Sunny Blog

Soap Coms - The Soap Must Go On!

Soap Coms - The Soap Must Go On!

We recently send out the following first newsletter to our customers who opted in to emails. In it we urged everyone to keep an eye on emergency and contingency preparedness, and promised to expand on details in a blog post.

Here are some ideas and resources to help. These are just broad strokes, high level areas that you can pay attention to, and dig in deeper where and when you can.

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April 2022 In Review

April 2022 In Review

Well, we (happily) survived the onslaught of new customers earlier this month.

This increase in business has been a great eye-opener. Deb is still making the soap part time, and one concern she's always had is getting more orders than she can handle. This recent deluge of orders, and subsequent soap making to refill stock, were easy to keep up with, and still remain an enjoyable process. All concerns are alleviated. 

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Taking stock of the first quarter 2022

Taking stock of the first quarter 2022

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Hi, it's Jon, Deb's one-man dedicated support team. With first quarter of 2022 behind us, it's a great time to take stock of the things that have happened both in the Sunny Bungalow and in our lives.

Soap!

We’re always so happy to see our returning regulars, as well as many new future-regulars, especially from our new friends on Telegram. We can't thank you enough for the shout out, JP. 

The recently added Colloidal Silver bar has been a huge hit, while Lavender Honey, Dead Sea Mud, and Cracklin Birch still topping the charts. 

Lexi

Lexi and Soba

Our sweet new chihuahua has acclimated and taken over the entire house, while her new siblings have finally welcomed her. 

Lexi, named by the breeder after the character Alexis from the TV show Schitt's Creek (coincidentally one of our favorite shows) is the white one. If you've ever seen that TV show, she acts just like Alexis.

She's related by blood to one of our other Chis, Soba Noodle (I forget the relationship - I think Soba is her aunt). Bodhi, who we've had for over 10 years and is getting a little crabby in her old age, tolerates them.

House

The only thing more brutal this winter was the heating bill. As a result we decided to have a pair of fuel efficient fireplace inserts installed in our upstairs and downstairs fireplaces. Some of it is custom work, so it won't be installed until the summer, but with warm weather here, there's no rush.

We also decided it was time to replace the electric cooktop. I know, very exciting, right? The old one was ok, but it's long past its prime, especially with the amount we use it. Once it's in I'll post pictures, and rave about the hidden features of having a downdraft vent.

Food

Vanilla jars

The first batch of home made vanilla was a huge success! So much so that we started a second batch in anticipation of future use. This is something we definitely don't want to run out of.

We found a new local source for raw milk and locally-grown grass fed beef. The garage freezer is stocked with months worth now. We also started getting into milling our own wheat berries, with pretty decent success at some home made whole wheat breads.

Personal Notes

Deb continues to work full time doing administrative work at the hospital, while I retired from AT&T after a quarter century (yikes!) to focus on my ever-growing consulting work, Sunny Bungalow, misc other projects, and work around the house. 

I like the idea of having quarterly updates. Now that I have more time I'll be able to post here more, at the very least quarterly, but with any luck monthly or even weekly. 

Best wishes to everyone for in 2022.

Vanilla - Unrelated to Soap

Vanilla - Unrelated to Soap

Last fall we decided to make vanilla from scratch for the first time, continuing a trend to slowly make everything we can for ourselves from scratch. 

The results have been so amazing that we’re kicking ourselves for not doing this sooner. 

The first batch was made at the beginning of December, with roughly 15 beans and 24 ounces of vodka. 2 months later it turned into the most intense vanilla we’ve ever smelled or tasted.

We already started a second batch, and with luck it’ll be ready by the time we run out of the first one. 

If that weren’t enough, we just learned that you can also extract vanilla using bourbon, for a more complex flavor. That’ll be one of our weekend projects.

If anyone’s interested in making it, we bought the beans for the first batch online from Beanilla, the second from Costco (from what I read online they’re pretty decent). There are tons of simple instructions online everywhere that describe the process better than I could.

If you use vanilla you have to try making it. 5 beans and 8 oz of vodka will cost you around $24, and is around half the cost of any store brand per ounce. And for a better product, too.

All you need is patience!

Lexi, the New Addition to the Sunny Bungalow Family!

Lexi, the New Addition to the Sunny Bungalow Family!

Meet Lexi, our third longhaired Chihuahua!

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Why we're no longer on social media

Why we're no longer on social media

Not wanting to be hypocritical, we decided to take Sunny Bungalow off the social media platforms.

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The Strange Year

The Strange Year

We are fortunate and grateful that our lives have been largely unchanged other than some inconveniences and precautions.

We both already work from home in our full-time jobs, so we're no stranger to working remotely and all the related challenges. Deb works for a hospital where they've had to cut back hours a little. Like most hospitals, they are losing a lot of income with people avoiding elective surgery. Everyone is optimistic that the furlough situation will change this summer. 

On the soap making side of our lives, other than dealing with supply shortages and limiting trips to the post office, not much has changed there either. If anything, we've had more free time, which is a blessing since demand for our handmade soap has increased, even before appearing in our local newspaper. 

Several weeks ago a journalist from our town's newspaper reached out to us looking to do a piece on local businesses dealing with the health crisis. We had a pleasant, socially distant interview, and a few weeks later, opened the paper to find ourselves on the second page.

Soon after we received many orders locals, most of which asked if I could deliver the soaps. I was happy to oblige and deliver them, in a safe manner of course. Not only was it saving money on shipping and getting the soaps into people's hands quicker, it was a welcome opportunity to get out of the house. This also brings us closer to our daydream of having a local soap delivery service for fun. Coincidentally, the online store platform we use just started offering local delivery checkout options, which I'll be looking in to enabling.

We wish good health and joy for all. ❤️

 

News Paper Article

Cheshire Herald Article 

Connecticut Magazine Handmade Holidays

Connecticut Magazine Handmade Holidays

In which we talk about being mentioned in a local magazine!

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Alaska!

We’ve been back from our Alaskan adventure for about week, getting caught up on the house, work, and back to the soap making.

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New Schwag

My nephew Justin in New Orleans absolutely loves our soap and graciously offered to give out cards to spread the word. We had some business cards with an old logo, but we still don't think of this as a business. Instead we decided to make up some square cards.

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