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Monday, April 5, 2010

Beautiful Batik!

I just spoke on the phone with the wonderful artist that painted the most amazing Batik piece I have ever seen!

I am so in love with this piece painted by Dikki Van Helsland: This is a FaceBook link to Horse Scents for Cents Rescue FB page photo HERE

I had searched all over to see if I could buy a print of this piece and I could not find any information, until I found some general text on Google with a phone number saying ask for Seis... When the other end answered, I asked for Seis... The lady didn't know anyone by that name. I told her who I was looking for and ..it was her! LOL I just started giggling like a child and I know my face turned red :)

Dikki Van Helsland, is a lovely lady and wonderful to chat with! I did not expect for *her to answer the phone. She has an amazing talent and I can't wait to see more of her work! I will be ordering a print of this painting as soon as I can! It will be 12x12 inches printed area, and I will be framing it myself. I think I will be making my own frame and maybe sculpting some decoration on it :)

Highlight of my day! Now I will have a beautiful piece of her artwork to grace my new living room walls after all the repairs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Almost Done!

Yay! Our house is almost done! I can't wait to get back home permanently!
All that is left is to do is to put the final coat on the ceiling and paint it, then to install my new beautiful carpet! I will then be working my butt off on horses! I want to at least have one piece available before BreyerFest, so the owner can show it there. This particular piece has been in progress for a long time, so I will be happy to release it for auction. There have been some really lovely customs lately too! A gorgeous Friesian by Tiffany Purdy, another gorgeous Friesian by Sue Kern, and that beautiful QH by Jen Read-Burton (Unicorn Farms). There are  a lot more out there too! Tara Louiselle is really coming along in her finish work and putting out some nice pieces, Karenetta Smith is progressing really well, and so many others! Also, if you need dog props or portraits of your best furry friend, Karla Zdroik is who to go to for awesome Dog sculptures, my goodness! I love to watch people getting better and better :)
I can't wait to see Gail Aspinwall's new one....Custom Araloosa resculpt by LerMond...oh my! I also want so badly to get a hold of Sarah Minkie's new Haffies!!! Talk about beautiful pieces! I would be overjoyed to paint a set for someone, if they do not have an artist picked out yet...hint, hint... :D I am going to try to buy a set, but the house fire has set us back so much, I am not sure if that is going to be possible.

Anyway, I will be writing more later :) Have a Great Easter!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ahhh...The Soapmaker's Gauntlet by Lora Speiser

(4-3-2010 Blog is opened back up to public)
I am sorry for having to make this a Private Blog now, but I am still being stalked and harassed. If you are reading this, you have been put on my safe list here.
The funny thing is...that the uninvited trolls can only read this for up to 30 days :) Then they will not be able to see anything because you have to be invited by me personally to read my blog :) Or maybe I should tell them about the million bar batch of soap I made last night...and...

A very crappy new year start for me.
Kind of long, but it explains what is going on right now.

I will warn anyone new to making home made soap, it is a wonderful and addicting experience, and if you are lucky, your soap will turn out well the first time like mine did. However, apparently it is a horrible, horrible thing, to be happy and excited about this as I have been told recently in a horrid forum.
I have a knack for things to come out well the first time, because I research things and I love to learn. I was happy and excited that I made my own soap! I am a terrible person for this...and um....they also told me that I came in on my high horse and I think I know everything because I made a batch of soap....that is not even a drop in the bucket of bashing I received for posting a photo of my amateur but pretty soap bars. Sounds pretty stupid doesn't it? Just wait...

Do Not join in any forum until you see what kind of people are in there....And, Be Careful in trusting your so-called "Friend" that you haven't seen in a lot of years too.
See, she will tell you the site to go to for beginners, and then accuse you in public of being slick and sweet talking to get information from her. She will pretend to "know" exactly what she is doing when making soap, even though she, herself, has not been making it for very long either! (as I found out later) It seems quite strange, that I am writing about this, but I have to let people know what is going on....and I mean the Truth, not the lies and crap that is being spread to dirty my good name.

We all know there are thousands and thousands of lovely people that make home made soaps. I have wanted to make my own for about a year or so since I had found some beautiful soaps on a handmade crafts sales site. I thought it would be really neat to know how to make it and what was involved. I had read a little bit about it and then it kind of slipped from my mind until November of 2009. So, I read here and there little by little, and then really read as much as I could for a couple weeks before I made my first batch. ...in the mean time...

I had found one of my childhood friends on Facebook and I added her to my 'friends'. We chatted on the phone and among many things we talked about, she brought up the fact that she makes home made soap. I was thrilled to find that she made soap and I wanted to order some from her. Instead, she told me she would send me some samples to see which I liked... We talked about some of the process and she explained a few things about the long curing times and things, and she told me to go to the Miller Soap site to learn about it, and that the site was good for beginners. I was really interested because I love anything crafty and gaining knowledge about being more self sufficient at the same time, I love to learn! So, I ordered a couple books on soap making and also read all kinds of information on the internet while waiting on her samples....a couple weeks went by until I received the samples in my mailbox.

Now, keep in mind here, I had never in my life seen in hand, nor ever smelled, a bar of home made soap...so I had no idea what to expect after reading all the things about how it is so much better. Well, I could smell her soap through the padded envelope! Not strong at the time, but I could smell it. (I can also walk by bathroom towels and smell if they are mildewed too...another story) anyway...I was sooo excited, I had a friend that made lovely soaps and I could not wait to open that package! When I opened it, the smell was really strong...and I am not talking a nice fragrance either, I am talking about a very strong soap smell...as strong as Zest or Coast or something, but not those scents. This smells almost chemical! It didn't smell bad, just very ..well...soapy! Each little sample was in a clear baggie and labeled with the scent and her business information etc.

I opened the "Peppermint" one first, and I could barely, I mean just barely, smell the mint. The same with the other scents...only light hints of scents because the other smell was way overpowering. So, I thought "Ok, this is what home made soap is supposed to smell like. Ok then.". I decided to wash my hands with it and try it out, so I took the goatmilk sample out and washed my hands with it. It lathered pretty nice, felt smooth, and seemed to be a nice soap... Now, since they all smelled the same(even though they are different scents)I just kind of molded them all together into one small bar with a bit of water and squeezing them together in my hands really tight.(all except the Patchouli ones, because I cannot stand that stuff...yuck. I gave those samples away)

I called her up and talked for a bit with her, and I asked her four times if I could buy two bars of soap from her, to let me know the total with shipping and I would paypal it to her. Each time she avoided my question, saying she didn't know what the shipping would be or some other crap changing the subject. So, I stopped asking about it since it seemed she did not want to sell it to me.
I had not used her soap except to try it out that one time until I talked to her that day. Since she apparently was not interested in selling any to me, I put the little bar made of samples on my kitchen sink to use and I then ordered some from a lovely lady on Ebay. I had been using my "friend's" soap for a few days, and my hands broke out in tiny red bumps that looked like a light rash or cracked sunburn and it itched a little, and they stung when I would put lotion on. I thought I just had dry skin... but when I stopped using her soap, the rash went away...hmmmmmm. Thank God I did not use it on my face or I might have gotten one of those painful chemical peels that ladies pay a lot of money for!

I made my batch, and it turned out beautiful for my first time! ..and mine had no smell either...just a little bit of a cream scent from the oatmeal and honey and goat milk. I didn't use any fragrance at all in mine.

I received the soap from the lovely Ebay lady and they are the most wonderful soaps I have ever smelled in my life! OMG, they were so delicious smelling, I just wanted to eat them! These soaps have absolutely no soapy smell to them at all! I could smell the wonderful scented essential oils and fragrance oils, but no chemical type soap smell...so now I was kind of puzzled since the two people's soaps smelled completely different.

I decided to look for information on this, so I found a forum for soap makers. I looked around in it read a few things and then joined. There are quite a few members there, but not much activity. So, I looked for more forums and found one that was very active with tons of members. The thing I should have listened to my gut about is, You had to join it to even be able to see what the forum was like. Big mistake!

In my opinion and experiences, Do not join any forum in which you are not allowed to look around in before joining it. Now I know why it is all locked. Rudeness, harassment, nastiness, personal attacks and defamation of character are condoned and even encouraged in that forum. I was repeatedly ripped apart by 6 or 7 different people in there because I posted a photo of my first soap, and I was happy and excited that it turned out well. Sadly, One of these people, was my so-called "friend". I was even told in big bold letters, that newbies "are.not.welcome.here." and also asked me if I knew how many other people they had done this to!

This and much worse went on for several pages, I do mean several. They asked me to post my recipe, so I did...one girl said that some of them would be calculating my recipe... well, I am not stupid, I had run it through 3 different calculators before making my soap to check it thoroughly. Of course, they could not say anything about it because it was right. So, that peed them off even worse because they couldn't say anything bad about it! None of them could keep up with intelligent conversation one on one, so all of them jumped on me at once picking every thing I said apart...and even made up things I didn't even say! LOL! I tried and tried to get them to at least comprehend what I kept quoting over and over, but you can't reason with a box of rocks I guess. No mods stepped in, the board owner didn't say a word to them. They just let it continue on until I was scared to open my email anymore. I had to go in and change it so I would not keep getting nasty messages.
This is the most rude, nasty, and UNPROFESSIONAL forum I have ever seen. They told me that one soap maker represents all other soap makers... No, I think not. I would never be considered one of them. I would not buy soap from anyone that continues to have anything to do with this place, ever. I would never, ever tolerate people like this in any forum I owned.
I was told to save the thread file for legal reasons after I made my last post asking nicely for them to stop posting in the thread to keep it alive, to smear my name more and more. Now, these ..um...women...yeah, that is a really nice word for them....even went as far as to stalk me outside this forum.

Now, what are these...um...women afraid of? With thousands of other people making soap, are they afraid I was going to try and take their business away from them or something? Give me a break! There is no excuse for me or anyone else being treated that way, none. I stated that I had no intention of starting a soap business, I was just going to mainly make it for family and for gifts. I would love to see them start acting like that in the Blab! LMAO! They wouldn't get even 1/4 as far. So, that is what is going on to start my new year off.

I am sickened by the rudeness and just petty childish crap that people dish out and think they are really something. I answered every question I was asked, being calm and rational even though I was being harassed and bashed repeatedly. Not too easily done when you are being torn at by so many at once and it made me physically ill from my nerves.

Oh, and to you... April, good luck. I really feel sorry for you. It must be lonely where you are.

You know, If someone emails me and asks me questions about sculpting, or painting horses..I HELP them. I do not get paranoid that they are going to take my business away. There are many, many painters and sculptors that blow me out of the water. Do I feel threatened? No, I feel inspired to make myself do better, and I still help anyone that wants to ask me for help. I love to see people I have helped do better painting or win ribbons. I think it is awesome :)

I am very sorry to anyone that I have gotten things out to late, or emails I didn't reply to quickly. I will hopefully be better now and I hope everyone has a great new year!

Lora Speiser
Hugs to all my Real Friends, the ones that care and support me, I am very lucky to have you all.