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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Creating My New Bath Products & The Walk Down Memory Lane It Stirred


I've been so busy having fun creating my special bath and aromatherapy products. I haven't had many opportunities to work on these and I am so glad that I have been able to today. It brings back many beautiful memories.

My daughter, Ashley Rose, has significant special needs, but despite these challenges she is one of the most creative people I know. I spent many years with her and her brother, Wally, creating potpourri and bath salts as gifts for family, friends, and teachers. I feel blessed to have had such creative children; they both are artists, although in very different ways.
Ashley's rendition of Sponge Bob in playdough.  She is an abstract artist.
One year, when the kids were in their teens, the local library offered a craft show for children. Although she was older than the usual participant they allowed her to sign up because she was at the same level as the other kids cognitively. We spent hours in my gardens and out in the fields picking beautiful flowers, leaves, herbs, and pods to add to her creations.

We brought in buckets and bags of our handpicked goodies. As I started to prepare them for cleaning and drying I noticed that she had picked a significant amount of wild catmint (catnip.) If you have a cat, more than likely you are aware of its strong pungent odor. I tried to very gently tell her that this was not an appropriate ingredient for potpourri. She insisted that she wanted to keep it. Since there was an entire grocery bag full I figured it was her project and who am I to tell her what to use.

We spent hours carefully stripping petals and leaves from their stems. We placed them on our drying sheets, in my oven, in my dehydrators, and anywhere else they could dry in time. We had quite a little production line going.

About a week later everything had dried and was ready to mix with the fixatives and essential oils. Ashley was very skilled with this already, so with supervision she concocted most of the entire potpourri herself. With the exception of the catnip, which I purposely set aside, not sure what I wanted to do with it.

Ashley spent many hours mixing and adding a little of this and a little of that. It is amazing but if you let kids make potpourri it always turns out beautiful. We also had time to make Bath Salts and Soaks. She loved mixing the salts with the dye and fragrance. These also always looked very professional when she was through.

After almost 10 years Ashley's Potpourri still has the light fragrance of Hyacinth and just as beautiful as when she made it.
 Ashley helped me package all of her creations with beautiful cardstock headers that had Victorian lettering brightly declaring, "Designs by Ashley Rose" with a picture of a beautiful cabbage rose and the item's description.   At the point we were almost done with all of our hard work I thought she had forgotten about her catmint. But of course she had not and she asked me where it was. I showed her the container and told her that we could sell it people that had cats. I made the header and we packaged it. She was happy but I was skeptical thinking that I would be lugging around 2-3 pounds of catnip all day.

The day of the big craft show Ashley I set up our little table and chairs. Wally helped us, but at that age he was not extremely thrilled with the whole girly process so he went to find something else to do while we peddled our wares. We set out all her wares and a sign with the prices. The prices probably were a little low but I wanted her to feel the excitement of success from a job well done and it worked. She was selling items left and right.

Pretty soon we sold the last bag of catmint. Ashley's wild catnip was the talk of the craft show. We had several people come up asking if we had more and were disappointed that they had missed out. Ashley was beaming, not only is she the most creative person I know, but she is the best sales lady I know.

Even though I am making these items for my business, the simple smell of lavender or hyacinth will bring me back to those wonderful summer days.   Back to the day when my kids were little and we were creating our handmade gifts together. It was a treasured learning experience for them but also for me and it was a good thing that I didn't get rid of that catmint.

Here are some of my newly listed items that I was able to create today without getting too nostalgic.
Lavender Bath Salts at Butterfly In The Attic http://www.etsy.com/listing/71825380/handmade-lavender-bath-salts
Almond Milk Bath by Butterfly In The Attic at http://www.etsy.com/listing/71799984/handmade-almond-milk-bath
8 oz Almond Milk Bath by Butterfly In The Attic at http://www.etsy.com/listing/71800714/handmade-almond-milk-bath
Please remember to go to: http://byhandgiveaways.blogspot.com/search/label/saturday tomorrow and vote for my Lavender Bath Salts under Butterfly In The Attic.  They will look like the Lavender Bath Salts shown above.  I want you to know how much I appreciate the time you take to visit the blog and cast your vote.

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