Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Green

(link to Flickr credits)

Hard at work this week, getting everything ready for the Best of the Northwest show this weekend. Set up is tomorrow, and I've got a million things left to do. The pressure of a deadline always makes me work more efficiently. So I'm on high buzz today.

I'm looking forward to this show in particular, just to see how the spring soap scents do in person. It's one thing to have people buy them sight unseen, just by the description on the website or from the newsletters. But it's even better to watch them choose the scents in front of you. To see which ones they gravitate to, which ones they pick up, what they have to say about them - either to your face, or to the people they are shopping with. I get so much better feedback that way. And I'm mulling over if any of them will continue on through the summer.

If you've got a special favorite that you've tried and want me to make more of it - please let me know. I'm always happy to hear my customer's requests and ideas about what they want. I almost always try to make it happen eventually.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shows this week: March 30-Apr 1

Best of the Northwest

I'm so looking forward to this show! My space is located at the very last row in the back, facing the windows on the back wall, just like last year. Love the light, love the space - and it will be our very last show in this warehouse at Magnuson Park. They will be closed for retrofitting after this and we'll be moving full-time to the cruise ship terminal for both spring and fall shows.

Northwest Art Alliance presents the 24th annual Spring Best of the Northwest art and fine craft show. Connect with over 100 established and emerging artists and craftspeople reminiscent of an old world marketplace. Come celebrate all things handmade, enjoy live music and make purchases of gifts of enduring beauty in the light-filled space of Hangar 30 in Seattle’s Magnuson Park. Join us for the Northwest’s premiere art and craft show.

Friday March 30 from10am to 6pm
Saturday, March 31 from10am to 6pm
Sunday, April 1 from 10am to 5pm
Hangar 30 Magnuson Park - Seattle, WA 98115

Tickets at the door $7.00 per person or $5.00 (+ tax) advance online ticket sales at – KOMO Day Friday March 30 tickets at the door for $5.25 – free admission for children 12 and under. Plenty of free parking!

Country at Heart - Skagit Valley's Berry Barn

This is a new show on my calendar! Just like last year, the Berry Barn will be open during the month of April during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The front half of the barn is a small craft show, and I'll have a display of my soaps and products there. Stop in for fresh handmade pies (lots of rhubarb and berry varieties) and incredible ice cream too while you're out viewing the tulip fields.

March 30 - Apr 28
The Berry Barn, 14285 La Conner Whitney Rd, Mt Vernon
Daily 10am-5pm, Closed Mondays

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What is creativity

"Creativity is just connecting things." - Steve Jobs

Creativity. We always seem to think other people have it and we don't. Or that it's some mysterious thing that appears out of nowhere and we have no control over it. This new book delves into what creativity really is, how it works in the brain, how it's a part of each of us. Completely fascinating.

IMAGINE from Jonah Lehrer on Vimeo.

Jonah Lehrer, from the introduction: "The sheer secrecy of creativity — the difficulty in understanding how it happens, even when it happens to us — means that we often associate breakthroughs with an external force. In fact, until the Enlightenment, the imagination was entirely synonymous with higher powers: being creative meant channeling the muses, giving voice to the ingenious gods. (Inspiration, after all, literally means ‘breathed upon.’) Because people couldn’t understand creativity, they assumed that their best ideas came from somewhere else. The imagination was outsourced.”

As he begins to explain, it's just our own humble brains sifting through all kinds of bits and pieces all day long. Putting things together, trying to make sense of random information, making connections, accepting them or rejecting them, and then sometimes there are "AHA" moments, when two dots connect that we hadn't expected to. The excitement to have discovered something we think is new and that will make sense to other people too - that's the point of creativity.

"Creativity shouldn’t be seen as something otherworldly. It shouldn’t be thought of as a process reserved for artists and inventors and other ‘creative types.’ The human mind, after all, has the creative impulse built into its operating system, hard-wired into its most essential programming code. At any given moment, the brain is automatically forming new associations, continually connecting an everyday x to an unexpected y.” - Lehrer

And as I read on, I think "Ahhh. Why didn't I think of that before?" But it's really all about where you put your focus. Because where your thoughts go, that's where your own creativity lies. Some days I'm only thinking about smells. Or colors. Other days it's the business of the business - operations and functions and process. And still other days it's marketing and selling. I'm not sure if all that scattering around is more or less creative. But I'm looking at it in a whole new way.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rain, rain, go away

1. a flower, 2. Untitled, 3. Puddle landscape, 4. puddle, 5. rain boots, 6. rainy day, 7. Rainy Day, 8. * узоры *, 9. It rained softly at Cefn Onn

Spring means rain. Lots of it. But I'm ready for a little sunshine and flowers. Maybe a bit of those record sunny hot days everyone else in the country is having. It's cold here. And grey. And tiresome.

Yesterday was opening day at the Vasa Park show. And it was very busy in the morning, even though the rain was pelting, a total deluge of water. You had to run from the door to your car in the parking lot, and even then you were soaked through. By lunchtime, the rain was worse, and the crowds thinned a bit. But there are great things there - $3 pots of pretty ranunculus. Easter stuff - and all kinds of chocolate goodies for the baskets. It's on till Saturday. And it's drier today -- for now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Beer for St Patty's Day

Sending you a bit of luck 'o the Irish to you on St Patrick's Day!

The custom of imbibing alcohol on St. Patrick's Day comes from an old Irish legend. As the story goes, St. Patrick was served a measure of whiskey that was considerably less than full. St. Patrick took this as an opportunity to teach a lesson of generosity to the innkeeper. He told the innkeeper that in his cellar resided a monstrous devil who fed on the dishonesty of the innkeeper. In order to banish the devil, the man must change his ways. When St. Patrick returned to the hostelry some time later, he found the owner generously filling the patrons' glasses to overflowing. He returned to the cellar with the innkeeper and found the devil emaciated from the landlord's generosity, and promptly banished the demon, proclaiming thereafter everyone should have a drop of the "hard stuff" on his feast day.

And, it's also an integral part of an old tradition called "drowning the shamrock."
On St. Patrick's Day, the shamrock that has been worn in the hat or lapel is removed and put into the last drink of the evening. A toast is proposed and then, when the toast has been honored, the shamrock is taken from the bottom of the glass and thrown over the left shoulder. Sláinte!

Guinness Beer Soap!!!

So this St Patrick's Day, while we might partake of dram or two, we've come up with cleaner way to celebrate the holiday - Guinness Beer Soap. I've made just one special batch of soap made with pure Guinness Beer, so when it's sold out, we'll be drowning the shamrock and shutting it down til next year.

This is a traditional unscented soap, but a bit of the hops and sweetness comes through, with just a mild scent of grain. It smells very lightly of the beer itself and is quite pleasant for menfolk, womenfolk, even wee folk.

The ingredients in beer make an excellent skin conditioning bar. The hops soothes irritation, the amino acids in the beer soften skin and the polyphenols are anti-bacterial too.

Safe for all ages! The soap-making process eliminates the alcohol content of the beer, so using this soap will not intoxicate you. It will not impair your ability to operate heavy machinery or motor vehicles. But as always, this soap product should not be consumed internally.

Price: $ 4.25 each or 4 bars for $16.00

Shake your shamrocks this St Paddy's Day! And start it off right with a quick suds-up in Guinness Beer soap.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up."

Just clearing out some old drafts on Blogger today - a distraction from doing what I really need to be doing right now and can't seem to get going on.

I found this quote that I had saved a while back - have no idea now where it came from or who said it though. During the rougher times when things seemed like they might all fall apart. And it kept me going. It inspired me just enough to keep at it, keep thinking, keep working.

This year (at least so far) it seems as if things have turned a corner. Personally and work wise. 2012 is a little brighter, a little happier, and the flow is back. Plus it's almost spring. Almost. The sun is working it's magic. Love love love the sunshine.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First Show of the Year 2012

Next week is the very first craft show for this year - Vasa Park's spring show.

I can't even believe it - my short couple of quiet months has flown by and it all begins again. Back to the packing and shlepping. It's a total mix of emotions. I'm excited and looking forward to seeing what this year brings and to show off the new spring scents. And I'm a bit sad that I have to pick up the pace and get back to the grind. And as usual, I'm also a little stressed and anxious because I did nothing early to prepare in advance, so I'm going to be pushing it hard this week to get it all ready, packed up and loaded over there.

Here are the show deets - hope you can swing on by:

March 15 - 17
Vasa Park Ballroom
3549 W Lk Samm Pkwy, Bellevue
Thurs & Fri, 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm

I'll have all my new spring scents there. The show will be filled with spring decor, garden stuff, Easter gifts and decorations - everything you need to get hoppin' for spring.

The following week is Best of the Northwest. It's going to be the last time at the hangar in Magnuson Park. I'll have more about that next week. And if you want to check out my full schedule, it's HERE. I'm updating it as soon as confirmations arrive, and more are coming in this month.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Today's inspiration

Playing with a new toy today - Flickr and mosaics. Click here to see the images in larger format, with source info.

I'm working on a new promotion for St Patrick's Day. I'll be sending it out to my email list, so don't forget to sign up here. And I'll post it here too.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

March on!

If you are on my email list, you know that I had a big deal going on yesterday. Since Leap Day is a bonus day, I gave away free stuff with orders placed yesterday.

Lots of orders came in - super cool! And you all got free soap dishes, or free mitts or soap sacks with your order. Nothing is happier than free.

I'm mentioning it here, because if you are not subscribed to my email list, you missed it. I'm going to do at least one of these "insider" deals each month this year. Free stuff, free shipping, no taxes - that kind of stuff. Discounts and special announcements. They won't always be posted on the blog.

So if you want to be in on the action, head on over to my sign up page and add yourself to my email list. But here's a gift just for you guys: if you switch over to email only, and opt out of getting the snail mail version of the newsletters, then I'll give you $5 off your next order.

You will still get the email version of all my seasonal newsletters. You won't miss a thing. But we'll save a few trees and stamps.

The auto-email confirmation you get from the sign-up process won't be able to tell who actually made the switch. So check your inbox for a special email from me with a discount code in it to get this $5 off deal. I've got it covered - I'll make sure you save the dough.