Wednesday, October 31, 2007


All around the house is the jet black night,
It stares through the window-pane,
It creeps in the corners hiding from the light
And it moves with the moving flame.
Now my little heart goes a-beating like a drum,
With the breath of the bogie in my hair,
While all around the candle the crooked shadows come
And go marching along up the stair.

- Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses, Book 1

Happy Halloween! For the first time ever there is no trick-or-treat candy in the house - I won't be around this evening. That doesn't usually stop me, and I end up eating bags and bags of sugar all month long, just because it's cheap and it's there. So this is big.

The Red Ribbons & Reindeer show opens today. It's usually a preview night on Wednesday, but since it's Halloween, we are open noon to 6pm. And I'm headed over today to set up the Pickering Barn show which will open tomorrow morning bright and early at 10am. This show will have more of the fall products, if you were looking for those, but still have the new winter soaps and a few other new things too - more of a variety. Tomorrow there are more work shifts. And Eastlake is Saturday, where I'll be working my own booth.

Watch out for those bogie men in the shadows -

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A quiet moment

The Wild Swans at Coole

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

-- W.B. Yeats

It's early. It's dark. But there's an eggnog latte. Yesterday was quite productive, but I've got just a few more things to finish up this morning before I rush off to set up the Red Ribbons show today. By the way, all the shows will have holiday stuff at them this week, with a bit of the fall flavors too, mingled in.

I'll also get some of the holiday products over to Collage this week too, whenever I can squeeze in a trip over, and it may not be until Sunday. Janice is going to transform the shop into a winter wonderland after closing on Halloween, with trees and lights and Christmas cheer. So we'll be completely set for holiday shopping until the end of the year. There is also a little open house evening scheduled for the evening of Friday, November 16, from 7 to 9:30 pm, with wine and discounts on everything in the store, if you're inclined to head over and check out all the new goodies. I'll do a reminder post about that in a couple of weeks, but just in case you wanted to plan ahead.

Today I promise not to eat junky crap, because it's not good for me. I'm trying to give up stress too - it's just little craft shows for pete's sake. Balance. Harmony. Oh, and I'm looking into cloning. Because if there were two of me, then one could be packing orders while the other me was making soap. Ok, no, that would be bad. It's just a few weeks of the year, and if I planned better, most of this could be avoided. So the world doesn't need yet another procrastinator that doesn't learn from her mistakes. Sucking it up, moving forward now. But there's still the dishes and laundry, the mammogram that needs to be scheduled, the oil change for the car . . .

Monday, October 29, 2007

This Week's Shows

Here's the schoooooop on what's happening this week. The first two shows are boutique style, with a central cashier. And I'll personally be at my own display all day Saturday at Eastlake. The fall newsletter and announcement of the new holiday products is also going out this week, looks like Thursday, plus the website totally updated, and I'm working on all of it at once. Lots of buzzing around here, and mild doses of panic too.

Red Ribbons & Reindeer at
The Hollywood Schoolhouse
14810 NE 145th St
Woodinville, WA

Dates: Wednesday through Saturday, October 31 - Nov 3, 2007
Times: Wed 12pm - 6pm, Thur-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

Note new hours for opening day, since it falls on Halloween. This is the 20th anniversary of this show! It's a must-do for many holiday shoppers in the area.


Pickering Barn (at Pickering Place, behind Costco)

Dates: Thursday through Saturday, November 1-3
Hours: Thurs-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm

All kinds of great gift and decorating items for the holidays, in the big red barn that usually holds the Farmer's Market in Issaquah.


Eastlake High School PTSA Holiday Bazaar

Eastlake High School, cafeteria
400 - 228th Ave NE
Sammamish, WA

Date: Saturday, Nov 3, 2006
Time: 9am-4:00pm

This is a one-day show, and proceeds go to scholarships for the kids. There are hourly raffle give-aways (and they're good!), a bake sale, and lots of great artists with cool stuff too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Factory

The soap factory is buzzing over here and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I know. I know! It's not even Halloween yet. But this racetrack called "retail" won't slow down.

I'm one of those people who doesn't shop for Christmas until the last week or so. But to be honest, I don't really buy much. I pretty much craft and do handmade stuff for the holidays. But even if I was a shopper, I'm last minute. The stores, however, have to catch the early worms. I know there are folks who do all their holiday shopping in August and are long done. That's just crazy (tho' impressive). Everyone else falls in between and if they see something cool, they buy. So the shelves have to be filled with gizmos and doo dads, hoopla and fal-de-ral, trying to entice whatever sales they can muster. You know the saying, "gotta make hay while the sun shines." Holiday sales are make or break a business.

Around here the piles are taller than me of boxes and bins. Mostly pieces of things to still be put together or packaged up somehow. But a small and growing pile or two of finished things for shows next week. We're getting close to the next big round of holiday craft sales.

Next week: Red Ribbons and Reindeer at the Hollywood Schoolhouse, Pickering Barn, and Eastlake High School on Saturday only. Plus, at some point next week the mailing will go out. I'm just putting finishing touches on it, and it will head over to the printer by the weekend. So timing depends a little on how fast they can finish my job and we can stuff it into envelopes. I'm expecting it mid-week. And need to squeeze in time to update the website with the loads of new items too.

Gifts galore. Start making your lists. Yipes, I'm spinning just thinking about how much still needs to be done and how few days there are in a week. The heart-palpitating crunch time is starting right now, and as always it's nightmarish yet exciting, dreaded and anticipated in equal measure. Gentlemen, start your engines.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just file

A day of sunshine and the world is all shiny and happy again!

I've got a song stuck in my head this morning . . . Smile - you know the one?

Smile tho' your heart is aching,
Smile even tho' it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by,

If you smile
thro' your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shin-ing thro' for you

I'm working on 3rd quarter business taxes this morning, and this darn song popped into my head, except it was "File" instead of "Smile." Dang if I know where it came from or why, but I almost laughed out loud when I realized what was going on.

P.S. Just a quick follow up to my big discussion about antibacterial everything the other day, this Newsweek article explains in more detail why killing germs may be hazardous to your health.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sniff Sniff Mmmmm Ahhh

The house REEKS of Christmas smells right now and it's making me crazy happy. I finished up with the Jack Frost spray this afternoon and it's delish, a combination of spruce and fir needle, peppermint, and cinnamon cookies.

I have been feeling so guilty all day about my lousy little post this morning with no entertainment value whatsoever, that I decided to make it up to you all by posting a little more about the spray making process.

Firstly, the way I come up with new scents - it's not actually something I can explain very well. For me it's like cooking. I never ever use a recipe and I just make up new flavors or spices or sauces out of the blue. Mostly it's just internalized stuff from somewhere else. Like I've smelled (or tasted) something somewhere else and decided to do my own little riff on it. I read the ingredient list or description and begin to copy it, but using elements I like better or tried before and thought worked well. Sometimes I just throw a bunch of random stuff together, piece by piece to see if they play well together. Sometimes it goes too far and heads over the edge. But I've learned something and take notes (sometimes) and can try it a little differently next time.

I usually start by just holding a few open bottles of fragance under my nose. Add another one, take something away, etc. If it gets really yummy and I'm not sure sometimes I'll drop a few drops of each (counting them out for proportion) on a cotton ball, stick it in a zippie to marinate a few minutes and then sniff the whole bag later. Or I just do a little sample spray to spritz around the house, testing it on random passersby. Sooo, that's the whole secret. No marketing research or development team. Mostly imagination, riffs from things I've smelled before somewhere, either candles, bath preparations, side dishes at restaurants, a place I've visited that smelled really good, like the forest in the middle of a snowstorm.

And then it's spray making day. Here's how it goes. I bring up all the blue bottles, atomizer sprayers, towels, dropperettes, fragrances, etc. and set up the kitchen. The bottles get all lined up in rows. I measure out the fragrance or essential oils in each one as I move up and down the rows. Then I dig the cat out of the sprayer box. Then the bottles get filled with water. It's not an exact science there, it's an eyeball thing, just to the top. At this point the sprayers are screwed on tight to each top. I collect loose sprayers from around the kitchen floor where they are being tossed, batted and chased around the kitchen floor by both cats. Finally the bottles are dunked and washed in a sudsy rinse to remove all dirt, fragrance oil spills and miscellaneous dust and or cat hairs. They are get a chance to dry, stacked in trays, for a few days before the labels are affixed. That's it. It's not rocket science. But it takes time and it's a lot of stink while it's happening and a fair amount of clean up. Geez, I hope I'm not scaring people with cat allergies from buying my products. Its usually not that bad. But today, it's windy and raining and they are bored silly.

Oh, that reminds me. Sometimes people have asked me about sprayers on their bottles they've previously purchased that just don't work any more. It happens once in a while. They plastic parts get gunked up, or there's an occasional lemon in the bunch. Please, please, please let me know if you need a new one. I guarantee the spritzer 100% and am happy to replace just the plastic thingamabob if that's what you need. I know I had one too recently - instead of that nice fine mist it once had, it start sputtering like a tobacco chewing cowboy in a windstorm - that is to say, it mostly just spit in my eye. If this is your story too - toot me and I'll send you off a new one, no problem. The company gives me extras just for this purpose.

The cats hiding out from the rain. In their little front porch chair. The blankie cave. Wish I could squeeze in there too.


Sometimes it's almost painful to try to think up something fun and interesting to say about my boring, stupid life.

Yesterday's wind storm made the power flicker just long enough to fry my computer. Just MY computer. Not the other one in the house. Just my mainline to all things. I had to brave the elements last night to run it over to the fix-it-up shop, which they did, miraculously. It was touchy and they weren't sure, but it worked out and I'm fine. I swear to GOD this must be the 9th life of my little machine. But I'm not running out to get a new one just yet. I'm in debt up to my eyeballs with supplies for the next couple of months. So it has to hold out until the end of the year when money comes back in. In the meantime, I'll be backing up everything studiously. (Or so I say, although I haven't even done it since I got back from there.)

This morning is just more tediousness. Email not working. Wasted time trouble-shooting and re-setting all the settings to get back online. Weather that is totally freakish - totally black sky that dumps rain so hard you can't see across the street, to blinding sun 10 minutes later. It's about every 10 to 15 minutes that it switches back. Lights on, lights off. Furnace on, furnace off. Windows open, racing around to close everything up. Blowing winds, and then peace. The cats are confused. I'm just running circles trying to keep it together and begin a new project. The morning is half over and I'm nowhere on it.

Today is spray making day. I'm doing a new one, called Jack Frost, that I'm testing this morning. I was playing around with elements the other day and I came up with this -- it smelled so good on the little swab tester. But I need to get it in water and spritz around. And all the other usual suspects are getting made up in huge quantities to last the month. If I can just stand in one place for more than a minute or two.

Oh, and my Ad bag arrived yesterday. It's super cool, but I didn't like the color. Then I noticed the tag said it was made by Alchemy Goods in Seattle. So I looked them up online and they are so darn close to me. Plus they have a huge list of retailers locally that carry their products (and they've got other bags and stuff too - check them out, it's cool). Doh. I paid shipping to have it sent across the country and I could have shopped right here and picked the one I liked.

I emailed them, and they are going to let me swing by and exchange it for the red/maroon color, which wasn't even offered on the Reusable Bags site. They've got lots more options. Seemed like super nice folks, and are holding a bag for me. Visitor hours are next week, can't wait to see their digs and the new bag, whee!

So the rest of the random suds is all dull, dull, dull. Work, work, work. Chores and menial labor. Holed up in my tiny little universe of boringness. Some people can make the everyday sound fun and charming and witty. I, however, can only stare into space glumly and wish I was somewhere else right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stormy Weather

No more lectures for awhile, I promise. This last week has been a lot of harping, eh?

It's Thursday and the week is quickly coming to an end. We've got forecasts for major storms and winds today, the rain is already pounding us. So I'm going to hide indoors and try to make some serious progress on my winter holiday products. I've got one week before I need to have it all in place. Back around Monday, the two weeks seemed so luxuriously long and far away. And now it's getting a little anxious. So much to do.

This is the part of the business I like best. Working on my own schedule in my little studio. Nothing on my calendar that demands I be somewhere else, no place I must be. Focused on just making new things and working out pretty little packaging. I can turn the phone off for an hour or two if I need solitary time. Or ignore my computer until after lunch if I'm in the middle of something. Just quiet time and puttering about with my ideas.

Cooking today: crock-pot pork roast and pumpkin pie. Obsessing about today: Thane's new H2O mop (and just about everything else they infomercial). Wearing today: leopard print fuzzy slippers. Regretting today: that I missed that darn "Pushing Daisies" show last night. I saw the first one, fell deeply in love with it, and then missed the next two because I just can't differentiate Wednesday night from Thursday night apparently. Dang. Is it online somewhere? Gotta go check it out . . . stay safe out there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bar soap

Little lumps of soap. Beautiful, rustic, chunky, happy little bars of soap.

I've been asked a number of times recently if I have ever considered, or was planning on adding, or thought about, or tried making, liquid soap. The answer is no.

I don't want to sound snobbish about this, but I'm a bar soap gal all the way. And from my vantage point, there are really two camps: the pump soap folks, and the bar soap folks. It's pretty much one or the other, and they aren't that close on the dial.

The liquid soap folks are generally (little bit of stereotyping here, scusi please) the peeps that are wired into the antibacterial products and big on sterilization and super cleanliness. The bar soap folks are more skin oriented, less germ oriented, and a little more focused on natural products. I know there are organic and holistic liquid soap preparations in the world, but the vast majority of them are not. They are more like the commercial soap products - more detergent than soap, infinitely more harsh on skin in general, very drying to more sensitive skin, and the antibacterial claims are a crock.

Ok, maybe not a crock, but certainly misleading, to the point of being dangerous. If you use any kind of hard soap and suds well, rinse well, you will eliminate 99% of germs. The antibacterial type stuff can do no better than that. This has been proven in scientific studies a million times over, so the takeway here is that all those overly marketed germ killing products are not doing a better job than the granny bars we've always used. The difference is this: the glut of antibacterial products out there has actually caused some serious side effects.

Germs and bacteria have a way of mutating to survive. They are pretty smart. So all the over-use of antibacterial products has now produced mutated and more dangerous germs, bacteria and diseases, that we no longer have way of fighting with our tried and true arsenal of antibiotics and whatnot. They don't care. They sneer at our attempts to kill them off and dig deeper. Our immune systems, with less exposure to the usual suspects is weaker in it's war against the general world of germs too. So it's a double whammy. Hence the super bugs.

It was all over the news today. There is a more potent strain of staph infection out there that has just been announced kills more people in the US annually than AIDS. And the scary part is we have no new drugs to stop them. Our pricy little pump handsoaps by Lysol or Clorox or blah-de-blah are useless. And the more we use them, the more pansy we become to the next incarnation of these bugs.

Seriously. I'm not being over dramatic. Look this stuff up. Google the science. I'm not saying "use bar soap and save the world" here. I'm just saying - use common sense. Be smart about what you put on your skin. Listen to the doctors and the science and do what's best for you, your family, the environment. Don't let big corporate advertising and marketing schemes make a fool out of you. Look beyond the "buy this or die" messages and take an active role in determining your own health.

Hmm. That sounded dire and scary. I didn't mean it to be that bad. But I generally hate liquid soap because most of it is manufactured crap. True - there are some organic and lovely ones out there that are produced in careful and healthy ways. If you like that type of soap as a lifestyle choice, look for them.

But for my own business and marketing orientation, I tend to think the people who like one or the other are, if not opposite ends of the spectrum, at least pretty far apart. And to try and cover all the bases and please every possible niche, is just not possible in my own little home studio. For necessity sake, I need to choose my own little niche, do what I do best, make what I love and just focus my energies to that little corner of the universe. So bar soap it is.

Rejoice in the loveliness of a little lump of sudsy goodness. It makes your skin feel good, not dry or itchy. It kills all the germs too. It's got a millenia of history. It's simple as can be, and that's a very, very good thing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Hello. These are the photos of the beautiful fall leaves that I took this past weekend. I've had nothing but trouble with Blogger all evening and today. So this is a really big deal that I could finally post a photo. This place is sooooo not Mac compatible. Bleh.

I've wasted so much brain space trying to get this to work, that I have nothing new to crow about, and I need to get back to a couple of big orders this afternoon.

Save the trees!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Day

It's Blog Action Day today. Which is a cool idea -- "What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices."

There are at least 15 million registered blogs posting messages about the environment in one form or another today, hoping to reach over 12 million blog readers, and its probably gone much higher than that. Me, for instance. I just saw it this morning, didn't register, and am late to the game today. It's a truly interesting idea, and I'm hoping to get a little time this evening to cruise around and see what came out of it, after a too-busy day weighted down by minutia.

I did a little cheerleading for green on Friday, but I just want to say out loud that I have been so in lurve with the weather here the last few days. They've been those perfect fall days that start out with sunrises like these - dark purples, a million shades of gold and orange and pink, the black shadows of the trees and mountains framing it all so perfectly in the quiet and solitude of early morning. Or foggy mornings that give way to crystal clear blue skies which offset the jaw-dropping reds, burgundies, golds and oranges of the leaves, which are in full color here right now. I have a couple more photos from the weekend, which won't load right now (blogger problems) but I'll add in as soon as I can.

It's heartbreaking to hear about all the crazy October heat in Chicago, or the doom of drought in the Southeast, the never-ending record breaking somethings that haven't happened for a bazillion years almost every day in the morning weather report. I think it's imperative that we do everthing and anything in our power to be responsible for the consequences we have created out of our collective actions and lifestyle choices. To say that having a blingier car, a greener lawn, a bigger yacht, is more important than the future of the planet is impossible to imagine. Or that someone else should do it because I'm too busy over here working all my electronics, driving my Hummer, leaving on every light in my McMansion so I don't get lost from room to room. It's pretty easy to just cut back, make a few obvious choices and just generally get on board.

I still have dreams of retiring on the beach somewhere. I just don't want it to be in Montana, or Kansas.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The pledge and a bag

I'm so pleased that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize today. So maybe it's a good day to do a little "green" business.

My sister just returned from traveling in London and Paris, and she reports that the Europeans are so much more focused on actions they can take to save the planet. There is not a single plastic bag in either city. If you go shopping for anything, you better bring your own bags, or you'll have to buy a reusable bag from the store to carry your things home. Cath Kidston charges a couple of pounds for hers - a reusable fabric carryall bag that can be used over and over, being economical, readily available, and with her name splashed all over it, good advertising too. Pretty smart.

The hotels no longer do little, tiny, travel-sized lotions and shampoos. Each bathroom has one large pump bottle of the item attached to the wall, which gets refilled regularly (so no pilfering stuff from the carts in the halls). In the drugstores here, the mounds of trial-sized and travel-sized bottles have proliferated exponentially. With the airline regulations for liquids, we've decided to go gangbusters on making more little plastic thingies to use up, toss, and buy more of. And it's still so hard to find good quality re-fillable travel bottles to take your own stuff in. What gives?

I just ordered the grooviest new tote bag ever, it's the Ad Bag on They are made from recycled advertising banners that were used on the sides of buildings, so they are water and weather-proof, super durable and colorful. Recycled seat belt strap handles go over the shoulder and feature a rubber grip made from recycled bike inner tubes that make it more comfy to carry. It's machine washable too, and they say it lasts a lifetime. Can't wait until it arrives to see what my own one-of-a-kind design looks like!

In honor of Al Gore today, I headed over to the Alliance for Climate Protection website, which is where he's donating all his proceeds, to take the pledge. Number 1 of the 7 point pledge is this: To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth. Can we do it?

And I'm thinking again about packaging. In the blitz of trying to create cute and appealing stuff for holiday shopping, I don't think I was ever really thinking about how ecologically smart any of it was. So I'm going to re-think it today, and decide what I can do. Must. think. reusable. We are so not programmed that way, and we need to be. I was tinkering with cello sacks for some sets, but maybe just a little ribbon will do instead. So simple, really.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yep, just like I planned it

Oh for crying out loud - I ordered the wrong size!

Sheeez, I'm stupid. I had ordered a few samples of little screw top tin cans to do bath salts in for the holidays. I played around with them, decided on exactly the one I wanted, put together an order and wouldn't you know it . . . when I clicked on the dang item, I chose the wrong size. They arrived today and are half the size I was going to do - little mini tins instead of nice little chubby ones.

And it's 500 of them too! I'm not paying the shipping to send them all back. And there probably isn't time to do it anymore anyway, because that huge week of shows, the beginning of the holiday shopping is only two weeks away. I need to spend next week making these all up.

So I figure out a new label now. Figure out a new price. Change up the whole idea. Fix the letter. Gah. I'm so stupid. Bleah. I hate when that happens. Well, it's done. Moving on. It's a stocking stuffer now. But I'm going to be grumpy all day anyway. Ugh, ugh, ugh. (never mind me, just banging my head against the wall over here . . . . blam, blam, blam)

Non-blog readers will never know, right? When the letter goes out, it will all sound hunky dory, just like I planned it that way.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Starving Housewives

Well poo. It's not morning anymore and I promised to post the details for this week's show first thing. The day turned out a little differently than expected. But here's the deal anyway, at last.

The Starving Housewives: Harvest Holiday Craft Show

Location: Bothell Union Hall 302, 18701 - 120th Ave NE, Bothell
Dates: Tuesday through Saturday, October 9 - 13
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-6pm
Link: Starving Housewives

It's a boutique style craft show, meaning that we have our individual displays set up all over the place, but there is one central check-out cashier. As participants, we work a shift during the week, but we are not manning our booths the entire time, well except for folks demo-ing things or doing tasting of their jams and jellies. That sort of thingie. Dana is there personalizing her ornaments. What I saw just in the middle of set-up yesterday was very cool wood birdhouses, a whole corner of spooky Halloween stuff, little piles of antiques, dips and jams and nuts, soft sculpture, pet items, lots of scented hoopla (besides me) like potpourri, lotions, and candles, plus a couple of handmade cards and paper goodies. There's lots more I can't even remember, like kids hats, floral decorations, oh and a whole table of fresh-baked pies. That woman is genius with pies, and they're cheap too.

Ok, that's the rundown. It's a non-descript little building in one of those office park type complexes out by the Seattle Times plant in Bothell. But there's bunches of signs and a big scarecrow pumpkin type display right on the corner where you turn to get into the parking lot.

ETA: what, no picture today? hokay, sorry for the double post, but needed to add the pretty.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ups and Downs


The weekend was great and it was also a miserable mess. We got lucky with the weather on Saturday, and although it was overcast, it rained only lightly early in the morning while we were setting up. The turnout was phenomenal, the crowds huge, the sales going gangbusters, and I was starting to get a little worried about how my stock would hold out for the second day, because I came durn near selling out of a bunch of stuff.

So I scurried around that evening, woke up extra early in the morning and worked feverishly to get a bunch more stuff ready to sell on Sunday. The morning was dry and it looked like maybe the weathermen would be wrong about all that scary storm stuff. And I figured that if it turned for the worse, at least I'd be ahead a little for the show I was setting up today. Yeah, I set up another little craft show this afternoon, and yes, I am totally insanse.

The crowds started a little slower, as Sunday always is, but began to buzz quite nicely around noon, and again, I began selling my little wares at a rapid pace. Then it started to gust wind, and rain lightly. But it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits just yet. Until the rains turned into downpours, and we got a little worried. The hearty Northwest souls still were zipping up and munching elephant ears, even in the steady, solid wet and drippy skies. But then the wicked Mother Nature decided to tease us by easing up and almost quitting, enticing us all out of our little dry corners, and then bopping us over the heads as soon as we poked out with the most torrential buckets of water ever. It was awful. In the space of a few short minutes, the gutters clogged up so deep we were up over our shoes in the middle of the tents. The tablecloths were soaked halfway up, the poor little tarps and tent tops finally gave up the ghost, saturated beyond capacity and droozling all over everything underneath.

I had to pack it in. I was nearly sold out of many of my flavors anyway at that point, and with my gusty corner booth, had already had to move a lot of things out of the way. So it looked sad and pathetic, but was now entering serious damage territory. And as I said, I had to set up another show today, so I packed up what I could salvage, tucked everything away that could be used again, and hiked off to sit in the dry car for a small bit before we could bring our cars in to pack up.

So sales were great, rain was miserable, crowds were fabulous, my living room a mess from all the overnight drying out and re-packing. But it worked out in the end. I have a little display all set up out there at the Starving Housewives show in Bothell, and I'm ready to go. Exhausted, I need to clean the house tonight for houseguests arriving this evening. What is this hamster wheel and why is it moving so darn fast?

I'll post all the details about this week's craft show tomorrow morning when I get more than two minutes to sit in front of the computer. It starts tomorrow at 10am, and if you just can't wait, check the website calendar for the scoop. It looked really good this time - cool birdhouses, charming antiques, lots of pumpkiny crafts and gifts. I already started to shop, and then had to slap myself before I went a little crazy, walking out the door with the biggest hotel birdhouse in the place. (But if it's still there in a day or so, I won't be able to help myself, so someone please go out there and buy them so I won't go broke.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mistletoe and Wonderland

My head is spinning with ideas this morning. I spent a few hours yesterday trying to mock up all the new things I want to offer for the holidays this year, and it got to be a longer and longer list. So many ideas, so little time, and I have a tendency to get in over my head a little bit.

For each new thingie I need to list not only the item, but plan out the list of ingredients, packaging pieces I need, supplies, etc., so that I order absolutely everything I need in advance and don't get caught at the list minute trying to put it all in production with something missing. I started going round and round with it. This bag? No, that bag? Ribbon on that, or just a label? Sets with dishes or with washcloths or with soap sacks or with towels? Stick with this scent, or all new scents? I've got to spend a lot of moolah this month - tins for this and that, bits and pieces, scents and fragrances. It's all under wraps right now, big secrets. But you all will know soon enough. November is just around the corner, ooh scary.

So I have a desk full of notes, scribbles of prices and designs. I decided to walk away from it yesterday, sleep on it, and come back this morning with a clear head to make some real decisions. But I'm no closer at the moment. I took one look at it and fell right back into the same hole. I don't want to overdo it - partly because it's just unreasonable to be able to do that many different things, but mostly because at most of my shows I have very little space to display it all. And I want sort of a cohesive look and not be spread too thin, or a random jumbled mess. So I need to narrow it down to just a few things that all go together a little bit.

I think I need to step away again for the moment, and package soap, get back into a mindless rhythm and let it work itself out. It's probably best to place all my orders Monday anyway, after I've collected a little money to spend.

Snowflakes and simmering spices, sleigh rides and winter berries, candy canes and Christmas forests, all swirling in my brain . . . so looking forward to the holidays, I can almost taste it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Spawn. Just Spawn.

That's the "ohfishal" tagline for this year's Salmon Days Festival, where I'll be this weekend. The forecast is kinda crappy - to really crappy, but it never seems to affect the crowds of folks who come out to celebrate the Northwest. Salmon and rain go together like birds of a feather, so it seems fitting to slush through puddles on the way to the hatchery to watch the salmon jumpin'. It's a good time no matter what, but I'd rather have last year's warm sunny weekend, to the previous year's thunder, lightening and hail (just like yesterday's storm, oh my GOSH!).

Advertising blurble ahead:

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, a Grande Parade, 5k and 10k runs, four stages of live entertainment, the Field of Fun for kids, tours of Issaquah's hatchery and much more.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, 2007
Times: 10am - 6pm both days
Booth Location: Same spot as last few years! Booth #318, located on W. Sunset Way, at the corner of the driveway entrance to the hatchery.

Link: Salmon Days

I say don't miss the Kiwanis Salmon Barbeque - yum.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The necessity of rest

Just a few quotes about rest today. They have been shamelessy "borrowed" from a recent Oprah magazine. At the time, I guess I thought they had some kind of meaningful purpose or whatever, so I clipped it out and added it to the large pile of stuff to look through later when I had more time.

Well, I never have more time. So this morning, in between tasks that are heating or cooling or waiting for next steps, I decided to tackle that one last pile on the floor of my office. I'm ruthlessly tossing stuff that I will never do, things that don't matter, pages ripped from somewhere that I don't even remember why, and little handwritten notes that I can't even read now and have no idea what I was thinking.

But these little quote-lets sort of go with my theme as of late, so I decided to toss them gently at the wall of my blog and see if they stick.

"The mind that comes to rest is tended
in ways that it cannot intend:
is borne, preserved, and comprehended . . . "

Wendell Berry

"What is this life if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare?"

W.H. Davies

"This wasted time I have found by constant
experience to be as indispensable as sleep."

John Adams

"It is in his pleasure that a man really lives;
it is from his leisure that he constructs the
true fabric of self."

Agnes Repplier

Monday, October 01, 2007


At first I thought I my blogamabobber was broken. During the last few days I would come to my little blogger page, hit new post, and then stare blankly at the screen. I couldn't think of a single thing to say. I would twirl my hair, squirm in my seat. Start, stop, erase, start again. Nothing. And then there would be some sort of distraction, and gratefully, I would close the page and forget about it for awhile.

But I was thinking about it yesterday, a whole day of doing nothing but entertaining a couple of crazed cats who were so bored to have to stay inside for a whole day due to cold pouring rain, and I decided that it's just the natural flow of things. I think it's been a week of semi-hibernation. After all the hectic busy-ness of most of September, on the heels of a rather busy summer, suddenly the weather changed dramatically, the light became dark, and I needed a little quiet solitude to recuperate, regroup, and change gears. October through December are my biggest three months of the year for sales, and I need to be ready for it.

Silence. Naps. Cups of tea, bowls of soup, lots of vegetables. Puttering around, cleaning, organizing, and going to bed early. No deadlines or places to be. I've rather enjoyed it, and I think quite frankly that I needed it badly.

This week will be a bit of the same, but gearing up for Salmon Days on the weekend. I've got space in my head now to create again. And I've been quietly working on catching up on all things, like bookkeeping and paperwork and orders.

The leaves on the trees are turning lovely colors. If only it wasn't so blowy and wet. I had sort of forgotten about the comfort of being indoors, snuggled in warmth and hiding out from the demands of the world. Lovely.