Friday, February 28, 2014

Some updates on the blog!

Thanks for your feedback in the What interests you? and Still collecting your thoughts posts! (Keep it coming!) You've given me so much to try out and research - it's so freakin' exciting!!! I hope I didn't scare any of you by saying I wasn't inspired, but I guess I was getting a little tired of the same old, same old and needed to take a break to think about where the blog was going next.

I should give you a little context. It felt like most of my mail or comments were questions that had been addressed in the FAQ, newbie, or other section of the blog, and I was starting to feel that the only value I had was to write about the same few topics over and over again, which is less exciting than it sounds. Don't get me wrong! I love writing the newbie series and I love the more advanced stuff, but if one more person asks me to create a conditioner recipe for them because they can't find them on the blog, I might just delete the entire hair care section because no one is using it! (Kidding!)

On top of this, I'm being inundated by spammers. If I receive 10 comments on the blog, 8 of them are spam from some growth hormone company or something similarly irritating. I know this is the problem with having a blog - I had a website for years that had to shut down the forum and comments because of the spam and pornographic images, so I'm not a newb at this whole thing - but it's pretty irritating. I don't to remove the ability to post anonymously because some of my most prolific and interesting commenters do it as anonymous, but it is starting to look like the only option.

So picture me checking my mail, all excited to see what might arrive, only to see message after message from "anonymous" about improving the length of things or reducing the girth of other things or being asked for the third time how to make a lotion when there are links all over the blog to that topic.  Couple all of this with yet another cold and some ongoing stomach problems - most likely a medication related ulcer - and you have the recipe for a grumpy Swift! I've always said that I'll write the blog as long as I'm having fun, and the fun was draining out of this experience. Hitting the "spam" button for half an hour a day isn't my idea of a party, and I had to find the spark again, to find the fun in this experience.

Which leads me to your comments! I'm so excited about your feedback! It shows that there is some value in this blog beyond repeating the process of making a lotion or telling people that beeswax isn't an emulsifer. Your lovely comments show me that you're curious about how our products work, how they can be created, and how to make things in your own workshop. I want to hear from you! I want to hear about your successes and failures. I want to see pictures of your products. I want to hear what you're thinking and what you're making. I want you to tell me when I'm wrong. I want to know you're making amazing products with the recipes I create. I want to know your tweaks or changes. I want to have loads of interaction with you, my wonderful readers, because that really is the only reason for doing all of this!

But please understand that I don't have time to create something from scratch for you. (I've created so many recipes I can't even count them, so the odds are pretty great I've got what you want! If I haven't, you should be able to find the information you need to make the product...except for cold process soap. I still haven't made that!) I don't have time to make a recipe up for your business that you want to use to make money. If it's on the blog and easy to find - for instance, it's in the newbie or FAQ sections - I won't answer your question. (Sending it to me two or three times only means you're going to the end of the pile of stuff I have to wade through because it really feels like you're tugging on my sleeve demanding attention and that's really irritating.) Please understand I only have so much time for the blog, and it seems like I spend most of that time hitting the "spam" button when I read comments or answering questions that have been asked and answered many many times and would be easy to find with a quick search or visit to one of the sections. I know it's frustrating I won't answer your question, but the ten minutes I spend on your e-mail is ten minutes during which I'm not researching or writing.

The point of this blog is to teach you how to fish, not to hand them out willy nilly. I've left you bread crumbs all over this blog to help you find what you want - I've created labels, I've created sections, I've added two search bars - and it's up to you to wander down that trail to see where it leads. This isn't a hobby for sissies! Failure to engage your curiosity will have you making epic failures or boring products with boring ingredients. A search for one thing will often lead to another path opening as you learn about some awesome ingredient or fun new recipe. In short, me handing you information isn't fun for me and teaches you nothing, so let's put an end to it. I want to hear from you, but I'd like to know you've tried to look for things on your own first!

Thanks for listening to my rant! I'm starting on your comments on Sunday and will be working through them. Please note, I'm working through them as I have time, so please don't be offended if you were the first commenter but you see someone else's comment being answered first. Some of what you want to know requires me to order supplies, get into the workshop, send samples to my testers, and wait. Other things require a lot of research and time, while others are quickly answered. I will do my very best to get to each and every comment written as my time permits. Like I said, I think I have enough for a year's worth of posts! Thank you!


Sherry said...

Hi Susan, I can completely understand where you're coming from. Sometimes I feel a little shy about asking questions even after I scour your blog because sometimes I'll even come across it by chance another day. I always feel bad because I imagine you finding my email one day and doing the whole Darth Vader "noooooo" thing as you reach for the sky. "Not another one!"

Funny story: When my boyfriend's mom and I were chatting about making body care recipes, I said "there's this one blog I love that makes these great posts, and they're so packed with information and she links to a lot of sources for being informed and checking research on ingredients, etc" and she immediately said "oh you mean that science monkey blog?" :P I'm glad your blog seems to be reaching those who are really interested in learning more about making/crafting things at home.

Anonymous said...

Hello Susan (I know you probably hear this all of the time but I love your blog and just wanted to reiterate how helpful and informative it is!) I have recently started dabbling in making my own skincare products and although I am still a novice I am thoroughly enjoying myself and hope to start my own skincare line one day.....anyway back to ideas for your upcoming posts. We all know vitamin C is good for our skin and we all know vitamin A is good for our skin but I have read so many conflicting stories online about not being able to use these two ingredients together? for example if I wanted to make a vitamin C product to go on my skin first and then a vitamin A product to go on my skin after - can I do this? or will I be doing more harm than good? my second query is also vitamin C related - is it possible to include vitamin C in an oil only formula? or it only a water soluble ingredient? (apologies if these questions have come up before but it taking me some time to get through the vast amount of information on your blog :)
Many Thanks in advance if you read this and respond. Enjoy the rest of your day!
Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

Oh you are so right Susan, spams should be sent to the death roll locked away forever. And you are so right about how much we can find in this blog, and you categorized them very well, who couldn't find a conditioner, lotion and so on. I have experimented and commented about lotionpro 164 or so. Hope you feel better soon.

Tracy said...

Well, I'm a total nube, but I've learned an absolute ton from you. Thank you.

I expect there's a lot of us here, wearing out the little search box at the top of the page, not askng questions (yet) and not saying hello or thank you or "why can't I use grapeseed oil to preserve Christmas leftovers? It would save me all that cooking next year!." (Or whatever other magic preservative we can think of, for whatever it is we want to preserve.)

Please think of us when you're wearing out the spam button. There's real people visiting too, and appreciating you quietly.

Buy fresh! said...

Hi Susan - please know that your blog is endlessly helpful to us all. Almost every time I google a question I have about a certain product, process, or anything, I somehow end up at your blog. I learned a lot about creating by buying some of your manuals off the Lotion Crafter website. Maybe you should refer people who keep asking for formulations to that website as the ebook's will answer most of their questions. You are one of the few people who is giving all this information out for free in the first place! I can see how the spam can be frustrating but know that there are a lot of us out there reading and searching for the information that you provide. My main business is soaps and candles but I love toying with lip products and lotions. The testing phase is sometimes the most enjoyable part of what I do. Thanks again! Shelley

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your blog. I just found it yesterday and so appreciate your time and efforts. I even turned my brother on to it because I knew he would enjoy your enthusiasm with the chemistry side and he and I are starting to tinker with balms and lotions. I hope the fun and interest continues for you. Thank you again. Elizaabeth