The Story Behind The Christmas & Winter Soaps
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
As I was creating the Christmas line of soaps, remembering the comforting scents of New Mexico (where I am from) and childhood... soaps and mom and such. I thought I'd write a small update about life, and fill you in on the story behind my favorite scent for the colder months. It's one that comes every single year in some form, it is my favorite and it's rooted in my childhood. Anyhoo...life, and then soapy talk.
Myy dear Clyde has passed away, he died at the end of August. One year after his beloved Jetzskis passed. And now, Bailey has Broken Heart Syndrome. As I enter the holiday season with another kindred spirit gone from my life, I strive to make each day as good as it can be for Bailey. Can I just say how blessed I am in this life to have two of the best vetrinarians ever on this earth in my life? They are kind to me, but they love my dogs and do the best thing for my dogs every single time. I am amazed with their kindess, their giving hearts and array of knowledge and know how. My hat goes off to my vets.
I think this is why I'm so open about my dogs, I don't hide them from my customers. I want you to know and love the mouths you help feed and the souls you save. You are part of the circle of life and love in this house. Yes they are kept separate and not allowed in certain areas of my workspace. But they are the reason I get up each day, and I want you to know them and love them.
Eight weeks before Clyde passed, we made an addition. We adopted a dog who we'd known about for the better part of a year. We were not ready when we were told about her, and she was not ready for us... fast forward to the past summer and we decided we were ready for youth and silliness again in the home. We adopted Sasha, who lived every moment for Clyde. The most uncanny things happened...and she only knew him for about 8 weeks. She spent every single day licking his face and annoying him, making us laugh and being her silly self. I have grown to love her and I can say 100% that I'm glad she's here. I tell her just that every single day.
Alas, that's the life things happening. This is about the scent of the soaps.
My mom is a soap maker, I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I know making soap as well as I know baking cookies. Mom taught me the cold process method in my youth, and so I grew up using her soap, making it as I was older and now here we are. Mom still makes soap in my hometown, when I learned the hot process method I had the chance to teach my teacher, my mom, and it was a surreal experience for me. Now, we both use these methods to create our soap.
Growing up in New Mexico, the winters had a very distinct scent. So many traditions...New Mexico is rich with history, traditions and culture. It's one of the most beautiful places, if you ever get a chance to experience it, I highly recommend the state. New Mexico is arid desert land, part of the southwest. In the winter the nights are brutally cold, sometimes down into teens and single digits. Each year there is a chance for a White Christmas, not a huge chance, but a chance. Snow does come each winter, light fluffy snow that doesn't stay on the ground for weeks...rather it graces the desert floor in sparkling white for a few days and dissapears leaving everyone hoping for more.
The traditions mixed with the native plant life are what give New Mexico the most distinct and wonderful smell on winter nights. Fireplaces are lit, and in New Mexico those include what we always called kivas, small outdoor pieces called chimeneas and of course on Christmas Eve the town was softly lit with thousands of farolitos a.k.a. luminarias. We'd do a walk to see them after setting up our own, or do a drive to see the luminarias around the town. It became tradition on tradition, set up luminarias and then head out to see others. We were always so happy when the entire street did it...it was a sight to behold. These are the things that make childhood memories so sweet.
The smell- the crisp cold winter night with a hint of hope for snow mixed with the various forms of chimneys going around town, and frozen plant life with hardy evergreen shrubs and trees - THAT is the smell of home for me. Mom used this fragrance...this beautiful smoky scent that smelled so much like that winter night smell... it was my favorite soap every year. It was never made in June, only in the winter, and I looked forward to it each season.
That very same company (the same man still owns the company, it's rad and rare for a man to be in the soap world) still makes this amazing scent that's been in my life for more than 25 years. When I order I get an email or a phone call from him, and a bottle of home arrives in the mail. It is indeed a smoky scent, and it remains my absolute favorite to work with. This is the only time I'll keep a whole bar back for myself, as a gift during the holiday season to myself, a hug in the shower in the form of this scented soap.
This year you'll find it again, as a lump of coal using my two favorite things - sea salt and charcoal. All of the salt soaps are silky smooth, and will remain so from here on out. Charcoal is a gentle delight on the skin, and what can I say, black bars of soap are stunning. They remain my favorite each time I do them. So you'll find the Fireplace Coal soap this year, scented with just that smoky goodness, made with sea salt and charcoal.
The second bar created with a hint of smoke is Winter Woods. I did my best to blend what I think smells like New Mexico winter nights... a soft blend of fir needle, crisp pine and woodsmoke. Making these two bars was just wonderful...I thought of mom. I remembered growing up in The Land of Enchantment. I thought of Clyde and my dogs who aren't here this year. I thought about Doug and his kindess every time I order his scents. I thought about how happy I was to still be making soap, on any level. I wondered what life will look like next year at this time, I hope it will be very different. But most of all, I made this soap. And I smiled.
Enjoy some photos...I've never seen a dog smile when meeting Mr and Mrs Claus...but Clyde was SO happy to meet them, this is one of my favorite photos of him. Two seconds later Bailey began to sing and had a little Snoopy cartoon mouth... I'll never forget us laughing so hard at these dogs. And a huge shout out to my BFF Brya, the dude in the orange tree with me, and holding the gold tree. He's gone through hell and back with me for more than a decade...I love him and appreciate him beyond measure. He is a true life long friend.
People ask me what my favorite soaps are... I'll always answer the smoky soap. This year, hands down, these two are at the top of my list.