Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Here they are!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

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


Monday, October 30, 2006

Three Shows This Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's always something

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

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

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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Things that go bump

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

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

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

American Folklore has creepy stories for Halloween -- ghost stories, campire tales, goblins and creatures. Plus they've got podcasts, so you can listen to them too, which might be fun for the kids.

About.com has a library of scary ghost stories that readers swear are true and really happened to them.

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

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

Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just a Peek

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

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

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

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Charmed I'm Sure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


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

"Caution: may be a mild eye irritant."

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

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

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scaring myself

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

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

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

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Staring Blankly at the Screen

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Umbrella Weather

The gray and rain has finally settled in. It's kind of comforting to look out the droplet splattered windows and see the grass and garden just drinking it all in. The dust of summer all rinsed away, it feels moist, fresh and plump again. What I do miss is the daylight. It's dark in the morning until my day is well under way. And then it pretty much stays dark and cloudy through the afternoon, until it gets dark again in the early evening. Dark, dark, dark. Flipping the light switches in every room no matter what time it is. Sort of cave-like around here.

The Vasa Park show opened last night with quite a flurry of activity. Char is there painting eggs. Francesca is there with her lovely hand-decorated glass ornaments. A bevy of food giftie things. Wreaths and arrangements. Little mounds of pumpkins and witchie poos. Rebecca has her incredible hand-stitched baby blankies and wash cloths, plus new tooth fairy pouches. Hopefully the parking lot will stay packed for the next few days, and all the hard work of these gals will be carted off to a new home.

I'm working ahead all week on stockpiling what I think I'll need for the next few weeks. All the little pieces too, like price tags, shipping supplies, labels. Getting all my orders in for packaging supplies so they'll arrive in time for the mad rush. And putting the finishing touches on the mailing so it can be trotted over to the printer in the next few days. So many details to hold onto at once in my little old swimming head. Ooof. I think I've got it all under control and have written list after list so I don't forget anything. But I'm sure there will be something to panic about later.

Diane Sawyer is in North Korea all week. The only American journalist allowed in the country. She's been doing little reports on Good Morning America every morning, split into about 2-3 segments between 7-8am. It's fascinating. She's done interviews with military and government representatives, but mostly she's talking to the everyday people -- kids in schools, visiting homes and showing us what they have in their fridge and bedrooms, chatting with people on their way to work and university about how they feel, stopping in the beauty parlor and showing them Elle Magazine. It's so alien, so foreign - the brain washing and isolation of an entire nation would be unbelievable if I hadn't actually seen it myself through her eyes.

Random brain emptying after only half a cup of coffee. That's that. Shrug. A little peek inside my stew -- dark vs light, whether lavender oil causes young men to grow breasts (NY Times article 10/16), craft shows becoming dinosaurs, brainwashing, bling, reinvention, nuclear disaster, Jeffrey winning Project Runway (total ugh), competition healthy or no, taxes are due again, can man survive on cheese chocolate and wine alone . . .

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vasa Park Week

Yep, this is the week that we have our splendid autumn and harvest themed show at Vasa Park Ballroom on the shores of Lake Sammamish in Bellevue. It's a boutique style show, which means there is a central cashier and artists are not "working" their own booths.

Come during the week while it's raining so you can enjoy the pretty sunny Saturday weather doing something outside. Well, that's what I would do anyway. Lots of gift stuff and decorative home stuff for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Autumn occasions, plus little bits of Christmas stuff too, although the November and December shows are more geared towards actual Santa Claus and Rudolph styles. But it's chock full of great ideas to get you started on the holidays

Country Crafts Home and Gift Show
Vasa Park Ballroom
3549 W Lk Sammamish Pkwy
Bellevue, WA

Dates: October 18 - 21
Hours: Wed 3pm-9pm, Thur-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

Link: Country Craft

I've made up some special gift bags for this particular show --

little foot treat sets in green raffia sacks,
and handmade brown paper bags stuffed with the popular pumpkin spice soap and one of the clever little wooden soap dishes,
there is more of the citrus splash bath confetti,
and little black "beauty" sacks decorated with pumpkin gift cards and filled with the confetti and luscious bath salts

-- all items that haven't been made in large enough quantities to appear on the web site. Just little special somethings at this particular show.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Topsy Turvy Day

Today is upside down and one giant mess. I'm packaging, packing and gathering the Vasa Park show items (for set-up tomorrow, more on that later) - in one big pile. Or maybe several piles. I've (finally!) gotten out all the fall and Halloween decorations for the house, and that is strewn about in little piles in several rooms, because I started it and then got distracted and then distracted again.

I've gotten phone calls and emails this morning about adding two new shows to the holiday schedule, which I'm going to try to swing but just don't know where I stand at this moment. Well, I know I am standing in a mess of piles. But I'm not sure where I am in the holiday hoopla. I'm just worried about having enough inventory of everything to cover all the bases I've already committed to. I'll get details posted as soon as I get it all settled.

And the bathroom is being painted all weekend. The stuff is all in little boxes and tubs and more piles, standing around the dining room while the trim is finished and the caulk dries etc. Paint cans, screwdrivers, hooks and fixtures. All in more piles.

Plus somewhere in the middle of all this, I decided that my closet needed to be fixed -- the fall and summer clothes flipped so I could actually get dressed for the weather again. My bedroom looks like it's exploded. And it's laundry dau to boot. All of this upheaval and disorganization is a little hard to maneuver around and keep focus. Maybe that's why it feels like I'm running in circles.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

e.e. cummings

I'm not a poetry buff per se. I've always wanted to understand the whole artistry of the word placement and cadence and such but it's often lost on me. In an effort to "educate" myself a little bit I subscribed to Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac from American Public Radio. His little snippet of a radio program comes in your email box in text form, or you can click on the link to listen to it. Sometimes I just like to listen to his voice for a moment in the morning - the familiar, gentle sound of his speech a quiet comfort to start the day with.

Each day there is a little blurb about several well-known authors whose birthday falls on that date, plus a selected poem. Today is the birthday of e.e.cummings. I usually find myself drawn to his work. The poem that arrived today is no exception. Childlike, simple, with traditional rhyming patterns, it's just fun.

Poem: "87" by E.E. Cummings from 100 Selected Poems


o by the by
has anybody seen
little you-i
who stood on a green
hill and threw
his wish at blue

with a swoop and a dar
out flew his wish
(it dived like a fish
but it climbed like a dream)
throbbing like a heart
singing like a flame

blue took it my
far beyond far
and high beyond high
bluer took it your
but bluest took it our
away beyond where

what a wonderful thing
is the end of a string
(murmurs little you-i
as the hill becomes nil)
and will somebody tell
me why people let go

Garrison Keillor goes on to describe the man and his life - which made me smile and appreciate him all the more. So to borrow that little excerpt too . . .

"It's the birthday of poet E. E. Cummings (Edward Estlin Cummings), born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1894). He was a man who wrote joyful, almost childlike poems about the beauty of nature and love, even though he was actually a conservative, irritable man who hated noisy modern inventions like vacuum cleaners and radios. He spent most of his life unhappy, struggling to pay the bills, ostracized for his unpopular political views.

He had published several books of poetry, including Tulips and Chimneys (1923), when he traveled to Russia in 1931, hoping to write about the superior society under the rule of communism. He was horrified at what he found. He saw no lovers, no one laughing, no one enjoying themselves. The theaters and museums were full of propaganda, and the people were scared to talk to each other in the street. Everyone was miserable.

When he got home, he wrote about the experience, comparing Russia to Dante's Inferno. Most of the publishers at the time were communists themselves, and they turned their backs on Cummings for criticizing communist Russia. Many magazines refused to publish his poetry or review his books. But the attacks only made him more stubborn. He said, "To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

He tried to write a script for a ballet, but it was never performed. He tried writing for the movies in Hollywood, but found that he spent all his time painting humming birds and sunsets instead of working on screenplays. He had to borrow money from his parents and his friends. He said, "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart." A few years later, he decided to make some extra money by giving a series of lectures at Harvard University. Most lecturers spoke from behind a lectern, but he sat on the stage, read his poetry aloud, and talked about what it meant to him.

The faculty members were embarrassed by his earnestness, but the undergraduates adored him and came to his lectures in droves. Even though he suffered from terrible back pains, and had to wear a metal brace that he called an "iron maiden," he began traveling and giving readings at universities across the country. By the end of the 1950s he had become the most popular poet in America. He loved performing and loved the applause, and the last few years of his life were the happiest. He died on September 2, 1962."

His unusual way of mixing up words and yet painting such a pretty little picture is truly a gift. Like the beginning of one of his other poems, "anyone lived in a pretty how town":

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

You almost want to sing it like a children's nursery rhyme, or dance around the room with it while making musical accompaniments with made up instruments like forks for castanets , or march in time to the lines, banging your imaginary drum.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Been watching a bunch of travel shows on the teevee lately while working on my little evening tasks -- like getting envelopes ready for the mailing, cutting the little cardboards for the soap, snipping up ribbons, etc. I also need to get a brighter light for the living room. It feels like a cave in there and I can't see anything, especially my knitting, which I've had to rip out a couple of times because the stitches look like a kindergartner got ahold of it. But I digress. So I'm having little daydreams about sipping espresso at an outdoor cafe on the piazza, or hot air ballooning over Stockholm.

Maybe because I'm facing the next two months with a little trepidation about how much work I have ahead. I've decided that this year will be different. I will at least TRY to actually notice the experience and find something each day to enjoy, rather than just ducking my head down and trying to get through it to the other side. Take a few moments here and there to look around at what is whizzing by, take a deep breath (or any breath at all besides the usual hyperventilating) and enjoy the so-called "holiday season." That's my challenge for myself. I'm making the statement here, out loud, and so be it.

The starlings have finally arrived. Wow! When they flock over to my little corner of the block in the afternoon it's a cacophany of chaos. All of them chattering, swooping from tree to tree, corner to corner, little bunches circling and dropping. We had to make a quick errand downtown the other evening and the real population is hanging out there on 5th Ave between the rooftops of Macy's and the trees across the street at Westlake. It's unbelievable. Sort of makes your heart skip when you look up at the thousands of birds packed into the little treetops, the sheer volume of noise (and poop). It's almost impossible not to feel fear -- flashbacks of the film "The Birds" running through your head, visions of the apocalypse or something. But also awe, at how organized and coordinated that huge number of animals are together. Magnificent.

Hmm, well the bird thing doesn't count today, since it was a few days ago. And the weather. Good heavens, it's so warm and gorgeous. I can hardly believe it's mid-October. Feels like the first week of September and that summer was just a week ago or so. How can we possibly be receiving Thanksgiving cooking magazines in the mail? The pumpkins and squashes seem so out of place. I haven't even needed to don a single sweater yet! What? There is snow in Buffalo? So what, they probably get snow in July. And today looks like another 70 degrees and sunny. The leaves are beginning to turn such pretty colors. I need to get over to my favorite little row of burgundy and gold maples and take photos this afternoon, see if they've gotten close to their peak of color yet. Maybe I can squeeze that in as my "moment" for today.

And yes, I made more patchouli soap last night. For all of you "patchouli only" fans. Where do you all come from? I'm not complaining. It's just curious. I've never had this many loyal fans of patchouli before. I'm guessing it's not a "trend" because then it would be a bar of this, a bar of that, maybe 2 of the patchouli . . . that sort of thing. This is "4 bars of patchouli," "I'll take 8 bars of patchouli - that's it," and "a dozen bars please, just the patchouli." No worries. I've got you covered. There's enough for everyone.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Poem: Messenger by Mary Oliver
from Thirst by Beacon Press

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird --
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Starving Housewives

Cute name for a craft show, no? Cindy and Cameron put on a series of shows throughout the year, and this week we are in Bothell at the 302 Union Hall near the Seattle Times Facility. It's quite a lot of harvest and autumn themed items, craft and antique vendors, lots of great gift items.

Dates: Tuesday through Saturday, October 10-14
Hours: Tues-Fri, 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm
Location: 302 Union Hall, 18701 120th Ave NE, Bothell
(Two blocks north of Woodinville Home Depot next to soccer fields)

Link: Starving Housewives

With the banks and post office closed yesterday (who even knows what Columbus Day is any more?) I had a reprieve from all the money chores and order packing, which gave me a free hour to shop for shoes. Or groceries. And throw in a load of laundry. After commiting to doing this show yesterday morning, all of a sudden it seemed much easier to get moving on all the things that needed to be done. And it turned out to be a productive day. I feel so much better -- I just hate to cancel anything.

I'm only two weeks away from that huge first week of November when the Holiday newsletter goes out, and I've got 6 shows going at once. There's mountains of work to be done and I need to get crackin'!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Another big day at Salmon Days yesterday. Lots of crowds trying to catch glimpses of the huge chinook salmon jumping up the fish ladder at the hatchery -- having a family outing. The folks behind me with the birds got quite a lot of attention too, as I mentioned yesterday. They are a group called Hawk Quest, who primarily travel around to educate people on not only the wild birds, but a respect and an appreciation for all wild living things and their natural environment, and the importance of preserving the world in which they live. Excellent work and very nice people.

I packed up, dragged myself home and collapsed last night wondering how? if? I can possibly get enough product together before noon today to set up the Starving Housewives show in Bothell that happens all week. I'm still wondering that same thing this morning. But I just hate to cancel on my commitments and can't stand to disappoint any of my customers who are expecting me to be there, so I will do my best. It doesn't look quite so dire at the moment after a good night's sleep. But I will really need to burn the candle at both ends for the next few days, so I'm off to light a bonfire. And take my vitamins. And a few more deep breaths.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I meant to take my camera to Salmon Days yesterday and forgot it. I'm hoping today to get a good picture of all those HUGE fish crammed into the creek -- it's spectacular. So are the beautiful birds on display in the little info area behind me. A wild bird rescue group has brought a giant owl, a beautiful bald eagle and lots of hawks too. And they are giving little talks about them, doing a show and tell sort of thing, and drawing tons of crowds -- it's fun to watch.

Very crowded yesterday. The soap scraps sold out by afternoon. Last night was a big birthday bash for one of my bestest friends, and I raced home from the show to get a couple of quick things thrown together before I had to leave. Of course I have oversold what I had ready for this show. And spent the early hours this morning packaging up more bars and making another giant pile of lavender sachets. If you're doing the math, that means maybe 4 hours of sleep. And I'm still suffering from the margarita and taquito fiesta too. So today should be a hoot. Headed out . . . hoping to grab some good photos of the fun!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Soap Scraps $1

Yesterday morning, as I typed out my blog-o-rama, it looked like I had a fairly light day of work ahead. And I was looking forward to a chunk of time in the afternoon puttering around in my garden. That flew out the window at about the same time I clicked "publish." First there was the sort of extended version of my daily waltz around the internets. Found a couple of totally cool linkie poos, and an hour later looked up and decided I hadn't even had breakfast yet. So there was food, and well, maybe I can squeeze in a round of that obsessive computer game. Another hour of losing. Again. Wow, it's 10:30 already? I haven't even showered. Then a round of email duck-duck-goose, which means the slow version of instant messaging, by email, back and forth with a few folks over the course of another hour. A little shuffling of priorities and tasks -- time is beginning to run out. Then a quick half hour of work and it's lunch time, isn't it? Another quick game, because really, I can win this game. I know I can. I've done it before. Then I get back to work. Since I've already lost my focus and am spinning in circles, I decide that I can add on a couple of extra things that don't really need to be done today, but are at the bottom of my list and why not? By late afternoon I'm rushing around trying to get the three really small things I really, really needed to accomplish finished. Racing out the door to the post office to meet deadline. Missing out on all the other stuff I could have done and feeling like a pathetic loser. (Picture my fingers in a giant "L" pressed up to my forehead.) Am I the only one with this problem? Chronic time fritterer extraordinaire. Note the cosmopolitan "extraordin-aire." I'm an expert in avoidance, procrastination, wasting time with escapist activities that have no bearing on meaningful goals.

Er. So, here's what did happen. I scrounged up all the little dings, dents, leftover bars that were laying around and will have another one of those hullaballo soap scrap sales this weekend. Every bar only one dollar. There seemed to be a number of casualities during the Fair. Soaps that leapt off the edge of the cliff and made a run for it, only to dent their little tushes on the floor.

I will have a bin of them on Saturday morning. The good stuff goes pretty fast, and I don't have nearly the quantity I had at U District or Anacortes this year. But there's a full bin of them. So it's worth shlepping them out and letting the bargain bin hunters have at them. There is no way to do this on the web site. It's a bonus treat for those who come out to the shows. You kind of have to decide for yourself if the ugly is worth buying.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Salmon Days

The Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, presented by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, is the annual celebration of the returning salmon to our lakes, streams and downtown hatchery. This two day event held annually the first full weekend in October draws crowds of more than 150,000 people. Salmon Days features a weekend full of salmon and free fun, including more than 300 artists, the Foods of the World (50+ food vendors in Depot Park), a Grande Parade, 5k and 10k runs, four stages of live entertainment, the Field of Fun (tons of great kids activities), salmon viewing at the Hatchery, and much more.

Salmon Days prides itself in being an event the entire community can benefit from and enjoy. As a result, the Festival partners with more than 60 local non-profits operating out of, or significantly impacting Issaquah. They are on-site raising awareness, operating pay parking lots to raise funds or featuring activities that raise both.

The Kiwanis Salmon Bake -- yum. For 35 years (as old as the Festival itself) the "world famous" Kiwanis Salmon Bake has enticed festival goers with the wafting smells of fresh fish grilling on an open flame. As the Festival has grown so has the amount of mouth-watering salmon served, now totaling over 2,000 pounds each year. Located at Gibson Park on Newport Way, the feast is just a short walk from the hatchery. The first fillets come off the grill around 11:30am on both Saturday and Sunday.

Sounds like fun, right? And the weather is supposed to be great this year. Not like the pouring rain, thunder storms and what looked like a funnel cloud! hovering over us last year. My booth is located on W Sunset Way, a beautiful corner spot just at the entrance to the Hatchery and the Salmon Bake.

Come early because traffic and parking can be frustrating at the peak of the day. Check HERE for all the information about parking lots and shuttles.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8
Hours: 10am to 6pm
Soapworks Studio Booth: #318, W Sunset Way, corner spot at the driveway entrance to the Hatchery and the Kiwanis Salmon Bake

Link: Issaquah Salmon Days

I've got a lot of my stuff packaged up and packed up . . . mostly ready to go. So I think I might actually have a couple of free hours today to do a little gardening. Happy happy joy joy. I really want to chop out a couple of huge, overgrown, ugly, bushy things. Work up a sweat.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Snappy Story

Okay, after all that ranting yesterday, I am starting to get used to the giant orange house in my back yard. I think I yakked it all out. In the sort of cloudy, grey light we 've been having, and will have for months now, it doesn't look quite so garish. Maybe I'm hallucinating, but it actually felt a little cheerful when I glanced out there again with my cup of coffee. I think I can live with it -- at least through the winter. It's the sun shining on it, and the bouncing reflection, that made it worse. But by next summer, maybe some of the glare will have worn off, and there will be more leaves in the trees and I'll let some of my bushes grow up much higher to block out some of it. Anyway, today I am ok with it. And it definitely makes a good story - I can get a lot of mileage out of this one.

Anyone watching the new tv shows? I'm not a big tv watcher, but was intrigued by a few of the trailers and decided to watch a little bunch of new shows for the first couple of weeks to see if there was anything interesting happening besides more reality tv crap. Two of them are "Jericho" and "Heroes". Jericho is so darn scary that I've been watching with one eye closed, all tensed up so that by the end of the hour I have a giant cramp and heartburn. Heroes is fascinating. I'm still not sure I get it all, but I'm interested enough to keep watching. Super Hiro, the Japanese guy who teleports himself, is so amusing. But the end of last night was another major nuclear disaster. And I have had nightmares about the end of the world for two weeks now, over and over. It's clearly getting to me. Last night was a doozy, and I'm still a bit groggy -- sort of lost in all that space/time continuum mumbo jumbo.

All caught up on orders, paperwork and bookkeeping, so today is full-on preparations for Salmon Days this weekend. It's the final outdoor festival for the year. Gotta get the tent together and drag it out for one last outing.

Who does THIS?

This is the color of insanity.

The guy who owns this house, which sits in my backyard, is insane. There is no other explanation. He doesn't even live there. He has spent the last year or so teaching in India with his brand new wife (#3). And the poor renters are beside themselves. They have had to deal with so much craziness this past year, I don't know why they are still there or how they have escaped becoming lunatics themselves. But that is all a much longer story.

Without any communication whatsoever, the owner, N.J., decided the house needed paint. It did. Badly. He hadn't touched it for the entire 12 years or so since he bought the place (and which sat empty for years before that). It was such an eyesore in powder blue peeking out from all that mold and dirt. The renters had no advance warning when the team showed up to start power washing and papering over the windows. That was a few weeks ago. It was really slow going, with just one guy showing up every few days to work like a snail on the window trim. In the meantime, they lived in a cave with no light -- the brown papered up windows a cruel joke.

So I went on a long weekend getaway. And came home to Ronald McDonald's hair. A traffic cone orange edifice that you can probably see from space. The poor neighbors on the other side are just finishing up painting their new home a lovely shade of hunter green, which now looks neon orange instead. As does the interior of their entire home due to the heat lamp-like reflection which glows off this ridiculous circus tent. I'm a little farther away, and the reflection doesn't really color my back rooms, but the back yard will never be the same. You won't even notice that there are flower beds or grass -- because there is no way to not be riveted by the gigantic 4-alarm blaze that rises over everything. This is beyond inconsiderate. Beyond rude. Beyond artistic statement or just being "fun." It's insane. Nobody does this.

The painters apologized. They double and triple checked with him. He meticulously chose this color, and even opted for paying extra for the third coat it took to get the proper coverage. It's obviously a statement. And what bothers me the most? Is that he did it while not even living there - so it's not his artistic expression of the place he resides. It's an "in your face" way to blatantly oppose the norm while not dealing with the consequences, like a coward. It's one thing to stand for something loud and stand behind your words or actions. It's something else to spray paint it on somebody else's wall in the dark of night and run for cover.

All the neighbors have commiserated. There is nothing we can do. He doesn't return calls or emails anyway. Some day maybe he'll want to re-rent it? Or sell it? And have to change the color because nobody in their right mind would move in. I wasn't planning on moving in the near future (not that I haven't thought about it a lot in the last 24 hours), but now I couldn't possibly sell my house with that kind of thing in the backyard. It's so awful. I can't walk past a window here without glancing out and shuddering, shaking my head and rolling my eyes, all at once. If anyone saw me, they'd think I had some kind of nervous disorder. I'm not against color, really. But when I approached the front steps, and saw close up that it's the actual paint used to paint curbs and construction projects, true day-glo orange, I almost cried. It's 2 stories high!!!! And my little, low, one floor bungalow is dwarfed in its radiating nuclear shadow.

I'm going to have to come to terms with it. Accept it. I honestly like the fact that he chose a bright, non-conformist color and had the courage to do something not beige and boring. I usually like to support people who push the norm a little and poke at boundaries, because I often feel we are slowly beginning to lose some of our freedoms to express ourselves. So I'm faced with the internal struggle, literally, of "not in my back yard." Brick red would have been cool. Even burgundy. But this feels more hostile. I have been told it will fade, more quickly than a lot of other colors. And the siding will have to be replaced within 5-10 years anyway. Which pretty much means that N.J. won't think about it for another 20. Or decides to sell -- even longer.

The painters said you wouldn't believe how many people stopped, pulled over, asked questions. I said I would believe it. It just begs for some partying kids or angry thug to spray junk all over the side. Or maybe we should make a giant jack o'lantern face on it? And use it for a Halloween decoration all month?

And maybe I should just quit bitching about something so petty anyway. Seems like there is another major shooting at some school almost every day, and there are much more important things to get my undies in a wad over. But damn, the shock of this ORANGE is going to take a bit longer to fade, I think.

I'm imagining a big spotlight now, with a black construction paper pumpkin face taped over it, directed right at that great big monstrous thingie over the fence.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back in the saddle

What a lovely few days away. The weather was gorgeous. The beach was immense -- roaring surf, thunderous waves, sand stretched out as far as the eye could see. I realize I don't get to see enough sunsets in my daily life. Or stars. And wished I had a dog, because there is no more perfect match than a happy, wagging, chasing dog and a piece of beach.

I'm back to a mountain of mail, an answering machine packed full, a bursting inbox, a pile of boxes on the stoop, a flurry of orders -- so many things to attend to. I hope the easy, breezy feeling doesn't wear off by noon today. But I've got to get to work early this morning and really chug away to get caught up. As of this moment, I'm still thinking it was worth it to make a quick getaway. Maybe ask me later.

Oh, and while I was gone, my back yard neighbor, who had been taking weeks just to primer and work on painting window trim, suddenly painted the entire exterior in two days. The whole house is neon, day-glo, traffic cone orange. Unbelievable. I'm so shocked I can hardly take it in. I will take pictures and come up with something to say about it tomorrow. WTF!!!???