Tuesday, March 29, 2016

In the Garden of Sweet and Edible

I spent last evening separating the hyacinth extract from the hyacinth pommade and I discovered that I extracted as much coconut scent from the unrefined virgin coconut oil as I did hyacinth. Yes, I expected it to happen as this was a small, small enfleurage with less than a dozen flower heads to use, but I didn't expect this lovely, lush, warm, sweet hyacinth tinged coconut thing. I am saving the extract for next year's harvest, and most probably the harvest the year after, and maybe more before I get the level of scent infusion I'm looking for. I'm also going to break down and use ethically harvested palm as the menstruum because I don't want to argue with coconuts anymore. It was a fun experiment, and now it's shelved until next year. The pommade, however, is going into soap. If I ever get around to making any.

Some time tomorrow, I'll be moving most of the contents of the HP closet into the garage space I created. I still need to sort through everything, but as my habit is to open the HP closet door, see the ceiling high mess and immediately close the door -- the mental block is as dense as the contents of the closet -- it may not happen for a while. I'm excited to find what I need to find, but at the same time, I'm terrified some skippy-lu-lu will come through and destroy something, as is their habit. I'm also afraid that I won't have the time necessary to sort through the boxes and that I'll throw out something rare and beautiful that I tucked away for safe keeping. It's happened before. I cannot be rushed through this process, and everything needs careful examination before being put away again. It's the monkeys on my back that prevent me from beginning.

For those of you who think me prone to exaggeration (which I am) -- proof of pileage.


The seeds the wee one and I planted last week are sprouting! The cukes popped up, a couple of other things have too, but I don't know what they are. We didn't label anything as it doesn't matter what they are, they're all going into pots once they're big enough to plant. I'm pretty excited that I got some things to go this year. Last year it was potatoes and tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, lettuces, and a single feeble pepper plant. We're also putting the white and blue sages into the dirt this year. Maybe later on today as part of the wee one's gardening education. I have just the spot for them both where they will get loads of direct sunlight and just the right amount of water. I want to harvest my own white sage once in a while, and the clevelandii is an amazing scent -- nearly floral -- and I'd love to have some fresh to harvest for a small distillation session.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Joy of Growth

So nothing is as unpredictable here on the coast as the weather. One minute it's warm and the sun's shining, the next minute the marine layer swoops in and sends everything into long-john weather. Last week, during one of the warm fronts, the wee one and I planted seeds for our vegetable garden. Tomatoes, peppers, a cucumber, some dill, and I can't remember what all else. Edible stuff, no doubt. And they seem to be doing well. But the surprise came when I pulled back the kitchen curtain and found these in a small container on the windowsill:


Those two little green wisps are baby bergamot orange plants. Of the dozen or so I planted, these two, huddled close to one another, popped the earth to say hello. I have gotten this far on bergamot babies before and lost them to under watering. I won't make that mistake again. Now that I know they're there, I will be checking in on them often.

Getting used to this changeable weather has been a challenge for me. Back in Fresno, I was guaranteed a day of heat and sunshine if the date was anywhere after, say, April 15th. Here, it's a heat wave in January and a cold wave in July. Plants are one of my many 'things', so I must adjust.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Or Ostara! Or whatever you do on this day. I'm doing nothing. In fact, I may need to rush to the market before it closes early to buy something for dinner as there is nothing here! All the kids are back in Fresno letting their little ones enjoy the bunny's bounty. I'm sitting here at home in the California coastal cold, which is like shorts and flip-flop weather for those of you living up in Michigan, feeling a little joyful not to be in the hub-bub of the festivities' preparation. For, like, the first or second time in my adult life. It's liberating. My friend Shannon gave me a dozen of her chickens' beautiful pale blue-grey eggs, and I'm going to boil half of them and decorate them for the wee one's bounty basket. Instead of gobs of candy, plastic toys, and the 1-millionth stuffed toy to add to the collection in her basket, her mom is putting in skincare. There is a big hollow chocolate bunny, because you gotta. But everything else is bath time, after bath, and skincare goodness. Four bath bombs from Lush, one from Babylon Soap Co. in Morro Bay, lotions and shower gel from Bath and Body Works, a big bar of cherry vanilla soap from Babylon, a beautiful blood orange and vanilla body lotion from Babylon, and some sparkle infused aloe gel from Heart's Desire Soap Co. in San Luis Obispo. For the wee-er one, she got a natural lavender infused body oil for bedtime, and a tiny pink bunny. The wee ones' mother is trying hard to create holidays that aren't about eating one's weight in sugar, and are instead about extending the fun with things the kids truly love.

Bergamot & Rose Ostara marshmallows 2012


I remember Easters past as a time of extreme activity and great anticipation. We would get new dresses, usually the first new clothing we'd get between the yearly mid-summer school clothes shopping, and new shoes. We'd dress up and climb into the car with the Easter baskets our godmother gave us, and then we'd drive 45 winding minutes into the hills to an old cabin on the edge of a creek and an old oak forest where we'd be greeted by all of our cousins, aunts, uncles, and our grandparents. The main room of the three-room cabin would be decked out for the holidays with two picnic tables set end-to-end literally groaning under the weight of the food that was brought or prepared there. Pies, bunny-shaped carrot cakes, ham, turkey, lamb, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lots of fresh spring vegetables. It was like Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one with everyone exchanging baskets, and more food in the room than most people eat in a month. I remember choking on dry boiled eggs, and drinking lots of sweet tea and Dr. Pepper. I remember eating too many chocolate malted eggs and getting sick on the floor of the cabin's tiny kitchen. I remember spoiling my new dress running through the briars and muddying my shoes slipping into the creek. I remember wasp stings and skinned knees and joyously smiling into the faces of people who are now long dead.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Back to Bergamot

Since returning from my business *slash* vaca *slash* harvest trip, I've been busier than a cat covering . . . tootsie rolls. I'm putting my house (aka studio) in order for the impending move to the garage space. Things are in a holding pattern with outside studio space, but the idea is still out there gathering steam from the universe. I loosely rolled the white and blue sage into large bundles which are sitting on a drying rack. I will have to turn them every day to ensure neither gets damp inside. It's going to be a warm few days so I'm confident the bundles will dry nicely with little leaf loss. I did the same with the sweet myrtle branches, but being a bit fuzzier than the sages, it took a bit of teasing to get that to bundle. The myrtle bundle looks like me on a bad hair day, with wild hairs sticking out every which way.

I got to filter and bottle the beautiful golden-orange bergamot tincture I made I think back in February. Or late January. Can't remember now. It looks and smells gorgeous.


The leftover bergamot peel from this tincture is drying so I can jar it up and use it for incense. There's still a significant amount of scent left in the spent peels, and there's no point wasting a gram. I'm looking around for more things to finish up and I'm avoiding the HP closet -- that's a Pandora's box for which days are required to sort.

I also watched a few videos online about how to properly harvest wild plants for a variety of uses, and one video in particular intrigued me. It was set in the basement of a large Native American goods' store and the shelves in the basement had rolls and rolls (big rolls, at least 12 inches in diameter) of different types of sages that were drying. It felt right, all those bundles, and I began to imagine the apothecary and thurifercorum appearing the same way -- waist-level shelves with jars filled with finished incense, and upper shelves filled with bundles of raw incense materials and bottles of tinctures and infusions. It is this dream in my heart that keeps me moving forward with my studio plans.

I also spoke too soon about the allergy issue. Since the gardener mowed, I've been sneezing like mad. Apparently, knocking on wood is just an old stupid superstition after all.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Herbs 'n Stuff

The white sage I harvested over the past week is a little unusual as it is well fed and tended, so it's full with oils and very highly scented, and the stalks are thick, just a scosh bigger than a sapling trunk. And hollow. And sticky with oil.


The blue sage is so sweet and musky as to be nearly floral. I've been wanting to work with blue sage for ages but could never find enough with which to do anything. Now I have an abundant supply to dry and distill, when the time comes. 

Blue sage -- there is a branch of white sage just on top -- ignore her.







 
And the sweet myrtle leaves. I need to get all of these hung to dry and then process them into powders when I'm ready to begin an incense building session.


My dear friend, and former Kyphi incense student, Lisa W. sent me a Cecile Brunner rose bush! It's a cutting from one of her own lovingly tended plants, and it's growing beautifully. I had a moment of trepidation setting it out in the front patio -- the gardeners tend to weed whack the crap out of some of my potted plants. I assume it's accidental because it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it sets back the plant growth by months, if not a year or more. This morning was lawn day and the gardener (I think it's a new employee) was extra careful weed whacking and spent a bit more time on the yard than normal, for which I am grateful. And the Cecile Brunner, or as my friend S. likes to call them, 'the Homer Simpson', made it through the weed whacking, all leaves intact.

Lisa also sent me some of her own Kyphi and incense made over this past year, and they're phenomenal! I love how creative everyone is becoming with this Kyphi gig. Granted, there are a lot of die-hard purists out there who follow only the formulations set down by the Egyptian gods themselves, but these new avant-garde formulations are nothing to turn your nose up at either.


This is santal and aloeswood Kyphi infused with gem energy, and it smells like heaven. It is warm, dry, woody, with both earthy and air qualities. And it looks good enough to eat ~ ha!


This is juniper and rose Kyphi infused with rose quartz gem energy, and it is over the top gorgeous. The rose is intense, and the juniper adds just the right amount of peppery, balsamic, woodiness. These are sound Kyphi formulations with unique and delicious scents.


This is Dreamtime Incense, a loose, whole herb incense featuring narcotic-like herbs to help induce sleep. It is rich and intensely herbal with a lovely floral and musk undertone. Actually seems more like an aphrodisiac scent than one for sleep.


And this wee jar of sexiness is actually a good beginning for an incense body powder. It is comprised of sandalwood chips soaked in rose otto and other intensely fragrant natural oils. This is such a great combination of scent that it comes off as a perfume more than an incense. I put a few chips in the palm of my hand and then rubbed the chips between my hands. It left a sweet, musky, warm, and floral 'perfume' in my hands. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

No, I did not buy a fat pig.

Home again from a protracted weekend filled with work and fun and rain and sunshine and wind and chickens and blooming, twining, unfurling, lush greenery. And sage! The white sage and the blue sage (salvia clevelandii) at Seasons in Sanger is ready to harvest, and I brought home to the thurifercorum two bags full up with them. Oh, and sweet myrtle! The new bright green leaves are so fragrant and will smell divine in some incense concoction I labor over in the future.

This is yet another year where the allergies that I normally brutally suffer from haven't actually materialized. It's weird. I knock on wood every time I say that now, just in case, y'know, knocking on wood actually helps to keep allergies at bay. It's lovely that I can traipse about in the wind and fluttering pollen without a care. This time of year normally means my eyes are nearly swollen shut, wind is my enemy, and going outside is viewed as a joke.

I'm back to work today. No time to fanny about any longer.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fear

I just had a seriously disturbing 'ah-ha' moment. First, I'm a huge critic of people who live in fear. Not real fear, obviously, but imagined fears. The stuff that keeps people awake at night, the stuff that keeps people from realizing their full potential, all the what-ifs and excuse making for not just stepping off the edge.The ah-ha moment came when I realized that I was thwarting my own goals by refusing to accept money for my work! Yeah. Stupid. I'm one of 'those people'. I guess that one little false nugget of wisdom my step-father left me with stuck but good. He used to say, "If you do good work, your boss or your customers will see it and pay what you're worth." Uh, no. Not ever in my adult life has that even remotely borne out. People pay what you tell them you're worth, even if your work is poop and your character even poopier, if you say your thumbdingles are worth $1000 a shantar, then that's what people will have to pay to get one of your 'rare' thumbdingles!

So, this fear, it is mostly reflected in putting up roadblocks to my own success, like not following through with commitments, either to myself or others. I commit in the wrong places a lot too, just so I have an excuse not to commit where it will do me the most good. This was most evident to me today when I had that ah-ha moment.  I thought, dang, I'm getting a lot of requests for an advanced perfumery course, I just need to do it, but if I do it, I'll make more money, and if I make more money, I'll be committed, and if I'm committed I'm no longer 'free', and then there's the problems that come with more money, like more liability (commitment). And didn't I say it wasn't all about the money? You see where I tripped myself up? If I'm not in it for the money, then subconsciously I'm doing stuff to prevent myself from making money so that statements remains true. I'm hurting myself here, and I really need to stop. Fear doesn't get to win.

To making money!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Natural Botanical Soap Making Class

In Prather, CA at the Intermountain Nursery


This one isn't so easy to see as it's an entire sheet of classes, but it reads:

Botanical Soap Making - $65
Saturday, July 30th, 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM (end time may be much earlier but we leave a lot of time open for discussion)
Justine Crane, Soap Maker
Learn to make beautiful handmade cold-processed soap using natural and botanical oils and scented materials. Justine has perfected a recipe that creates loads of lather and scent. Discussion of types of soap, technique, and safety issues. A bar of cured soap will be yours to take home. Class limit 10, must be over 18 or accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Instead of spending the whole day bent over the organ ferreting out this cherry rose thing to perfection (which I ultimately did), I decided to walk around town and grab a bite to eat with the wee one, the wee-er one, and their mum. It was nice. A beautiful, sweet-scented, breezy spring day welcomed us at every turn.

  

 These are some of the spring offerings presented by Mother Earth as we traipsed about -- rosemary, budding labdanum, ivy, I don't know what type of leaf, pine and pollen, weedy wheat thing, blossom and bud from cotton wood, and a sweet little acorn, a remnant of fall playing with the spring greens. 

This, my friends, is where a perfumer finds inspiration.

Sunday's Windswept Sea

Sunday, after gathering the wee one up, we took a trip to Cambria in the Pines for a picnic of vegetarian sandwiches, chips, and water -- I know, we're so bland. We were still in the midst of a gully washer of a storm, so the ocean was churning and the tides were higher than normal. It was spectacular. And wet. Really, really wet. The ocean was spewing salty mist, the sky was drizzling -- again, it was spectacular. The tides were so high we only had to walk a few yards to reach the foamy surf to collect moonstones and what we think are jade. And, of course, I had to gather sea things for a group photo.


More inspiration for a sea born scent.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Classes & Workshops (Thus Far)!

Soapmaking Workshop April 23, 2016

Natural Perfume Making Workshop May 21, 2016

Botanical Soap Making Class July 30, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

No Lilacs

I've been to the big farmer's market here twice and still no lilacs. I'm wondering if the lilac lady from last year isn't selling them, or perhaps is using a smaller venue to disperse the wonderful lilac blossoms into the world. I'm going back to the smaller farmer's market tomorrow in hopes that the person selling those lilac branches a few weeks back is now selling full-blown blooming lilac blossoms.

I'm getting more requests for reviews. It's kind of amazing that for years I sat here with loads of goods to share and when I unintentionally whittle it all down to a small handful, there is this peak in interest. Ooh! Gotta share! I went on a fishing campaign yesterday on YouTube for anything pertaining to either my name or my business name, and I found a review of my Kyphi booklet! The reviewer called Kyphi, Magic & Art: Creating the Breath of the Gods a 'can of tuna'. Yep. A can of tuna. What does that mean, you ask? Well, most books are baked fish, along with the meat there are bones and skin and eyeballs and other stuff you can't or won't eat -- fluff, per se. A can of tuna is just meat. A big, honking block of meat. Zero fluff. I took that comment to mean she liked the booklet. Well, she did say, despite the mere 19 pages of instruction, that it was worth every penny. So. There's that.

One discouraging thing about that comment is that it kind of dampens my aspirations of becoming a fiction writer in my dotage. If I'm only delivering cans of tuna, where's the creativity? Or maybe it's all creativity. Ah. Did you just see that light go on?

The rains have returned with a vengeance. It rained the whole day yesterday with only a few minutes respite between showers. It's good. Really good. But also cold and windy and humid and -- I shouldn't whine. It's good. I just hope a tree doesn't fall on me as I'm out on my walk today . . .

Friday, March 11, 2016

How to Make an Extract

After plucking all the flowers from the fat:







Adding the organic alcohol:


And then into the water bath to melt the oil:




And then when it's over, this is what it looks like:







 See it separating there? The oil is solidifying on the top, and the alcoholic extract part is floating at the bottom. We'll let this stew for a few days before freezing and removing the extract. Hopefully it'll smell like hyacinths, yeah?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wrapping Up the Hya

So, later today I'm going to pluck out the remaining hyacinth from the enfleurage plate and make a small extract with it. Wish me luck. I still have bottles of the hyacinth tincture I made a few years back, and I'm planning to dry extract that. I was selling the tincture in 2014, but a few of my customers said the tincture had a slight off putting note, like salty fish, which, let's face it, is pretty weird. I'm hoping that fishy note evaporates with the alcohol so that the pretty hyacinth note is all that's left. My hypothesis about that weird note is that hyacinth blossoms are fat and juicy, so when I plucked them fresh and put them into the alcohol, I didn't allow for any wilting (evaporation of water) and it was the water component that developed the fish note. We'll see, I guess. Another experiment. Each one teaches a new lesson. Mostly, these lessons in perfumery teach me to be more patient.

It's almost time to start hiking again. I know I've sat on my bum too long when a trip upstairs to retrieve the phone charger makes me huff and puff like a steam engine. I'm a hibernator. When it's chilly and damp, I like to huddle under a blanket and write -- or read -- or play whack-a-mole -- or invent stories -- or watch Chopped. This may be part of the reason I got almost nothing done in terms of creating perfumed stuff this past winter. I was hibernating like a bear! Bears don't make perfume. Heck, bears can't even make a decent bar of soap.

My favorite place to pluck those pretty Cecile Brunner roses was struck by a wind storm this past weekend, and some of their fine old trees toppled over. A few old eucalyptus and some coastal pines. It's heartbreaking to see these grand trees -- trees who've stood for decades, some centuries -- just lie down in the mud. This drought has taken its toll on more than just the people and the agriculture. Old forests are dying -- it's just sad. I hope to get over to the Cecile Brunner bush that I normally harvest and see if the wind hasn't blown all the buds off. I'd love to get another distillation out of it, but setting up the kit and making the time to conduct a distillation is becoming more and more difficult. I made a remark this past weekend about how pissed off it makes me that everyone else acts put out because of my business and all the stuff I have, and the response I got was laughing and nodding. I almost went into a tirade about how put out I am when I clean the house top to bottom only to wake in the morning to crap everywhere, dirty dishes, empty toilet paper rolls, and someone else's laundry clogging up the dryer, but, hey, I'm the ray of light around here. Gotta keep sh*t positive while scraping someone's midnight snack off the stove top.

I need that studio!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Gone to Go A'Mossing

A few days ago I hit the trails around home to collect oakmoss for a friend. It wasn't the optimal time to get moss as it had been weeks since the last rain, and at least as long since the last big wind event. To find good moss in abundance, one should hunt a day or two after a good rain, or the day after a wind storm. All that action brings the moss-laden branches down to the ground, where I can pluck them clean. It doesn't snow here, so my strategies for a'mossing have changed. Before, when I lived closer to the Sierra Nevada's, I would go as soon as the snow was melted. The heavy moss covered branches would snap under the weight of the snow and fall to the ground, only to be buried by more snow as the season progressed. Then when the snow melted, voila, fresh, perfectly preserved oakmoss everywhere! I now live in the land of oaks, so finding oakmoss can be as easy as a walk to the corner store, though I prefer the hiking trails over the streets.

California/Atascadero Oakmoss with some tagalong lichen (like that one with the little round feet)
Another lichen that grows in abundance here is Ramalina, or lace lichen, a semi-parasitic lichen that doesn't kill the host tree it grows on. The thing about Ramalina is that it's almost like the Rose of Jericho in that it can sit in a drawer or bag for months, or years, and then as soon as water and sunlight are introduced, it begins to grow again. From all the research that I've done on Ramalina, it's a pretty damned amazing creature, and its health is a harbinger of the state of the environment. As a magickal element, Ramalina can be used in white magick, in much the same way as Rose of Jericho, without all the holy mother connections. Ramalina's magick can also be used for any healthy growth or plain old good health and abundance situations. Native Americans thought that putting lace lichen in water would make it rain, and some tribes would even use the lichen as padding for baby diapers. Just give it a good spritz with a spray bottle full of water, hang the lichen in the sun, and do your good work with it.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Hyacinths, Hyacinths, Hyacinths!

Enjoy this floral feast for your eyes (and if you can imagine it, your nose as well).








Friday, March 04, 2016

Monarchs & Poppies

Went on a little excursion to the hills, then the sea, and then back to the hills. Everything is so green, and the oaks are drenched in flowing green-gray moss, the fields sporting clusters of blooming wild flowers -- purples, yellows, oranges, and blues. It's beautiful, and driving through the coastal hills feels like being in a faraway land. Magickal and mystical with only the sound of the bees in the trees

Mist/Fog/Marine layer oozing over the hills near Hwy. 101 N. of SLO
to break the quiet. In the evenings and early morning, the mist from the sea envelopes the rolling hills, and it all becomes even more still. It really is quite the special place. We stopped at the monarch butterfly grove on our travels, to see the last of the season's monarchs before they fly away again until next November. There were a few still left fluttering about.

California Poppy at Monarch Grove, Pismo, CA

I couldn't get close enough to a monarch to get his/her picture, so I took pictures of the poppies instead. They're everywhere in the grove, and just off in the distance, the dunes and the sea. Sitting in the grove, the sounds of wind through the eucalyptus combined with the roaring ocean, create this meditative hum that kind of vibrates the entire body. It's so nice in the grove. If I were a butterfly, I'd never leave.

I'm champing at the bit to get back to work, but so much is going on. The household dynamics are changing again (as if they ever stopped) and I'm feeling pressured to leave my things out of sight. For some reason, my focusing on my work -- the perfuming, soaping, writing -- is cause for anxiety for everyone else. It's as if they are all jealous that I have something tangible and interesting to distract me from the mundane everyday existence they prefer to complain about. I may be imagining it. Anyway, I do have to get those tea soaps done and out of here so I can focus on other works this year -- like more perfumes! I'm restocking raw materials almost daily (where to put it all?????) and I'm experimenting on a very, very small scale, by drops and dips between dishes and laundry. I feel more and more in the way the deeper I get into my work. Like I have to constantly stop what I'm doing to cook or mop or dust, just to prove my worth the household. It's demeaning. The real reason I need an off-site studio perhaps? Probably. Maybe I'm just bitter I can't do this all the time, day in and day out, no dishes, no laundry, no bed making, no television, no babysitting, no shopping or chauffeuring or post officing. Ah, to dream.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Return of the Bergamot

So this here is a beautiful -- and I do mean beautiful -- tincture of bergamot peel that I made using the last of the fruit. It is fabulously sparkly and bergamotty and fresh, with lovely neroli-like floral tones and a lot of lemony notes. It's just gorgeous.


As you can see, I have not yet separated the wheat from the chaff here. I'm going to leave it in a few days longer before decanting. The color is a bit deceiving as well as the true color is more orange verging on amber.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Gypsy Perfumer

Along with the dream of a thurifercorum, I dream of being a gypsy perfumer. A few times a year, I imagine myself packing up the goods into a wee wagon (probably just a little trailer), and visiting a few cities and towns to teach workshops on all aspects of my style of perfume formulating. I think it would be a fun, lovely, fragrant adventure, and nothing like working a craft show. Back in the day, I used to attend craft shows with my stuff. Sometimes it went well -- very well -- and other times it was just a joke. There was one craft show that was super expensive to get into, but everyone on the local craft circuit said I just had to do it, I'd make loads of money and get my products out there. It was in the country near the little central valley town of Hanford. It cost -- total -- with booth rental, gas, food, prepping and creating all the goods, $600. I made $15. And then that check bounced. And the attendees -- you'd think I'd been dropped into their little cowboy, farmer John, land of milk and honey by a band of wild-haired horny berserkers with bags of weed and Quaaludes hanging from their pockets. The sneers were epic! Elvis would have been so proud. The single person who bought from me was a wild-haired horny berserker, and she wrote a bad check! I never did that show again. I've done other shows where soap and scentmakers would shuffle up to my booth and finger and sniff every item on my table, and then do a hair flip, nose in the air pirouette and giggled as they walked away. It was like junior high all over again -- oh, sure, copy off my English exam, and then treat me like something you need to wipe off your shoe. Ha! I guess I'm guilty of this type of behavior as well. We go to craft shows near home and my daughter will pick up something and I'll say, "Oh, don't get that, I can make it for you." And then I don't. She loves to point this out every time I say it, too. I think I'll stop saying it. Let the crafter get their due without my 'ah, pshaw, I can do that!' attitude getting in the way. I'm getting much better at giving the crafters their due. I often buy handmade soap from another local artisan, as well as ordering some from crafters online. Sometimes it's nice to smell a smell that isn't your smell, y'know? Besides, it's kind of humbling, and heaven knows, humility is in short supply these days.

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