Thursday, June 30, 2011

day 41 
Do You Know the Muffin Man 
Who lives on Drury Lane?

Word has it those were his wife's recipes. She just hated to cook in that narrow gallery kitchen of theirs.

Today I made muffins for the children, not boring muffins. No. Spectacular muffins with juicy scarlet raspberries, chunks of white and milk chocolates and sweet ripe bananas. This is the sort of thing that makes grown men weep and women cry out for more. I'm just saying. That's the kind of muffins they were. No butter necessary.  ;-)

If I were a muffin, this is where I'd want to
least until you ate me.

(Work of  ETSY Artist AtelierBB 
Available Here!)
Good night,
Wanda ;-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

day 40
After Midnight, Scrabble Goes Rogue

River Girls Best Selling Card
I am studying for an upcoming Scrabble tournament being held in Bethesda Maryland.  As is usually the case when I am working with words for hours on end, the letters begin to take on a life of their own. The ingredients on juice cartoons and bags of frozen vegetables soon anagram themselves. The oranges on the counter become ONAGERS a true and acceptable word, meaning Asian wild asses.

Soon, I'm on fire anagraming! I start to feel like a born again brainiac, a serious Scrabble avenger, Stephen Hawking in stilettos---until bedtime that is. Then, sleep becomes a landmine. 

I stop dreaming about my father snipping pink peonies in his garden, and my daughter and I baking peanut butter cookies. No, I start dreaming I am in the final game of the big, big match. 

Love this? check out the  Etsy Artist Here
It's King of the Hill.  I'm competing for prize money. I dive for my letters. A letter in the bag nips my hand, hard enough for me to notice but not enough to cause me to wince. When I look at it, it's a coveted blank. I go back in. Another tile nips. This time it's the X. Life is wonderful! I am beaming! But then suddenly, my opponent appears to be my next door neighbor who teaches Italian Renaissance art  and pronounces the word CHINA like CHINER. She keeps yakking about how hot the room is ("so hawt") and how bad her letters are ("so atrocious").

I escape to the ladies room letting my clock run, and as I wash my hands, a giant Scrabble title with the letter Z embossed on it corners me. "Can I borrow a tampon?" she asks, the bottom line of the Z opening like a mouth. 

Scrabble tiles can talk??!!. 
They get periods??!
They say stupid things like "borrow a tampon??

I awake, heart racing, to my cat licking the crook of my arm. 

You really should never end an evening of Scrabble study dozing off to Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp prancing around in extreme Kabuki makeup. The combination of these activities does all sorts of things to your head!

Good night ;-)

Copyright Wanda Fleming, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

day 39
Sweet, Soft, Perfectly Polished Me
Today was crazy wonderful. I spent most of it in the Studio completing experiments on a new line of sugar polishes that cleanse and moisture. These create a polished soft skin that smells divine. In clocking "scent stamina," I could detect a gentle aroma on my wrists and arms six hours later.  Now, that should get you through one gorgeous date night with romantic hours to spare.

These cleansing polishes will complement and be additions to River Girls Lovely Limbs Three Sugars Scrub (in Cranberry Brown Sugar scent) which I have been producing for 7 years. Lovely Limbs is a pure sugars and oils blend including Hawaiian turbinado, white and brown sugars with shea butter.

The new River Girls Body Polish utilizes a paraben-free foaming butter packed with our own special blend of sugars cured with vanilla beans. Also incorporated are Macadamia, Shea and Almond nut oils! All leading to a big fat yum but without the calories!

I began working on the line in 2010 but have finally gotten happy with it. The first offering will be a Vanilla Bean and Italian Orange Cream, reflecting the line's emphasis on specialty ice cream and confectionery scents. Available exclusively on ETSY by special order beginning July 15!

Thank you to Lily Gasperetti who helped me plow through the dozens of photos I shot today to select one or two. 

Good night,

Copyright Wanda Fleming, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

day 38
Oh Abe, We Barely Knew You

This morning as I worked in the Studio, an article came across my desk. Its author reported on the recent release of our country's National Assessment Of Educational Progress tests (30,000 students). One of the biggest headlines? Only 9% of 4th graders could identify a photograph of President Abraham Lincoln and give two reasons why he was important to our nation.

Wait. The Lincoln??  The tall dour looking president with the  black hat?  Civil War, Slavery, Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln? Argh. Geez, he's not exactly Franklin Pierce. 

Sexy Librarian in by Etsy Artist
For some reason, I could not get that dismal news out of my head. 9%?  Well, apparently in 1943, only 23% could answer, which gives credence to my ever-nagging question. Are we a nation of poorly educated persons?  A place where everyone can go to school for free now but whose members are just getting dumber and dumber every day? Uhhh ... could you repeat the question?

Page 2:  What does Abraham Lincoln Have to do with Crepes Suzette and Blood Sucking Vampires on CD?

Today, after much anticipation, I was able to tour our neighborhood's new library. The community had waited several years after they tore down the ancient and small former one, a place where I had taken my children to select books from their summer reading lists as I poured  over the New York Times and Bon Appetit magazines. 

My new library is gorgeous. It's clean and sleek, gargantuan and shiny, with steel and glass and granite by the miles. Curiously though, what I also noticed was what seems to be a  dearth of books. The first floor is generously populated by CDs of many popular television shows such as True Blood. The upstairs houses an enviable collection of public use Mac computers. I don't know what people were surfing for but they were surfing hard. I don't know how many checked out True Blood or The Simpsons, Season Four, but I did find  book aisles on Mathematics, Childbirth, Cookbooks and Civil Rights.

Still I'm a little stuck on Lincoln...and that lowly 9 percent.

Good night,

Want to Know Where You Stand on Your History? Check here
Itching to catch up on the Lincolns? Surf here

Sunday, June 26, 2011

day 37
Loved and Found
(Summer Goddesses, Veterans and Trainees...)

Want to See More? Visit the extraordinary artists and artisans of ETSY to purchase: The Audrey Derby Hat...The Red Bathing Beauties: A Magnet...One of a Kind Tutu Wedding & Event Dress on Girls with Red Umbrellas...Greecian Gown on Starry Goddess.

Note: Beginning Sunday June 26, River Girls Studio 365 will exercise some gargantuan discipline (as though blogging daily isn't discipline enough!)  Each day of the week will be dedicated to an assigned interest or area. My combined focus on soaping, daily observations, family revelations and beautiful creative finds in the handmade world will continue. See the schedule in the upper right corner.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

day 36
True Confessions: Part Three
... Turn Left at the Crispy Creme...& Shoot Me Now, I'm 99!...

12.   I cannot give you directions, unless you are coming by METRO, pony or foot.
Okay boys and girls. Let's ask Wanda for directions. Maybe not. After decades, I'm coming clean. I do not have a reliable sense of direction. I am sure that part of this is because I do not drive, and actual driving seems to impart magical directional skills, even to those scary half-assed drivers who have multiple accidents over their lifetimes. 

Esty Artist's Cherry Apron
So please, kindly use your Tom Tom, Garmin or Baby Jesus North Star when coming to visit me, and I will happily await your arrival on the porch --in my cherry gingham apron --in high heels. Or simply be prepared for the following conversation:

YOU: "Wanda, could you give me directions to your house from the train station?"

ME:  "Sure!" (with an odd blend of sheepishness and completely unjustified enthusiasm). "Where are you coming from again?" (insert suspicious long pause) 

ME AGAIN "Okay! Okay...hmmm, so, drive 5 blocks straight and then turn right at the Dunkin Donuts--Not the one with the giant confetti frosted donut but the next Dunkin Donut on the far left across the highway, the one with this sort of egg and cheese croissant billboard. Yeah that one. Then make a semi-circle left turn. You'll see what I mean because it will genuinely feemore like this weird misshapen parallelogram than a semi-circle..."

I will actually say words like "genuinely" and "parallelogram." I will actually use the Dunkin Donuts or the VFW Hall with the enormous flag flying in front of it as vital landmarks. You'larrive two hours late to my house. But I wilhave already baked a triple apple pie to apologize. Oy.

13.   I'm 100. Stop Making a Bloody Party Out of It.
Etsy Artist Humor Birthday
When Willard Scott does that Smucker's Jam Happy 100th Birthday to Ethel Rinaldi in Scottsdale Arizona feature on the Today show, it paralyzes me. I mean please stop saying, "Now, isn't he a dapper fellow??!! Isn't she a spring flower?!!"  Because, no they are not. Stop saying he's 100 years young. Stop saying, "You're as young as you feel because --well--you're not --and you don't!

Okay. Do I want to live to be 100? Honestly? No. There are days already when I awake with my bluebird chipper self, and I think what the hell is going on here? My body feels like I went to a costume party. I wore an ill-fitting Chinese imported, wire jabbing "Genuine French Maid Corset", drank too much and had a government issued hurricane sandbag flung countless times at my head, back and legs. That's after a boring evening of showering, watching the 11:00 news and resting my head against a satin pillow. So, I'm thinking, maybe keep the 100, that jam too. :-)

Catching up? See Confessions: Part One here and Part Two.

Friday, June 24, 2011

day 35
Chocolate Muffins and Sea Glass Soap

Today, I baked banana chocolate chip muffins for a friend who is recovering from surgery. The recipe's ingredients included ripe bananas, brown and white sugars, vanilla extract, cinnamon and semi-sweet chocolate. The scents wafted throughout the house hours after the muffins came out of the oven. 

Not surprisingly, the aroma has inspired me to blend the beginnings of a banana and cocoa butter soap or perhaps for autumn, a new scrub of brown sugar and deep chocolate scents. Meanwhile, I completed a batch of River Girls Sea Lily Soap. They look like pretty chunks of sea glass. Don't they? I don't even want to send them from home...

See You Tomorrow,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

day 34
Happy Happy Birthday River Girls!!

Well as Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh would say (if they would ever grow up already), NOW WE ARE 11!! 

Today, June 23, 2011, marks exactly 11 years since I began designing hand poured soaps, natural creams and balms & specialty fragrance blends. The first soap I ever poured was Williamsburg Night a sultry blend of dark sweet berries and spicy patchouli. The inspiration? A late night walk through the cobbled streets of Williamsburg Virgina, down alleys of spice and flower shops. Since then each soap has had its own story, a tale of inspiration.

Here's wishing River Girls and you continued years of creativity, passion and success! So far we're charting a a course for fabulous. Thanks for going for the ride ;-)
















Want to see these and more? Check out my River Girls Studio shop at Etsy!

Good Night,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

day 33
Duly Noted

1.   There’s Nothing Chinese about the Chinatown Starbucks. Duh!
I went to the Chinatown Starbucks today and was surprised to discover it has nothing to do with Chinese culture or heritage despite being smack in the middle of historic Chinatown. There were no authentic Chinese herbal teas or Chinese sweet almond cookies. Nothing even remotely cliché to at least honor the fact that it’s taking up 25% of a block in DC's tiny Chinatown. Instead, they were playing salsa music, followed by country and then French love songs. 

The gentleman sitting next to me was speaking Dutch on his cell phone, until he asked me in English if he could "borrow' my Washington Post. The upstairs room where I sat peering out of enormous storybook windows is filled with hard wood French country tables where you can write all day while nursing a cup of their overly strong coffee. Crazy. My country is a jigsaw puzzle. I love it. I do.
River Girls idea of the Moment: Lily, Green Tea and Ginger soap

2.   Lazy is a Four Letter Word.
River Girls Jackass Card
Some people are lazy. Just because you can leave your cafeteria style restaurant tray full of used cutlery and ketchup-smeared napkins on the table for someone else to clean up, why would you? Today I watched a senior citizen wiping down tables. She was removing dirty trays and paper plates in a cavernous room where she alone appeared to be assigned to cleaning up after 200 people. When the trash receptacle is 12 inches from where you're sitting, as is the place to stack your tray, what makes you walk away from your mess? 

The two men sitting next to me today, prattling about the droid that was scheduled to arrive on the market in May and disappointingly failed to do so, did just that. They consumed gargantuan burgers, slathered with cheese and onions, a tray full of fries and king sized drinks, then got up leaving a big mess. I half expected a Charles Schultz Pig Pen fog to follow them out paralyzing me like nerve gas.

River Girls Idea of the Moment: A Mud Scrub Loofah Soap for gardeners and other people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty!

3.    Dear God. Please Don’t Let Me Die Today and Definitely Not on This Ratty Escalator
As the saying goes: “You'll never see an 'Escalator Out of Order' sign, only 'Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

Ha! Touche. Well, today I was treated to that convenience at the Washington DC Red Line Tenleytown Metro station. All the escalators were non-operating. One man ahead of me said to his wife, "It’s only 132 stairs, keep walking." She quipped breathlessly, "No, no I heard this one is 232!"

Well, whatever. It was crazzzzy alot and on a steel incline in DC's infamous heat. Since I am writing this, you can assume I prevailed--barely!

River Girls Idea of the Moment:  River Girls Tired Dogs Foot Balm!

See you Tomorrow!

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