Saturday, March 29, 2008

Still freezing

Snow, Aldo

Once, I was in New York,
in Central Park, and I saw
an old man in a black overcoat walking
a black dog. This was springtime
and the trees were still
bare and the sky was
gray and low and it began, suddenly,
to snow:
big fat flakes
that twirled and landed on the
black of the man's overcoat and
the black dog's fur. The dog
lifted his face and stared
up at the sky. The man looked
up, too. "Snow, Aldo," he said to the dog,
"snow." And he laughed.
The dog looked
at him and wagged his tail.

If I was in charge of making
snow globes, this is what I would put inside:
the old man in the black overcoat,
the black dog,
two friends with their faces turned up to the sky
as if they were receiving a blessing,
as if they were being blessed together
by something
as simple as snow
in March.

by Kate DiCamillo

Friday, March 28, 2008

April Snow

It snowed here all morning long, isn't that crazy?! It's almost April and it's supposed to be spring. It didn't stick really, mostly it melted on the ground, but it was big huge flakes for hours. So weird.

Taxes are finished, ta dah! It was kind of a breeze this time. I hope that doesn't mean I screwed something up. And I'm getting money back to boot. Nice surprise.

Speaking of taxes, April 1st is the date that our local sales tax goes from 8.9% to 9.0%. I am going to make the change on my site for orders after Tuesday. Just a heads up.

The bigger tax uproar is going to happen July 1st of this year. The tax collectors, in their ever greedier and more devious ways, have begun some big program to get internet sellers to pay taxes. Currently, if you buy something online, you only pay sales tax if the company you are buying from operates in your own state. For every other out-of-state sale, there is no tax. That is changing. The new program, which some states have already adopted, requires everyone to pay tax on internet sales - using the sales tax rate where they live. Washington is joining in on July 1, 2008. What this means to me is this - I will have to look up the sales tax rate for every single buyer, no matter where they are, and charge tax. Right now only Washington buyers pay tax, and it's all one rate, my own tax here. Now I'll have to charge different rates for every single sale - not just Duvall, Centralia, Bellingham - but St Louis, Missouri and Independence, Iowa, and New York City. A headache to be sure. How I'm going to configure a mail order form to do this, I have no idea. People who like to order through snail mail by check will be so confused. And the web site shopping cart will not calculate this stuff either. Those guys can't program in every single sales tax rate in the world so it happens automatically. I'll have to do it on this end, and again, so many people will be confused when they try to order and get a confirmation without tax and shipping charges - but it shows up on their credit card later. Who voted for this stuff? Shoot me now.

And some eco-news niblets too: tomorrow is Earth Hour day. On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.... We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town. I guess it might be kinda cool to go candlelight for an hour tomorrow night. Why not?

Recycle your sneaks: Did you know that it takes 1,000 for a pair of worn-out tennies to biodegrade? Millions of old sneaks are tossed in the garbage each year, adding tons of extra waste to the landfills, which can be turned into reusable material instead.

Nike has a program (since 1993), called Re-use A Shoe, which collects old sneakers at retail locations around the country, and then recylcles them into materials used for making sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts and running tracks. They've already gathered more than 20 million pairs of athletic shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces; giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world. Click HERE to find out how it works and where the local drop off spots are.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holed Up

I'm buried under a pile of tax forms over here. Yes, I do my own taxes too. "Is there nothing you don't do yourself?", you may ask. Pretty much no. It's all me, all the time.

I suppose I could lug the whole mess of paperwork over to some seasonal desk jockey at a tax preparation place. But it seems like more work than just filling in the forms here. Explaining it all to somebody outside of this circus would be a nightmare. And as a Mac user - I'm left out of all those little easy-peasy computer programs that do it all for you. But I'm guessing they wouldn't address all the business expense issues anyway. It all works out. Just takes a few days of rooting around for numbers and punching away on the calculator.

So I'm just poking in to say, shhhhhh. Quiet please. I need to concentrate or it will be just like a couple of years ago when I made all those stupid math errors. I got distracted between transferring a few sooooper important numbers, and then the math didn't work. And they had to send me a whole correction thingie in the mail, pretty much nailing me for being dumb. I was just lucky that ended up being a tiny difference in tax money instead of big, huge, oops you owe us your house mistake. Anyway, I don't want to do that again. Keeping my focus and double-triple checking everything before I send it off.

I need to get it out of here and over to the bean counters pronto so that my rebate, er economic stimulus check can be sent to me. Uh huh.

Be back in a day or two when it's over. I've got big news about a small storefront on Capitol Hill that I'm going to fill for the week before Mother's Day. Just sorting that out too. All the deets next week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Summer Schedule

Hope you all had a good bunny day. It was raining pretty hard here, sorta soggy for egg hunting, but a fine day for feasting on brunch.

Acceptance letters are arriving for the summer shows, so I finally have some summer dates to put up on the calendar. I'm working on that today - sending in booth fees and space requests. Updating the calendar on the web site as quickly as I know them.

Here's what I've got so far in case you are planning ahead:

April - Puyallup Spring Fair, Mt Vernon Tulip Festival

May - U District

June - Edmonds Art Festival, Sorticulture

July - West Seattle Summer Festival, Kirkland Uncorked

August - Anacortes Arts Festival, Best of the Northwest at Marymoor

September - Puyallup Fair

I'm still waiting on a few others, but the summer is filling in nicely.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Science Friday

A couple of science items today, because they fascinate me to no end.

Scientists have known for decades that male lab mice produce high-frequency sounds - undetectable by human ears - when they pick up the scent of a female mouse. But now it's been determined that male mice are actually singing. Audio recordings of the sounds, modified for human ears, reveal that the vocalizations are patterned songs, not random twittering.

The researchers recorded and manipulated the ultrasonic vocalizations to unveil a surprising complexity. They found that individual male mice sing their own distinct songs. The richness and diversity of mouse songs appear to approach that of many songbirds.

They appear to croon their own little tunes to potential mates, serenading them with songs. Isn't that the sweetest thing? Not in my own house, mind you, but out there somewhere, in the barn hay. If you want to hear a sample of the whistling twittery singing, and read more, go to this article.

Ever heard of the "golden ratio"? It is known as the Golden Mean, Golden, Section, and Divine Proportion. It is a ratio or proportion defined by the number Phi ( = 1.618033988749895... ). In all cultures, people judged to be beautiful have bodies that exhibit the divine proportion, or golden ratio, of 1 to 1.618. In beautiful humans, the golden ratio turns up all over - in the distance between the eyes relative to the length of the lower face, the height of a front tooth relative to the width of both front teeth, the length of arms relative to body height. No need to get out your ruler, just think Halle Berry - she's got the Divine Proportion from head to toe.

In mathematics and the arts, the golden ratio is everywhere. Ancient Greek mathematicians first studied what we now call the golden ratio because of its frequent appearance in geometry. The ratio is important in the geometry of regular pentagrams and pentagons. From Stonehenge, to the Acropolis, to the Pyramids, architects have used it for centuries in many of our most important buildings. Rennaissance artists (Leonardo da Vinci), Impressionist artists, even surrealist artists have used the golden ratio in their works.

But what makes this number even more interesting, is that it's found in multitudes of biological forms. From the spiral of a snail's shell to the markings on a tiger's head. From the most beautiful flowers, to leaf and seed arrangements of plants, to the structure of crystals. It's been found in movements in the stock market. The entire universe seems connected somehow by this mathematical abstract. I'm still trying to get my head around that.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Spring has technically, officially sprung, even if it doesn't feel like it yet. Today is the vernal, or spring, equinox. The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night). As of some time tonight, the sun will be standing directly over the Earth's equator, and both day and night are equal in length.

Christians use the March equinox to calculate when Easter is celebrated. The exact formula is complicated but generally Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the March equinox. Easter this year will be the earliest calendar date is years, falling on Sunday, March 23 - this weekend. Get your eggs and baskets ready.

I've just added a new foodie blog to my list - 101 cookbooks. I had tucked a note to myself somewhere to look it up after reading about her (Heidi!) in a magazine somewhere, and just got around to checking it out last night. What a gorgeous blog - the food pictures are beautifully styled, the recipes look incredibly delicious and I'm dying to make about 12 things today, from thousand layer lasagna to oven-baked doughnuts.

Here's another incredible find - Breath Palette. They make toothpaste and mouthwash in the most unbelievable flavors I've ever heard of. They even have little kits of mini toothpaste tubes in "palettes" of flavors, like sweet tooth, fruit smoothie and zen. Here's their complete list of flavors - I am having a really hard time deciding which ones to choose:

1 Sweet Salt
2 Tropical Pineapple
3 Peppermint
4 Fresh Yogurt
5 Green Tea
6 Rose
7 Monkey Banana
8 Honey
9 Kiwi Fruit
10 Cafe au Lait
11 Plum
12 Fuji Apple
13 Vanilla
14 Indian Curry
15 Strawberry
16 California Orange
17 Kyoto Style Tea
18 White Peach
19 Japanese Plum
20 Lavender
21 Darjeeling Tea
22 Cinnamon
23 Grape
24 Lemon Tea
25 Bitter Chocolate
26 Blueberry
27 Caramel
28 L’Espresso
29 Grapefruit
30 Pumpkin Pudding
31 Cola

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Raccoon Sex!

How's that for a title? I witnessed real live raccoon sex the other morning , which maybe doesn't sound that exciting, but after google searching the universe, it appears very few people have ever seen this happen live.

Here's the story - we heard a shrieky screech outside the window. Just one. And then a minute or so later, another one. The squirrels and raccoons in the lot next door are often pretty vocal, so it didn't really register. But it kept happening, just one loud shriek, then a short pause, then another one. I looked out the window and lo and behold, there are two raccoons on the roof of the old shed, heading down the slope side, just humping away.

It wasn't all that passionate. It was sort of slow and clumsy. But it just kept going on and on for what seemed like forever. Maybe it was a half an hour or so? I'm not sure. I didn't stick around to watch the ending. I just kept reading the paper and doing my thing, noticing at last that the screeches finally stopped at some point and they were gone.

Later that same afternoon, I heard another similar screech from next door and thought - NO it can't be happening again. They've got to have hit the target after all that time this morning! Which is when it occurred to me to google raccoon mating behavior to see if I was in for some extended season of copulation. I tried and tried to find something, but virtually every single site had the same short paragraph that seemed to be copied from the same source.

The gist of it was, nobody really knows. It's hardly ever been seen. They usually do it in the safety of their little dens, and not out in public. I found one description, here, and she must have had similar trouble finding information. She says, "Howard J. Stains published “The Raccoon in Kansas” in 1956. Stains had studied raccoons in the field from July 1951 to November 1954. Despite devoting 2,550 man hours to his work, he observed mating raccoons only once–on February 26, 1954–and it is his work that has been cited in every account of raccoons I have read." Imagine that - 2,550 hours studying raccoons and seeing the hawt sex only ONE TIME!

So I guess I got a rare glimpse. Other descriptions all said they are promiscuous and can be really loud and raucous. Not my little lovers. They were sedate - just humping away steadily, trying to get the job done. I've not seen them since. And I'm really disappointed that I didn't think to take a picture at the time, since I could have posted a rare and historical moment. I just figured with as many of these creatures as there are all over, that it was a common occurrence. Dang.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top o' the morning

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just tidying up after the Best of the Northwest show all weekend. Lots of catching up to do on the morning after a show - from the basics of unpacking and putting away, to laundry, groceries, phone, emails, banking duties - the list goes on and on.

It was a very slow show this time. So many reasons bandied about - change of location, higher cost of parking and admittance, earlier than usual, lack of advertising, conflicts with the St Patrick's festivities in the neighborhood, and more. The St Paddy's Dash or fun run literally had it's finish line at our entrance door. Sunday morning there were thousands and thousands of runners outside, and nobody able to cross all the police lines and closed streets to get to us. We finally threw open the doors and let everybody who wanted to come in. The folks in shorts didn't really bring their wallets to buy art, but at least we had guests to chat with after a lonely couple of hours.

We got some good news about Hangar 27, the location we usually use. The city was negotiating a deal with a private company to take it over, and we had been tossed out, which is why we ended up at Qwest Field anyway. But the deal has fallen through and there is much wheeling and dealing to try to get funding for it to be renovated and remain a public venue. Probably not possible in time for our fall show. But if you are interested in the hearing more, or want to participate in any way - from petition signing, to letter writing or even donating time or money - the new website for the group that's been created to make this happen is

It's a tough time for everybody financially. And today's banking and Wall Street news is so much more bleak. It's hard to know which steps to take next, just to keep afloat. Today I'm hoping for a little luck o' the irish to rub off and bring more green my way. Blarney?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Best of the Northwest

Today is the first day of the Best of the Northwest show. It's at Qwest Field Events Center - basically the first floor of the stadium at street level, where all the food counters are.

Apparently advertising was a little scarce, so just to confirm -- the hours are Fri noon - 8pm, Sat and Sunday 10-6. Admission is $8 to get in. Parking is not free, and you may be able to find street parking or use one of the nearby lots. More information is on their WEB SITE, along with a discount coupon off the admission price. You can get directions and a list of artists there.

We set up yesterday - it's a new location, new dates, new hours for all of us. It's quite a big space, but configured completely differently than we are used to, so a little shuffling around and confusion, but generally went quite well. I am running late, of course, getting ready. So totally me. Wait til the last minute. And if I'm being honest, this first big show with the whole full-on tent and props is sooo hard to get together for the first time this year, after months of no shows. So I just dropped off my display and am heading over this morning with more to set it all up.

I like that we don't start until noon. It gives me a little breather this morning to get more organized and fill in some small holes that I didn't have ready yesterday. I'll have lots more of the Easter and Mother's Day cards to make little gift packages with. They've been a big hit at the shop and the craft show last week. I've got the lip balms and all the spring stuff too. Hopefully we'll have some customers show up. That would make the weekend just a tad bit happier, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crush Part 2

Lordy - I had a record breaking number of hits yesterday on my post about the Crush scammers. I guess it's a huge deal. I looked into it a bit more and it's worldwide. Australia, Canada, England, and more are all suffering from this mess. No, I don't know how it got started. Apparently you can get duped into signing up for it by doing some little online quiz to find your soul mate. If you don't read the fine print, you get suckered into agreeing to their service. But I did not do this, believe me. It came out of the blue. And I'm not the only one. Some of the folks were bemoaning that their teenage daughters got hoodwinked, but most people were caught off guard, like me.

And there doesn't seem to be any easy way to stop it. The web sites don't have information on how to contact them. Some do, but following their instructions to stop is futile. It never happens. You are supposed to be able to send a "STOP" text message to some short code thingie. Maybe I'm not technologically advanced enough, but my phone would not recognize any of those short codes and just returned the messages. This is all new to me.

This morning I actually got a phone call from an 800 number. I didn't answer it because I didn't recognize the number and wasn't expecting anything. But I googled it, and of course a whole list of complaints about that crush crap came up - it's just another twist to the same scam. So now they are actually dialing me, which is annoying beyond belief. But I don't have to answer it, which means I don't have to pay for it. For the people who can't block all emails because they actually need that service, it must be pure hell.

For everyone who's stopping by for answers: I don't know what it is. I don't know how it happened. I don't know how to make it stop. I'm sorry to be no help. I'm just another sufferer.

Ok new topic - I'm done with this. Oh wait, I don't have another topic. I've spent all my time the last few days totally wasted on some idiotic scammers and the backlash. Guess I'll just give it a rest and try to get some real work done today. There's a SHOW this weekend, a great big beautiful show of fabulous artists.

Make plans to see Best of the Northwest this weekend, or Friday night after work, we're open late until 8pm on Friday.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I know this will sound odd, but I guard my privacy pretty fiercely. Yep, for someone who has a blog and blabs about their personal life to the entire universe, that sounds pretty dumb. But what I mean is that even though I chatter randomly about small stuff that's happening in my corner, I don't discuss my private life - the names or details of those close to me, etc. I have certain boundaries.

If you followed along for awhile, you've heard my rants when I got my credit card hijacked and terrorist groups were using my account to wire money to the Hezbollah. They also tried to use the internet to find out more personal information about me to steal my whole identity. It's a scary world out there. You have to be vigilant and not give out those details that could possibly put you at risk. And at the same time, somehow still be sharing and open and have something to talk about. All business is boring. I'm never interested in just business. It's a lot more fun to hear about other people's experiences, opinions about stuff and different perspectives. So my blog is a mix of personal, business, and well, other stuff.

So when I got "crushed" late Friday night, it was all new to me. Let me explain. For those of you, like me, who don't know about this stuff - there are websites that allow you to sign up and try to meet possible romances online. Not the usual stuff like E-Harmony or, but much shadier stuff for teens, from what I can tell. I cannot possibly tell how many there are - You Got Crushed, My Secret Crush, Spring Crush, etc. Note the constant word "crush." Maybe they are all run by the same weasels, but they are set up to be different services, and they charge your cell phone monthly, $5.99 to $9.99 per month

It was fairly late on Friday night when suddenly my cell phone started binging. The text message bing. Now I am not a huge cell phone user. I have one for shows and stuff, and only a handful of friends and family have the number. We hardly ever text message unless somebody is travelling out of town, like London, and are in a completely different time zone. So I shuffle around the purse for it, and it's one of those weird "crush" messages, with a web site address listed and a 4-digit code as the sender. I've never had one before. But before I can even ponder what it is, the damn thing went off about 4 more times.

It's getting much later, and still ringing, so I turn off the phone but try to look up what the whole crush thing is. Half the websites are not even funcitonal. But one is, so I called their 800 number, automated of course, and there is an option to quit the service by punching in your phone number. All good. Just to finish it off, I also email them with a hostile note to take me off immediately, because I am paying for these stupid calls.

The next morning, I turn on my phone, and there are more. I'm now wasting time with my cell phone company to find out how to block them. We are creating email filters for those 4-digit codes. But my phone is continuing to ring, 5 more crushes while I'm sitting there. All of them have a different code. It's like they are multiplying like rabbits, and each message is yet another "Crush" site of some variation. I'm going mad. I add each of them to my email blocking, dial the 800 number again, email again.

Saturday night I get more. Sunday I get even more. I've turned off the phone mostly, but each time I turn it on to make a call, there is another 5, 6 or 9 crush messages. I begin to think that a) I'm doomed and need to drop my phone into the ocean, or b) maybe they don't do any updates on the weekend and I should wait until Monday.

Good morning, Monday. I've gotten crushed another 6 times in the middle of the night. I am insane with pissy-ness. At first I tried to look up the new web sites. It seems that whoever dyslexic or horrifically cruel person this is that signed up my cell phone number - they signed me up not just once but to at least a dozen different crush services. I'm so crushed I can't think straight. I log into my account again, and realize that it's at least another 6 numbers to block each day. Crushing blow. I decide to call the support line. They can hear my frantic frustration and give me a few bonus text messages to cover this onslaught so I'm not paying double for these - once to receive them and another time to reply STOP STOP STOP it right NOW! to each of them.

Turns out that with one button, you can block any and all email from arriving to your phone. I was avoiding that, because I still want to receive text messages from time to time, from people I actually know - not crushers. This option is perfect, because it blocks all the crap that comes from the internet mailboxes, but still allows you to receive actual text messages from another phone.

I'm now crush free. I think. If it was an accidental mistake (yeah, right, a dozen mistakes) then maybe they will have to stop the service now and whatever dope started this will have to start over to find true love by text message. And if it's intentional -- but it can't be, can it, nobody knows my number? -- then I need to keep watching my phone for add-on services charged, or possibly deal with future crushing pranks. I still don't really understand what happened. But it was certainly a very crushy weekend.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Jet Trails

Cool art Sunday.

From photographer Chris Jordan's website:

"Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait

This series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 410,000 paper cups used every fifteen minutes. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming. "

A local Seattle artist - absolutely incredible, and unbelievably sobering - take a look at this gallery: Chris Jordan

His previous collections are amazing too.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Balms away!

I spent yesterday making lip balms. Lots of lip balms. They've been out of stock the last couple of months, as I mentioned earlier, because my supplier stopped carrying the tins and I couldn't find a replacement. But it's all solved now, for the moment, and I've got all the happy little flavors back on the web site.

Current yummy flavors (order HERE) are Vanilla Tangerine, Coconut Lemon, Strawberry Rose, Raspberry Soda, Cupcake, Herbal Mint, Root Beer and Lavender.

I'll have them at the Best of the Northwest show next weekend. And there's been a small supply at Collage all along, but I'll restock the most popular flavors there too. Plus, you can always order them from the web site.

Awwwww, my little poll over here is lonely. I know there have been more visitors than that stopping by each day - but I guess you all must trust me to come up with something good on my own. Okey doke. :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shop Talk

I worked at Collage yesterday, and with all the beautiful sunshine yesterday, finally people are coming out from hibernation and doing a little shopping. I had people to talk with yesterday!

I brought in some of the Easter card packages for my display there - just in case somebody needs a special little gift for their upcoming Easter baskets. It seems early this year, March 23rd, but I guess I don't really keep track of those things.

Just in case you didn't notice, when I mentioned Collage up there in the first paragraph - I included a link. A LINK! Yes, the website is up and humming. It's not 100% completely finished because a couple of gals are re-writing their little bio paragraph and we want to upgrade some of the photos - but the basics are all there and it looks pretty cute, so check it out if you have a free minute.

We're having a shop meeting on Sunday to make new plans. I will, of course, post any exciting new developments here - and on our spanking new website too.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Easter goodies

Just one more thought about the scent "family" thing from last night's poll posting - a couple of other categories which I didn't touch on are sweet (vanilla, sugar, chocolate), spice (cinnamon, clove, anise), floral (jasmine, gardenia, lilac, rose). For me, those styles of scents seem to partner with other seasons than summer. I try to do more floral type things in the Spring. And the sweet and spicy ones usually pop up in the fall and winter. But if that's your thing? Please leave a note about what you want and when you want it, and I'll certainly consider it. I toss in earthy from time to time too - and I think I've got that part covered pretty well with the Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk soaps on the regular list. But again, if you're dying to see something, shoot me a note in the comments, or email.

Ok, enough with the begging for suggestions. It's not that I don't have any new, fresh ideas on my own this time. I have scads of lists and notebooks of notes and a million things to try. It's just that sometimes I get all carried away over here in my own little corner of the universe, and when I show up at the festivals in the summer and get asked for something completely different, it reminds me that I could just ask once in a while.

So for something completely different: first craft show of the year begins tomorrow - Starving Housewives at Echo Falls. I'm off to set up today. And I've got some sweet little Mother's Day and Easter sweeties gift packages too. Just working on them this morning, and will have them at the Best of the Northwest show too. I'll try to add them to the web site shortly.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Talk to me

I've added a poll! (See box to the immediate right.)

New tricks, don't ya know. I've posted up a little opinion poll to hear what y'all think about summer scents, just to keep in touch with what you want to see the most.

There seem to be "families" of scents that people like or prefer. Some people are all about the "all natural" thing - and I have to admit that I lean that way. As I've read more about the pthalates in fragrances, I've tried to head more in the direction of blending pure plant essential oils, rather than experimenting more with synthetic fragrance oils. Most of my current menu is 100% natural at this point, but frankly, essential oils can sometimes be a bit limiting. So I still keep a few scents that are a mix - part essential, part fragrance (lavender pear, red currant & tangerine, masculine musk, sandalwood). And there are some that are completely synthetic (baby love, vanilla bean). But my biggest priority - right after making the best stuff I can - is to make exactly what you all simply have to have in your life. It's more about what you want, than what I prefer in my shower. So I'm giving you guys a chance to steer the bus for the next round. I have a few ideas in mind, and things that I may or may not do. But it can all be changed if I get a flurry of suggestions. So I'm trying this new experiment with the poll to see what happens. Do the click!

When we get to the summer season, sometimes what we think of most tends to be things that aren't represented by an essential oil - fruity stuff, tropical pina colada stuff, cucumber and grass, etc. I would die to be able to create a super luscious coconut soap, but I can't seem to get any coconut fragrance to hold well - it always comes out weak and stupid (still trying, though). But there are some that blend with pineapple and other notes that seem to work better. Coconut?

I have not tried a ripe raspberry type fragrance in soap before - almost all the samples so far seem kind of chemical smelling instead of a true fruit, but if I hear from a bunch of you that you simply must have blackberry or loganberry or huckleberry or whatever, I'll check it out. Likewise with the melon - honeydew, watermelon, cantalope.

Maybe you're a green fiend - you want it tall, cool, and green. I tend to think of these as cucumber, fresh cut grass, bamboo, some mint blends. These can be natural or synthetic or a mix of both. I've done some of these in the past - is there a hankering for more?

Or keep on keeping on with the all-natural. Most of what I've done lately has been this direction - Bergamot Shea, Rosemary Orange, Citrus Mint Poppy, Lemon Bliss. I can do more - herb garden stuff, minty fresh stuff.

And if I haven't covered your preference or you want to be more specific, there is always the comment box. Jot down whatever you're thinking and leave me a quickie note. I've got the poll up for a couple of weeks, but then I need to start cranking out the soap.