Thursday, September 24, 2009


The blog has been left by the wayside I'm afraid. So busy at the Fair and everything else too.

This has been amazing weather, huh? So warm, so sunny, so beautiful. I love the September light. It's softer, more diffused than the blaring summer sun. As it moves so much quicker across the sky, the dappled patterns, filtered through the leaves is lovely. And the deeper, more distinct colors at sunrise and sunset are breath-taking. The last couple of evenings have been so warm and perfect - as we were leaving the Fair the other night I thought it just couldn't be a nicer night to be out and enjoying the world. A very special year this year.


I dropped a bottle of Almond fragrance oil this morning. Crashed into smithereens on the cement basement floor. I can't stand the stink. Really. I've cleaned, then mopped, then steam cleaned. I've used a roll of paper towels and newspapers and rags. Torn apart everything in the vicinity and soaped it clean. And it still stinks to high heaven. I have to leave the house now.


My December show schedule just fell apart. I'm working on it - but there's a good chance I won't be at Phinney Ridge this year. I hate to even type that. I'm trying not to even think that it could be possible since it's my best show each year. Just send good vibes that I'll be in my same little spot in the red room again.


Roasted poblano peppers. Delicious. Mild but with kick. I just got a dozen of them in our CSA box this week, so I could roast them and freeze them for stews and stuff later. We ate stuffed ones last week and they were amazingly good. So this week we got a bunch more to preserve for later. My tomato plants are still pumping out fruits, and they are still super tasty. Usually by this time they are getting bitter, or thick skinned due to the cold snaps at night, or never getting ripe due to the colder, greyer days. But this September, we are still in tomato heaven. Hoorah! Tomato sandwiches on english muffins with cream cheese for lunch.

Gotta head out and do errands or something now. I just have to leave this stinking house.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Puyallup Fair 2009

Bonus double post today. Only because I'm late in announcing the Puyallup Fair this year. It actually started today - this morning was the free day. But if you're a real fair-goer, you probably already knew about that. This year the advertising line is "The Big Fantastic." It's big. I hope it's fantastic too.

I'm participating in the Artists in Action gallery this year, like I have the past few years. It's a really big undertaking, but pretty exciting too -and a much needed boost for me in September. We are located in the Artists in Action space, which is on the ground floor under the Grandstand. We have a little handcrafted artisan boutique -- a mix of pottery, fiber arts, painting, basketry, jewelry, clothing and a bunch of other stuff, which is my category - always the "other stuff" part.

New at my display this year: lip balms in a 3-pack, two different assortments of flavors; the Pacific Northwest Collections, which I've had since last winter, but didn't bring to this show last year; and the white berry basket gift sets. They have a bar of soap and one of the hand-crocheted washcloths in them, and I'm selling them there for $12, which is a bit of a bargain, since I've been selling them for $12.95 elsewhere all year. Snap them up, people!

Anyway, I wanted to post the details on the Puyallup Fair gig, in case anyone's headed over there in the next two weeks. It's like the biggest thing that happens all year for some folks, even if they are just going one night for an onion burger and a concert. Lots of great entertainment in the line up.

Puyallup Fair

The Fair is open September 11th through the 27th. Sunday through Thursday 10am-10pm. Fridays and Saturdays 10am -11pm.

The "Artists in Action" area, is in the Merchants Building -- the lower level of the Grandstand, at the west end, next to the Fisher Scone windows. It's a boutique style craft show, with lots of pottery and fiber arts, demos every day with artists demonstrating their techniques and craft. It's a central cashier style thing, with all of us artists in baseball caps milling around on the floor, meeting and greeting our guests. Don't mind the elephant ear crumbs on our shirts, we can't help ourselves.

The website ( has more info about maps, directions, parking, concert and event schedules, ways to get discounted tickets, the works.


It's such a beautiful day today in Seattle. Crystal clear blue skies. The sunlight is dappled and rippling, likes waves on the water - so much different than a mid-summer sunny day. Yet it's warm and gorgeous. Almost exactly the same kind of day we had here on that horrible Sept. 11 eight years ago.

What I remember most about that day, besides how truly horrific and terrible it was, is that the day itself was so absolutely beautiful. Glued to my couch and the teevee for the entire day, I remember repeatedly walking to the doorway or the back yard and just looking up at the sky in wonder at how pretty it could be, especially on a day so full of tragedy. Of course it was a lot more quiet that day. No traffic, no planes in the sky, just silence. Today is the usual noise and hustle and bustle.

It's been a long time. Lots of things have changed. Most of them not for the better, if I'm being honest. 2001 was a good year for me overall. For the business, for all kinds of things. The past few, not so much. Not being a whiner or complaining, but it's been kind of tough lately.

Whenever I hear that ridiculous question, "do you feel safer today than you did then?" I just have to shake my head. How could you possibly? Nobody in their wildest imaginations thought something like that could happen here. But after witnessing that live, now you can imagine all kinds of horrors, happening all over, in all kinds of ways - ways that can never fully be prevented. The naivete is lost, and once gone, cannot be returned.

Today I'm just enjoying the beauty. I've got loads of work, but I need to just poke my head out, or eat my little lunch under the perfect sky and breathe deep. It's just too pretty to ignore. Life is good.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Autumn Newsletter 2009

Just cross-posting the new fall newsletter here as well. It's in the mail today, and in the email inboxes too. Plus the web site has been updated with all the new products.

I've been working on the site a bit too - rearranging it just a tad to make it easier to use. There's a "BUY NOW" button for all the products, rather than a list of tabs on the home page for each type of product, which was a bit more confusing and redundant. On the BUY NOW page is the one big-ass disclaimer about how the purchasing works for me - the little lecture about how the orders get processed back at the ranch, with shipping and taxes added later, rather than insto-presto while you are online. I've said all that before so I won't take up space here again on that, but as always, let me know if anything is unclear. And then the links to the soap page, the spray page, the gift items page, the seasonal stuff page (which I will feature new each season but always have available) and the clearance sale page. I think it makes a little more sense, even though it's one more level of clicking. It sort of clears up a lot of information all over the place that didn't quite make it across. I think. Anyway, here's the fall news scoop:

It's hard to believe our glorious summer is fading into fall, but the shorter days and cooler weather are signaling the winds of change. After all those days of record-breaking heat and endless sunshine, the return to our "usual" weather - chilly, breezy, drizzly - somehow feels like a welcome old friend who's been away too long.

As we head indoors, reacquainting ourselves with sweaters and hot tea, it feels like a return to the basics. Simple pleasures and appreciating what's right in front of us just feels right, especially now when Fall has so many treasures to offer. Although Autumn's magic sometimes sweeps by too quickly, the breath-taking color show of the trees and an over-abundant harvest is more than enough gifts for just one short season.


Autumn's cool, crisp air crystallizes our senses. The whisper of wind, the crunch of dead leaves, and the light patter of raindrops welcome us back indoors to the comforts of home. This year's Autumn Harvest soaps are loaded with our favorite fruits and spices, taking the best of the season and celebrating the bounty. ($4.00 each or 4 bars for $15.00)

Pumpkin Carrot: Scented with creamy pumpkin, rich vanilla, and a sprinkling of spice, it's always one of the most popular soaps we make each fall, but this year's soap has a little something extra. Carrot powder adds both depth of orange color and nutrient properties too. Carrots are packed with vitamins, have anti-aging benefits, and help heal dry, cracked or chapped skin, a common problem as we head into cooler weather.

Cinnamon Pear: Luscious yellow pear topped with a touch of cinnamon, this soap smells warm and delicious. It's the perfect little indulgence - sudsing up with this fruity delight is a simple daily luxury which nobody should live without.

Honey Orange Clove: Sweet orange, a dash of pomander cloves, and a spoonful of soothing honey. This is a lighter scented soap, with the added benefits of pure honey. Calming and hydrating are just a few of honey's wonders for skin - it heals and reduces infection too. The bright orange and clove scent is a traditional holiday treat I look forward to each year.


The Autumn aromatic sprays add a festive and cozy feel to any home. Unlike potpourri or candles, these sprays can be used to spritz table linens, a quilt in a guest room, freshen bathrooms and closets, mist a note card or gift box, and a million other ways too. ($6.00 each)

Apple Harvest: Tart, juicy green apples with a light sprinkling of cinnamon. It's the quintessential scent of Autumn, and one whiff transports you to nostalgic memories of apple orchards, cider presses, the crackle-snap of crunchy leaves, and bobbing for apples.

Vanilla Bean Spice: Vanilla, first grown in Mexico, was considered a gift from the gods. The world's only edible orchid, vanilla grows on a vine and can only be pollinated by special small bees, hummingbirds or by hand in order to bear fruit - the vanilla bean. It's intoxicating scent is both calming and an aphrodisiac. This fragrance spray is rich vanilla with a sprinkling of cinnamon spice.


Just for the Autumn season, I've added Pumpkin Pie, Egg Nog and Hot Cocoa flavored lip balms to the menu du jour. Who can resist these treats? It's the same nourishing, natural lip balm base that I carry in a dozen lip-smacking flavors, but the perfect flavor for Halloween treats, Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas memories. See the enclosed brochure or the web site for the full list of flavors - Cupcake, Vanilla Tangerine, Root Beer, Raspberry Soda . . .mmm


Our sweet little vintage-style wire berry baskets are now white in color. They are 5 inches square, with wood handles and perfectly sized for gift basket making. Adorable with a bar of a soap and one of the little cotton scrubbie accessories - it's a charming way to decorate your bathroom with flair and fragrance. And they can be used for almost anything later - collecting keys on the front table to holding towels on the bathroom sink, to decorating your fall home. Check out the photos on the web site! (Set - $12.95)


I'll be repeating my temporary Group Health storefront two times this fall. I will have my own little retail shop for a few days in October and again in December. Group Health has a tiny jewel of a storefront that they loan it out to artists from time to time, and a percentage of all sales funds their TLC Guild which helps with patient's needs. It's designed to be a gift boutique, especially focused on fall and winter holiday gifts. It's located at 108 - 15th Ave E, kitty-corner from the Safeway on John St. Dates are October 7 - 9, and December 9 - 11. Hope to see you there!

The next few months are filled to the brim with craft shows, fairs and festivals too. I'm making an extra effort to bring the goodies to you. See the Show Schedule page for more details.

As always, I sincerely appreciate your loyal business throughout the year, and wish you a brilliant and abundant harvest season!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tomato Jam

Tomato jam. Best stuff ever. And it uses up a whole bunch of tomatoes that are coming at me too fast to eat fresh right now. I've made batch after batch of sauce in the last month. The little sungold cherry tomatoes, which ripen at about 100 a day, make an amazing sauce. But I've already got lots of bags of various kinds of tomato sauce in the freezer.

I've oven dried tomatoes, and frozen more tomatoes. And then yesterday I tasted some tomato jam at a restaurant -- just dotted on the plate with some cheese and a chunk of baguette. I had forgotten how delicious it is. And since I had another whole basket of tomatoes at home on the counter, I decided to make jam this morning. Oh, I'll need to do more sauce too, probably later today, and still have a few sandwiches for lunch and salads for dinner. There's still more tomatoes every day.

SInce I haven't made the jam in awhile, I googled a recipe and decided to go with Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times from last summer. Of course I had to make my own little tweaks to it. Mostly because I used more tomatoes than called for - so I added a touch more sugar, adjusted all the other stuff to my liking or due to pantry shortages, etc. Not too sweet, it has a kick of heat to it, and some great spices. Lordy, it came out good. And the best part? Two whole pounds of tomatoes are gone which made just these 3 little jars of jam. It will be eaten up so fast I didn't even process the jars. Just stuck them in the fridge.

Mmmmm. I just might need to make this again before the season is over. I'll want to have some of it last into the winter.