August 19, 2015

Sharing is Caring

No, this isn't an article on teaching your children to share their toys, but it is about how sharing can and is a form of caring for one another. What I'm talking about here is work and responsibility sharing. Perhaps not the most fun form of sharing, at least at first, but it's one of the most important ones we as parents have to teach our children.

I've made no secret about the fact we expect our girls to help out around the house. They've been putting their toys away since they were two, and they've learned how to do a couple of new things each year. It's my job as their mother and Hubby's as their father to teach them how to take care of themselves spiritually, physically, financially, and domestically. If we didn't teach them how to cook and clean for themselves along with how to read, handle mathematics in all its applications, and think critically, we'd be failing them as parents. But that in and of itself isn't what I'm getting at.

It's something I've come to realize as my "bad" joints have started getting worse and even my "good" hip and knee have started giving me trouble. Sharing the work and responsibilities involved in tending hearth and home is a powerful way to show one another how much we love and trust them.

August 4, 2015

End of Season Garden Recap

I've been fairly quiet this summer, and there are a couple of reasons for that. They also played a role in how our garden went this year, so I'll just get into that story.

We made root salad with the few radishes we got out of the garden. Mmmm...
We had a couple of really good weeks with the garden. Then Hubby and I both became horribly ill right as our late spring took a surprisingly wet turn. We'd picked solid bottomed pots because North Alabama summers tend to be hot and dry, so imagine our chagrin when this year turned out to be one of the wettest in recent memory. By the time we'd recovered enough to do anything meaningful with the garden three weeks later, half the garden had drowned. Our stakes and cages refused to stay upright, and we ended up fighting black spot and blossom end rot as a result.

July 21, 2015

Event Recap: Con Kasterborous 2015

This year's Con Kasterborous was this past weekend, and it was bigger than ever this year!

My Con Kasterborous setup for 2015.
July in Alabama is always hot, and this weekend was no exception. How all the cosplayers managed it in so many layers when outside the cooler confines of the hotel, I have no idea, but let me tell you, they were there and just as magnificent as always. Sadly, I'm kind of a chicken when it comes to asking folks for photos, and my camera gave up the ghost after overheating sometime last spring. So the only photo I have is the kinda sad set up shot above, which is the best my phone camera can muster.

Opening ceremonies was as fun and entertaining as ever. The guests were great this year and all seemed kind and charming. Unfortunately, thanks to it still being the middle of summer semester for Chris' students and his taking over the school's website and social media maintenance for the upcoming year, he was busy with grading and communicating with parents most of the weekend. So as much as both of us would have liked to take turns attending what we heard were wonderful panels, we really only got to see and hear as much as went on in the dealer's room.

We did get the chance to catch up with friends we haven't gotten to see in a long while and meet a bunch of new folks. We got a kick out of seeing all the beautiful cosplays as well as seeing Dalek Braun and R2-D2 rolling around the lobby.

There were a couple of disappointed mentions of lotions missing from our table this year. We've discontinued those and the guest sets from our usual line up. Unfortunately, the smallest possible batch of lotion makes four bottles, and the majority of the time only one or two would sell within the ten months before they became too close to their expiration dates to sell. If someone wants to order a minimum of two or three bottles, I can make a custom order for them, but otherwise the lotions just seem wasteful.

Also, discontinuing the lotions and guest sets has allowed us to keep more fragrances this year than we would have been able otherwise. My inventory closet is just a teeny tiny linen closet, so space is at a premium. The trim down freed up an entire shelf for new fragrances, meaning only one old scent had to be discontinued this year and room is still left for seasonal items and next year's line.

There is one thing I love about the new Westin location. The tables are large and sturdy, and the tablecloths provided are amazing. They don't slide around on the tables, and they provide enough friction to keep stuff from wobbling. We missed being as near the action as we were last year, but the new dealer's room was large enough that they could scoot the tables farther away from the wall than we've ever been able to before. Between that and having a parred down selection, it was a lot easier to manage the busiest times because Chris and I could slide by one another without tripping over chairs and open the cash box without knocking a shelf over.

All in all, Con Kasterborous 2015 was yet another good year, and we're looking forward to going back June 25 and 26 next year.

July 15, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Summer Reading

Today's fragrance is the last one for 2015, and it was inspired by the notion of reading on the beach during a summer vacation.

Summer Reading Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The soaps are goat milk and glycerin, and you'll find some of the things you might see at the beach in the design: sea shells, tropical flowers, the sun, glistening sand, and clear blue sky. The fragrance is a fresh and welcoming blend of sea spray, coconut, old books, orange, hyacinth, heather, and leafy greens.

This is another design which may be subject to change. My insert molds turned out to be a good deal bigger than expected and curved, so bubbling was more of a problem than anticipated. It just plain didn't come out the way I'd envisioned, and you know me, I can't leave anything alone until I've gotten it down.

July 13, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Magic Time

Here we have the last of the Doctor Who inspired fragrances for now. Magic Time was inspired by Peter Capaldi's current version of The Doctor.

Magic Time Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The soaps are goat milk and glycerin patterned to resemble the 12th Doctor's outfit, which he refers to as "looking like a magician." The fragrance is a warm blend of marine, ozone, juniper, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, fresh cut grass, orange blossoms, citrus, French lavender, and musk.

July 10, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: "No More!"

Now we're on to the incarnation of The Doctor who refused the name. Inspired by John Hurt's "War Doctor," No More is a deep but still fresh blend of sea spray, cedar wood, sandalwood, leather, amber, cashmere musk, rose, tobacco blossom, caramel, mandarin, honey, grape, peach, and plum.

"No More!" Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The soaps are made of goat milk and glycerin. The design is comprised of two marbled sections: black and gray to represent the worn leather jacket and burgundy and cream for the scarf he wears. These sections are separated by an abstract bandolier, a stark contrast that separates the War Doctor from his other twelve incarnations.

This separation is also marked by substituting sea spray for the marine and ozone that ties all the other Doctor fragrances together. It's similar, but also notedly different. And, of course, I had to include a heart note of rose considering Bad Wolf's role in his story.

July 8, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: The Clown

Today we're moving on to the last of the Classic Doctor Who inspired fragrances, The Clown, inspired by Patrick Troughton's turn as the second incarnation of The Doctor.

The Clown Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The name comes from the first incarnation's comment toward the second in The Three Doctors. "So you're my replacements; a dandy and a clown?" The soaps are made up of both goat milk and glycerin soap in black and baby blue since Troughton was the first Doctor to make the transition to color. And as he was also the first incarnation to rock a bow tie, I had to carry over the motif amidst the swirls of black and blue.

The fragrance is a light and slightly fruity blend of marine, ozone, blueberry, Indonesian teakwood, falling leaves, citrus, patchouli, amber, bergamot, and white tea.

July 6, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Doc Foreman

Those of you who have known about Contented Comfort for any length of time have probably come to expect these next few fragrance introductions. For the past three years, I've been working my way through the various incarnations of The Doctor from Doctor Who, and 2015 will bring this tradition to a close until the end of Capaldi's era.

Doc Foreman Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps

Doc Foreman was inspired by William Hartnell's iconic turn as the original version of The Doctor. The name comes from his first human companions, Ian and Barbara's, confusion regarding his name after finding the TARDIS in Foreman's Junkyard. The design was inspired by the opening graphics of the day as well as this first incarnation's rather uptight nature.

July 2, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Shinigami

Inspired by the "gods of death" from the anime series, Death Note, Shinigami manages to be both fruity and earthy.
Shinigami Goat Milk and Glycerin Soaps
The design is an apple the Shinigami are so obsessed with surrounded by swirls of smoky black, electric blue, and white. The fragrance is a blend of fresh apple, blackberry, sage, tea, cedar wood, sandalwood, leather, amber, dirt, moss, and cashmere musk.

June 30, 2015

Fragrance Introduction: Amazon D

Today's fragrance was inspired by the famous Amazonian, Diana, otherwise known as Wonder Woman. This deep, complicated, and feminine scent is a blend of lily of the valley, strawberries, grapefruit, orange blossom, citrus, lavender, white sandalwood, cedar wood, patchouli, frankincense, rosemary, and musk.

Amazon D Goat Milk and Glycerin Soap
The soaps are largely glycerin with a couple of goat milk stars inserted into the blue. This was another experimental technique born out of attempts to use molds I already had on hand. I attempted to use an insert wedged into the mold and held in place by a thin layer of clear glycerin to separate the red and blue. Unfortunately, a slice long enough to suit this purpose will push up from the bottom of a silicone mold, and any even a millimeter too small allows color leak through. Additionally, my small star molds are rounded, which led to problems with small bubbles getting trapped in the rounded portion of the stars that couldn't be seen until the soaps were removed from the molds.