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Back to Basics

As we ease into the new year.....after a somber heart yearns to go back. Back home. Back a couple years. Back when............back to basics. We have now gone through our first wildfire (two years ago) and the biggest snowstorm I've ever seen (35" in three days) and our family continues to adjust to being smaller.

My quiet. This winter has been utterly quiet. This storm has clarified what is important (sun) and solidified my feeling of simplicity. I was good for the first three days, as the snow just kept coming. Shoveling shoveling shoveling... and it turns out your shoulders have a finite number of shovel heaves in them. I was good the first three days, waking up with new strength and vigor. But day four broke me, there was nothing left, I was outta gas. When our 18 year old (yes you read that correctly) Belgian Malinois came into the kitchen and stood there staring at me, simply staring at me, I knew I wasn't alone in my solitude, my feeling isolated and feeling a wee tad of cabin fever...

I know the real snow country people will laugh, Nebraska and the Dakotas and places that have a wall when they open their front doors. But this was the most snow I've ever seen, as with the wildfire, this was mentally and emotionally HARD to get through. White walls of snow, white outs, dreary and eerily quiet. Exhausting physically and mentally. The dogs have runs they've created in the yard to navigate through snow that's higher than they are. We went through this together.

Sun, glorious sun..........I've lived in sunny Arizona for more than 20 years. I never once woke up and said "oh joy the sun is out!" - nope we have well over 300 days of blaring sun every year. We hide from it. Hats and suncreen and shades...however in this higher country we have fewer sunny days and it's been a wonderful break. Take that away for days, with what felt like no end in sight, it was taxing. I need that warm sun to hit my skin, to kiss and greet my face, to shine on the upward turned noses of my dog pack.

Alas I could go on and on, the storm has stopped. (more snow predicted for tomorrow). I am careful what I wish for. Things I've learned?

- Anything in excess weather wise is rough. Excess cold. Excess heat. Excess rain. Excess wind. Excess snow. It's scary, it's blinding, it tests your spirit and stamina. It tests your mind and physical body.

- Roof rakes are amazing and terribly satisfying to use.

- It's frightening to go to bed wondering if your roof will hold the weight of the snow while you sleep.

- There isn't enough coffee in the world to energize you when your shoulders have run out of shovel heaves.

Through all of this, my feeling of back to basics for Little Cabin Soaps shined through strong and brightly. Pondering the year ahead, where I want to take things, what direction do I want to go with the line, what's in my heart to create? I keep going back. Less is more. Simple. Basic. Uncomplicated. Elementary. And so? This is the direction Little Cabin Soaps is going for 2021. We are going Back to Basics. You'll find a collection with that title in a few months. You'll also find...

A ton of unscented options. Just because it's unscented doesn't mean it has to be boring! To this day there is nothing I love more than a good "plain" unscented bar of soap. Tomato, avocado, cucumber, pumpkin, aloe, goat milk, coconut milk, oats and honey. Colored with things like turmeric, green glay, charcoal, coffee, fruits and vegetables. These ingredients are added in for their properties AND their color. Yes you'll still find the joyous bright colors that can only come from micas, but you're going to find more botanically colored soaps.

There will be several "pairs" of soaps - a scented and unscented version. Tomato will have both versions, cucumber aloe will have both versions, turmeric and several others. This---this is what fuels me. Waking up with something that begs to be made.

Little Cabin Soaps will take some fun twists and turns this year. Gobs of unscented batches, botanical batches and essential oil blends. The things you love will not be forgotten however. New fragrances will be coming, the leather collection is already curing (wow have you been asking for leather, I am ON IT!), along with a vanilla collection (including leather and vanilla blended together). The long awaited 300ft Steve will return under a new name with a new color. A floral collection, two new facial bars, bold citrus for the summer and woodsy blends await.

Several things are set to be flagships (available year round) including eucalyptus, black pepper, leather and lime.

Inspiration has come to create some wild things too. As unsure as I was bringing watermelon seed (a rare more exotic oil) oil on board, the Miss Victoria's Lavender facial bar has been well received. Thus an Exotic Oils collection will be created in time for summer. Using the more rare and exotic oils including borage oil, cape mahogany oil, pumpkin seed oil and watermelon seed oil. It's time to have fun with lesser used ingredients, for they have beautiful benefits.

Onward we go into the year! Requests for new things have come in too, leather blends, bayberry and a blue tansy blend. These are being researched...stay tuned for what is on the horizon. And-----you've asked for Patchouli over and over and over during the past year. There is officially a Patchouli Collection now on the website, and it'll be here to stay. It will evolve with patchouli blends, and a patchouli only bar is currently curing.

To end this novel, I need to thank you. Thank you for the support through losing my sidekick, Fella. Thank you for understanding grief, that it looks and feels different for every single person. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support during that time, heading right into Christmas. Thank you for the orders that are coming in during "slow season" aka the now and the next three months. Thank you for the encouragement, the outreach, the requests and custom orders. YOU are what spurs me on, what fuels me to continue. My heart is poured into my work, because YOU inspire and use it.

And if you use the following soaps know that they are extra special because they were created during the insanity of the epic snow storm. As the snow accumulated, not letting up, higher and higher I found that I HAD to work. It is my happy place, it is my sanity, it IS WHAT I DO. During this time there are some sanity saving batches that have been created. Black pepper turmeric, eucalyptus with green clay, patchouli clove, patchouli, turmeric coconut milk, cucumber aloe lime.............anyhoo. As you can tell soap is my sanity. Perhaps there will be a Sanity Collection or two?

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Nancy Capels
Nancy Capels
Jan 28, 2021

Beautifully put by the wonderful writer you are. It has been a pandemic year of stripped down schedules, canceled activities that forced self-reflection and deeper life issues--friends that supported or left, routines that were suddenly gone-gone forever or replaced? Grief of beloved dogs and beloved people in the midst of too much turmoil already. How strong are we? What's really important? Indeed-back to basics, even with soap. There is nothing quite like a simple bar of soap in my hand,made with the process that all soap makers before me used. Everyone is different---but there are times we all crave the simple. Best wishes for your soaping year ahead. I will never stop being amazed by your creativity and dedication …

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