If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.
Some days I lose the plot. The plot not just for soap but for life.
Lately I haven’t felt exactly happy. My actions have been motivated to cause happiness. Each time I do something I ask, “will this make me happy?” All these gyrations have produced many things, but not happiness. Life has been a grind.
The other day I asked myself, “what if happiness is no longer the goal?” That’s when I got to the work of of work. That’s when I began to be more productive, and therefore, more satisfied. I became lost in my tasks, deep down the time warp; that creative place where time loses meaning and all that is left is the craft, the task, the doing of the imagined… Life.
Today, as I grabbed my camera, walked outside and stood patiently waiting for the hummingbirds at their feeder, I realized I was happy. I had a master batch of oils and butters in the crock pot, laundry in the washer and dryer and was taking pleasure in the moody weather, I took a moment to take photos. Photography, like soap, is an odd endeavor. Both require doing, action. I’m photographing some obscurer image, editing images, weighting oils, molding soap, even doing soap dishes. For some reason I forgot. I forgot about the doing. I began to think of all these things hindering my path to happiness. And therefore had lost the plot.
This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this idea that happiness isn’t the goal of life. I believe life is a series of spirals, and if I’m aware, I can learn more each turn of the spiral, each revisiting of similar events. As I grow older I see less and less that is new, but if I watch I can see things from a new perspective.
I was thinking about you (yup, all of you) in the shower today. Seriously, I do some of my best thinking in the shower.
The easier thing is to talk of negatives. It’s like a human being’s default. Even when I lose my sense of humor I strive to see the “better” of people. I also strive to live in a fact-based reality. This can be a tricky path. How to remain hopeful and grounded in the present? I’ve found it to be more challenging than simply default of grousing with now insight.
My goal is to share with you my version of the world. In order to invite you into my world, like my home, I must tidy an already clean house. There you have it, I’m inviting you into my world, my mind and more than that, into my experiences. I will keep it as tidy as possible.
What started this line of thinking was using a bar of Tangled Soap, which is scented with Jade fragrance oil. This is from Bramble Berry. I haven’t used all of Bramble Berry’s products, but those I have used I’m in love with… Not kidding. I love the idea that Anne-Marie has chosen each product. True or not, I like this idea.
You Might Not Know
What you might not know is, I am not paid to tell you any of this – relevant or not – I wanted you to know. It matters to me if someone is paid to say something or not, it speaks to their motives. I realized many might not know that what I write about a soap supply companies is not coerced nor paid for – its my experience of the product.
It takes hours to discover these things I observe: hours of writing, experimentation, contemplation (my favorite part), researching products, ordering, etc. All this takes time. Not a complaint but a fact – stuff takes time.
After using this bar of soap scented with Jade fragrance oil (do pop over to Bramble Berry to read the description because this is a simultaneously authentic and mysterious scent) I realized a few things. (This could be, in part by being lathered by Sorcery and in part by being inspired by the fragrance, hard to say.)
I’m also using Bramble Berry’s Orange and Coffee Butters on my person – on my hands, body and hair. Both are marvelous! How have I lived this long without knowing about these butters? Easily absorbed, smells amazing and helps my hands heal after washing exactly one bazillion times each day. (I mold soap most days and this requires much hand washing.)
Another company on my radar is Nurture Soap Supply. I’m just now digging into the vast array of micas and fragrance oils. Learning about a company takes time: time to order, utilize the product and see how I experience it in my world. My latest fragrance oil love is Comfort and Joy. I can’t get enough of this surprising scent. I love apples, apple anything! Most apple fragrance oils I’ve tried have fallen short, but this… Behaved perfectly and held the scent. No discoloration either. When I want to continue to smell a fragrance… That is the true sign for me. This scent causes me delight.
Growing with a company requires observation: how do they treat their own mistakes? Do they care if the client is satisfied? Do they want to make a fair trade, money for product?
Honor and Integrity
I don’t disconnect from any one or any company for a mistake, one or many. Mistakes are part of existence. If I trip and fall I don’t stop walking. My limit, when I do disconnect, is when, or if, someone or company refuses to take responsibility, lack of integrity repeatedly. (Yes, I’ve done this with acquaintances. But what is the point? I don’t want to deceive myself, or you.) If I witness lies repeatedly or a false reality – I will not set my version of reality aside for someone else’s – I don’t expect someone else to do that for me. If something I write or say, or my behaviors help, by all means, adopt them and incorporate them into your reality. I do not see this as a requirement of relationship or friendship. I do see there needs to be a baseline of honor… SOMEWHERE. If we cannot agree to this, there is no hope for business, humans or anything. Humans have been playing this “lying” game for far too long. What if we just got present to what IS verses the words that came out of some people’s face holes? How is it so many think they have something to say they are buried in their phones? I’d rather someone say, “I’ve been an asshole”, than try to lie to me. Oh, and I did mean “try”.
Truth can be a matter of interpretation, some say… I use facts to support my understanding of this world.
It All Comes Out In The Wash
I get the feeling from Nurture Soap / Carrie and Bramble Berry / Anne-Marie that they both care about the soap community. These two companies know we all talk, they know we share information about fine details and our customer service experience. Fear never creates honor, but the desire to do well, pride in one’s work and having a personal honor code. These two heads of Soap State have a personal honor codes.
Both Nurture Soap and Bramble Berry make money. Thank the gods! I want them to stay in business. I read posts on both of these companies and see them as big contributors to the soap making community. Cripes, Anne-Marie taught me how to make cold process soap along with a crap-ton of other things. I was in awe that she offered all her YouTube videos for FREE! WHAT? Who does that?
Carrie, this Mica Maven, from Nurture Soap investigates her micas, glitter and fragrance oils like nobody’s business, she’s helpful and knowledgable on aspects of micas and glitters and now offering bio, vegan and cruelty free glitters. Carrie even has a Facebook group where we can dice it up about our products, experiences and post results. That’s trust!
I have had communication with both of these power-house women over the years. Both have treated me with honor, kindness and integrity. My heart is always full when I see an email from either. I will always support those who are kind to me. It doesn’t hurt me at all, and feels good on both sides.
The other part, why I write about companies I like, is to share with you those products I love, and some times, those that don’t go so well, but I steer clear of that non-sense. I’d rather talk about those things that bring me joy, delight me or I’ve found useful. Because if you were in my soapery, I’d tell you, the good and the bad, although let’s focus on soap magic for now.
The soap that arrives at your home is the end result of many calculations.
Many processes happen to get the highly detailed soap to you. Would you like to hear the tale of a bar of Sorcery Soap?
The idea strikes. A fragrance oil inspires an idea with images or a moment of inspiration engulfs me while out in nature, or a variety of ways, but the inspiration happens like a wonderful undetectable scent
meant only for me. It’s that subtle. I might be the only one to smell the fragrance, and if that’s the case, I find it my obligation to take some action on it. It’s like a little unrecognizable seed planted, not knowing if it will grow to a might oak or a beautiful rose. So, I take the chance, nurture it best I can, care for it while it grows in hopes it takes root and then tend it when it’s matured.
Constructing the idea. I see this like idea-gardening.
Development of the soap design, also similar to idea-gardening, but a bit more like landscaping.
Many attempts to create the embellishments, size, shape, details until the idea has matured.
Developing the over-all bar of soap: colors, fragrances, executing process of previous…
Making and creating soap, placing embellishment (which can be tricky at best).
Waiting. Much like a gardener, patience is an alchemists best (and oft-times under utilized) tool.
Un-molding soap very carefully (many soaps have not made the cut because of unrepairable nicks, etc.).
Curing. Not for one moment do I ignore the soaps at this point. It would be like thinking a gardener ignores the plants while growing. I tend them, check on them, examine them as they cure.
Hand beveling edges and general clean-up of each bar of soap, careful to not damage tops.
Developing labels, names, taking photographs along the way… Sharing the progression and valuing each soap, as it is still unknown if they will survive the journey to your home.
Writing ad copy for the website so you know what you will receive in each bar of soap, examining in great detail the scents, to effectively communicate the scent and experience of each soap.
Labeling and shrink wrapping; each stage is a test to see if the soap is sturdy enough to withstand touching, use and shipment. Many soaps are lost at this stage as well. This is, in part, why I strive to develop soap embellishments that lay down, or few parts that stick up, to avoid breakage. It does me little good to make something so elaborate it breaks during the shipment, because I strive to create the very opposite of disappointment – the goal is to create such delight you hesitate to use the soap. Ah, but eventually all soaps will be used, either by you or time.
There is another aspect that I don’t share much, we utilize a bit of each soap, either a sample or a full bar, in our homes and on our persons. I think its important to know how each soap preforms, particularly when using a new recipe.
When I read that a person’s goal is to make money with a soap business I am a bit disappointed. Now, not everyone does everything with identical motives, however, this process, this care that is involved with soap creations is not about that device of trade we have labeled money. It’s like saying that someone is learning to grow flowers to make money. Any art form… It will work, but what will be the out come? This process, Sorcery Soap, not only tests all my artistic skill, but also grows my person, my soul. How can I quantify how rich my life is with each one of you in it? How can I quantify the colorful tapestry of creativity that floats in my world now? And, to think… Its only soap.
I almost threw this little Arctic Fox in the trash.
Not even kidding, the fragrance was so strong after I made it had I not had a room to store it in, away from the rest of the house, I might have. I have thrown other soaps out because of the fragrance oil. A Fruit soap pie, Hansel and Gretel Pie, for instance. The entire thing in the trash. Also, an Apple pie soap, although both took a ton of time, I couldn’t tolerate the scent. Out of the bottle it was fine, but as they cured, they were horrible… to me.
How can I offer a soap that I refuse to allow in my home? I can’t truly believe in it.
And, let’s say I do make it available and others love it, I get requests to make more of a scent that is offensive to my olfactory… I will have created the rock and the hard place. I, no one else, will have created that experience.
So, when I un-molded this Harvest Moon (by Nature’s Garden) Arctic Fox I was gravely disappointed. The scent, acceptable out of the bottle, was over powering as it cured. I stuck it in the spare room and let it do what it would do. Now, a month later, and the scent has calmed down I’m fully in love with it. Who knew?
Lesson learned. Now, after all the soaps I’ve offered to the soap gremlins at their altar (the garbage bin) I will be a bit more patient with delicate and moody fragrance oils. After all, I can be similar in nature.
Now you know, any scents or Sorcery Soap fragrance blends I make I love. Truly love them, and use some or all of the fragrances in my own home. When I can create a moment, inspired by a scent, in your private sanctuary (the shower or bath) that can transform, even for a moment, I feel as if I’m doing my job. More then that, I’m living my deep purpose.
As we approach the shortest day of the year I become reflective and quiet. Thinking of this past year, of all the great soapers and creatives in the Facebook Sorcery Creations group, all of you who have
believed in Sorcery Soaps and invited my version of magic into your homes – I feel incredibly grateful. You are my friends. Maybe not stop-by-for-coffee friends, but still, friends.
When Sorcery Soap began a few people who I considered friends had surprising things to say about my soap making adventures. One told me they hated “crafts” and that she wasn’t crafty. When I mentioned I started an Instagram page she said, “who’s really going to follow soap?” Someone else said, “I don’t use bar soap” so refused to accept my gifts. All this, as if my ideas had anything to do with them. Not one asked if I was happy making soap, peaceful, curious… In anyway, satisfied.
With great generosity in my heart and delight at my new found abilities and passion, I had gifted many of those same people soaps. Maybe not pretty, but certainly successful healthy soap. I had known these people for years. My desire for understanding, balance, seeking my truth and researching the healthiest options over the years had not impacted them at all.
The one person who has believed in me, never doubted, and endlessly encouraged me, was my man, my love, my moon and stars. He gave me a small amount of money to begin my experiments, thought I could make soap while I spent a year watching videos and asking questions, reading soap recipes and listening patiently to my endless excitement about my new information. He watched some soap videos with me. As you can guess, he was kind albeit bored. Not one time did he question my desire to learn, understand and research. He knew. He knows how much I like reading and investigating a subject.
Of all those people only one person purchased my soap – my ex-husband. He didn’t have to, I would have given him whatever soaps he wanted, but he insisted. He said, you spent time and want to… He and I had been married for many years, friends before and after our marriage. He wanted to support me and for the first time, purely free of ego and self-importance. It healed something between us. His purchase, (even asking for more) which was enough to encourage me. Just that. A man who had known me since I was just 23 (a lifetime ago) seemed to know how important this was for me.
Through soap I have met many amazing people. People who have stood for me, supported and encouraged me, overtly or simply by being kind. I have lost “friends”, realized more clearly who is important, and who can see me – who can see my mind’s manifestations. Revealing one’s creativity to those close would seem safe – friends – and showing strangers new creations would seem to make one vulnerable. I found the opposite. I have made greater and deeper connections from people all over the world, revealed my truer nature and found that to be a greater gift than to show that part of myself to those who I thought knew me. It was a massive rethinking, a shift and cleaning out of the old to embrace the new.
Cheers to all the new and possible soap friends! Cheers to your holiday with those who really do know you and those who you have yet to meet. Happy Holidays!
Let’s say you didn’t have to work, ever. No more: cleaning your home, shopping, vacuuming, laundry, taking the trash out, appointments for car repair, getting ready for work, going to work, working, driving home, making dinner, let’s just say… All of it was over. What would you do with your days? What would your day look like?
I know what I would do… I’d make soap. That might sound silly, even pedestrian, to some, but for me… It’s the bulk of my waking moments, and some times my dreams. I find a rock to sit on along with my trusty sidekick I lay down and let the images of the next soap come to me. What do I smell? The desert doesn’t have a scent most days, but after the rains it brilliant with scents that are hidden the other 360 days. What do I hear? Coyotes calling to each others. Woodpeckers yelling to all who listen where their territory boundaries are. Quail calling to their little broods, their flock to stick together.
How did this love come to be?
We met over Fight Club. Not even kidding, but then my number one love (my man) suggested I make soap.
The seed was planted.
Now, I cannot love making soap enough. My only other goal is to invite those who have the same inclinations into this magical place, where shock is the precursor to joy when someone discovers your creation is actually soap, and not just soap, but amazing soap.
The reason I write and offer stories, related obviously or indirectly, about soap is to stimulate imagination. We can never know what are imagination will cling to. It is my hope that you find some of what I offer useful.
The other part of soap making that I love, which I had no idea would turn out this way, is you. I love our Sorcery Creation group on Facebook, reading your questions, thoughts and seeing your soap creations. I do not exaggerate this comment, as I see love as more then mere sentiment, but action. I show my love and appreciation by offing the most thoughtful responses as possible and strive to never dismiss a thoughtful question. I see how this energy is reciprocated by your support, words of encouragement and the act of offering your very own creations.
Here is a little video of some of the soaps being let-go tomorrow. Along with a ton of Sorcery Soap Dough, which is available now, however, if you want soaps wait until tomorrow after 4 AM AZ / 7 AM EST.