Monday, November 19, 2007

Words from a daughter...slow down, enjoy life

My daughter is pregnant with her 3rd child, working on her Master's Thesis, cares for 2 children under 4, and works full-time as an educational Title One Director. She does all this while her husband works 12 hours away and is only home a few days out of the week. And I think I'm stressed.

This morning, I received the following message in my email box:


I know I am the last person who should be telling you not to stress about work. That is the pot calling the kettle black. But, I think that both of us need to learn to slow down and enjoy life a bit more. I printed this and have taped sections of it to the wall in my office and on my mirror at home as a reminder that life is short, money will come and go, and stress is not worth it. Thank you very much for all your help this weekend. I like coming home. Love always"

I have no idea who should receive credit for this, but it sure made my day. Hope it uplifts and sheds new perspective on what's really important in life.

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, I'll have to call an ambulance."

"In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."


1) Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

2) Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

3) If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

4) It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

5) Never buy a car you can't push.

6) Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

10) Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11) Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12) The second mouse gets the cheese.

13) When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14) You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

15) We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

As we move into this busy holiday season, may we all take time to put down our burdens, slow down, and enjoy life. Remember, the truly happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yep, Over 200 Nutcrackers!

Many years ago my husand and I had New Year's Eve dinner at a posh restaurant in the Greater Detroit area called the Lark. While dining, my eyes were drawn to a collection of Nutcrackers that adorned a mammoth stone fireplace. It envisioned every child's Christmas dream. It was at that moment I knew I must possess a Nutcracker collection just like it.

I certainly succeeded and have far surpassed it. I now own over 200 plus nutcrackers ranging in size from 6 foot to miniature ones that hold guest place cards. There are animated and musical nutcrackers, expensive Steinbach's from Germay (compliments of my brother-in-law who is a physican that practiced in Germany for a number of years) and a good number of cheap charlies. When you walk into our home at Christmas, it is apparant that I've became obsessive about the collection. My original plan was to collect enough nutcrackers to decorate my fireplace mantel. The collection outgrew the mantel years ago and now fills every room of the house.

The grand kid's love Christmas as NeeNee and Poppy's. The minute they walk through the door, they are in Christmas wonderland. My heart leaps as they run from room to room moving the nutcrackers mouths , giving sighs of oooohhhh and ahhhh as they wind up the musical ones, and seeing the overall joy they express at the wonder of the season.

This week marks official Nutcracker week at my house. It's the week we bring down all of the nutcrackers from the attic, unpack them, repair as needed and meticulously place them in their chosen locations. I love it! The down side....packing them all away. Every year I say this is the last time I'm displaying nutcrackers. Every year, I continue to do it. Maybe I'll stick to my guns once the grand kids are grown. For now, I couldn't bear to disappoint them.

And the winner is.....

Congratulations to Lesha Anderson of Indiana the winner of our recent soap giveaway. Lesha will receive 6 beautiful handcrafted soaps from Soaps are crafted from a select group of Mold Market soap molds.

We have pictured the soaps that will be included in Lesha's gift box.... snail, honey bee, flower watering can, maple leaf, playing card, Christmas candle. All of these molds are available at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Saving Lifes with Soap

I opened my email box today to find this uplifting note from a customer. It was a wonderful start to my day. One of my long-time customers shared this....

"Hi Denise,

Joseph and I just wanted to share a great story with you, and you can post this on your website if you wish. It is so cool.

We ordered five of your Mold Market breast cancer awareness molds back in September since we met a radiologist from a local hospital in our area who was looking for a way to get women to come to the hospital to get their mammograms and bone densitometry tests. Joseph and I thought taking your mold, making it in light pink and unscented (since many of the ladies would not care for scent) would be a great incentive. We approached the radiologist who went to her higher up at the hospital, and flyers went out that this free gift would be given to women on October 21, 2007. Well, to say the least, the women flocked in and they had 200 tests performed that day! We thank Go Planet Earth for providing us with the catalyst for not only a great idea, but a helpful one that may have actually saved lives."

Jayne and Joseph in California

Most of us have family or friends who are battling or have died from cancer-related diseases. I hope this post will encourage you to begin a crusade within your own community to raise cancer awareness. Let's all do what we can to promote mammogram testing, smoking cessation programs, annual colonoscopys, prostate testing, and any other educational programs that help prolong life and identify the risks associated with cancer.

I've mentioned in a number of posts that my Dad is battling prostate cancer. It is stage IV and has metastized to the bone and bladder. In this same year, I've witnessed the horrific effects of cancer with a number of other family members and close friends. Some did not survive. Cancer is no respecter of persons or age. We are all at risk even with a healthy lifestyle. My Dad bears witness to this.

I applaud Jayne and Joseph for the dedication and unpaid work in donating soaps to save lives!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ten Pointers for Thinking Outside the Box

Most of us tend to follow conventional wisdom and to think in routine ways when problem solving or investigating new ideas outside our comfort zone. Thinking outside the box can be a daunting task. It forces us to let go of preconceived notions of what an idea or solution should be and expand on the possibilities. It means asking what if and assuming the absurd. When we do, the sky is no longer the limit and we begin to develop a product that is better, more creative, and beyond our wildest dreams.

Here are ten pointers I've found helpful for “out of the box” thinking….

1) Look for opportunities that others miss.

2) The more diverse your experiences, the bigger your box will become.

3) Build your creativity on collective interaction. Seek out the perspective of many people. When everyone overlaps their boxes, incredible ideas can emerge.

4) Don’t be afraid to fail, think of it as a learning tool.

5) Deliberately explore the absurd and unusual to inspire new ideas and concepts.

6) Be open to new ways of looking at things.

7) Understand that sometimes expertise in an area can hinder creativity because it fixates us on a certain line of thought. Work to eliminate barriers that result from preconceived notions of what the idea should be. Take a leap of faith and test assumptions so that you can expand on the possibilities.

8) Be willing to face ridicule from people who cannot see things from a new perspective.

9) Understand that creativity is defiance from past experiences and procedures. Keep in mind that there is more than one way to cut a cake, peel a potato, or decorate a Christmas tree.

10) Embrace the concept that you can take any idea or product and make into something new.

I hope this post inspires you to take your ideas, turn them around, inside out, upside down, and back to front to see what happens.

As always, I wish each of you much success in your soap making ventures.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Soap making....thinking outside the box

I've always admired people that think outside the box. They inspire, get the creative juices flowing, and motivate me to try new soaping ideas. Midohana is a one of those "think outside the box" people. Not only are these sushi soaps "way cool", the bento box used to package the soaps are often recycled (clean and sanatized, of course).

What a great Christmas gift. A bento box filled with a delightful assortment of sushi soaps. One of the sushi soap assortments even includes a set of chopsticks all nestled on a bed of raffia. All are very affordable gifts ranging from $6.50 for the mini sushi gift pack to $18.50 for the deluxe assortment (shown below).

Are you a "think outside the box" person? My next post will expand on the attributes and characteristics of individuals who find more ways than one to skin a potato, or should I say make soap.