Well first, I thought I'd share an image of Thanksgiving
at my sister's house yesterday. Her dining room and kitchen are open and there is a spread of appetizers behind the siblings and kids. Maryanne is in the background working on the gravy. This year my brothers, sister and I stepped into the role of oldsters, as we are in the position of being without any older relatives. It seems lucky to me that there just aren't enough kids to really gang up on us and tell us that we aren't making sense, or all the things kids do to make you feel out of touch. I figure we can go on thinking that we're "with it" forever if we can just keep the kids quiet.
So today (as I mentioned earlier) was the first official day of business for the shop at the tree farm. Here is a picture of the front of the shop where Maryanne generally does all of her torch work and soaping. At those times, it is her studio but for the next month it is known as the shop. To the right there is a large bay where her husband Bob makes pine roping and wreaths while the customers are up on the hill searching for the perfect tree. When Rob is home from college, he helps his dad. The studio is warm and cozy, and the bay where Bob works has a woodstove that takes some of the chill off. The family sheltie "Rudy" also helps out by making sure the kids all get a chance to pet him. He's a herding dog, so none of the kids get too far away from their parents, and he really gets tuckered out by the end of the day.
One of the things we've been working hard on for the last few days is gift baskets. We learned at our old herb shop that they make great gifts, and we really enjoy putting them together. Lavender and Wise Woman blend were always the most popular, so they were first. But first that required making up lotions, milk baths, and whipped shea butter, oh, and a really great sugar scrub that isn't greasy - it's creamy! All the new products require labels and tags.
Then there is a fragrance called Ginger Essence that we both fell in love with. The spritz is delicious, and we made a pile of different items in that scent for baskets. We also made some gorgeous soaps using a red mica... oh they are so nice!
We used a coffee scent for another group of baskets - something more unisex. That one includes a coffee flavored lip balm in addition to the other body care products.
Lastly is a small basket called "Scents of Christmas" with a balsam sachet, some frankincense and myrrh,and a great forest scented candle - all tied up with a spice clay ornament.
When Maryanne isn't making soap or fixing an incredible spread for the holidays, she's working on her torchwork beads and vessels. Lately she's been making some pendants that are fairies, mermaids, goddesses, and angels. It's pretty amazing stuff. I'm hoping at some point to get a few lessons in, although I can't imagine ever having the patience to get the kind of detail she gets in her pieces. I'm thinking my work would be more "organic". And just in case all the soaps, toiletries, books, jewelry, don't hit the spot, we put together a few holiday treats. Whew! We're finally ready.