Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy National Crafting Month!

It's March 1st, the second anniversary of this blog and National Crafting Month! I think I'll celebrate with some homemade ice cream topped with our homemade strawberry sauce and homemade caramel sauce (and a heaping dose of Lactaid Ultra!).

A lot of people write to me asking about my motivation in writing this blog every day. As you know, I don't have a business and the only money I solicit are for donations to my youth group (and I only started doing that when we ran out of grant and community funds). So why would I spend hours every week experimenting and writing this blog?

It's my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much - a love of chemistry, a passion for making my own products, and the joy of being more self-sufficient. If it hadn't been for the generosity of people on the Dish and on various groups on Yahoo, I'd have had no idea I could make lotions and hair care products and everything else!

I remember when I saw my first lotion recipe. I can make that at home? And I can make shampoo? What else can I make? (This is the way addiction begins, kids!) I dropped of chemistry 11 when I was 15 because I worried I wouldn't get an A: Now I wear T-shirts with molecules and have pink vinyl atoms on my MacBook and my car! I can't start to count the ways this craft has made my life more interesting!

Even information on my suppliers came from the generosity of others. I was supposed to meet Mary from Well Naturally to pick up my order and she didn't show up (which isn't a surprise considering all the things that happened to other customers after that). I went to my local scrapbooking shop and was obviously very annoyed about not having supplies for that week's class. The clerk told me about Voyageur Soap & Candle, which was just down the street. Yay! Finally, a reliable supplier. Then I heard about Aquarius and Soapcraft and Otion/Brambleberry and more!

So what's the point of this story, other than the fact that I like stories? I'm asking you to take a bit of time during National Crafting Month to share your love of crafting with someone else!

I have no doubt that every single person who reads this blog learned about the possibility of making your own products through a friend, someone's blog, a forum post, a Yahoo group, a newsgroup, a supplier's newsletter, a book from the library, or some other free method. Even if your first recipes came from a class, you learned how to find good, free recipes from the Intertron. I'm asking you to share those recipes, those links, those suppliers, and your experiences on your own blog, on this blog, in forums, and on web sites.

No one is an island. Every one of us has perfected our favourite recipes with the help of others, whether it was a direct collaboration or a stray comment someone made about an ingredient. I know some people guard their recipes for various reasons, but there has to be one recipe you can share with the world and turn someone else on to this amazing craft! (And think about how you learned how to make that product. Did someone somewhere share that information with you?)

I'm asking you to share what you've learned, even if you think you're a newbie with nothing to contribute. Believe me, everyone has something they've learned along the way that they can share with someone else! If you can, hold a class, invite a friend into your workshop, share a product you love and that recipe with someone you like.

If you aren't comfortable offering information or advice on cosmetic chemistry, then share your love of sewing, stencilling, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, card making, and so on. Share your love of jewellery making or polymer clay. Let other people know the joys of cooking, baking, making ice cream, grilling, and anything else that you love. Turn someone on to the concept of making something new!

So make a commitment this month to create a new thread on a forum, write a blog post, comment on something on this blog, or share the joys of your favourite craft with someone who will enjoy it. Put together a kit of starter materials so someone else can dive right in and get started. Donate to a local group - money or supplies - or volunteer with a local kids', youth, adult, or seniors' group or school and teach them something new! In short, use this month to increase your knowledge by sharing it with others!

Just think about what we could learn if we all shared one thought this month! It would be amazing! So please, speak up on this blog. The more information you contribute, the more information we can share with others!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday :)


sfs said...

Hi Susan,
I want you to know that you have inspired me to share what I have learned from you and others on the 'net. I am teaching a "cosmetic chemistry" class after school at my local school. We started with anhydrous butters and balms and will culminate with making lotion. I originally started it to get more girls interested in chemistry/science. I was somewhat startled to find more boys than girls show up! I had to do some quick modification of my curriculum, (lip balm instead of gloss, etc) but it is going very well.
Thank you!

Tara said...

I have to re-iterate how much I love your blog. Thank you for your generous research, time in answering questions and great recipes for home crafters!

Abby said...

Hi Susan,
This is Abby, your new convert who can not do math/arithmetic!. I am new to lotion-making and wish that I have a Recipe to share. Just to say congratulations and well done on the second anniversary. I enjoy your daily posts, and look forward to writing something worthwhile pretty soon!

Pam said...

Hi Susan,

You inspire me as well.

I am a question asker from the day I was born. Your endless patience with my questions has removed the barriers that would normally prevent me from moving forward. I remain motivated to continue experimenting and learning how to make body products that I can share with others.

I am working on developing an excel spreadsheet (working on the computer is my first joy)that takes the various products, categorizes them by the three phases, and provides other information that is helpful when I am creating my products(too much to go into now). Anyway, once I feel comfortable with it, I will send it along to you. If you can use it or wish to share with others I would be honored.

In closing, I want to thank you again for all that you do. There aren't many people like you and I am so lucky to have crossed your path. Pam

Abby said...

Hi Pam,
If you do not mind, I shall look foward to the spreadsheet when it is ready. Not because I am lazy but because I am simply hopeless with numbers (they scare me!). And thanks again to Susan for all your hard work.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate them! I'm blushing!

Hi sfs! That's fantastic! I'm getting tons of boys to my groups, and it's such a joy to see them having fun making things! (And as the boys in my groups say, they have girlfriends and mothers who like to get presents!) If there's anything I can do to support your groups - hand outs, recipes, lists of supplies, and so on - let me know! It's so great to know that you are able to share what you know with those kids! That's what this is all about!

Hi Abby! Stop saying you can't do math! It might be that you haven't got the right tools to do math right now, but you can learn them. Don't be scared of numbers - they aren't scared of you, and in fact, it might turn out you have a great relationship with them! I always thought I sucked at math, but it turned out I wasn't in the right frame of mind to learn it. Once I got over my fear and my stress about it, I'm feeling much more comfortable with things like trig!

Hi Pam. I look forward to seeing the spreadsheet. I've tried making one up, but I get frustrated by Excel at times.