Friday, May 30, 2008

Science Friday

Good morning! Today's "Science Friday" subject is smell - one of my favorite senses. I will now attempt to bombard you with a bunch of interesting facts about smell and scents, most of which you probably didn't know. Because learning new stuff is fun!

Here goes: Humans have more receptors dedicated to smell than to any other sense except vision, with around 20 million smell receptors. For comparison, a rabbit has 100 million of these olfactory receptors, and a dog 220 million.

The average person can detect more than 10,000 different smells.

Smell plays a powerful role in sexual attraction and genetic diversity. In studies, women prefer the body odor of men whose genes are noticeably different from their own. Well, unless they are on the Pill. The Pill works by hormonally mimicking pregnancy, and scientists say pregnant women may be biologically predisposed to prefer the company and smell of family members.

Scent favorites differ by country and culture. Many Asian countries find the odor of cheese obnoxious, while in Britain the smell of wintergreen is considered off-putting.

Vanilla is thought to be the most universally beloved scent, probably because breast milk contains a similar flavor.

Losing the ability to smell is a condition called anosmia, which can lead to depression. It works both ways, because depression can hamper one's sense of smell too. However, sometimes people who are taking anti-depressant medications find that their sense of smell returns.

On the most fertile days of a woman's menstrual cycle, women have better sense of smell than men. At other times, men and women are equal. But during a woman's period, the ability to distinguish scent is often much worse.

Our sense of smell shuts down while we are asleep.

As you grow older, your sense of smell diminishes. Our smelling ability increases to reach a plateau at about the age of eight, and declines in old age. Some researchers claim that our smell-sensitivity begins to deteriorate long before old age, perhaps even from the early 20s.

Newborn babies and their mothers recognize each other by their scent.

Scent, emotions, and long term memory are directly connected due to the olfactory system's close anatomical ties to the limbic system and hippocampus, areas of the brain that have long been known to be involved in emotion and place memory, respectively.

The human nose is in fact the main organ of taste as well as smell. The so-called taste-buds on our tongues can only distinguish four qualities – sweet, sour, bitter and salt -all other ‘tastes’ are detected by the olfactory receptors high up in our nasal passages.

Lots more information here at The Smell Report. Have a great weekend -

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Summer is the season of the birds and the bees :P I'm so excited to see the hummingbirds buzzing around again this year. Unfortunately, so are the cats. But so far, so good.

Spent the morning at a tax workshop for all the new changes happening in the sales tax system starting in July. Oy, this is going to be a real pain for everybody. I guess I'm glad that I'm just a pretty simple, mini-business. I think I'll be able to get it worked out. Some of those folks were really having a much harder time.

It's such a huge, huge change, and the fix doesn't address the actual problem that they were trying to fix - which is losing tax money to out-of-state internet sales. All this does is rearrange all the local tax monies within the state of Washington, and some counties will lose big while others will get more. But I guess it's one step in the movement to somehow change the whole constitution of the US and allow taxes to be levied across state lines eventually. Or something. That's what I got out of it. It's always something.

Anyway, I have until October to get a solution to the reporting issues. That's when the new quarter tax filing will be due. So I'm going to set it aside today.

Enjoy a little musical interlude -

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Honey bees!

At least I think they are honey bees. I'm not an expert on bees, but these are the little fuzzy ones that I've always known as honey bees. I've had about a dozen of them in the house today. They keep finding their way in through the open back door and the windows, and then they get lost and confused, buzzing around one of the closed windows or circling around. I have rescued them all at this point. Either a hive is moving, or they just arrived here from somewhere else and are checking out the new neighborhood.

I refuse to entertain the idea that they are really and truly lost or confused. I guess the virus that's been killing off the bee populations does some kind of disorienting thing to them and they can't get back to the hive? Not going to even think about that. I'm only going to believe that it's all the bee-loving plants I just put in - the rows of lavender, mounds of herbs, coneflowers, cosmos, all kinds of flowers that they lovein the garden. And they've just moved in and are hard at work pollinating stuff.

I usually have a lot of bee type things anyway, but these are new guys. The bumblies are always around, and the waspy things come and go, especially that wood-eating hornet that eats away at my fence. I've had the mason bee around for the past couple of years too. I really don't like the yellow jackets but they stop by from time to time too -usually if there is a barbeque, urgh. But I loves me some honey bees. They are so gentle and sweet.

Go here: Haagen Dasz' Help the Honeybees site. It's the cutest thing ever, and you can build your own little bee, send email greetings with it, and learn more. They are on a mission to save the honey bee.

Fer reals, dudez - if all it takes is eating tubs of Honey Bee Vanilla ice cream to save the bees? I am so there.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Antidote

Well the obvious antidote to getting bogged down in bad news is to just take a break from the news for a bit. I've been doing an all weekend news blackout, and it's good.

But the other, more important, solution is to get out and do something fun. Gardening, cooking, and a huge cleaning binge help too. So I've been doing all of it.

Saturday was gorgeously sunny, summer weather - warm and beautiful. So I took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island to poke around, stopped at a lovely little nursery and fondled plants, and basked on the top sun deck of the ferry. Lovely day and just what I needed.

The mountains were so pretty, still with a little snowcap, from the Olympics to the Cascades. Puget Sound was dazzling and glittering in the sunlight. A nice light breeze, and nothing hurried or on a deadline.

Sunday was an all day cleaning binge - organizing all the bits and pieces, and deep cleaning top to bottom. Contented sigh. It feels so good to have a sparkling clean house. Every room, the laundry, the dishes. Today I'm going to mess it up a bit, because I'm doing some cooking. I'm making a strawberry rhubarb fruit crisp and super gourmet burgers for the cookout this afternoon. I'm hoping the overcast skies depart shortly. We're supposed to have sun breaks by afternoon. It's always more fun to eat outside in a little sunshine rather than huddling in the cloudy with sweaters.

The mental break has sparked a bunch of new ideas too. House projects, garden shuffling, new dreams. A long vacation weekend does everyone good. Hope you all are enjoying some time off to breathe too. Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday. More.

I woke up this morning with the clear intention to not think about all that's wrong, to not worry about things that are completely out of my control and that I can do nothing about.

I opened the front door and reached for the morning newspaper. Fourth straight day of really chilly, dark grey skies and drizzle. Not too auspicious for a Memorial Day weekend which should be summery and barbequey, but whatever. The front page of the paper has a huge article on how new tests are showing that the acidifying of the oceans are way ahead of schedule.

I shouldn't read it. Nope, not today. But I had to. So here's the deal. The oceans have been absorbing some of the carbon dioxide we've been spewing into the atmosphere, helping cut back on some of the climate change we should have been experiencing sooner. It's the deep, middle of the oceans that take it in, the acidity level rises, but the cold water sinks and takes it down deep. About 50 years later, the currents brings that acidified water closer to shore. They've been doing new tests on the acidity levels and have found huge swaths of this acid water as close as 4 miles from the LA shore. It's up to the Continental Shelf all along the coast. This is bad, why? Because it kills all the marine life in it, dissolves their shells and skeletons right off them.

What's worse is that prediction models done by scientists, even recently, said this wouldn't occur until about the year 2100. What's even worse than that? This water is already 50 years in the making. "A network of currents shuffles ocean water around the globe. The acidified water upwelling along the coast today was last exposed to the atmosphere about 50 years ago, when carbon-dioxide levels were much lower than they are now. That means the water that will rise from the depths over the coming decades will have absorbed more carbon dioxide and will be even more acidic."

As Burke Hales (an oceanographer at Oregon State University, and one of the co-authors of this study) puts it: ""We've got 50 years worth of water that's already left the station and is on its way to us. Each one of those years is going to be a little bit more corrosive than the one before."

So head out and eat a clam this weekend, while you still can.

I know I'm not supposed to fret about stuff that I have absolutely no control over and can do nothing about. It's not healthy. No amount of changing my 10 light bulbs and washing my puny laundry in cold water is going to help here. Um, so I'm going to try to froth up some excitement about filling a few orders and making a little batch of soap today. And not read any more current news. Maybe until Monday.

ETA: Oops, I meant to add that it's Folklife Festival weekend. I'm not going to be there like I was last year. Frankly, my spot was lousy, my sales were lousy and I lost four days of my life.

I'm going to mow the lawn instead. And maybe have that most famous of Memorial Day meals - hot soup. Well, maybe not in other parts of the country, but it's Seattle. It's flippin' cold here again today. Anyway, I'm going to just enjoy a little time off - hope you all get a chance to do that too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Holy cow

Holy fracking cow! I had to fill my gas tank on the way to Collage this morning. Gas is now $4/gallon here. It cost $52 to fill my tank. A year ago, I was paying $35 to fill my tank - driving back and forth to all the summer shows. I almost had a heart attack. I know, lots of people have way bigger tanks and have been paying more for awhile now. But I have a smallish car and pretty good mileage, and don't do a whole lot of driving. This is painful, scary and I'm fretting like crazy about how hard it will be to cover that extra cost this summer when I have to drive all over for shows every weekend. That's unbelievable.

The price of oil jumped $9.50 a barrel yesterday. Which is historic. In like there has never been a moment in all of history when the price has increased that much in so little time. One day. And it's not like it's been steady for a while and then adjusted. It's been going up almost every single day, by a dollar or two. It will probably happen again in a couple weeks. They are predicting $5 gas for the summer driving season. I'm going to have another heart attack.

So with heart palpitations and sweaty palms, I headed to the post office. I had an order to ship off to Nashville. For anything out of state, the flat rate box is a real deal. There is virtually no order small enough that shipping it Priority Mail would be cheaper than the flat rate. When they started that option, it was $8.65. The next rate hike went to $8.95. And I just absorbed the difference. I don't have to pay for the boxes, since the Post Office supplies them. So I just accepted the difference, and decided I would make an adjustment after the most recent rate hike. Today I got my first chance to check it out, since rates went up a week ago. It jumped from $8.95 to $9.80. That's a whole dollar! Now I'm losing basically $2 on every shipment out of state, and sometimes even more. Another heart attack.

I'm feeling a little queasy about it all. I don't know what to do any more. Obviously, I should just raise my prices, change my shipping rates, and be done with it. But will anyone even buy soap anymore if I do that? Who wants to pay for MY rate increases after they are done paying rate increases for every other item, thing, service, etc. on the planet? Especially for stupid soap bars, which they don't even really need? Well, yes, you need soap. What am I saying? People still shower, even in a recession, or depression, which I'm in right now. But they could cut back and buy cheapie crap soap, or switch to somebody else's slightly cheaper versions. Who knows. I can't afford to stay in business if I don't do something. But if I do something, there's so guarantee that I will be able to stay in business anyway.

Oh yeah, that's the panic talking. The sky is falling. The world is ending. My life, as I know it, is no longer. What will I do? I've wrung my hands to pieces. I'm going to leave the keyboard and try to inhale oxygen for a breath or two. Have a piece of cake. And then go to my sister's for dinner tonight. Maybe she will talk some sense into me. Or maybe I'll get her in a funk too. It's 50/50.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Clean up time after a long show. I am going to take a nap today no matter what. I'm so tired my eyes ache and my limbs feel like lead.

I am working on orders for a couple of hours. I thought it would be a quick half hour, but apparently there was a mental glitch last week and I screwed up packing a few orders. I had them all laid out and at the point I was packing the boxes and re-checking invoices, I must have timed out. Because I forgot one item in one box and switched sprays in the other two. Big fixing and muchos apologies. I try. I really do. Stuff happens. I would flog myself for being dumb, but I can't lift my arms up today. I'm mental smacking myself instead. Which is even stooopider.

I love the word loo.

My tent broke when I was taking it down last night. I've fumbled with screwdrivers and tried to fix it. I think it will stay up next time, but it's entirely possible I'll have a huge nightmare in the middle of the next show. And I will have to buy a new tent. I just don't know. Frankly, I can't afford to buy a new tent. And it looks like the pricing gun on my list this week is DOA too. I'll have to do without. I didn't make any money this weekend. Totally sucks. I can only pay rent and bills, a few groceries. This show was supposed to give me the bump over necessities, a few extra dollars to spend on extras. But sadly, no.

The news isn't always good. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. I heard all day yesterday about how many soap vendors there were ("there must be 25 soap vendors here!"). So yeah. We can't all make a million bucks, or even five bucks.

I have a mild peanut allergy. When I eat peanut butter, I usually get an upset stomach and a low grade headache. Doesn't stop me. I still eat it sometimes, because I get a hankering for it. Yesterday I ate grilled veggies with peanut sauce for lunch. And I had a little ice cream with Reece's peanut butter cups swirled in. I barfed. I have to give it a rest.

I am having a war with face creams. Last fall I was using that gorgeous Bliss facial moisturizer that has a dozen of the best anti-aging ingredients packed in it. I started to get a red scaly patch on the side of my nose. So I stopped using it, and went back to my old stuff. After weeks, it faded away. I tried to use something else, and then I got a new patch in a new spot. Stopped the regime, tried to use up even older lotions, weeks passed and it finally left. When I went to Hawaii, I had a bit of another way way older lotion in a travel jar. By the end of the week, I had a new patch starting. I looked around and bought some new creams, being out of everything else. Bam, a brand new patch under one nostril. I can't even go back to older lotions, they all inflame this new spot. It's got to be some kind of ingredient, but I can't possibly figure it out any more. I'm using my Healing Salve this week. It's actually a really good moisturizer for my face right now, I was feeling pretty dry. It's not too greasy, which I was worried about. But the spot is going to take a month to leave probably. I'm out of answers. Maybe I need to just figure out a recipe for a face cream/balm on my own. I don't want to give up all the new nutriceuticals, skinceuticals, peptides, anti-aging whatnots though. Moisture is good. But what about all the antioxidants and brighteners and other stuff that the magazines say I simply must have to be radiant? What about the science and technology that will keep me looking 40 even when I'm 80?

I can't believe those new butt firming shoes work. Not even if I walked 100 miles a day.

There, I needed to empty my head of a bit of rambly stuff. I'm better now. Still panicking about the price of gas, climate change and the collapse of the entire global economy. The cyclone in Myanmar, and then the earthquake in China, plus predictions that we are running out of oil for the increasing global demand, such scary stuff - I'm having a full week of anxiety attacks about the future. Some reports say gas prices will be $5 this summer easy, and that $7-9 is predicted by next year. Will airline travel be out of the question for the rest of my life? Is anybody going to clean up that island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean? We will need to recycle all that plastic because when the oil runs out, we won't have plastic any more. What will they package all our everyday items in with no plastic? Should I be saving glass jars? The first company to make an electric car will be mobbed - why don't they think about doing that? Do I have enough hot air coming out of my mouth to start a wind farm? Stop me. I need a nap.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sizzling Saturday

Wow, it got HAWT yesterday. It reached 90 here, and since last week, it was winter weather, nobody was really ready for it. We're wimps and we don't adjust to heat that well around here.

So sales were a bit slow at the U District show yesterday - too hot to think or shop or carry stuff around, I guess. But it was a huge turnout and a lot of fun to see everyone basking in the brilliant sun, celebrating a taste of summer. It's only a couple of days too, because we're back to rain and 60's on Monday. Today should be a bit cooler, in only the 70's with a few clouds, so a lot more comfortable.

My feet are still aching from standing on an angle all day. I'm searching for the perfect pair of shoes to stand in today. Maybe one tall one and one flat? I'm packing a few more things to fill in some holes. And bottling up extra water. It's thirsty on the street!

I am also cursing myself for not requesting a new location this year. It's too close to the circus that is the "spin-the-wheel" game at the used records store behind me. I'm so, so dumb. I've hated that spot for a couple of years now, and yesterday was no exception. It's loud, it's crowded, and my booth becomes a walkway and a gawker hang-out. But it's all my own fault for never learning from my own mistake. Hey, the blasting Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley weren't that bad, really. It's just the Helter Skelter that I can't stand.

College students don't have any money. And they sure like to wear skimpy clothes. But the two old dudes in loin clothes? with their danglies bouncing around as they paraded up and down promoting their nudist colony? That was much skimpier. Summertime in the city. It's certainly a big event.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

U District Street Fair

Here's the scoop for this weekend. Good gravy - the weather today is unbelievable - upper 80's heat wave and non-stop sun! Tomorrow will be a repeat, so the street fair should be mobbed, and Sunday sounds great too, with just a few clouds and a few degrees cooler. I'm getting ready for a fabulous show.

This is the kick-off event for the festival season in Seattle -- the first arts and crafts fair of Spring. It's an exciting celebration of arts and crafts, community, music and food attracting over 50,000 people and showcasing over 400 artists.

Dates: May 17 and 18, 2007
Hours: Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 10am-6pm
Location: University Avenue in the U district
Booth Location: Booth #339. A large corner spot on University Way, between 42nd and 43rd streets. Just a few doors down from Finn MacCool's bar, on that side of the street.
For more information: U District Street Fair

Group Health shops - next go round

We've hammered out dates for the next two spins at the Group Health retail space. Patricia (my pal who does the caramels and caramel corn) and I are sharing the space and divvying up the working hours so that's it is more manageable. Maybe other helpers too, because the holiday rush is so very busy for everybody.

Halloween theme shop will be a full week from Thurs Oct 23 through Thurs Oct 30, but closed on Sunday. I will be open for business on the Saturday, so regular working folks have a chance to stop by, chat and shop. I know there were a number of my regular fans who were disappointed that they couldn't check out the shop last time since it was only during normal working hours. We'll most likely be open 9:30-4:30, but if I hear from folks that they need me to be there earlier/later/whatever, it is still negotiable. We end the Thursday evening before Halloween, because the holiday falls on a Friday, and most people are rushing home to take kids out to trick-or-treat, or dress for their own parties - and we'll want to do that too! But we also have shows on the weekend, and need a day to regroup.

The Winter holiday/Christmas shop will be two weeks long, around the Thanksgiving holiday. We will open for business on Tuesday and Wed, Nov 25 and 26. We'll be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Then we'll open again for Friday and Saturday, Nov 28 and 29. Closed on Sunday. And finally open Monday through Thursday, Dec 1-4. No Friday hours, we're finished Thursday night. Again, we need a day before the huge Phinney show on the weekend to get ourselves organized. We'll have tons of prezzies, stocking stuffers, holiday goodies, gifts galore, twinklie lights and fun decor. It should be a blast! And again, we'll have Saturday hours for folks. If you think we need to be open on Sunday, or evenings or whatever suggestions you have, give me a holler. We have months to plan out the hours and details, although the dates are firm.

These dates, plus the other fall shows that I know right now are up on the website calendar - HERE.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blue sky

The sun is playing peekaboo today. The sky goes from brilliant blue with just a few puffy clouds, to slowly dark - one large dark cloud covering the sky and chasing the warm away.

The shop last week was a grand success. Now, I did NOT get bitten by the bug that says "you should get a shop of your own." But it was certainly fun for a week or so, and I am scheduling dates in October and December to do it again. But I am not now entertaining the idea that a retail storefront is the way to go from here, just in case you were wondering. What I've learned about myself is this: I must have complete control of my time and my schedule or I go crazy. Like prison, or that awful time years ago where I had to go a real job every day. It freaks me out to have to be someplace every day for certain hours and beholden to a clock. Yeah, I'm weird that way.

I took some time this weekend to chill. Before I even had the car emptied, I needed to get out in the garden and dig around. Move stuff, clip stuff, plant new things and just get my hands in the dirt. It made me feel normal again. And I slept in, played computer games, went out to eat with Mom, drank wine and watched a murder mystery. I think my brain is back in working order now. I've steam cleaned the carpets this morning and put everything away, made lists for this week, started working again.

This weekend is the U District street fair and the forecast is super hot and sunny - the first really good weekend in forever. I think that means we'll have an amazing time, but I need to get more stuff ready to sell. I'm doing inventories today to see what I'm missing and figure out what I have time for.

Lots of things to catch up on. One of them is the photos for the web site of the new summer bath salts. I was a day or two behind on getting them labelled before I could take photos, and then completely lost track of it during last week's hullabaloo. So they are up on the web site now and you can see what they look like (here too). These are the same glass jars that I've used for salts last year too. I'm going to switch to plastic, I think. I'm not sure. I've ordered some that look (in the teeny photo) almost exactly like these glass ones, only they are plastic. I would feel better about shipping plastic, and I think the customers would too, not to mention the savings on shipping charges, since they will be lighter. That's in the works anyway.

I'm working on show applications for fall and winter today too. I guess I forgot about them a little bit. I was waiting until I had money. Booth fees will kill you if you don't watch out. This month there is a little more money coming in, and deadlines are looming, so I'm going to figure out the whole fall thing. I'll be updating the website calendar tomorrow with the Oct-Dec dates, just in case you are planning ahead. There will be a few less shows overall because of the couple more weeks at the Group Health retail space. Well, that and the general shuffling around that I always do, depending on what worked out best.

The fall Best of the Northwest show has settled on dates and location - it's moving again to Seattle Center. No more Qwest Field (yay!), and back to Seattle Center, where it was located long before the move to Sand Point. It's strange to be homeless with that huge show. And dates are Nov 14-16.

Hmm, have I covered all the little stray bits and pieces from the last week and today? Well, it's all I can remember for the moment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

4th day shop shop shop

Several folks have said my little shop is the nicest display they've had there. One gal made it a point to emphasize EVER. So that's an especially nice compliment.

I'm a whirlwind this week. Trying to rush back and forth, working before hours, working after hours, trying to squeeze in a moment or two with the cats before they forget that I live here too. There isn't time for anything else, like life. It's all work this week. But it's going swimmingly at the shop.

And we are discussing when I can go back - I'd like October and December. I'll try to get some confirmed dates on the calendar as quickly as possible. Next time I'll continue into Saturday so regular working folks can have a chance to see it. I'm already percolating ideas about next time. I will definitely schedule help better, rather than the last minute calls for help I did this time, in order to get an hour or two in the morning to squeeze in the orders and stuff.

I am an online mail order company after all - that's the bread and butter. This shop thing is frosting on the cake, sort of like a show, but so many more hours. So I have to cover the bases and plan ahead to get figure out how to add on. But with months to work on it, you would think I might manage. Then again, I'm a last minute Sue.

Rambling. My head is moving too fast to type. I've got 5 minutes before I'm supposed to head out again to meet somebody.

And the fresh batch of cucumber jasmine soap just unmolded and curing outside my office is so damn yummy and intoxicating that I can't even think straight.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shop til you drop

Day 2 of THE SHOP started out super quiet. I worked on some of my small tasks, listened to the tunes, and generally bored myself silly and thought the shop thing was a stupid idea. But then lunch hour buzzed along nicely, and I got a break for a couple of hours while my Mom watched the till so I could rush home and get a batch of soap started quickly, check messages and stuff. It's so hard to keep it all up this week since I just sent out the mailer. Orders are arriving daily, lots of phone calls, questions, emails and things to stay on top of. So every minute counts.

Then I headed back to finish the day, chat with more folks who were gift shopping, and generally had a pretty successful day. I'm already needing to bring more supplies and inventory each day. Lessons for Tuesday - don't bring crappy music or your day will be really long. Likewise, dress warmly if you are planning on propping the door open all day while it's our stupid, sucky, cold, gray, windy and 40's something weather here, or again, your day will be really long and nippy. I had to keep closing the door for short periods and shoot the heat up so we didn't all freeze. Worst. spring. ever.

Day 3 - I guess it's Wednesday already - there's only an early report. Patricia is working most of today. I headed out for more flowers and plants super early this morning and opened the shop. I was there an hour early and already folks wanted to buy stuff, waiting at the door. The day started off with a BANG! And I did a rush of business the first couple of hours before lovely Patricia arrived.

I've got just a few short hours in the office again today - to work on more orders, run to the post office and bank, and attend to all the rest of everything before I head over again this afternoon to finish up the shop hours. Blur, blur, blur. My head is spinning. More later.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Checking in after my first day as "shopkeeper." It wasn't so bad for a quiet little Monday. I had folks wander in all day, in little spurts, and small bunches at lunch time. And I had a fairly productive day. Lots of comments on how nice it all looked, how great it smelled in there, and that they would be back later in the week with their gift lists.

It was pretty profitable too! One gal came specially with a long list from her Mom in Massachusetts. Her mother had seen me at Sorticulture last summer and fell in love with my stuff. So she gave her daughter a list of things she wanted, and will be visiting in Seattle in a couple of weeks to pick up her little treasure. So sweet.

What I've learned - remember the key when you run to the bathroom, because getting locked out and having to call security to let you in is stupid. That driving in the car with buckets of water can be a messy business if you didn't pack well. And that I'm definitely a morning person. I know this because I will almost never opt to do more work in the evening, choosing instead to get up a little earlier the next day to do whatever else needs to be done. I am now doing 2 loads of laundry, packaging a bunch of items, cash counting and bookkeeping, re-loading for today etc., starting at 6am. Which is fine. I'm more focused and more energetic than I was last night. Which, if you'd seen me, was ridiculous - like an old granny going to bed at 9am, barely able to shuffle across the floor.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Shop

Whew, what a lot of work. I spent the day setting up my little storefront space. Patricia, my friend who makes the fabulous Paige Lisbeth's killer caramels, caramel corn and lavender lemonade, will have her finest things there too. That means we've got all the Mom's covered -- luxury soaps and bath stuff, decorative vases, candles, flowers, garden pots, cute cards, PLUS sweet treats.

It looks pretty adorable, although not nearly as FULL as I would stuff it if this place was my own for reals. This is just a one week experiment. I have no idea if anyone at all will show up, or if I'll be buzzing along all week. So I didn't invest a ton of money in extras, just small bits of things. And I'll bring in more as needed. Plus more flowers and plants, especially towards the end of the week. Rose bouquets for Mom won't last the whole week, so I'm not expecting a big flower business tomorrow morning.

I do have a few roses and tulips, herb pots, and little flowering indoor plants for the first day. I'm just playing the whole thing by ear. And keeping my fingers crossed that business is good enough to schedule more of these for the fall and holiday season.

Details again for anyone who can stop by -

Dates: Monday through Friday, May 5 through 9.
Times: 9:30am - 4:30pm
Location: Group Health Central Campus on Capitol Hill
Address: 108 - 15th Ave E, Seattle

It's sort of kitty corner from that big Safeway store at 15th & John Streets. I'm about a quarter of the block south on the opposite side of the street, directly across from the Group Health credit union. There is one hour street parking all around there.

So much to remember, and I'll still have another load in the morning. Besides all the regular show stuff, there are more signs, tunes, extra bags and price tags and stickers, buckets of water and garden nippers . . . it's hurting my brain and I know I'll have a list of things that I forgot or never even thought about. It's going to be FUN though. A new something. And that usually leads to other new somethings.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Summer Newsletter

It's all fun stuff and good news today . . . the summer newsletter. It should be arriving in mailboxes today or tomorrow, but here's a jump start!

Summer News

Our Northwest Spring has been pretty pokey in showing up, with snow in April(!), but I’m already anticipating Summer. I know it’s coming because the trees are slowly unfurling their tiny leaves, more each day, spreading into the lush emerald green canopy full of birds and song which our little corner of the universe is known for. Summers around here are a secret treasure. We don’t let too many folks in on it – the fabulous weather that’s never too hot or too cold, and the dazzling sunny blue skies without a hint of rain. Shedding coats, cloths, briefcases, worries and other heavy things, we slip into casual sandals and head for the beach. Floating on gentle waves, the sea breezes and endless sky filling our senses, we bask in wonder at the infinite pleasures of Summer.


In a bow to Summer’s glory, I’ve created some special soaps and bath goodies to reflect the tastes of the moment, dancing in step with this season's abundant magic. These unique soaps or products are available only for the Summer season and are made in limited production. ($4.00 ea or 4 for $15.00)

VERBENA PEPPERCORN: Bright lemony verbena does the two-step with zesty black peppercorns. A lemon and herb melody that ends with a tambourine bang of piquant earthiness. It’s not spicy, not sneezy, just a bit more complex than the standard fare.

CUCUMBER JASMINE: So delicate, so fresh and so lovely. Dewy green cucumber flirts with jasmine blossoms, creating a blend that is both softly pretty and refreshingly cool at the same time. That favorite summer tune will be playing in your head all day . . .”summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”


By popular demand, the Spring Seasonal soaps are all still available for a bit longer. The CITRUS MINT & POPPY is so utterly charming and fresh for summer, and fits the bill for those who like a little scrub-a-dub-dub in their tub. I'll carry on with LEMON BLISS,ORANGE BLOSSOM, and ROSES & VIOLETS as well during the summer show season.

I’ve added fresh buttermilk to the OATMEAL, MILK & HONEY recipe, along with pure cactus honey powder. Buttermilk and honey are both revered for their luscious moisturizing and skin softening abilities. Combined with the gentle exfoliation and soothing of the oatmeal bits, this is the queen of complexion soaps, and the perfect fit for folks with sensitive skin.

The CITRUS BASIL SCRUB soap has an all-new formulation with essential oils only. Now 100% natural, it’s filled with scrubby cornmeal, a blend of “bird” seeds, and oils of litsea, bergamot mint and basil. Remarkably similar to the fragrance it’s been in the past, only better!


Summer is the perfect season to indulge in one of the aromatic sprays. Splash yourself and your little summer sun dresses, freshen your rooms, liven up your sheets, spritz the car seats, and squirt the dog. I’ve brought back the much-loved ORANGE GINGER spray, a delightful sweet orange scent with a bit of spicy ginger. And for a touch of the exotic, SANDALWOOD ORANGE is mellow, earthy and woodsy with a bit of citrus. Take one of our lovely sprays with you everywhere this season – LAVENDER LEMONGRASS and FRENCH LAVENDER are perfect warm weather pals too. These are not luxuries, they’re necessities! ($ 6.00 each)

I also have the ever-popular BUGGER OFF spray, an all-natural bug repellent that really works! Essential oils of cedar, bay, orange and eucalyptus mask your human scent and repel all kinds of irritating little critters – mosquitoes, fleas, and gnats. Safe for kids and pets, this spray works best when sprayed on clothing or bedding so the scent lingers longer. It’s clean, woodsy and pleasant to wear, with no strong citronella that keeps the people away too. Bugger Off Spray comes highly recommended and is amazingly effective. ($ 6.00 each)


Big, beautiful jars of bath salts! These rustic, chunky salts come directly from the Dead Sea . Pure, fresh salts with a mineral content that is 7 times 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. To capture the essence of summer, there is ISLAND COCONUT, pure luscious coconut with a squeeze of lime. DAY AT THE BEACH is sea spray and salty waves with just a lingering touch of vanilla coconut, like the sunscreen dab on your towel. TROPICAL GARDEN is a grandiflorous bouquet of tuberose, lily, gardenia and jasmine, tied up with bright ribbons of sweet orange and fresh aloe vera – very pretty and very fresh. (16 oz glass bottle - $8.00)


I will have my own little retail shop for one week at the beginning of May. Group Health has a little jewel of a storefront that I am “renting” for the week before Mother’s Day. It's a tiny little jewel box shop space which belongs to Group Health, on their Central Group Health Campus. They loan it out to folks from time to time, and a percentage of the sales go towards their TLC Guild, which helps with patient's needs, buying them necessary items etc. It’s designed to be a gift boutique, especially focused on Mother’s Day (May 11). I’ll have my full line of products, plus greeting cards, flowers and plants, vases and pots, all kinds of gift ideas for any of your Spring celebrations. It’s located at 108 – 15th Ave E, kitty-corner from the Safeway, and I’ll be open May 5th through 9th, from 9:30am-4:30pm, open to the public and super excited to try a new challenge. See you there!


A brand new way to receive news and updates, I’m adding the option of an email subscription list. You can receive these seasonal quarterly newsletters in email format only. Or you can choose both mailing lists, receiving more frequent news bits plus discounts, special offers and coupons, through the email list. I’ll be starting from scratch with this list, so nobody is automatically added unless you sign up for it. You can sign up by emailing me directly, or by signing up on the website (under "Mailing Lists"). Save trees and stamps by going all-electronic, or have it all – the paper newsletter plus the special email offers and news. It’s just one more way for me to stay in touch and appreciate my most loyal customers, while offering an option to “go green” at the same time. Now that’s progress.

I get so excited each year to pop up my tent and start another season of street fairs and markets because I get a chance to meet and talk to all of you. For more details on the shop and street fair schedule, including booth locations, check out the calendar section on the website,

Kick off your flip flops and relax into summer!