Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hodge podge

Hello. It's been a while. Sometimes life just gets busy.

Mostly it's just been very unsettled over here, on so many fronts. We had to do some construction work in the basement, which is supposed to give me some better space to work in . . . eventually. But in the meantime - this whole month to be exact - I've had to clean out and move every single item out of my business work space and re-locate into the dining room, living room, kitchen etc. There is stuff everywhere and you can hardly walk through the house.

It's a pain. Truly. Even though I tried so hard to be organized and keep it uncluttered and just the basics, it's a towering mess. And happening at exactly the time of the spring newsletter and a flood of orders. Plus I need to be diligent about making soap for the spring and summer shows. That's becoming harder and harder to do, since I have no space to cure it and store it.

It's construction stuff and complicated and necessary and full of delays. It was supposed to be 3-4 weeks. It's already that, and still so far away. Step by step it's progressing and great, but it's slow and tedious too. I think at some point I'm going to be thrilled about it. But I'm not there yet. I'm squished in a corner, and fighting dust.

On the one hand, it's nice to be upstairs in the little bit of sunlight of we've had this winter, instead of the freezing basement with not enough light. But I can't find stuff and I have such a small space to work. My computer is on a dinky little table. And then it died.

That's the other challenge - computer woes. My (relatively) new computer died. It was a hand-me-down, but much newer than what I was using before. Really big and beautiful and fast. And then the logic board went kerflooey a week and half ago. No internets or browsers would work and stuff just kept crashing. Emergency new computer. Which again, has its ups and downs. Ups - gorgeous, lightening fast, totally the newest thing out there. Downs, nothing I did before worked with the new operating system. Besides surfing, and a little document typing, nothing worked. They had a much easier time migrating my old computer to the new one than they thought they would. But it's all having compatibility issues. To be expected when you are making a leap in systems, but so much frustration. Back up external drive, photo program, printer, customer database program, fonts, address book - all had to be upgraded, rebuilt, imported/exported. It's been one mess each day to overcome.

Today I can finally say I think I've gotten to the end of the list. My customer database was the last hurdle. I think I've got it all imported correctly into the new program and I'll be able to print mailing labels for the summer mailing. I don't think I've lost anybody, but please holler if you don't hear from me in May.

So the business has been operating and functioning - orders are coming in and going back out on time. I've been producing as much products as I can keep up with here. And I'm planning ahead for all the later spring and summer events. It's cooking along. Messy, frustrating and cramped, but still moving along.

That's the nutshell. I've been avoiding the blog a bit because whining is so un-cool. One step forward, two steps back, turn around in a circle, the dance is confusing and I still don't have the steps down, let alone the arm movements. If I just stand here and flap my arms a little, will that work?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spring Newsletter 2009

At first glance, you may think I’m joking, but if you look very, very carefully outside, Spring is abuzz. Tiny little pink buds have popped on the ends of otherwise dead stick branches. Teeny green bulb shoots are just barely sticking up just barely from the freezing earth.

Did you know that 10 flowers yield 1 drop of nectar, 1 bee can hold 1 drop of nectar per trip, 10 drops of nectar yield 1 drop of honey, 10 drops of honey yield 1 drop of beeswax, so 1000 flowers yield 1 drop of beeswax. All of nature is a miracle, and the coming of Spring always knocks my socks off.

Of course it’s still the very earliest stages of Spring, but I’m so very much looking forward to the light, delicate, shyly tender beginnings of my garden. Watercolor scenes of cherry blossoms, star magnolia, tulips, and daffodils. Spring is the budding freshness of limitless possibilities.


To celebrate the season of love, flowers, and new beginnings, I’ve created a few new scents, all utilizing the new lush shea butter and hemp oil recipe. While prices for everything keep rising dramatically, I’m keeping the prices for all my products, plus the shipping charges, the same as they’ve been the last few years as we begin this year of uncertainty and belt-tightening. It’s my personal commitment to make the best products I can, as reasonably priced as possible, so nobody has to sacrifice a little daily luxury. Budgets are tight, but life is short, and taking care of yourself matters. ($4.00 each or 4 / $15.00)

White Lilac – True, beautiful lilac, just a blush fresher and lighter than a rich purple lilac. Sophisticated, elegant, lushly floral.

Jasmine, Pear & Rose – A blend of two traditional floral notes with an unexpected fruit, but it’s simply gorgeous. A pretty pink bar of pure loveliness.

Lemon Verbena – Now with more lemon! This is a true lemon verbena, an all-time favorite fragrance. I’ve added just a splash of tart, juicy lemon to jazz up the citrus note.

For several years I’ve featured the Moroccan Fig soap as an autumn seasonal, and it’s always so adored that I end up continuing it through winter, and field requests for it the entire rest of the year. So, I am adding Moroccan Fig to the regular list where it will reside permanently.


Our Dead Sea bath salts are so lovely, so nurturing and such a nice value that they rank high on the list of most popular products. This Spring, instead of coming up with a few brand new seasonal fragrances to try, I’ve scented the salts to match my most popular soaps. Layering scent in personal care products is a wonderful way to make the enticing aroma last longer. Using soaps, lotions, and perfumes in the same or similar scents combines the aromatics, layering the scent notes, and subtly infusing your skin for an individual signature scent that leaves the house with you, instead of taking up camp only in your bathroom. They are the same 16 oz bottles of beautiful spa-quality soaking salts. Spring’s bath salt scents are: Lavender Lemongrass, French Lavender, and Vanilla Bean & Honey. ($ 8.00 each)


I’ve hatched a new soap idea – it’s a new product line, which I hope will brighten everyone’s day. The new soaps are more of the mini-soap bars (a la The Pacific Northwest Collection) that I added last fall. They are roughly half the size of my standard bars, 2x2 inches square, and weigh 1.5 ounces each. I am selling them in groups of four, packaged in a sweet, natural jute string bag, and the scents will change with each new batch.

The “brighter day” part is that half of all the proceeds for these new soaps will go directly to, the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. Tiny little loans of $25 go towards goals of several hundred or a thousand dollars, whatever is needed for a small business owner in a developing nation to get the help they need to start their business, or to take the next step towards sustainability. It doesn’t take much to help somebody who is struggling to make their little business a livelihood for themselves and their families. I’m so grateful that for the last 13 years I’ve been able to make a living with my own micro business, and I want to share just a little bit of what I have to help others do the same. It’s my way of having Soapworks Studio give back, and having you all - my most fabulous customers- share in that process, while getting the most adorable little mini guest or travel soaps in return.

One more thing – the fragrances of these will be in a constant rotation. This first edition has a fruity floral combo. I’m constantly doing experiments with new scents for seasonal soaps, or testing out samples, so I seem to have an endless amount of scents to try. These will be my new playground for now. You’ll get to try different, fun, new stuff. And as the year continues, there will be new groupings of 4 soap scents to choose from, matched so that they go well together. Suds for a Brighter Day, 1st edition: Apricot Peach, Berry Delight, Grapefruit Splash, Pink Posy (Bag of 4 soaps, $10 each, 50% of all proceeds go to

Spring Show Schedule

Since there are so few shows in early spring, I’m not including an extra show calendar insert. Instead, I’m jotting down the dates in April and May, and will have a full schedule in the summer mailing. You can always see the latest on the web site too, under “calendar.”

April 2-4 Pickering Barn, Issaquah
April 3-5 Best of the Northwest, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Seattle
April 7 – 11 Echo Falls Spring Show, Echo Falls Country Club, Snohomish
April 16-18 Puyallup Spring Fair, Hobby Hall of the Fairgrounds, Puyallup
May 6 – 8 Group Health shop space, Group Health Central Campus, Seattle
May 16-17 University District Street Fair, U Dist, Seattle

Happy Spring! For more information, head over to the web site:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Off for a break

Good morning all!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm closing the studio for a quick break. The office is closed starting this morning, Feb 4, through Monday, Feb 9. I'll be back Tuesday and open for business.

Any orders or inquiries will have to wait a few days. I need to close up shop.

The spring mailing and all the hoopla surrounding the new products etc is also going to happen next week - starting Tuesday.

Be well!