My very favorite holiday tradition is making homemade soap with my kids for simple holiday gifts for family and friends.
After Thanksgiving I resurrect the kettle from the garage and dust off my well-worn soap making recipe book. I open up my special box that contains a trove of herbs and resins such as dried calendula, lavender petals, French green clay—these ingredients add texture, color or have healing properties for the skin like oatmeal. I open my apothecary case filled with little blue bottles of essential oils: peppermint, lavender, jasmine, fir needle and rosemary.
To put it mildly I know a lot about making soap.
The love of soap making began as a little kid when I would spend hours concocting special “magical” concoctions out of empty shampoo bottles and mushy soap bars. That love was reawakened after my sister gave me the simple gift of a bar of homemade soap.
In fact, the art of soap making is the muse for my new middle-grade book just released on Kindle,“Soap for Hippies.”
My novel chronicles the adventures of two sisters who find themselves at a strange commune in the Siskiyou Forest where Blaine and Celine learn (among other things) how to make soap from the strange and wondrous workshop of a mysterious character.
Through my open car window, my girls and I were taking in the sights and sounds of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of downtown Seattle.
We live in the ‘burbs so the advertisement of a local band alongside the image of a pin-up girl in tiger swag stapled to a city telephone pole was quite a sight. Also the rainbow flag festooned to a local business prompted a conversation about the origin of the rainbow flag. The neighborhood is famous for open-mindedness and artistic freedom.
Eight-year-old Amelia and her eleven-year-old sister Sophie peered out of their respective windows like excited pups: wind blowing through their hair and tails wagging as we drove past modest studio apartment buildings next to some of the city’s grandest mansions. I parallel parked our minivan beside a pale blue Vespa.
911 East Pike Street is the home of a boutique media production agency, World Famous. A vintage affair with a brick façade and a telephone coded entry that I didn’t have the number for. Luckily, Steve Manning, the publicist for World Famous and our official guide on today’s family “art for art’s sake,” thrust open the door.
The aviation businesses at Renton Municipal Airport generate about $17.4 million in economic activity in the local economy, mostly Renton.
That estimate of the airport’s economic impact on Renton’s economy comes from a draft report of a Washington state Department of Transportation study of public airports in the state.
Airport businesses either directly or indirectly support about 270 jobs, according to the report, with a payroll of about $4.8 million in Renton, according to the study.
But there’s another figure – in the billions – in that draft report that really explains the impact the Renton airport and its businesses, mainly Boeing and its 737 production, has on the regional economy.
Last Saturday night I went to a Chris Ballew concert. The next morning I experienced déjà vu as the previous night’s tunes were on continuous play in my head. But instead of the intimate 1995 show I attended at Seattle’s Crocodile Café with Chris performing from The Presidents of the United States of America. I awoke humming the Chris Ballew a.k.a Caspar Babypants version of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Instead of the song featuring millions of peaches, one of my four children, eleven-year-old Sophie was singing, “Where is my dog when he’s gone? He’s dog gone gone dog gone.” With a twang in her voice.
Searching the house for my frisky four-year-old, Patrick, I find him in front of the computer screen huddled alongside his baby brother, Ty. Their eyes glued to the YouTube “Mister Rabbit” video and Patrick closing his eyes as he raises his arms to the universe with open palms, just like Mister Rabbit in the clip.
“Yes, my friends I’m a tough little bunny!” I happily join in the harmony with Patrick as I slip on his Dino tennis shoes. “Every little soul must shiiine!”
On Nov. 8 the kids and I will be filming a cooking show demo with celebrity chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and community activist Tom Douglas … umm no pressure.
There’s an old Loretta Lynn song I sing when I need a little courage infusion.
“I was born a coal-miners daughter . . . We were poor but we had love…and that was something that Daddy made sure of.”
Now I wasn’t born a coal-miners daughter and we didn’t live in a house in Butcher Holler. But our mamma, (we’re not Southern either, but whenever you sing a Loretta Lynn song, you have to use a deep southern voice). Anyway, Momma always encouraged my sister and I to never take no for an answer and to always follow our dreams sans Loretta Lynn.
The dream I’m following right now is a kids cooking television show. And somehow singing that song from the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter” gives me courage when I’m doing laundry or washing dishes as the shoot date approaches and self doubt creeps as I’m scheduling the film crew with the Seattle Art Institute and devising intricate childcare options—I wonder do I have the chutzpa to do this dream?