Thursday, March 31, 2011

Limerick and More...

I'm trying to get a bit more consistent at blogging...there are a ton of fun, and interesting things that go on every week at SN, and I just don't get the time to blog about it all.

First, I'd like to thank you all so much for your support of the newest collection, and for your feedback on the gumballs.  New formulas are a tough process.  I once met a chemist for an ingredient manufacturer who spent a year working on the formula for a single bath bomb.  An. Entire. Year.  She went on and on about flash foam and coco betaine- and I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. 

That's sort of what it takes to make a good formula- you can have every advantage possible- knowledge, ingredients, skills etc. but when the rubber meets the road it's an entirely different ballgame.  When you start with piles of ingredients that don't do a whole lot on their own and make it into something usable there's a hundred different ways to get it right, and about a million ways to mess it up.

Eye shadow primer has been the bane of my formulating career.  It's the single trickiest formula I've ever tried to make, and I've been working on it for years.  There are easily 200 different revisions on that formula, and I'll probably still think about it when I'm in the old-folks home.

Version 1 of the Stick 'Em primer was well liked by everyone- but the manufacturer who made the silica that we used went out of business.  So Version 2 came out- and I still rather like that one.  Version 3 was a test formula that was included in the MAC packages- and now we have Version 4 that was gumballed last week.

We're getting feedback on that one- both good and bad.  Honestly, I learn more from the bad reports than the good ones, so I try not to discourage dissent.  I like Version 4- I'm proud of the formula.  It's pretty much all natural, and in theory, you could even eat it.  I also like the way it makes colors pop, but doesn't make mattes look funky.

We'll most likely release that one because I do think it has its merits.  The other important part about new formulas is that we sell them with integrity.  Not every product we make is going to be a perfect holy grail for everyone- it just can't happen.  So, we need good information for the descriptions- did it work for you, how did it work, if it failed why do you think it failed.

Pretty much any information that would be helpful to someone purchasing the product is great to have.  It's why we gumball. I think it's part of what makes us SN.

There's a thread on the forum relating to the Primer if you get a chance pop in and let us know what you think about it!  If you're not a member of our forum, you could also just email us through the Contact Us form on the web site.

Onto the next subject...the Gift With Purchases :)
When we started doing the Mystery Adventure Club I started writing little notes about each GWP color- why I made it, what went into it, my inspiration etc.  It was a popular feature of the packages, and for a while I blogged about them too.  I'm not sure why I stopped- other than I tend to make them on Friday's and then go home and utterly crash.

So, continuing with the tradition I owe you all a few writeups for the GWP colors.
Limerick was the GWP the week of St. Patrick's Day.  I've actually been to Ireland briefly, and it really and truly is green. They get so much rain that the entire island is just lush with green.  Rather than do the expected green I went with blue.  More specifically, a dirty blue.  Because limericks (at least the memorable ones) are well- dirty. Blues aren't super hot sellers for us, so I added a bit of copper so you'd have a chance to match it with something other than blue.  It sort of ended up purple-ish, but I think it was an interesting color.

Emporium was what I call a "scratch" color.  Twyla Tharpe talks about the process that she calls "scratching" in her book The Creative Habit (great read if you're into creative things)- she just goes to her studio and does things.  Being busy, stretching yourself, making yourself be creative are sort of habits.  Some weeks I have a very clear vision of the color I want to make, and other times I go in and just kind of scratch at it until I get something I like.  Some of my favorite colors were made that way- Sari started out with my wondering what would happen if I used a lot of boron nitride in a color.  Blanket Fort started out as a quest to make something that felt soft like a blanket.

Emporium riffed off of Hug Me.  I liked the way Thea used a strong interference and backed it up with an entirely different color- so I played around with that theme.   I like the pink overlay.

This week's color is Shake It!  It's inspired by a song.  Not just any song either...this song:

It's written, and performed by Tyler Barks this amazingly talented rapper.  I found him on the new website which is a totally fun site.  It's people who will do all sorts of things for $5- so I hired Tyler to write a rap.  Can you imagine being an 18-year-old rapper, and getting an email from some crazy woman in New York to write a rap about makeup?  For $5 I wasn't expecting a whole lot- mainly a fun little experiment, and a way to support the arts.

And he did it!  He totally pulled it off.  If you want to see any of his other work he has his own Youtube channel:

Susan said we have a $5 rap and a $3.50 video, and I couldn't agree more- it's something I hacked together, and I have no talent for video production.  But the song is fun!  If you do have a talent for video production and want to make a video for this song hit me up...there's a gift certificate in it for you.

Next week we're switching things up just a little bit.  Instead of doing a gift with purchase product we're sending you all a little magic trick, and a coupon code in honor of April Fool's Day (no foolin').

Apparently this has turned into a I'll sign off for now.  Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far :)

Silk Naturals Mineral Foundation (640x480).mp4

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I've been working on a lot of different projects.  Little things here and there that I want/need to accomplish.
On Monday morning I woke up inspired.  I wanted, needed to make eye shadows.

When the universe sends you a message like this you really just have to go with it.  That's the way I prefer to work...not releasing a collection because it's a certain date, or a certain time, or I'm being gently, sweetly nudged in a certain direction, but because I'm inspired.  When I've tried to force it, it looks and feels well...forced.  Those colors usually wind-up in the scrap heap.

 Sometimes the muse whispers make lippies, sometimes it's tackle a skin care issue, sometimes it's a technical itch I need to scratch.  I tend to go with it, and then I save them up to make a big collection.

This time the muse whispered eye shadow, and I went to work.  You know how some weeks things just "click"?  So far, this week, things are clicking.  The Spring eye shadows are done. And these girls are wild- they want to come out and play!!!!!! We're right in the middle of several projects for spring, and they'll be awesome when they're done, but they're going to take a bit of time to get just right.

I drew on all of the yummy things about Summer for inspiration.  Ice cream, icy drinks, fruit- things that just don't taste the same in January.   The name of this collection is "With a Cherry On Top". 

We went to Finland to visit my brother-in-law and his family on our last vacation.   Under normal circumstances it's a pretty darn great country.  They have the least corrupt system of government, the best educational system, one of the best health care systems, have the highest per capita coffee consumption and they're generally just nice, happy go lucky folks.   No country is perfect, but Finland gets pretty darn close.   I've been married to a true and proper, block-headed, salmiakki eating Suomalainen (that's Finn in Finnish) from Munkkiniemi for almost 12 years.  I like Finns.

IMHO Finland in June and early July is one of the best places to be in the whole world.   Given their long, dark winters they take full advantage of the sunlight, and just go with it and have fun.  We arrived a few days after Juhannus (Summer solstice), and jumped into the party that was already in full swing.

We partied 'till the sun came up, and were home by 1:00 am.  I've never seen a city bustle that late anywhere else- even New York at 2:00 am on a Sunday is pretty much a ghost town.  Helsinki feels like it's just warming up at that hour.  I love it.  

So, Summer- ice cream, refreshing beverages and Finland.

By the way.there's also a couple of gumballs on the site.  Version 4 of the primer- in reality it's at least version 50 (I stopped counting literally years ago), and I've tweaked this as much as I'm going to tweak it.  Hopefully you'll love it, and if you don't- I'll most likely scrap the project for the time being.  It's as close to the original gumball version as I can get.

The other gumball is a new version of the cream liner  The version that's on the site right now uses a special kind of wax that is no longer sold- so I didn't have a choice.  We have to reformulate.  This version is vegan, and slightly different from what we shipped out in the MAC packages.  I backed-off on the wax ever so slightly so it's creamier and easier to apply.

Kippis (to your health)!  Kiitos (thank you)! and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yippee Winners!!!! And a few fun announcements...

It's been a fun week at SN- we're chugging along with all sorts of projects.  This week we started something new!  We're putting together some of our favorite looks, and offering them as a bundle on the site with a bit of a discount.  I'm super excited about this project- Susan, Val, Jen, and Thea will be helping out, so hopefully you'll get a nice variety of looks.  They'll run from Friday to Friday, and then we'll change it out with a new look. 

I'll admit that I didn't put a lot of prior planning in on this project- I just woke up on Thursday, and went with it.  That's kind of the fun part!  For the moment, we're focusing on eye shadows, but as it evolves it could grow to include just about anything.  With over 700 products we have quite a bit to choose from.

Questions, comments, ideas for looks you'd like to see, etc. are very welcome!

The Snow Day contest was over last night, and we had quite a few winners!  The official snow total, as measured on my sidewalk was 9.5 inches.  There were a lot of places around us that got pummeled pretty hard- with totals up to 2 feet in places, but at my house it was 9.5 inches.

I added a margin of error of 2 inches, and we had a total of 9 winners.  They are:
Kinjal S
Colleen W
Betty V
Monica W
Al P
Nina X
Kristi G

Congratulations!  I emailed you all the coupon code this morning :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm Ready for Spring...How About You????

We had another snow day this morning.  There wasn't much of a choice because this time they actually closed the roads for part of the day.  As I was shoveling my car out of the driveway for what feels like the millionth time this year, I actually started having fantasies of using a flame thrower to just melt the snow.  I'm pretty sure I'd just mess things up royally with one, but it was a fun thought.

The cool part about this awful Winter that we've all been having is that I spent a lot of time inside, and working on the web site.   We added filters to the colors, so you can pick and sort through all of the products to hopefully find just the right products for you.  Special props to Jen on this project because she did a lot of the data entry, and that wasn't an easy project.

While I was sorting through the colors on the site I really took a good look at them with a critical eye.  The shelves in the eye shadow area are full, so it was time to either remodel the shop, or discontinue a few colors.  Normally we try very hard not to discontinue items, but once every few years a nice spring cleaning is in order.  There are also a few that I literally can't make anymore because the pigments have been discontinued.  So, all of the eye shadows we're discontinuing are in the "Last Chance" section of the web site and we'll keep them there through the end of the week.

Other than that odd bit of sorta not fun news things are chugging along in the shop.  I've been doing the annual round of taxes and paperwork.  We've just renewed the lease on our office for another year, and I'm thrilled about that.  It's a great shop, and if you're ever in Trumansburg stop by!  We're also gearing up to Spring, and we've been working on a few special projects.  I'll have more info on them in the coming weeks- but MAC girls, you're in for a fun treat- I think.

We used to hold quite a few contests, and I'd love to get back to we're starting with a guess how much snow I have at my house contest.

This is a picture of my little VW Bug in the driveway this morning.  On Saturday it was 51- so all of the snow you see fell on Sunday night, and into this morning.  We measured the snow on our sidewalk, and if you guess the right amount to the nearest half inch you win a $5 gift certificate to Silk Naturals!

Send your guess to  All entries need to be received by Friday March 11 at 11:59 pm eastern standard time (so just before midnight on Friday night).

I was checking out our Facebook page today with all of the other contest entries, and I just want to say a big giant THANK YOU for entering, and for all that you do to support SN.  They were a joy to read, and it was a ton of fun.  We really appreciate you, and you make coming to work really fun.   If anyone has any other ideas for contests just let me know!

By the way....we've been trying to do more with Facebook lately.  It's been a fun way to get to see all of you, and read little posts here and there.  If you're not already a fan please look us up!  

Oh, and what would you like to see for Spring??  Go ahead and post to the comments, or tuck your answer into your contest entry :)