Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Today, Ta Dah

Today I am catching up on all the orders that have come in over the weekend, yesterday and this morning. They will ALL be shipped out today. Promise.

Today I am also sending out the Soap of the Month club packages too. The summer soap gift bags will be in your hands by the weekend, hip hip hooray.

Today I am getting everything done that needs to be ready for the Tacoma Market tomorrow. Well, except for the Bugger Off spray. I thought I had a supply already made up, and it turns out it was just a few bottles which have already sold out. And now I don't have enough time today to make up a whole new batch. But they WILL be done within the next few days, labelled and ready to ship next week, and at the market next week too.

And today I am making more Patchouli soap. It is suddenly the soap of the moment. Who knew there were so many folks that use this particular bar of soap exclusively? Or at least regularly? I can't believe how many folks now order it 8 at a time, every other month or so. And it seems like there is not a single order that comes in without at least 1 or 2 patchouli bars in the list. So -- dandy. Happy to oblige. I'll keep it coming. Cheers!

Note: I've added a couple of new craft blogs to the list -- beautiful work, lovely women, so interesting to get a glimpse into their lives.

Anahata Katkin

And also Whip Up, which is a different sort of craft blog. It's a whole gaggle of crafters which contribute posts, bunches of links, and fun projects to try. It's a wealth of good stuff.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bungle in the Jungle

Yesterday I was wondering what most people do on the long weekend -- head out of town for vacation? party with friends and family on patios and decks? big house projects? As it turned out, I did not much of anything. But it wasn't even planned. If I had made a real plan to just "do nothing" and relax, I could have anticipated it, let go of the actual plans I had and expectations for getting stuff done. And just let loose, slept in, stocked up on snacks and movies, or something along those lines. It's just that the weather was so crappy for most of it.

So we did the usual shopping chores, half-heartedly attempted catching up on some work tasks, cancelled the huge basement organization project due to bad timing, grilled dinner once but had to rush back in between meat turnings because it was so cold, and then eat inside with the heat on, and made lists of other projects we'd like to accomplish if there is ever another weekend free that actually has nice weather -- just a lot of meh.

And then Monday it finally cleared up enough to head outside. The single one thing I wanted to accomplish this weekend was the carving out of the jungle. We have an empty lot next door. And it's a bigger jungle than I've ever seen it -- the blackberries, ivy and creeping morning glory vine are out of control. And they not only cross the line into my flower beds daily, they are threatening to devour my fence and trees too. So I had purchased new clippers and hackers and gloves, donned the knee-high rubber boots and long sleeves, and headed over to rescue the fence. I chopped a little path along the whole length. That should last about five minutes. And we sawed and nipped and wrestled the tree-trunk size ivy off the fence completely. It looks great. Again, it should last about five minutes. It's so hopeless. The weeds always win. Why isn't the rest of the garden as strong and healthy as the stupid stuff I want gone?

After about half a day, we were covered in dirt, bugs, and sweat, exhausted to the point of dizziness, and so stiff and sore we coudn't walk -- well we could shuffle, hunched over like grannies. Oh, the grunting and swearing. But the yard looks really great. The birds and squirrels can enjoy it all week, now that it's finally sunny and nice, while we are back at work today. Anyway, at least something substantial was accomplished. What did you do?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tea for Me

Yesteray I missed the torrential rains in Tacoma. But it was so decadent to have an extra day this week to just catch up on some things that have been laying around waiting for a few free moments. Like planning ahead for the seasonal stuff for fall and winter. Researching and surfing the internet for ideas, packaging, pricing. It takes a whole lot more time than one would think. It's actually a pretty huge undertaking. And when random folks approach me to ask where I found a certain container or supplier or ribbon it's always a dilemma. My standard policy is not to reveal my sources, heh, like a secret spy. It's not that I want to be rude or uncharitable. It's just that this is a LOT of work, and one of my trademarks. And if I give away the store, so to speak, to anyone who comes along -- well, then I've lost my uniqueness and my trademark stuff. And they've gotten some really cool stuff for free, with no intention of contributing to the effort. But I digress.

Anyone used the new home fragrance reed diffusers? They caught my eye yesterday and I think they might be kind of cool. It's a bottle of fragrance oil (and some of the bottles, vases or glass containers are gorgeously striking) which holds 6 to 12 reed diffuser sticks. The concept is that the reeds wick up the fragrance and subtly disperse it in the air. So it's like a non-stop room fragrance or air-freshener -- but way cooler than some crappy plastic plug-in, and obviously nicer scents. Doesn't have the smoke or mess or cost of candles, which you can't burn when you're not there to watch them. Lasts for months on end, not like the sprays which last just a few hours or less. And it's just a very pretty thing to have sitting on a table. I'm going to experiment with a couple and see if they actually work. I had seen them at the retail show in January and sort of thought they were a gimmick, because I couldn't tell if they smelled at all. However, there were a bunch of them in one single booth, with candles and soaps and other things, so the whole placed smelled. I need to test one at home. Course I've got no nose, so I'm going to have to ask people if they can smell anything. Well, maybe my house isn't the best test anyway, it ALWAYS smells in here, duh. Hmm. Well, I can farm it out to my sister or something. Have to think about that.

And I rummaged around my arsenol of leftover essential and fragrance oils, searched out all the newly released stuff, and surfed around a bunch of trendy fragrance sites. I like to check perfume and cosmetic giants, boutique and upscale candles, other popular soap and bath lines, etc. just to catch up on the trends and see what's out there. And then do something else entirely, heh. I have a huge thing against copy catting -- I have to give it my own twist and tweak at the very least. Like if I've seen a super cool name I may riff on that, but put together my own fantasy fragrance to match it. Or if I find a scent I am in love with, I make up a little different riff and a totally new name. It just makes my blood boil when I see new soapmakers (or anybody else) start up a line of products with the exact same names and scents that I (or others) are already doing. Petty rant -- but yes, there are a few newer soapmakers which have watched my sales at shows and seen which specific bars sell the most, and then just copied it outright when they set up shop. I guess it's a good business plan. I mean they are guaranteed success if they can duplicate it. Even if it's not quite as good as mine, they still probably have a hit on their hands, rather than a dog -- and who wants to incur great risks, or hurt their brains coming up with something on their own, eh? Bleah. End of petty rant. And just to clarify -- yes, there are a finite number of scents out there to work with, especially in essential oils and some combinations are just universally loved. So there will be repetition. I do understand and appreciate that. I am not the only person on earth to put lavender and lemongrass together. It's just the ratios, the color and flower petals that I use -- when you put it all together, it just works for me.

Wow, I've gotten off track AGAIN, and I've gotten right back into the "artists that copy other artists" broken record. Which I had no idea was such an issue this morning. I really wanted to talk about this super cool new soap that I came up with yesterday that I am so very excited about. It's tea and mint together in a gorgeous olive green color. I had thought it was going to be green tea -- which it still can be -- a really pungent strong green tea like macha. But it's got a smokiness to it too, almost lapsang souchong in depth, and would be such an exotic black tea. Tea of any kind is popular right now. And I kind of like the idea of "black" tea because it's more unusual. And the rich, smoky, depth would make more sense. Plus the green bar with a brown ribbon would look uber cool too. But it will have to wait. It's still "cooking" at the moment. 24 hours in the hot box, and then at least a couple of weeks for the curing process to settle down and the fragrance to develop. Another month or more before it's cured enough to actually sell. So I'm not entirely sure what will come out the other end yet. I have a good idea though, and it's thrilling to see how it's going.

And I've got a really fun working list of new soap scents for fall, and the christmas holidays, that I can start to ramp up by next month or so. I have to work so far ahead on the seasons on these in order to get them all cured in time for the newsletter and release. So if the fall soaps need to be ready for September 1, I start making them in June already. And that's next week. I know, right? I've already got about 6 I want to try for this fall. And a couple I'll do next week. I'll only end up with 4 probably. A few are just solo batches that don't get advertised if they aren't top notch. But the process is already under way. The other stuff, bath items or other seasonal items, don't always need as much lead time. But sometimes they do. In fact, I'm already starting to work out the holiday stuff, because there is always so much more of it, and I like to at least get something in production now because it gets so crazy busy later. Like labels made up, supplies ordered or at least a list made up and put into the calendar for ordering in the next few months, so it's all planned out. Baby steps. I'm usually notoriously good at procrastinating, or notoriously bad at being ready on time, so today I'm feeling just a tad bit smug about actually remembering to think about it before mid summer. Of course, this will last about 2 weeks, until I realize I didn't actually do more than just THINK about it, and panic sets in, and I'll be behind again. Sigh.

So in closing this long and spazzy post -- a quote someone sent me yesterday that is too perfect not to share.

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."
(Life of Pi, Yann Martel 2001)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Flowers . . . have a mysterious and subtle influence upon the feelings, not unlike some strains of music. They relax the tenseness of the mind. They dissolve its rigor."

Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The path

I knew I shouldn't have posted yesterday morning while I was still exhausted and crabby. I have absolutely no manners at all. I neglected to mention that sales were pretty darn good, and actually up quite a bit from last year. And that some of the most fabulous folks made the trip over just to see ME, and to wish me well, and to stock up on soaps for the year. I had lots of nice conversations with some truly wonderful people over the last couple of days -- the kind that make you feel like all this work is really important and appreciated. So a HUGE thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth at U District! Sheesh, I made it sound like painful torture, instead of a pretty pleasant way to spend the day and make money while I was at it.

You know the saying "can't see the forest for the trees"? Yeah, it's like that. While busily working away each day like a hamster on a wheel, it's really easy to lose sight of the big picture. In occasional odd moments, a glimmer of light will shine through and suddenly a new perspective appears. That has been happening for the last few months with my soap scents.

I've been tossing around the idea of changing up my soap menu, a lot. I'm tired - really tired - of about half of them. Ones that I started out with and are a little quirky, or was requested to do them, but I don't care for them much myself. They just don't work any more. I want to toss out a handful of them and make brand new ones. I've been brainstorming groovy new essential oil blends for them, wanting to re-direct the fragrances into more all-natural scents than the fragrance oil scents that have sort of taken over while I wasn't really paying attention. I've made up so many seasonal scents, and since they tend to lean towards florals, fruits and fantasy stuff - essential oils have kind of gotten pushed aside. And I've been regretting that. I truly like the more natural scents myself anyway, and it just fits more with my whole philosophy anyway. Some of the synthetic fragrances mixed in with the bunch are alright. There are an awful lot of really nice things out there, and I don't want to limit myself. But as far as the standard list - the day-in/day-out soap list - I want to return to the essential oils that I love. So today I'm going to do a few test batches that I narrowed it down to while I was jotting notes on little scraps of paper. And I'm kind of excited to see how they turn out. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The morning after

I'm reluctant to post this morning, because I'm so completely exhausted that I can't possibly be cheerful, upbeat and optimistic.

The U Dist festival is so huge and crowded, it's truly an overwhelming assault on one's senses. The smells -- incense and cigarette smoke swirling from the street gang bunch hanging out behind the booth, burnt sugar caramel corn, fish sauce and mountains of greasy fried onion rings compete from the huddle of food tents at the corner, and endless streams of people from the hugely unwashed to the swimming in cologne. The sounds -- a million conversations going on around you and at you, all at once. Plus the twanging bluegrass band with full speakers set up at the bar not 5 feet behind the tent, and the screaming and hawking of buskers who take up space in the open spot under the tree right next to you. The early morning constitutional of homeless and mentally over-the-edge folks who walk back and forth, back and forth, bellowing gibberish or howling offkey to imagined songs in their heads. It's all ear-ringingly loud and difficult to conduct business and maintain focus. The sights -- so many faces that it becomes one big blur, their colorful dresses and eye-catching shirt prints are almost too much to take in. And the physical exhaustion -- from standing on the hard pavement for 12 hours, on a slight angle, with aches, pains and feet that swell to honeydew melon size when you finally sit down.

Not all shows are quite this large or taxing. But this is an outdoor street fair of the largest magnitude, and the weather was perfect for drawing out huge parades of local folks. So when the last item is tucked in the car -- usually my stupid chair which almost always flings a leg into my head on the way in -- settling into the seat for the drive home is when the adrenalin finally slows down. And by the time you reach the front door, it takes every last ounce of energy you have to turn the key in the door, shuffle to the bathroom and fall over.

I can almost stand up on my feet this morning. My ears have stopped ringing, but I'm still desperate for silence and as little stimulation as possible. And it's raining. The all day rain that my plants will love, but make me anxious for a break so I can unload the heaping pile of filthy tablecloths, dripping tent and dusty goods from my car. I've got loads of paperwork, a little pile of orders (again!), catching up and soap to make. It's going to be a full day. As long as I can do a bunch of it sitting down, in a dimly lit place, with no sound, I might be alright.

It's not as fun and glamorous as it looks, sorry to report . . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2006

U District Street Fair

Yesterday was the most spectacular day for the opening day of the Farmer's Market in Tacoma. Snappy, folksy group doing music. The crowds were huge -- everybody flocking to the sun during lunch. The flower and food vendors sold out! Quite a great turnout all around.

And this weekend is the University District Street Fair -- the first big outdoor street fair of the season here in Seattle. It's usually a pretty big hoopla and lots of fun. I hear the gorgeous 80 degree sunny fiesta is over, and we should expect colder, cloudier, even rainier, weather this weekend. But that's how it almost always is, and we still have a big party -- so it should be fine.

Dates: May 20th & 21st
Hours: Saturday, 10am-7pm , Sunday, 10am-6pm
Booth Location: I'm on University Way, between 42nd & 43rd streets -- about mid-block, with a big corner space, in front of Finn McCool's.

Here's what they say: "For over 35 years the University District Street Fair has been the kick-off event for the festival season in the Seattle region. Attracting more than 50,000 people and nearly 400 craft and food booths to the District, the StreetFair is an energetic and exciting celebration of arts and crafts, community, music, and food. You'll find a whirl of color, craft, creativity and downright craziness! Join the thousands of people who attend. There will be two great music stages, a special children's area with age appropriate events, a live theatre stage, and a wonderful medley of street performers. Unique local and regional arts & crafts and an array of international food will delight you. The Street Fair is a free event, located in the heart of the University District on University Way NE, and is produced by the Greater University Chamber of Commerce."

I've caught up with most of the order rush that always happens right after a newsletter goes out. Just a few more to finish up today, what a relief. And there's a bunch of loose ends to take care of -- getting everything ready for tomorrow's show. Quite a bit of buzzing around, getting the tent stuffed into the car, etc. It's already quite a bit cooler today, what a shame. But it was certainly nice to have a little spot of July in the middle of May, a little unexpected surprise.

Just found this incredibly beautiful panorama of Paris at night via Alicia at Posie (which is making the rounds now). It's simply gorgeous. Be sure to scroll across the bottom to get the full 360 degree view. Click on Paris!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tacoma Market Opens

Hooray! Thursday morning (tomorrow), the Tacoma Farmer's Market opens for the season. This is my 9th straight year participating in the Tacoma Market, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what we've got in store this year.

Business Deets: The Tacoma Market is located right downtown on Broadway, between 9th & 11th streets, next to the Pantages Theatre and that little park area, one block down from Antique Row. It's largely a lunch hour market for the downtown office folks, but plenty of tourists and locals stop by too. If you don't like huge crowds, come earlier in the morning! We open at 10am and close at 3pm, every Thursday, from May 18 - August 31. The market continues in a little smaller capacity through September to October 19th, closing an hour earlier on those Thursdays at 2pm. Oh, and my little booth? is located in the usual spot. I've got a colorful striped market umbrella (instead of a boring white tent), propped up right in front of "Pastrami's Deli". It's about mid-block, in front of the Rhodes Building, across from the grassy section. If you see Mike's 'Gig Harbor Rose Farm' sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs to the grassy park - I'm directly across from him.

Marketing Blurble: This is really a fun market to visit because not only is there a wide choice of farmers and handcrafters, there is also musical entertainment each week. We've got a huge variety of lunch food tents, entertainment up on the grass, a wonderful array of fruits, vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, plant growers, master gardeners and public service folks, plus a pretty classy bunch of artist type folks too (like me!). We've had steel drum bands, jazz combos, classical stuff, folk music, even tap dancers and Kodo drummers. It's always a party and a fun way to squish a little summer fun into the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, on an otherwise boring day at the office ;)

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I received the most flattering telephone call a week ago. It seems there is an opening for a soapmaker to participate in the Artists in Action demonstration and sale at The Puyallup Fair in September, and I was the first person on their list to fill the spot. It's really quite an honor -- and I couldn't believe they had known about me for years and were just waiting for an open space to have me join them. It's quite a big undertaking, mostly because it lasts through 3 weekends, and is such a large public event. So I'll have to be extra diligent in getting enough inventory ready. But I'm quite thrilled to be a part of this long-standing show. Dates: September 8 through 24, 2006. Hours: Sun -Thurs 10am - 10pm, Fri & Sat 10am - 11pm.

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And finally, the 'Tag - 5 Things' meme:

I was tagged a little while back for the 5 Things meme, but I hadn't quite gotten to it yet. Anyway, here goes...

1. Five minutes to yourself: how would you spend them, ideally?

Sitting on my favorite cushioned chair in the back garden, soaking in the sun and watching the clouds float by overhead

2. Five bucks to spend right now: how would you spend it?

A really decadent chocolate bar or a couple of exotic truffles

3. Five items in your house you could part with, right now, that you hadn't thought of already?

I'm ready to purge the closet again and get rid of some old clothes and beat up flip flops.

4. Five items you absolutely, positively could never part with in your house?

My computer (duh), all my photo albums and loose photos still unorganized (several year's worth, sigh) -- though I'm sure if I got around to organizing them there would be a big pile of tossers, my vintage Christmas ornaments and decorations, some antique jewelry, china and linens I've inherited, scads of dishes I've collected. Hmm, sounds like I've got quite a lot more keepers than tossers in these last two questions :)

5. Five words you love?

Stupendous, Excellent, Lollapalooza, Hullabaloo, Adore

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Art School Confidential

"Don't have unrealistic expectations. Only one student out of a hundred will find work in his chosen field," intones a teacher played by John Malkovich. "The rest of you are essentially wasting your time learning a useless 'hobby'." This is a line from the new film, Art School Confidential.

The other morning, I caught NPR's interview with Daniel Clowes, the screenwriter of Art School Confidential, which explores art school and the whole concept of making your living as an artist -- as he put it, "the emotional landscape of being an artist, with all its pitfalls." Daniel Clowes is a comic and screenwriter, so his picture of being a commercially successful artist is slightly different than others, but there are striking similarities too. Listening to him talk about himself and his work, I couldn't help but find myself drawn into the discussion.

For the record, I don't consider myself a commercial artist. If pressed, I guess I would call myself an artisan -- meaning I have perfected a craft, and I replicate and produce goods using this method. I don't create one-of-a-kind pieces which portray my personal vision in a given medium. Yet the thought process for imagining my products follows a similar creative path. This company is my own personal vision and reflection. So in a slightly larger, broader sense, the shoe fits.

The way in which I sell my goods puts me in the same commercial arts shows and festivals as fine arts artists. We all set up together under the same tents and market our little handmade labors of love to the public. While some artists are searching for the right galleries, others are searching for the right retail outlets. All of us are trying to utilize the latest tools and trends (i.e., internet, technology) as a way to make our work financially successful and commercially viable. It's a tightrope, and often scary.

Another little audio clip from the film: "What do artists think about? ..... he lives only for that narcotic moment of creative bliss!" I laughed out loud at this. Because while it's completely ridiculous and stereotypical absurd, it's absolutely true in some sense. When it comes right down to the very source, the one little gizmo that holds this whole ship together? it is truly that moment when the sparks begin to fly, the little gears spin wildly and new ideas are born. The times when I'm totally bogged down by paperwork, exhaustion, business issues, day-to-day aggravations, if I can put all that aside and get back to the moment of coming up with a new idea -- new fragrance, new packaging idea, new product altogether, some big thing to change or do differently? That's where the joy lies, and I remember why I am still doing this ten years later.

When asked what he really thinks about, Daniel Clowes talked about how he obsesses over "the purity of what I'm doing. Am I guided by principles that lead me to do only my most personal distinctive work? Or am I making changes, that perhaps I'm not even aware of, that are designed to appeal to a marketplace or an audience?"

He's articulated a very important point for a lot of us, I think. The distinction for me, however, is that by design I really need to appeal to an audience and marketplace. But while I draw my line in the sand a little differently than some artists, I am still very much fighting the tug of war between doing what I think best represents me and my own viewpoint, and just doing what I think the marketplace wants me to do. I think when you sell something, anything, you are creating a vision that people relate to themselves. To me, it makes more sense to choose an audience that follows your own aesthetic, style and ethics, rather than trying to appeal to a completely unfamiliar marketplace. And since I have chosen to keep this business very small and intimate, I also do not need to attempt to appeal to the broad-based general public. While I don't want to limit myself too much, I also don't need to market myself as the next Wal-Mart or Costco either.

So, 10 years into this thing -- I actually am the '1 out of 100' who are making a living from my so-called art. This is not what I went to school for. Or what I dreamed of when I was younger. It just sort of popped up suddenly, and has evolved into this "what I do for a living" business. I am much more drawn to the 'artist' mindset than I am the entrepreneurial businessman mindset. So I'm very much looking forward to seeing this film and having a few laughs over the lampooning of art as business.

The interview is on NPR's website -- where you can listen to the actual interview and find out more.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Thank you!

What a beautiful weekend! Perfect weather for the first little cookout on the patio with Mom.

From my overflowing little in-box this morning, it seems the Summer Newsletter has indeed arrived. I also received one of the nicest little notes about my products, from a long-time loyal customer. It truly brightened my day. In fact, I had to share it right away with my familly. And what the heck, it's worth posting here too, because it's so good. (Hope you don't mind, N.R.!) Here's what she wrote to me:

"Heidi, I so enjoy your products! I don't know how many years I've been using them, but it's been quite a while. I want to tell you a couple of little stories.

A while back, I gave a co-worker a bar of your soap for her birthday. She came in the next week, so excited! She said she had given up using bar soap years ago because she found it so drying but when she took her shower that morning, she had taken off the wrapper of your soap, and used it. She couldn't believe how it made her skin feel! She said when she got out of the shower, she dug the wrapper out of the garbage, read it and found it had olive oil. She was so delighted that I made a copy of your flyer and brought it to her.

Story number two: I get a massage every two weeks. I started about 11-12 years ago as the practice-dummy for my dear friend who was attending massage school. It felt so good, that I've kept it up! She always comments on what nice skin I have and I work hard to accept that compliment because as I get older (almost 64 years old now), I'm getting age spots and little dry bumps, etc. About six weeks ago, she commented that my skin was so dry and asked if I had changed soap? I thought for a moment and said that I had changed soaps in the shower -- that I was using a free sample of the new Dove Moisturizing bar that I had received in the mail.

She said, "Well, go back to what you were using, because it was better for your skin." Then, I remembered what my co-worker had said (I have to admit that I have never really looked at the ingredients of your soap) about the olive oil. I went home, and tossed the Dove and put a new "Breakfast Soap" in the shower. I also mailed her a bar from the stash I keep on hand, along with a copy of your flyer. She's going to order some for her daughter, who has dry skin. Yesterday, I went for my massage and she immediately commented that my skin was back to "normal"!! So, Heidi -- thanks!"

It's just the nicest feeling to know that my hard efforts are noticed and appreciated. That one sweet little note of encouragement will certainly help me through what looks to be a pretty busy week. Happy Monday! The forecast is sunny, extra toasty and another stunner. Sounds like I need to take a little lunch break out in the garden at some point :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Yay! My Cath Kidston book finally arrived. It's her latest, called In Print, and it's all about darling little projects for your home using vintage fabrics. I am crazy in love with vintage tablecloths, wallpaper -- any kind of textile or design. So I've been anxiously waiting for this. I pre-ordered it a while back, seems like months, but probably only a few weeks. And it finally arrived on my doorstep. Ok, a few days ago, really. And I finally got a chance to flip through it today.

Whee! It's so cute. I probably will not make a single one of these projects . . . doorstops? fabric covered matchboxes? lampshades? But just looking at the pictures makes me happy, and inspires new ideas. So fun! I've taken a few pictures just to give you an idea of how truly gorgeous it is -- from antique lace stuff, to the sweetest little ironing board table made out of a flea market find. If only I actually had a laundry room, instead of a corner of the basement, sigh. Oh well. A gal can dream.

After all day yesterday, rushing around and tying up loose ends, I was just contemplating my so-called method on getting stuffs done this week. And decided that there is more madness to my method, than method to my madness. For instance, spending more time on the marketing and announcing of items, than actually getting the items ready for sale. It's all upside down, right? Don't folks usually get all their little items cooked up and ready to sell, and then take the show on the road? Hmm. I'll have to work on that a little better next time. But for now, it's one big race to the finish line, doing it all at once, at breakneck speed. Yahoo and Giddyap, I say.

Summer Newsletter Arrives

Whew! (Runs in panting and flushed.) Little flurry of activity around here this week -- getting the Summer Newsletter back from the printer, stuffed, and trotted over to the Post Office. It's headed out today, and should be in mailboxes during the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.

In addition, the web site has been updated with the latest -- groovy new layout, new products, new descriptions, updated calendar, links checked and re-checked, etc. I'm hoping to get the last couple of photos up by tomorrow, but everything else is there. And the fun new summer products are all stocked on the shelves and ready to go . . . erm, maybe.

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. That was the plan, but the reality is I'm still working on some last minute orders today, and the sprays don't quite have labels on them, the soaps are stacked in their little boxes awaiting packaging too. But I'm working late tonight, and getting bits and pieces done as quickly as I can. Hey, the lip balms are done! It's all coming together, and by next week when the Tacoma Farmer's Market starts on Thursday, and the U District Festival happens on the weekend, Summer will have officially arrived. It's a process, and it's moving along. But I'm so excited to be gearing up for the next few months of outdoor shows, markets and just plain summer fun.

Oh, and all the spring soaps are still in stock. So is the Lilac Garden spray is you're still wanting to try that out. And the Lemon Sugar Body Scrub? I've got that too. I won't be bringing the scrub to shows this summer, because I've noticed that when it's outdoors in the warm air and hot sun that it tends to separate a little bit. So to keep the jars as clean and pristine as possible, with all its lemony lusciousness, it's a mail-order item only. Or if you know you are going to be seeing me at a show or market and want to call ahead so that I can bring it -- that would work out just fine too. I'm all about customer service and making it easy :)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Maltby Spring Show

That's where I'm at this week. In fact, it starts today as I am writing this. It's a craft, antique and garden show held May 9-13 indoors at the Maltby Community Club. Plus an one-day outdoor garden fair just outside in the parking lot and grass on Saturday, May 13. I'll be set up indoors all week, towards the back of this charming little building. It's small, and we are cozily packed together, displaying lots of cute Mother's Day and Easter things for gift giving and decorating.

Where: Maltby Community Club, 8711 - 206th Street SE, Maltby. And the Maltby Cafe is a great place to stop for lunch if you're making a day of it.

Dates: May 9-13
Hours: Wed - Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

Link: Starving Housewives

Monday, May 08, 2006


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without words
And never stops - at all.

Emily Dickenson

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Under cloudy skies

A bit cloudy and cool at the Secret Garden sale today - perfect weather to putter around the displays and find buried treasure. Crowds were a little smaller than expected, so there are some great finds waiting for their moment.

If you need an old, beat up bike with a basket of blooms, there are quite a few. Or a rusty old wheelbarrow filled with posies. Pots, whiskey barrels, old buckets . . . containers galore for that rustic garden theme. Vintage patio furniture. Handmade dolls. Container starter plants. Free cookies and coffee. I've met some really fun and fabulous gals. And we are all doing the chicken bone voodoo tonight, to ward off the stupid weather forecast of rain tomorrow. Crossing my fingers . . . .

Friday, May 05, 2006

Our Secret Garden

Our Secret Garden is the name of the show I'm in this weekend. I had really wanted to take my camera out there yesterday while we were setting up so I could post these last night before the show started today, but I ran out of the house without the darn thing which was sitting in the middle of the dining room table. Oh well, here it is today, in the same glorious sunshine.

It's a fantastic antiques, flea market and garden stuff show in Rochester. Which is 75 miles south of Seattle, or about 10 minutes south of Olympia, just off I-5 in a pretty as a picture garden and property. It was so hard not to spend every penny I made today on beautiful rusty, chipped paint, vintage-y stuff -- which I love. But at the moment, I have no room for any of it. I'm pining for the old picnic round picnic tables, ancient Adirondack chairs, a million posy planted pots, wheelbarrows and window frames boxes. And if you are too -- come on down this weekend.

Hours are 10-5 Saturday and Sunday. If you're doing Mapquest or Google Maps, the address is 18431 Elderberry St, Rochester. From I-5, take exit #88, head west 1 block to Elderberry St. Turn right on Elderberry. Go about half a mile to the "T" and turn left onto 193rd. Go half a block (to where the pavement turns to gravel) and turn right again on Elderberry. It's not quite a mile down the road on the left. You'll see all the charming tents lined up along the road. And fields to park your car. A day in the country hunting for flea market treasure. I can't think of anything I'd rather do!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Little Things

I've got a pretty big day ahead. And when I woke up to such a gorgeous morning, with the promise of an even more beautiful day, I was disappointed that I had to spend so much time working toay. And in the basement at that, with just a little window overlooking a large overgrown rhubarb plant. I'm not knocking the rhubarb -- it's given me some incredibly delicious little treats this month. But it's not that pretty, and it's at ground level, with a drab, dinkyl view of the othrwise great outdoors.

So I stood at the back door, looking out at my little patch of garden with my morning cup, and stared longingly at the blue sky and the ginormous lilac bush which is right now in full bloom. It's got more blossoms than I ever remember, and it's absolutely stunning. So here's a picture of my garden and a moment in my shoes.

Next I rumbled downstairs to the office and computer. I have a couple of calendars to keep me straight. The working one has dates and events scrawled all over them, and are more functional than beautiful. But I also have one that I buy each year just to look cute on the desk. It's called "Magic Spectacles" and all the sweet little illustrations are taken from the Book and Ephemera Collection of the Green Tiger Press. Mostly they are darling illustrations from old vintage children's books and postcards, little poems and sayings, and it never fails to make me smile.

Each month has a theme -- A January of Parties, A June of Playing Games, An August of Picture Books, A September of Lanterns, A November of Fireplaces. I had forgetten to turn the page for May until today, and it's a May of Balloons. How fun!

Sometimes it's just the little things that perk up a day . . .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Raspberry Soda Lip Balm

Today was Lip Balm Lollapalooza Day once again. And trying to get some last minutes things finished before the show this weekend. And tying up loose ends for the summer newsletter which I still haven't quite polished up as of this afternoon. It needs to be at the printer by Thursday morning, so it can be in production all weekend, stuffed and rushed to the post office next week. Anyhooooo. Today was "make a bazillion lip balms" once again.

And I had it in my head that I wanted at least one more new flavor to announce for summer. For those in the know, I've already started making the "Cupcake" flavor lip balm, and taken in to a few shows this spring. I cooked it up too late for the spring newsie letter, but I'll give it a debutante party in the summer letter. I just wanted another pretty little partner for it, and something new and delicious to have ready for all the festivals.

So, TA DA! It's "Rasberry Soda"! Stupendous. Tremendous. Think raspberries and cream, kinda fruity and creamy and almost fizzy. Lip lickingly sweet. Mouth wateringly fruity. Swooningly creamy and sweet. I'm taking it with me this weekend. But it won't be up on the web site for purchase until next week when the whole site gets updated for summer. I've just got too much on my hands the next few days to do it. But it will all be there next week -- the beach scenes, the updated "what's new", the whole shebang. I'm spinning like a top at the moment pulling it all together at the same time as this little flurry of May shows is on the horizon. *insert groan* I know I should have planned it all out earlier and worked ahead. Yes, I do know this. :)

Monday, May 01, 2006


Sometimes it's hard to come up with a little journal entry. And I get a little anxious about how much I should share, am I sharing too much, is this vulnerability good or bad, does anyone even care, will they think I am weird? dumb? or even worse, boring?

But then I realize it's not really about me, as much as just a little snapshot of somebody else's life and brain. We are all voyeurs to some extent. That's why we read, watch movies or television, or get hooked on reading blogs. We are just curious about what other people are doing, thinking, feeling. It's human nature. I like peeping into other people's heads as much as the next guy -- and I'm not really making judgements or comparisons, as much as just enjoying the view. It's not such a big deal.

And with all the incessant rambling, rumbling that goes on in my head, it's not too hard to type a few of those tidbits out. It's just the editing that's a little tricky :)

Thoughts for today . . . in no particular order:

I really need to work on my tendency to procrastinate.

Patricia Wexler makes the best skincare line I have ever, ever tried. (And I intend to do a longer post about that soon)

There is absolutly no comparison between fresh, handmade tortillas (carried on the plane directly to me, still warm, from the Southwest) and the gummy grocery store tortillas. I need to find a local place that has better tortillas. Help me out if you know a source?

Mondays are my least favorite day of the week.

A freshly cleaned house is such a wonderful thing.