• Tina

Welcome March

Today is Monday, but it is a good Monday because it is the first day of March. In my mind, March is the first month of spring. I know it still snows in March. We have had some of our biggest blizzards in March. I also know it is still cold in March. Tomorrow morning will be in the teens when we awaken. However, the first of March means the end of February. I believe February is my least favorite month of the year because it is cold, bleak, and usually miserable. So today, I will celebrate the first day of March.

I am also celebrating the release of two new soaps and moisturizers. This is the first time I have created a soap, especially for March and St. Patrick's Day. With the grey, cold weather and this ongoing pandemic, I thought everyone could use a bit of brightness of which to look forward. It is just a soap, but I had such a good time creating it. It gave me something positive to focus upon, design, and look forward to making. I am pleased to announce the two new soaps and moisturizers will be released today. Please allow me to expand on the new creations.

I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Ireland in 2015. It was a beautiful experience that I remember with great fondness. During my visit, we toured a sheep farm. We got to see the herd dogs in action, the shearing process, as well as the refining of the wool for various products. I came home with a wardrobe of sweaters, capes, hats, and scarves. I also brought home sheep's milk soap scented with heather essential oil. I have always had an affinity for handmade soaps. I loved the smell of the heather soap and was saddened when I finally used my last bar. Since I have begun making my soaps, it has been in the back of my mind to create a heather soap for my line. I found a beautiful Irish heather oil that takes me back to my visit to the sheep farm each time I catch a whiff. I tried to replicate the hue of the heather I saw in Ireland, but alas, there is no substitute for the real thing. However, I love how my soap turned out. The heather oil stood up beautifully to the saponification process and is high, bright, and revitalizing. If one is a lilac lover, I feel that one will love the heather soap as well. It has the scent of wildflowers, with just a hint of green. It is a bright, clean, green scent that is lovely in a steamy shower.

I also worked with my bean to create a soap she has named End of the Rainbow. Initially, she wanted to do flat, even layers of each color of the rainbow with a cloudlike top and rainbow glitter...we all know everything is better with glitter. However, the essential oil blend that we created is new to my wheelhouse, a bit more complex than usual, and I was unsure of how it would behave in the soap. In order to create seven, even flat layers, we would have to have a soap that behaves well, stays fluid, and sets up nicely but not too quickly. Instead, we negotiated a drop pour in all seven colors with a white top and gold glitter to represent the end of the rainbow. I am happy we went with a drop pour. The essential oil misbehaved. It began to rice, which means it takes on the texture of rice rather than staying smooth. It also accelerated the trace and began to set up very quickly. The Bibbed Wonder and I were scrambling to get all the colors in the molds before it got too hard. Despite the bad behavior, I think the soap turned out beautifully. I was not in love with the scent initially, but now that it is in the soap and cured, it smells just a bit citrusy, fresh, and clean. It is a very happy scent, and it is what I am currently using in the shower.

We have made significant headway on our organization project. Much of the garage side is within The Bibbed Wonders control. We have worked to reorganize our office space, our packing area, and our storage options. Next, it will be to create more drying racks and a new stamping area. We have opted for a press for our stamping technique. I am excited for our new stamp to arrive and our new hand press. Little by little, we are improving our studio and processes. Now, I just need to create a coffee bar in our space, and it will be a dream come true...sigh, it takes so very little to make me happy.

Another reason I love March is we registered for The Ligonier Country Market this morning. It is the first official step of market season. I am excited about market this year for many reasons. We will, of course, get to see people we know and love, but we are also going to be on the gravel row this year. Many of our friends will be in the same row, and it is so lovely to think about all the fun we will have. I hope we will once again be permitted to dress our booths and use decorative objects to display our wares. The Bibbed Wonder loved the simplicity of not dressing the booth. I, on the other hand, missed creating a new fresh look each week. I wish I could have convinced my neighbor, Mrs. Nutroll, to move with me. I loved being her neighbor. Sharon and her family are sheer delights, and I love how her nephew and niece are learning the business with her. It is people like Sharon who make things out of love that make me love Ligonier Country Market. If you have never been in attendance, I highly recommend it. Go with an appetite and be ready to be impressed with a wide variety of talent and handmade wares. It is well worth the trip and a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.

Once our reorganization project is complete, we will turn our focus to new scents for market. This is my favorite part of the process. I have to create fifteen new products, both seasonal and new additions to our line-up. I am about halfway there with my decisions. It takes so much time to blend new scents, create the look, and perfect each product. However, this is what I thrive upon, and it makes me feel excited and happy. I anticipate good things for the month of March.

On this blustery March day, I wish you hope for new days, excitement for life, and contentment for what you have. As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart; I hope you love the new soaps, and of course, wash your hands. Perhaps with Irish heather soap to put you in the mood for all things Irish and St. Patrick's Day.

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