Sunday, March 29, 2009

April Shows

I've got 2 shows this week, and 2 more later this month. Click on the links for more details for any of the them.

Pickering Barn Spring Craft Show
April 2 - 4
Thurs and Fri 10am - 7pm, Sat 10am - 5pm
Located at Pickering Barn (behind Costco),
Pickering Place Shopping Center, Issaquah

This is a boutique style show, meaning there is one central cashier, and will be loaded with spring crafts, home decor and gifts.

Best of the Northwest Spring Show
April 3-5
Friday through Sunday, 10am - 6pm all days
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Link: Northwest Art Alliance

Enjoy a festive weekend at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall when over 100 artists gather to show and sell their latest creations. Meet the artist, learn their stories. Purchase hand made fine art and crafts from those living and working in our local economy, and support Americans!

We are staying at Seattle Center with this show, but the spring show is smaller and we'll all be in one building this time - not spread out. Ticket price is $6.00. I have a bunch of coupons for $2 off a ticket, so if you'd like one, give me a shout.

Starving Housewives
Echo Falls Spring Gift & Home Show
April 7 - 11
Echo Falls Country Club
20414 - 121st Ave SE
Snohomish, WA (Maltby)

Link: Starving Housewives
Dates: Tuesday through Saturday, April 7 - 11
Times: Tues-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

This is a boutique style show with a central cashier. Wonderful handcrafts and charming antiques. Look for one-of-a-kind spring, garden, home accents and gifts! New longer hours on Saturday. Stop by the Greenside Grill - open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Puyallup Spring Fair
Dates: April 16 - 19
Hours: Thurs 2pm - 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm
Admission: $8.00
Link: Puyallup Spring Fair

We are located in the center two rooms of the Hobby Hall Building at the Puyallup Fair. We're the only group of locally handmade fine arts and traditional crafts at the fair, with a wide variety of artists represented and daily demonstrations too!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Spring

It's official. Today is the first day of Spring.

And it actually feels like it's changed somewhat. Little flowers are opening up on my daffodils and primroses. I can see the little red buds on almost everything else. Stuff is going to pop. We just need a couple of sunny days.

It's Friday and life is good. My construction work project in the basement, that has had me relocate to the dining room for what feels like a year is finally getting close to being done. This is a surprise to nobody, but unexpected things came up and guess what? it took twice as much time and money as we expected. Doesn't this happen to everyone? We are no exception. All of it is good stuff though, and well worth while.

My new favorite place to shop is Second Use. If you've never heard of it, just check out the groovy new web site. They re-sell salvaged building materials and just plain cool stuff. I've been going there almost daily to get pieces for my new studio space: a gorgeous cast iron sink, a huge old school desk/work surface for a counter top with cabinets that the sink will go in, a laboratory style faucet set up. Plus super cool other stuff - like old plumbing knobs, handles. I'm keeping my eye out for a great piece of wrought iron for a trellis in the garden. I also got a great piece of marble for my work bench, which will be the easiest clean surface for all my oil measuring and slopping of ingredients. Oh yeah, one day I got a file cabinet for nine dollars. You can't even buy a cardboard file box for that cheap.

There's so many other things on my list that I want to go back over there and hunt for. It's a treasure trove of great junk, and great prices. Need a claw foot tub? A set of bright orange school lockers? A metal cart from a hospital? Head over. Reuse, recycle.

The other great . . . really, really great news I got today is that we're headed over this afternoon to finally sign the papers on the refi of the house. It's been a painfully long wait - just because they are deluged with refi's now that the rates have dropped so low. Whew. Paperwork. Closing. Relief. Happy Hour as soon as we get out of there.

* * * * * * *

The White House is planting an organic kitchen garden on the grounds. Isn't that the coolest? Happy Spring dance. The long winter and the long wait is finally over. Zippity Do Dah.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Specials

Have you signed up to be on my email list yet? I've been sending out one little special deal or promotion each month to the email list. And if you want to get the news first, you've got to be on the list. Here's the place to add yourself: Mailing List.

But for the rest of you guys, who maybe only check in here every now and then, I'm announcing my March special:

I'm so tired of hearing the words "bail out" and "stimulus" in every promotion and marketing ploy for the last few months. Everybody's got a cute way of trying to jump start their own "economy." Well, I promise not to pile on.

But things being what they are, we're all watching our budgets a little closer and looking for value when we shop. And while we wait through March, drumming our fingers, tapping our feet, impatiently waiting for spring to happen, who wouldn't like a little pick-me-up or small treat with a discounted price? I know I could sure use a little happy-making something to brighten my day. Better yet, something that I don't have to exercise off my hips later.

So for the remainder of the month, everything on my website is 15% off. Everything. No minimum order. No fine print.

Get yourself a little luscious smelling bar of soap, or a bottle of scrumptious bath salts to indulge in. Maybe an aromatic spray to spritz up your room with a whiff of something wonderful, or a tin of skin pampering goodness. Little treats are the best.

And just one more note, because I've gotten a couple of email questions about it. I've tried my best to explain this on each website purchase page (i.e., "Purchase Soap", "Purchase Bath Goods") in the text part above all the thumbnail pictures of the products, but it's not always clear to everyone. My website is not one of those high-tech shopping sites that processes the transactions as you type it in. It's a little more old school and only sends the order information to me and I process the order here at the office, doing all the discounts, shipping charges and tax calculations here at my end. My little site is unable to figure out all that math on its own. I have a flat-rate shipping chart, not actual-weight fees. And taxes here in Washington are caculated to each individual destination, not one rate for the whole state. It's just too much for my wee shopping cart to handle.

So what you see online when you order is the regular price for the items you've requested - NOT the actual invoice amount. The confirmation page tries to say this too, if you get that far. But if you stop part way, and don't see the explanation paragraph, it may be confusing. Never fear - you will get the discounts, but you will also get charged shipping and tax too. It is all spelled out on the final invoice which arrives in your box with the goods you ordered. And if you need to know in advance or are confused, please call. I'm happy to talk it out with anyone.

Lastly, I occasionally make a mistake too - but I'm super easy about making any corrections if you've caught something on the final bill, or it doesn't make sense. Do not hesitate for one second about calling me and letting me know about something. Stuff happens sometimes, no matter how hard you try to get it right, eh?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunshine Dreams

All this gorgeous sunshine today is making me crave summer. It's beautiful, but it's still darn tootin' cold. Remember when life was green? And plants existed instead of frozen tundra and dead sticks? Me too. And I miss it.

Me and the cats are hanging our faces out of window into the sunshine this afternoon and pretending that the grass isn't frozen solid.

The business feels stagnant this week. Since shows don't start until next month, all I've got at the moment are the few mail orders dribbling in. It always gets a tad scary right about this time of the year. It's the last month of all the money going out and nothing coming in blues.

I'm just 3 weeks away from the Pickering Barn plus Best of the Northwest spring shows, so there's light at the end of the tunnel. I'm steadily working on building inventory for summer, but it's very quiet here. Kind of a just hang tight while time passes sort of feeling.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It keeps snowing on my tulips

This isn't supposed to be snow country. And it's not supposed to be this cold after the spring bulbs sproing. Brrrr.

My daffodils, teensy iris tops and the first tulip leaves are shivering. It snowed all weekend long, and again yesterday afternoon. The only thing in my yard that's got color this time of year are the hellebores. And they've keeled over in the biting cold at night.

It's perfect weather for huddling indoors and working on my taxes. Right. Hope your weekend was a little more fun than mine. I thought I had the forms all worked out and completed Sunday afternoon. But today when I was double checking my math (if you know me, you know this is critical) I found a biggie mistake. A whole line of expense items I forgot to put in, which changes virtually every other figure across all the forms.

I'm so glad I caught it now. It makes a huge difference for me, and I will actually get a refund instead of the check I was just about to write. How often does that happen? Nice surprise. Now I'm actually in a hurry get this to the post box!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's March

It's a new month. Time to turn the page on the old one. I was so ready for that last month to go - it seemed to go on forever. But that's probably just me.

Ideally, I'd like a little time warp, where I just jump ahead a few months or maybe even a year - when everything's green again instead of gray and barren. The weather is warm instead of gray and cold. The outlook is sunny instead of gray and scary. When the daily news isn't so dire, and grim and depressing.

I haven't actually gotten out much lately - but I had to make a shopping trip the other day and I was shocked at the changes in retail. Even the big box stores are hurting. The parking lots were empty, and just a few rare shoppers wandering about. The stores themselves were empty too. Whole aisles with nothing on the shelves and no displays. Entire categories of merchandise were missing, I guess because stores need to cut back on inventory in order to stay afloat. JoAnn Fabric - you could drive trucks through the aisles. Entire areas are empty. Once it was so packed full, aisles so tightly filled and so close together. It's literally a third the store it once was. Very sad.

On a happy note: Soapworks Studio made its first loan to Kiva this week from all the Suds for a Brighter Day sales in February. The little sacks of mini-soaps are my newest item, with half of the proceeds going to Kiva, giving someone in a developing country the few little sheckels they need to get their own micro business off the ground. That was gratifying, and I hope to continue to do a lot more of that as the months go by. We (my wonderful customers and me) sponsored a group of women in Bolivia who sell cosmetics and consumables and need to buy supplies to keep going. Yay girl power.

And another fun thing - I have FOLLOWERS! Wow! Hi loveys. I've added a little gizmo for them since Blogger seems to be pushing this new toy. I'm not entirely sure how that's all supposed to work, but it's nice to know there are a few regulars here.

Show news updates - I'm accepted to Best of the Northwest for spring, their new summer show in June at Magnuson Park and Hangar 30, and the fall show. I'm also accepted to U Dist again in May and am moving up the block to be out of the chaos of that insane "spin the wheel" game which makes me crazy. Much better spot, nice corner. Still waiting on word from lots of other shows which should come in the next month or so. I had a pal in the garden show a few weeks ago who had a record-breaking great show, which is very encouraging. Maybe a few of us will squeak through another year? Fingers crossed.

Today's big news story was celebrities who twitter. Anyone have time for twittering? Do y'all have a MySpace page too? And are you spending the rest of your time FaceBook-ing too? Gah - it all sounds like so much work. And so much keyboard. Am I hopelessly out of the loop? What can MC Hammer possibly have to tweet about all day long? Put the Hammer DOWN people!