Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a new year of perfect health, great adventures, much happiness, and all the best of everything!

Tonight we celebrate all the successes of 2012.  Tomorrow we start the new year off with fresh ideas, grand enthusiasm and big dreams.  I love New Year's and the chance to hit re-set and begin anew.

A champagne toast to you all - my friends and customers who have given me so much this past year. Big hugs!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whoosh - it's over?

Wow.  Christmas already happened.  I truly intended to head over here and post Christmas greetings and stuff.  But the whirlwind of the holiday just blew me away and I never got to do it.  Like so many other things too.

It's such a gigantic race to get to the finish line with all the preparations done, and then poof!  The big event is over in a blink and lots of stuff just didn't make the cut.

We had such a lovely Christmas Eve with our traditional celebration of a Feast of 7 Fishes, although I secretly liked dessert more than the other stuff :)  Christmas Day was a flurry of unwrapping, a bit of relaxing and another wonderful dinner.  I can't believe it's all over now.  Except for the putting away.  Of course the clean up takes longer than the holiday itself.

I've got a bit of catching up to do in the studio.  More things that didn't quite get done before Christmas.  But I'm going to have a quiet week and start to put things back in order before getting back to work in earnest next week.  I'm bringing home all the inventory from the Bellingham and Warm Beach shows this week.  If I've got soaps leftover that are sold out over here, I'll get them back on the website immediately.

I hope your holiday was merry and bright, and that you got to celebrate with your very best friends and family.  I'm looking forward to the new year and another round of partying too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Panic at the Post

Yesterday was the most panicked day of packing orders yet.  I thought last Monday was bad.  But yesterday by 5 o'clock I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I worked my butt off from early morning on, and never seemed to have enough time to breathe.

So many packages to go out and boxes not even packed up, labels not printed - I was buzzing around here in such a state that I'm worried sick I screwed something up.  And the people who I was sending orders to are some of the loveliest customers on earth.  They all deserve the very best service and I'll be heart-broken if somebody got the wrong thing, not enough things, the box arrives a jumble, or what-not.

I did actually have to call my roommate at the final minutes to help me stuff boxes and work the tape gun, etc.  It was a mess here, like a tornado had gone through the studio, and then after that a bomb went off.  I can't believe I actually got the boxes through the Post Office doors at the 5:30 bell when they lock up.   I was driving like a maniac - but still had to stop for every single red light between here and there.

And then raced over to UPS with the other most hugest order, to wait in line for half an hour because everyone there is pretty much new to that place, didn't know how the counter works, and had a problem with their package.   People were all stressing out - the package was supposed to be delivered somewhere else, some other time, or at the store for pick up instead of on the truck . . . something and everything.  And the lady behind me was somebody's very lovely mom who was bringing her son's business packages over to be shipped and had never done it before, didn't have his UPS account number, etc.  I'm sure they sorted it out at the desk, but there was a lot of that kind of thing - wrangling out all the details and a high-level of frustration and panic in the room.  Normally I just breeze in and out in a few minutes with a bit of friendly chatter with one of my usual guys.  But yesterday . . . whoa.

Today there is more.  But not quite the same level.  Manageable.  It has to slow down any day now, right?  Please say yes.  I'm still not ready for my own Christmas yet.

Oh, and I'm back up to Bellingham tomorrow.  I'm actually not bringing up much more stock.  But a little bit.  A few more things to finish up the week.  If you need to shop for Soapworks products, there's probably more there in my display at the show than there is left here at the studio.  

Three cheers to holiday spirits.  The drinking kind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Twelve. Twelve. Twelve.

Today is the most awesomest day of Dec 12, 2012.  I woke up a little after midnight last night, just to see if anything earth-shattering would happen at 12:12 am on 12/12/12.  Nope, nothing.  Sigh.  But to be fair, I don't even know if I was awake for that whole minute before falling back to sleep.  I've been so exhausted.

We're into sorta mid-December now, and I'm done with the new shows.  You can find my goods at the Allied Arts show in Bellingham still.  And at Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp - in the Joyland Emporium shop.  But other than that, it's only mail order at this point.  And even that is getting short.

I heard on the radio that this past Monday was the busiest shipping day of the year.  And I know that it was pretty huge for me too.  FedEx did something like 19 million packages that day.  Mine was a bit less :),  but it took several trips from the car to the Post Office desk.  And I was completely cooked, trying to rush over there just before they closed with every last order from the weekend.

Some of the most popular soap scents are sold out at the moment.  This is such a big disappointment to me.  I tried so very hard this year to not have that happen.  But it does.  Every time.  No matter how much I make, it's always just not quite enough.  I made dozens of extra batches in the last few months so that I would have gazillions of bars of soap to sail through til Christmas.  And it didn't last.

I am still madly making soap every day and most things will be back on the site next week, but at that point, it's really a bit late to ship things in time for Christmas.  Sigh.  Well, I'll be ready for those New Year's orders, I guess.  But I truly need to already get started on producing spring scented soaps for the next newsletter at the beginning of February.

I'm thinking I might need to change my schedule a little bit.  It's all too squished together from Fall/September, Winter/November and then Spring/February.  As I said, I'm tired.  

But for now, it's back to more orders this morning.  And I'm headed up to Bellingham tomorrow with a ton of restock.  I know it's totally picked over and bare up there, but I just didn't have a single day to drive up last week since I was at Group Health.  So if you are waiting for goods, head over tomorrow.

And I'll take another moment today at noon to see what kind of magic might happen at 12:12 pm.  Maybe the universe slept through the midnight thing like I did.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's up this week

Bunch of shows this week - but it's winding down for holiday craft shows.

Here's the schedule and it's all I've got left before Christmas:

Nov 16 - Dec 24           Allied Arts of Whatcom County
                                   Holiday Festival of the Arts
                                   1200 Meador St, near the Haskell Business Ctr
                                   Wed - Sun 10am - 6pm,
                                   Bonus Days:  Mon 12/20, Tues 12/21,  Sat 12/24 10am - 3pm
Nov 29 - Dec 29            Warm Beach Camp - Lights of  Christmas
                                   Warm Beach Camp, 20800 Marine Dr., Stanwood
                                   Dates: Nov 29 - Dec 2, Dec 6-9, 13-16, 18-23, 26-29
                                   Gates open 5pm - 10pm   
Dec 1 - 2                      Winter Festival and Crafts Fair
                                    Phinney Neighborhood Center
                                    6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle
                                    Sat and Sun 10am - 5pm                   
Dec 5 - 8                     Group Health Holiday Shop
                                   Group Health Central Campus, shop space
                                   108 - 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill
                                    Wed - Fri 9am-4pm
Allied Arts has been going on for a couple of weeks now.  I think they've finally got enough signs up all over town :)  The actual space is quite nice, but it is a little bit off the beaten path.  It's in the Haskell Business Park, just off of I-5 at the Lakeview exit if you are going north.  Lots of ways to get there from other parts of town.  Click the link above and it will take you to a map and directions.  Really great one-of-a-kind gift ideas.  If you don't find what you need on the top of my table, take a peek below.  I'm bringing bins and bins of stuff, but can't be there every day to fluff up the display.
Warm Beach will start tomorrow.  I'm in the Joyland Emporium like I have been the last two years, just near the cashier's.  I've brought all the seasonal stuff there too.  Gosh, if you haven't been up there to see their light display, it's really gorgeous and a fun thing to do with the family.  So much entertainment, restaurants and snack booths (the hot mini donuts are amazing).  Carolers, concerts, the works.  Click the link above to see the whole caboodle - maps, directions, entertainment schedule, etc.  There is even a pay-what-you-can night for admission, but that will be incredibly crowded and long waits.
And this is Phinney weekend.  Always one of my biggest shows of the year and even if it wasn't I would still love it so, so much.  Great, super duper quality artists.  So many holiday gifts under one roof (oops, two roofs).  Also entertainment and bands, bake sale, restaurant in the brick building below.  I'm in the big blue building with the parking lot, top floor, largest room just next to the entertainment lobby up there.  Almost same space as last year.  It was fun to be so close to all the music and hoopla!  I'm dreading hoofing all my heavy bins up the stairs, but I'll just consider it exercise in exchange for all the holiday goodies I'll be eating later.
Finally, next week is my little shop space at Group Health again.  I know I won't probably get back to blog about it Monday, I'll be toast by then, so I'm including it here.  Same spot, same times - I'm always so excited to see my fans over there.  But everyone is welcome.  It's an actual little glass front shop space that we artists/craftspeople get to borrow from them to set up our own little store.  A portion of our sales goes to their Patient Needs fund and it's bought so many great things for the folks over there - from little things like toothbrushes, to big things like wheelchairs.  So I'm open for business with all my wares in one spot.  Great way to see the entire selection, pick up all your holiday gifting without shipping costs.  
So after next week, it's mail order only.  Unless you're in Bellingham or stopping by the lights.  
And I might note now, while I'm at it, that even though this year I have made literally a thousand more bars than I did for all of last year (and I'm still making soap for another month), I'm starting to get low in all kinds of things, and expect this next week or so to wipe me out of a lot.  Plus there are a couple of rather large corporate orders to send off too this week and next.  So if you have a list you're wanting for holiday gifts, don't delay.  I just hate, hate, hate to disappoint people by running out of what they want.  And I tried my very best to be better prepared this year (again).  But I'm in the very same spot as always - running low, running out, and fretting.  poo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes for a very happy and abundant Thanksgiving to you all!

I am so grateful and honored to have the loyal business of my customers all year -- and some for many, many years.  I truly thank each and every one of you for buying my products, for all your kind compliments, and for supporting me and my little operation over here.  It's more than just a business, it's a whole bunch of friendships - old and new.

And I am also tremendously grateful that I can make a living with this soap business.  It's been 16 years now - way longer than I ever imagined I would be doing this, and still going strong.  In fact, stronger than ever.  It's amazing and wonderful - I still love this stuff.

Happy turkey day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shows This Week: Nov 14 - 18

Popping in to let you know about the 3 shows I'm going to be at this week.  It's a mad scramble getting it all up and running.   But I'm excited about all of them and looking forward to seeing all of you!

Nov 15 - 17                   Vasa Park Christmas Craft Show
                                    Vasa Park Ballroom
                                    3549 W Lk Samm Pkwy, Bellevue
                                    Wed 3-8pm, Thurs & Fri, 10am-8pm, Sat 9:30am-6pm
Nov 16 - 18                  Best of the Northwest Fall Show
                                   Pier 91 - Smith Cove Cruise Terminal
                                   Interbay/Magnolia area
                                   Fri - Sat 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 5pm
Nov 16 - Dec 24           Allied Arts of Whatcom County
                                   Holiday Festival of the Arts
                                   1200 Meador St, near the Haskell Business Ctr
                                   Wed - Sun 10am - 6pm,
                                   Bonus Days:  Mon 12/20, Tues 12/21,  Sat 12/24 10am - 3pm

We're setting up the Allied Arts show tomorrow in Bellingham.  This is a new location from the last few years.  In fact, it's so spanking brand new to us that we didn't even know where it would be until just a couple of days ago.  So I don't know anything about it really.  It's in town, just east of I-5 and really easy to get to Lakeside exit, or from State St and downtown.  If you click the link above, the page for the Holiday Festival has a Google map on how to get there.  I'll post updates here on the blog once I've had a chance to see it myself and get all set up there.  
Vasa Park is this week too.  Last month was the fall-themed show and this one is the Christmas and Winter Holiday theme.  Tons of stuff to gift or decorate with.
And Best of the Northwest on top of it all!  We wait all year for this one because it's the biggest and best around!  We'll be at our new(ish) permanent home at the Cruise Terminal.  If you haven't been there before, again click the link to the site for maps, directions and info.  You can buy tickets online in advance and they are a little cheaper.   Plus (psst, secret stash here)  I've got just a couple of free passes left to this show.  If you know you're coming to this one, give me a call or email quick and I can mail one to you.  Need to know by the next day or so . . .

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Looking for meaning

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. 


Friday, November 02, 2012

Winter Newsletter 2012

Hi all - posting the new Winter Holiday newsletter here, in case you may not be on my snail mail or email lists.  Everything described below can be found on my "Seasonals" page on the web site, so click on over there if you want to see photos or purchase the new products.  

Winter came down to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, were children once again.
- Bill Morgan, Jr

Dear Friends,

Winter is the season of both quiet comforts and child-like fun.  In the darkness of the long mornings and even longer evenings, we retreat indoors for warmth by the fire, the solitude of a good book or time spent with friends.  This time of year is filled with so much delicious food - hearty meals prepared with much care and special treats of long-standing tradition. 

But who can resist the fun of a Snow Day?! Snowball fights, careening down the hill on a sled, rolling a snowman around the front yard, laughing till your belly aches.  And the very best part of winter?  The holidays, silly!  So much activity packed into every single day – the baking, the shopping, the decorating.  The anticipation almost makes you burst.  Racing down the stairs on Christmas morning, oh the piles of presents!  And their faces when they open that gift from you.  Yes, winter truly is a season of happy delights.

As the holidays get closer, the gift lists grow longer. The perfect gift is a unique, special, treasure - both useful, and use-able.  Soapworks Studio’s little gifts of soap and bath goodies totally fit the bill.  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 treat for that special someone (or all your friends and family).  The autumn seasonal scents are still available a bit longer too, plus our full list of soaps are available online, something for everybody! ($4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00) 

Douglas Fir & Mint  – The perfect winter day is spent outside in a snowy Northwest forest – skiing, hiking, or searching for that magical Christmas tree. Fresh pine and fir needles blend with icy cool peppermint for a tingly, refreshing soap. (100% natural soap)

Cinnamon Sugar  - Nothing beats the combination of cinnamon and sugar together – on toast, in baked goodies, or even in a bar of soap!  Delectable, comforting, and warm, it’s the perfect treat for a dreary winter day.

Rosehip  - Rosehips are the fruits of the rose plant, those beautiful dried red berries that brighten up our drab winter gardens.  This soft red bar is an absolutely lovely blend of ripe, juicy, berry with a bit of citrus tartness and a pinch of soft rose petal. 

Holiday Spice Home Fragrance Spray

It’s our own little holiday tradition around here, and I know many of you can’t wait for it either, the Holiday Spice aromatic spray.  It’s just not the holidays without it.  We spritz around the house just before guests arrive, and they all coo about how great the place smells.  And we spritz gift boxes, cards and stockings too before sending them off -- family and friends get a whoosh of holiday goodness 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)

Dead Sea Bath Salts – New Rose Petal Scent

Just for winter, we’ve added a new Rose Petal scent to our very popular Dead Sea Bath Salts.  It’s absolutely true rose, a fresh bouquet of red rose buds.  Nothing perfumey or old-fashioned, this is a very sophisticated fresh floral, and a lovely pairing with our Rosehip soap.  The year-round scents of Almond Ginger, Vanilla Bean & Honey, French Lavender, and Sandalwood Ginger are essential for de-stressing during this time of year too! (16 oz bottle - $ 8.00)

Winter Holiday Lip Balm

Lips need a little special care during the winter season.  Cold weather outdoors and hot, dry conditions indoors can make your pucker crackly.  Two new winter flavors of Hot Cocoa or Candy Cane in our super nourishing lip balm will make your smoochers smooth, soft and inviting.  Pumpkin Vanilla and a bevy of other yummy flavors are also available (see menu online). $ 3.00 each for 1/2 ounce in a charming little round screw-top tin.

Holiday Spice Sachets

Pretty little mini sachets are new this season!  3.x5 inch muslin drawstring bags with an embroidered green sprig and red berry design are filled with our wonderful Holiday Spice scent.  You’ll want to stuff every stocking, tuck one in each gift, add them to your party place settings and have little piles of them all over the house.  $3.00 each

Internet & Mail Ordering (Free Shipping on orders $100 or more!)

Holiday shopping online or by mail saves you time, expense, and the headache of traffic jams and crowded malls.  We’re offering free shipping on all orders of $100 or more, sending them off within two business days.  And we’ll happily send your items directly to family and friends with gift cards too, so you don’t need to spend any time boxing or waiting in lines at the post office.  Send in the enclosed order form, call during business hours, or for any time brainstorms, order from our website at  Spend more time celebrating and less time fretting.  Let Soapworks Studio be your answer for holiday gifts!

With sparkly wishes for a brilliant new year,