a simple soap dish

before i tell you about this little soap dish i have to convey my overwhelming gratitude to you dear readers.  i have been blown away by the outpouring of love that you have shown suzanne.  i just cannot get over the concern and kindness that is flowing her way.  she is such a courageous and sweet woman, i can't help but think that this love will help her heal.  

so yesterday i was sorting through some things in the basement and i came across a small bag that had a few hotel soaps in them.  do you ever take those?  sometimes i do.  i wanted to present them in a little bit of a different way and this is what i came up with.  it's pretty and was free.  i have these turquoise melamine dishes from the 1960's that we use for camping so i borrowed a little bowl and filled it with some garden stones.  i'm sure you could get these at michaels.  i think sea glass would be beautiful too.  


nothing earth shattering but that's ok it's monday.



  1. What a pretty idea! I'm a devil for scrounging soap from guest houses and a fetish for 1960s Melamine picnic ware! x

  2. I love it, soap always gets so yucky sitting by the side of the sink, and there are so many pretty stones to chose from. I have a bunch of miniature shells that I think would be great, too.

  3. Beautiful idea, you are such a natural stylist janet.

  4. Of course I take them:) In fact, I always make certain my husband snags a couple of extra when he visits the Gaylord hotel on business--love their exfoliating body bar (w/oatmeal). Just found out it is made by Gilchrist & Soames and can be purchased online (but free is always better:)

    I think your idea just took the hotel soap to another level and I still have some of those same bowls (passed down) from when I was a kid!

    I am re-doing bathroom faucets, lighting fixtures and toilets. I just visited Restoration Hardware on Saturday. Is your faucet from there and if so, have you been happy with it? They are pricey but I know heavier than the big-box store offerings. I'm trying to figure out what is worth spending more on and what is not necessary.

    All along I had thought I would go with brushed nickel as that seems to be all the rage with new building. But now I'm leaning towards the chrome as it really fits my traditional/classic style better and I know the style will go the distance. We have GOLD now as that was all the rage in the early 90's when the house was built--not my thing at all. Also, have you been happy with your bathroom extension mirror?

  5. Beautiful. Simple. Serene.
    What I love about your blog is, you give us an idea that is in reach of all of us.
    Always, I thank you for the inspiration.
    SF Bay Area
    p.s. Please keep us update on Suzanne's needs.

  6. I have a bowl of sea glass that I collected with my son in a glass jar that sits near my bath tub. It reminds me of when we lived near the ocean ages ago. It's transparency and color is so beautiful.

    My thoughts are with Suzanne. Please keep us posted and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  7. I think that is a brilliant idea. I hate a slop of soap in a dish and the stones raise it just enough not to get wet. An yes, I always take the soap in a hotel. I don't think I ever buy hand soap. I take the shampoos too and lotions as they are perfect travel sizes or overnight as a guest elsewhere.

  8. what a great soap dish idea - i'm going to try it today! yes i always take the hotel soaps and shampoo. put them in a basket in my guest bathroom.

  9. So lovely and so simple. What a great eye you have. I always feel guilty leaving the soaps behind. I don't know if they can reuse them. So I take them and I even pack a sandwich bag to take the soap I have used. It seems such a waste. (I am not usually this frugal, but waste is really bothering me these days.) I have a few lovely, small ceramic bowls that would be perfect for this. Thank you.

  10. your soap looks great. I have an ongoing struggle with the soap in our powder room/main "water closet". I finally got Drew to stop squeezing it-- yeah for that. But I have tried everything from expensive soap dishes with holes in the bottom and stones as you've done here. the straining stones just end up becoming one more obstacle for me to work with when I drain the dish every hour. So I still have not found solution to prevent a huge slop puddle in the soap dish or on the counter. Even liquid soap has failed me.

  11. Looks very pretty... but I especially love the fern leaves in the vase!

    I just thought I would share that I used to take hotel soaps before becoming a vegetarian, but now I bring my own. The pretty packaging and compact sizes rarely list off the ingredients (at least where I get to stay), so it just seems safer in avoiding "tallow"/ sodium tallowate. (When I first learned I was rubbing animal fat all over my body I threw out all my soap once I recovered from the preceding mini melt down... Tons of accumulated soap in the trash... Don't you hate how they use that! sigh.) Now I'm relegated to the cost friendlier liquid soaps at the sinks, but I splurge in the shower with the fancier plant based bars from Trader's or Whole Foods. Wish there was a shelf in there to try the dish idea out- it would totally make it seem more spa like.

    Also, for anyone with skin problems, the change in soap helped my boyfriend's seborrheic dermatitis- yeah! (His favorites are the oatmeal honey bar soap from Traders or the Kiss My Face pure olive oil bar.) As always- thanks for the neat ideas!

  12. So pretty! The stones are a great idea to keep the soap from sticking.

  13. Leave it to you Janet to come up with something so elegantly simple.

  14. Awwwww....pretty little posts like these make me smile...and they can only be found here at the Gardener's Cottage. Thank you for all you do-Suzanne in Illinois

  15. You have such an astonishing aesthetic Janet, really. Lovely. You coulda been a stylist. Not that you would want to per se, but you could have. Could still.

  16. simple, beautiful, useful.
    THIS {and how you do this with everything} is why i am a loyal reader ♥

    p.s. just now getting home from vacation & reading about suzanne...
    i'm sending her my love & healing ♥

  17. Love this idea and yes, I do sometimes take the little soaps in hotels if I like them! Your idea is gorgeous - wonderful presentation. X

  18. janet,
    you sure know how to live well. fresh soap. according to my father who was raised on his mom's handmade soap....there is something intrinsically beautifully about a bar of soap.
    what kind of soap is that? or did you mention that.
    love the j towel too.

  19. I love the color of that little bowl with the black rocks and white soap. Your last photo of your pretty sink with the blue bowl, fern and your hand towel is magazine worthy, just gorgeous.

    Thank you for leaving that sweet comment for me yesterday about my little house. ;)

  20. Beautiful in every way! I have a bag of hotel soaps...I'm crazy that way....if we are staying for a week, each day I tuck one into my suitcase and each day they leave another. Such a little luxury, to me at least. I adore your little bowl and rocks to catch the drops. I'm copying you, ok?

  21. Lovely idea and the ferns are brilliant in that simple glass vessel.
    Another beautiful image, have a fabulous week!

  22. Janet I just love your style, it's so clean and perfect.
    Thanks for sharing this idea, it's a good one!

  23. This is so lovely and simple. And, you know, I think those are the ideas that are truly astonishing. Maybe not for you, because you have the gift- the visual style and ability to make things beautiful. For those of us who don't and who struggle with it, this sort of thing is truly astonishing. Thank you for sharing it. And I'm off to find rocks....

  24. oh what is there about that kind of beautiful simplicity?
    leonardo da vinci said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
    how restful and clean and perfect is that last picture...
    you have the touch ajj. old leo would be so proud!
    tammy j

  25. A great idea Janet that I might have to nick!

  26. Hi Janet...I love your blog, but dont always comment...so taking the time now to do so :)
    I love this idea...I have these exact rocks in my powder room sink, I love the look!

  27. Melody from Long Beach, CAAugust 20, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    At long last, I get to meet Janet, the lovely woman my friend Suzanne has raved about for ever so long. I just spoke with Suzanne, and she told me about all of the kindness she has received from you all. Suzanne and I have been friends since we were in sixth grade. Her recent experience is heartbreaking, so I wanted to say thank you all for blessing her with your gifts and good words. Suzanne is an incredibly wonderful and giving person. She has no idea how much good she has contributed to my life and to the world. I am grateful that others have reached out to her to let her know they care. Janet, your blog is so inspiring, and it makes me feel at home just reading it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and for your generosity of spirit.


kindness is never out of style.

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