Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Do you know how hard it is to wash your hair with one hand? And I've got a stupid gyno appt this morning, so of course I need to shave my legs. I've never done it with just my left hand. Not a good look. Or brush my teeth with only my left hand either, trying not to get the bandage wet. I'm a dork. And still flipping mad at myself for being so dumb.

That's all. I'm working with a smaller bandaid this morning. And the typing is a little better, but still a challenge. I'm going to lose the whole fingernail at some point. But at least it's not still gushing blood any more. Progress.

This is the weirdest week - I'm still not quite past the Thanksgiving thing, and totally not feeling the Christmas thing yet, but I'm already working on Spring. No holiday decorations, no shopping, no gifts, no fa la la yet. Haven't even thought about it much and it will pass me by before you know it. There's only a few short weeks left and I need to squeeze in some festive festivities and schmaltz up the place with tinsel.

Spring, Valentine's Day . . . all that needs to be ready to go as soon New Year's is over. So soaps need to be made, ideas drummed up and packaging supplies on order. I can barely keep up with holiday mail orders and I'm thinking roses and chocolates, birds and bunnies. I'm also working out plans to teach a soap-making class at Molbak's at the beginning of February. I'll keep you posted when we get that finalized. It won't be big, but it's kind of an exciting new thing to look forward to. I haven't taught classes in years and years, but the process hasn't changed :)

Ah, and show applications. A whole pile of them on the desk for the year ahead, and they want it now. Photos, fees, contracts. Gosh, a gal can hardly enjoy the moment it's over because it's already begun again. The wheels keep on turning, turning, turning. The road never ends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This Week's Shows

Hey - this is the last week I'm going to have to say this for the whole year! I've got two shows this week, and that does it for me until 2008. Of course there is still mail order, there is always mail order, and plenty of time to ship before Christmas.

Hilltop Holiday Craft Show
Northwest Arts Center
9825 NE 24th St.
Bellevue, WA (Clyde Hill)

Dates: November 28, 29 and 30, Dec 1
Times: Wed-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm

This is a boutique style show with a central cashier, and lots of fun holiday gifts.
Link: Hilltop Holiday

Winter Festival and Crafts Fair
Phinney Ridge Community Center
6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, Dec 1 and 2
Hours: 10am-5pm both days

There is a small admission fee ($4) which supports the Phinney Ridge
Community Center and its programs. Artists (115 booths) are present at their booths, and this is truly one of the highest quality shows with lots of holiday gift items. Donations for local food banks are requested here. Food and entertainment is available throughout the show too.

Location: Red/Preschool Room in the lower level of the Main Building.
Link: Phinney Winter Festival

And of course I'll be at Allied Arts in Bellingham all week too, in fact that show continues until Dec 24th. So make your lists and head over, maybe a few times.

I'm so relieved to be in the final stretch of shows. And it's a good thing too - I cut my finger badly this evening and can't type worth a nockel, um, or nickel. It's back to 2 fingers and a huge bandaid in the way. So my happy week of tying little ribbons on soap bars is looking dreary. Maybe when the throbbing dies down, it will be better. Anyway, I'm spitting mad at myself and how stupid this is right now. But accidents are never convenient, are they?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of my favorite feasts!

Ohmygosh, I absolutely LOVE spending the day in the kitchen cooking up stuff. It's happening at Mom's this year, which is a big relief for me, because even though I love to cook, this time around I wouldn't have had the time to clean the house and get ready for a huge group over here.

As it is, I get the best part: lounging about in the flannel pajamas with coffee cake in front of the parades on tv, and then cooking to my heart's content for a few hours, nipping and sipping, and off to stuff myself silly at somebody elses' pretty house. No clean up! All the fun!

I'm doing some sides - a salad with carmelized pears, 5-spiced candied walnuts, gorgonzola and maple vinaigrette, the sweet potatoes (vanilla maple), cornbread sausage stuffing, and cream braised brussels sprouts - just simmering now, and a recipe I've wanted to try forever.

We've brined the turkey again this year because it was so darn good that way. The standard stuffing, green bean casserole, roasted beets, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a bevvy of desserts: rum pecan pie, sweet potatoe pie, sour cream apple pie and Paula Deen's amazing Gooey Butter Pumpkin Cake. All with spiked whip cream of course. Oops, butternut squash apple soup too, and the softest little butterflake rolls ever. Yikes, I'm hungry.

Hope you're all having a fabulous holiday with family and friends. Don't give in to the commercial lure of shopping at midnight at some insane mall with live music and coffee. No need to wake up 5 hours before the crack of dawn to save a few bucks on the mucho hyped "made in China" hot item for the season. Just enjoy the time with the folks you love, sleep in and have leftover stuffing for breakfast. I'm planning on savoring the peace and quiet for just a bit. A toast to gratitude and joy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Talkin' Turkey

I'm pretty sure that I was standing in that long line when they were handing out brains. But I must have stuffed them in the purse and lost them down at the bottom with the breath mint wrappers and loose change. Because seriously, what idiot posts about how they can't keep their s*** together on their business blog? Doh.

I only thought about all that later, after it was already up. And as I've said before, this here is where I keep it real, no sugar coating. So it's been a little ragged lately, but not for lack of effort.

But to follow that up -- please don't be afraid of ordering!!! I would hate to have somebody check out the site, thinking about their Christmas list, then pop over to the blog and decided "holy cow, she's got nothing left. I'll just do something else then."

Because I DO, DO, DO have soap here. And the mail orders have first priority over everything else. It's already paid for by the time it reaches me. The folks have already made the decision to purchase and are expecting it to arrive in their mailboxes. So anything going to any show is secondary. If it's just going to sit on some table, waiting for somebody to see it and possibly take it home, obviously that's less important.

Hmm, am I sticking my foot in again? I mean, yes, it's important to have a nice display at each show. If I only bring the quirky and leftover stuff, the show will be a bomb. It's got to have a mix of all the best stuff too. So it's a little juggling act, and that's what's making me nervous. I'm saving the bars for orders as they come in, I'm madly making more of everything, and I'm trying to divvy up whatever I've got to do a nice little showing of everything in every place.

I don't know if I've cleared up anything at all, or only made more of a mess, with all this 'splainin'. I'm sending out the last couple of orders today and will be all caught up. Collage is full and lovely - I was there stuffing all the little shelves yesterday. And I'm back up to Bellingham after the holiday, probably Saturday morning, with another load of happy soaps and lip balms, so it's ready for another week of shopping.

Everything is sorting itself out and moving forward. Not sweating the small stuff. And tomorrow is a day off with a feast, yay!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I sorta thought the trouble was coming, but was keeping fingers crossed that it might be avoided. Nope. Trouble has arrived.

I guess you've noticed that the blog has taken a back seat to all the behind the scenes (and front of the house) action lately. The racing, the panic, the orders, the shows. It's all going so fast. And I've finally hit the point where I can't keep up. I sort of fell behind in August with the huge shows. Then I tried so hard to catch up in September for the fall, and Puyallup was way bigger than I expected, or was ready for. So I was even further behind. And now there's no way to reach the finish line in one piece.

Since soap needs curing time, and it's all going out faster than I can make it, I ran out of stuff this weekend at the huge Best of the Northwest show - which was a great thing for me, sort of. Today I'm so bleary I can barely count the 4 of this and 2 of that which came home with me. And there is a pile of orders that came in over the last few days and many of those soaps are just not available. I have a few batches curing now, but I fear it's not enough. Not enough for the orders, the shop, the next two shows and the all-month-long show in Bellingham. Fidgeting, scheming, re-counting. Some of it will be ok, and I'm still figuring the rest out.

The soap sacks sold out, and the supplier actually sold out too - no more even being manufactured and shipped until January. Wah! What to do about that this morning. Much hand wringing, since I've made it such a big piece of my gift sets for the season. I've only 2 bottles of French Lavender spray left. Ran off to the bottle folks and they have a new manufacturer too - different product, different cases, and I'm worried about the sprayers leaking like they did before when the bottles changed, all to save a few pennies on costs, sigh. Ducked in to get my fresh goat milk to make more of the goat milk soap I've been out of, and the farmer injured himself and had to shut down the dairy until next April or so. I feel so badly for him, but now I'm back to solving another puzzle piece that I never expected. Not enough this, not enough that, not enough time to get the other stuff shipped here. This whole week will be panic (with a quick break for turkey) trying to make more salts, more lip balm, more foot balm, more sprays, and a million batches of soap, if I can swing it.

But I'm TIRED! I haven't had a day off in forever. My skin is breaking out in weird red spots. I need meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Where are those elves?!? I need elves, dammit!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Week's Shows

So little time to chat this week, what with all the hubbub of the "busy season." I still want to post this week's show info though, in case anyone wants to stop by. The first one is tonight - a little one evening only event, so I'm just finishing up getting that packed up and out the door . . .

Nordstrom Guild

The Lloyd W. Nordstrom Guild has a one-night holiday show to raise funds for Children's Hospital uncompensated care. Last year they were able to donate $10,000. The is a required donation of $10 (pre-paid) or $15 (at the door). Complimentary appetizers, beverages and dessert are served, and it's a fun evening of holiday shopping too. Everyone is welcome to attend, no invitation needed.

Location: Our Lady of Fatima Social Center, 3218 West Barrett in Magnolia area of Seattle
Hours: 5-9pm, Tuesday, November 13

Allied Arts Holiday Festival

Allied Arts of Whatcom County features its 28th annual "Holiday Festival of the Arts." Featuring a wonderful selection of local artists and their work, it's the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gifts for the holidays. We have the same location as last year -- the Whatcom Center (the old JC Penney building) at 1310 Cornwall Ave, just a block away from Allied Arts' offices and gallery shop, in the heart of downtown Bellingham. With such a large space available, we're hoping to have more artists and bigger displays than ever before, and will showcase an Artists in Action area as well. This is a must-see show, and with shop-like hours through most of November and December.

Dates: Nov 16 through Dec 24, 2007
Regular Hours: 10am-7pm, 6 days a week, closed Mondays
Location: Whatcom Center (the old JC Penney building), 1310 Cornwall Ave, downtown Bellingham

Opening night party - meet the artists! November 16, 7-10pm, entertainment, food, door prizes
We close at 3pm on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec 24
Link: Allied Arts

Best of the Northwest

Celebrating their 19th year, this fall show is the biggest one of their entire schedule, featuring tons of the highest quality artists from the entire region. Find some unique, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, or special pieces to decorate your home for the season.

Dates: November 16, 17 & 18
Hours: 10am - 6pm, all days
Location: Hangar 27, Magnuson Park, Sand Point
Free parking !
Link: Best of the Northwest

What's making me insane this week: the end of the "do not call list." The minute the legislation ended, the telemarketers came out in full force and I get interupted all day long with stupid nonsense. What's making me happy this week: peppermint ice cream, sunshine streaming in the kitchen window, and the knowledge that I'm past the halfway point on my show schedule.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Campfire Stew

When I was little, I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. One of the things I remember about our little "camping" trips, was the Campfire Stew - sometimes good, sometimes not. Each of us were required to bring a can of soup or vegetables along, and when it was time for dinner, they browned a bunch of hamburger, and then tossed in everybody's cans - sort of a huge pot of soupy, sloppy veggie and burger stew. I don't remember them requiring that they were a specific flavor or anything, but I guess we figured out pretty early that it wasn't cute to bring clams or something gross, because they would make us eat it anyway.

I've got a big pot of campfire stew going on over here, metaphorically speaking anyway. A little bit of this and that, all thrown together and bubbling away. Orders are perking along, shows are non-stop, Collage has it's little wine and treats event tonight. Trying to keep it all up is a little bit of a challenge, but it's going well. It feels a tad bit less stressful this year, and maybe that's because there wasn't the Vasa Park and Lord Hill shows to add to the mix, which I'll miss dearly when the numbers are all tallied later.

It's been 17 years since I moved to Seattle. Yes, that seems like forever to me too. But I have to say that I've never had a nicer, more pretty autumn than we've had this year. Many years we are suffering storm after storm, flooding, and days of soggy messiness. But it's been a dry October and November. Somehow, the way the change of temperature and weather played out, we've gotten full colors for weeks now. So many times it's just been boom! dead overnight and the following week is an endless wind and rain storm, resulting in no color at all, no leaves on the trees, no nothing except the soggy mess to rake up. As I make my way around town with shows, restocking, errands, etc, I can't help but stare at all the incredibly rich reds, yellows, oranges in all the trees. And it's just continued to develop and get better each week. I love the fall season anyway, but this has been a reat treat this year. I didn't even know we could get this close to a New England type season, but we have.

What I don't like about it all is the total lack of daylight. Now that daylight savings is over, it gets dark by mid-afternoon, and it feels like bedtime right about the time you finish dinner.

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This Week's Shows

Two new shows this week. The first one starts today (evening preview) and goes through tomorrow. And the other one goes all week long - starts tomorrow morning and ends Saturday evening. So I'm off and running to set up shows all day. It's a whirlwind of in and out. Can't start on orders until tomorrow, so everything that came in over the weekend will be shipped out tomorrow and Wednesday. Whooooooosh.

Meridian Valley Artisan's Festival to benefit Children's Hospital
Meridian Valley Country Club
24830 SE 248th St
Kent, WA

Dates: Nov 5 and 6, 2006
Times: Mon 4pm-9pm, Tues 9am-8pm

This is a boutique style show with a central cashier, with artist's commissions being donated to support the Kent Chapter of Children's Hospital.


Starving Housewives at
Echo Falls Country Club
20414 - 121st Ave SE
Snohomish, WA (Maltby)

Dates: Tuesday through Saturday, November 6 - 10
Times: Tues-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-3pm

This is a boutique style show with a central cashier. Wonderful handcrafts and charming antiques. Look for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts!

Link: Starving Housewives

Friday, November 02, 2007

Winter Holiday Newsletter

Winter Holiday News

A fresh blanket of snow, the quiet hush of a silent forest, and the drip drip plop of icicles melting from rooftops – winter is full of sensory delights. I’m looking forward to the upcoming holiday season with the anticipation of less hurry and scurry, and more simple pleasures. Cozy little dinners by the fire, afternoons of tea and books, long walks in the crisp air, baked goods wafting from the oven on a dark day – winter can be a time of gentleness and peace, quiet moments stolen from all the holiday hoop-de-doo which roars past us in a month-long race to the finish line. With that in mind, I’ve created a few new holiday treasures from my favorite things.

The holidays are just around the corner, and with all the extra activity in your schedule, simplify your life by having Soapworks Studio help with the gift giving. This year make it easy on yourself and shop from home, lounging in your jammies, we’re just a click away. We can ship the order to you, or directly to your family and friends with an enclosed holiday card, saving you time, money and hassle. We have a Santa’s Sack full of great ideas for special presents, stocking stuffers, teacher and co-worker gifts, or a special treat for a party hostess.

Holiday Seasonal Soaps

The upcoming holidays have sparked a bunch of new wintry wonderful soap scents for a little fun in the shower, or a special gift for someone (or everyone) on your list.

Flannel Jammies – The scent of clean, fresh, cotton, warm from the dryer, and one of my favorite comforts of winter – snuggling up in a pair of cozy pajamas. This soap is ivory white and silky smooth.

Wintergreen – Similar to peppermint or spearmint, only infinitely better. As kids we always fought over the Wintergreen Lifesavers candies, and secretly hoarded them. Sweet, minty, fresh and delicious - an ice white, smooth textured bar.

Juniper Forest – A blanket of snow , evergreen branches of juniper, cedar and fir, and a sprinkling of yuletide cheer (cinnamon spice). The combination is magical and wonderfully bewitching, in a teal blue color with dark green ribbon.

Bay Rum – A classic, traditional men’s fragrance, Bay Rum is the spicy notes of Bay Leaf, clove and a splash of orange. Leafy green and captivating, it’s uniquely lovely for both men and women – so pretty in an olive green hue.

Are any of those fabulous Autumn Seasonal soaps left you ask? Why, yes! Lavender Pear, and Red Currant & Tangerine are still available.

Winter Holiday Home Fragrance Sprays

Add a little festive spirit to your home with one of our winter holiday home fragrance sprays. Mist your house and holiday decorations just before guests arrive, or spritz your gift boxes, cards and stockings -- your family and friends will receive a whoosh of holiday scent when they open their presents!

Holiday Spice - this is our most requested seasonal spray, every year since the very beginning --oranges, cranberries, spices and greens all blended together for the perfect scent of magic and delight.

Jack Frost - A sparkling new blend of icy peppermint, with lush forest and woods, plus a hint of gingerbread spice. Reminiscent of sleigh rides and fairy tales, it’s crisp, green, minty fresh and delightful.

Holiday Bath Salts

Adorable little ink tin cans with screw tops, charming collage style vintage labels, and fun new holiday scents. 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.

Cool Yule – The crispness of freshly fallen snow, the silent hush of a forest, and the rum-tum-tum of a dram of spiced rum. Cool and clean, with just a drizzle of warm honey to take the chill off.

Santa Baby – A glass of cold milk , a plate of vanilla cookies, spiced oranges for stockings, and a little whoosh of fresh night air, still clinging to his suit. This fragrance combines primarily vanilla, orange, and spices, with just a dash of pine, mint and woodsmoke to add a whisper of Rudolph’s big ride.

Snowball Fizzing Bath Bombs

These large sized bath bombs are actually split into two different halves and can be used separately for two baths or together for one, large, luxurious bath. A bit of moisturizing shea oil and heavenly scents make these a luscious treat for bath time.

Available in 5 different holiday flavors: Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Bean, Lavender, Orange Citrus, and Snowflake

Festive Lip Balm

Brand spankin’ new screw top tins, just for this holiday season, with twice the lip balm and all the holiday flavor! I’ve created three lip balm flavors for stocking stuffers, little package adornments, or tiny presents – Eggnog, Candy Cane, and Hot Cocoa. Packaged in teeny cello bags with vintage holiday postcard tags, and a bit of French bakery twine tied at the top, these are absolutely adorable. (1/2 oz tin - $3.00 each)

Gifts Galore

Attention Holiday Shoppers! It’s the gift-giving season, and fun bath stuff is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. I’ve got an elfin mountain of new gift sets and packaging ideas:

-- Soap bar plus soap dish ($7.00)
-- Soap bar plus soap dish - and a cotton soap sack ($10.00)
-- Gift box with ribbon for 1 or 2 bars of soap, so it’s already wrapped to give ($1.50)
-- The Terrific Tootsies foot pampering set, in a sweet little raffia tote bag, contains a charming little footie-shaped moisturizing bath fizzy, a tin of foot balm, and the fabulous foot brush/pumice tool ($15.00).
-- The Holiday Hoopla gift set is a little wooden bucket chock full of holiday favorites: 1 bar each of the Juniper Forest and Flannel Jammies soap, 1 bottle of Holiday Spice spray, 1 tin of Santa Baby bath salts, and 1 Hot Cocoa lip balm – the perfect little bit of everything for someone special ($25.00).

Internet & Mail Ordering

Holiday shopping online or by mail saves you time, expense, and the headache of traffic jams and crowded malls. We usually ship within two business days, and can send your items directly to family and friends with gift enclosure cards too. Spend more time celebrating and less time fretting. Let SOAPWORKS STUDIO be your answer for holiday gifts! One final note, my office will be closed from Saturday, December 22 until the last holiday party is over on Wednesday, January 2.

Wishing you a season of peace and a new year of hope,