Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anacortes Arts Festival

I know, I hardly blog anymore. It's bad. But I'm just so darn busy with my little hamster wheel over here, that I haven't been able to carve out even 5 minutes to blab. There's nothing exciting to say, anyway. It's just all work, work, show, show, work, show, work, show. That's my life in the summer. After this week's Anacortes show, I've got a week off before I have to start in on the next one - Best of the Northwest in Marymoor the following week.

But hoo boy, that week is gonna feel good. I'm going to sleep and sleep some more and generally sit around and stare at the sky, along with a few little summer activities for fun. So I'm really looking forward to that little window. Not that I'm counting, but I haven't had a single day off for what, like a month?

I would be remiss if I didn't post at least the details to this next big show. It's always my biggest of the summer, so I'm working doubly hard this week to bring massive amounts of soap and sundries to my little tent in the sunshine.

Anacortes Arts Festival

This is one of the largest and most popular art fairs in the entire Pacific Northwest, with a juried fine art exhibition, over 250 juried booth artisans, two music stages, international food court and beer garden, a hands-on youth area, fiber show at the Depot, working artist area, poetry reading at the port and more.

Dates: August 1, 2 and 3
Times: Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
Location: Downtown Anacortes, on Commercial Ave between the port and 10th

Soapworks Studio booth location: same location as last year, directly in front of La Vie en Rose Bakery, near the corner of 5th street, on the West side. Booth # 419W. Stop by! Get a cookie or a piece of their yummy pizza.

Gotta get back on my little wheel and keep squeaking away . . . hope all you dears are enjoying a deliciously decadent summer of adventure or sloth. And if so, come by my booth and tell me all about it so I can live vicariously through your stories. ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bellevue - 6th St Fair

Another week, another festival. It's the 3rd in a row of 3-day fairs, so maybe it's especially lucky? Fingers crossed.

This coming weekend is the Bellevue Arts Fair extravaganza. It's actually three different shows, all going on simultaneously in downtown Bellevue. The Bellevue Arts Museum ArtsFair, is the fancy pants show in the garage of the Bellevue Square Mall. It's completely fine art and is the biggest draw for national artists to travel here. Another one, called Bellevue Festival of the Arts, is located in the Cost Plus parking lot across the street from Bell Square. Also only traditional fine art categories and lots of lovely folks there.

And then there is the Sixth Street Fair. Now, this is not the poor cousin of art shows - it's just an extension of folks who show locally, and they in fact allow some other categories too, like traditional crafts, which are not allowed in the other two shows. Soapmaking is obviously not high end fine art. So the only show that me and others like me can even participate in, is Sixth Street. And believe me, there are some very lovely artists in our show too. All kinds of things, from furniture to glass, pottery, jewelry, woodworking - but also soap, candles, fabric arts etc., gift items that don't require a year's worth of salary to invest in. There are 120 artists, food booths and music stages over our way. If you've got time, it's nice to visit the whole entire hullabaloo and see everything. The weather is supposed to be perfect - sunny and 70's, which can't be beat for wandering around being wowed by the creativity and beauty.

Details: 6th Street Fair

Friday, July 25: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 26: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 27: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Soapworks Studio Booth Location: I am located in #C-3, on 106th near the corner of 6th, right in front of the California Pizza Kitchen, facing east towards the Bellevue Galleria complex. Same spot as last few years!

Check the above link for more information on parking deals, shuttles, artist list and locations, etc. See you there -

Saturday, July 19, 2008


What a beautiful evening in Kirkland last night. The perfect summer night, with everyone spilling out on the patios and decks of the restaurants, meandering around the park and shops. This view is mainly the big wine tasting area, which was full of live jazz and sippers last night. The art fair portion is spread out all over, a little bit is next to it on the beach, and winds up the street in front of the Market Street Grill - that's where I am. I'm in the middle of the block directly across from the Market Street Grill on Kirkland Ave. And there is another little section of artists set up on Park Lane too - across Central Way from the rest of the festival.

There's a mini boat show on the docks of the marina. It seemed a little small, and the only boats showcased are pretty small little power boats too - no big yachts. Everything is on super clearance sale. I guess the boat business is hurting. Not many want to buck up for gas to motor around any more. The folks who already have boats? They were just sitting on the boat at the dock, having drinks and feeling the breeze but going nowhere. The lake has been looking pretty empty lately. But last night was so pretty, it was hard to resist. Everyone heading out was in sailboats though, see?

Show officially starts at 11am today and tomorrow. I'm sure it will be hopping early though. I need to water the yard and catch up on a couple of things this morning quick before I head over. Just wanted to pop in and let you know that there is no prettier place to spend time than Kirkland's waterfront on a sunny day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer day

Dream Variation

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me–
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

- Langston Hughes

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Goodbye to Collage

Today is my last day at Collage - the little shop in Kirkland at Carillon Point. I'm headed in this morning to work my shift, but then pack it all up and take it home.

It's been a difficult decision to leave, because the gals there are truly wonderful and have been so supportive. But it's been a tough fit for me. The work shift requirement is becoming increasingly more difficult as I schedule more shows and try to keep up with the mail order side of the business too. I just keep running short of time to be in the studio making products.

And I realized that stocking a little gift boutique is not the same as stocking a show. Customers were looking more for gift wrapped goodies and specially packaged items to give as gifts. The plain old bars of soap were not as popular. Since that's what I do primarily, it was frustrating to see it sit there on the shelf, especially when I needed it at a show were I came up a little short on one scent or another.

I do like a challenge, and so I was constantly brainstorming a new way to do it, to make it a big success. Different gift sets, different types of bags and bows and packaging. Moving it around and bringing in new things. Making special little things just for the shop. It's been over a year and I finally just decided that I'm chasing my tail, running circles and not getting anywhere.

Oh, the sales weren't bad. They were fairly consistent and most customers seemed to enjoy my products there. But it wasn't quite reaching what I needed it to for all the extra effort and attention I had to give it. It was a special project, and I had to be honest with myself that it was a distraction to my regular business, rather than a bonus.

I need my time back. I need my mental (and physical) energies to be more focused on what I have committed to for the rest of the year. So I'm saying goodbye today. I wish them the best success in the future and hope to stay in touch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Web site update

Yesterday the site was down for the better part of the day. Not me, not my fault. The host server had problems or something. But it came back yesterday evening, and seems to be in working order today too.

I apologize for the inconvenience if you were trying to get through yesterday. And please give me a call if you are having any trouble at your end.

Kirkland Uncorked

This weekend I'll be at the Kirkland Uncorked festival. A Festival of Style and Taste is a grand celebration showcasing Washington’s finest wines, gourmet foods, engaging art and the best the Northwest has to offer in jazz and classical music—all in one elegant and entertaining weekend on the shores of Lake Washington.

A signature summer event, Kirkland Uncorked offers the perfect opportunity to discover this vibrant lakeside community. An abundance of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, home d├ęcor shops, designer stores, day spas, flat walks along the waterfront, lake cruises and water activities make Kirkland the perfect weekend destination. Visit explorekirkland.com to discover all there is to experience in Kirkland.

Wine Garden Hours:

Friday, July 18
Saturday, July 19
Sunday, July 20

Festival Hours:

Friday, July 18
Saturday, July 19
Sunday, July 20

Marina Park
Kirkland, WA

Tasting Garden Admission
$20 in advance
$25 at the entrance
A benefit for
The Hope Heart Institute
Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets

Best of the Northwest if organizing the artists area, so it's going to be very high quality - about 60 artists. There is also a boat show, a dog contest and a classic car show happening there over the weekend.

For more details on all how the wine garden works or any of the activities etc., visit their website at KirklandUncorked.com

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day!

It's that middle of the summer time when I'm having my morning coffee with the live Tour de France coverage on tv, just so I can peep at the castles, churches and French countryside. And I spent the weekend in West Seattle, having breakfast at Bakery Nouveau before I opened up my little tent, sampling the baguette sandwiches, almond croissants, and a fresh salt caramel macaroon. So delicious.

This evening I'm going to meet friends at the Bastille Day festivities over at Cafe Campagne - snackies and wine and live entertainment this afternoon to celebrate all things French. Oh how I wish I had the whole day off to relax, sip and recharge after what seemed like the longest weekend ever.

But I've got a huge list of things to catch up on, soap to make and inventory to get started on for the next weekend of shows. I'll be at Kirkland Uncorked this week. I had it in my head for weeks now that it was just a 2 day show - an teeny little respite between three other back-to-back 3-day weekend shows this month. But I'm a fool. It actually starts Friday - but it's afternoon hours only, so we set up mid-morning instead of Thursday night. Is that a break? Well today it isn't. It's a harsh reality that again I have only about 2 days to get ready for this next bonanza and there is never enough time to do everything there is to be done.

I'm going to self-edit here and stop the whining. It's another gorgeous summer day, and I have plans to have to fun later, and I just need to get cracking.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

West Seattle Street Fair

This weekend I'll be at the West Seattle Summer Fest. Here are the full details:

"West Seattle Summer Fest is a FREE 3-day street fair, hosted by an organization of local area merchants, the West Seattle Junction Association. Now in it’s 26th year, West Seattle Summer Fest is host to dozens of bands, hundreds of merchants and artists, and over 30,000 attendees. Complete with food courts, beer gardens, and family activities, this is a true community celebration in the heart of West Seattle.

This year’s festival promises to be better than ever! For 3 days, our merchants will open up their doors and spill out onto their sidewalks to display all the wonderful products and services they offer year-round, while artists and artisans display in the streets. Junction restaurants and a delectable selection of cross-cultural food vendors can satisfy your hunger along the way. Live music on two stages, a skateboard exhibition, and a full block of family activities make each day special. And don’t forget our welcoming beer & wine garden, the annual Saturday Night Street Dance and, of course, West Seattle’s own Sunday Farmer’s Market!"

Dates: July 11, 12 and 13
Times: Friday and Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11am-7pm
Location: The West Seattle Junction on California Ave SW, between SW Edmunds and North of SW Oregon Street to the Post Office; and on Alaska Street, between 42nd Ave SW and 44th Ave SW

Soapworks Studio booth location: same spot as last year - directly in front of Jak's Grill

Link: West Seattle Summer Fest (maps here)

Monday, July 07, 2008


Talking about freedom . . . freedom to express yourself is big around here.

I just got new neighbors. The family that had lived next door, in the same house for 35 years or more, put their house up for sale. The kids are grown, with grown children of their own. The husband died some years ago, and the wife, much older now, had moved to Alaska. So while she was back for a few months to clear things out, they called a realtor. The next day a few folks came over to look at it and within moments it was sold. As is. So the price was right I guess.

The new owners, a young couple who just moved here a couple of months ago from China, were going to do some updating. So after a month or so of workers in and out, carpets removed, floors redone, simple stuff fixed up, they moved in.

A week ago, they painted the outside. It's purple. Wild, purple. Yes, a bit unusual and probably not a "normal" house color in China. But they are here now, and that was their dream. Free to be.

That little fence top is mine, so you can see how close they are to the side of me. Hee. It makes me smile, it makes me laugh. The day they did this (it was a quick job - primer and all in 3 hours) the painter guy was talking to me over the fence and I asked him the color. He said purple but he was smiling really big and I thought he was joking around. They had primered most of it when I left for the post office. It was only about 20 minutes later when I arrived home and saw the purple from the corner. I started to belly laugh so hard I could hardly contain myself. Had to wheeze for awhile in the car before I could even walk to the door.

Anyway, it's done. I actually started to love it a little right away. I know it's odd. And after the traffic-cone orange house on the other side, plus my bright green and blue little number - this must be the most crayola corner in the whole city. It's a dark enough purple that it's sorta almost blue. It really compliments my front garden of lots of blue and purple flowers too. Some people have said it's awful or jarring and strange to paint the exterior that color. But I have to applaud the bold choice to do exactly what you want - especially in a strange new country, new neighborhood, new culture. I honestly think it would have been a risk back home too - cuz the pictures I've seen of China didn't have a lot of super colorful houses dotting the landscape either, not like India or the Caribbean. So cool.

I saw the gal a few days later and told her I thought it was cute. She doesn't like it. Oops. Turns out she's the other wife, the younger one. There are actually 2 brothers living there and she's the single wife of the younger one. She speaks quite nice english and we've talked several times, very friendly. But the other brother has a wife and 2 girls in grade school who also moved in. They picked the color, and she thought it was too bright and too colorful. She'll get used to it after a while - especially when the grey clouds return and it rains for months on end. Maybe then she will be happy when she's sees the bright color of her front door. I know I will be.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth!

I've been remiss in my blog posts. Suffice to say, I've been humming along here, keeping up with shows and orders, doing the doingness of it all.

This 3-day weekend is my only one off for awhile - 4 straight weeks of shows, then this one island, and 4 more weeks of shows with 2 of them being the biggest of the summer. I'm headed into a little whirlwind of summer madness. So even though I'm not under my tent this weekend, I don't really get to take it off and holiday either. I'm trying to work ahead on inventory of everything and get batches of soap made too, so that I don't run out by the time August rolls around.

Even today - I've got to work a bit this morning. But there will be grilling and fireworks later. We're even planning a picnic for when the sun comes back out on Sunday. Dora wants to go too, she's already packed herself up for a trip to the beach. I guess she wants to keep cool.