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by Norma Thomas on 06/06/16

Maybe you've heard that expression:  "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."  It seems more applicable as of late.  The "day job" is a blessing, of course, but it represents 9 to 10 hours of NOT working on the website.  Of course, it also represents the ability to continue paying to have the website -- you'll note I'm not wall-to-wall advertisements.  A website of this size and scope takes a bit of a bite -- but it's important to me and, I hope, to some of you.  Then there's all the other aspects of things I need to do -- things that also keep me from working on the website.  And, naturally, there's life.  The family has experienced some heart-breaking losses in the last few years.  My Dad passed in 2014; my Uncle Floyd passed this year.  But we all reach that age where loss pays the occasional visit to our lives.

I still have a few pages that I need to re-format using Google Chrome -- predominantly, the pages on Record-Keeping and Labeling.  I'll be working on that this week.  Then, there's the e-commerce store that helped a little in defraying the cost of the website.  The hosting server changed e-commerce providers, so the store will have to be completely re-formatted as well.  I really want to make those tutorials available to you again.

Then, there are the sweet comments and the inquiries I receive from you, the visitors to the website.  I got partially caught up on that correspondence over the weekend, but there are still others to whom I need to reply.  As it pertains to the website, I think THAT is going to be the new priority -- responding to you.  After all, you, the soap-makers and the soap-curious, are the reason for the website.  I apologize, sincerely, for letting the day-to-day get the better of me.  I'm going to do better.  The work and time already invested in the site deserves better, but (more importantly) you deserve better.

Thank you for sticking around -- thank you for your continued visits.

Norma W. Thomas


by Norma Thomas on 07/05/14

Boy!  Do I EVER have egg on my face.  You get to a certain age (in my case, nearly 53) when you think you have it somewhat together when it comes to various aspects of your experiences.  I was recently contacted by a customer wanting information on Cookie Cutter Soaps.  She informed me that those pages were not coming up correctly:  images overlapping text, text overlapping other text, etc.  I did a quick cursory look on my computer and everything looked fine to me.  However, because I was in a hurry, I didn't scroll DOWN the page.  A few weeks later, I got another inquiry from another customer wanting to download the .pdf files for record-keeping.  She said that the links were not accessible because they were being overlapped.  As luck would have it, those links are at the bottom of the page.  I had to scroll.  Man, oh, man!  I was mortified.  My hosting company recently changed hands.  Evidently somewhere and somehow in that process, every single one of my web pages got substantially shortened, creating (for lack of a better term), a "pile-up".  Virtually every element on every page was overlapping or just beneath some other element.  It took a week to ten days to get everything back in its place and so far (fingers crossed) everything seems to be fine.  Because I had "locked" the elements into place, because the website had been fine for a couple of years and because I did NOT take the time to fully investigate the first complaint . . . I had another.  That is "my bad".  That is 100% on me and I sincerely apologize to anyone that ran into similar issues with the website.  In short, "lesson learned".  I hope that things continue to "hold" in place, but one thing's for darn sure, I am paying even closer attention from now on and I greatly appreciate the customers that were gracious enough to take the time to bring this to my attention.  I'm so very sorry I wasn't listening better, sooner.



by Norma Thomas on 03/14/13

For the die-hard crafter, there can never and will never be enough time.  Regardless of your craft, you know who you are . . . if you've ever stayed up all night crocheting; spent countless hours wrapping embroidery thread around paper bobbins that can't possibly hold up; painstakingly separated a bag of mixed beads that you got on sale; cross-stitched until your eyes were also crossed; or stayed up making soaps or candles until the increased illumination from the rising sun made you realize you were about to face yet ANOTHER day without a minute of sleep . . . then I'm "talking" to you.

The other peculiarity about crafters is that we seldom concentrate on just ONE craft.  Sure, there may be one or two that hold our attention for a time but, invariably, we "stray".  The phenomenon usually occurs after a visit to the local craft store or spending time online visiting various crafting websites (like this one). 

I have a theory about that:  people that are simply creative down to the last cell of their bodies are plagued by muses.  Oh, sure . . . some folks may, in fact, have only one that visits infrequently.  But others of us (and, yes, I am including myself in this group) are bombarded by flocks, gaggles, herds or schools of muses that seem intent on making sure that we never sleep.  Even on those nights when you are fairly certain that you'll be enjoying a full five or six hours of sleep, as soon as you get snuggled into your bed, finding exactly the right temperature and that sublimely comfortable position, one or more of your resident muses will begin whispering in your ear, inspiring you with some innovative pattern or technique or project. 

This is a dilemma for all creative people.  We know, with absolute certainty, that if we don't get up and at least jot down a few notes, sleep will remove the thought and banish the idea from our existence . . . usually for all eternity.  Sometimes, fatigue and the promise of a deep, restorative sleep will win.  However, there are also times that we find ourselves mumbling, grumbling and stumbling from our near slumber to our desks and work tables where we feverishly scribble and doodle and try to leave ourselves enough clues that we will surely be able to retrieve the inspiration come morning. 

The sad part of this tale of tortured trial and triumph is that the folks who have no muse motivating their imaginations simply cannot understand or appreciate why our homes are often cluttered, beds unmade and dishes unwashed.  It is because we have no time for these things.  There are far too many other things out there, right now, waiting for us to make or create them.  And, make no mistake . . . make or create them, we must.

So, carry on, fellow crafters.  I wish you much success in your creative endeavors and as much sleep as those darned muses will allow.

~ Norma


by Norma Thomas on 12/18/12

I was making muffins this morning . . . Cranberry & Orange . . . festive and delicious.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm not a baker.  I got the packaged mix stuff from the grocery store.  However, I do like to add my own twist to things and with this particular muffin mix, I always add craisins; also known as dried cranberries.  They already have little red chunks of cranberry-flavored sugar in them, but I just love craisins.  As I'm mixing it up and wishing I had an orange or two I could zest, I suddenly remembered that I have Orange Flavoring Oil which I use to make soaps because I'm not big on making candy either.

Not even bothering to pull out one of my eyedroppers, I just slowly and gently tilt the bottle, pouring in a substantial amount of oil for the mix, but I just figure it'll just be a little too orangey, which is okay with me.  It's only a guess, mind you, but after mixing up the batter, I licked the spoon and found myself making a face and saying, "That tastes like soap."  Even now, a good fifteen minutes AFTER licking the spoon, my mouth tastes a little like I bit into a bar of soap.  I can't decide if a little soap base got into the oil or if I insufficiently cleaned the eyedropper but SOMETHING of soap making origins got into the Orange Flavoring Oil.

If you've reviewed the website or purchased any of the downloads, you know that I love how crafts can overlap:  polymer clay crafting and soap making and candle making and so on.  I have learned a valuable lesson today:  CRAFTING can overlap ONLY SO FAR . . . Any flavoring oils or extracts you use for CRAFTS should probably be kept completely separate from those you use for edible things.  Flavoring oils are a wonderful choice for soap making . . . just don't use the same bottle for flavoring something you're going to eat.

UP SIDE:  I had planned on making muffin baskets for family members for Christmas this year.  Thankfully, I tried this little trick on some I had planned on eating, not giving away as gifts.  I'm pretty sure that no one would have appreciated getting soap-flavored muffins for Christmas; I'm equally sure they wouldn't have been THAT surprised.

I wish all of you HAPPY HOLIDAYS . . . whether you celebrate Christmas or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah . . . may your holidays be beautiful, bountiful and blessed.



by Norma Thomas on 09/26/12

I'll be 51 tomorrow.  I will never be petite or blonde (though the gray is rapidly encroaching) or skinny.  Unless one of those occasional lottery tickets pays off big, I will never be wealthy.  That doesn't mean I'm not rich . . . in so many things that matter as much or more than dollars, my wealth exceeds that of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined.  I have more than a few people in my life that genuinely love and care about me; I have a moderate measure of health; I have an above average IQ and creative muses that like to throw frat parties in my head.  I have the genetic capacity to laugh until I cry and (more often these days) pee my pants.  But most of all, I have a voice . . . a big mouth (by most accounts) and unusually strong vocal chords . . . I can sing at the top of my lungs; I can scream bloody murder; and I can whisper a prayer. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  It is my fervent birthday wish that everyone reading this post will take just a few minutes to take stock of their own lives, putting aside the challenges and obstacles we all face to recognize and acknowledge all they have already been given . . . it's easy to say "family and friends and health" . . . look a little deeper; you know your strengths . . .  be thankful for ALL of them.