Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sand in my toes

The past two days have been so productive. Not in the getting stuff done sort of way, but in the getting stuff figured out sort of way. With no immediate deadlines hanging over my head for a few days this week, I've been able to square away a bunch of little details for the upcoming holiday stuff. Like making all the tags and cards for the new Terrific Tootsies foot care gift sets. And the adorable little labels for the Holiday Cheer Bath Confetti and Spiced Hot Cocoa Milk Bath. Oops, I've let out a few secrets.

I've been able to clear enough space to find my notes and catalogs for holiday gift sets galore. Still dithering about a couple of things, samples are on their way, but there will be lots of new gift items -- or ways to package gifts. New bags for single bars or several bars. Fun boxes to stuff full of items for special presents. It's all coming together a bit more. Not just ambiguous plans but actual stuff. All just sitting here waiting expectantly for their big debut. Later, when I get back from holiday, there will be an afternoon of putting it all together, filling containers, slapping on labels. And then the big photo op for the web page. It's nice to have it ready ahead of time. Much easier than imagining what it will look like (because I waited too long to order something) and just making up a description for the newsletter that is already late. Not that I've ever done that. Ahem.

Oh, and I rustled up a supply of cutie pie Halloween theme gift sets for the October shows. There's only a couple of dozen of those, so I'll bring some to Salmon Days, and a few to the Starving Housewives show in Bothell and a little bunch to the Vasa Park show too.

So I'm off on vacation. Three days. Towards the beach and the Oregon coast. No plans, no reservations, just open road. The weather should be stunning. I'll be back just in time to catch the tail end of St. Demetrios' Greek Festival this weekend. I never, ever miss that. It's my favorite feast all year. The huge tent, the festive music, the circles of little kids in folk costumes dancing and whirling, and the rounds upon rounds of wine tasting. Whew! I'm already drooling thinking about the grilled lamb, the piping hot calamari, the dripping gyro mess, and the delectable pastries with a shot of knock-your-socks-off Greek coffee. Oh I hope there's food left by Sunday. Save some for me, please!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Singing Moon

I am no expert in the phases of the moon. But I ran across a cool picture of a Harvest Moon last week and thought gee, maybe I can use this in my blog -- I'll look it up to see what it means. Well, THE HARVEST MOON was two months ago -- July and into early August. Then we had THE PROMISE MOON. We are currently in the phase of THE SINGING MOON. This is supposed to be "a time for exhiliration, completion, acceptance, mellowing, and rest after labor. A balance of light and dark leads to organization and clean-up of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter".

09/22: Singing Moon - New
09/21, 22, 23: Mabon, Autumn Equinox
09/23: Libra Rises
10/07: Singing Moon - Full

This sounds uncannily right for me right now. The exhiliration I'm feeling after completing the last two weeks of shows combined with the release of the fall newsletter. It was tremendous labor, and later this week I am resting (on a two-day vacation). I have also spent the last few days cleaning up and re-organizing the office and work areas, which of course spills over into mental and emotional clutter clearing too. It's so spot on, it's a tad creepy.

Just in case you're planning ahead, October is THE BLOOD MOON -- "a time for sacrifice, letting go and clearing away to find justice, balance, and harmony. Inner cleansing and the lament of loss. Seeking shelter in friendship, karma, and reincarnation". Goes through Halloween and the full moon is November 5th. Sounds not so fun, eh. I'm a little nervous about what that means for me. Maybe it's like all the horoscope stuff, sometimes it's scarily accurate and the next month it's completely off. I sure hope so. I was hoping to be done with all the lamenting of loss and was beginning to think I was getting back to a little balance. Today is the one month anniversary of losing my little kitty, sniffle.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Birds are Gathering

The birds are beginning to gather and practice their formations in short spurts. I haven't quite seen the huge flocks of starlings that come each fall to the trees next door, descending like a plague of locusts, darkening the sky as they flly over and making such a clamour, cheeping and chattering, peeping and squawking as they roost just over the fence for a while in the late afternoon before jetting off like an explosion to some other corner. This week of warm, sunny weather is a little respite in the inevitable march of autumn. I'm going to take a couple of days off towards the end of the week and head to the beach for one last fling.

Yikes, it's Tuesday already. Did the clock speed up? The past few days have been a blur. Saturday was spent mostly in the car -- restocking shows and then tearing down the Lord Hill one in the evening. There is not one road, one highway in the entire Puget Sound Region that is not doing some kind of major road work, I swear. From south to north, there is constant construction projects. And the driving is a pain in the rumpus.

Sunday was supposed to be a bit of a free day for me. But I still had to work, unpacking and inventory from Lord Hill, which turned out to be a good show. Attendance was down just a tad, and it showed up in the sales just a little bit. But quite nice overall, and I know some artists did very well indeed.

Yesterday was another commute down to Puyallup for the final time, to pack it all up and head home at last. I took just a few minutes on the way home to gloat. My sales there this year were more than double the previous soap vendor's top number. I know -- beginner's luck, the newbie bump, yada, yada. I'm not getting a swelled head. Just wanted to feel really good about the accomplishment and to acknowledge the outcome of all that hard work, if only for a few minutes. So more unpacking, a few more orders, catching up on some bookeeping, whipping up another batch of soap.

I'm working on some of the christmas soap batches, and it's sort of hit and miss. Usually I like to take the opportunity to come up with new blends out of the little bit of leftover fragrance oils I have on hand. Because the holiday season requires so darn much soap, lends itself to fantasy and whimsy, and frankly there is just so much leftover stuff to get rid of before the big January inventory (for tax purposes). There's a mountain of bottles that have just a small amount of stuff left in them. And it's spendy stuff. I'm basically frugal anyway, but in this business you have to use up everything in order to maintain the facade of a profit margin. So I'll throw in a little leftover lemon something, mint something, berrry something, spice something. Add a little more cinnamon or orange -- and then rustle through my well-thumbed list of holiday notes, hum along a few christmas carols and pull a new name out of the hat. There's been "Jingle Bell," "Jack Frost," "Winter Wonderland" and the silly "Holiday Hoopla" something or other. Last night's soap was a little fruity vanilla, candy mint, red berry and cinnamon spice which was starting to smell a little like a sugar plum or candy thingamajig. I'll have to see how it mellows out in a couple of weeks before the name settles in. Sometimes it turns out great, and sometimes it's a bomb.

The bomb's you will not see on the list. I just sneak them into a couple of shows and if they really don't go anywhere, they end up in the sale bins by next spring and summer. The good ones end up in the newsletter and become a bonafide seasonal soap. Today is another little experiment - but this one has to be a definite go. It's Mexican Cocoa (working name, may change). I've got various types of chocolate fragrance left over -- from several years of a Hot Cocoa soap that is always popular during the holidays. And I'm adding some cinnamon, orange, possibly a titch of almond. A yummy, spicy chocolate soap, which I think will do well. What do I know? I usually guess wrong. But I've discussed this before. How can my instincts on what will do well be so bad? Yet somehow I've come up with enough good stuff or I wouldn't still be in business and doing alright. The bottom line? It's a crap shoot. And I could spend all day long second guessing myself. Or just keep pumping it out and what goes, goes. And what doesn't makes the bargain bin hunters happy. :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

News Bites

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle the last couple of weeks, some other things have been happening. Some quick updates about stuff:

1. Allied Arts of Whatcom Country sponsors the Holiday Festival of the Arts each year. It's a gallery style show that they put on in some sort of unleased business space -- ususally runs mid-November through Christmas eve. And I've participated in it for at least 9 years I think. Seems like I joined this show my first year in business and it's been wildly successful for me, even though the driving back and forth to Bellingham each week in the middle of my busiest show season is wildly insane. I love this show. However this year, the organization hit some rough spots. The very heart of the show, Judy Taylor, who organizes it, runs it, keeps all the books impeccably accurate, and is our rock -- quit. Then the director left a month ago and one of the board members is acting as interim director. And they've had a dickens of a time getting a new location this year - after we lost our space of a few years in a row. So with less than two months to go, when we are usually beginning to advertise and build up excitement, it looked lost. But the great news? Judy is BACK! She has rejoined the staff to get the train back on track and keep all us lost little hens together again this year. And they've (almost) got a space completed. I guess the ink is not quite dry on the contract, but pending something crazy, it will be in the old Penney's building in downtown Bellingham, on Cornwall street, about a block away from the office. A huge space that should be fabulous for us. Plus they are working on a theme this year -- Post War 1945. Don't know what that will mean exactly, but Kate Clark, the interim director has all kinds of other ideas too, for decorating, new promotions and other merchants on the street. So it might just be a banner year, after all.

2. The Starving Housewives, Cindy and Cameron, have had a little change in plans for their shows. This past year, they had added shows to the schedule with big ambitious plans. But it didn't work out, and they have, in fact, cancelled some of their previously scheduled shows. It doesn't affect my own schedule this year -- there will still be an October show at the Bothell Union Hall, there will also still be the big holiday show at Echo Falls Country Club in November, and Cameron's Hilltop Holiday show in Bellevue at the Northwest Arts Center during December is definitely still happening -- part of the City of Bellevue's holiday event schedule. What is missing is their December Last Chance show, and next year the two spring shows in March and May will not be scheduled. Anyway, they are excited and energized for the next three shows and looking forward to a big season.

3. I mentioned that I had sold out of some things yesterday, and I just wanted to clarify. There are only a few things that may/may not be available if your place an order. The only things in question are soap bars, because all the other products can be made instantly (or at least within a couple of days). Just for the record, soap needs to cure for 6-8 weeks before I sell it. It's actually safe for use at 2 weeks and good to go at 4 weeks, but it's still just a tad softer than I like, so in the best of circumstances I like to wait a few more weeks before I let it go. So I'm busily making batches this month, and trying to get a nice supply built up for the busiest months of November and December. At the same time, I'm transitioning a few "flavors" that I want to add later this year and early next year, while phasing out a couple too. It's harder than I thought. Because just when I've made a firm decision that yep, this one is really gone, there is some huge request or heartfelt plea for that particular one. Argh. The best example -- the Anise soap. I don't often take it to shows, because I never sell more than a couple of bars and my table space is at a premium, so the more popular scents get to travel. I've left it on the list, because a few folks truly love it, and they can order it online or by mail, and the two shops almost always order it too. But now at the Fair, I was told that the soap gal from last year displayed it and the fishermen around there went crazy for it. So I packed up the whole kit and caboodle, trundled it over and wouldn't you know it? It disappeared like a baker's dozen of scones. Which means that I'm sold out of it right now.

I'm not making more Anise soap right away. It's not a holiday soap, and I'm still deciding if I want to take up time and space by having it sitting on the shelf all year, or just make custom batches upon request, and of course, having it at the Fair next year. So it's just plain out of stock until further notice, or I can think straight.

The Baby Love also is down to the last few bars, and is at the same place. I'm in the same muddled, confused spot. It's not that popular, although for the few folks that prefer that scent, it's unthinkable that it may be gone. I hate to disappoint people, but I need to make some tough decisions. And while the scent is pretty, I've never liked how the color turns out -- the "baby" part turning the bar a tan color instead of the light, pretty pink that I want.

Sacred Smoke. Ditto. Favorite scent for a small but loyal group. But I want to replace it with something more universally loved. I can only do so many. It's just little old me here, and I've got a matchbook sized studio. I can't carry 30 kinds of soap, one for everybody. It's not about to run out this week, but order before the end of the year because it probably won't be around when the new list comes out.

Citrus Basil Scrub is on the runway too. I'm going to revamp the scent and change things up. So when it's gone, it's gone. I still have some left, but it's more of a summer soap, and I don't bring it to fall and winter shows unless requested. So it's available for order, for now. But won't continue next year.

Is all that clear as mud? Can't talk about the new stuff today. Have a great weekend -- it's supposed to be the perfect warm, fall weather. Leaf peeping. Gardening clean up. Last couple of days of the Fair with a free Beach Boys concert. Final day up at Lord Hill on Saturday, perfect for a day in Snohomish, antique hunting and lunching.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What's up with the snow?

I've been feeling all day like it's December. The frantic running back and forth between shows. The frenetic pace of pulling together just the bare minimum of inventory to get through the day. The late night packing of orders, running to the automated postal machine in the wee hours. This week does not feel like a typical September. It's scary, but it's almost over. And there is no show next week.

I had no idea. People told me the Fair was really big and that I should get an awful lot of inventory ready ahead of time. I thought I did. But I should have doubled my expectations. At least. And I didn't plan ahead for the other stuff either. The fact that the fall newsletter went out at the same time and all the new orders arrived at once during those same two weeks. I never truly factored in the two shows at once thing either. So it's been overwhelming and absurd. Working non-stop around the clock, except for the time I am in the car driving endless hours to the south or to the north and back again. In the rain and lousy commuter hour traffic.

My "catch up" items for next week -- I don't even want to think about it. I desperately need to make more soap. And fast. But I've sold out of sprays, salves, foot balms, all my little gift set items, the works. So I basically need to start from scratch again, building up my supplies for the next couple of months. At this moment I can hardly imagine what the next three months will be like. Or how I will survive it. Because I'm exhausted, worried, starting to feel like I might get sick (everyone else is, why not me?) and just plain overwhelmed.

So. I have very complete notes about what to do differently and better for next year. Of course there will be much more anise soap for all those fishermen in Puyallup. It was the first year and it was a huge learning experience. I've already got big plans for next year.

Whew. It's Thursday evening. I just got the last of the accumulated orders from this week off to the post office. All the deposits are made. I've got a head start on the restocking for tomorrow. There is a batch of soap on the stove to be whizzed this evening. And I'm going to bed early. Really early. Zzzzzzzzz. Something simply must be done about these bags hanging around under my bleary eyes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lord Hill Farm

Today I am setting up for the first of the fall craft shows. 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 harvest theme. Pumpkins, scarecrows, Halloween and Thanksgiving stuff, primitive style crafts - lots of great home and gift items for the upcoming holidays.

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: September 20 through 23
Hours: Wed 3-8pm, Thurs-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm.

Link to the show web site: Country Crafts

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stop for the Posies

The rush, rush, rush of this month is starting to overwhelm me. And usually that makes me just dig in deeper, stick my nose further into the grindstone and work myself into a lather. Which usually gets the work accomplished, but doesn't do much for my state of mind. Saturday I worked all darn day, evening and into the night. Woke up Sunday with a list even longer. Crammed a couple of bins full of just-priced items into the car and buzzed down to Puyallup in time for the gates to open.

My little display was all picked over and sparse again. I should be thrilled (and was) but also felt my stomach flip. Saturday's work was slated to head over to Lord Hill on Tuesday for the show this week. But in fact, it all ended up in Puyallup. Which means that I'm even farther behind getting ready for this week's show. I'm in a little trouble. So I should have headed straight home and worked until the wee hours, if I was smart.

Or not. I just decided that it will all work out somehow. And that life cannot possibly be all work, no play, no rest and no stopping for the posies. So I took a break yesterday and hung out with my sisters for a bit. Cooked a nice dinner and watched a movie last night. Had some wine. Went to bed early. So today I should be raring to go and be much more effective, right?

We'll see. I have a huge pile of mail orders which need to go out. I've got literally 3 days worth of labelling and packaging to do before tomorrow morning. I need to make soap today too. And there's a few errands and phone calls etc. Guess I better get cracking. Happy Monday.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Curly Fries

I've been spending all my time on the Fair -- either furiously packing up new items to bring over, doing the long drive back and forth, or working my shifts over there. I scheduled all my time there this week, because I will be ferrying back and forth in the opposite direction next week to the Lord Hill show in Snohomish. Am I crazy? The answer is yes.

The Fair is quite a kick. I've spent lunch breaks viewing the pygmy goats, the angora sheep, the 4-H produce displays, testing out the various food booths (for the record, Pete's BBQ is killer), and hoofing it around the huge fairgrounds just trying to see it all. I'm headed over there again today, and trying to pack up a few orders quickly this morning before I have to run out the door again.

This weekend needs to be massively productive in trying to get inventory together for next week's other show. The stress of the last month has finally settled in I guess. That zit I mentioned? Turns out to be the dreaded herpes virus. Never had one in my whole life. Ever. How awful. Here's a quick primer that I just learned about the virus. At least 80% of the population has this thing in their bodies. It lies dormant, living in hiding in your spine. A number of factors will bring on a flare-up -- mostly stress, hormones (with women it's tied to the onset of a period usuallly), low immune system, sun exposure. It travels up the nerve fibers and causes little outbreaks of cold sores on your mouth or fever blisters on your upper lip, lasts about a week, and then dies back down the nerve endings and goes back to resting until the next time. Nobody knows exactly how it happens, but it is contagious, obviously. It's just so uncertain when, where or how it travels, because the virus mostly hides and breaks out only in specific conditions. Oh, and there is no cure. Yippee. How does one go this many years (mumble, mumble, more than 40) and suddenly get it now? So weird. And so stupid.

Well, that was enough over-sharing for one day. I'm just so mad and frustrated about it just showing up now.

So, to end on a high note? I just got word that I was accepted into the Phinney Ridge show again for December. This was my best show for the entire year in 2005 and I was biting my nails that I might not get in again this time. But I'm IN!!!! So I've just added it to the calendar on the web site. I absolutely love that show. Coolest artists ever. Coolest customers ever. So many people, so much fun -- the last show of the year and it's always a blow-out before Christmas. So very much looking forward to it again this year. Yay!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Alphabet Soup

Got a really early start this morning. The laundry is done. All the orders that have come in during the last few days are in the works and will go out today for sure. I'm brainstorming all kinds of new things to bring to Puyallup for the Fair -- it's going swimmingly, the crowds are shopping like mad, and I want to plump up my display to the max when I head back there tomorrow.

I am hoping to be so busy in my little studio today that all jabber about the 9/11 anniversary escapes me. Not that I'm belittling the importance of the event or it's place in history or current events. I'm just so, so tired of the overblown media hype, its use as a political tool, and the sheer self-indulgence it's become when compared with the magnitude of world events. I had one small moment this morning when I remembered what it felt like that day. And I'd like to never repeat it, myself, while fully knowing that some people on this planet live in that shock and horror on a regular basis. It's unimaginable.

So back to the chugging along in the little world of Soapworks. The pear soap seems to be a perfect hit. The French Lavender Spray has become a top seller immediately. Patchouli is very popular in Puyallup. The lack of sleep has inspired a new zit to appear on my face. I tried a new version of date/walnut/banana muesli that is amazing. Asian pears rock. A cup of strong black tea is the antidote to everything. September sunshine is such a unique and vivid shade of blue. Jury duty is the pits and they've hit me up AGAIN! And if anyone has a miracle cure for losing 10 lbs fast, give me a holler. I need to squeeze back in the fall wardrobe stat.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Eeeeek! The phone has NOT stopped ringing today. I'm not complaining. No way. Just surprised, I guess. And I'm not sure why. I always know that the few days after I send out the newsletter it's going to be hopping, but somehow I'm always a little taken aback that yes, people actually care, yet again.

Questions, orders, someone who saw my products and wants to know if I'll do their show, do I teach classes, what are the dates and hours for that one show in my neighborhood, and then . . . drumroll please . . . the Fair calling to say that they are already running out of products and will I be bringing in more tomorrow. Ta Dah! They've only been open HALF A DAY! Said the stuff was blowing out of there and they had already taken all my backstock out to the floor. Well most of it. I had a bunch of stuff already put together that I was planning on taking in when I go tomorrow morning to work my shift. But that set me right back on my heels. Spent the better part of the afternoon zipping up quite a bit more to take in there.

Which is all good. But rearranges my priorities a little. Yesterday afternoon I had just one order pending and was thinking lah dee dah I've got all day to work on it. Then last night a couple more orders came in. And this morning a few more pinged into the mailbox. And I was still thinking I could pop those off in the mail by the end of the day today. But it was not to be.

So it's looking like I'll be stuffing in work minutes around all my weekend shifts, and that I've got a much bigger Monday planned. Because of course there will be another pile added on over the weekend. So it's off to the races.

(and please, don't let any of this chatter deter you from calling, ordering, stopping by, or whatever you had in mind. that's what I'm here for and I love it. it just might take an extra day before the package shows up in the mailbox this week)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Puyallup Fair

They say it's a doozy of a fair this year. :)

So I'm going to have my wares at the Puyallup Fair this year. First time ever. I am a part of the "Artists in Action" area, which is in the Merchants Building -- the lower level of the Grandstand, at the west end, next to the Fisher Scone windows. It's sort of a boutique style craft show, with lots of pottery and fiber arts, demos every day with artists demonstrating their techniques and craft. And I'm really honored to have been invited to display my products there too. I'm working a bunch of shifts, but not actually demonstrating how to make soap while I'm there. It's a central cashier style thing, with all of us in baseball caps milling around on the floor, meeting and greeting our guests. Oh, and stuffing our faces with fair burgers, scones, deep-fried twinkies, chili cheese fries and um, stuff during our breaks. Ooof.

Of course the fair itself is great fun. So many food booths you can't possibly decide what to treat yourself to. Rides and shows. Rodeos and concerts. Vendors hawking a million gadgets and goods. So if you're headed to the fair in the next couple of weeks, stop by the Artists in Action shop and check it out!

The Fair is open September 8th through the 24th. Sunday through Thursday 10am-10pm. Fridays and Saturdays 10am -11pm. Yes, that means it opens this Friday night. The rodeo kicks things off at the beginning. Mmmm, cute cowboys.

The website -- has more info about maps, directions, parking, concert and event schedules, ways to get discounted tickets, the works.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Autumn Newsletter

The Autumn newsletter is heading over to the post office today, and will be in mailboxes over the next few days. Just in case you are not on my snail mail or email newsletter lists, I'm also posting it here. The website has been updated for fall too, with a new color scheme, new pictures and all the new product listings. I think I've filled in the whole calendar too, from now through the end of the year. It was late last night, and I know there will be more updates as I get booth locations, and the actual address for Allied Arts in Bellingham this year, which is still being worked out. So "quality control" with the calendar will happen eventually.

I'm also missing a couple of product pix, which I'm working on today if I can get them done, but tomorrow at the lastest. It's a rush today to get price tags on all my Puyallup inventory, and pack what I need to set up early tomorrow morning. So it's all happening at once. Soap of the Month packages are going out too, today or tomorrow, it's just a matter of getting a free minute. The weekend's mail orders are definitely going out today. So it's just a race for time to see how much of the To-Do list can be accomplished before I collapse tonight. And then filling in the holes tomorrow afternoon when I get back. So here goes:

Dear Friends,

Somewhere, smack dab in the middle of August this year, our glorious summer began to retreat out the back door while we were mindlessly sunning ourselves. First it was just a few garden plants petering out. Then a few leaves on the trees began to wither and drop. The sunlight, while still dazzling and warm at midday, took longer to show up for work, and left early. Darker evenings took on a decidedly cool chill. And even the air began to smell different – not quite so green and lush. Maybe even, dare I say it, like FALL. And with it, the rumblings of endings and new beginnings. Even long past my own school days, September marks the start of brand new thinking. A return to regimented schedules. More project lists and less do nothing activities. Hope, like transformation, springs eternal, and autumn is the season most ripe and abundant with opportunity.


We all realize the only constant in life is change. Rather than resist change, at Soapworks Studio we’ve decided to embrace it – consciously and thoughtfully re-creating some of our products to reflect the styles and tastes of the moment, in harmony with each season's special magic. These unique soaps, bath products or sprays are only available for Autumn, and when sold out, are gone until next year. This year’s Autumn Harvest soaps are loaded with our favorite fruits and spices, taking the best of the season and celebrating the bounty. ($4.00 each or 4 bars for $15.00)

PEAR: I tried on dozens of names for this one – juicy pear, sweet pear, golden pear, green pear, asian pear, bosc pear – but they all seemed too precious. So it’s just “Pear.” The most swooningly delectable, ripe, juices dripping down your arm, crisp, perfect pear. It’s a shimmery, translucent light green bar, elegant and gorgeous.

MOROCCAN FIG: Dark, rich, ripe, fruity fig blended with an air of mystery — sensual, exotic, earthy and irresistible. It’s a plush, burgundy bar, abundant with fall’s fruits and leaves.

PUMPKIN SPICE: Sumptuous vanilla and caramel-laced pumpkin, sprinkled liberally with cinnamon, sugar, spice and everything nice.


Our Autumn aromatic sprays will add a festive and cozy air to any home. Unlike potpourri or candles, these sprays can be used to scent table linens, a quilt in a guest room, freshen bathrooms and closets, spritz a note card or gift box, and a million other ways too. ($6.00 each)

FRESH PEAR: New this year! A companion to our new seasonal soap, this spritzer is crisp, light, luxurious, the perfect early Autumn fragrance that lingers like bubbles in a champagne flute.

APPLE HARVEST: This is the perennial favorite and back again this year. Tart, juicy green apples with a light sprinkling of cinnamon, It’s the quintessential scent of autumn, and one whiff transports you to nostalgic memories of apple orchards, cider presses, the crackle snap of crunchy leaves, and bobbing for apples.

PUMPKIN MOON: Luscious pumpkin and traditional spices, a rustling of fallen leaves, and the cool night air under a full moon. This is an unique take on a pumpkin scent, with a base of earthy leaves, smoke tendrils and crisp juniper berries, layered with cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon, and topped with fresh pumpkin.

NEW! FRENCH LAVENDER SPRAY: I have received hundreds of requests over the years for a “lavender only” type spray. Here it is. It is a pure, beautiful, 100% lavender essential oil based aromatic spray. Of course it has all the calming and relaxing qualities of the Sweet Dreams spray, perfect for pillow and linen misting. But it makes a nice facial mist too, And a squirt on your sweaters helps keep away moths. This is really the all purpose spray, for face and body, for rooms, closets and drawers, fancy up your lingerie, a bathroom freshener, a sleep aid, or a general calming mist for your car in traffic jams, and your office cubicle – it’s all good.


Just for the autumn season, I’ve added a new flavor, PUMPKIN PIE LIP BALM to the regular line–up. Who can resist the creamy goodness of pumpkin custard, swirled up with cinnamon spices and sweet cream? It’s the same nourishing, natural lip balm base, in the perfect flavor for Halloween treats, Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas memories.


I’ve searched for some time for a few high quality bath accessories to offer along with the soap and body care products. I now have some that I think are beautiful, excellently made, and useful to have around. These are pictured and detailed on the web site, and mostly sold just online, although certain items will pop up in gift sets here and there. All of them are made of gorgeous, natural hardwoods, and all–natural bristles, with comfortable handles and clean, simple design. The BODY BRUSH has a long, detachable handle for more manageability of backs, shoulders, elbows, thighs and hard to reach spots. The FOOT BRUSH has two sides – a brush for exfoliating and scrubbing tough dirt, and a pumice tool for removing calluses and rough bits. The charming NAIL BRUSH has a flat side for scrubbing tough garden grime and a super handy line of angled bristles on the other side, to whisk dirt from under fingernails. The soft, plushy cotton BOUCLE SOAP SACK is a great way to collect the little ends of soap bars and not waste a sliver, as well as the perfect size for a brand new bar – stuffed in the sack and efficiently adding scrub and suds, like an all–in–one washcloth. Finally, there is the hardwood SOAP DISH. It fits a square bar of Soapworks Studio soap like they were made for each other. And with the pretty curved ridges, allows the bars to fully dry between uses, for longest lasting soap.

The next few months are filled to the brim with craft shows, fairs and festivals too. I'm making an extra effort to bring the goodies to you – so check the enclosed calendar, and log onto the website to get even more details on the CALENDAR page, plus last minute information by clicking on RANDOM SUDS, my popular blog that takes you behind the big green curtain and into the studio.

As always, I sincerely appreciate your loyal business throughout the year, and wish you a brilliant and abundant harvest season!

A toast to the seasons!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. From the historical notes of The Writer's Almanac in today's inbox:

"The first Labor Day was celebrated one hundred and twenty-four years ago, on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The holiday was the idea of the Central Labor Union in New York City, which organized a parade and a picnic featuring speeches by union leaders. It was intended to celebrate labor unions and to recognize the achievements of the American worker.

On that first Labor Day, twenty thousand workers crowded the streets in a parade up Broadway. They carried banners that said, "Labor creates all wealth," and "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation!" After the parade, people held picnics all over the city. They ate Irish stew, homemade bread, and apple pie. When it got dark, fireworks went off over the skyline. The celebrations became more popular across the country in the next ten years. In 1894, Congress made Labor Day a national holiday."

Today, for most of us, Labor Day is the traditional end of summer and the last day before the start of the school year. It's one last chance to frolic in summer activities-- head out to the water, have a backyard barbeque, work on garden projects. We took a day trip over to Vashon Island this morning. Just to take the ferry and be on the water a bit, walk on the beach, feel like we'd really gone somewhere remote, even if it's just a 10 minute trip away. Picked bunches of juicy blackberries and will have pie for dinner.

I'm trying to resist any kind of labor, just for today. Because I know that tomorrow brings a frantic day of work, getting packed to set up the Puyallup Fair show on Wednesday morning. Plus sending out the fall newsletter, updating the website, and having the whole new season begin with a bang. I'm ready, sort of. I have the pieces in place for the most part, I'm just mentally resisting what I know will be the increased pace of the next few months.

Labor. The satisfaction of a well-done job, through the sweat and toil of your own efforts. The gratification of a completed project, done painstakingly by your own hands. I hope we can all continue to honor that, and the hardworking people who labor in their jobs every day. Cheers to the working folks. Hopefully they didn't have to work today.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Percival Landing

Percival Landing is the name of the docks and waterfront in downtown Olympia where the Harbor Days show in going on this weekend. I'm embarrassed to say I had never been there before. I know it's our state capitol and all, but I just never had the opportunity to explore downtown Olympia before -- and it's really quite beautiful.

The show started yesterday, with just a few short evening hours -- 5pm-8pm. But it runs all day today and tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the tugboat races, and I hope I will be able to see something. I'll certainly hear all the whistles blowing. We are spread out all over the docks, our little tents, and I'm closer to the street than the water. Whew it was hot last night. And today is going to be hotter. Pack the sunglasses. Trot out the shorts and sleeveless shirts for one of the their last outings of the year, and come on down to see the fun.