Once's Friday! YEAH! Especially this Friday....long weekend (for most of you)!! So I thought I would share with you some unique, undiscovered shops. Waiting....just waiting for their first sale. And since I am a sucker for photography....I thought I would share some of my favorite new photographers.

So once again...I'll lead by example. Here is what I purchased this week:

From SusitnaDesigns

I ALMOST bought this print is soooo beautiful! From GabrielleKai

And Finally this fun print from LRPPHOTO

So hope everyone has a great weekend! Don't forget to sign up for the lastest giveaway ending on Sunday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Theme

So, I'll try my hand at this one more time. Maybe last time I guess I should have told you all up front that I was looking for a phrase. How 'bout...."Snips and Snail and Puppy Dog Tails, That's What Little Boys are Made Of." I guess it was only easy for me because I knew the answer! LOL.

print from cateanevski

embroidery design from Diva's Doodles

coaster set from Adirondacknativesprt

stitch markers from peanutga11ery1

Ok...I could probably go on and on and on...but I'll stop here. What do these items have in common?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back To The Basics: Barter!

Don't you wish that somethings could be just like the good ol' days? When doctors were paid with a dozen eggs or fresh baked pies? Well, with the state of the economy being what it is, there has been a new grass roots movement to begin establishing cashless bartering systems. You clean my house....I'll cook you dinner for a week. It's the original business deal, invented long before money defined trade between two people.

I have signed up to take part in one of these bartering communities. Bitterroot Barter. How it sign up and get as many listings as you would like. I entered for baking and cooking as well as my bath and beauty products. Upon signing up I got 3 hOURS. Which here in the Bittrroot Valley is equivalent to $30 ( 1 hOUR = $10). Now say I want to get my house cleaned (which it does need), I look in their directory and find someone who cleans houses. I make the initial contact. Then that person has the opportunity to either make a deal with me accepting my services for their services OR I can pay in full or partial hOURS or that person can accept part service and part hOURS. Pretty simple. You can earn hOURS by doing community service type of work or volunteering at non profit organizations.

I think that this is a great look for one in your area and get to bartering!

You can also find great bartering sites at and of course,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sidewalk Sales! Gotta Love 'Em!

The Etsy Twitter Team is having a Sidewalk Sale to celebrate the spring weather and to get outside a bit! Virtually! So please take a stroll down our sidewalk of shop listings. Each shop is having a different sale so check them all out. There are some extremely great deals going on this week!!

The sales run from Sunday, May 17th to Saturday, May 23rd.
20% off – discount applied in pricing
FREE card with purchase of any 3 items! Exquisite floral, original photos and detailed embroidered cards will be given free (choice of free card by prettycheap). Just ask for your free card at check out (please purchase 3 items in one transaction).
Free shipping worldwide shipping all week. Please contact her before buying, She will cancel shipments or mention "Etsy Twitter Team" in the message to seller at checkout.
Offering free worldwide shipping for both of her shops that will be already marked with $0 shipping
15% off items (not including shipping or NY state sales tax if applicable). Add the comment "Etsy Twitter Sidewalk Sale" during checkout. Discount given via PayPal refund.
Every order will get a free sampler pack of 4 postcards included in their shipment! In the note to seller box, please mention "Sidewalk Sale" to get your free postcards.
Free Shipping
All necklaces $5.00 off! After payment, $5.00 will be refunded to the buyer’s PayPal account for each necklace purchased.
Free Shipping - After payment, shipping will be refunded via PayPal
30% off all purchases that total $20 or more. PayPal refund given for discount.
20% off all items in my shop: To participate type "May" in the message to buyer. Discount will be refunded via PayPal after purchase
All earrings $5 or less per pair. Prices already marked down.
15% off, + Plus free worldwide shipping. Also $5 gift certificate included for future purchases (limit one per customer). Redeemed with code "Sidewalk TW Sale" in message to seller box, then you will receive a prompt PayPal refund
20% discount using PayPal refund to everyone mentioning "Sidewalk Sale" in message to seller box
Free shipping worldwide.
10% off list price - Leave message to seller saying “sidewalk”. She will do a revised invoice or if you have already paid via PayPal she will do a refund.
all baby and kid items are marked 50% off in special shop section
Free Lavender Spearmint Lip Balm with purchase of $10 or more. Add the comment "Etsy Twitter Sidewalk Sale" during checkout.
Free shipping within the US only (via USPS First Class) with any purchase. Add to message to seller box "sidewalk sale" and you will get a refund through PayPal for the shipping amount.
free shipping to anyone in the USA and a flat rate of $5 to all other countries on her list for items over $20 and $3 for items under $20. Discount given via PayPal refund
With any purchase, get a FREE single card of your choosing from any of the card sets in the Stationary section of her shop. Just include which card you'd like in the Message to Seller box, or contact her soon after purchase.
Free USA shipping or Half Price international shipping when you spend $20.00 or more in her Etsy shop. Plus she will be tossing a free little "thank you" present into each package! Just put "EtsyTwitter Rocks" in the note to seller and she will refund the shipping discount back to your PayPal account.
Free Shipping! Use code “SIDEWALK” in the notes to the seller, and she will refund the shipping after the order is paid for through PayPal
Most items are already on sale but you can get and additional 10% off on orders of $15.00 or more by entering the words "Sidewalk Sale" in notes to seller. The 10% will be refunded through PayPal.
20% off purchases over $5. Buyers need to use the Promo Code "Sidewalk" and she will refund the discount via PayPal. Free shipping for orders over $30.
Free domestic shipping on non-ribbon items. Will automatically give a PayPal refund for items not already specially marked as part of the sale.
Free Shipping on every item in the shop! To redeem this great deal, enter “MAYSIDEWALK” into the message to the seller upon check out. You will be reimbursed through PayPal for the cost of shipping.
Free shipping! Type "Sidewalk Sale" in Notes to seller to receive a refund via PayPal.
15% off items $20 or more. "Sidewalk" in message to seller to get discount. Wait to pay for revised invoice
20% off all items*! Please write "May Sidewalk Sale" in notes to seller when checking out and wait for a revised invoice or pay and you will be refunded via PayPal. *discount valid for items only, does not include shipping or taxes if applicable.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Is Coming...NEW GIVEAWAY!

Good Monday morning and welcome! I am so excited to be announcing a new giveaway. This awesome prize comes to you from Tickleworm! She recently contacted me and asked me to host a giveaway for her…..and I jumped at the opportunity (as I do love a good giveaway)! She has decided to give away this cute little pouch.
Doesn't it just remind you of springtime? It is the perfect size and will hold your coupons, eyeglasses….just about anything you want!

So first, let's get to know a little more about the woman behind Tickleworm. Rachel lives in Georgia with her husband and (almost) 3 year old son. Rachel claims she was bitten by the crafting bug when she made her first hand turkey back in elementary school! (LOL) She began her felt work in August 2008. The year previous, her hubby had gotten her a sewing machine and up until that point had never really used it. Then one day, she decided that today would be the day….she broke out the machine and from that point on there was no looking back! She recalls, at that point, she barely knew what she was doing! It had been awhile since 7th grade home economics!

Rachel initially joined the Etsy community in October 2007 only as a buyer. At that time she had hopes of one day opening her own shop. Selling what? Now, that she wasn't so sure. She liked to dabble in all sorts of crafts….jewelry, soaping, and sewing. So one short month after she broke out that sewing machine, she knew. In September of 2008, she opened Tickleworm….and the rest they say, is history!

Rachel especially enjoys finding new ways to reuse old materials…ways to repurpose an old skirt. She loves trying different colors and textures to see what works and what doesn’t. She gets many of her up-cycled items at Salvation Army, second-hand stores or Value City.

Her best seller, Rachel says, are the smaller pouches she makes. Especially the ones with owls or buttons. She says people love them, they have a ton of uses and they aren't terribly expensive. Rachel is excited to announce that she will soon be offering machine stitched flowers, using fabric, felt and buttons. She also recently added some DIY kits to her shop, and if they go over well; she will be adding more.

The best piece of promotional advice Rachel has to offer: The Forums. She likes to go in there and promote. She also promotes offline as well….in her neighborhood, family and friends. Rachel has also recently started using Twitter as a promotional tool as well… I tweet about new products and sales,

Rachel has also been nice enough to offer a 10% discount to my readers. So when you make your purchase, just put "BLOG GIVEAWAY DISCOUNT" in notes to seller.

Ok…now what everyone has been waiting for…..the contest rules:

Once Again, this will be relatively simple to enter and you will get multiple chances to win:

1. The contest is open to EVERYONE EVERYWHERE! You don't even have to have an Etsy store to enter.

2. The contest will run until midnight Sunday May 24, 2009 (mountain time), with the winner being announced Monday, May 25, 2009. Winner will be picked randomly.


4. You must include in your post a way to contact, Etsy shop address...something! If you do not include a way to contact you, your entry will not be counted.

1. You get one entry for going to Rachel's shop and telling us what your favorite item is and why.
2. You will get 2 entries for blogging about this giveaway, with a link back to here. So simply blog about it (first) then return to my blog and post a comment with the link to your blog. Post YOUR blog entry first and then the comment....I won't go back again and again to check...I will only check once...if it's not entry
3. Since Rachel is offering a 10% discount, anyone that makes a purchase and then comes back here and posts their purchase will get 5 additional enteries!

So that's like 8 entry possibilites in all!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scenic Sunday

The answer to last week's picture was Montana, more specifically Trappers Peak. It is about 60 miles south of where I live. So here is this week's photo......

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Up And Coming....

Well today is another market....three down only like, um....20 some to go! We had an awesome...well for an opening market, it was awesome but last week was the pits. So this week I have cut back on baking a little, so hopefully we will sell out this week and not have so much left over! So I am really excited and just wanted to let you in on what is coming up on Monday. I will be HOSTING my first ever giveaway! The shop has REALLY cute look for it starting on Monday! Oh, and if anyone else would like me to host their giveaway...just let me know! I'd LOVE to do it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Firsts....

So, do you remember what it was like when you got YOUR first sale. Your heart started beating was exhilarating! "Someone actually likes my stuff enough to buy it!" You thought to yourself. So I thought I would declare (like who is really going to listen to me anyhow...but one can try)...Friday Firsts! I thought it might be nice to make someone's weekend by giving them their first sale. It doesn't have to be a huge purchase....any purchase of any size will still get the same effect! Kinda like the organized "Sneak Attack" on Etsy...but on a smaller scale and not aimed at one particular shop. So I thought I would lead by example. Since I am a sucker for photography...I purchased this small print from ROttoPhotography

So check out some of these great shops....or use "POUNCE" on Etsy and find your own....but go ahead....make someone's weekend with a small purchase! (I have chosen items that are around the same price range as my purchase)

These great GRAD tags...great for scrapbooking or gifts, from papierCiseaux. Only $2.50 for a set of 3!

This is a cute beaded incense holder from ZViolet priced at $8.00!

Or these great felt coasters from InboundThread . Only $8.50 for a set of 2 with FREE SHIPPING!

So if you do decide to make a first purchase this weekend...share it with us, we'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Theme

Ok, so I'm not even going to begin to try to take credit for this fun little "contest". I believe in give credit where credit is Eileen over at Dorset Hill Beads runs a fun little contest every Thursday. And I must say I LOVE it....I try to enter as often as possible. It really is a lot of fun, so I thought I would give it a try. So here goes.....I think I may have made it too easy.....

Great necklace from anirtak

A great stamp from winemakerssister

cute little figurine from endlesswhimsy

Cute print from ollieollie

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking For Some Feedback From YOU!

So I am still preparing my scrub line and I am wanting some feedback from you all!
So, I have a few questions I would like answers to.....

1. I know I asked this question before, but I have added a few (or am thinking about adding) do you like oatmeal, coffee, sugar or salt scubs?
2. Do you prefer the type of scrub that does not leave "stuff" behind? (oats, poppyseeds, ect)
3. What size of scrub are you more likely to buy? Small (4oz), Medium (6-8oz) or Large (12+oz)

Ok, for lotions....

1. Do you prefer a thick or thinner lotion...or does it depend on where you are applying it?
2. Again, what size lotion do you usually purchase? Small (4oz), Medium (6-8oz) or Large (12+ oz)?
3. you purchase smaller at first, then larger if you like it?

If you would answer any or all of these questions, that would be a tremendous help! Thanks so much...I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

At Home Beauty Treatments.

Don't have the time or money for expensive spa treatments? it yourself at home! A long while back, I posted a few do-it-yourself beauty treatments, so I thought it might be time for some more.

FACIAL MASK: Mix 1 tablespoon dry clay with 1 egg yolk, 1/4 of a mashed avocado and enough witch hazel to create a smooth mixture. Mud dries excess sebum while the egg yolk and avocado replenish lost moisture. Witch hazel tones. Clay is available in powder form at any health food store.

WRINKLE REDUCER: Believe it or not, banana is wonderful as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Mash 1/4 banana until very creamy. Spread all over face and leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Follow with a dash of cold.
Gently pat dry.

MOOD ENHANCER BATH: Who couldn't use a little pick me up every now and then? Add 1/4 cup of pure vanilla extract to a warm bath. Vanilla has the ability to lift spirits and revive.

Take a handful of pine needles and place them in the foot of old panty hose. Knot around the faucet and let the pine hydrate under running bath water.
You'll feel better!

So treat yourself to a little spa day at home! YOU DESERVE IT!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

NEW Product Announcement!

So I have been waivering back and forth about this for quite some time. And today I did it, I formulated my very first lotion! I was concerned that it might take away from my lotion bars, but I now have come to look at it as opening the door to a whole new group of customers! Because, to be quite honest, lotion bars may not be for everyone. Some people may truly like the way a liquid lotion feels on their skin. So I am very excited to annouce that coming VERY soon are goats milk lotions! Now you can get that goodness in a lotion too! I will be sure to let everyone know when the product launches and of course....with another great giveaway!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

So since all of you were so nice to share you best mom stories with me...I'll share a little about my mom with you.

I am an only mom is an only child. From what I can remember, I was lucky enough to have her home with me most of the time. I was never with a sitter for very long, if at all. She did work outside the home some, but made sure she was there for me when I needed her. She cooked family dinners and made chocolate chip cookies....I used to get mad (sorta) when my cousin Pat would show up at our doorstep with his friends and eat all of the cookies! He always managed to know when my mom was baking...seems he never showed up on the "off" days...only on cookie days! I never wanted for anything and I'm pretty sure she (and Dad) sacraficed for me. Those were the younger years....then came the dreaded teen that point...we were pretty much at each other's throats! There were times when we were yelling at each other and fighting that my Dad would have to step in and say ENOUGH! Now that I have grown I can see that she did have my best interest at heart and she is my best friend. Unfortunately we(Mr Moose and I) move cross the country. She is in PA and I am in MT...over 2000 miles away! But we get through...talking almost every day on the phone...thank goodness for Verizon's Family plan! I still miss her and wish she could be here to share my life more. I also regret that I am not there for her for the hard times in her HER best friend battles with pancreatic cancer. Anyway....don't want to bore you all so, I just close by saying Happy Mother's Day to the best Mom in the whole world and Happy Mother's Day to all the other Mom's out there too!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Scenic Saturday....

So I thought I would move this post up one day, due to tomorrow being Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Guilty Pleasures....Hmmm?

So what exactly makes a pleasure guilty? How exactly do you define that? I'm pretty sure that it will differ from person to person. So I turned to Wikipedia for an answer and came up blank (really? Wikipedia knows eveything!). So I dug deeper....and these are the two best definitions I could find:

DEFINITION A: "A guilty pleasure is defined as something you enjoy, even though you know it’s bad for you." (by Stephen Wong)
DEFINITION B: "A Guilty Pleasure is defined as something that would ruin us if our friends knew about it." (by MissKendy)

So I decided that I would let you all get to know me a little better and share some of my guilty pleasures:

Baskin Robbins Pralines and Cream Ice Cream! Definately fits DEFINTION A...have a small carton in the freezer right now! And it is definately calling my name!

OK, OK...I know, definately fits into DEFINITION B!! Don't get me wrong...I am not a huge fan...but I definately do like her newest song called The Climb....I tried to figure out how to share it, but couldn't.

BUBBLE BATHS! So this doesn't really fit into either definition above, but when I do indulge...I feel guilty for wasting all that time when I could have been doing something for me, it's a guilty pleasure.

Outback Steakhouse! Oh, do I love me a good steak! Definately DEFINITION A!

Well, that's about all for right now...hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Using Preservatives: PART 2.

Yesterday, I informed you about why the use of preservatives is necessary in some products. I mean, it seems sensless to spend good money on a lotion or cream that needs to be used or thrown away with in 2 weeks...why waste your money like that?

So aren't there any effective natural preservatives out there? Natural preservatives...yes, effective, not so much. Many natural substances offer some antibacterial benefits -- certain essential oils, like Tea Tree, and some vitamins, like Vitamin E, are antioxidants and can help reduce some forms of bacteria when used in high concentrations and in ideal conditions. Unfortunately though, your bathroom, purse and car are not ideal conditions. Steam, heat, direct sunlight and other adverse conditions help encourage bacterial growth and most "natural preservatives" can't be used in strong enough concentrations to fight contamination without running the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions. Other natural ingredients are useful only against certain strains of contaminants and for limited amounts of time.

First, even with a preservative, our products are still a healthier alternative to commercial products because the remaining ingredients within our products are natural or gentle. And secondly, we don't use unnecessarily high levels of preservatives like most commercial manufacturers use.

The options (for preservatives) will be based on formulation and what it contains. Essential oils are the most natural antimicrobials you will find. Essential oils that have demonstrated antimicrobial activity include caraway, cinnamon, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, rose, rosemary, sage, sandalwood and thyme. Unfortunately, the percentage required to adequately protect a product from microbial growth generally exceeds the recommendations for safe amounts of essential oils to use in skin care products.

Grapefruit seed extract or citricidals are another class of antimicrobials that are considered by some to be more natural than the parabens. A good quality citrus seed extract should not contain additional preservatives. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a citrus seed based anti-microbial used as a preservative in skin care products. GSE is made with the extracts of citrus seeds and pulp. It is blended with vegetable glycerin to make it non-irritating to the skin and mucous membranes when used in formulations. GSE is even safe enough to use as a disinfectant for drinking water when necessary.

Parabens are preservatives that are available in small quantities for crafters and small businesses. Paraben based preservatives include Germaben, Germaben II, Phenonip, Methyparaben and other types such as Germall and LiquaPar Oil.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Using Preservatives: PART 1.

I recently came upon another blog (non bath and beauty) stating that using she so put it...things she couldn't even pronounce was a bad thing. She spoke as though she was an authority on the subject, instructing people to look for products that were preservative free. While that is not necessarily a bad thing....sometimes a preservative is necessary. But when? What kind of preservative is safe? Are there natural preservatives? So I thought I would attempt to give a little bit of information about the use of preservatives. Today, I will touch upon when preservatives should be used...and tomorrow, I will address the types of preservatives.

So I stive to use as many natural ingredients in my products as possible. Although I try to live that lifestyle as much as possible...I whole heartedly support the use of preservatives in beauty care products. We believe our preservative philosophy embraces safety first, over what is trendy.

So, do all products require preservatives? The answer to that question is no, of course not. The only products that contain water need a preservative. Dry or powdered items need no preservative. Products that contain only oils do not need to be preserved. There are also ingredients, such as honey and vinegar, that when used (without the addition of water) are self-preserving. Handmade, natural soaps that are made using the old fashion process will list water on the label because it is included during the soapmaking process; however, this water is used up in the process of soapmaking and does not exist or need to be preserved in the final product. Also, high amounts of alcohol in a product (such as perfume) act as a preservative, needing nothing additional.

Of course there are no cut and dry cases of when one should use a preservative and when not to, that is totally up to the creator. So that is not to say that oil based scrubs do not need a preservative. The chances for an oil based scrub are low....BUT...scrubs are generally used around water....once water is introduced into the mix, the chances for spoilage increase. All of our scrubs will be oil based and will not contain a preservative, however if you would prefer one to be added all you need to do is ask!!

Why is it that water based products need to be preserved? Water is one of the friendliest substances on earth -- vital to the life of many creatures. Therefore, a product that contains water with no preservative would over time "naturally" become infested with bacteria, yeasts, fungi and molds. This infestation would therefore, make the product unusable, even toxic to you.

Even if a product does not list water as an ingredient on the label, there are other words that indicate the presence of water such as Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, "Distillates", and some "Extracts" (other extracts that are alcohol-based would not need to be preserved).

The contamination process happens much more quickly then you might expect, taking only a couple weeks. What is most frightening is that an unpreserved product that has gone bad might look and smell perfectly fine, but it could be filled with microorganisms that are dangerous for your skin and health. These products may look okay, but when they are micro-tested, the bacteria, yeast, fungus and mold counts are off the charts. Other times, the signs of contamination are more visually obvious -- a rancid odor or discolorations could be indications that a product has gone bad.

To be safe, a water-based lotion or cream with no preservative would need to be refrigerated and tossed after a week or two. So unless you're planning to make the lotion at home, this refrigerate-and-toss-after-a-week idea doesn't work. That is where a preservative comes in.

So, why is it that other brands do not list or use preservatives? We believe that there are a number of explainations for this:

ONE: Some companies may hide the preservative in the ingredient itself. For example, they may use an Aloe Vera Juice that was already preserved, and then on their label they only disclose the use of the Aloe Vera but not the preservative.

TWO: Some companies simply do not fully disclose their ingredient list as required, leaving off those items that they think "look" bad.

THREE: They could be using extracts in one or two different methods. For example, Tinctures used at the right percentage create an effective preservative option because they have such a high content of alcohol, but this alcohol also makes them very drying to the skin so not very useful in moisturizing products.

FOUR: They might be using ingredients that do not require preservatives. As we explained above, a product that does not contain water does not require preservatives. Our company also does NOT use preservatives in products where it is not necessary.

So I hope I have dispersed some of the myths of preservatives...they are not the bad guys some people make them out to be. Tomorrow, I will address some of the different types of preservatives used as well as some "natural" preservatives.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Out Of The Ordinary Post....

So I thought I would share with you yet another thing that occupies our time. We are house sitting...well, I guess a better way to put it is animal sitting (we really have nothing to do with the house)for our neighbors. We have many responsibilites....we need to feed and water the dogs and let them out to roam for a while. We also are responsible for the cats...which if anyone has ever had really no big deal. Clean the litter and make sure they have food and water...they come and go as they please. And then there are the CHICKENS! Believe it or not...I enjoy taking care of the you're all probably going to think I am off my rocker, but when I enter their pen...I "talk" to them....I "talk" to them as I gather their eggs....and they have two crazy looking chickens that are my favorite:

There are two of these chickens in the flock...they were adopted from a fellow rancher that let his chickens free range....the rest of their family was eaten by coyotes....these were the only 2 that they now live and sound! These chickens are quite friendly as far as chickens go...they absolutely LOVE Mr. Moose. For some reason, when he comes into their pen....they run over to him and want him to pick them up and pet I have started calling him the "Chicken Whisperer"! From what I have heard, from Mr. Moose's parents...he had a thing for chickens when he was younger too! If they ever could not find him....all they had to do was look in the neighbor's chicken coop!

Here is a size comparison....the smaller white eggs are given by the chicken above (and her flock mate) and the tan larger eggs are laid by the rest of the flock.

So if anyone out there know the proper "name" of these chickens...I would love to know...I think they are pretty cool!

Monday, May 4, 2009

And the Lucky Mom is......

Wow...I don't know who I was trying to fool....I thought that it would be a breeze to pick the winner. I thought I would just "know" who should win....I would be able to "feel" it....but that couldn't have been farther from the truth! I wish I could award a prize to everyone who entered...but, unfortunately, I cannot. Each and every entry was special in it's own way and touched my heart. Many, many moved me to I feel very humbled to even begin to pick one entry over another. So I enlisted the help of some of my friends and we narrowed down the enteries to our top 5 choices....from that pool we put everyone's name into a hat and drew one name. AND THE WINNER IS GERI!! CONGRATS! Geri entered by her mom through an email entry. This is what Geri had to say about her mom.....

Mom is a real life Wonder Woman! Her cape is hidden and those bullet stopping bracelets only come out occasionally but she has many super powers! She can completes a day’s work before breakfast, repair a car, bandage a knee, and mend a teenager’s broken heart.

When I was a little girl I was convinced my mom could do anything. It amazes me that in her 40’s she was raising 3 children, taking care of a very sick husband, looking after 2 elderly boarders, managing a farm with over 200 animals often by herself, and did a day’s work that would exhaust any 3 men combined.

She sewed most of our clothes and as children we always remember friends at school some of whom had store bought clothes always saying to us, “Oh your mom makes you the prettiest dresses. I wish my mom could make us clothes like that.” She always added a personal touch, a pretty ribbon or some fancy stitching, or a pocket that was decorated with flair. She could fix a bicycle, repair a kitchen appliance, bandage a knee, and mend a teenager’s broken heart.

She kept a spotless house, and still found time to contribute to her church and her community. It makes me tired just to think about it. It’s a measure of her humility that when she hears this speech later on, and she will, she will blush and say, “Oh I didn’t do anything special. I just did what I had to do to take care of my family.”

Now lest it seem like I am portraying the woman as a saint let me just correct that notion for you right now. I’ve seen her angry a few times. Five years ago at the Yonge Bloor subway station in rush hour I was pushed from behind by a man who just came barrelling out of nowhere, knocked me to the floor, hurried onto a subway train, and didn’t even stop to help me up.

I can only hope that his desperate hurry was due to a dire medical emergency because he caused one. I ended up with a torn rotator cuff, months of physiotherapy, and a year of pain. Well when my mother found out she said she wanted to “hunt the guy down and wring his neck”, and there was real fire in her eyes! Then my sister reminded me how mom used to take an axe and chop the heads off chickens on the farm. Oh that guy is lucky he made a clean getaway! Like most moms the instinct to protect her kids is very strong.

There is an item in mom’s kitchen that has a place of honour in our family. It is a single large yellow mixing bowl the kind that’s early Corningware and very breakable. Mom got it when she was first married in 1954 and she always told us as kids, “If that yellow bowl ever breaks I am giving up baking forever!” No crown jewels, no expensive piece of the finest china has ever been washed and dried as carefully as my sister Beverley and I washed that yellow mixing bowl. The bowl is still around and Mom is still baking.

She loves her cat Harley, playing Parcheesi, adores the colour red, and watching Dr. Phil. A few years ago when Dr. Phil’s favourite saying was, “What the hell were you thinking?” and he was letting the occasional other swear word on television out Mom had had enough. She decided tough love was in order and she would send Dr. Phil “an internet” her words for email, saying how much she loved his show, and that he gave a lot of wise advice, but it was important not to swear as he was setting an example for others and young people might be watching.”

She has a great sense of fun and loves to laugh. Those who know her well are able to see she has a mischievous streak which is well hidden but will come out if encouraged. Just for fun she once tried on our roller skates and even slid down the slide with us. She knew she could always get us to laugh by speaking in Pig Latin. We thought it was hilarious!

Mom’s favourite story is the time she was in boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island in the 1940’s. Students were required to do several hours a week of work at the school to help pay for their tuition. In those days they used the old wringer washing machines which you had to be very careful with as it would suck up the clothes between two tight steel rollers.

A very important missionary was visiting the school and everyone was on their best behaviour. It was a very dignified occasion and mom was selected the very dignified task of doing his laundry. Well his long johns underwear got caught in the roller of the wringer washing machine. Mom was horrified and tried to pull the long johns out of the machine. A tug of war with the washing machine ending up in his long johns being ripped to shreds. She said she laughed till she cried. It was worthy of an I Love Lucy episode.

Mom will soon be 83. She’s faced injury and illness and the inevitable slowing down with time. Now she may only have the stamina of any 2 men combined. She has days where back pain forces her to lie down most of the day and others where she will climb up a ladder and clean out an eaves trough or repair a clothes line.

Her two favourite sayings are, “A thing worth doing is worth doing well” and, “Patience is a virtue” which her two grandsons had fun in rewriting as “Patience will hurt you.” I’m sure we tested that patience a million times over the years.

She has faced the death of a daughter and a husband and her faith in God remains strong as a rock. There are 6 words that I have heard her say so many times that to me defines who she is. She says these 6 words to friends, family, in prayer to God, and to strangers. Those 6 words are what can I do for you?

Mom is a woman who lives her faith. Someday she will be in heaven and the world will be a much lesser place. When she was asked `”What’s the first thing she would do when she’s in heaven was, my nephew piped up with, “Oh she’s going to clean it.” But I think she’s going to be kneeling at the feet of God and saying, “What can I do for you?”

Once again, I want to thank everyone who entered and shared their touching stories with me....I am truly honored....

OH...almost forgot Scenic Sunday answer was Pennsylvania...more specifically Cook Forest/Clarion River.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Scenic Sunday...

Any Guesses? Correct answer gets prize! Last day to enter Mother's Day Giveaway!