Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from the SAFE team!

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, God Jul, Nollaig Shona, Feliz Natal, Mutlu Noeller.

Christmas is universal. For many Christmas is deeply religious. For others Christmas is all about presents.

Do you have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree or a huge 9 footer with all the trimmings? Do you spend time at a local shelter feeding the homeless or are you the one doing the family baking? Do you read to the children who are stuck in the hospital during the holidays? Do you go skiing or have a neighborhood snowman build-off? Are you like the kids and LOVE presents more than anything? Do you love being the one who does most of the spoiling?

Anhoki asked the SAFEteam to tell their Christmas story with soap...and this is what they came up with!

...is my interpretation of our family Christmas in a bar of soap. Christmas, for us, begins the day after Thanksgiving.... when everyone is out fighting the crowds for the BEST deal on whatever it is they are looking for. While everyone else is fighting the crowds I am putting up our Christmas tree. Christmas music fills the room and the furkids are dancing across the floor to avoid the Christmas lights as we string them on the tree. The kids...well they want lights in their rooms, want to know where the snow is, and want to know if THIS is the year they can go ice skating. It doesn't snow here anymore...just ice..and everywhere. Eggnog, warm and fuzzy slippers and laughter is all we need. We love driving all over to look at Christmas lights. There is a live nativity scene at a local church that is just breath-taking. With all the animals and people dressed just as they were in the beginning. It's beautiful. Christmas morning is wild. Opening presents at home before heading to my grandparent's house for breakfast. The WHOLE family is there. Parking is a nightmare and IF we're lucky...there's ice on the roads. Remember...it doesn't snow here until AFTER Christmas. A HUGE breakfast for everyone before we open gifts and then set around and watch football....or fall asleep..whichever comes first. It's awesome. Anhoki's Hillbillie Christmas is a down home, warm and festive, hillbilly blend of sweet fruits, spices, woods and a tiny touch of floral. This is one of the most unique blends I've ever come across and it is very much a favorite. It definitely speaks the holidays to me.

For our family, Christmas is a deeply spiritual time. It is the culmination of 40 days of fasting and preparation, and while the feast and the presents and the tree are all a big part of what we do, it all centers on the Nativity of Christ.

I thought a long time about how to translate that into a bar of soap. What I finally realized, in the end, is that you just can’t. It’s too big, and too special, and above all too holy. So after a lot of thought, what I tried to do was capture that feeling of peace and joy we have late Christmas morning when we’re all dead tired from being at church until the wee hours the night before, but we’re all too excited to sleep. The stockings have been opened and Mom, Dad and Grandma are drinking strong coffee while the kids play with their stocking stuffers and munch on chocolate – the one amazing day a year when chocolate in the morning is OK with Mom! The Christmas carols are playing in the background, especially the one Irish Christmas CD that for our kids means Christmas is finally here. The lights on the Christmas tree have to compete with the colors of dawn over the lake … it won’t get light until almost 11 am on Christmas Day, and the colors in the sky, reflected and sparkling off the icy lake, are tough to beat. We will all look over at Dad in his chair and remember the one lonely Christmas a few years back, when Dad was in Afghanistan and everyone tried to be cheerful anyway, and every now and then someone will run over and give Daddy a big hug just because.

I used the traditional Christmas colors of red and green on my soap because our family cherishes the old fashioned Christmas customs that we bring back every year – the Advent Wreath, the tree, and of course the presents. But the top layer is snow white, symbolizing the purity of the Christ child for whom the day is celebrated, with the glittery gold Star at the top of the bar. We at Swan Mountain Soaps wish you and yours much Joy this Christmas season!

Decking the halls and trimming the tree is one of my beloved holiday events. When the challenge came across from the SAFETeam to express a holiday tradition in a soap, I knew exactly what I was do. I have hundreds of ornaments that I have collected since before I could talk. Santa's, elves, cookies, animals and more, all shapes, sizes and colors, I pull them out every year and as a family we get to work decorating the tree so that it will twinkle and glow for Santa.

This soap is all cold process soap. Made in many stages, the centerpiece is the Christmas tree filled with bits of soapy lights. That tree was one whole 18 inch log carved into the tree shape, so each and every bar is unique, just like real trees. Of course, no tree is complete without presents, so several presents surround the tree. Set against a sky blue backdrop, wisps of white snow fill the sky, while the top of the bar boasts more sparkly mica snow, and a bit of gold mica adds the star to the festive tree. The soap boasts the scents of Christmas also, holly, cinnamon, orange, and mint form a soft scent that makes you swear you are at a holiday gathering.

Evergreens & Holly by Beyond the Picket Fence

A walk throught the forest on a crisp cool day....That is the inspiration for this soap. It brings me back to cutting down Christmas trees with my parents. Hours and hours spent in the woods picking the PERFECT tree. What kind of tree to get? How big? My sister and I would both pick our favorite tree and stand next to it. Claim it as our own and give nasty looks to any passer-by (MINE!) Dad would continue to search until it really was just too cold out. Then back-and-forth...who's tree would win?

I always held the tree while my dad cut the trunk. And then we would carry out to the car. We almost never gave it to the guy with the tractor. It was my favorite task because it left my gloves with the faint smell of sap for the rest of the winter! I would put on those gloves and take a big whiff every day!
Vote for your favorite in the poll on the sidebar!!!
While you are at it, tell us your holiday story! One of the comments will win a FREE bar of the winning soap!!! So tell us your traditions...share a recipe...tell us what you want this year!
Please leave your email or shop name so that we can find you if you win!!! Good Luck!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pamper Mom This Holiday Season

Don't worry, you can check Mom off your shopping list right now, The Safe Team members searched long and hard, and we have found the perfect gifts for you! If your mom is at home in the kitchen, one that prefers the out of doors, or a wild women complete with her own Harley, never fear, the prefect gift is right here! Just click on the links below to shart your shopping, and don't forget to browse Etsy for other Safe Team gifts!

If you love the sweet scent of vanilla paired with rich, ripe raspberries, then head over to KBShimmer where this Very Berry Vanilla soap will be sure to please. A dupe of a popular Raspberry scent found at mall Bath and Body stores, this scent is sweet, fruity, without being overpowering. Swirls of activated charcoal and raspberry sparkle and shine!

If your mom likes lotions, look no further, this soap and lotion set by Anhoki. Fleur Naturelle lotion contains shea and cocoa butters along with avocado oil, wheat protein, honey and many other awesome ingredients. The soap is made with olive, coconut, palm and canola oils along with amber, patchouli and oxide. Fleur Naturelle Set

Thistle Delight Soapworks' Luscious Whipped Sugar Scrub is a heavenly treat for the mom that wants to scruby away the stress of the day...and get soft skin! Scented with juicy grapefruit essential oil, this sugar scrub is very rich and luscious with Shea butter, cocoa butter, almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil in it. Whipped Sugar Scrub

If your Mom is a girly girl, then head over to Pink Parchment Soaps. Bellas Wedding Day Sugar Scrub is a fun pink color and is a wonderful fruity blend of cotton candy, lemon drops, caramel, raspberry jam and just a hint of musk – just perfect to take a bite out of (but please don’t). Bellas Wedding Day Sugar Scrub

If you are looking for something organic for your mom, stop by Green Spring's shop for some Face Food. Chock full of herbs, antioxidants, organic oils, and combined with organic lavender hydrosol and lavender essential oil to give it a sweet floral scent. Face Food is deeply nourishing and suitable for all skin types. Combine with the included Lavender Hydrosol for a true treat.

Full Earths, Etc. offers your mom beautiful soap full of wonderful shea butter, Shea La La soap. Experience the fresh clean scent of lavender & Geranium Essential oils, along with Shea Butter & Mango butter. A bit of luxury at an affordable price, your mom with love this soap.

The Skin You're In offers your mom a basket full of goodies. The Holiday Gift Basket includes a 4 ounce lotion, your choice of a 2 ounce Olive Cleansing Oil or 4 oz Dry Facial Masque, two soaps of your choosing, delicate single use Rose Petal Soaps, one Lip it Up Lip Balm in your choice of flavors and a very nice body powder in your choice of fragrance listed below. Also included is nice sample size bag of Coconut Milk Bath in Honey Almond, Vetiver Bay & Lime or Lavender & Vanilla. What a deal!

There is not much better then tart Pomegranate's around the holiday, but I think Blissology has found a way to better the lovey fruit. Pomegranate Shea Butter rich with the sweet fruity scent of pomegranates is the perfect gift for a mom that loves lotions. It's super moisturizing, absorbs into the skin quickly, and leaves it feeling soft, smooth, and supple.

ZoZca's Elegant Face/Body Lotion is a wonderful gift for any mom. Scent with Pink Grapefruit, Lemon, Sweet Basil, Blood Orange, Clove, Ginger and Helichrysum this great smelling lotion sinks quickly into your face and skin leaving you feeling soft and moisturized.

OK, OK, you have a really picky mom, and you don't quite see the ideal gift here. Well, don't fret, just hope on over to Etsy and search for "SAFETEAM" to find out wonderful items for everyone on your list!

Friday, November 13, 2009

SAFE Team's Holiday Gift Guides

Awesome gifts for men

Is the man on your list a geek? An outdoorsman? A gourmet? Whatever his taste, SAFEteam members have the perfect gifts for your guy!

This shower set by GarnetandMoss is available in a variety of fragrances for the sophisticated man.

Anhoki's earthy and masculine Dude soap says it all!

This Christmas, let HIM hold the remote, with BunnyBubbles' amazing soap, scented with sage and citrus.

Or, you can pamper those Hardworking Hands of his with theskinyourein's hardworking soap.

What man doesn't love a good beer now and then? From left, KBshimmer's Big Butt Shea and Cocoa Butter soap, Sammy Boy by pinkparchmentsoaps, and Oktoberfest Beer Soap by SudsNSuch.

For the soap addict - and what woman doesn't love a man like that! - burntmill's trio of 3 Soaps for $13 offers your man three awesome manly soaps. Or, two for him and one for you!

For the world traveler, nothing will please your man more than an exotic soap that will remind him of faraway places. Herbfriend's spicy Cajun Christmas soap and sudsbysarah's Montego Bay soap scented with bay rum are inspired by travel hotspots.

Shopping for an old fashioned guy? Fullearths' Grandpa's Workshop soap, upper left, combines the deep woodsy scents of patchouli and clove essential oils. Zozca's handmade shaving set, upper right, takes him right back to the good ole days before electric razors. And nothing smells better than gool, old fashioned vanilla - except perhaps this Vanilla Mocha soap by greensprings0, above.

For the outdoorsman, Thistledelight's Woodland Musk soap, left, will be pure delight. Put at least two in his stocking! The angler on your list will need at least one Fisherman's balm by SwanMountainSoaps, right, for his tackle box, and should priobably have another for his pocket as well.

For other great gifts for men, go to etsy.com and search using the tag "safeteam."
Happy shopping!

SAFE team Weekend Deals for the Holidays

This weekend some of our members are offering awesome disounts in their shops just in time for Christmas shopping!
Here are a few of them for you to check out!

Bath Buddies - http://www.bathbuddies.etsy.com/ is offering 20% off entire store, excluding shipping.

BunnyBubbles - http://www.bunnybubbles.etsy.com/ is offering a Free Surprise Gift with purchase (between 2-5 in value)

The Ivory Magnolia - http://www.theivorymagnolia.etsy,com/ and Garnet & Moss http://www.garnetandmoss.etsy.com/ will be offering 20% off any order

ZoZca -http://www.etsy.com/shop/zozca?show_panel=truewill be offering 15% off entire shop.

KB Shimmer - http://www.kbshimmer.etsy.com/ is offering 15% off entire shop

Blissology - www.blissology.etsy.com is offering 20% off all orders over $20

The Skin You're In - http://www.theskinyourein.etsy.com/ will be offering 20% off your shopping cart

Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap http://www.auntnancyssoap.etsy.com/ Buy 3 or more soaps, get another soap of your choice FREE.

Green Springs Body Works - http://www.greensprings0.etsy.com/ is offering 20% off entire shop

Pinkparchmentsoaps - http://www.pinkparchmentsoaps.ety.com/ is offering 20% off your total order

Thistle Delight Soapworks - http://www.thistledelight.etsy.com/ is offering 20% off product total

Anhoki's Place - www.Anhoki.etsy.com is giving 20% off bath and body. (Molds and stamps do not apply)

Angie's Suds 'N Such - http://www.sudsnsuch.etsy.com/ will be offering 20% off her entire shop
All sales are prior to shipping charges
Search the SAFEteam on Etsy for more great gift ideas!!
Stay tuned for MORE gift guides!
Don't stress this year...we'll do your shopping for you!