Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lighting a Candle

As the year comes to an end, there is always a sort of taking stock or reckoning. How did this year measure up or what special events took place to mark this year differently from the last. And in that quiet place of retrospection, I'm taking a moment to remember all the people who died in 2006. Their unique passions and contributions will be missed. By no means a comprehensive list, these are just a few who shared their light in the world and are no longer with us. Hopefully they are in a much brighter, more peaceful place.

Robert Altman
Etta Baker
Joseph Barbara
Peter Boyle
Ed Bradley
James Brown
Ruth Brown
Red Buttons
Oleg Cassini
Bebe Moore Coleman
Betty Comden
Eleanor Thomas Elliott
Ahmet Ertegun
Gerald Ford
Betty Friedan
Moses Hardy
Dr Jane Elizabeth Hodgson
Steve Irwin
Patricia Kennedy Lawford
Coretta Scott King
Don Knotts
Gerald Levert
Al Lewis
Enolia McMillan
Jack Palance
Gordon Parks
Wilson Pickett
June Pointer
Billy Preston
Anita O'Day
Lou Rawls
Dana Reeve
Anne Richards
Aaron Spelling
Mickey Spillane
Martha Tilton
Jack Warden
Wendy Wasserstein

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Technical Difficulties

It's been raining so hard on and off the last few days. This morning I was washing out my coffee cup and realized there was no hot water. The basement had flooded again and the pilot light to the water heater blew out. And I haven't had internets for two days. Found out this morning when the repair guy traced it back that it's because the box outside on the street pole is leaking and collecting water. We have a connection now but it may be spotty until they can replace the whole box. Where is all this dang water coming from?

So I took the not-showered 999999999 (hello there, that's Dora wanting to chime in with a message -- my desk is her latest new playground) hair up to Bellingham to tear down the Allied Arts show. Hit a pretty heavy sleet/snow squall near Everett and it was all as dark as evening. This is not fun I say.

However, the show was sold out. My little table was practically empty. Last minute, day-before-Christmas shoppers must have been frantic for smelly stuff. Which was good for me. But I heard rumblings that over the holiday the building had been burgled and several jewelry cases were broken into. Not so good for those folks. So sad. Everyone works so hard, for such little money, that something like that is especially stinky. It's stealing money directly from some little artist's wallet -- not pilfering a few bucks from some corporation. Not that I'm advocating stealing in any way, but there is a difference when stealing hand made stuff from some small show and stealing a t-shirt from Wal-Mart. Sigh.

I thought that driving home through some of the pretty neighborhoods there and seeing the nice mansions on the hill above the water, then meandering back through Chuckanut Drive would remind me why I still live here. But it was so full of broken trees from the wind storm. The skies were so rainy, dark and grey that you could hardly see beyond a little patch of grey water. And it didn't quite do the trick. It's the yucky stretch of year where it's hard to find the pretty. Partly because you don't want to venture out much. Partly because it's so rare these days.

Came home to catch up on some sleep. I really, really need it. I'll just be here napping for as long as it takes.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas -- full of family, friends, good food, great fun and the peace of the season.

Remembering those we can't spend the holiday with, but thinking of them and sending them love. Joyous greetings to those who celebrate different ways, for different reasons. The magic and peace of the season should know no limits and include the entire planet.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa's Flight

Last night's Christmas Ship by electric boat was really special. To see all the boats up close and swim with the fishes so to speak. I was the captain, so it was a little harried, trying to avoid getting squished in the crush of much bigger yachts. But tucked in a little corner, bobbing in the night air, listening to carols and boat horns while enjoying the lights of the skyline. No place else on earth . . .

So little time to write today, I'm cooking away for the Feast of Seven Fishes. It's an old, old tradition, mostly Itallian. Christmas Eve is to be a feast of 7 different seafoods, usually in 7 different courses. Why 7? In Biblical numerology, seven is a number of perfection. It also symbolizes: The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church — baptism, penance, Holy Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, holy orders and the sacrament of the sick. The seven sins of the world — pride, envy, anger, gluttony, sloth, lust and greed. The seven days it took Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. Seven hills of Rome. Seven winds of Italy. Seven Wonders of the World. Or whatever. We've just always believed it's good luck for the new year and made it our own tradition.

Tonight's menu:

Thai Lime Shrimp

Silky Southern Oyster Stew

Seared Scallops With Apple Brandy Cream

Crab Towers

Lobster Macaroni & Cheese

Brazilian Moqueca With Tilapia

Roasted Salmon with Tomato Buerre Blanc

Hot Buttered Rum Cheesecake with Rum Caramel Sauce

Hoo Doggy! Diggity Dog! I'm drooling. Happy, Happy Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

and oh, what a BLITZEN

More last minute gift buying, gift making, baking and holiday cheer. It's a bit of a whirlwind, trying to get it all done, feeling like there is not enough time and that we can't possibly accomplish everything we wanted to do during this holiday festivus. I know I'm not alone. It's a little more stressful and a little less cheery this year.

Tonight we are heading over to Gasworks Park to see the final night of the Christmas Ship. Another one of our holiday rituals. Usually we have a big group and there is dinner and drinks in Fremont first. This year it's a much smaller group and everyone is coming from somewhere else last minute so the dinner is probably drive-through or a cold snack out of the fridge before we head out. But we've rented one of the charming Electric Boat Company ships to dally around in the parade of yachts for this year's hoopla. I'm so excited! No standing out in the drizzle and mud. Taking our own beverages -- and nip is allowed for the hot cocoa! Sacks full of our own snacks, holiday cookies! A warm little chugger of a boat with plastic sides to keep us toasty, cheerly little strings of lights! I've never seen the Christmas ship from the water before, although I've seen it from probably every land location imaginable -- the locks, Golden Gardens, bonfires at Alki, all over here and there. So this will be something new and exciting. Can't wait.

Tomorrow is by far my most favorite ritual. No, not the wrapping mess. The Christmas Eve Champagne "FEAST OF 7 FISHES" that we do at my place each year. I'll post pics of tonight and get into that tomorrow when I can grab a minute. I still need to finalize a little bit of the menu with my friends who are doing 3 of the 7 courses. My Hot Buttered Rum Cheesecake is wafting through the house right this minute. It will be drizzled with Rum Caramel sauce . . . are your eyes rolling back in your head? You will die when you hear the whole menu. Cool Yule, Y'all!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Prancer and Vixen

First, a little soap business. Most of the Winter Holiday Seasonal soaps are sold out at this point. What's left is Spiced Hot Cocoa and Three Kings. The other Winter items are all still available. And while it's getting to be very last minute at this point, I have two days left where the office is open and packages are being sent out the same day as they are ordered. Quite a little bunch of them this week. But Friday is my last day until after the New Year. And frankly, anything sent now will arrive after Christmas, but still in time for festivities during the holiday week or New Year's.

When I return in January, there will be a big clearing out and reorganizing while I do inventory. And I'm planinng on having a hullabaloo of a year-end sale next month, so check back here or the Sale section of the web site in early January. Fa la la!

So as things wind down, I have more time to personally begin preparations and celebrations. Usually this is my favorite time of year and I've got so many activities I want to jump into during this little week or two. But this year, maybe because of all the weather and chaos, it doesn't have quite the same enthusiasm. I'm still not quite finished with all the gift buying, but almost. There is very, very minimal baking this year. Collectively we've decided that we just don't need the temptation and all have resolutions to get more fit and less fluffy. So we'll do just enough to enjoy for a few days, and not have plates full sitting around all next month.

Yesterday was our annual holiday family outing -- where we all get tickets to some fun holiday event, have dinner out at some new hot spot, and be merry.

Happy Hour: Troiani - lush, sexy bar with delish food deals and yummy drinks
Dinner: Assagio - who doesn't love Mauro? greeting everyone at the door with a big squish and a kiss. Lovely menu, always good.
Festive Event: Seattle Men's Chorus - I have always wanted to see their holiday concert and hadn't quite gotten around to it yet. What a hoot. Completely fun for everybody. So much joy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I watched Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth" last night. I had planned on watching it immediately when it first came out, and for whatever reason (probably "too busy" or something dumb) I missed it when it was actually in theaters here. So we had it sitting all this time on our Netflix list for the moment it was released on dvd.

Beyond shocking. By the end of the film I was scared to death. All of these predicted changes are going to happen in my lifetime, and looks quite like the planet is doomed, as are we all, if things don't change -- well, yesterday. How likely is that given our current lifestyles of consumption and our current government run by oil men? I've just personally gone through a year of some of the worst weather I've ever endured. And it was nothing compared to say New Orleans last year. Each year is going to get drastically worse. So totally, completely, undeniably scary that I was feeling that sort of numb, shaky feeling I had on September 11 while watching the events of that day. Too overwhelming to take it all in really, but enough to realize how completely out of control it is, how helpless, hopeless, inevitably changed forever.

Obviously the final message is the we DO have the knowledge, tools, science and technology to make a huge change right this very minute and that we must absolutely start this course today. Every one of us. So while I felt utterly overwhelmed and helpless, I tried to fight it and do something. Even if it was just turning down the thermostat and turning off most of the lights in the house. It felt petty and small. We're making a list of what we can change every day to make a difference just here in this little matchbox house. But it needs to be so much more.

I think what struck me the most was that WE, here in America with our air of superiority, are the worst offenders. For some reason I was suffering under the illusion that we were a little ahead with our culture of "green" and recycling. That countries like China or India, with their immense populations and industry were doing more damage and that the fight was to get these other nations to understand the problem. But China and other countries are already producing automobiles that are light years ahead of our big SUVs and even our hybrids. Knowing that the US alone contributes more than 30%? More than entire continents put together? What is our problem? We KNOW this stuff. Why are we still driving Hummers and wasting so many resources? Even here in this so-called little cocoon of "green" type folks here in the Pacific Northwest, we are still not doing nearly enough.

I don't have any answers right now. Only more questions, and renewed commitment to make both my home and my business more ecologically vigilant.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bundles of Packages

Today begins the shopping for me. After much pushing, I've got final lists together and specific stores to hit. I am not a real shopper. I make a list of items I need, plan out a route that hits the few stores necessary with minimal fuss, and make it snappy. If there wasn't holiday shopping, I would almost never just wander into a store to look around. It's pretty rare that I browse around a little shop or boutique just for fun.

So you know what that means, right? When I finally walk into a store I want to buy EVERYTHING for me! And the one for them-one for me rule is really trouble for my budget. Not to mention, I totally need to scale back on my stuff quotient. But head out to the ca-ching ca-ching, I must. I'm keeping myself on a short leash and avoiding the cutest places where I already know I have trouble. A few of the items I need to buy are so far off my radar that I can't possibly be tempted in there, right?

And then the rest of my gifts are handcrafted little goodies that I need to start tonight or tomorrow. I'm finally getting into the season myself, after weeks of providing holiday shopping enjoyment for everyone else. Including the emergency soap and lip balm order that came in with a panicky call this morning. Oh, which brings me to one little note. If you've tried to reach me by phone over the long weekend with no power, well, I had no phone. And now that I do? It's the plug in the wall directly, no walking around the house wireless, no memory, no answering machine, retro style. Well at least I have service. But a new phone is one of the things on my list today. So if you get endless ringing . . . email me. Or try back tonight. I'll be back in the saddle by then.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The lights are on

Storm of the century. Or something. It was bad. First the flooding. I had the sump pump on in the basement and it was coming in faster than I could pump. A new hole in the foundation looked like a hose with the water on full blast -- pouring out the wall and across the floor.

I spent the afternoon sopping up and trying to make headway, while gathering candles, flashlights etc because the warnings were dire. And they were right. The wind picked up around 5 and the lights started flickering. I heard the news report about the woman who got trapped in her basement with the water rushing in and got drowned, and started a full on panic. That could be me! Especially if the power goes out and I can't pump any more.

However, as the wind picked up, the rain stopped and we began to dry out downstairs. Had a little warm dinner and wandered around the house peeking out the windows to see what was happening. A tree in the back yard had snapped and gone over, but by some miracle it fell away from the two houses in which it was sandwiched and landed on empty lawn.

At 1am the winds began to howl even more fiercely, the power popped and within the next few minutes heard two huge planes overhead coming into the airport for a landing. Unbelievable. Cracking limbs and trees everywhere, you couldn't even follow where they were coming from but we knew it would be a mess. Nobody slept. By 5am we were getting calls to see if everyone was alright. Nobody had power. Nobody. Neighborhoods north, south, east and west, all dark. And from our windows we could see lights on the highway, but that's it. Headlights.

So we ventured out for hot coffee and food. Found that within a few blocks to the west and downtown were fine. Home Depot and supplies was just a couple of miles away. All was good. We were stocked and ready to wait it out. Until it started getting really cold when the sun went down. And we were bored. Go out to dinner? Make it an adventure and camp in the dark? And then blink, blink, the block across the street came on, the other one too and suddenly we were in the heat and light again. I ran from room to room turning on every single light I could find. The tree lights, the outdoor holiday lights, all of it. Just because I could.

And then another round of phone calls. Sister freezing in the dark, parents cold and hungry. So we had a big feast here. Got everyone warm. Began preparations for sleeping arrangements, showering, where to put all the various cats and dogs. But a few hours later, the sister's lights came on. The parents decided to duke it out another night at home and just come back in the morning. Saturday was a little chaotic. Picture a 1000 sq ft house with a Christmas tree that takes up roughly 500 sq feet. You know how when you go to the breakfast buffet it never occurs to you that the Mount Everest of food on your plate is not actually consumable. Something similar happened at the tree lot. We can't even see the tv in the living room. So that, and 5 people, 2 cats, and a really long dog. Holiday baking, making gifts, generally entertaining ourselves in 2 small rooms. Sorta fun. Sorta nuts.

So today when the herds left to accomplish things outside in the world today, I needed to clean. Like really clean. Just to get a feeling of control and order back in my life. There are all kinds of people still in the dark and cold. I guess it's hard to find a hotel room. But there is so much of the city that never suffered much, or just got one free day to stare at candle flames and nap. Seems like we could certainly accommodate everyone here and get them a bowl of soup, a warm bed, and shower.

Lots to ponder. Like why people think they can grill inside their homes with live flames. Or start fires in their fireplaces with gasoline. Being the first one into Home Depot, buying every last generator on the floor and then having a huge mark up sale in some empty parking lot to people who really need them and have to pay twice the price. Hoarding ALL the batteries you can find on the shelf instead of sharing.

Can I squeeze in a nap before the herds arrive back? Yum, smell of clean and a quiet house.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dasher and Dancer

Dashing up to Bellingham this morning to restock the Allied Arts show. And the sweetest little shop, A Lot of Flowers in Fairhaven, is getting a sleighful of pretty much everything to stock their store for holiday buying these last couple of weeks too. Love those gals.

Mail orders are still welcome (and coming in fast). They are shipping out the following day and there is still penty of time to get your order before Christmas. And as I mentioned yesterday, there are a few little goodies on sale now too.

Wow, it's blowy out there. The winds are fierce this morning. I'm going to have to chase some holiday lights across the lawn which have tried to dodge the bushes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Secret Sale

Well, it's not really going to be much of a secret for long. I'm going to add a few items to the Special Sale section today. Sort of a last minute shopping sale for folks still looking for holiday gifts. I need to work on it a bit this morning, but I'll have it all up by noon today.

I'll move the solid perfumes, the Holiday Cheer Bath Confetti, the Spiced Hot Cocoa Milk Bath and the Holiday Sachets to that section. They are the perfect size, perfect price for so many little gifts this time of year -- Secret Santa's, office co-workers, teachers, a little something for a hostess, the neighbors, the gal at the hair salon, stocking stuffers . . . pretty much anybody you can think of. I've not done this in the past because I've always worried about "running out" of something before Christmas actually gets here. But pish. I've got a supply of holiday items that need to be sold before the end of the month and why not do what big stores do?

There are two weeks left here -- I'll ship out my very last package on the afternoon of Friday, Dec 23rd. And then I'm closing up shop until Tuesday, Jan 2. Get 'em while the getting's good!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dashing through the Rain

No time to chat today. Just as I was beginning to start a little fret about how this December was slowing down a little too fast . . . ring ring bling ca-ching goes the phone. Huge last minute wholesale order and a few more mail orders. Plus I'm packing up stuff to go back up to Bellingham again this week. I want to make sure I keep that show stocked this year and not let the good stuff run out during that last week of shopping blitzen.

And there's a flurry of errands to run this afternoon for office supplies, like black ink that runs out at the most inopportune times, and picking up my printer order, dropping off bills and packages at my friendly post office. Everyone there knows me by name now and it's quite chatty and nice to stop in (as long as there isn't a line out the door). Please, I'm begging the Postal Gods -- don't take away that most useful of all technologies, the Automated Postal Machine. There are rumors that we aren't using it enough at my station and they are thinking about moving it to some other station. I would absolutely die if that happens. How else would I send my weekend packages, my late night packages, or avoid the hour-long wait of customers who only go in a couple times a year and need extra help (and tape and someone to fill in their forms, etc.)

Dashing off. Hate this rain today. My little cat babies are mesmerized by the dripping gutters and are planted in the window all day, so I guess it's ok for them. But they don't have to go out and drive around.

Hoping to get some time at the computer tomorrow for a little private last minute sale. Check back later!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Do Nothing Sunday

Yesterday we put in a few hours of garden clean up before the rain started. Then we spent the rest of the day putting up the tree, the house decorations and then the outdoor lights. Big day. All of my decorations are vintage and antiques. Old glass ornaments I've collected over the years adorn the tree, the table tops, the mantle, the wreaths.

I was so worried about the kittens this year. They are insatiably curious and are getting into everything. They've just discovered all the tabletops and love to play with everything, knocking everything to the floor and batting things around. But in the end, I decided that I would decorate the tree pretty much as usual. So far they haven't shown much interest in it, except for the great big indesctructable balls we put on a couple of the bottom branches for them to knock around. A few of the best ornaments were kept in the box. And the table top displays are a bit abbreviated this year. Which is not a bad thing.

I really didn't feel like cluttering up the house this year. The fireplace mantle is still a work in progress. I couldn't come up with any ideas about what I wanted to do there. Just a string of lights so far and the usual houseplants. But the wreath is up, the antique postcards are tucked in their little wire rack. My favorite sleigh with a few old Christmas balls is on a little side table that the kittens can't reach. And the tree is so darn fat that it takes up half the living room anyway. Who needs more than that?

So today I've got a whole day of nothing planned. Really. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. When was the last time I ever did that? Hmmm. I can't even remember.

I refuse to go out into the shopping madhouse. I refuse to sit in my car in traffic for even one minute. I will not work on anything today. Mail orders are still in full swing. We have two weeks left and there is plenty of time to ship stuff. But those will happen tomorrow. I will work on Monday when normal people work. So there.

Another cup of coffee, that mystery book, maybe a nap this afternoon with those cuddly little fuzzy faces. Ahhh.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Typing in my jammies

I've caught up on all the mail orders and am beginning to catch up on the paperwork and desk chores here. It's a winding down kind of feeling. And it's very nice. In no time at all I will have bills paid, bookeeping up to date and piles filed or tossed. I don't think it will ever be completely organized, but I'll know what color the desk top is again -- if only for a few days.

Need to find my notes about what I was thinking about doing for the spring already. Weird, right? But I actually need to start a batch or two of spring soap next week. And get a few orders in for supplies. With the spring newsletter due out by the end of next month (in time for Valentine's orders), there is not much time to dally about. I already need to start planning out next year's show schedule, if you can believe it. I've begun collecting a folder full of applications for 2007 that have started arriving in my (still mangled) mailbox.

The merry go round never stops. Just slows down for a few blissful weeks. I always laugh when people ask me what I do during the winter months. January, with its inventory, taxes, spring newsletter, full throttle soap production, year long planning, etc is really not a vacation. It's just the one and only month that I don't have an outside show. Still . . . I'm very much looking forward to a little time holed up in the office by myself (and the kittens who have become enamored with the jungle gym of boxes and bins in here).

Now where was that Christmas list? I've got shopping to do. And tree decorating tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Speed Racer

If everything is under control, you are going too slow.

- Mario Andretti

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Sunday evening, after shlepping the last bin of stinky stuff to the car, lumbering home, and tottering up the stairs, I collapsed. I was completely done in. I had been holding up bravely to cross that final finish line and that was it. Face down in the pillow.

Monday was a day off to collect my sanity. And today is going to be a rather large day of digging out from under the tremendous pile of stuff here. Four shows of inventory were piled up in all corners and they need to be unpacked and re-grouped. Orders that have waited since the end of last week need to be shipped out lickety split. And little bitty tags need to be applied to another round of goods for the Allied Arts gallery in Bellingham. I'll be up there tomorrow morning to fill in any holes. So if you've stopped in there the last few days and I was out of your favorite item - not to worry. There is plenty more and it's on it way. If I can only find it here under the mountain of boxes.

I'm also trying to figure out if my method of always making my list too long, constantly biting off more than I can chew, etc. is helpful or really sinking me. It dawned on me the other night that this is really crazy making and I did it all to myself. If I made a short list, would I be blissfully happy because I was constantly accomplishing my goals and had time left over? Or would I just be accomplishing a whole lot less? If I made a truthful and realistic list, would I accomplish just as much, or more, and not be quite as harried? Is my reaching for more than is humanly possible motivating me to do more? Or just stressing me out?

It's just the season of madness, I guess. And nobody ever quite figures out how to do it all. In the end you do what you can do. Accept what you can't. Be happy with whatever happens. And just keep trudging along.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Long View

I am really looking forward to next week. This last month of overwhelming work is sort of like getting caught up reading a gripping thriller novel. You find yourself so engrossed that by the time you turn the very last page, you suddenly realize that you've lost a whole day (or the sun is coming up), your muscles are so tense that everything is cramped and in pain, your eyes are twitching, and your knuckles are still white from holding the book for dear life.

I feel like I've been holed up, a hamster furiously racing on his wheel going nowhere. And I've been so focused on such small, bitty tasks that I've lost sight of the world outside, the big picture, the reality of it all. Once I get even the smallest of breathers from the relentless show schedule, I know I need to do a little perspective. Reflect back on what worked, what was a flop, what had value . . . and what didn't. There is a lot to sift through and it's a necessary step in making things better, more efficient, etc.

I might just need a few extra hours in bed staring at the ceiling and contemplating my sore toes. But that's not until next week. Today was a toughie. Barely keeping the balls in the air, dropping just one or two, but still going on with the show. And my excitement at the prospect of a stupendously prosperous weekend at Phinney Ridge is still alive and kicking -- even if my high kicks and rah, rah, rahs are less Rockette . . . a bit more Granny Pants. Just a few more hours of work left tonight. Must. pack. more. soap. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Buried under a snowdrift

Wild and wooly week! All this snowstorm and chaos certainly hasn't helped with my big week. The driving around to set up shows was no problem, but the customers haven't been quite as willing to brave the elements just to come out and shop.

So it's turned everything a bit topsy turvy from what we expected this week. The Allied Arts show in Bellingham has had the toughest time. I know they were unable to open up the shop early this week but things should be back to normal there after today. I won't need to make the trip up today to restock, but am planning on heading up early next week instead.

The Hilltop Holiday and Vasa Park shows had a tough opening, but are both open for business and eagerly anticipating a great weekend. The forecast is looking sunny and bright through Sunday, which is a nice surprise for both the Edmonds and Phinney Ridge shows. Edmonds starts tomorrow and we are putting it together today and early tomorrow morning. The big Phinney hoopla begins Saturday morning, and we've had lousy weather before but it hasn't stopped anyone -- so with a forecast of sun breaks and dry weather, this should be a super event this year.

This little unexpected snowball at my head means I have more time to catch up on mail orders today. And be even more ready for what comes next. I'm still hoping that all this record breaking will sort of spill over into record breaking sales too. One can dream.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Final Shows of the Year

And we have lift off!

This is the final week for shows. There are a total of 6 places where I'll be this week, which rounds up quite a year. Here's the rundown:

Hilltop Holiday

Hilltop Holiday Craft Show at
Northwest Arts Center
9825 NE 24th St.
Bellevue, WA (Clyde Hill area)

Dates: November 29 and 30, Dec 1 and 2
Times: Wed-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm

4th & Madison Gift Show

We are taking over the lobby of the IDX building (4th & Madison) in downtown Seattle for a couple of days to showcase our handcrafted holiday gift items. It's a great way to get some of your holiday shopping done right downtown, especially if you are looking for unique, one of a kind things, handcrafted by local artisans.

Dates: November 28 - 29
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9am-4pm
Where: 925 Fourth Ave, at the corner of Madison

Vasa Park

Country Crafts at Vasa Park Ballroom
3549 W Lk Sammamish Pkwy
Bellevue, WA

Dates: November 29 - December 2
Hours: Wed 3pm-9pm, Thur-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm
Link: Country Craft

Christmas Flair

A craft boutique show in downtown Edmonds featuring a number of wonderful local artists.

Dates: December 1 and 2
Hours: Friday noon - 7pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm
Location: ArtWorks building at 2nd and Dayton, west of downtown Edmonds

Winter Festival at Phinney Ridge

Winter Festival and Crafts Fair at
Phinney Ridge Community Center
6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, Dec 2 and 3
Hours: 10am-5pm both days

There is a small admission fee ($4) which supports the Phinney Ridge
Community Center and its programs. Artists (115 booths) are present at their booths, and this is truly one of the highest quality shows with lots of holiday gift items.

Holiday Festival of the Arts

And I'll still be at Allied Arts' Holiday Festival for the rest of the month too in Bellingham. This is ongoing -- right up until Christmas Eve.

Hours: Nov 18 - Dec 24, 10am-7pm, 7 days a week
Location: The Whatcom Center (the old JC Penney building), 1310 Cornwall Ave, downtown Bellingham
Link: Allied Arts

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving Thanks

It was a lovely meal. The turkey was so moist and juicy, the two stuffings both turned out great, yum the giant vat of gravy, and all the side dishes, desserts, wine etc. that everyone else brought were incredibly delicious too. And the clean up wasn't so bad either, with everyone pitching in to help with dishes and take little containers of leftovers. We've still got more than we can eat for the next few days, but that's the best part.

Black Friday. Bah. I've never been a big shopper and my gift list is fairly small. So waking up before the crack of dawn (or camping out overnight in a parking lot!) is so unappealing. I usually handcraft most of my holiday gifts or pick up items at all the sales I'm at. And while I'm nowhere near done, you could not drag me to the mall or department store on the day after Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately I spent the day working. And today I'm off to brave the threat of snow -- driving up to Bellingham this morning to restock and fluff up my display at the Allied Arts show. I'm trying to make this trip really quick before the roads get too busy. And be able to overhaul the whole table before the shop opens this morning. Then it's back to work again.

The weekend is almost over, which means the week I've been equally dreading and anticipating with huge excitement is almost here. The setting up begins tomorrow -- so ready or not, we're about to jump in. I want to post all the details to the shows, probably tomorrow when I can get a chance to type it all up and add links. This will be the last shows of the season, so if you're still hoping to catch me live (instead of mail/internet ordering) -- you'll need to put the finishing touches on your gift list and come to something this week. Cheerio!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You would not believe the piles

It's unbelievable how high the piles have become around here. And how narrow the little maze-like passage through them. It's getting harder and harder to navigate without stubbing a toe or dislodging a stack into an avalanche with a sashay of a hip while doing the little tippy-toe dance up and over the tallest, pokiest items.

I've got Thanksgiving at my house tomorrow. So exciting. I get to take a whole day off from even thinking about work, and do what I love best -- puttering around the kitchen and cooking a feast. Plus brunching with the parades in my jammies, cocktailing while wrestling with the (25 pound!) bird which is headed into a brine bathtub tonight. I've never brined the bird before. I'll let you know if all the extra work tastes any different than the usual Butterball. Two stuffings, yams, several kinds of veggies and salads, fresh cranberry sauce, buttermilk mashed potatoes, three different pies and a gooey butter pumpkin cake all piled with bourbon whipped cream. Yippee!

But today is still a work day, sigh. And I'm headed out with orders. Finishing off a few more things on the list. Making more sachets tonight and cleaning the house too. Duty calls.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blowing Bubbles

Oh my GOSH! It's been days since I've had a spare second to post something here. My little blog was getting so lonely.

There is always a time in the calendar when I stop making soap. At least soap that I can sell this year. At some point I just have to draw the line, because soap takes 6-8 weeks to cure before it's officially ready for use. Well, that's how I like it to be. It can be used at 2 weeks. And in a pinch (like December) there is soap that is only 4 weeks cured. It's not bad, harmful, or dangerous in any way. It's just a little softer than I'd like it to be. I'd rather sell soap that's just a tad less hard than be sold out altogether and not have anything to sell for last minute shoppers and stocking stuffers. I figure that the soap isn't probably going to be dragged into the shower that same day anyway, but rather sit around in a box or closet or what have you for a bit of time before it's used.

Traditionally the cut off time for me is Thanksgiving. And if I'm truly efficient, I get started on a few batches late in December for the new spring soaps. There have been years where I've just given up until after New Year's. But this was the week when I threw up my hands and said whatever is here is here and I'll just have to go with it. I need to spend more time packaging and less time stirring the pot just in case I run out of something. So there it is. I've trundled the pots and bins and spoons and thermometers away to make space for the piles and piles of inventory being divvied up for shows next week.

And this week is all about making the stuff that doesn't cure or need waiting time -- sprays today, lip balm tomorrow, sachets and salve and foot balm over the weekend. At least that's the plan. I have to admit I'm pretty pooped and still quaking in my boots about how I'm going to pull off all the shows next week. But I'm not backing out. There will not be everything at every show. I've got to spread some things around. Solid perfumes at a couple. Vintage hankies vs dragonfly lavender sachets. Gift sets of various sizes and shapes.

Last night in the unbelievable deluge of rain that opened up just as I was headed to the post office with armloads of orders, I grabbed the incoming mail out of the box with my only free hand and the pole cracked, tipped over and the entire thing took a header down the front steps and landed in a mangled mess on the sidewalk below. I have no idea what to do about it now. I can't really re-set the post in concrete -- it's rotted through. Sheesh. Just what I needed this week. I'm hoping the mailman will take pity on me and still pry the damaged thing open to deposit all the new orders, bills and mountains of catalogs until I can figure out what can be done.

And by the way, again for those of you lovely readers not living in this soggy dark hole -- we had thunder, lightening and a barrage of hail this afternoon. Dark as night at 2pm. There is no way we are not breaking the record for most rain to ever fall on us in a single month this November. Such a fun and pleasant place, eh?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Has anyone called Noah?

To see how he's doing with that ark?

It's official, we've had the wettest November on record here in Seattle -- 11-1/2 inches already. And it's only the middle of the month. It's the 6th wettest month ever recorded, but If we stay on track here, we could certainly beat that. For those lovely readers not living in this swamp, yesterday and today have both been dry with little guest appearances by some bright yellow ball in the sky. It's been so long, but I think we used to call it the sun.

Opening night at Lord Hill was pretty white-knuckled I hear. So much wind and branches banging around that they were scrounging flashlights out of everyone's car in case the power suddenly died and they had to escort out the troops. But luckily it didn't happen. Almost everyone I talked with in Bellingham yesterday morning had lost their power and were still in the dark. We were all setting up the Allied Arts show (which looks great!) and they were wondering what to do next. I would have headed straight to a long breakfast. But instead I needed to race back here to finish up orders and get to Snohomish by mid afternoon. As harrowing as the day was on high speed, it all got finished, everything accomplished, and best of all -- it's over.

This is head down, eyes closed, dive in first and just get through it season. Barrel through to the other side and don't look back. A couple more weeks to go, but it's gearing up to a big finish.

I really love those cinnamon chip scones at Starbucks. Unfortunately, I'm boycotting Howard Schulz. I know he doesn't know it and it really doesn't matter one whit if I skip a couple of scones in his ginourmous global business of domination and greed. But it matters to me. So I was thrilled to see them at QFC. Schwarz Brothers Bakery makes all the Starbucks baked goods, and they've begun supplying the grocery stores with them now too. The iced pumpkin ones are quite nice also. Especially with a little splash of eggnog in your coffee to start the day. It's the little things.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The spread

Today's rain was so miserable. The entire day never got lighter than late evening. The wind pelted the rain straight into your face and ears while you dashed from the car to the door. And the puddles are really building up around here. More like Lake Michigan in some intersections. Yuck.

So I was fretting all day long about how there's never enough daylight, never enough time in the day, not enough soap, not enough lip balm, not enough not enough. And it's all because I've spread myself too thin. Again. What would it feel like to actually spread myself a bit thicker? Do only one show each week, maybe two, and really get to do it the way I would like to do it, instead of slap dash, mad dash, barely squeeking it in.

Deadlines and last minute scrambles usually produce some of my best brainstorms. Unfortunately, I can never take action on those genius ideas because I'm so busy frantically finishing what I've already got on my plate. And later on, it either doesn't matter any more, or things have moved on and it's meaningless, or I've forgotten all about it. It's a catch-22.

Gotta run, time is running out again this evening and I've still got a few hours left of tasks. Hoping to run out the door early tomorrow morning and head up to Bellingham to set up there. Zip back, pick up the missing caps and tins that somehow didn't make it into my order this morning at the bottle factory (forehead smack) and then rush back up to Snohomish for my work shift at the farm. Quick wave.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A sunny window

Really, is there anything more happy to wake up to in the morning? I'm dashing up to Snohomish this morning to set up Lord Hill. It's a mad rush of getting the rest of the stuff ready to set up Allied Arts in Bellingham on Thursday morning plus PLU which sets up Friday. There is no time to waste just watching the kittens mesmerized by their reflection in the windows, their wonder at the new world just outside, or napping lazily in the warm glow of a sunbeam on the pillow. Oh, to have the life of a kitten.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Shows This Week

I'm setting up for a few more shows this week. Even though it seems like Christmas is a million miles away still -- I mean Geez! we haven't even started the Thanksgiving menu yet -- my show season doesn't last a whole lot longer. With the exception of Allied Arts (which runs up until Christmas Eve in Bellingham) I only have one more week of shows after this one. But it's a biggie -- 5 shows at once that last week of Nov/first weekend in Dec. Next week there are no shows, so I can prepare for the following week, and so I can spend a little time having turkey with my friends and family.

Of course, there is always mail order and the web site. But if you're looking to sniff out the full selection, you'll need to get your lists organized and plan ahead.

Lord Hill Farm

Lord Hill Farm is in Snohomish, a huge barn used for special events and weddings which we take over for a few days and make into a jam-packed display of crafts, folk art and antiques, all dolled up in a holiday theme. Details for the show, if you want to stop by:

Country Crafts Home & Gift Show at Lord Hill Farm
12525 Old Snohomish-Monroe Rd
Snohomish, WA

Dates: November 15 - 18
Hours: Wed 3-8pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm.
Link to the show web site: Country Crafts

Allied Arts Holiday Festival

Allied Arts of Whatcom County features its 27th annual "Holiday Festival of the Arts." Featuring a wonderful selection of local artists and their work, it's the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts for the holidays. This year is bursting with fabulous new ideas and promises to be the best ever. New this year is a vintage look harkening back to the holidays of the 40's, an on-site performance by the Radio Museum's Midnight Mystery Players, and lots of great events in combination with the Depot Market and other downtown businesses. There is also a "Meet the Artists" party on December 1st, Downtown Gallery Walk Night, with music, food and door prizes. We have a new location this year -- the Whatcom Center (the old JC Penney building) at 1310 Cornwall Ave, just a block away from Allied Arts' offices and gallery shop, in the heart of downtown Bellingham. With such a large space available, we're hoping to have more artists and bigger displays than ever before, and hoping to organize an Artists in Action area as well. Other plans in the works -- live music, entertainment, prizes, wagon rides and Santa himself will be there for pictures and gift list sharing! This is a must-see show, and with shop-like hours through most of November and December, there is no excuse to miss it this year.

Opening Night: Friday, Nov 17, 6-9pm
Regular Hours: Nov 18 - Dec 24, 10am-7pm, 7 days a week
Location: The Whatcom Center (the old JC Penney building), 1310 Cornwall Ave, downtown Bellingham
Link: Allied Arts

PLU Yule Boutique

Pacific Lutheran University Women's Club - Yule Boutique
Olson Auditorium on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Date: Saturday only, Nov 18
Hours: 9am-5pm
Booth Location: Same location every year, smack dab in the middle of the gymnasium

This is a large one-day-only craft show, with exhibitors in several rooms. Artists are present in their own booth displays and there are lots of gift items for the holidays.

Keeping my fingers crossed that we all survive this next round of high winds and rain storm today with minimal disaster . . . stay safe out there!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Tossed the rotting pumpkins? Check! Raked the soggy leaves? Check! Packed up all the Halloween decor? Check! Made the soap, packed up the orders, labelled the sprays, stuffed the sachets, worked on so many little tasks -- it was a hugely productive day after all. Oh, the daylight and few sweet hours of sunshine was so nice yesterday, wasn't it dearies? I'm attributing all my success to the rays of sun shining on my head and into my little abode.

I keep thinking that maybe I really need to live in a sunnier climate. But frankly, I'm not really a whole lot merrier or more productive during our long, glorious, sunny summer months (sshhh, don't tell anyone that Seattle has nice weather). It's just the prolonged grey of winter that begins to drag, and a burst of sun puts me right back on track.

So since we're back to the incessantly dripping skies again today, I was doing a little searching for a pair of rain boots. Why does Japan have all the cutest ones?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shades of Grey

I'm trying to plan out my day and I just realized that I'm bored with it all. It's more of the same -- show after show, order after order, work, work, work. Maybe all this depressing rain has me down. I really need sunlight again. Yesterday's peek-a-boo wasn't enough.

Anybody else still have rotting pumpkins on their steps and Halloween decorations still sitting around? I'd really like to rake leaves at some point too. Or maybe push the vaccuum cleaner around through this dust bunny farm. I just got the kitchen floor washed and 10 minutes later spilled a full can of soda onto it. So there's that too. The kittens have some kind of parasite which has resulted in a diahrea frenzy. I think finally today the medication is working. And I have a spot on my head where my hair hurts. Literally. I have no idea why, nothing happened, there is no injury or bump. It's just the clump of hair. And it hurts.

But it's not all bad. Two of my favorite gals have called this week to order their annual giant pile of soaps for everyone at work -- 50 bars, 60 bars. I am so honored that they have chosen my soap as THE holiday gift for all the folks they work with. And each year that it happens, I'm even more grateful. Plus, there's still Halloween candy in the bowl.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monsoon Week's Shows

Could the weather get any wetter? There are two shows this week during the monsoon, one of them is just this afternoon and tomorrow, so it goes quick.

Meridian Valley Artisans Festival

Dates: Monday and Tuesday, Nov 6 and 7
Hours: Mon 4-9pm (invites only), Tue 9am-8pm (open to public)
Location: Meridian Valley Country Club, 24830 - 136th Ave SE, Kent

This show is a benefit for Children's Hospital. The gals who organize this show collect a commission on the artist's sales, which go directly to CHMC, which is nice for everyone. We get to contribute our commissions to a lovely cause (and get a tax deduction), the Kent Guild gets to raise some much needed funds for the uncompensated care programs, and you -- the customer -- can shop tax-free since it's a non-profit organization. Bonus all around. They are in the midst of a major construction project over there, but it shouldn't affect our building or the parking, and next year will be a fabulous new spot to set up shop.

Starving Housewives

Dates: Tuesday through Saturday, Nov 7 - 11
Hours: Tues - Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am - 3pm (note the early close)
Location: Echo Falls Country Club , 20414 121st Ave SE * Snohomish (Just off of Hwy 522 E onto Echo Lk Rd)
Link: Starving Housewives

This is another one of Cameron and Cindy's schedule of shows at Echo Falls Country Club. We have one in the spring here, a couple at Maltby Community Club and the one last month in Bothell. This particular show is sort of the queen of them all. It's the most chock full, the biggest attendance, the best vendors, and there will be busloads of visitors who stop in during the week, from all kinds of groups from senior centers to red hat ladies. So it's busy and festive and the perfect way to start off the holiday shopping.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday Hangover

Ok, so yesterday was the marathon of three shows at once. I was working my little booth at Eastlake High all day since before the crack of dawn. And when the day was over, I ran out to the car and thought, "gee, it's really raining out here." And after about a dozen trips to the car, soaked to the skin, I drive over to Pickering Barn to tear down that show.

About 20 loads to the car later I'm thinking "Oh my GOD, I've never been so wet in my entire life." Mostly because I had so much stuff that I couldn't fit it all in the car and was doing the jigsaw puzzle thing, stacking the car within an inch of its life, and all the while the skies were dumping bucketloads of water down my head. So I creep out of the lot, the final bins stuffed so high under my armpit in the front seat that I can hardly steer, and maneuver across I-90 with blowing torrents of rain, and I'm thinking, "Holy HELL, I've seen so much rain in. my. entire. life."

Which brings me home. And having to unload that unbearably huge load of soggy mess from my car in the midst of the biggest typhoon I've ever experienced. Which has me howling "Holy SHIT! I've never been so freaking wet in my ENTIRE LIFE!!!! And mainly that I've never been so damned miserable in my entire life. And then change clothes right down to my panties and head back up to Woodinville to tear down the last show at the Hollywood Schoolhouse.

By then the rain had tapered off, and by the time I packed it out to the car, the skies were clearing up and a gigantic full moon was taunting me. All three shows were down in sales. Big surprise. Attendance was down at all of them. Because who in their right mind would go out in that mess to shop for crafty crap? I wanted to just quit the whole damn thing and spend my entire savings on lottery tickets.

But today's another day. I set up both of next week's shows tomorrow morning, so today is the big inventory and re-pack of everything. And a little bit of time playing with the kittens, who have had a steady stream of visitors to wiggle the string for them, toss the shmousie and watch them race and wrestle.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Totally pooped. Self-medicated with mashed potatoes last night. My furnace quit on me. I just handed over a whole paycheck for a new valve part-a-ma-jiggy. My printer is only working about every third try and no amount of sweet talk or kicking it seems to help. Nor does the screaming to any deities that may be lurking.

I did get the first batch of orders out. I must have answered the phone at least 30 times yesterday. And only a few of them were robots with political messages (Hi Robert Redford!) and one telemarketer who wants me to invest in the stock market or something. Ha. With what. Dust bunnies? I have lots of those.

When I'm really tired I inevitably throw myself a pity party and whine a lot. Today might include a pan of lasagna. Because Saturday will be a marathon of epic proportions. Send toothpicks for my eyelids for Sunday.

P.S. That picture of mashed potatoes is not mine. I'm too numb to even think of throwing cheese all over the top of them. But that's brilliant.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Adding Two Shows

I must be crazy. I've added two new shows to the calendar - just doing my part to bring the goods to the peeps.

Downtown Seattle Holiday Gift Boutique

We are taking over the lobby of the 4th & Madison building in downtown Seattle for a couple of days to showcase our handcrafted holiday gift items. It's a great way to get some of your holiday shopping done right downtown, especially if you are looking for unique, one of a kind things, handcrafted by local artisans.

Dates: November 28 and 29
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday 9am-4pm
Where: 925 Fourth Ave, at the corner of Madison (formerly IDX building)

Christmas Flair Craft Boutique

A craft boutique show in downtown Edmonds, organized by some of the board members of the Edmonds Arts Festival, and featuring a number of wonderful local artists.

Dates: December 1 and 2
Hours: Friday noon - 7pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm
Location: ArtWorks at 2nd and Dayton, west of downtown Edmonds

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Winter Holiday Newsletter

For those folks that are not on my mailing list, or haven't happened to stop by the web site this week, the following is the text (with links!) of the new Winter Holiday newsletter that arrived in mailboxes across the country this week:

Winter. It’s almost impossible to imagine this season without the magic of holidays sprinkled throughout the next two months. Just the very word sparks memories near and far of treats and sweets, baubles and bells, packages and feasts, but mostly the time spent celebrating and catching up with family and friends. Fond memories of cozy times indoors with fireplaces crackling, candlelight glowing, and kitchens spilling their delicious aromas. Exhilarating days spent outdoors, bundled for the cold among the snowflakes on the slopes and glistening mountain peaks, stark black silhouettes of trees outlined in the dusk sky. Winter is such a delightful combination of quiet comforts and raucous pleasures, but mostly it’s time spent together with the people you love most.

The holidays are just around the corner, and with all the extra activity in your schedule, simplify your life by having Soapworks Studio help with the gift giving. This year make it easy on yourself and shop from home. We can ship the order to you, or directly to your family and friends with an enclosed holiday card, saving you time, money and worry. We have a Santa’s Sack full of great ideas for special presents, stocking stuffers, teacher and co-worker gifts, or a special treat for a party hostess.

Holiday Seasonal Soaps

The upcoming holidays have sparked a bunch of new wintry wonderful soap scents for a little fun in the shower, or a special gift for someone (or everyone) on your list. ($4.00 each or 4 bars for $15.00)

Spiced Hot Cocoa – Three words: chocolate, cinnamon, orange. Ok, four – DIVINE. A mug of rich, creamy hot cocoa, stirred up with a cinnamon stick and a garnished with a curly orange peel. This chocolate colored bar is a heavenly treat.

Winter Forest – A bar colored a soft shade of olive green is filled with the scents of crisp pine needles, warm woods, freshly fallen snow, plus a squeeze of citrus and spice. It’s reminiscent of a magical walk in the silent hush of a Northwest forest.

Sugarplum Fairy – This iced pink bar is a delicate ballet of frosty snowflakes blended with sweet plums, ripe berries, a drop of vanilla and a tiny shake of spice.

Holiday Fruitcake – A delicious almond scented cake studded with jeweled fruits and a touch of rum. This cream colored bar is lusciously fruity and delectable, an extraordinary holiday treat.

There are two more scents I have resurrected from past years due to specific requests or custom orders, so I’ll mention them too. If these were your favorites from the last few seasons, don’t delay: Three Kings (rich, earthy frankincense & myrrh plus a bit of soft amber), and Santa’s Pipe (a festive honey orange tobacco scent).

Are any of those fabulous Autumn Seasonal soaps left you ask? Why, yes! All of them. Pumpkin Spice, Pear and Moroccan Fig are still available.

Winter Holiday Home Fragrance Sprays

Add a little festive spirit to your home with one of our winter holiday home fragrance sprays. Mist your house and holiday decorations just before guests arrive, or spritz your gift boxes, cards and stockings -- your family and friends will receive a whoosh of holiday scent when they open their presents!

Holiday Spice - this is our most requested seasonal spray, every year since the very beginning --oranges, cranberries, spices and greens all blended together for the perfect scent of magic and delight.

Spruce Garland - Evergreen sprays and yuletide garlands, this fragrance is pure, fresh, spruce greens. Crisp air In the forest, just-cut branches, and freshly fallen snow. Psst, hoodwink your friends into thinking it’s a “real” tree.

Holiday Cheer Bath Confetti

Super fun new bath treat -- these are dots of pink, green and red that look just like party confetti, but when dropped into warm bath water, dissolve into colorful bubble bath. Packaged in our delightful little plastic test tubes with the aluminum screw top, they are fabulous stocking stuffers, small gifts or little tuck-in treasures. ($4.00 each)

Spiced Hot Cocoa Milk Bath

Darling little plastic tubes of spiced cocoa scented milk bath powder. Never heard of a milk bath? The radiant Cleopatra herself soaked in tub-fuls of milk for that luscious glow. Science now confirms the wonders of milk for the skin: the lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, which dissolves dead skin, exfoliating from head to toe for that rosy glow. Milk also soothes skin, cleansing down to the deepest layers, calming irritations, and moisturizing to boot. But who cares? It just smells heavenly. Who doesn’t want to lounge in a big vat of chocolate and spice for a well-deserved treat? (Single serving $3.00 each)

Festive Lip Balm

I’ve added a bunch of new lip balm flavors for stocking stuffers, little package adornments, or tiny presents – Eggnog, Rum Raisin, and Chocolate Mint. You gals know that you can never have too much lip balm. And it’s calorie free! Skip that plate of goodies in the office break room, you’re content with just your yummy lip balm. ($2.00 each)

Holiday Sachets

Again this year, I have those fantastically popular little holiday sachets. Small muslin bags, with a green and red holly berry sprig design embroidered on the front, they are filled with rosehip berries scented with our Holiday Spice fragrance. Perfect for little stocking stuffers, tying onto your presents for decoration, or tucking into gift boxes for an extra whiff of fun. As pretty as can be, and anchored with scent-holding grains, they will last for quite a long time, lending a decidedly jolly air to your household. Stuff one in every stocking! ($3.00 each)

Gifts Galore

Attention Holiday Shoppers! It’s the gift-giving season, and fun bath stuff is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. With that in mind, I gussied up an elfin mountain of new gift packages:

* Elegant organza bags with gold filigree stripes to hold a single bar ($7.00).
F Gorgeous metallic organdy bags with beads and tassels to hold 3 soap bars of your choice ($15.00),
* Gorgeous metallic organdy bags with beads and tassels to hold a single bar of soap plus the clever wooden soap dish and a charming hand crocheted cotton wash cloth ($16.00)
* The Terrific Tootsies foot pampering set, in a sweet little raffia tote bag, contains lovely lavender/peppermint foot soaking dead sea salts, a tin of foot balm, and the fabulous foot brush/pumice tool ($15.00).
* And finally, a raffia tote sack stuffed with a bar of soap and the cotton boucle soap sack, the perfect mini set for all occasions ($10.00).

Internet & Mail Ordering

Holiday shopping online or by mail saves you time, expense, and the headache of traffic jams and crowded malls. We usually ship within two business days, and can send your items directly to family and friends with gift enclosure cards too. Send in the enclosed order form, call during business hours, or for late night or 4 am brainstorms, order from our web site at Spend more time celebrating and less time fretting. Let SOAPWORKS STUDIO be your answer for holiday gifts! One final note, my office will be closed from December 24 until the last holiday party is over on January 2.

Wishing you a season of peace and a new year of hope

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Here they are!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I'm off to set up the Hollywood Schoolhouse show this morning. And it's so hard -- I got kittens yesterday!!!! Two of the most adorable little grey tabbies with long fluffy hair and the sweetest little faces you've ever seen. It's hard to tear myself away from the string, the shmousie, the Indie 500 track around the house. I want to post pictures here, but Blogger is acting up now. As soon as I can add them I'll edit here later today.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Three Shows This Week

It's the start of the Holiday show season and the first couple of weeks of November is about as busy as it gets. The first week of December runs a close second. But I'm at three different shows this week, all on the Eastside. Here are the details:

Red Ribbons and Reindeer Holiday Boutique
at The Hollywood Schoolhouse
14810 NE 145th St, Woodinville
Dates:Nov 1-4
Hours: Wed 4-9pm, Thur-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

Pickering Barn Christmas Crafts
at Pickering Barn (the big red barn where the Farmer's Market is)
at Pickering Place, behind Costco, Issaquah
Dates: Thursday through Saturday, November 2-4
Hours: Thurs-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm

Eastlake High School PTSA Holiday Bazaar
Eastlake High School (in the cafeteria)
400 - 228th Ave NE, Sammamish
Date: Saturday, Nov 4, 2006
Time: 9am-3:30pm

Just a note, this whole week coincides with the mailing of the Winter Holiday newsletter which showcases all the new products. Most of them I will have at these shows, but not the new soap fragrances this week. Since the first two begin almost before people even receive the letter, I'm using these shows to finish up the Autumn Seasonal scents. I have a bit of the Pumpkin Spice, Pear, Moroccan Fig and Cinnamon Stick soaps left and want to sell them before the whole holiday hoopla begins in earnest as we get further into November. So for inventory control purposes, I need to make sure I have enough of the winter scents in December and not be left with only Autumn Leaves scented soap for last minute Christmas gift shopping. So I'll have them at shows next week and so on, plus bringing a good selection of whatever is on hand until they are gone.

And mail orders in the next two weeks may take an extra day or two beyond the 1-2 day turnaround I usually have. The moment the letter hits the mailbox the orders rush in at once. Which is great and fabulous! But I take them one at a time as they arrive and with the running around to shows in between time, have just a little less time to work through the stack. It should only be a day or so. If there is any real delay, I give people a shout. But I'm not expecting any of that.

So I'm off to the races, so to speak.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's always something

Got the mailing back from the printer on Friday, a day later than usual, and after much confusion and panic when someone on the other end of the line told me it was not ready yet, but next on the schedule. Anyway, sigh of relief, it really was done. Started stuffing last night during a mini scare-a-thon of Halloween movies, only to find that I had been shorted a bunch of the letter part. So yeah. I think it's still all going to work out on either Monday or Tuesday to be mailed out. There will be a little flurry tomorrow.

It's always one step forward, two steps back, another three forward . . . mostly I just feel like I'm hopping in place. Like doing the hokey pokey. The last two days have been a lot of very frustrating backward, with a just a little bit forward. But at least there's the extra hour today. Don't forget to set the clocks back. This is the only day in the year that we get the little gift of extra time.

And lastly, these pics have been making the internet rounds - some people are so clever with their pumpkins!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Things that go bump

I'm fascinated by ghost stories and love to read other people's true experiences. I know a few web sites that have archives of stories people have shared, and occasionally I'll hang out in the evening and read a few. Shivering in front of my little screen, hair standing up on the back of my neck, and goose flesh on my arms, I end up scaring myself half to death. But it's fun! And the perfect weekend to indulge yourself with scary happenings, so I'll share some of my favorites.

Obiwan has tons of stories, broken out by categories, like classic hauntings, animal spirits, poltergeists.

Castle of Spirits has new stories each month, one of the largest libraries of true stories on the internet.

American Folklore has creepy stories for Halloween -- ghost stories, campire tales, goblins and creatures. Plus they've got podcasts, so you can listen to them too, which might be fun for the kids. has a library of scary ghost stories that readers swear are true and really happened to them.

Interested in specific places? There are a few sites which feature local hauntings. Moonlit Road highlights the American South. New Orleans Tours has over 500 creepy tales. Kentucky and West Virginia have their own ghosts. And if you're in the mood for creepy castles and haunted inns of Britian, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Ghost Stories UK is your place

And finally, Angels Online has all angel stories. Personal encounters with guardian angels, which isn't quite so scary, in case you need a few stories about hope and inspiration before you go to bed tonight.

Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just a Peek

So as I mentioned yesterday (no I did not write that drunk) -- today is Lip Balm Day. Insert toot of horn. I'm making up a stock pile of the lip balms for the next month or thereabouts.

Since you haven't seen the newsletter yet, this is a sneak peek into something new. I've added a couple of new flavors, and one old flavor, to the Winter Holiday menu. The new ones are Rum Raisin and Eggnog. The old one, which I haven't had all year but did offer it last winter, is Chocolate Mint. I'm keeping the Pumpkin Pie for awhile too, what the hey. Pumpkin Pie season has barely gotten started. You can't have November and Thanksgiving without the pie! Lots of folks go right on through til Christmas with that pie. So I've made more and will still have it available for now.

And since there's probably just a handful of folks checking in here in the next few days, you got to hear it here first. And since I'm feeling so generous, I'm putting it up on the web site right now. Booyah! If you can't wait another second to lick your lips with Egg Nog or Rum Raisin flavor, they are yours for the asking.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Charmed I'm Sure

Hello fellow pumpkin heads. I love Halloween, but not quite as much as my friend J. who loves this holiday more than Christmas, New Year's and his Birthday combined. He's had his house full of decorations for a month now. I've only had the time to spread out a little bit of cheer, and a little haphazardly too. Never got around to the outside. A few pumpkins waiting for carving on the steps, but that will have to happen over the weekend. In the meantime, I've contented myself with a plate of pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.

This week has been so full already -- so much work on the web site, which will be completely re-vamped on Monday to mirror the newsletter which will be going out. The printer is a little bit delayed, but I'm still hoping to have a stuff-a-thon over the weekend and get it out in the mail on Monday. We'll see if they come through for me - it usually hinges on machine breakdowns because they are in the middle of some ginormous job that just keeps getting bigger and my little piddly job comes after that.

Plus I've been doing little photo shoots of all the new stuff. Packaging, packaging, packaging. Lip balm day tomorrow. Each day is a competition to see how much I can stuff into the hours I'm upright. Well, now that I'm rambling . . . I got a crock-pot for my birthday a bit ago and since I've never had one before, I've been trying out new recipes in it to see what's good.

It made a nice chicken chile verde, excellent beef stew and stroganoff. I'll say that the pork roast I did Tuesday was a little dry. It fell apart into a pulled pork mess which didn't have enough sauce for that kind of thing. It didn't taste bad, but wasn't at all what I was going for. I would rather have had an actual pork roast you could slice. I've heard it does excellent roasted nuts, so I'm going to try that too this week. But if anybody out there has a to-die-for recipe for a crock-pot, please send it over. The other drawback to these things, is that they cook all day long (yes, I know that's the point) but while I'm home working, and not away at some office cubicle thing working, the cooking smell for hours on end is making me so hungry.

And I don't understand a lot of the recipes I've seen online. My impression was that it was a convenience for long, slow cooked or braised things that you didn't have time to cook when you got home. What's the point of cooking things like bread pudding and rice pudding in it? Those don't take more than a half hour on the stove or in the oven. Why do that in the crock-pot and waste electricity for a whole 8 hours or so? I guess it's just because people can. Like the tv grill guy who grills every single item on his huge super duper grill - including baking brownies. I'd rather just use the appliance that does the best job.

Also if anyone has a great recommendation for a space heater? Send that along too. I have a tiny little box with a fan that should just warm my cold feet in this chilly basement office. Instead it cooks my ankles to a crisp, even on low, and if you set it halfway across the room it does basically nothing. It seems to only heat a tiny little space right it front of it, but roasty hot -- like my ankles burn while the tips of the toes still freeze. Or the toes are warm and the heels are out of range. Dumb.

Almost as dumb as this whole random stupid blog posting with no news. My excuse? The goblins have gotten me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I bought some groovy new dishwashing soap today -- all biodegradable, eco-friendly, lavender and tea tree essential oils. Ooh la la, right? But I cracked it open and was starting in on some sudsing and found myself staring at the label.

"Caution: may be a mild eye irritant."

Erm, yes? Has anyone tried squirting dish soap into one's eye and found that it irritated just a little bit? I don't know about you, but I find that almost any kind of soap suds directly into the eye smarts. Anyway, if I was deciding to wash my eyes out (well if they were dirty or something) I don't think I would reach for the dish detergent.

But has it really come to this? Caution: do not insert into mouth, may leave a foul taste.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scaring myself

I got out of the house for a bit yesterday. Abandoned all my work projects and enjoyed the sunshine for a a couple of hours. Such a perfect, beautiful fall day. And I began to wonder why I was even thinking I should be working anyway. I guess it's just habit. I'm so used to auto-pilot thinking that I need to fill whatever time I have with getting ready for the next thing, I forget that I can just do nothing, or do something for myself once in a while. What a revelation.

I was sort of thinking back to what it was like before I started working for myself, and realized that almost all the "real" jobs I've had required more work than the usual 8 hour day too. And quite a bit of the time, I was working TWO jobs. Maybe I just don't know any better. Or maybe I really like working more than anything else. I don't know. I haven't ever realized this before now. Duh. I'll have to think it through a bit more. Was I doing it at first because I had to, and it became a habit that just stuck? Or am I always working because that's just my nature and what I get the most satisfaction from? Or is it deeper than that, and I work all hours to fill up a void, or avoid something else? Eeep, scary.

But today being Monday, it's back to being productive. If anyone had telephone trouble trying to reach me the last few days, I finally have my phone line back. It was a broken wire on one of the lines, and I still had the bedroom phone but I'm pretty sure I missed a few calls during all the hubbub.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Staring Blankly at the Screen

Twirling my hair. Shifting in my chair. Tapping a few words on the keys and then delete delete delete. The words won't flow. I need just a few more paragraphs for the newsletter. Or a little blog posting. Probably both.

I scheduled a pretty ambitious day for myself. Lots of things I want to get accomplished. And I have a list longer than the hours in the day, but that's because I knew I wouldn't actually want to do some of those things. I sort of have to be in the mood for a few of the tasks, or in the flow. And if it ain't there, it ain't happening. Like the writing. So I move on to the next one. When that item is done, I'll either try again or go even farther down the list. Sometimes the momentum of getting other smaller chores out of the way will inspire action on the bigger ones. Sometimes it just doesn't happen at all that day.

I don't know if that is very efficient or not. But just sitting here staring at the screen again for the last hour, distracting myself with internet treasure hunting is not helping me get any other items off the list. So I'm giving up here. It will come later. Eventually. And when the spark is lit the fire glows like magic. I guess I'll wait for the magic and busy myself with something else for a little while.