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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New RME (Revolution Money Exchange)

This is a new money exchange website that I have recently signed up for. What is so special about this new money exchange website? Well it is different from Paypal, but somewhat similar. Yes there as some slight difference that you can do at Paypal that you can't do at RME. Now would I prefer RME over Paypal? Not a chance. I still love using Paypal. But I like that people have the option not to use Paypal. So far I have heard very good things about the service although limited, but very good feedback so far. Fees are free for sending and receiving funds and free service to add your bank account and transfer funds to your bank account is also free. Please keep in mind that this service is still in the Beta mode. What is Beta? This means it is still a new service and is still working out all the kinks. But again it is just a basic service and I am pretty sure once it gets up and going that it will add more features to it in the near future.

Revolution Money – was created to deliver significant value to both consumers and merchants through two products, RevolutionCard and RevolutionMoneyExchange. The RevolutionCard eliminates costly interchange fees for merchants while simultaneously providing consumers with enhanced PIN-based security, identity protection, and periodic merchant discounts and incentives. MoneyExchange offers an easy and secure way to send and receive money online between accountholders for free. The accounts are issued by First Bank & Trust, Brookings, SD, Member FDIC and part of the Fishback Financial Corporation. These products are leading the transformation of the payment industry by providing secure, easy, and instant payment solutions to everyone.

RME does have fees and what are they?

Money Exchange is an easy and secure way to send and receive money online for FREE.

* FREE to register for an account
* FREE to add money from your bank account
* FREE to send money
* FREE to receive money
* FREE to request money
* FREE to electronically transfer money to your bank account

* A transaction fee applies for check withdrawals ($2.50 per check), check stop payments ($20.00 per check), paper statements ($5.00 per statement), ACH returns ($35.00 per returned ACH), and overdrafts ($35.00 per overdraft).

So although this is a great option for people other than google checkout and Paypal. I still prefer to use Paypal but this is another great option for accepting funds. :-)

~Michelle

PS... Although this new money exchange is still in Beta format and people are questioning its sincerity about putting such personal information on this website. It is a legal bank and with any legal bank or brick and mortal bank it is by law for them to get your social for security reasons. I have a Orange account that also required this same information. They are backed by the FDIC which Paypal is NOT so you money is secure. Paypal and Google and even Etsy were in Beta stages when we all signed up for this and no one had a problem signing up for all of these websites so not sure why so many people think this money exchange is a scam.

These are the board of directors for RME

Board of Directors

Ted Leonsis,
Chairman


Vice Chairman, AOL; Owner, Washington Capitals

Steve Case


Chairman, Revolution LLC; Co-Founder, AOL; Former Chairman, AOL Time Warner

David Golden


CFO, Revolution LLC; Former Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan

Russell E. Hogg


Former President &CEO, MasterCard International, Inc.

David Pottruck


Chairman, Eos Airlines; Former CEO, Charles Schwab

Frank Raines


Former Chairman & CEO, Fannie Mae; Previously head of OMB

Larry Summers


Former Secretary of Treasury; Former President, Harvard University

Jason Hogg


Founder, President and CEO, Revolution Money

So if these people are the board of directors for this new money exchange then they are all scamming everyone. And with so many people signing up so quickly, they did experience some problems now. That happened with Google when everyone signed on for them. They experienced a over load of people signing on and had some problems with the website. Just a thought

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Blue Beamer!!!


What did we do last week? Well my husband sent me a email asking to check out a link, so I did and what was it, a link to a BMW dealer where we live. I said to myself, "uh oh". So I clicked on the link and saw this beautiful 330I BMW. So when he gets home I said WOW that car is amazing. I asked him if he wanted to go take a look at it, and he said yeah why not. So we get there and the first thing we spotted was this car.

The car was all shined up and ready for us to come look at it. We both got our undies in a bunch just looking at it so we decided to go in and ask about it and we eventually test drove the car. The lady handed us the keys (which by the way the sales woman name Pauline was awesome) and let us go test drive the car alone. We took it through the neighborhood and then on to the highway. Such power and so different from our luxury 1999 Acura TL. As we were driving it we both kept saying to each other "what do you think" and then we both laughed at each other because we knew we wanted to get it. Well we winded up driving off the BMW lot with this car last Friday evening in shock that we made this awesome purchase. It was hard saying goodbye to the Acura, which was in great condition and got a good trade in value for it. But who can resist a Mistic Blue 330I BMW.And btw we weren't even looking to buy a new car or even talked about buying a new car but it has always been in the back of my husband mind to get the car he has always wanted and I had no beef about it at all. Why shouldn't he enjoy driving in a car that he wants. I love my little Toyota and don't want to part with it yet. Plus I love the car too so that was a added bonus for him deciding on getting it. Who am I to say Hey you can't have this car. Who wouldn't want it. If we can afford to have it, I say go for it. It is not like we spend our money on foolish things. :-)






Here are some other pics of the car.This is the engine. Sweet!






This is the inside of the car. It is black but who cares. The windows are all slightly tinted but you can't see here as the windows are all rolled down. And it also has a open top.

Michelle

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's Coming For May?



I have been working very hard over the past month on new soaps for May and a few other items that I have been asked many many times for. So What is coming for May?

May is a month for all new things. New weather, new trees, flower buds everything that has died is back alive again. With all the Spring rain we are getting, May will bring all the wonderful weather finally.

Some of my items will be discontinued. Why? Lack of sales for these particular items. You never know how well something sells till it is out. Not many will be discontinued but only a few items.

We have some really cool looking and great smelling soaps coming in May, such as

Mandarin Neroli Cornmeal (similar to our Raspberry Cormeal) but made with a essential oil blend.

Sweet Pink Sugar

Chocolate French Vanilla Nut

Lemon Ginger

Jasmine Rose

All with these great soaps will come Shampoos & Conditioners. Yes finally. I am not sure if these shampoos & conditioners will do well on Etsy so I will only have them available through our website for now.

What other soaps are in the works? I am planning on making a batch of Clean scented soap. This fragrance is awesome and I am looking forward to this soap. I will also have some really new spring like soaps coming soon. They may arrive late May or early June.

~Michelle

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Welcome To My World


I want to take you into my world of soap making. I am still fairly new at soap making (1 Yr in July 2008). I started making my soaps from scratch in July 2007 so I am still fairly new at this new found talent. I so love it and hopefully as the years go on, I can get better and better at it. Not only do I love it to sell, but I love it because I love creating my own soaps from scratch. I get such a kick out of seeing my last soap being unmolded and testing it under water and seeing how it foams and lather right in my hand just from making it 24 hours ago. It is a amazing feeling to know you created something from your very own hands. PLEASE BARE WITH ME AS THIS IS MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT SHOWING YOU HOW I MAKE MY SOAPS.

Ok lets start. Where do I start? I start by collecting all the things I need to begin my soap making quest.

I need my:

Oils, sodium hydroxide, goggles, apron, gloves, jacket (to protect my arms from splatter), scale, pitcher, thermometers, color that will be used (if any), other ingredients (if any is needed),fragrance, plastic liner for mold and the mold. Ok did I leave anything out? Yes and my hand blender. I know you are probably saying to yourself OMG that is a lot of stuff. It takes me approx. 20-30 to get all this gathered up and prepared. Of course this can be done the night before but I never do. LOL. I also have a check list on my fridge to make sure I have everything. I get great exercise going up and down the stairs when I forget something. :-)

Ok step one for me:

I put my goggles, rubber gloves, apron and jacket on first


1. I measure how much sodium hydroxide that will be needed in the recipe and this info is in my base recipe which I have already calculated from a lye calculator.

2. Get the plastic pitcher and measure water that will be used in the recipe. I use distilled water 99% of the time and if I don't I use spring water.

Now once these are all weighed correctly on my scale, I then (CAREFULLY) add the sodium hydroxide to the water. NEVER the other way around because it can cause a eruption. Ok YES this still scares the HELL out of me when I do this. It never goes away no matter how many times I mix this concoction. Then I mix it under my exhaust fan so I don't inhale the fumes. Yes there is a lot of fumes if you are not careful. And yes I have inhaled some of the fumes before and that wasn't fun either but you learn from your mistakes. Some people do it outside but during the winter months, its very cold out. So I found a better way to inhale the fumes and thats under my exhaust fan on my stove.

3. Once the mixture is mixed well, and the fumes have subsided, I then put it in a cold bath to cool it down. At this point the container is very hot!


Ok what do I do next?


Ok while the lye solution is cooling down, I start weighing my oils (amount of oils is in the recipe). I always start with the solid oils since they take longer to melt down. This is 76 degree coconut. oil. It is hard at room temperature so I melt this down first along with any other solid oils that will be used.


This is Palm oil that I use a lot in my recipes. I love using as it adds lather to the soap.


Ok this is all the solid oils melting down.





Now I measure the liquid oils and add it to the solid oils that have melted down. I have to keep the heat very low so it doesn't get too hot. I use the thermometer to check to see how hot the oil is. I usually want it at 100-110 degrees.


Ok now lets go check on the Lye solution. Right at this point which has only been a few minutes, the lye solution is still pretty hot. I want it down to 100-110 degrees. I add more cold water to the sink and start to stir, the solution is beginning to cool down.



Ok now we are at the point where we have both the oils and lye solution at the right temps and we are ready to add the lye solution to the melted oils. So exciting! The start of creating your very own soap



Once the lye solution and oils have been mixed together. We start to blend using a hand held mixer. I bought this mixer at a thrift store long time ago in perfect condition. Never thought I would be using in to make soap with. LMAO



Now after a few pulses and at a very light trace, I start to add in my fragrance oils or essential oils. I may separate the oils into separate containers if I am adding more than 1 color. This is where the creative part comes into play. After that is added I pulse the soap to get to trace. This is when the soap gets to a custard consistency, but being careful not to over mix the soap.

Here is what the soap batch looks like when I got it into the mold and after all the colors were added and other ingredients added. I have to say my swirling techniques have improve. Sorry I don't have photos me adding the fragrance and other ingredients, I was trying to concentrate on getting this done quickly and into the mold. Sometimes the soaps starts to get a little warm and very thick if I am taking my sweet time. LOL I am not very creative in the looks of my soaps but it will improve in time.

This was suppose to be Jasmine Rose but the fragrance oil smells more of Rose than the Jasmine and Rose together. I hate when that happens. My Coconut LIme Verbena smells more of lime then the mixture. And here is the soap after 18 hours. This will feel like soft mozzerella cheese but a little sticky. I cut them and left to dry on a drying rack for 4 weeks. This to get rid of excess water and the bars can harden.

Thank you for taking the time to see how my soaps are made. This is all new for me and never shown photos of me making my soaps. I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial.

~Michelle

Just Because They Say It's Natural Doesn't Mean It Is


I don't profess to be the soap expert or a Miss Know it all but I am a soap maker and we as soap makers make our soaps so differently from each other. I do a lot of research into ingredients and in no way can someone who buys ready made soap claim their soaps are all natural. I see all the time where a soap says "All Natural Soap". I can't even make that claim on some of my very own soaps due to the fragrance oils I use in my soap. BUT I do use all natural oils and my soaps are made from scratch. That is the difference between homemade soaps and store bought or ready made soaps.

Some prefer to use the easy method which is using the Melt and Pour method. It is very easy and if you mess up you can always start over. I actually like using melt and pour. Many many sellers use this soap base but for me it is not something I would use on a regular basis.

Why you ask? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) almost all store bought soaps. While SLS is a known irritant, some evidence and research suggest that SLES can also cause irritation after extended exposure.(see wiki)

These ingredients can cause skin irritation. These ingredients are synthetic man made ingredients. I know because I did my research. You can too. Just don't take my word for it.

Handmade soaps don't always mean better or has no chemicals. It depends on what soap is being handmade. Many handmade soapers have have found the easy to use MELT AND POUR it is cheap and a great way to make and resell. SOME Melt and Pour soaps have the same ingredients as store bought soaps. I have and still use these soaps but I don't recommend using them FOR MYSELF long term. I love making them for novelty fun soaps.

Some of these Melt and pours claim to be all natural but they really aren't. Adding goats milk and herbs doesn't make it natural or chemical free. If you don't see ingredients listed on in a listing or anywhere, always ask. And soaps made using melt and pour should be stated as such or at least the ingredients from the soap base. This way here you will know if the soap is made from scratch or from a melt and pour base and you can make the decisions for yourself. I have seen many many soapers that do not state that their soaps are made from a melt and pour soap base and they aren't required to but they should at least list the ingredients so customers know what is in the. NOT SAYING ALL SELLERS ARE LIKE THIS


So in closing look for Sodium Laureth Sulfate & Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate in the ingredients. These are NOT natural ingredients and they do not make the soap NATURAL.You need to find out what are in these soaps.

So the question is, are there surfactant that are safe to use, and are skin safe, and not a detergent? YES

There is great confusion about Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacteate. I am being asked a lot about using SLS.I do NOT USE this ingredient in any of my products.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is derived from coconut and palm oils; a safe skin friendly surfactant (foaming agent) for both skin and hair. This mild plant derived surfactant creates a rich, luxurious lather that effectively removes suface oil, dirt and bacteria, without stripping or drying sensitive skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is also hydrophillic, This meas it is attracted to water, which enables it to dissolve more readily in water. thus providing superior rinseablility.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate are SYNTHETIC cleansing agents that are small molecule ingredients. The are capable of penetrating the skin, which can increase the occurrence of skin irritation.

Sodium Lauryl Lactylate derives from coconut

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinateis derived from palm kernel and sugar, a safe, skin friendly cleanser for both skin and hair that effectively removes surface oil, dirt and bacteria, without stripping or drying sensitive skin.

I would like to clear something up so there is no confusion on anyone who reads this post. I am not one to put other soapers down for using Melt and Pour. I use it myself which seems that some people keep missing. This method of soap making is the not the CHOICE FOR ME and not saying that ALL melt and pour soaps are the same. In MY experience when I started my business I myself have used it but have notice that my skin wasn't improving from using it long term as I had severe dry skin. I bought from many many suppliers and have not notice much of a change. The melt and pour soaps that I have run across have these harsh ingredients. If a soaper using fragrance oils to scent their soaps, then they are not 100% natural as fragrance oils are not natural as essential oils are. So I don't want anyone who makes soaps with melt and pour soap base feel as though they are being bashed for using it. Times have change and melt and pour suppliers have change over the years to make them better without all the harsh chemicals. Just read the ingredients

I just want uneducated customers that don't know much about soap making know the difference and read ingredients when buying soap and know the difference between melt and pour and soaps made from scratch based on ingredients that are listed so no one will assume that the soaps they see are made from scratch.



~Michelle

A Warm Thank You


I want to say Thank You to all the wonderful Esty Sellers that I have featured on my blog. It has been so much fun. I hoped that being on my blog has generated some views and or some sales for you. I will definitely continue featuring shops from Etsy. I love meeting these sellers and seeing what they are all about and how they got started. Much thanks and cheers to you and your Etsy shops.

~Michelle

Monday, April 7, 2008

NEW FEATURED ETSY SELLER

Why yes I have stumbled upon another great Etsy seller. Who is it this week? The shop is called Designtalentedone I saw some really unique items in this shop that you must stop by and check out. Here are my 3 item picks from their shop.

I like to call this the snake light!!Or a beautiful sculpture that you yourself can create!,,,How cool is that? Imagine what you can do with this type of light. You can bend it in any shape or form. Use it for soft lighting at parties, a night light, a light to display hanging jewelry on. Use your imagination here, what fun can you have with this light?? You can wrap it around things and you can move the fabric back and forth to be thicker in one area or thinner allowing more light, it's yours to design.

The Snake light/sculpture light is made by a parallel serial grouping of micro bulb, they are protected by pvc envelope. Power supply 120 volts. On and off switch. Length 3 feet and 8 inches, cord is 3 feet 9 inches. First plug it in when you get it, let it warm up for a few minutes then unplug it and bend it in any form you want. Don't bend when plugged in and not for child use. The fabric casing is gold silk and edged off in dark green thread to give it definition. The light part is waterproof for outdoor use, but watch cord and switch, keep protected if rain. Life span 15,000 hours depending on use.

Well, ceramic class is a blast and here is my finished product. I'm so proud of my little orbs that even if they don't sell, my stars how beautiful they will look in my Italy, wine and grapes decor kitchen! Perhaps you can put them in a basket or put them on candle holders, or a beautiful bowl. Perhaps you can mix them in with other orbs. These hand poured into mold little orbs are wonderful. They have been painted and glazed for a beautiful colorful finish. The are sold in a set of 3, the listed price is for that 3 as a set. There is dark burgundy grapes, yellow grapes and pink rosey grapes. Please convo me with which color set you would like to purchase. The size of them is with tape measure going around 13" and I would say they are approximately 4 1/2" sized spheres.

This necktie purse has a black leather bottom for durability and a black leather grip on handle. The handle is hard plastic covered with the end of the tie. There are 2 snap closures. Colors would go great with blue jeans and they are yellow, blue and browns. Black silk flower attached to handle. I wanted this to have a feminine shape sort of like a corset and I think I have achieved that. I have supported sides with fabric covered plastic binding that would be in a corset. This is a very fun unique statement to add to your wardrobe.

Such great items in this lovely Etsy Shop. Want to know more about the shop? Here is some info from Designtalentedone.


Hello, My name is Lashell and I am glad to be here with all the wonderful creative people on Etsy. I love to promote handmade instead of mass production because handmade means items of the heart. My first hand creation was growing a vegetable garden. My brother and I, 7 and 9 years old filled our red wagon and traveled the city blocks selling fresh vegetables. They would wait for us each weekend and we made them smile. Then, father made knitting needles out of coat hangers and mother sat with me to make egg warmers and they made people smile too. I started to learn at 7 I could make people happy by what I create. Then, Mother gave the foot treadle sewing machine to me and I made Barbie doll Clothes. By high school I was working with clay, sculpture, design, and getting straight A’s. Graduating, growing, sharing from my heart anything that felt good to make, that made people smile and be happy. From that I got a strong wellness from passions in the heart and sharing them. I realized creating made me happy and well in being.

I am one to be different in a wonderful way. A way that makes people smile. I will be bold in color sometimes and then soft and suttle, here at Etsy you have my personality of variety. I am more of a perfectionist, and can be hard on myself at times. Just rip it apart and start it again, for this creation has to be right and make someone happy. There is something for everyone with all that I create because my mind cannot stand still. It cannot do one thing over and over, it has to blossom and give change and take chance to be bold, outstanding and unique. Through this positive thinking that I have aquired I have become a unique person and it shows in my work. I want to bring you up close and personal to my items by looking at them, purchasing them and adoring them. By doing this you have the heart of a friend in your hands. It is part of me in someones life and I thank you. I think when your heart is big, your passion is big, so it shall be in your work.

I call myself the zsa zsa of creation sometimes whimsically
~LaShell

I want to thank Designtalentedone for allow me to feature them this week on my blog.

>>> Photos and descriptions courtesy of designtalentedone

Friday, April 4, 2008

What Kind of Thinker am I?

I think this is pretty accurate description of myself. Try it for yourself at the link below. :-)




Your Thinking is Abstract and Random



You are flexible, adaptable, and creative.

There's many ways that you can learn - and you're up for any of them.



You relate well to other people, and you do well working in groups.

You can help people communicate together and work with each other's strengths.



You don't work well with people who are competitive or adversarial.

You prefer to work toward a common goal... not toward conflicting goals.