Friday, June 27, 2008

New Gift Items

What a super summer weekend. It's looks like it's going to be the sunniest, warmest weekend yet. Perfect for the kick-off to the 4th of July week. I'll be selling soap up in La Conner instead of dangling my toes in the water at the beach. Oh well. It's a lovely little town, and the drive is scenic and serene. I'll live.

I've just put a couple of new gift items up on the web site. I've had them at shows the last week or two but just didn't get around to taking photos and posting them up. They are ready for their close up.

The sweet little wire baskets are vintage style berry baskets. They are perfect for a bar of soap and a little accessory - like one of the soap sacks, soap mitts, or washcloth. Add a nail brush. Do 2 bars and a sack and nail brush. Or a dish. Or a mitt and a tin of foot balm. Anything goes here. It's just the perfect size container to put anything you want into it, making a very special custom gift for your lucky somebody.

I've made it simple on the web site, because I can't do a million different options there. The page lets you specify one bar of soap and one accessory - and you can choose from any bar on the list, plus a choice of sack, mitt, washcloth or nail brush. If you want to switcheroo or add anything, you can leave a note in the instruction box. Or better yet, you can call with your individual requests and we'll arrange your unique item. You can find this item HERE.

Also added to the web site - bar and a card gift bags. We've done varieties of these all year - with Valentine's cards, Mother's Day and Father's Day cards, etc. For summer I'm using vintage seed packet graphics to make little postcards. I've got 4 choices - Forget-me-not, Dahlia, Sunflower and Fuschia. So it's a bar of soap and a postcard all prettied up in a little cello sack with a pretty matching ribbon. All for $5, which is almost what you pay for a regular greeting card these days. But this is so. much. better. It's soap for heaven's sake. And card to write your own message on, which is cute as a button.

Again, on the site you can choose from any one of the entire list of soaps, and specify which card you prefer, or let me match it to the color of your soap if you can't be bothered with more decisions right now. Yes, I feel like that too. You can find this item HERE.

One final business note: if you are not on the spanking new email list, you missing out this week. In all the summer sun and fun giddiness, I'm giving away a freebie with all orders over $15 this week. You can still join up any time. There will be more recklessness in the months to come, I promise. You can sign up HERE.

Have a splendid weekend soaking up summer!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

La Conner Summer Festival

Here are the details for this weekend's festival, in case you're planning a little day trip to someplace scenic:

The La Conner Summer Street Festival is located in downtown La Conner in the heart of the Skagit Valley. This fifth annual two-day event will take place June 28th & 29th and will be a welcome to summertime and a community celebration of regional art. The hours of the Summer Street Festival are Saturday, June 28th 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday, June 29th 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Artists from throughout the Pacific Northwest will showcase their handmade, unique wares along the street that leads to La Conner’s historic waterfront district. Merchants will join in with sidewalk sales & events. This family-oriented event will feature activities for children throughout the weekend. Musical entertainment and food specials for lunch, snacks and dinner offered by local restaurants. Whether it is art, designer fashion, footwear, fabulous food and wine, flowers or that special gift you have been looking for … you can find it in the Village of La Conner. Locally owned boutiques, galleries, & inns. Stroll the Village!

Dates: June 28 and 29, 2008
Hours: Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
Location: La Conner, Washington

Soapworks Studio Booth Location: Booth #9 - not sure exactly where that is

La Conner Summer Festival
La Conner Chamber (for general information about La Conner)
La Conner Chamber Maps (for maps and driving directions)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The big sniff

What I like most about doing a show is the look on people's faces as they pass by my tent. Many stop, sniff, breathe in deeply for a few seconds, eyes closed, sheer pleasure. Usually they say something to the effect that my space smells really good. I love that.

Or when they stop in to smell the soaps - or the sachets, bath salts, whatever - and they find the perfect one that makes them swoon. Eyes all googly with delight, they can't put it down. I love that too.

Sorticulture was a lot of fun, a big success again this year. I bought plants. Now I've got to find spots for them. I'm going to dig around a bit today when I get a minute. I need to squeeze it in, even though I need to get a lot of work done today too.

Yesterday I unpacked and got re-organized, but then spent the afternoon running errands and doing real life stuff. So today it's back to the soap biz. Orders and the like. It's another round of prep and packaging for another show this weekend. This time it's La Conner. I'll post details about the show tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sun break

I woke up this morning to a light drizzle and thought "oh no, not another day of gray and rain. I don't want to set up in the rain. I don't want to do another outdoor show in the rain. drat."

I headed down to the office early to finish up a few last minute things before I need to drive up to Everett this afternoon to set up my tent for Sorticulture. And then the sun came out. Cue the choir of angels. This is my much neglected garden in a moment of dazzling brightness that I hardly ever get to see. It's beautiful. The mountains are visible in the distance although you can't see it in the lightness of the background in the photo. A view!

I'm so excited for this weekend. I have some cool new baskets to make gift sets out of. And I'm going to buy plants. Just one or two. I've got a few spots that I'm looking for something special. There are few things I like more than shopping for plants and garden stuff. Yippee. Can't wait to see what's there.

A reminder - it doesn't start til noon tomorrow, but it goes later, til 8pm.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


What a pretty picture for the Sorticulture show this year. The postcards are beautiful. So this is the info posting about the show this weekend. I highly recommend this festival for anybody who is interested in plants and gardening - because it is chock full of cool and interesting nurseries and plant people, plus all kinds of fun garden art and specialty items for your little heaven in the back yard. It's 3 whole days this year, not the usual 1-1/2, so there is no reason anyone should miss it!

Insert advert blurb:

June 20, 21, 22
Friday: noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sorticulture is Everett’s Garden Arts Festival – part art, part horticulture – where art and nature are perfectly partnered in a festival that celebrates the possibilities of outdoor living.

Featuring handcrafted garden art, specialty nurseries with unusual plants, special guest Ciscoe Morris, gardening and culinary demonstrations, free kids’ activities, display gardens, live acoustic music, food fair, and wine garden.
Park the car at Everett Community College and ride Everett Transit to Sorticulture. Fare is 50 cents. Bus-riders receive a free outdoor water conservation kit while supplies last.

Admission to Sorticulture is free.
Legion Park, 145 Alverson Blvd.
Everett, Washington 98201

Link to the schedule of demonstrations and activities

My booth is out there in the grass. It's one big loop, so I think you'll find me easy enough. It's booth #108 at the end of a row, but sort of difficult to describe just by looking at the mini map they sent me. Anyway, see you there!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another Monday

A quick update today in shorthand. I had a great weekend, and the show turned out pretty well. I had a really nice spot, next to a door with sunlight and fresh air and a beautiful view. This is it. Top of the Edmonds library is a plaza or courtyard thingie which overlooks downtown Edmonds, towards the ferry dock and the sound and mountains beyond.

Friday was grey and freezing, and I was so glad I had chosen to be inside because the outside folks were freezing. Saturday and Sunday turned out to be beautiful days - sunny and warm. And the outside folks were hot and sweaty and I was so glad I had chosen to be inside, once again. Because look! I had all the view, all the fresh breeze, and none of the bother. Sparkling blue ocean, everyone hanging out in the glistening sunshine eating ice cream bars over the railing.

I am in a bit of a spin because I have another rush of a week. Just two days really to get ready for the Sorticulture show this coming weekend. It's another 3-day show which starts Friday. Set up is Thursday. Wednesday is my shift at the shop. So today I have to do all the unpacking and clean up. Plus send out the accumulated orders, including a nice big wholesale order for A Lot of Flowers in Bellingham. (They'll have all fresh new soaps and stuff next week y'all.) Do all the catching up of everything on earth, which means laundry, grass mowing, yard watering, bill paying, lonely cat petting.

So, can I package everything I need for an entire show tomorrow? Yes, I think I can. But it won't be fun. So I'm off - gotta keep moving.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Edmonds Arts Festival

It's cold here. Really cold. It's not even 50 degrees right now, and the highs all month haven't reached 60 I don't think. In fact, it's snowing in the mountains at the moment. In JUNE for pity's sake! I still have the heat on the this morning - and it's supposed to be summer.

I guess I'm happy that I can even turn the heat on. And the lights. And the computer. We lost power last night in a ferocious wind storm, the kind that usually only happens in January. In the dark and howling, I just gave up and went to bed early. But I don't feel more energetic this morning because I got more sleep. Just cold. And tired of the gray and rain that is happening outside. It's like winter is never ending. Forget spring. Forget summer. There is only one season any more and it's winter. Not my fave. I think everyone around here is depressed and anxious for a little sun and warmer temperatures.

Before it all went dark yesterday I had a pretty productive day. But I need another one today too - no distractions, no long naps. I'm working on getting everything packed up for Edmonds Arts Festival this coming weekend. And miracle of miracles, there is hardly any rain predicted. The forecast mentions a possible sprinkling on Friday morning, but that's during set-up time. The rest of the three days should be dry, though overcast and cool still.

This is a really excellent art show, so if you're in the mood, here are the details.

Edmonds Arts Festival

One of the most prestigious fine arts fairs in the Northwest, attracting artists from across the nation -- in a beautiful setting overlooking the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. There is also live entertainment, a juried gallery exhibition, a nationally-recognized juried children's art exhibit, a hands-on children's art activity area, wonderful food and a wine bar and bistro. Lots of wonderful art activities at this show and a great community gathering.

Dates: June 13, 14 & 15, 2008
Hours: Fri 11:00am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm
Soapworks Booth Location: I will be in the indoor plaza room (space #P111), the top floor of the Edmonds Library

So if you're looking for my booth - I'm inside. Not bringing my tent and worrying about the weather. Inside! Boy am I glad I made that decision oh so many months ago.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I know, totally gross. But it's Monday morning, sigh.

I'm slightly bummed about this week only because the show season starts in earnest now, beginning this weekend with Edmonds. I mean, I like doing shows and all, making money and selling stuff. But I don't really like all the pressure of it. The frenzied work that goes into each week to get ready and then to be working all weekend too while everyone else is enjoying their summer vacations and lazy days.

So it begins. Now I could have been preparing in advance for weeks now, so it wouldn't be quite so frenzied, right? It just didn't turn out that way. I've been building up inventory a bit, but with the orders and scattered sales taking chunks out of it, there's still a lot to do. And as the next few weeks unfold, there's Sorticulture the next week and La Connner the following week, you never know exactly what you will have left, what you will need more of, what sells, what doesn't, or whether the show is a grand success or not.

The Edmonds Art Fair sets up on Thursday and has a preview night that evening. And with my Wednesdays committed to Collage, I've got basically a 2-day week. Which I didn't think about too much while I lazed away my last weekend, napping, taking it easy, having Father's Day a week early with a huge waffle bar brunch and an afternoon out to see the Indiana Jones movie. I enjoyed my last slow weekend at home and avoided work.

So hellloooo Monday. And get cracking.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Email begins

Wheee - my first big email promotion went out yesterday to all the folks who signed up for my brand spankin' new email list. It's kinda cool if I say so myself. Very professional looking.

I signed up to work with Constant Contact, a service that provides templates and technology to create those web site-looking emails. They manage the whole list and keep track of everything, but I am the one who writes it all up, uploads photos, slaves over all the monkeying around getting it to look just right. I spent the weekend working on it, teaching myself how to use all the new gizmos and widgets and formatting. And I hashed out a schedule of other promotions - at least one a month - for the rest of the year. Some are coupons for a percentage off the next order. Some are freebie goodies when you order something. And the rest of the seasonal newsletters will be sent my email too - paper for most folks still, email only for a some of the folks who have transferred over, and some people have signed up for both as a way to keep getting my little newsletter in the mail but want the to see the monthly specials too. It's all good, the more the merrier.

June's email promo featured a special Father's Day gift idea (which you can check out on the website HERE), and highlighted some summer products too, like the Foot Balm, the Bugger Off natural bug repellant spray, and the Dead Sea Bath Salts in new summer fragrances. There's also a coupon on this one - a bonus for the folks who jumped on board right away, thanks!

Just in case you missed it and want to sign up to receive the next promotion (first week of July), you can head over to the web site and sign up HERE.

Another toy to play with!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cats in the summer

Oh, to be a cat. Any box will do, but a planter box in the sunshine is pretty darn nice.

And only in the summer can you lose yourself in the tall grass and play jungle cat games.

Laundry days are special. There is always a new blankie cave to explore and crash out for a quick nap.

But evenings on the porch, watching the parade of dog walkers go by, hand in hand with your best friend? That's the best of all.