The 3 L’s of Handmade Soap

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Soap is near and dear to my heart and my wallet (which is one of the reasons it’s near and dear to my heart). I love soap for its many exclusive traits including the fact that it cleanses, but more so because I can actually make it on my farm and sell it to people legally. Soap is the only “unregulated” product I’ve found that I can sell to the public and fortunately it happens to be a very popular item. However, I’ve also discovered not all handmade soap is created equally.

There are some things that will set a good handmade soap apart from the rest. These details are quite important because as you may have noticed; there are a lot of soap products on the market these days. But first let’s talk about why handmade soap is so different and better than commercially manufactured soap like products. See More…

This post is liked to Works for Me Wednesdays and Simple Lives Thursday.

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Clothesline of Happiness

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For years now I have wished for one of those expensive umbrella style close dryers  to set on my back deck. The sun really hits that side of the house and its pretty convenient to get to from my washing machine. But alas, I can never remember to order one when I have the money and money’s been getting tighter and tighter around here lately so its not really in the budget at this point.

I did however experience a brief break-from-reality a few weeks ago and purchased several new dresses and tops ALL of which must be hand washed and are NOT allowed to go into the electric dryer. Buying new clothes is something I do so rarely that I forget what it feels like in between times. Almost everything I currently own came from a thrift store of one kind or another. So I must admit the thought of taking care of these precious items intimidated me a bit, especially since I had spent the better part of my retirement (hahaha) on them.

After several wears of each new piece and no washings it became apparent to my husband that an intervention was needed.  No doubt I was in LOVE with my magical outfits but afraid to clean them due to the, “where the heck am I gonna lay out this entire dress to dry without the cat hairing it up or some other tragedy befalling it?” factor. So one day, and not a moment too soon, Dear Husband came home with a clothesline from the dollar store and a bag of wooden clothes pins. I think it cost about 5 bucks for the entire set up.

Hanging those blouses out to dry was like arriving at a point in life I had always longed for; a sophisticated yet simple and down to earth realm in which I found quiet self fulfillment and profound happiness. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the love of my husband, the richness of our life and the warm, beautiful sun.

This post is part of the Works for Me Wednesdays blog hop hosted by We are THAT Family

Works for Me Wednesday 7/21/10

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Last week I ran across this really cool blog called We Are that Family. The host of the site does a blog carnival called Works for Me Wednesday. Today, I am joining this fun way to share ideas on making life easier by linking to an earlier post of mine called Simple laundry powder you can make at home… that really works. Please click the banner and check out all the other great tips on the Works For Me Wednesday page.

Broom Anyone?

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I service my car at Bates Garage because I trust them and they deliver a great product. One of the reasons I trust them is because we live on the same street. Another reason I trust them is because they depend on word of mouth to stay in business. There it is, plain and simple. We rely on one another. We’re a community and there’s pressure to do each other right. There’s consequences otherwise.  Not to mention the fact that the Bates’ are good people and highly skilled mechanics. Yeah, they charge a little more but it’s worth it for the peace of mind and future security of knowing they’ll still be there the next time I have car trouble.

When I go to buy something I want to spend the extra bucks on craftsmanship, on products and services made with pride, made to last and made in America. These days it seems like taking pride in America freaks people out (including a lot of Americans and people who want to be Americans).  But that’s a whole-nother strongly opinionated discussion I’m steering clear of at the moment.

Right now I want to talk about why I use a hand me down vacuum cleaner that’s twenty years old. This thing makes my house smell like a combination of Glade plug-ins and Caesar, our Doberman Pincer who died when I was in the fifth grade. Know why I still use it? Because it still works. That’s why. Sure I’ve had newer vacuums. There’s at least two in my shed right now. Both of them tore up, as we say around here, within a couple of years.  They’re cheaply made pieces of junk imported from some country that likely hates America and Americans.  And sadly, they will probably wind up in a landfill along with thousands of other less-than-three-year-old vacuum cleaners. Eventually, I’ll rip out the wall to wall carpeting in my lovely little trailer and downgrade to a simple broom. Until then I pray Grandmother’s sweeper hangs in there and the market keeps selling nag champa, my favorite incense (to cover up the smell of ancient dog hair and more importantly the plug-ins).

I can’t articulate my point eloquently because I get so darn tore up about the whole thing. But the gist of it is this. Americans were duped into believing lower prices were the ultimate in customer service. Cheap stuff meant we could afford more and everyone could afford higher standards of living. That was the lie. The truth is we traded our freedom from foreign control, quality jobs, quality products, craftsmanship and customer service for trillions in national debt, high unemployment, questionable products manufactured in questionable ways in places that don’t share America’s values or our product safety standards and places to whom we are now indebted.

Now what? We’re all complaining about the huge evil corporations when we’re the ones who bought into the lie in the first place. We built these companies. We pressured them to drive down prices at the expense of quality, at the expense of our very own jobs for heaven’s sake.

Now that the little guys are gone, as far as I’m concerned Lowes with their self check out and crappy-cheap made in China everything can kiss my behind. I plan to become a broom maker.