Friday, June 30, 2006

The Glam Life

I wonder what other glam gals are doing on this Friday night -- a stunning, sultry evening, the kick-off to a long summer holiday weekend? I'm betting it isn't puttering down the highway, headed home at 10pm, slouched in the seat with her pants unbuttoned.

I have a lovely, open, shady and breezy corner spot at the Art a la Carte show, part of Taste of Tacoma. The fragrant waftings of the lavender sachets in the summer afternoon sun luring in all comers. These same lovely sachets, however, were not the big hit I had hoped. By the way, sachets are not "Sat-Chetts" (rhymes with Nurse Ratchett), but rather 'Sa-Shay' -- it's French. And they are used to scent drawers and closets, etc. They are not torture devices for small children, but you would never know it, from all the choking and gagging kiddies who stopped by to inhale, roll their eyes, howl, etc. I was starting to think I should pack them up and give it a break, but I actually sold a small number of them. So I'll play tomorrow by ear.

Anyway it was a pleasant day. So many activities too -- a kid's carnival with rides, several stages with really great music, radio station booths, free give-aways, and the food. So much food. Barbeque, jambalaya, jerk chicken, sushi, Thai noodles, melting cheesy Mexican, Greek gyros, burgers, dogs, grilled salmon caesars, curly fries, elephant ears, strawberry shortcake, cotton candy . . . how does one decide? And where's the Pepcid booth?

Can't keep my eyes open for another minute, and I've got a bit of work to do in the morning before I head out again. Glam girl/soap diva/lavender-wielding witchie poo, OUT.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tacoma, for days

Here's where I make my big announcements about where I'll be all weekend. Tacoma!

Thursday is the Tacoma Farmer's Market -- 10am to 3pm. Cherries and berries are in peak season right now. Who can pass up those summer fruits? I'll be there with bells on.

Tacoma's Art a la Carte is the art festival set up alongside the Taste of Tacoma food bonanza in Pt Defiance Park for the next three days. Everyone likes to eat! Especially when it's paired with a gorgeous park setting, a huge assortment of food booths to choose from, a sweet little art festival, live music and entertainment, kid's stuff, ooh la la the free samples - the works! Hours are Fri and Sat 11am to 9pm, and Sun 11am to 8pm.

The weather was so perfect yesterday - a bit cooler than that heat blast we had over the past weekend, and more comfortable for everyone. And it's supposed to hang on all the way through the 4th, what luck! Gorgeous, sunny blue skies and temperatures in the upper 70's? Is this heaven?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bircher Muesli

While we were on vacation last week, I had the good fortune to try Bircher Muesli at a fabulous breakfast buffet. How on Earth could I have gone this long on the planet without knowing about this stuff?

Here's how Wikipedia explains it: "Muesli was invented in 1900 by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. The term is a Swiss German diminutive of the German noun "Mus", a cooking term for a semi-liquid made from raw or cooked fruit that lacks an exact English equivalent, but that is related to mush, paste, compote or the French purée." Apparently the term muesli now seems to be a generic term for all kinds of dry and cooked cereals. But the original recipe is the national breakfast of Switzerland, and a quick Google search looks like it is mainstay in Australia and all over Europe. How could I have missed this?

Basically it's a cold porridge-like pudding of oat, fruit and yogurt. So creamy, so fresh, so full of healthy stuff. I can't get enough. Here's the recipe I used:

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup milk, apple juice, or freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup yoghurt
½ Granny Smith apple, grated
1/8 cup currants
1/8 cup slivered almonds
a sprinkling of ground nutmeg
a sprinkling of ground cinnamon

seasonal fruits to serve


Combine the rolled oats, apple juice, yoghurt, apple, currants, almonds, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir together. Chill overnight (or for at least two hours).

To serve, stir in the fresh fruit of choice.

Yesterday I added fresh raspberries. Today it was chopped banana and strawberries. You can use plain, vanilla or flavored yogurt, and add almost anything. There are so many variations I want to try: banana walnut with a dash of maple syrup, lemon yogurt with coconut, or tropical mango papaya and pineapple, blueberries almonds and dash of almond flavoring, fresh ripe peaches!, craisins and pecans, fig and hazelnut, pear and macademia nuts. I am going to try flax meal for more health benefits -- just a tablespoon. It's endless, all the combinations that can be cooked up! So good and so good for you

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pretty Feet Secrets and NEW STUFF!

A little lesson on how to keep feet in tip top shape for summer sandal weather:

It's three steps -- soak, scrape and smother. First you will need something to soak your feet in. I use a plastic dish tub, but any basin that's big enough to fit your feet into and cover the tops. Even the ol' bathtub is ok, it just takes more water. Fill with warm water and add roughly a 1/2 cup of salts. Bath salts are fine, dead sea salts are the best ever, Epsom salts are super cheap at any drug store and work great. The salts dissolve dead skin and soften everything up.

The next step is the elbow grease. While still soaking, start working the heels, toe callouses, and rough bits with some sort of abrasive tool. Pumice is great. I also have one of those wands that looks like an emery board used for manicures, but it's larger for feet -- has one side with a fine sander, one course side. Sand off all the areas that have toughened up. There is also a Microplane gadget that looks like a mini-grater, which works on real problem spots. Anyway, the point is to scrape, sand and rub out the dry skin bits that have built up, and get back to the healthy soft skin. Keep working away at it, until you feel like you've removed at least a few layers. And if it begins to feel tender, stop immediately.

Finally, dry off. Dump the junk. And slather up with the Foot Balm. It's great to do this at night, moisturize deeply, put on a pair of cotton socks and let it marinate overnight. But it's ok to just put on the sock and leave for an hour or so until it's all absorbed in. I guarantee your feet will be smooth, soft like a baby's toosh, and ready for their close-up. If you did this process once a week, you could become a foot model.

So here's the deal. I've finally gotten in my shipment of brushes and accessories. I have wanted to add a few things to the site that co-habitate nicely with my own products. And a handy little Foot Tool was at the top of my list. This one has two sides, which is really cool. The one side has a natural bristle brush, which I use just to clean off the daily dirt when meandering around barefoot or in flip flops all day. It's just a nice little brush for going the extra step with a bar of soap and lathers like a champ. The other side is the pumice tool. It's pretty, made with natural wood, an easy to hold handle, and a string to hang dry. Perfect all the way 'round.

I've just added a bunch of new items to the site today. I'm still making a couple of updates this morning, so if it doesn't come up immediately, try again in a few minutes. I'm re-loading a few pictures and fixing a few typos. But I couldn't wait to blog about the whole thing!

What I have is a collection of natural wood handled items, really pretty, very affordable, and indispensable for my beauty routine. A back/body brush with a long handle that detaches -- the head has a little hand strap and works like a charm for massaging the cellulite off thighs. A sweet little oval nail brush, that has an extra line of natural bristles that make quick work of removing the dirt from my hands and under my fingernails after gardening. I HATE to wear gloves, but usually I'm just out sipping coffee, perusing my kingdom and find a tall weed that had gone unnoticed. Next thing you know, it's half an hour later, I've covered myself in dirt and weeds, and my hands are a mess, the gloves never crossed my mind. So this little brush sits in the kitchen windowsill and saves me from looking like Farmer Brown.

I also now have a soap dish. Yes. Hooray. Finally. A soap dish. People have asked for a dish for so long. Mostly because my bars are square, and often don't fit into the little traditional soap dishes. This one is a very attractive natural wood, has grooves which channel the water away from the soap, and allow the bar to dry between uses for maximum longevity. Obviously, if a soap sits in a little dish of water day in and day out, it will begin to get mushy and deteriorate faster. There isn't a soap in the world that doesn't. I happen to think my bars last longer than most -- and a good twice as long as a commercial bar. But it will still melt a bit when sitting in a wet environment all the time. So this little number will keep it high and dry, while looking quite nice next to your sink or bathtub. And I suppose I don't have to mention it, but it's the absolute perfect size my one of my bars.

And finally, I have added a cotton boucle soap sack. This is not something I use daily, but I've tried it all week, and it's kind of neat. I know there are plenty of folks who use the nylon puffs or washcloths or any assortment of accessories with their bar of soap. The idea is the same -- it creates huge extra lather and has a nubby, soft texture to exfoliate or give a little extra rub to the soft side of a bar of soap. These little sacks are super soft when dry, nice little nubbly when wet, hold a bar of my soap like they were made for each other, and has a nice little drawstring tie that will hang to dry. It's perfect for adding the last little slivers of soap too. When they get just a little too small to hang onto, just drop them in the sack and you won't waste a thing.

Here's where you can find the whole assortment of new goods. I'm really excited to see if these work out!

All The New Stuff

Monday, June 26, 2006


Yesterday was a marathon of hours in the car, trying to get home from the Canadian Rockies all in one day. And now the house has exploded. How did all this stuff fit in one car? Plus the mountain of mail, newspapers, messages and packages that arrived this week, all piled up and demanding attention too. The kitty was on a hunger strike, protesting the decision to leave her behind, so now she's trailing every footstep, howling and eating her weight in crunchies.

The driving distances were so much longer than we had been given. But the scenery was stupendous. Four black bear sightings, one grizzly sighting, herds of elk, mountain goats, tons of deer with little fuzzy knobs on their heads, more glaciers and turquoise lakes than I can even remember. I will try to keep the silence, peaceful serenity and grandeur of it all in my head while I attend to all the every day business that is stacked up around here.

I've got quite a day ahead of catching up, laundry, orders to be rushed off, and the like. But it's ok. I think for one more day at least, I can still revel in the vast hugeness of life outside of this tiny desk, in this mini office, in a tiny little house, in the small world I inhabit. And not get stressed out about what I might have missed.

Keep cool! Enjoy this little blast of summer!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Road Trip!

A GINORMOUS thank you to all the fabulous peeps who hunted and wandered around this past weekend to find my little tent at the invisible end of the road in "No Man's Land" to buy soap. I swear I have the most wonderful customers on the planet. Special shoutout to Jeanette who brought me a gift out of the blue. She's been following her muse with her new oil painting hobby, and one recent day received the newsletter and decided that she simply must do a painting of the little Arts & Crafts floral design logo that I use, and then decided that I needed to have it. It's beautiful, and so touching, and the highlight of my weekend - I've been crowing about it to everyone who walked in and saw it adorning the picket fence shelf that holds my sprays. Terribly sweet and thoughtful.

And to the lovely gals who somehow picked the exact moment when the two directors of the show happened to stop by the booth and check out the newbie -- all the while raving and howling about how wonderful the soap is, how they found me by the notes on the web site, insisting that it's the best soap on the planet and the only thing they use . . . Oh. My. God. You could not have picked a more perfect moment, or been more serendipitous. They both left the booth shaking their heads in wonder and amazement, and I can't help but think they might be just a little bit more impressed with me after that exchange. It's been a slow and frustrating weekend for sales, and the bottom line for all of us is how much I sell, and how much I pay them in commission. But a few well placed compliments at just the right moment may be just what the doctor ordered.

And my two new best friends, the Port-O-Let gals? Fate brought us together. I've loved every second of our kibbitzing and sharing of the arteest life and plain old wimmin stuff. I can't wait til we meet up again at the next show and can gossip about everything that's happened in between. Good luck with your shows next weekend while I'm off galivanting! I'll bring my own Charmin for our next appearance!

One teeny postscript - for the woman I talked with Sunday morning (who can't possibly know who I am, or about this blog, or ever read this). She stopped by early yesterday morning with her dog, trying to reach the bench behind my tent which is dedicated to her husband who died just last year. She was bringing a bouquet of flowers freshly cut from their garden -- pink roses, orange lilies, purple delphinium, a green branch, all scrunched up in foil. I think she mumbled that she brings some every week, but it was hard to make out. It was Father's Day, and she was trying to control a full-out weeping, just a choking, wobbly, voice, some stopping for tears, a request to place the flowers on the bench for her since she couldn't reach behind the walls of our tents. While I was clamboring over to move them into place, I had a hard time taking in the moment myself, reading the most heartfelt inscription on the metal bench that I never noticed while sitting there the previous afternoon reading People magazine and munching chips. I asked her if she wanted to come around behind the table and place them herself, or say a few words or take a moment. But she quickly stammered "no" and disappeared quickly. I really wish I could have offered something more, or shared the grief somehow, said something, hugged you, but you left so quickly that by the time I turned around and tried to squeeze my bum out from behind the table I couldn't even see where you had gone. I'm sure your husband was a wonderful man, and obviously very much loved and sorely missed. I thought about him all day, and so did all the other folks who saw the flowers and asked about them. They were still fresh and pretty when I packed up and left last night.

And now . . . ta dah . . .

I'm hitting the road! I've closed the shop, published a bright red news alert on the web site, changed the phone message and left the building.

We are taking the laptop, but probably won't have much, if any, wireless since we're planning on quite a bit of wilderness and nature time. And while in town, nobody takes their computer to the spa, now do they? So if the opportunity strikes, I may check in. But no promises. See ya Monday the 26th!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday at the Show

It's been pretty slow and disappointing for a bunch of us, but I met some very lovely artists and have had quite a nice time getting to know them. Maybe spending much more time chatting than any of us would have liked, but pleasant nonetheless. And studying the clouds over the Edmonds skies - constantly moving, marching ever onward, first dark and threatening and then light, fluffy and luminous, always changing, always blowing.

I've caught up on my magazine reading. Made lots of lists for what to pack for our trip on Monday. Contemplated the universe. And enjoyed the live music in the evenings at the Wine Bistro behind me. Enjoyable. But not profitable. Oh well. Who cares. I'm headed off for some R&R in just another couple sleeps. I can't be bothered.

A glass of wine. Hauling out the suitcase. Laundry tumbling in the other room. The anticipatory searching for travel bits and pieces that need to be gathered from drawers and corners where they were shoveled upon arrival home after the last journey. Jotting out kitty care instructions. Loading up the snacks.

Tomorrow evening will be a whirlwind of tearing down the tent, loading up the car, unloading the mess . . . completing the weekend's sale - the moments for calmly organizing myself lost forever. So this evening, with the hour or so I have left with a little gas in the tank, I'm wrapping up as much as I can. - the anticipation almost as important as the actual trip itself. The very act of finishing tasks, completing details, preparing for time away, and making an actual space that CANNOT be interrupted by daily trivialities, but is focused only on enjoyment and relaxation is paramount to mental health. Or so it seems right now.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Color Week - Red Friday

Last day of color week. I took these pictures earlier this week, because I knew I would be running like mad this morning, heading over to set up the 3-day show in Edmonds. I have a little teeny library room which we've painted a deep red. I found this gorgeous Chinese red throw which I use as a tablecloth in there. Each January I like to decorate the house and celebrate Chinese New Year's - probably because I'm so sad that all the holidays are over so quickly and just want to keep going. I found these little plates at Uwajimaya, the fantabulous Asian supermarket here, and like to pull them out for special occasions.

I'm also very fond of bright, red, cheerful poppies. I've had a variety of poppies in the garden over the years. Like the year I sowed seed for the little orange ones that grow by the highway, and had a bumper crop which took over everything. And the smaller little pink ones with the delicate crooked necks. My neighbor used to have a front yard just full of those huge big ones (like here) which have almost all died out now and I miss them. So I planted a great big salmon pink one last year and it must have about 30 blooms on it at the moment, all battered around by the rain and drooping floozily over the supports I've McGyvered around it. Next year I want to add a few more to that corner - these bright red ones and a pale cotton candy pink one.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Must Be Blue

I actually really like blue, quite a bit. But you would never know it from the inside of my house. I noticed for the very first time that I have almost no blue decorative items. Yet I am always drawn to blue things -- all kinds of blues. From dark navy, to translucent teal and turquoise, pretty cornflower, and all the robin's eggs and retro-stylish powder blue. Weird. I wonder what that means?

Anyway, I had to go outside to the garden to find some blue stuff, where I have a little line-up of metal lanterns on the potting bench. This one is the rustiest and most charming. And the row of garden gloves which are hanging out just waiting for their next day's work.

An update on the Bellevue show - the news just keeps getting better! The other day I was so excited that I found out they are using a photo of my soap as one of a select few artists to represent their show on the web site. On a high, I called Barbara Larson, who is coordinating the show, to just check in and explain my distress for not remembering to request my favorite spot under the tree. She understood perfectly and put my name on the wait list in case somebody cancelled or otherwise wanted to move. And I thanked her for showcasing my products with the photo on the web site, mentioning that it's kind of an old photo and that I had better ones. They are doing some updating in a couple of weeks again, and adding the full artist list with links to their web sites. And she was so kind, allowing me to send in the new one which will be replaced when they re-do the site. Again, great news. But the best part? Yesterday morning she emailed that I had called at the exact right time, because another artist cancelled who was assigned a booth just two tents over from my favorite spot and she has moved me into the new space. Can it get any better? It's all working out perfectly! So I will once again be located in front of California Pizza Kitchen, on the flat street, right where I wanted to be. Hip hip hooray!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Edmonds Art Festival

Wednesday is Black and Grey day for Color Week. I had fun choosing textural things today. The top one is a beautiful scarf which I have draped over a table. I love how the light flickers over it differently during the day, picking up bits and pieces of the pattern and reflecting silver and grey.

The bottom photo is a close-up of a a corner of the frame that holds an antique piece of sheet music, framed on my wall. Is this cheating - to have silver instead of grey? Phloooie.

This coming weekend is the Edmonds Arts Festival. They describe it this way: For three June days, over Father’s Day weekend, the charming waterfront town of Edmonds will be the site of one of the Northwest’s premier arts festivals. This year art-lovers will immerse themselves in a rich array of visual and performing arts. Great food and special activities for children round out this annual event.

I have not participated in this particular show before -- it's my first year, a newbie. They have a large field area for fine arts folks, and then crafters (meaning me, and foodstuffs, sewing/stitchery, candles, and the like) are placed in a separate area. It's called the Plaza Area and we are scattered around near the Wine Bar and Bistro and the Kids Creative Corner. I'm in the center of the little row of 3 booths just at the entrance to the Wine Bar, in case anyone is thirsty.

This show is loved by many, brings in flocks of art-loving festival goers, and showcases some of the very best artists in the Pacific Northwest. So I am honored that they actually called me personally to join them this year. And am very much looking forward to plunking myself in the middle of a whole new experience.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday = Brown

Brown is my favorite color. I have so many gorgeous brown items in my house that it was really hard to choose what to photograph for today. I took a gazillion (technical term) pictures of all kinds of things -- a chocolate silk and velvet pillow with an exotic peacock feather pattern in turquoise blue, the rusted metal tree sculpture with ornaments of brown and pink beads that stands tall in my bedroom, my new beaded wedgie shoes (so hawt), lots of tins, boxes and decorative beauties, and finally settled on these two. This photo is a teeny charm that sits on my desk to remind me of my two beautiful little sisters (no, that's not actually them in the charm photo, hee). They are both fabulous wimmins and I am lucky to have them so close by.

Ruh Roh! In my glee to join the cool kids in this little online project, I neglected to fully comprehend the rules of Color Week. Natch. I guess there is supposed to be only one photo per day. Well, I got overexcited and posted a whole bunch of white stuff yesterday. And in browsing everybody else's beautiful work last night, it was really fun to see different themes people picked out too -- like texture, or favorite things in their lives, or only stuff that's important to them. I have to make a confession, I took all my photos for the week yesterday morning. I contemplated waiting to do it each day as the mood struck and stretching it out all week. But then was so caught up in the moment that I wanted to just keep going. I didn't really have a theme in mind, but of course I was drawn to the really pretty stuff in my house that I love. So without even knowing it, I guess I already had a theme similar to some of the ones others are doing. Well, sort of. And I've never been good at rules. So there will probably be two pictures each day. Hopefully I don't get kicked out of the clubhouse :)

A couple of super dooper cool things happened to me yesterday. A friend called to ask about the Bellevue 6th Street art fair that I am doing at the end of July, just to ask some questions about it. I responded a little apprehensively because it's a gigantic booth fee, and this year the layout has changed a bit. I forgot to ask for my most lovely spot in front of the pizza parlor under a huge beautiful tree -- which makes me so sad because I LOVED that spot the last two years and it's always the hottest weekend on record, out on the blazing pavement, and I'm cool as a cuke in that shade all afternoon. But there are construction projects to boot, so half the show has been moved to a stupid parking lot. I know it's unavoidable, and it might even work out fine (even though it's a stupid SLOPED parking lot and everyone will be leaning to one side with crooks in their necks). And yes, of course, I'm in that darned parking lot. So I've been kind of fretting about my prospects as we get closer to the date. After we hung up, I felt worse. Just because I wasn't gung-ho -- for me or for her -- and that's not really what I wanted to project. So as I was working this afternoon, I was trying to make a mental list of what I like about this show, and get excited for how really big and important it is for me to be there and do my best.

Then I get an email. She had gone to their web site to get the map, and lo and behold -- a picture of MY SOAP is the header to the whole web site. Can you believe it? I had no idea. I think it's a sign from the universe. And I expect to have one hell of a weekend out there in the hot pavement selling my little cakes of suds-ibles. Maybe I'll wear one high heeled shoe and one flat one to counteract the slope.

Look at me now!

Gosh, I hope after all that hoopla, my photo actually comes up. It looks like they have a group of about 12 artist's photos that cycle through if you click through to other pages. But each time I tried, mine came up first. It's there, I swear. I sent it to a few folks who said mine was NOT the first to come up (argh) but that they saw it after hitting refresh a few times. So later in the day, I tried on my computer again, and my own photo was number one every time. So at least the message is loud and clear to ME. And a few other folks will catch wind of my photo too, if they visit more than one page, ha.

Ok, number two super cool thing. I don't do much wholesale - but I love to do business with A Lot Of Flowers in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham. The two gals (sisters too!), Penny and Kellie, are the greatest. Kellie called today with an order - a rush order - for all kinds of stuff, but a load of Sandalwood soap. Seems there was a couple who came in the shop and needed the Sandalwood soap. Bought all 6 bars they had left and chastised them for not having more. So they pre-ordered another bunch to arrive specifically for them, saying it's the best Sandalwood soap on Earth, or something to that effect. I'm packing up a big bunch headed north to those sweet folks. And to think that I was just beginning to have inklings that the old tried and true Sandalwood was maybe a little too tired and boring. Maybe jazzing it up with tangerine or something. And the very moment I begin to harbor those thoughts . . . the phone rings. This is such a wild and wonderful ride, isn't it?

Monday, June 12, 2006

White Monday

It's Color Week!

I had no idea such a thing existed until I checked in with a couple of my favorite crafty bloggers this morning, and saw all the lovely white photos. So I'm IN! I’m going to be posting photographs of a different colour every day this week

Color Week was created by Stephanie at little birds and Arc and Mav at port2port. Anyone can join in, and the photos can be of anything at all. The schedule for the rest of the week is:

Monday - White
Tuesday - Brown
Wednesday - Black/Grey
Thursday - Blue
Friday - Red

I was hoping for a little practice in taking photos, and this is the perfect project for that -- just setting up the displays, creating a little still life vignette and working on my lighting and editing. It's still pretty new and amateur for me. But it was great fun this morning to see the pretty white pictures on the other blogs and run around the house looking for white stuff. I had no idea how much white was just staring me in the face. Kind of looking at my home with completely new eyes and seeing things differently -- new perspective is always good. So that sealed the deal for me. I will definitely do this every day this week, and try to come up with some cooler stuff now that I know about it and have time to look around better. These little white goodies were spur of the moment -- without my first cup of coffee even. Not that I'm making any excuses . . . I just hope that I can come up with some more really pretty pictures as the week goes on.

Thanks for the great idea!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Well the yellow pillowcase covers for the front porch chair was roundly boo'ed by my roomie. "Ewww, other people's sheets." So off they go.

However I did think the most colorful sheet did quite a nice job at the market the other day. So that part is staying. And the sewing project will probably not happen this week. I'm looking ahead to next week, and realizing that I have too many other things to do to get ready, and not enough time for extra projects. With the Tacoma Market on Thursday and Edmonds Arts Festival on Friday through Sunday, I've got to make the next few days very productive and meaningful. Did I mention that I am going on vacation the following week? I am. For a whole week. I think that's a first.

Since I started this business 10 years ago, I always close up shop for the week between Christmas and New Year's. Take the whole week off and just do holiday stuff. But throughout the rest of the year, if I take any time off at all, it's just a few days, like a long weekend. I don't think I've ever taken a whole Monday through the following Sunday type thingie. So very exciting. And it's a road trip to boot. After tearing down Sunday night at Edmonds, I'm going to have rush through the unpacking and financial stuff quickly, because we leave Monday morning. So I need to squeeze in some vacation preparation stuff this week too.

I'm using this weekend as a concentrated working weekend. Getting vast amounts of all of it done. Plus we're doing an early Father's Day tomorrow too, since that will get lost in the shuffle next week. I've got sprays to label, rounds of salve and foot balm to get finished. I finished up placing all my orders for extra supplies yesterday so they would arrive in time. I've got piles of sachets to stuff in the evening with a little tv. Nose to the grindstone, it's crunch time.

Because when we get back . . . the first week is another scorcher -- Tacoma Market day plus another 3 day Friday-through-Sunday hoopla at the Taste of Tacoma's art fair at Pt Defiance Park. So I don't want to cut it too close and make myself crazy the moment I return either. I want to be ahead of the game and ready for it all now. It's quite a song and dance I've set up for myself. But the prospect is actually kind of exciting and challenging too. I'm actually kind of enjoying the push and motivation. This rather daunting summer show schedule may be the bump in sales that I really need to get out of the hole that's been dragging me around the ankles for the last few years with the bad economy. Big dreams.

Soundtrack to the weekend: banging, pounding, and Mexican radio from the neighbor's new roof construction project, mingled with the howling kitty in the basement. Fun times. Off I go.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Nifty Thrift

In my morning run of errands all over the place, I wanted to run into the Goodwill to look for cool floral sheets. I had an idea that I wanted to make new table coverings for my summer tent display by using fresh and funky floral sheets. I have to admit, this all came about after a trip a few weeks back to the fabric store. Crikey -- fabric is so expensive. And I don't sew. At all -- well, maybe I did a few straight line projects back in Home Ec class in middle school. But lately, nothing. So the whole project of sewing table coverings that actually fit my tables rather than drape across and droop into the street puddles is rather daunting anyway. But I didn't want to spend a small fortune on this either. Especially with the high risk factor that I could really screw it up and need to try again. So why not hit the thrift store and pick up something colorful and fun for cheap. If it doesn't work out, no biggie.

I imagined a plain top and flounces or horizontal stripes of several assorted patterns. But who knows what will come out. I haven't measured anything. This is completely seat-of-the-pants. But a quick trip down the linen aisle and I found a couple of coordinating -- not matching! -- yellow pattern pillow cases. I have desperately wanted to stuff my chair cushions for the little chair on the front porch into a pillow case because the current set is dirty and the stripes are tired. Aha! This will be the perfect solution! Got them home and they really are cute, but too narrow. By about an inch. The darn cushions were all scrunched up wouldn't lay flat. So I just had to lay them over the top. Sort of dumb, but still cute from the street, I guess. At least it won't make my jammie bottoms dirty when I sit there with the coffee and paper in the morning, watching the neighbors go to work (or let their dogs poop on the drive strip out front, right at the level of my car door).

Anyway, then I found these three sheets which look rather charming together. They are not even the same size, of that I am sure. So it could all be a wild goose chase. I'm taking them to Tacoma this morning to see what they look like draped over the table in the sunshine. If they are too transparent, too flimsy or too . . . too, then I'll find something else to do. It's worth a shot. Before I start dusting off Mom's old sewing machine and sweating over the bobbin thing-a-ma-bob, I want to see what they look like outside, and with all my other display pieces. It could be a circus of too much everything also. Hey, come to my soap circus! No, it's not the hallucinogenic drugs, darling, it's just my floral sheet explosion.

And I was quite taken by the lovely brown tree branches in this sheet too -- which I'm hoping to use for a table covering for the fall. Sort of simple and zen, sort of retro. And I'm really big into trees. So of course it had to come home with me too. But really, it was all so cheap, cheap, cheap, who can resist?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ruby Grapefruit

The delectable aroma of grapefruit has a pronounced impact on the senses and emotions. In aromatherapy applications, grapefruit is refreshing, cheering, euphoria-inducing and energizing. Grapefruit's sweet and familiar aroma can evoke warm feelings that melt sour dispositions. Grapefruit is a "releasing" oil -- so personalities that tend to harbor resentment or keep emotions bottled up can benefit from inhaling this oil.

Another pretty cool effect that's just been found - it’s been proven in a recent study of smells conducted by the Smell and Taste Institute in Chicago that the scent of grapefruit makes women appear from six to ten years younger to men. "How old do you think she is?” Bob whispered to Ted after they walked away from the receptionist. “That’s easy. She’s 35,” Ted replied confidently. Bob chuckled, “She’s 42 . . . and my sister.”

The study was conducted by Institute director Alan Hirsch. He smeared several middle-aged woman with broccoli, banana, spearmint leaves, and lavender but none of those scents made a difference to the men.

But the scent of grapefruit changed men's perceptions. Hirsch said that when male volunteers were asked to write down how old the woman with grapefruit odor was, the age was considerably less than reality.

Needless to say, I'll be spritzing myself liberally with the new Ruby Grapefruit Spray for important occassions (*wink*).

I carved out a bit of time yesterday to do some brainstorming while I was in my zen-like state of packaging the soap bars. Once my hands get into the rhythm of tying the ribbons and slapping on the labels, my brain goes into idea mode. And I had been wanting to make some decisions about a few things to add for this summer's show bonanza, and which directions to start for the fall. I can't say I made huge progress, but there was some movement in the right direction, anyway. As soon as I can spill the beans and post photos, I'll let you in on it. Hopefully sometime next week, in time for the Edmonds Art Festival. Today is a bazillion errands day, so I've got to head out quickly.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Secret

"...and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom."
anaiis nin

An overwhelming amount of inspiration has arrived at my doorstep today. I shuffled down to the computer this morning and haphazardly clicked on a few of my old haunts. One of them contained a link to a movie which I couldn't take the time to watch right away. But I've snuck in bits and pieces throughout the day and it's so full of aha! moments and eye-opening ideas that I'm reeling a bit tonight. Literally abandoning my ol' lists this afternoon and searching and researching more. It's like peeking through a small hole in a gigantic hedge and getting a glimpse of the most Eden-like garden.

I'm not quite ready to talk about it, but generally it's about the universal law of attraction, which is not a new concept, or new to me either. But it just struck me differently and more powerfully today. Maybe because I'm ready to pop things open, shake it all up and move past this "stuck" place I've been inching past lately. So now the "real" work begins.

Here's Anahata's post about The Secret, with a link to watch the film on Google Video. It's an hour and a half long, takes a few minutes to upload, but definitely worth every second. The actual site where you can buy the dvd of the independently made film is here --

Sunday, June 04, 2006


A sleepless night and a day of lists.

Headache, lousy cramps, hot and uncomfortable, I was tossing and turning for hours. And the cat couldn't sleep either. She wanted snacks at midnight. She wanted to go out and watch the pouring rain from the porch at 2:30. She wanted to daintily slurp water from the bathroom sink faucet at 4 am. I was up every hour in between taking aspirin, getting another glass of water, opening the window, shuffling around. But mostly flopping and twisting in the sheets, wheels spinning about how much extra work I have ahead of me this year and fretting that I either can't get it done, or that actually getting it done will kill me.

This morning, I'm just tired. It will all work out fine, it always does. I'm busily working on lists in order to get organized, focus and stay on track. And hack away at some more things I wanted to get done this weekend.

Yes, I'm one of those neurotic list makers. I would make lists of which lists to make. Can't function without them. Invariably I leave the grocery one at home when I go to the store, and then I only come home with half of what I actually needed. I'm not sure what any of this says about me. Don't tell me. It's probably a sure sign of crazy and I don't want to know. It just helps me function. And doing this whole business myself, with so many aspects to keep track of at once, if I didn't write it down and keep copious notes in my calendars, all kinds of things would fall through through the continent-sized gaps in my short term memory.

Ok, then. I've crossed this blog item off my list. What's next?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

flip FLOP

Yesterday afternoon, after just getting back from the Post Office (big end-of-the-week load: it's done, yippee!) -- I'm shlumping in the door and the phone starts ringing. Groaning and fretting about how I'm a mess, we meet for pizza in less than half an hour, the cat needs dinner, what can I possibly wear, everything's in the laundry, and yikes the floor is so dirty in here I can hardly walk on it, and why didn't I get that done today . . . . but I grab the phone and yes, it's a customer.

"I know your hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and it's Friday at 5 minutes to 5 and I simply cannot live without more of your Baby Love soap", she cried. How can you not love that? Actually, the Baby Love was (or maybe still is?) one of the ones I was considering phasing out or changing up. But she needs it. And in fact, two other people ordered it specifically this week. And somebody else gave it a rave review in Tacoma on Thursday. So is this the universe telling me to keep it? Probably. But I'm a little slow on the uptake maybe. Anyway, I'm still percolating what I want to do. Every little comment helps, and I'll try to accommodate everyone who simply. cannot. live. without something. :)

So the pizza last night was every bit as good as anticipated. And the movie (Da Vinci Code) was just as bad as they said it was. Maybe worse. Sure, Ron Howard made a mess of it -- those silly flashbacks. But Tom Hanks, well, stank. He just wasn't the right guy for that role. I happen to think he's not a good actor. He has about 3 facial expressions that he uses for everything. The hurt puppy, the confused hurt puppy ("why did you kick me?") and the far-off vacant stare that we are supposed to believe is some kind of deep thinking but usually is my cue to mentally start a grocery list or inspect the shoes of someone across the aisle -- just generally nod off. But we enjoyed the night out anyway. And Columbia City was really hopping last night. Every little store front had live music and kewl folks spilling out onto the sidewalks. Restaurants, bars, even art galleries were all swinging last night! I'll have to make a date to go back there soon.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Soggy Day

Pretty lousy day yesterday to sit outside and try to sell little bars of suds-making thingies. Thank heavens I brought my big tent. I usually just bring my little striped umbrella, but I knew the forecast was scary, so I took precautions. And of course, the moment lunch hour arrived and people got ready to head out for lunch, the skies opened up and it began raining -- light at first, heading into downright rain, and settling into a steady downpour, right through packing up and inching up the highway home. I hauled out the tent which had been steadily dripping down my neck and car seats the whole way home, dumping whatever water was left trapped inside right down the front of my shirt. And headed inside, leaving the entire rest of the mess in the car to be dealt with once it stopped pouring -- which is what it had developed into by the time I got home. Huge rivers of water racing over the roof, down the downspouts, through my yard. So I gave up, donned my flannel jammie pants, had an early dinner with the kitty and watched lousy tv.

This morning I am cleaning it all up. And then back into the regular groove -- making soap, filling orders, hitting the post office with whatever I can before the weekend.

Tonight a bunch of us are going to see The Da Vinci Code film. I know -- it's lousy. Everyone on earth has said it's awful. And I'm not a fan of Tom Hanks, and I didn't even like the book all that well. The theory was interesting, but the writing was crappy and took quite a bit of effort to slog through. So I'm not expecting much. But I guess it must be done, sigh. At least I can look forward to the fabulous pizza we're hoping to score first at Tutta Bella in Columbia City.

Update: The new test batches I made using essential oil blends didn't turn out as stupendously as I had hoped. Even though I used a higher concentration of scenting ingredients than usual, every one of them is sort of faint and puny. One was anise, lemon and rose -- a variation of a fragrance called "Old Lace" -- which is pleasant and not too "rose-y", but just fresh and floral. You don't even notice the anise, as there is no overt licorice scent, just a little twist that you can't quite pinpoint. The next one was Orange Rosemary. I used 5-fold orange essential oil, which is five times the distillation of orange stuff, and it looks a little more orange than usual, but didn't come out as nicely as I would have wanted. Orange is notoriously volative, and one of the reasons people have so much trouble capturing that freshness in the soap. But even the pungent rosemary isn't quite hitting it's mark. And finally, there was a complicated blend of bergamot, palmarosa, fennel, and rosewood. Which so darn light you can't tell what it is. But there is a whiff of rosey something.

What I'm really hoping for, is that these develop. I'm not sure if I explained this before, but the fragrance actually changes quite a bit during the curing process. And most of the time, it's hard to predict. With fragrance oils, it's easier. What comes out the first day or two is how it usually ends up. Sometimes they fade quickly a few months after curing, but the scent itself doesn't mutate. With essential oils, there is often a few weeks in the middle of curing where the scent disappears altogether, and then comes back as it all settles out and becomes something quite lovely. Anyway, with these new essential oil blends, the following morning, I couldn't smell a single thing. Which could have just been me. But after a day or two, I had a couple of sniff testers try, and they were able to detect the scent, though faint. And now that it's been almost a week and they are out of the molds, it's a bit stronger. So it's still a test in progress.