Friday, December 17, 2010

Wheee - top pick!

I know I've been AWOL for the past couple of weeks. I have been seriously trying to keep my head above water over here in the holiday rush.

But I had to pop in to just to squee about something. I got an email this morning from Anne R. a loyal customer and a fabulous blogger. She was letting me know about her recent post on Remote Stylist, about her top picks for holiday presents and my sprays were listed. Wow! She's chosen 6 of her favorite things, and my Lavender Lemongrass spray is something she can't live without!

I'm terribly honored, and it's such a lovely compliment. Such a nice way to start my morning, and of course I had to share.

If you are thinking that you might need some for your holiday gift giving, I'll be over at Group Health in my little shop space all day today (Friday). It's on Capitol Hill in Seattle - 108 E 15th Street at John. Just a half block south of the big Safeway there.

Stop by for last minute gifts. I'll be there from 9:30 to 4:00 pm. Mail order is getting close to deadline. I think Monday is the last day to order if you want to ship something by Christmas.

Make it a clean, green holiday. Or start off the new year with a clean start. Heh.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Shows Dec 1-5

I
It's a whirlwind over here. Way too much to do in any single day. The mail orders are coming in steadily. I've got several huge corporate orders and a big wholesale order going out this week too. And then there are shows too.

With the snow and bad weather last week, I wasn't able to drive up to Bellingham to restock the Allied Arts show. I'm worried that it looks picked over. Since they are closed on Monday and Tuesday, I'm headed up Thursday morning first thing, and working my shift there during the morning. I've got some new stock with me. But I have no idea what I'm missing, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will fill in most of the holes. My next trip back there is Wednesday, Dec 8 when they open. So just a note to anyone in Bellingham looking for something specific, or a bigger order, call me quick today and I'll stash it away under the table for you. I can do this all month too - so if you want me to set aside a special order for you, just holler.

What's new this week in shows is the Warm Beach "Lights of Christmas" and Phinney Ridge Winter Fest.

Warm BeachCamp has a gigantic light display with fresh hot donuts, carolers, gift shops and the works set up all month. It opens tomorrow.

Dates: Thurs thru Sun Dec 2-5, 9-12, Thurs thru Christmas Eve 16-23, Sun - Wed 26-29
Hours: are 5pm to 10pm. There is an admission charge and you can buy tickets online from the site. Check there for more info on everything, including driving directions.
Address: Warm Beach Camp, 20800 Marine Dr., Stanwood

I set that up yesterday and it is really starting to look good. I can't wait to go back myself and see it all lit up.

Next up, Winter Fest on the weekend.
Dates: Sat and Sun, Dec 4 - 5
Hours: 10am - 5pm both days
Address: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

If you are looking for unique and handmade gifts for the holidays, this is the place to go. There are so many wonderful artists here - I just love this show. There is an admission fee - $2 for PNA members and $4 for the general public. There are treats, fresh wreaths, entertainment too. So looking forward to this. Oh, I'm back in my old spot in the Blue Building, lower level, red room. Same spot I've had for years, with the exception of last year when I got scooted across the hall.

Next week is a just one small show over at Group Health in Bellevue (Dec 10), but I'll be back at Group Health in my little shop space the following week (Dec 15-17). And both Allied Arts in Bellingham and Warm Beach are ongoing through the month. There's where you'll find me . . . probably with that scary panicked look in my eyes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where's Waldo?


Here's my weekly post on where I'll be this week . . .

Allied Arts Holiday Fest

I set up yesterday in Bellingham for this one. The 31st Annual Holiday Festival of the Arts is a six week long festival featuring the work of over one hundred local artisans and craftspeople. The affordable handmade products range from jewelry to paintings to wearable art to specialty foods. Weekends are packed with activities; hear live local music, catch some of our artists in action, and bring the kids in for fun art projects.

The festival will be open weekly, Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Join us for a special night, December 3rd during the festival to meet some of the artists and do some exclusive shopping. We will also be open Monday and Tuesday, December 20th and 21st for last minute shopping before Christmas. The Festival will close at 3pm on December 24th.

Nov 19 - Dec 24
3548 Meridian St., Bellingham
(same location as last year - Old Michael's bldg)
Wed - Sun (closed Mon & Tues), 10am-6pm
AlliedArts.org


Vasa Park
Nov 18 - 20
Vasa Park Ballroom, 3560 W Lk Samm Rd SE, Bellevue
Thurs - Fri 10am - 7pm, Sat 10am-5pm

We're setting up this one today. It's a boutique style holiday craft show, and that last one for this group this year (we had one here in October and another one at Pickering Barn a couple of weeks ago). Lots of great gift ideas, all locally handmade, plus holiday decor.


PLU
Sorry, but I won't be participating in this one, even though it was on the schedule earlier. I just can't swing it. It's been too many in a row over the last few weeks and this became one too many this week. It's in a new location too, and split in half. Half of the show is in the same auditorium, but the other half, that is usually in the gym, is moved to some other spot down the street, with shuttle buses between the two. I'm thinking that's going to put a damper on things overall, and since I was put into the new location - probably not going to be worth the huge effort. We'll see what happens next year.

Where

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Best of the Northwest Nov 12-14


This week is the Best of the Northwest show. Brand-spanking new and fabulous location at the Smith Cove Pier 91 cruise ship terminal. The staff has been working so hard to make this a really special show. Besides the hundreds of us artists (the best of the best, of course) there is all kinds of food, wine tasting, fashion shows, musical entertainment, demos and more.

Ok, basic details:
Friday through Sunday, Nov 12-14. Hours are Fri and Sat 10am-6pm and Sun 10am-5pm.
Pier 91, Smith Cove cruise ship terminal. See a map with directions on the website or the flyer (pdf).
Tickets are $6 if you buy them online in advance, or $8 at the door. You can buy tickets at the website. Kids under 12 are FREE. Parking is free over there too.

*Over 200 exceptional artists presenting jewelry, designer clothing, painting, metal, glass & more

*Wine tasting on Saturday and Sunday featuring 24 local boutique wineries hosted by noted sommelier, David LeClaire (proceeds benefit Children's Hospital)

*Art talks by local cognoscenti - Ciscoe Morris giving "Art in the Garden" talk 2pm on Saturday (see the schedule HERE)

*Entertainment vignettes by Lelavision

Music from Pearl Django (Fri aft) & other strolling musicians

The list of participating artists and lots more info on NW Art Alliance site. I think this is going to be a great time!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Newsletter: Winter Holiday 2010



The Winter Holiday Newsletter for this year has just been shipped off in the snail mail, and pinged off in email too. So I'm posting it here to cover all the bases.

Ed Note: As always, I'm not going to spend all morning tying in links for each product. But you can see all the new seasonal products HERE on this one page.

Dear Friends,

After much anticipation, the first snowflakes begin to fall. You notice one, and then another one, slowly drifting down from the sky, It seems as if you can count each individual snowflake, but as they begin to multiply, they speed up too. Suddenly the sky is full - a swirling, dizzying array of white. This is a reflection of the season – what starts off as a leisurely ticking off of to-do lists, gift lists, social events, and holiday tasks, rather quickly becomes a blizzard. The next couple of months are a whirlwind of activity, dancing past before we can breathe it all in. And then, like any winter storm, as the next day dawns, a peaceful, beautiful serenity awaits in the stillness.

As the holidays get closer, the gift lists begin to grow. But after another year of tightening budgets and evaluating priorities, we’re shopping a little more carefully. Rather than the old way of exchanging piles of “stuff,” we all seem to be looking for more simplicity and meaning, and in a cost effective way too. Handmade gifts and items that are both useful and use-able make more sense. Soapworks Studio’s little gifts of soap and bath goodies are the perfect fit. All locally handmade and reasonably priced, there is something for everyone on your holiday gift list.

Holiday Seasonal Soaps

The upcoming holidays have sparked a bunch of new wintry wonderful soap scents for a little fun in the shower, or a special gift for someone (or everyone) on your list. ($4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00)

Ponderosa Pine – The perfect winter day is spent outside in a lush Northwest forest – skiing, hiking, or searching for that magical Christmas tree. One whiff of the fresh pine and fir needles, balsam spruce, juniper berries, woodsmoke and newly fallen snow will transport you right into the woods. A lovely green bar, this will be a hit with your nature-loving friends or the discerning men on your list.

Winter Mint - Icy peppermint with a kiss of secret spice., this soap is as tingly and cool as freshly fallen snow. You’ll be singing “Frosty the Snowman” in your morning shower, but in a yummy good way. (100% natural soap)

Red Berry – Fruity red currant - so tart and juicy, luscious and ripe - is softened with a sprig of rosehips, and brightened with a squeeze of cranberry. It’s softly pink and devilishly irresistible, a truly inspired blend.

Cinnamon Cedar - Warm, earthy cedarwood is the perfect base for a cinnamon soap. The finished scent is pure cinnamon stick all the way. Simple and true, it’s all cinnamon spice, the quintessential scent of the holiday season. Men will love it. Women will adore it. Kids won’t be able to put it down either – don’t let the dog get it! (100% natural soap)

Spiced Mocha – A mug of rich, creamy hot cocoa, just a splash of coffee, and deliciously spiced up with a blend of cinnamon cream and hazelnut sugar. Ooh what a perfect treat for a cold day!

Holiday Spice Home Fragrance Spray

Add a little festive spirit to your cozy house with our Holiday Spice home fragrance spray. Mist your rooms just before guests arrive,. Or spritz your gift boxes, cards and stockings -- your family and friends will receive a whoosh of holiday scent when they open their presents! Holiday Spice is our most requested seasonal spray, every year since the very beginning - oranges, cranberries, spices and greens all blended together for the perfect scent of magic and delight.
(4 oz bottle - $ 6.00)

Mini Soap Sets

New for fall, the first batch sold out fast! I’ve made bunches more of the mini 2 oz bars in the most popular regular fragrances: Lavender Lemongrass, Clove Mint, Vanilla Bean & Honey, French Lavender and Moroccan Fig. One of each of the 5 fabulous scents are piled up in a little stack and tied with bakery twine. Such pretty colors. Such a great idea for guest baths, travel soaps, or small gifts. Such a reasonable price - it’s only $10 for the whole package. I have attached a little card which describes the soaps and lists the scents too, so it’s all tied up for the perfect gift for absolutely everyone. You’ll want loads of these for the holiday season – one for everyone on your gift list. ($ 10.00)

Ponderosa Pine Sachets

Elegant and simple ivory organza bags filled with a holiday greens potpourri to bring the beautiful scent of the outdoors inside. Cedar tips, balsam fir needles, cinnamon chips, small pinecones, rosehip berries and the gorgeous scent of the Northwest forest all in one small little gem of a package that’s perfect for stuffing in a stocking, or tucking into a gift box for an extra whiff of delight. As pretty as can be, and anchored with scent-holding grains, they will last for quite a long time, lending a peaceful scent to your holiday household. Pretty as decorations in bedrooms and guest rooms, charming as place settings at an event, tie one to every banister, chair back or doorknob! ( 4x6 pouch, $ 3.00 each)

Gift Ideas

Attention Holiday Shoppers! It’s the gift-giving season, and fun bath stuff is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. I’ve got an elfin mountain of gift sets and packaging ideas. I’ve listed just a few ideas below, but check out the Gift Items button on the website for more gift sets, ideas, and photos of all of our packages:

• Add a beautiful wooden soap dish to your gift of a holiday-scented soap (2 item set - $8.00)

• Take it up a notch by adding a cotton scrubby mitt, a cotton soap sack, or a beautiful hand-crocheted cotton washcloth too. (3 item set - $10.00)

• Put your soap bar, soap dish and cotton scrubby item in a sweet berry basket – turning your humdrum bathroom into a magazine-worthy spa in a jiffy. (3 or 4 item set - $12.95 – 15.95)

• Is your lovey more of a bathing beauty? Pair a bottle of our luxury bath salts with the wonderful long-handled massaging body brush and a bar of soap ($ 20.00).

• Go Green: Skip the wrapping paper this year and gift a bar of soap inside one of our scrubby mitts or sacks. A little piece of recycled ribbon makes it special. Order them separately on the accessories page, or as a set on our gift ideas page.

Internet & Mail Ordering

Holiday shopping online or by mail saves you time, expense, and the headache of traffic jams and crowded malls. We usually ship within two business days, and can send your items directly to family and friends with gift enclosure cards too. Send in the enclosed order form, call during business hours, or for late night brainstorms, order from our website at SoapworksStudio.com. Spend more time celebrating and less time fretting. Let Soapworks Studio be your answer for holiday gifts!

May your holidays be twinkly and bright!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Robots

Oh My GAWWW! Stop with the robo-calls already!

The past week or so has been nuts with all the robo-calls I'm getting here at the studio for political stuff. If they aren't trying to tell me how to vote, they are calling with a survey to ask how I'm going to vote. It's so hard to get anything done when the phone is ringing all day.

And the mailbox is absolutely stuffed every day too. What a waste of trees for all those mailers.

I can. not. wait. for it all to be over next Tuesday.

Please do make the effort to vote though. It's really important stuff and the issues affect everyone, whether you like it or not. You can't just complain about how it turned out later, if you didn't take the time to state your opinion by voting in the first place.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shows: Nov 3-6


I'm posting my show schedule for next week because it's going to be NOVEMBER already. Ugh.

That "ugh" was just my anxiety about how much is left to do this week before the whole madness begins next week. The Winter Holiday newsletter will be going out at the beginning of next week. Followed by 3 shows the first week, 3 more shows the next week, 3 more shows the week after that, and then a whole bunch more as the month goes on. December is more of the same.

I will be stressed out and ragged, no matter what. I know this. After all these years of going through this madness in November and December, it's just as scary every time. There's no way around it though. This is the shopping season, and this is the time I need to maximize every minute in order to make enough money to continue this business next year. So it's head down and plow through to the other side, one step in front of the other.

One thing I am excited about though are the new winter soap scents. This time all of them came out really good and were just what I was hoping for. This first week of shows will be a mix of both fall and winter scents, and I won't have all of them at all three shows. If you are looking for something specific, please email or call to know where to find it. Starting next week, there will be winter soaps everywhere, and the fall scents will be pretty much gone. Sneak peek: Ponderosa Pine, Red Berry, Holiday Mint, Cinnamon Cedar and Spiced Mocha.

So here's the first week's line-up:

Nov 3 - 6
Red Ribbons & Reindeer
Hollywood Schoolhouse
14810 NE 145th St, Woodinville
Wed 3pm-8pm, Thur & Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

Nov 4 - 6
Pickering Barn Christmas Show
Pickering Barn, 1720 10th Ave NW, Issaquah
(across from Costco)
Wed - Fri 10am -7pm, Sat 10am-5pm

Nov 6
Eastlake High School's Holiday Bazaar
Eastlake High, 400 228th Ave NE, Sammamish
Saturday only 9am - 4pm

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soapworks

No fancy pictures or exciting stories today. Just popping in to say that I AM NOT the same woman who was on the Glen Beck show on Friday.

Not that anybody is actually going to spend the time to come over here and check out my blog, sigh.

But since my website and email box is going insane over the weekend, and still is today, I just thought I should say something.

Amilya Antonetti started a business named "Soapworks" at just about the same time I did - oh a million years ago now or so. She started big. Really big, with a factory, full staff, etc. Her product line was big too. Shower soap bars, but liquid soaps, laundry soaps, home cleaning products. They were in the grocery stores and Trader Joe's. I think it was in California somewhere.

It was so long ago that I don't think Google even existed. Anyway, I started out small. Very small. But my super bright idea for my brand spanking new business was "Soapworks." Yes, the same one. About a year into it, I realized that I had the same name as another company, because a couple of people said they saw my laundry soap at Trader Joe's. (I guess I never saw that, naive me.) So I changed my name to "Soapworks Studio" just to be on the up-and-up.

I looked her up, knew vaguely what she was doing. And then that was that.

Some years back I started to get contacted by people who were looking for "Soapworks" stuff and found me instead. Computers were big now. So I searched for her. I had clipped a magazine article about her whole back story, so I knew her name. And from everything I could find, she had stopped doing the business. Her great big website was suddenly gone. She was no longer making soap stuff. At least as far as I could track down - just so I could point folks in the right direction.

When you Google the word "Soapworks" today I am the number one listing. So when Amilya Antonetti was on the teevee the other day, talking about her past projects, viewers started searching for her long-ago company name and they are headed over to my place in droves. Some are looking for laundry soap. Others are just looking to buy whatever she's making.

I am very sorry, but I am not her. And I don't make laundry stuff or household cleaners. But my soaps are better than hers ever were :) I would be very honored if you decided to try them. Especially since she isn't making them any more.

From her website, she appears to be a media personality, with a book about leadership and entrepreneurial whatnot that she's promoting. You can continue your search there if you are looking for her specifically.

In the meantime, I'm still making some really great handmade, natural soap products over here. And i just thought I should clear that whole thing up, because there are obviously a very large number of confused and searching customers out there traveling the internets.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Week: Vasa Park

I was absolutely glued to the miner's rescue yesterday. I had the live feed on the computer while I was working and every time the whistle blew, I had to run over and watch as each men emerged from the capsule. Incredible.

I also set up the Vasa Park show yesterday. Such a gorgeous, sunny, fall afternoon. I took over my new camera to take pictures of the place, but the best one is somehow corrupted and I can't upload it. Wouldn't you know it. So here's a rather uninteresting sign of the actual park across the street. I know you're thinking "how special." And you're right. Dumbest photo ever.



The building where we have our shows is across the street from the park on Lake Sammamish. It was a super hopping ballroom for dances back in the day. Now it's a rickety little wooden building in a parking lot. But it's open and easily accessible, perfect for a craft show. Yesterday was chaos as everybody dragged in cartloads and giant hauls of stuff. Display and goods, decorations and lights. It will be a wonderland of crafts by this morning when it opens at 10am.

The actual park is across the street. It has a little beach, which was so crystal clear yesterday against the mountains. And it's all decorated for Halloween with pumpkins and big scary balloons. There's a campground area too. (More info about Vasa Park Resort.)



If you're looking for handcrafted fall decor, halloween gifties, and great handmade goods, here's the scoop:

Dates: Thursday through Saturday, Oct 14-16
Hours: Thurs and Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm
Location: Vasa Park Ballroom, 3560 W Lk Samm Rd SE, Bellevue

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Porn


I named my little blog "Random Suds" when I started out, but much to my surprise, it's become Random Porn lately.

I know I've been a little lax on blogging in recent months, and in fact, I haven't even checked in much. But last week, when I had a little more time, I decided to do some housekeeping here. What I found in the comments section was so nuts. Dozens and dozens of comments added to long ago postings - mostly in Russian and mostly containing links to porn.

Huh? Why would anyone think that was a good idea? Seriously, I don't get that much traffic over here, but I can't imagine anyone, even a Russian speaking someone, is traveling back through time and reading all those old posts. And if that Russian speaking someone is just catching up on what I was yabbering about a year (or two) ago, would they even come across those comments? And then Oh! Hello! why yes, it looks like hot Russian girls looking for action! How did I not think of that?! I'd much rather be surfing Eastern European porn than reading about which shows this girl was doing in June of 2008!

Oh, I know, it's probably just a robot. But anyway, it just seemed so crazy. I spent about half an hour deleting all that junk. Just in case you happened to see it before and wondered why I didn't take care of it earlier.

There were other old comments too that I missed. A couple of them had me thinking. Both were along the same lines, that my blog needed more pictures instead of just text if I wanted anyone to be interested in it. My catty self immediately dismissed them - "they probably don't even read books" - but of course they are right. We are conditioned to need all kinds of stimulation from our internets. Video clips, huge strings of photos about what we had for breakfast and what we did today. Usually it takes too long to load and we're already clicking on to the next thing anyway. But we expect all that stuff to be there. Not just reading - that's so last decade.

I recently bought a new camera. My old digital camera started to fall apart, literally - the entire side piece was hanging off of it and to try to hold it together while shooting a pic usually meant there was a chunk of thumb or something in every picture. So I got a new one and my plan is to use it more. Maybe post more pictures of my actual business and products and stuff. Not breakfast. But in the spirit of things, today I have posted a picture of myself. My sister took it on the day I bought the camera. We were taking pictures of each other and the garden and stuff, just to test it out. I typically hate pictures of myself and don't like those candid point-and-shoot things at all. So this is what they mostly looked like. It's a beauty.

Cheers! And oh, if you were actually looking for random porn. You've come to the wrong place. Heh.

And porn linkers (office supplies, electronic equipment, dating sites): I'm on to you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Procrastination


If you've followed along for awhile, you know that I am a procrastinator. I am. It's not that I like waiting until the last minute, and in fact I try - really try - to work ahead and prepare in advance and get things done before it gets really stressful.

But somehow, there is always a crunch at deadline time, and I realize that I just didn't get enough done earlier and now there's a whole pile of stuff left. The adrenaline rush makes me work extra fast and sorta more efficiently. It also makes me crazy - making stupid decisions, missing important stuff, making mistakes, which isn't so efficient after all. So I've been working at this procrastination problem. And I think I've done a much better job this year.

One of the little quotes that I cut from a magazine long ago and keep in my little stack of goals and to-do's and stuff is this:

"Procrastination is a way for us to be satisfied with second-rate results; we can tell ourselves we'd have done a better job if only we'd had more time . . . If you're good at rationalizing, you can keep yourself feeling rather satisfied this way, but it's a cheap happy. You're whittling your expectations of yourself down lower and lower." - Richard O'Connor, PhD, in Happy At Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy (St. Martin)

This quote, when I read it, made so much sense to me. I realized that I was starting to get a little too comfortable with the "well, it's good enough for now" thinking that I was doing. But if I was honest with myself, it really wasn't good enough. I had bigger goals, higher expectations. Not perfection, but not the rushed and sloppy bits either.

It's all probably a lot deeper than just a habit. There's really only certain things that I put off - other things never get affected. I suppose I should be spending time figuring out what and why those particular tasks are bothering me.

While I was working through some long forgotten piles last week (it was suuuuper slow over at Group Health last week which was both bad for sales but good for my getting work done) I found this little scrap tucked into the wrong folder. I loved reading it again. Just thought I'd share it in case you're in the same place.

Monday morning - I worked a lot over the weekend and was all ahead of the game today. Ran out to do some banking and drop off all the orders I packed ahead. Oh yeah. It's a flippin' holiday today and those people all have the day off. Arrrgh.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Streeeeeeetch







Cats are the bendiest, stretchiest things ever.

Today's fun fact: the average person’s total skin covering would weigh about 6 pounds if collected in one mass.

I can't believe today is already October. September went by in one big blur. I've been buried in orders and the Puyallup Fair. Which was down quite a bit this year. Not just for me, but the whole fair. The economy hasn't gotten better, but they raised the ticket prices and the parking fees. Plus the weather was so wet and cool for most of the time, especially the weekends, so attendance was down overall quite a lot. Anyway, it was still a successful endeavor. And I'm so glad it's over.

Moving on to this weekend. It's Salmon Days. And we're supposed to have dry weather! What a change, eh? It's usually beautiful in September for the Fair and raining and storming for Salmon Days. Sunshine on Saturday? Unheard of!

Details: It's the whole downtown area of Issaquah, with the main streets closed off. Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3. Hours are 10-6 both days. I'll be in my usual spot, which is Sunset Way, right at the corner of the driveway into the fish ladder and salmon hatchery.

I will not have the mini-soap sets. I sold out of everything I had made at the fair. I've got more curing right now, but they are a couple of weeks away. I will have everything else - all the fall soaps and bath salts and lip balms. Plus a few scrap bags on sale - not a lot, but some so come early for those.

Next week I'll be back at Group Health for my little mini shop. And the following week is Vasa Park. I'll post details about those later. It's going to be a busy holiday season . . .

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Autumn 2010 Newsletter

Just for those of you who may not be on the mailing list or email list - I'm posting the new Autumn Newsletter here too. It explains all the new fall products in detail. And because I'm pressed for time this week, I'm not doing links for each item mentioned, just one link for all the products which are in one place on the Seasonal Products page. And one other link - my schedule of events for the next few months.

Cheers!

Dear Friends,

While we’ve been frolicking about carefree in our shorts and flipflops, summer’s begun to fade. It’s true. The once vibrant flower beds are becoming sort of dry, crinkly and past their prime. Dried, yellow leaves are just beginning to drift out of the trees, signaling another change of seasons. Fall is on its way.

Autumn brings a renewed sense of purpose – a return to school, work, and routines as familiar as your favorite old pair of shoes. It’s a bit of a comfort really, to sink into a warm, cozy chair and spend time just watching the rain drops splash against the window. The cool, crisp brilliance of a sunny September, with its picture-perfect days and star-filled nights come and go so quickly. October’s stunning show of colors turn from yellow to red to brown in a flash. Suddenly it’s already November, a return of the rains and the doorway to the holidays. Savor all the little moments, because like the spookiest little carved pumpkin, it doesn’t last long.

AUTUMN SEASONAL SOAPS

Autumn’s cool, crisp air crystallizes our senses. The whisper of wind and the crunch of dead leaves shoo us back indoors to the comforts of home – soups stewing, goodies baking and fireplaces burning. This year’s Autumn Harvest soaps are loaded with our favorite fruits and spices, taking the best of the season and celebrating the bounty. ($4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00)

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.

Nutmeg Buttermilk: Pure toasty nutmeg, warm and comforting. I’ve wanted to do this single spice scent for a long time and I’m sorry I waited because it’s truly lovely. Colored with rhassoul clay, it’s the exact caramel color of a sprinkling of nutmeg. Fresh buttermilk in the recipe makes it extra rich, creamy and moisturizing. (100% natural ingredients)

Apple Jack: Autumn and apples are inseparable partners. This soap is an irresistible blend of tart green apples, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, spicy clove, and nutmeg – a wonderful take on a traditional apple spice style fragrance.

Almond Mint: Candy! This blend of dreamy almond and two kinds of mints is sweet and fresh at the same time. A pretty ivory-colored bar, the combination brings out the best of everything for a deliciously creamy, delightfully fun soap.

Many of the previous Autumn soaps have become such favorites that they’ve continued on and become regulars on the standard menu. Lavender Pear, Moroccan Fig, and Cinnamon Pear are especially lovely treats at this time of the year and worth another try.

HOLIDAY LIP BALMS

For both the Autumn and Winter seasons, I’ve added Latte Caffe, Chai Spice, and Cinnamon Ginger Mint 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 – Vanilla Tangerine, Root Beer, Raspberry Soda, Herbal Mint, Strawberry Rose, Coconut Lemon, mmmm . . . (1/2 oz tin - $ 2.00)

MINI SOAP SETS

New! I’ve made bunches of the mini 2 oz bars in the most popular regular fragrances: Lavender Lemongrass, Clove Mint, Vanilla Bean & Honey, French Lavender and Moroccan Fig. One of each of the 5 fabulous scents are piled up in a little stack, tied with bakery twine. Such pretty colors. Such a great idea for guest baths, travel soaps, or small gifts. Such a reasonable price - it’s only $10 for the whole package. I have attached a little card which describes the soaps and lists the scents too, so it’s all tied up for the perfect gift for absolutely everyone. You’ll want loads of these for the holiday season.

DEAD SEA BATH SALTS

Our rustic, chunky bath salts come directly from the Dead Sea. Completely unrefined, these salts are solar evaporated from southern Dead Sea water in southern Israel. Pure, fresh salts with a mineral content that is 7 times greater than other types of sea salts, they work wonders on purifying and detoxifying, improving circulation and moisturizing skin, soaking away stress, and relaxing muscles, aches and pains.

The Dead Sea salts are quite concentrated in their healing and nourishing properties, so a little goes a long way. Just toss a small handful, or approximately a quarter of a cup into your bath water, and use even less for foot soaks. The fragrance may seem a little strong at first whiff in the bottle but they are scented to fill a full bath.

The standard fragrances are: French Lavender, Vanilla Bean & Honey and Almond Ginger. Just for fall, I’ve added Sandalwood Jasmine – a beautiful blend of soft wood and pretty floral. (16 oz bottle - $ 8.00)

WHERE TO FIND ME

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 enclosed calendar or log onto the website to get more details on the “Show Schedule” page.

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


Friday, September 03, 2010

Bumbershoot


Ok, just in case anyone is driving by the blog this weekend: I'm at Bumbershoot the next 3 days. I'm sharing a booth with my friend Miranda. It's her charity booth - she sells handicrafts made by her friends in Cofan, Ecuador. Cofan is geographically the top of the Amazon in Ecuador, and she guides tours there, and buys hand crafted items - mostly gorgeous woven hammocks, but other things too, like bracelets and small goods. What she brings back with her, she sells here and gives the profits to the Cofan Survival Fund, which helps the children go to school, in addition to saving their culture and environment. I'll get the exact link and post here later.

So I'm sharing her booth space this time around, and a portion of all my sales will go to them too. We're in the Alki Court area, which is just behind and below the Key Arena. There is a music stage there, and the Museum of Hot Glass show tent too, right in front of us. We're next to the building that is doing all the catering for the event (not the food vendors) - the catering for the bands and staff etc. So there will be lots of activity and entertainment all around. We're not part of the official "Indie Market" areas, but we're right in the middle of things, just off the path of the food vendors. That is as specific as I can get.

Bob Dylan and Mary J Blige are headliners, but there are tons of bands. Check out all the info about the festival HERE.

It's all one big cramming fest this week and next. The Autumn newsletter went in the mailbox late this afternoon. It will show up in mailboxes tomorrow or early next week, for those out-of-towners. The email version will hit mailboxes tomorrow morning, And I'll have an online version here too tomorrow morning. The website is live right this very mintue.

All that Autumn push happened in the last few days, in addition to suddenly trying to get ready for this show, all at the same time I'm trying to get my mountain of stuff done for the Puyallup Fair which happens next week. The Fair sets up Wednesday morning, so I have only Tuesday as my turn-around day. After working 3 straight days of 12-15 hour days at Bumbershoot, I think Tuesday is going to really hurt. Bumbershoot goes late. Really late. We stay open til at least 9pm, but the last biggest shows end at 11:30 or midnight and we might stay open later if it's busy.

I'm rambling tonight. Just got back from setting up over at Seattle Center. I'm excited and tired and overwhelmed and so many mixed emotions. I'm really looking forward to this thing. And then I'm a bit apprehensive about how it will all work out in the end too. But you gotta take on new challenges and try new stuff. That's what life is all about. Otherwise you're just dead, eh? Bring it on. Catch ya on the flip side.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Weekend

Just a quick note to say that I won't probably know any more about my Bumbershoot location until set-up on Friday. We're getting squeezed into some little leftover corner, and probably around the Alki Court area, but I'll post Friday afternoon when I get final word.

I'm sharing a space with a friend, so I have only a half-booth to set up in. I won't have the sprays or lip balms, and I'm not sure what else. It's a work-in-progress this week to figure out what I can take and what I can't fit in. Plus I need to make sure that I'm not over-extending myself this weekend, and that I have enough inventory to set up the Puyallup Fair next week. It's a crunch.

Bumbershoot is Seattle's biggest music festival. Probably the entire Pacific Northwest's biggest music festival. It runs Sat through Mon at Seattle Center. You have to buy tickets and they are cheaper online now than they will be at the gate. I think. Hours that the gates are open is 11am to 10pm, although some concerts run later to 11pm. You just can't get in past 10pm. There are lots of indie craft market booths all over the place - the fountain, the covered walkway, Fisher Plaza area etc. And there are food booths all over too. It's a really big deal and there will be so many people there during the 3 days, whew.

I'll keep you posted here, but if you already have tickets and are looking for something specific to pick up there, then give me a holler by phone or email and I'll try to accommodate requests.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The year of no tomatoes

It's the "year of no tomatoes." Well, to be fair, there have been just a few and they were awesome.

But this past week the weather has already changed. It's cool, cloudy and dry. The lack of heat stopped the tomato plants cold. They were just putting out a bazillion of green tomatoes - some half formed and some fully ready to start ripening. But now they have gone on break. Probably permanently. Without rain for a while, the whole garden is starting to just give up and die out. Leaves are falling and there is dead stuff everywhere. It's so depressing. Summer is over and we're heading back to the grind - fall and school and work and work and then holidays and winter, all happening so fast you can almost hear it rushing by.

Maybe I'm feeling it a little more intensely because I'm in full fall mode anyway. I've been working on the new fall products, and this weekend is the touch-ups on the fall newsletter which will come out probably by the end of the week. I've got website updates and email letters to work on too. All at the same time I'm trying to get a pile of stuff ready for the Puyallup Fair (starting Sept 10th).

Oh, and a little other tiny thing happened yesterday. I got a half a space at Bumbershoot. I was fully expecting to have one more long weekend to truly get ahead of the game for the fair, and this little gem popped up. I'll be totally scrunched for time and inventory, but it's an amazing and wonderful opportunity which I just couldn't say no to. I'll do a bigger post in a day or two when I know more. But this is a gigantic show in Seattle and I'm thrilled to get a chance to display there - even if it's a little half of a booth in a corner somewhere. More soon . . .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Art in the Alley

I'll be at this little Art in the Alley show this afternoon. It's organized by the Columbia City Gallery, and is outside in Dorothy's Alley. Sounds like fun. They'll be selling cold drinks, snacks and otter pops inside, and there's a sausage cart outside. Goes from 4pm to 9pm.

I don't get a big space here - we're lined up in an alley. So I'm bringing just the basics. Most of the regular soap bars, the balms, maybe a few sprays and/or salts if I can fit them in. So if you're looking for something specific - give me a call before I head over there this morning. I know that's last minute.

This is just a little quickie show, that's right near my house. I love this neighborhood and wanted to spend an afternoon seeing what's going on over there.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Anacortes Arts Festival



This lounging flip flop photo? That's the exact opposite of what I'm doing this week. Maybe later . . .

This weekend is the humungous hoopla that is the Anacortes Arts Festival.

On August 6, 7 and 8, 2010, the streets of Anacortes fill with 260 outstanding juried Booth Artisans, first class Fine Art Exhibitions, Culinary Art with an international selection of foods, and a creative Youth Activities area for the youngest artists. It's their 49th annual festival, with live music and entertainment all over the place too.

They are expanding the number of Booth Artisans this year to include a Garden Art area between 2nd and 3rd Streets just north of the Main Stage. Nine Booth Artisans will provide a great selection of artistic creations for your home. Artists come from throughout the Northwest and as far away as New York, Florida and Arizona- it's really a huge event and one of my biggest shows of the year, so this week is pretty hectic trying to get it all packed up and ready to go.

The info:

Dates: Friday through Sunday, Aug 6-8
Hours: 10am-6pm all days
Soapworks booth location: Same spot as always. west side of the street, south end of the 400 block, almost at the corner of 5th street - just north of that intersection in front of the space that used to be La Vie en Rose Bakery. Map Here

I'm trying to get tons done. Really. Tons. For this show I can't even get enough inventory in my car to sell for more than a day. So I drive back and forth home each evening to re-load the car with another day's bundle of goods to sell. I'm never exactly sure what's going to be the best seller each year. But after all these years, I know which ones I need to have bins and bins of. So I'm working like crazy to get tons of it piled up and ready to just load out the door. This is still never quite enough though. And I end up working in the evenings and working again in the early morning hours before I have to jet out the door to drive up in time to open the tent again. I'll be toast by Monday. But fingers crossed the weather is good, the crowds are huge and I make enough money to cover my butt for little while.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

In August of 2008 all of us indie bath, beauty and bodycare businesses were in a panic about the FDA Globalization act that was going to put us out of business. I blogged about it then. And for the moment we were saved.

But now comes the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. And it's got the whole industry in another panic. Much like the earlier proposition, anyone who manufactures and retails soap and beauty products, no matter how big or how small, will have to put their products through expensive and rigorous testing in order to label every single element of every single ingredient in every single product.

Since current technology can literally detect parts per billion through scientific testing, this is going to be a huge undertaking. And it will take its toll on the small, woman-owned, cottage businesses the most. Only the biggest corporate manufacturers will be able pay for that kind of testing.

The intention of this over-reaching legislation is to "protect" people from dangerous ingredients. That sounds great. However, it's not so cut and dried. Natural ingredients are extremely complex, unlike much more simple synthetic ingredients. A plant compound often has so many trace elements in it, that when you break it down into parts per billion, there will be an element that on its own can be found on a carcinogenic or contaminant list. This element, when ingested in extreme amounts by rodent lab animals might cause cancer. But when found in its natural state, in combination with the rest of the elements in that single plant ingredient, might even be anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, or anti-inflammatory. This new legislation goes so far overboard that many natural product makers will be just give up.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is behind all this, as they were behind the FDA Globalization Act of 2008. They have quite a lot more lobbiest pull than any of us little guys. So we need to work together to petition against this proposal.

This post at Kayla's blog (Essential Wholesale) has infinitely more detailed information about what is being said, what is being done, and how you can help stop this.

And Anne-Marie (Brambleberry) wrote such an excellent, succinct and easy to understand list of reasons why this is going to hurt us, that it's a must read too.

Please sign the petition against it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bellingham Arts Festival

If you live in Bellingham, you have probably heard about the Chalk Art Festival over the years. You register for a section of downtown sidewalk space, bring your chalk pieces and create your masterpiece for awards and prizes. The last couple of years, they've added art and craft booths to the mix. And this year it's even bigger and better. With a new name, Bellingham Arts Festival, there are now 60 art vendors, plus music and all kinds of activities.

This year the festival will feature:

60 incredible arts and crafts booths
Local food vendors
Terrific live music from local bands on the Main Stage
Chalk Art creations adorning the sidewalks throughout downtown
Horse drawn wagon tours from the Bellingham Senior Activity Center
Beer from Boundary Bay and wine tasting provided by Bellingham Bar and Grill in our ArtBar

When: Saturday, July 31st, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, August 1st, 11am to 5pm

Where: 1200, 1300, and 1400 Blocks of Cornwall Ave in Downtown Bellingham, Washington

Full list of Participating Artists

Chalk Art Festival part is Saturday, 7/31, 10am to 1pm.

Allied Arts Chalk ArtFest from ENW with Deb Slater on Vimeo.



I'll be participating this year in the art festival. My booth of soap goods is in the 1300 block of Cornwall, between Magnolia and Holly Streets. I haven't been to this one before, so I'm looking forward to a new adventure. Hope to see some of Bellingham fans!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bellevue 6th Street Fair


Whew! The shows are fast and furious this month. I never even got around to announcing the Gig Harbor festival last weekend, but it was a good show. Weather was great - cool mornings and sunny but not hot afternoons. And I guess it's a good thing I didn't post my location either, because it all got shuffled around. Small mix up with the parking signs, and there were cars parked all over the street when everyone arrived to set up. I got moved around to 3 different places before I finally got a spot I could set up shop in. But it all worked out fine and sales were great.

Now this weekend is the whole Bellevue Art Fair hoopla. The museum show is at Bellevue Square. Plus there's the other show across the street in the Cost Plus parking lot. And then there's us - the Sixth Street Fair - which sets up on 106th, a block over. I'll be in my same space in front of the California Pizza Kitchen, under the trees. This is a really big event, drawing huge crowds.

And so many years it's been hotter than Hades - we're all wilting in the heat and everyone is running for the indoor air conditioning. But not this time. Because this year we are having the summer that never showed up. I'm sure that if you are reading this from the East Coast or other parts of the country you probably don't want to hear us complain about our chilly summer. The heat waves everywhere else are insane. But we are not having any of it. Overnight it gets cloudy and cool, dropping into the low 50's. We wake up to early spring weather. And if we are really, really lucky (maybe a dozen days now) we can get into the 70's in the afternoon if the sun breaks through. It's stupid. Which proves to everyone that I'm not a true Northwesterner. Because a lot of people around here love that. Me? I'd be happier with more sun, warmer temperatures, and an actual summer-like day or two. I have 7 tomato plants that are going nowhere. The 2 squash plants that made it past our freezing spring weather (in June) are now getting powdery mildew. I didn't even try anything else because it was just so darn cold all the time. It's nearing the end of July and I'm still wearing sweaters.

Back to the show this weekend:

Friday, July 23: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 24: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 25: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Here is the map which lists all the other vendors and their locations. There is food and music too. Hope you get a chance to come over.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

West Seattle Street Fair


This weekend is the West Seattle Summer Festival. And it's going to be hot. Well, not East Coast hot, but warm for us.

I love hanging out at this show because it's such a great neighborhood and community event. Everybody knows each other, or runs into neighbors and friends they haven't seen in a while - grabbing tables at the outdoor patios of the restaurants on the street, or having drinks and watching the live music in the evenings. It's a big family party with kids areas (called the "Super Terrific Happy Fun Zone"), sidewalk sales, local business promotions, and of course, all of us with our tents selling crafts, wares, imports and all sorts of cool stuff.

My booth is in a slightly different location this time. I've got a nice corner booth just up the street a bit. I'll be in space #133, which you can find on the zoomable map. It's on the west side of street, closer to SW Oregon St - sort of near the liquor store, I guess.

I'm selling scrap bars of soap this weekend. Dings and dents, or ugly ones that got stuck in the mold. Some leftover older flavors too. They are $1.50 a bar, and all full-size bars too - a real bargain. Come early, they won't last long.

Vendor hours are: Friday 10-6, Sat 10-8, Sun 11-5, July 9th - 11th. There are live music concerts all day and into the evening, with a full schedule here. Hope to see you at the party!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gig Harbor Garden Tour


At long last, the details for the Gig Harbor Garden Tour, where I'll be selling my wares this weekend. It's organized by Tacoma Community College, located at 3993 Hunt Street in Gig Harbor. This is where the tour starts, and where you can buy tickets, get maps and directions. There are a couple of raffles going on too, so tickets are available at the desk.

I will be at house #3, Jeff and Judy Wilbert's place at 1818 Sullivan Dr in the Point Fosdick area near the water. There will be 3 of us artists at this location, set up on the driveway as you head down to the house. And there are other artists at other locations, but I'm not sure they are set up at every house. There are a total of 7 houses on this year's tour. I think. I'm just going by my written information. I've never done this before. It's a very cool idea.

Hours are 10-5 Sat and 10-4 Sun, June 26 and 27. Weather forecast is looking a little better than it was earlier in the week, which talked about rain both days. Now we've got more sunshine. Finally this week it's warmed up and given us at least 2 days in a row of sun. A real treat! The tomato plants have decided to grow again. I think they've been in hibernation the whole last month.

Oh, one more thing - you can buy tickets to the show online HERE. They are $20 if you buy them before midnight tonight. Otherwise, you need to buy them at TCC Gig Harbor when you arrive.

A little more info about the show HERE - including a downloadable guide.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another cold gray day in summer

See that hammock? the beach? I really wish I was there. Our summer weather has been crap. Way too cold. Way too many drizzly, gray days. We can't get above 70 degrees here. Totally not summer weather.

It's already the 17th today. My last post was just before Sorticulture - which turned out great by the way and we actually had a day and a half of nice sunshine. I sort of missed it in my tent under the trees in the shade, but I did notice it. Super show this year with lots of great vendors and awesome plants.

Next weekend I'll be at a smaller garden tour show in Gig Harbor. I'm not supposed to reveal which garden I'll be in just yet - I guess it's supposed to be a secret. But I'll give you more details next week, in case you are in that area and planning to go. There are a number of houses on the tour and it's always fun to tour other people's little outdoor spaces, plus there will be artists in each of the locations, which makes it even more special.

This coming weekend there are more house project plans. Always something to work on here. And my last chance to do anything outside of soap this summer - because the next two months will be non-stop festivals and street fairs every weekend. To be honest, it looks pretty daunting from here. But it's the same schedule I give myself every years and I've managed to survive it each time, so it can't be that bad.

I'm working on production all the time now - hoping to get enough inventory made to last the summer. There are a few too many types of soap on my list I think. It's harder to keep up with all of them. I'm re-thinking that. But once it's on the list, it's almost impossible to take it off. Each and every one is somebody's favorite that they can't live withou. Same with the sprays and salts and lip balm flavors too. So I'm doing it all for the time being. Each time I think I've figured it all out, I realize heh, no, I have no idea what I'm doing. Just running in place.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sorticulture


It's show time! The time of the year when it's all shows, shows, shows. This weekend is Sorticulture, Everett's Garden Arts Festival. This is such a fun weekend - so many plant and garden art vendors with great stuff. Plus there are display gardens, kids activities, demonstrations and lectures, music performances and food too. Free admission. Parking is a little tight sometimes, but there are shuttles from other lots (see here for more info).

June 11 - 13
Fri 10-8, Sat 10-6, Sun 10-5
Legion Memorial Park
145 Alverson Blvd. at West Marine View Dr.
Everett, Washington 98201

Link to the schedule of speakers and music

"Sorticulture unites art and the garden in a celebration of creative outdoor living. Our featured artists create distinctive hand-crafted garden art and our nurseries produce a wide variety of plants to transform your backyard. Learn tips and tricks from top regional gardening experts including Ciscoe Morris."

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Another poem about peonies


My peonies are in full bloom. The huge blossoms are always a bit too heavy for their elegant stems, but right now, weighted down by raindrops, they lay flounced all over place. It's one of my very favorite flowers - white ones, double pinks, I love them all. So today is another poem which captures the very essence of their gorgeousness.

Peonies by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Peonies



This is from the Writer's Almanac the other day, and so beautiful:

Peonies by Jeanne Lohmann

Grandma called them pineys, and I didn't know why.
They smelled so good, the full lush petals
crowded thick, the whole flower heavy on its stem,
the leaves dark and rich and green as shade in Chatauqua Woods
where each spring I hunted for violets. What could there be
to pine for on this earth? Now I think maybe it was Missouri
she missed, and maybe that was what somebody she knew
called peonies there, before she traveled to Ohio,
a sixteen-year-old bride whose children came on as fast
as field crops and housework. Her flowers saved her,
the way they came up year after year and with only a bit of care
lived tender and pretty, each kind surprising,
keeping its own sweet secret: lily-of-the-valley, iris,
the feathery-leaved cosmos, lilacs in their white and purple curls,
flamboyant sweet peas and zinnias, the bright four o'clocks
and delphinium, blue as her eyes, and the soft peony flowers
edged deep pink. In her next life I want my grandmother
to walk slowly through the gardens in England and Kyoto.
I want to be there when she recognizes the flowers
and smiles, when she kneels and takes the pineys in her hands.

"Peonies" by Jeanne Lohmann, from Calls from a Lighted House. © Fithian Press, 2007.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy: that's the name of one of my favorite websites, permanently bookmarked. It's mostly interior design oriented, but it's inspiration for all kinds of things. Even though my business is scents, I'm really a visual person. And I love the eye candy here - so many gorgeous photos. I love to check into the NY and SF pages especially (no Seattle one -- yet). I used to live in San Francisco years ago, and it's always fun to see the insides of people's homes there. Usually drop dead gorgeous. I can't tell you how many great ideas I've gotten from here, or how thrilled I am with the note that came in my email box today.

Anne R.M. sent me a message that she has been using my sprays for awhile now and loves them. And when she wrote a little piece on spring freshening and aromatherapy today, she included a photo of my Lavender Lemongrass spray, plus a link to my site in her little resources section at the end of the article. What a lovely compliment! Especially sweet since it was out of the blue, and yet from a website that I truly admire and enjoy.



I've already gotten a little bunch of orders for sprays this afternoon, so I know that people are paying attention. I'm tickled pink to be sharing my aromatherapy goods with the world.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oldies but goodies


Have you noticed how much more satisfying it is to check something off your "to do" list when it's a task that you really dreaded doing and put off for a long time? I've procrastinated on a few things for days, and yesterday afternoon I forced myself to finally get them finished. Wow. That was a relief and it felt good. It wasn't really bad at all to actually do them. And it was such a nice feeling to be done. I wonder why I waited so long in the first place.

I usually start my day with the little, super easy stuff first. Just to get something going and once the ball is rolling it's easier to move on with some of the harder, longer tasks. And in the back of my mind, I'm hoping I run out of time in the day to do those last few things on the list that I really didn't want to do anyway. That's my method. It not one I recommend to everyone. But it usually works for me. Unless I let those icky jobs go too long . . . Sure, it there's probably a more efficient way to work. I'm too old now to change my ways.

Speaking of old. I found a new radio station the other day. I usually listen to NPR when I'm in the car, catching up on news that I missed. But I got bored of world events and punched around and came up with an oldies station. Yeah. Gah. They supposedly play 60's and 70's stuff (104.5 fm). 60's is way before me, and I'm not really sure that they do that much of it - the occasional beach song. Mostly it's 70's - Top 40 pop/rock that I listened to when I was a kid and I know all the words. No soul music, no disco music, just white bread. And seriously, I know all the words. Which is scary. I can't believe any of that is still in my brain - it's been so long since I've heard those songs or even thought about that time period.

It feels sort of like a little vacation - going back in time, especially this week when summer feels like it just busted out. Riding in the car with the windows down and a warm breeze. Singing (badly) out loud and just remembering a different place and time. What I used to feel like many long summers ago, when the world was innocent and my whole life was still ahead of me. I must be really losing my grip. Didn't we used to groan when our parents did this stuff - and make them turn off the radio in case somebody in the car next to us looked over? Yes. Yes we did.

Heaven help me . . . Peter Frampton, Journey, Firefall . . . they are keeeeling me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

U District Street Fair


This weekend is the U District Street Fair. I always feel like this is my first summer street fair. It never really feels like summer until after Mother's Day around here. And right on cue, this week is finally warming up and everything is leafed out, green and growing.

I finally pulled out the patio furniture and cleaned it all off today. I can sit outside and sun with the cats! Well at least for a couple of minutes in between racing around here with orders and prepping for the weekend.

The details for the show:

University District Street Fair
University Avenue, Seattle
May 15-16, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-6
My booth location: #323, between 42nd & 43rd, west side of street (in front of Chipotle's)

I'm in the same block as always, a little further north than last year, same side of the street. I'll have a few of the spring soaps left - there isn't much. And all the new summer stuff. Plus the rest of the kit & caboodle. And the weather looks like it's going to be beautiful, so it should be a great weekend. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Summer 2010 Newsletter

As I like to do, I am posting the full text of the Summer 2010 Newsletter here. I've got the snail mail letters shlepping arouand in the mailman's sack today. And the email version has just been pinged off to that little list too. So I'm posting the whole shebang here for anyone else I might have missed. And just because it's easier, I'm adding only a couple of links instead of the overkill for each and every one of the items mentioned. Happy Monday!



Dear Friends,

Summer is the season of romantic flings, sexy novels by the beach, and sensuous star-filled evenings. The warm, sunny days lure us into getting a little more intimate with the outdoors and the elements. Skin, oh lovely skin, hiding under sweaters for months, gets to cavort with the breezes and skinny dip in the water. Bare toes flirt with anything - tall grass, sandy beaches, flip flops, even hot sidewalks.

The four elements of nature: earth, air, fire, and water are at their very best this season. Sweet, warm earth grows a mind-boggling array of flowers, herbs, veggies and weeds. Bright blue sun-filled skies give us more fresh air than we can drink in. And who can resist the scent of sizzling, fiery, barbeque grills, the smoky goodness that curls and swirls from our neighbor's patios to our own little deck and then on down the block? Ahhhh, the cool water - beaches, pools, rivers, or creeks, we've all got our own favorite watering hole. Summer is simply grand!

SUMMER SEASONAL SOAPS

In a tribute to summer, I've created a couple of special soaps to celebrate the flavors of the season. These unique soaps are available only for the summer season (May - August) and are made in limited production. ($4.25 ea or 4 for $16.00)

SWEET SPEARMINT: When it's hot and steamy outside you want just one thing - to feel cool and fresh. A chilly shower with this bar is the ultimate in refreshing - an icy breath of luscious spearmint paired with the tiniest squeeze of juicy lemon just to kick it up a notch. (100% natural ingredients)

PEPPERMINT GRAPEFRUIT: Due to popular demand, I'm bringing this one back from last summer's menu. Cool and tingly classic peppermint with the energizing pop of pink grapefruit, sweet orange and a teeny pinch of ginger. Colored with a spoonful of real tomato powder, it's a luscious cantaloupe color. (100% natural ingredients)

OTHER SOAP BITS

SACRED SMOKE soap is back by request. I've added it back to the web site for ordering any time. But I won't bring it to my summer street fairs or fall craft shows - only because I have such limited display space. If this is a soap that you are coming for specifically, call or email in advance and let me know. I am happy to bring what you need to whichever location works for you. Hey - this special request thing is good for any of my other products too. If you're needing a few of this or a dozen of that and you want to pick it up from my booth at wherever, just give me a heads up and I'll have it set aside for you.

DEAD SEA BATH SALTS

Did you think that bath-taking was only for the cooler months? Silly rabbit. Soaking in a cool bath after a hot, hard day sounds a whole lot better than packing up and shuffling down to the public pool - no screaming tots, no splashing belly floppers, no getting chopped in the head by the lap swimmers. It's just steps away, quiet, private, and smells a whole lot better too.

These bath salts work wonders on purifying and detoxifying, improving circulation, moisturizing skin, soaking away stress, and relaxing muscles, aches and pains. Chill out with SWEET SPEARMINT. GRAPEFRUIT LEMON and MANDARIN ORANGE, are both incredibly juicy, bright, and sunny citrus blends that are super fresh for summer. Or relax with one of our standard scents, FRENCH LAVENDER, VANILLA BEAN & HONEY, or ALMOND GINGER. Giant 16 oz bottles of beautiful spa-quality soaking salts ($ 8.00 each).

AROMATIC SPRAYS FOR SUMMER

Summer is the perfect season to indulge in one of the aromatic sprays. Splash yourself and your little summer sun dresses, freshen your rooms, liven up your sheets, spritz the car seats, and squirt the dog. I've brought back the much-loved ORANGE GINGER spray, a delightful sweet orange scent with a bit of spicy ginger. And for a touch of the exotic, SANDALWOOD ORANGE is mellow, earthy and woodsy with a bit of citrus. Take one of our lovely sprays with you everywhere this season - LAVENDER LEMONGRASS and FRENCH LAVENDER are perfect warm weather pals too. ($ 6.00 ea)

I also have the ever-popular BUGGER OFF spray, an all-natural bug repellent that really works! Essential oils of cedar, bay, orange and eucalyptus mask your human scent and repel all kinds of irritating little critters - mosquitoes, fleas, and gnats. Safe for kids and pets, this spray works best when sprayed on clothing or bedding so the scent lingers longer. It's clean, woodsy and pleasant to wear, with no strong citronella that keeps the people away too. ($ 6.00 ea)

WEB SITE ADDITIONS

I've been in this business for 14 (!) years now, and I've researched a library's worth of information on oils, herbs, skincare, and health. So I've added a new page on the site with detailed information on my ingredients and the process, for anyone who wants to know more. (See "Healthy Ingredients") Plus, I've added a bit more skincare and aromatherapy info to each product page too, under "Mind/Body."

SUMMER FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

I get so excited each year to pop up my tent and start another season of street fairs and festivals because I get a chance to meet and talk to all of you. For more details on my summer schedule, including booth locations, check out the schedule section on the website, SoapworksStudio.com.

What's on your summer list? Drive-in movies, camping, garage sale hunting? It's time to get out there!

Heidi Risse

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

What a beautiful weekend we have to celebrate our Mom's!

Thanks to all the Mom's out there. Nothing would run at all without them.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Summer Schedule

I'm working on updating my summer show schedule on the website today - in preparation for the summer newsletter announcement which goes out Monday. But just to get it in place here too, I'm posting the full list. Most of the usual stuff. A few new ones, like the Gig Harbor Garden show and the Bellingham Art Festival. I'll give you all more detailed info on these as they come up - like booth locations, directions, descriptions. But if there is anything you want to know more about right now, just let me know.

Trying to get this all done quick so I can get out and enjoy the sunshine today. It's gorgeous out there!


Upcoming Events

May 15 - 16
U District Street Fair
University Ave, Seattle

Jun 11 - 13
Sorticulture
Legion Park, Everett

Jun 26-27
Gig Harbor Garden Tour
Gig Harbor

Jul 9 - 11
West Seattle Street Fair
The Junction, West Seattle

Jul 17 - 18
Gig Harbor Art Festival
Judson St, Gig Harbor

Jul 23 - 25
6th Street Fair at
Bellevue Art Festival
Downtown, Bellevue

Jul 1 - Aug 1
Bellingham Art Festival
Bellingham

Aug 6 - 8
Anacortes Arts Festival
Commercial Ave,
Downtown Anacortes

Aug 18 - 20
Summer Gift Shop
Group Health Campus
108 - 15th Ave E
Capitol Hill, Seattle

Sep 10 - 26
Puyallup Fair
Western Washington
Fairgrounds, Puyallup

For more information, please see the calendar section of the website

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mondays. Bother.


I'm not the biggest fan of Mondays. It's the day when I have to do all the stuff I procrastinated on Friday and avoided doing all weekend too.

It's not only work chores, but house chores too. Because I didn't get around to cleaning or doing laundry either this weekend. I spent it outside doing garden work. I'm making a little rain garden pit under my rain chain downspout. And pulling out a couple of waaaaaay overgrown bushes, so I can put in more appropriate plants there. Tucking in the tomato, zucchini and flower starts that I've been babying in the kitchen the last couple of months. Plus fighting aphids. Oh. my. stars. Those little suckers are bad this year - all over my favorite euphorbia and hellebores.

I like the gardening stuff. I'm not that keen on the inside stuff. Bother.

Just a small timing update - usually the summer newsletter goes out this week. But it just hasn't quite felt like summer yet, and I could use another week getting all the little details together. So I'm finishing it up this week, and it will be in the mail next Monday. Oh yeah, another happy Monday. But it will feel great to have that out the door and into your hot little hands.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Science Friday


(Photo: New York CIty in the Fog)

I've featured "Science Days" in the past, but not for a long time. Today seems like a good day to share a few links, stuff I've read lately that's interesting. About food and diet, scent and stars. Science stuff fascinates me. And the new information about health and nutrition changes daily.

In case you've got a minute or two, here's a little snippet of spots that's I've surfed in the past week or two.

Just for Earth Week, whale poop will save our oceans. (New Scientist)

Being fat is bad. But it's especially bad for your brain. (New York Times) Heavier people in their middle age have significantly atrophied brains in later life, leading to dementia and other problems.

Eating healthy is getting harder and harder. Agave sweetener is worse than high fructose corn syrup (Huffington Post)

Health insurance companies invest in fast food corporate stocks. (ABC News) Not surprising, but very telling. Here's how it works: they want to make profits. They profit on us being sick. The more we eat fast foods, the un-healthier we are. Connect the dots. And the top 5 investments? the five largest fast-food corporations: Jack in the Box, McDonald's, Burger King, Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and others), and Wendy's/Arby's. Reason enough not to eat there.

"Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now." That's a pretty shocking thought. We are becoming a planet of elderly folks. Welcome to the elderly age (New Scientist)

Portable ozone machines, found in hunting stores, are scent killing devices which could be the new secret weapon for terrorists and criminals. (Fox News) It destroys scents completely, allowing drugs or bombs to saunter right past the bomb-sniffing dogs at airports.

Learn about the stars in the sky at Hubblesite.org. A short video explains the constellations to watch for each month. April is the beginning of spring and features Leo the Lion. (Hubblesite.org)

And because this always makes me laugh: the most stupid wheel of fortune fails of all time (Urlesque)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Garden Art Fair this week


Here's where I'll be this weekend - in Anacortes:

Depot Arts Center's Annual Fundraiser - 7th Annual Garden Art Fair

Saturday, April 24 & Sunday, April 25, 2010
10 am to 5 pm both days. Rain or shine.
Green gardening meets tight budgets at Depot Arts Center’s 7th Annual GARDEN ART FAIR in historic Anacortes. Display gardens, plants, garden art, art exhibits, demos, food, wine & beer garden in a marketplace for one-of-a-kind shopping.

Whether it’s indoor and outdoor gardens or the gardens of our imaginations, inspiration and opportunities for creative, budget-minded gardening and outdoor living abound as Depot Arts Center’s Garden Art Fair returns for a 7th year in historic Anacortes on Saturday, April 24 & Sunday, April 25.

Visitors can enjoy a series of outdoor display gardens specially created for the show. From small space and container gardens to larger designs with special features, see what’s possible when plants co-mingle with fertile imaginations.

Sat and Sun 10am-5pm
Located 611 R Avenue, Old Town Anacortes

It's happening "rain or shine" which means we'll have a little of both, just like last weekend. Rainy day on Saturday, sunshine on Sunday. See ya there!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tulip Festival


This weekend I'll be at the Mount Vernon Street Fair - part of this month's Tulip Festival.

The weather was so warm in early spring that the tulips started to come out early. But then the last few weeks has been quite chilly, gray and rainy, and it all slowed down. So who knows? There probably are some tulips still blooming, and some are done. The display gardens are always a good bet. And the weather is supposed to be quite nice the next few days, with sunshine and low 60's temps. Remember a few years back when we had that freak snowstorm on this weekend? And almost every other year it's dumping rain or freezing cold on this festival weekend. So this is going to be a real treat!

Details:

Friday through Sunday, Apr 16-18
Fri 10-6, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-6
Downtown Mt Vernon - it runs for blocks through the main street of downtown

My booth location is space #151, which is the very topmost block to the north, on the west side of the street. Everyone gets a corner booth. I don't have a great map, but I'm guessing it's pretty close to the food co-op up there.

Hope to see you there, having fun in the sun!