Thursday, September 27, 2007


I've juggled inventory this week, gotten some soap back, and taken stock. Most of the soaps that were temporarily "out of stock" on the web site are back. I'm still waiting on cinnamon spice and sacred smoke to cure a little more, but I think everything else is there. I'm going through the product lists again today, making adjustments and getting it all back online and spruced up.

Everything needs attention and maintenance, I guess. Just to make sure the little details are all on track. Inventory messages, colors and flavors available, all that stuff. After web site morning, I'm back to making more soap, and cleaning my desk. I've gotten it amazingly, sparkly clean. Now it's the little row of piles on the floor that need to be tackled - "to file" etc. My goal is one pile per day this week, so that every darn piece of paper that had accumulated here is handled, put away, or finally tossed. It's starting to look pretty good. The order and organization is making me sane again.

And I've gotten just enough space in my head to start thinking about fall projects - like decorating the house and doing stuff in the garden and picking up that knitting again. Maybe it's just an illusion, because I've really only got a week before Salmon Days, and then the whole November and winter holiday stuff needs to be full on. But I'm not thinking about any of that this week. I refuse. I need a window. Just a few more days of peace and quiet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Three Days Later

It's been 3 days? Wow, I've lost all sense of time. I felt like I should stop by and follow up. Say something about what's been happening.

Time has been moving so fast it almost stands still. Do you know that feeling? It's all rushing by so fast, and there is so much packed in, that it just becomes one big blur, and you feel like you are outside watching it spin past, not even experiencing it? And suddenly a few days are gone and you don't even remember being there, or what happened, or if you ate anything, how you got there and did you drive home and what route did you take or was there traffic? Was it cold or hot? I must have worn those clothes yesterday because they are on top of the mountain of laundry, but I don't remember it.

What I can say is this: the Farm Girls Holiday was sorta slow, since it was a first ever show. But it's a real far with baby pigs, and ducks and goats and kittens, corn and pumpkins and rusty old stuff. The barn was so, so cold. But they had a lunch counter and good food. I spent too much money on antiques and sweet doo-dads. Some really good crafters and fun demos and everyone worked so hard to make it work. I hope it happens again next year and that we can get it off the ground. It's a lovely setting with wonderful people. Just wish we all could have made a little more money.

And the Puyallup Fair was a big success - up overall from last year. Some folks were down a little, but others were up, and I'm happy to say that I am in the second category (way up!). I did very well, and am very pleased with the results, and even more pleased that it's over and I'm done. I tore it all down this morning and spent the rest of the day putting it all way - both shows. Inventory, counting, cleaning and organizing.

I amazed myself that I could even get out of bed and function this morning. It felt bleak, but I knew I had to pop right up and drive down there early. And it was such sweet relief to finally be done today - the drive home was bliss. Orders out, studio cleaned up, house put back to rights. An actual meal cooked. Tomorrow I may tackle laundry - big doings. I'll need to go a little slow and reconnect with the world after this whirlwind of activity, stress, and doing too much. It kind of feels like a dream, or like it was already a month ago instead of just a few days ago, or this morning even. Each day has been a month long, at least. Or was it a year ago already that I had a vacation in Quebec? Oofah. What is this thing we call time?

What I'm grateful for today: warm sunshine, a pan of lasagna, vacuuming the dusty corners, a day with only one deadline, burying my face in the soft belly fur of a cat that forgot who I was.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Yesterday I was headed south to Puyallup to work my shift at the fair, and I began to follow a firetruck on the highway. Oooh, red! shiny! happy! And it was just a short way down the road that I realized I missed my exit, I was so mesmerized by, well, the firetruck. That's the state I'm in. Often totally distracted by shiny things and bright colors. Otherwise, mostly comatose and just staring at nothing.

So I'm giving it my best shot today, getting as much as I can pull together and ready for the Farm Girls show this weekend. I guess we're actually setting up yesterday and today. I realized that last night just before I fell over on my bed sideways. But I'm going to have to rush over early in the morning tomorrow to set up, I think. I'm not sure I can spare a few hours this afternoon to drive up there. We'll see.

Nose, meet grindstone. Yes, another one of those days. But I'm feeling happy today. The sun is shining the perfect crisp gold color that happens in the fall, and it's warm again after a few days that started to almost feel like winter. And most importantly, the end is in sight. I am not going back to the fair again, until tear down on Monday morning. What happens is up to the fates now. The Farm Girls show is just going to play out however it does. I'm going to pitch my best pitch and see where it lands. And push aside any regrets about planning or what I could I have done. It is what it is at this point, and I will do my best, get creative with what I've got and just show up with a smile. Because there is NO SHOWS for two weeks after this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Farm Girls Holiday

Poking in to post the details for this weekend's show. This is the first year for this new show and autumn event. Local Artisans, Musicians, Crafter's, RePurposers and Recyclers of Great Finds. The location is Swan's Trail Farms (also known as The Farm), which sits peacefully along the Snohomish River. This lovely historic farm will capture your heart with it's pastoral beauty and scenic views of Mount Baker and the Cascade Range. Each Fall, there are thousands of folks that come back to enjoy The Farm's wide variety of activities.

Dates: September 22 and 23, 2007
Hours: 10am - 5pm both days
Location: Swan's Trail Farm, Snohomish
Link to map: map to The Farm
Soapworks Studio booth Location: the Cider Barn

Link: Farm Girls Holiday

Since I'm a little low in soap at the moment (but not out - I'll have the basics and some of the fall ones there) I'm taking this opportunity to change up the display a little. I'm bringing the bath oils, some new fall potpourri, a few antique thingies I've got stored up here, go a little more rustic. Still rummaging around to pull it all together. But it will be fun to try doing "the usual" a little differently. And the forecast of rain for the whole ding-dang weekend says it's only showers, not a total washout. So bring your boots and jacket - make a day of it. What could be a better kick-off to fall than a day on the farm, out in the country, seeing the just emerging fall colors along the Snohomish river, rumbling about the barns, looking for hidden antique treasures and one-of-a-kind cool goodies?

Oh my GOSH! They just posted new info their site - looks like some cool demonstrations, like cupcake decorating by Seattle Wedding Cakes, and a hula teacher. Plus bentwood furniture, cool salvagers . . . not your granny's craft sale. Come join the fun!

Monday, September 17, 2007

September blur

When the calendar paged flipped from August to September, it seems as though time and activity has sped up exponentially. Not just for me, but for lots of people. I've been so buried in my own little pile of overwhelm that I could barely look up - working around the clock, rushing here to there and back again. Weekends are a mirror of weekdays, not a moment to spare.

In one late evening fit of burnout the other night, I decided to quickly check in with a few of my favorite bloggers, and just see if anyone else was having a life. And it turns out that most people are all in the same pickle - of one kind or another. Major transformations, huge projects, big life changes. And almost everyone was racing through this month too - just trying to get through it in one piece. So much to do, do, do.

I am disappointed to say, that for the first time in 12 years of business, I've run out of a bunch of soaps and have to actually put the little "temporarily out of stock" message up. Well, I know it's not the end of the world, but for me, it sort of feels like it. I've always tried to be more organized, more professional, more . . . well, just not such a mess. But this month got the better of me, and we've still got a ways to go.

I've been filling orders madlly, running stuff over to the shop, and bringing heaploads of everything over to the fair. There hasn't been much time to even make soap either. With the minimum month-long curing time, when I get short, it's scary. And I've been in that scary phase all summer long. To be honest, I haven't been quite as disciplined as I could have - with a string of lousy shows, I slacked a little on what I could have been doing. But money was tight, things looked ok, I waited a titch to buy a lot of supplies for fall and move too quickly. Now I'm having trouble keeping up. Isn't that always the way?

Several soaps are just plain out - and I've got more batches going, but it takes a while to catch up and wait for them to cure. The list is French Lavender, Sacred Smoke, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla Bean & Honey. With another week of the fair and a second show this coming weekend, I don't know where I'll be next week.

No, I'm not tacking my first "million" on the wall. I wish I could at least celebrate the great sales success after all this hard work, but this whole year has been such an up and down mess, I'm hoping to just eke by. At the moment, it feels quite desperate and disappointing instead of triumphant. A professional blogger wouldn't admit all this stuff on their business blog. It should be all cheery and horn-tooty. You all know me better by now, and this is the unvarnished version - not the ready-for-primetime show. Am I in denial that one person can run this whole thing by herself without hired help? Did I just not plan it out well enough? Or do things sometimes just happen? I don't know. If I could think straight without the endless list of what I gotta do next chanting through my head, maybe I could figure out where I went wrong. But for now, I'm just blearily putting one foot in front of the other, trying not to forget my pants when I leave the house.

So I'm off to work all day at the fair again today, with a truckload trip to the Post Office first, and a list of stops on my way home. Such is the life of September - a quick wave as we race past each other, headed in so many different directions. Next week, maybe, there will be time to breathe, yeah?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fair Play

I'm sure you're all groaning right now - oh no, not another post about that stupid fair. Well yes, yes, it is.

And the reason why I feel so compelled to talk about it so much, is it's driving me batty. I am truly in Sillyville here in my head. I've messed up several orders this week. I'm forgetting everything. I can't even remember my name or phone number any more. It's a wonder I can function at all.

The amount of work that goes into this show is unimaginable. My sales are up hugely from the first week last year, and I was agape at those numbers last year. I had to run over there again this morning with another load of inventory to stock up my little shelves, and by the time I got there, it was already not enough. But it's ok. They will buy what I have, and not have an inkling about what I had actually planned to have there. It looks good from anybody else's standpoint, but in my eyes I would have liked to have more of this, less of that, others of this. I've got pages of notes about what I want to do differently next year.

But that's all good. It's a growing and learning experience, and obviously it's going alright. They seem to like my stuff and all is well. Except my own sanity. Believe it or not I have another show next weekend to deal with too. The Farm Girls Holiday (which I will post links and details about shortly) is happening up in Snohomish on the last weekend of the fair. I'm really starting to question if I can pull it off now. Inventory is low, nothing is packaged, and time is short. But I really don't want to miss that, so I'll make it work somehow. Again, I won't have everything I had envisioned - but who's going to know but me?

I added another food blog to the link list this morning. I happened upon it by accident, but the photos and recipes for her desserts are so incredible, I just had to share it. Tartelette

One other cool thing that distracted me today while I'm supposed to be working, is the new feature by Blogger that is a slideshow of all the photos that are being uploaded. It plays in real time and is an amazing display of content from all over. It's fun to just watch what people are posting, and you can click the image to go directly to their blog and read the content too. If you need a little mental break, you can watch the show here.

Friday, September 14, 2007


News tidbits Friday.

The new fall seasonal bath salts are available on the site. Well, they always have been, but they didn't have a picture posted because the labels got a little wonky at the last minute. It took a couple of days to sort out, affix, photograph and upload, but it's been in place since Wednesday. And they look alright, maybe even pretty good. They smell divinely luscious: Vanilla Spice and Lavender Pear. You can buy them here.

I have had the Holiday Spice and the Spruce Garland sprays at the Puyallup Fair all week. They are usually announced in the Winter Holiday newsletter at the beginning of November, but since I have them available now, obviously, I decided to make them available on the site also. Just in case you are shopping early - or just because they are pretty nice scents for fall too, not just in December.

Double hip-hip-hooray - I just got the notification that I will be in the Phinney Ridge show again on the first weekend of December. It's usually my very best show of the year and I'm so darn happy I'm in. I've updated the Calendar with everything I can possibly think of, or know at this point. So it's totally up to date, and some of youl probably know more about where I'll be than I even do at this point, heh.

I've started getting the "nixie's" back from the post office. It looks like some folks have moved, changed addresses and aren't going to get the fall mailing (or any future ones either). Some of you guys have been great customers for a long time! So if you happen to check in here, have moved in the last year, or somehow didn't receive the fall mailing that went out over a week ago, then call or email so I can get you back on the list. I hate to lose track of you all - keep in touch!

I'm so happy not to have to be anywhere today. Just me, working at home, doing my thing, catching up. Huge sigh of relief.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Urban Bites

If you haven't heard about the Urban Bites promotion yet, take a look at this -- and GO!

Eleven pretty great new restaurants in Seattle are participating in this "Urban Bites" promotion - a set menu featuring one drink and two small plates for the fixed price of $15. You can click on each restaurant and see the food and drink menu they are offering. Some of options look super tasty and tempting. It runs only through the month of September, from Sunday through Thursday, and during the whole dinner hour, not just Happy Hour. I'm trying to figure out if I have any open nights in the next couple of weeks, and how many I can hit up. Who wants to grocery shop and cook when you're so busy working?

The Puyallup Fair is going great - I spent the day out there yesterday. This morning I am finally finishing up those late labels for the new bath salts, so I can get those pix up on the web site today. More orders are heading out, as many as I can squeeze in before I have to head over to Collage for my shift this afternoon.

And it's back to the Fair again all day tomorrow. So much squeezed into so little time. Nuts.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Dreaming of being somewhere else. Already.

This last week has been all work, work, work and not a minute of play. I'm tired and well, just tired. Anyway, I've spent the day cranking out inventory for the Puyallup Fair, running stupid errands for supplies - stuck behind trains, stopped up at construction zones, and generally waiting in line when I didn't have a minute to spare. Plus working on a huge pile of orders to head out the door. It's felt like a marathon, and I'm never quite getting to the finish line. So I spend the night rearranging my lists and priorities in my head, and grinding my teeth and thrashing about. Sleep would be good, but it's not happening.

Of the mound of orders that happened over the weekend, everybody shipped today except one that didn't make the cut, because it included the new bath salts. The new bath salts have a slight delay in labels, hence they haven't had a photo uploaded to the site yet. I thought I could do it Sunday, and then hoped it would happen today, but it's still not quite ready. Tomorrow I'm back at the fair all day, so it doesn't look promising. But it's in the works and almost there - fingers crossed. I hate when that happens.

I also wanted to post the link to Laurie Sharp's site - she had the wool pets that I posted the other day, the sweet and most charming little needle felted stuff. She's got a gorgeous web site, with a gallery of all her little creations, and a blog too. Check it out HERE at All the little piggies, doggies, birdies, sheep and little woodland peoples. . . . yummm.

The studio is still calling tonight - still a bunch of labels and prices and packing to be done before I rush out the door tomorrow morning for the fair. I am thinking this: 1) that my life is just too darn boring to even blog about, and 2) that I'm stressing about stuff that is such small potatoes - does any of this even matter, really? and . . . well, . . . . ?

Is there anything even pertinent to the real world happening in my head? or is it all a little insulated planet of my own doing that has no grasp on what everyone else is involved in?

Here, HERE - I'm not completely out of it - I've seen all the gossip and video about Britney's lethargic and stupid VMA act last night. I watched Tim Gunn's new fashion show and am as appalled as anyone else about his "sweatsuit alternative" outfit - for cripes sake, who's going to walk their dog in a party dress? There is almost nowhere I go that a trenchcoat, little black dress and metallic ballet flats will work for me - his "must haves" are a joke, though I still love you Tim. And I think the show will shuffle out to be ok (yes, please?!). Yes, I'm paying attention the Iraq war report, and the Steve Fosset search, and the Osama Bin Laden stuff - the 9/11 anniversary tomorrow. Kay? I'm not brain dead or buried under my blankie. Let's see what tomorrow brings. Deep breath and big hope that it's just another day and life moves forward in a positive direction.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Opening Day

I've spent the last couple of days at the Puyallup Fair. I'd never been there on Opening Day before and my goodness (!) it was busy that first day. It's free admission until noon, which I had forgotten about, so the lines were unbelievable. The smart ones were just getting through the gates quickly, getting their hands stamped, and then heading off to work or other activities - then coming back later in the day when it wasn't so chaotic. But the rest of the crowds had paid to park, and hung out for the parade through downtown Puyallup which happened at 10am. So much frenzy! The lines for scones was so long, stacked up beyond the horizon at every window all day long. And we were slammed at the Artists in Action shop too, which was great.

I'm in lurve with Laurie Sharp's little needle-felted wool creatures. She's got darling little kits to make them, but she's also got a glass case of fantastic mermaids, sheep, cats, hedgehogs, tiny birdies - you name it. I've got my nose pressed against the glass all day, admiring their teeny happy faces and curly fur bits. But there are so many styles of tempting jewelry, gorgeous pottery pieces, racks of yarns that have me yearning to start another half-finished piece of something to join all the other ones I have sitting in my basket. We are a little haven of handmade goodness, smack dab in the middle of miraculous house cleaning gadgets, must have doodads, world's best knives, and potions that one simply can't live without - all being hawked by some charming folks on headset microphones. Actually, all that stuff is in another building. But it's still kind of a surreal place to have an art type show. It's rodeo week, and the thundering hooves overhead in the Grandstand is deafening while they are romping around. I'm enjoying the rodeo crowd though, so many variations on the western dress theme - hee. I never get to see this stuff in my normal daily routines and travel, so it's all pure entertainment.

By the second day, I just couldn't take the stink cloud of fried onions anymore. But ate a fried onion blossom, a fair burger with fried onions galore, plus french fries . . . I stopped myself cold before the funnel cakes and elephant ears. I'm not eating another fried item for a month, I swear.

So the fair is going well. I'm going to be up to my ears with restocking over there and getting to work on the orders that are streaming in this weekend since the newsletter arrived in boxes on Friday. I've got a stack here that I'm going to try to make a dent in today. I'm back at the fair next week, Tuesday and Thursday. And working at the shop on Wednesday -- a sandwich. So it's in and out and back in and back out all week - humming along.

As promised, here are a couple of photos of special new items that are at the fair only - in case you're headed over for a little hit of fried goodness and fun: the new incense wands in Sandalwood and Vanilla Spice. And the little bottles of bath and body oil in Lavender and Fresh scents.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Autumn Newsletter 2007

I promised to post the new fall mailing newsletter here too - just to make sure everyone gets the same news at the same time -- so here goes:

Dear Friends,

The change of seasons, from summer to fall, feels almost like the change of rhythm in a favorite song, the tempo shifting from one verse to the chorus. Morning light arises just a little more slowly as if, like us, preferring to snuggle under the covers a little bit longer. Summer vacations and celebrations have settled into happy memories as we begin the old, familiar dance steps of back–to–school and return to work. It’s time to tuck away the sun umbrellas and deck chairs, time to unpack the rain boots and couch blankies. Move over salads and frosty drinks, we’re hungry now for savory soups, long–simmering stews, baked goods just out of the oven, and steaming mugs of brew.

Autumn Seasonal Soaps

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)

Lavender Pear: Lovely lavender pairs with sweet yellow pear and a smidgeon of clove in this very pretty, elegant fragrance. It’s a shimmery, translucent, light green bar, simple and gorgeous.

Red Currant & Tangerine: Rich, ripe, fruity red currant tangos with bright tangerine and a sprinkling of tiny red cranberry seeds which give it just a touch of light texture or a gentle scrubby feel. It’s looks just like the inside of a lush fig, prettily pink with tiny flecks of seeds.

Cinnamon Spice: Traditional spices of cinnamon and clove, fruity sweet orange and a touch of tart cranberry make this the ultimate autumn and holiday fragrance — a reminder of childhood, home, laughter and festivities.

Autumn Aromatic Sprays

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

Sandalwood Orange: New this year! A brand new aromatic fragrance spray, blending warm, earthy, sandalwood with bright, puckery, orange, a classic combination that is so perfectly perfect for autumn.

Apple Harvest and Pumpkin Moon sprays, favorites from previous years, are still available in limited quantity on the web site, by mail order, and a few shows during the next couple of months too.

Pumpkin Pie Lip Balm

Just for the autumn season, I’ve added a Pumpkin Spice flavored lip balm to the 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 that I carry in a dozen lip—smacking flavors, but with the perfect flavor for Halloween treats, Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas memories. See the enclosed brochure or the web site for the full list of flavors – Cupcake, Vanilla Tangerine, Root Beer, Chocolate Mint . . .mmm

Dead Sea Bath Salts

More of our big, beautiful jars of bath salts that we’ve had all summer, but with fragrances that harmonize with Autumn. These rustic, chunky salts come directly from the Dead Sea. Pure salts with a mineral content that is much greater than other types of sea salts, they work wonders on purifying and detoxifying, improving circulation and moisturizing skin, soaking away stress, and relaxing muscles, aches and pains. These bath salts dissolve in water almost instantly, with a lush, silky feel – no gritty bottoms, and safe for jetted and Jacuzzi tubs. What we know for sure is that when you finally drag yourself out of these glorious bath waters, you are left with unbelievably soft, silky smooth skin that seems brand new. For little foot baths or long evening soaks, these are the best bath salts I’ve ever tried.

Inspired by the season, the two new scents are Vanilla Bean Spice and Lavender Pear. (16 oz glass bottle - $8.00)

Soap Dish Sets

For special occasions this season, we’ve added some new gift set ideas – one of our beautiful new styles of wooden soap dishes with a bar of soap ($7.00) or with the extra addition of one of our cotton boucle soap sacks or a nail brush ($10.00), all specially tied up with a lovely autumn leaf patterned silk ribbon.

Other News

I now have some really lovely and durable new wooden soap dishes (all styles $4.00 each), Better yet, the foot pumice tool ($4.00), body brush ($7.00), and nail brush ($3.00) all have new lower prices! They’ve become so popular I can pass my volume discount savings on to you.

All the year–round favorites soaps, the popular Healing Salve, Foot and Lip Balms are always available online. The to–die–for French Lavender sachets in the beautiful dragonfly or butterfly muslin pouches are fresh and lovely all year too on the web site, by phone, or by mail order. For pictures, detailed descriptions, ingredients and pricing, the website is always up–to–the–minute.

The US Post Office increased rates earlier this year, and it was quite a big jump. During the last few months of mail orders, it’s become clear that my old rate chart wasn’t cutting the mustard. So I’ve had to make a few changes, increase rates just a little by making different cutoffs, but trying to keep it as reasonable as possible. I’m happy to say that all the product prices have remained exactly the same, for several years in a row now, and I am doing my best to keep it that way.

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 Calendar often for all the details.

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!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cute Stuff

I worked my shift at Collage yesterday and there are some new artists with really cute stuff! Michelle is brand new, and she's got loads of little sock creatures, silly and colorful, and so much fun.

Andrea Bowers has birdhouses, painted with darling little designs. There are full size ones, some smaller ones, and little decorative ones on sticks - plant stakes. I love seeing them hanging in the front window.

There are new items there all the time, and we've started putting in fall gift items too. I added the new fall soaps yesterday, and a few gift sets. But I'll be bringing in more each time I go in this month, just easing in slowly since the letter hadn't even gone out yet, and I've still got the fair to focus on for the next week or so.

The fall newsletter is headed over to the Post Office today, and should be in mailboxes tomorrow. So heads up - I am working on the web site all day. Trying to add new pages for each new item, hoping to get the photos uploaded too - although there are place holder photos on some things at the moment (a fall leaf). It's really going to be a little sketchy and muddled for bit while I'm doing all that - so don't rush right over until later this evening or tomorrow to see it. It's kind of a big process, making sure I've dotted all the i's and crossed the t's correctly. With this server, it's all live action, and not just one big upload of the whole new thing - so bear with me.

I'll post the newsletter online here tomorrow too, with links.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Puyallup Fair 2007

Just stretching my legs after spending a day in the car . . . what?

I set up my dispay at the Puyallup Fair today - in the Artists in Action building. We have a little handcrafted artisan boutique in the Grandstand building with all kinds of artists. There is a mix of pottery, fiber arts, painting, basketry, jewelry and a bunch of other stuff, which is my category.

I don't know until I arrive what kind of space I will have or how big it will be. Last year it was a big walk-around thingie. This year it is an "L" shape against the wall, but I think it looks pretty good. I've got all kinds of shelf space and a nice central spot. So the gift bags are hanging right out front, and I've got room to showcase the regular stuff, some new stuff, and some holiday gift stuff too. I brought a few new items this year that I was experimenting with just for the fair - they are not on the web site or listed in the fall mailer. Just a couple of things to try out, and if it all goes great, I may have them available later, for the holidays or winter mailer, I'm not sure. I wanted to start small and see how it all worked out. Oh, I guess I could mention what it is, eh? Incense wands (Vanilla Spice and Sandalwood) wrapped so cute in vintage encyclopedia pages with beautiful ribbon, and a new version of bath and body oils in sweet little jars - tall style bottles with charming new labels and French bakery twine ribbon. Shoot, I should have taken a photo to post, but completely forgot while I was there shuffling it all around.

I'm just so damn skippy happy that I got enough together to fill my space in this last two days of panic. Of course I'll be bringing more stock with me each time I go over, and I've got 2 shifts coming up this weekend. I've got a few more things I wanted to stock up on, and fill in holes now that it's all in place and I know what I've got to work with. But I'm satisfied with how it worked out today, so now I can focus on the next thing. Soap of the Month packages go out tomorrow morning. And the mailing gets stuffed and mailed, probably hits the Post Office Thursday. So I'll need to get the web site updated in the next 2 days too. That's my plan, but I've got to work at the shop tomorrow too, so there's not a lot of time to play around.

Anyway, I wanted to post the details on the Puyallup Fair gig, in case anyone's headed over there in the next two weeks.

Puyallup Fair

The Fair is open September 7th through the 23rd. 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.

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 a boutique style craft show, with lots of pottery and fiber arts, demos every day with artists demonstrating their techniques and craft. It's a central cashier style thing, with all of us artists 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.

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

Maybe I'll see you there, riding the rides in Sillyville? or hiding behind the 2-ton basket of curly fries?

Monday, September 03, 2007

A city of flowers

I've just gotten home from vacation and the bump back to reality is harsh. We went to Quebec City, attempting to land in a place that felt like being much farther away. It's almost like being in France, just closer.

So many flowers - gardens everywhere in full bloom, pots planted on every street corner and plaza, window boxes hanging from every single window in the whole town. The old stone houses, cobblestone streets, little narrow alleys, and restaurant tables with umbrellas sprinkled along the sidewalks were so quaint and cheerful. We had some incredible meals, and spent a lot of time just walking and admiring the beauty of the place. Generally I just wanted to change perspectives, habits and routines - see new things and get fresh ideas and inspiration to start out the new fall season.

In retrospect, the timing could have been a little better. Having such a short few days to finish up preparations for the fair and the fall mailing is probably a little too tight. But I can't get too worried just yet. My suitcase is barely unpacked and I'm still floating above the clouds a bit.

It was such a lovely place, a lovely week away from the grind, and just the breather I needed. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. Tomorrow is back to work, back to school and the sort of unofficial end to our summer. The most exquisite combination of anticipation and dread. I know I'm feeling both right now. Gotta run, so much stuff to do today. Here are just a few pix from the trip:

"We were gone almost a month and everything was sensual. Everything was erotic. It's the gift of travel, where everything is infused with meaning, compressed, so you begin to see the golden strand that weaves life together. You are in a constant state of awe." ~Terry Tempest Williams