Today's paper has reported that it is unlikely that Mayfair Festival of the Arts will take place in '06. Why is it as soon as I'm accepted to a show and sell well, its cancelled? But seriously, this festival has been one of the only "fine art and craft" shows in the area that consistently has great quality vendors and that treats its vendors fairly well. Now I have to scramble and look for a show over Memorial Day weekend and hope to heck the application dates haven't past already. I bet this puts lots of the vendors in a tight situation, and I can't imagine the ones from out of town- they have no idea, I know this article isn't carried in any other paper. I'll have at least a week or two head start on looking for another show over the vendors from out of town before Mayfair sends out any official notification of the cancellation, if they ever do. Read the article here My post about the show in May


Week 51 Accomplishments

Monday: I began making samples for a company based out of Miami. I have to get them out to them prior to New Years and I am hoping that they like my presentation. Unlike what I usually do, these are in tropical shapes and will be made with fragrances they will provide me, rather than ones that I choose. It's been a long time since I had to write up any type of presentation, so I hope the soap speaks for itself better than I feel I'll be speaking for it.

Tuesday: My clutterful desk distracted me and I took 4+ long hours rearranging it and going through all the drawers, etc. I put up my 2006 calendars (yes, I use more than 1, actually 3 all together), and cleared off my tack board of all the extraneous information. After that excitement I started my Holiday early and was just lazy around the house the rest of the day.

Wednesday-Friday. C and I went to Atlantic City. We stayed in a really nice room at Bally's. It was a corner room, so the bathroom and the garden tub had a great view of the ocean. Unfortunately, overall we left with less than we came with, but brought home more than we could have. But we had fun, and had a few good meals, and got away from it all for a few days. I always enjoy Atlantic City around Christmas, because the casino is so empty you can hear a pin drop and there are no lines at the restaurants.

Saturday: We cleaned up the house a little to get ready for the big day. And then really we just relaxed as much as we could. C's dad went back into the hospital on Wednesday, but is doing much better again. The doc's are trying to get his medications all settled and get rid of his side effects. So C spent most of the day on the phone with family, while trying to get some last minute shopping done.

Sunday: Merry Christmas! I am so proud that I actually was ready for and enjoyed the holiday this year. Last year was so stressful I almost cried the entire week. This year a little early shopping with J, some proactive Internet ordering, and a last minute run to Target took care of the whole thing. I received some great clothes and shoes, an ant farm (I've always wanted one!), and a great frog sculpture by this artist we first saw out in California about a year and a half ago and some other great stocking stuffers. C got some clothes, a tie and tie tack, and a new watch, amongst some other things.


2005 Year End Recap

2005 Year-End Best Sellers
Soap Top 5: Rejuvenation, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Lavender, Wisdom, Love Potion
Bath Salts Top 3: Lavender, Rejuvenation, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Bath Fizzys Top 3: Rejuvenation, Love Potion, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Lotion Bars Top 3: Lavender, Bug Off!, Peppermint Foot Balm
Lip Balms Top 6: Strawberry, Cherry, Coconut Lemongrass, Cantaloupe, Chocolate Truffle, Watermelon

Show Sales:
Most Bars of Soap: Musikfest, Philly Folk Fest
Most Bath Salts: Musikfest, Chriskindlemarkt (week 1)
Most Bath Fizzys: Chriskindlemarkt (week 4), Herkimer Arts & Crafts
Most Lotion Bars: Musikfest, Philly Folk Fest
Most Lip Balms: Mayfair, Philly Folk Fest

Chriskindlemarkt: Weekend 4

It was a fun week that went pretty fast. B and I had our booths next to each other so we had plenty of time to chat and to just have fun. My sales were up quite a bit from last year- almost double actually. I made and exceeded my goal for the show so I am quite happy. The only down side of this weekend is the overwhelming logistical nightmare that the parking situation is on the last day. Its so crazy that it borders on plain dangerous. I actually left the van there overnight just so that I could have a decent parking space the next day and even at that C had to back me out of the parking spot because all the other cars were packed in so tight.

Best Sellers:
Soap: Lilac
Bath Salts: Wisdom and Love Potion (tie)
Fizzys: Black Cherry & Love Potion (tie)
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber
Lip Balm: Mango and Strawberry (tie)

Week 50 Accomplishments

Monday: Clean up at Main Line Art Center. By the time I got home I was so tired it wasn't funny. I ate dinner, watched TV, and went to sleep.

Tuesday: Decorated for Christmas. Put up the tree, wrapped most of the gifts. Cleaned the house enough for D & B to be able to come for a UWBW meeting without me being too embarrassed.

Wednesday: UWBW. D has started on the blog for that and I have a ton of ideas on things to write about. Once the New Year starts I'll be posting there once a week or so as well.

Thursday-Sunday: The last weekend of Chriskindlemarkt. Other than the show report C had been gone to be with his family and to try and get some work done. His dad was real sick and in the hospital, it turns out he had a pulmonary embolism. His dad will be in the hospital for a few more days as he gains his strength back, but it looks as if the worst is over. My dad got the chance to stop for the night on Sunday. We had an extra pair of hands helping us pack up and then we went out for an early "Christmas Dinner". C even got to open his present up early- an indoor RC helicopter. To say the least the cats are just amazed with this flying wonder!


Baby Boom

It seems like every few years everyone I know has a baby or is pregnant. This happened just before I moved from Orlando (about 4 or so years ago) and is happening again. I think its pretty cool actually. I like to shop for little shoes especially. But since there are so many babies running around it can get sort of confusing show is who. So for now the major players are "MC" and "MB" both darling little girls only born a few weeks apart.

Here are some new pictures of MC. The last ones I posted my step dad was in, so you can't miss them if you decide to go back and look for them.


Main Line Art Center- Fall

Sales were actually brisker than I had anticipated. Since one day of the five day show was lost (pretty much) because of snow I think that overall I did quite well. Lip balms seemed to be very popular and I have to remember to bring more samplers next year, since I sold out. The bath fizzys also almost sold out, I really think that the new packaging had a lot to do with that. I also sold out of Lavender and Peppermint bath salts, so I have to remember to bring more than just a couple of jars of each of those next year. There was another soap maker and I think that impacted my sales of actual bars of soap, but that is OK, I still sold quite a bit of those as well. This spring I lost my notes as to what I brought so I really didn't have any notes to go on from that show. I just had what I blogged, which was that I was low on stock and didn't have any samplers- so I made sure that I brought a few this show. In '06 as I get things made I am going to put away some things for the spring show (like samplers and bath salts…) so I know I have them in stock regardless of what my sales are in other areas.

Chriskindlemarkt Weekend 3

Show sales for me were borderline fantastic. I think that if the snow didn't fall on Friday, I would have had a spectacular week. Samplers were flying off the table and I can't even explain how warm and fuzzy I feel when someone comes over with the intention of giving a ½ dozen other people something that I made myself. It boggles my mind and I really take it personally. I really have the best customers. They are so warm and giving, sometimes even just stopping to say "hello" even though they made their purchases a few weekends ago.

One of the best experiences was a young woman who had won a gift basket that I had donated to a local library. She even had my lip balm in her pocket at that exact moment! Once she recognized me she made a purchase. But it was so cool that she recognized the product, and even had it on her.

As for the show itself: because Friday was such a wash out because of the snow, I had plenty of time to think about ways it could improve:
1) First, bravo for opening at Noon on Friday and saving us all a snow-driving nightmare. They even worked with a local hotel for a price break for people who would rather stay over than drive back and forth.
2) But I think that the show should start later every day. This year the show went from 5 days to 4 days, and opened an hour earlier. But honestly, I haven't yet had a sale in the first hour to anyone who isn't a crafter there already. I think that they should go back to opening at 11 am, and heck, I wouldn't be opposed to Noon on Thursday and Friday.
3) Add a light to the booths that the artists can flick on to let the volunteers know they want/need a break. Being in the back, it is impossible to get any attention. This would make the volunteers work harder, but if you made the break a maximum of 15 minutes, it should work well. I don't even bother getting a booth sitter anymore. I just put my chair in my entrance with a "be right back" sign and off I go.
4) They really need to look at how they set up artisans better. There is nothing worse than a long line of jewelers, or two people with a fragranced item next to each other. I have been noticing that a lot lately. And although people want the same spots from year to year, I think that the flow of the show is more important than getting the same spot. There are plenty of shows that I do where I never have the same spot two times in a row. I think if you pay extra for a corner, or a double booth (or both) you get to choose where you want to be based on seniority, and the rest of us just need to grow up and deal.

Best Sellers:
Soap: rejuvenation
Bath Salts: Lavender
Fizzys: Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Rejuvenation (tie)
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber
Lip Balm: Cantaloupe

Week 49 Accomlishments

Monday: I started out the day running down to the Pearl S. Buck House to pick up my soap and B's plates. Unfortunately, neither of us (or anyone else I spoke with) seemed to do very well in the sales department. Then I ran to the Mainline Art Center for check in. It was a mad house; I couldn't believe how many people checked in on Monday rather than Sunday. I also can't believe the gall of some people, being just "too tired" to bring in their own light boxes, and then expecting (no demanding) help. I think the holidays often bring out the worst in people. Some people give of themselves, and some people expect to be given to.

Tuesday: Back down to Main Line. The committee finished set up and then had a great opening night reception. Boy was I tired. Like always there is some great fine crafts there and I just wanted to spend much more than I could afford.

Wednesday: Homework: I worked on my math and I finished a paper for my Group Dynamics. I felt like I only did it half way but I guess the instructor didn't agree, I got all the points, except for the ones docked for being late. For me there is nothing worse than feeling like I gave 50% only to get 100% of the grade. It makes me feel like even the effort I gave it was a waste and that all the stress and angst just wasn't worth it.

Thursday-Sunday: Chriskindlemarkt


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… isn't it? I have to try and remind myself of this. I've taught soap making classes, just to have an ex-student a few booths down from me- trying to imitate me. Yesterday I had a wonderfully nice woman come by the booth and tell me that she is a soap maker too, only to admit "you're the one that gave me the idea to do it like this"…pointing to my lotion bars. As she picked out products to purchase I couldn't help wondering how many things I'd see on her table if I ever ran into her in the future. How many were "ideas" for her to copy.

Now I'm ok with "tweak". Even I have to start someplace, and it is usually a recipe from a friend or from an Internet site. Which I then make 20 variations of, and pick the best, and tweak it some more until I get it the way I want. It may end up like someone else's, but it really is more because of coincidence than a straight copy. Making 100's of something is fun, but it is the road to getting there, the R&D, that I love the most.

So every time this happens, I have to smile and blush, act all flattered, while inside I boil a little. Then I settle down and breathe, and recite "its flattering", "its flattering"….because I guess really it is.


Pearl S. Buck Boutique Recap:

Oh bummer, another boutique passed by, another boutique with slow sales (down over 75%), another boutique to decide if I should do it again next year. The one good thing is that this was the first year that I brought samplers and they all sold. I should bring many more next year and see if that increases sales considerably or not. Maybe people are looking for ready-made gifts, maybe not. Since I only bring soap to this show and sales were so down there isn't even any real front-runner in the sales department. At least my participation fee and sales commission goes to a good cause: the Pearl S. Buck House, that fact alone makes it worth while to try one more time before chucking the show into the scrap heap.

Week 48 Accomplishments

Week 48 Accomplishments

Monday: I ran a few errands in the morning, like to the Post Office and Bank, but then C and I left for Atlantic City. We stayed the night at the Borgata. It always makes me think of Vegas when I am there. I don't miss the place, but sometimes I miss the people, most of who aren't there any more either, so then I really guess I don't miss it much at all. We got there in the afternoon, had lunch and gambled some.

Tuesday: Still in Atlantic City, at least until the afternoon. I actually won a little money. Pretty cool. C lost a little, bummer. But we came out pretty even, so combined with a complementary hotel room; I think that's a good day of fun and relaxing. That afternoon once we got home I had to hit the books.

Wednesday: Lunch with D & B. It was interesting because we are changing our focus of our meetings to make them much more efficient. Of course with show schedules, B and I are just hanging on till the end of the year, so they'll be no big changes till January, but that's OK. I am trying to talk the ladies into working on a project with me. But I can't reveal until its decided it’s a go. But if we do it, it will be so cool! Once home- back to the books. I am so glad there are only a few weeks left to the session. I'm burned to a crisp.

Thursday-Sunday- Chriskindlemarkt.

Chriskindlemarkt Weekend 2

Well another weekend of Chriskindlemarkt has bit the dust. This weekend was only mildly more profitable than last weekend, and I had to sit there for one more day. Comparing the two head to head, I actually made 20% less (on average) per day this weekend, but it was having four days rather than three that brought the total higher at the end. In general it was boring. I have nice neighbors, but nothing like the loud, riotous ones that I had last year and the year before. I concentrated a lot on getting homework done, since I have a few finals coming up and more than a few papers due in the next weeks to come. It was only really, really cold one day, since they were having trouble with the heaters again. These heaters are a big pet peeve of mine. The ex-project manager in me gets all riled up. I would think there would be back up units on site, so there would be an easy switch out and the other unit could be fixed at leisure, but no. I think it has to do with the fact that the heaters are at least partially, if not fully, donated by a local company. And who wants to put extras out on stand by when they are not being paid for. If that is the case, I'm glad I don't do business with them; they are the reason I sit and shiver, for hours on end, at least a few times a year.

The only other thing that I though of (to add to my tirade last week about perks I wish we had as crafters at this show), is a change service. Its great that they have an ATM available on site, but Saturday I was down to my last 5 dollar bills before C showed up with more for me. And I bring a huge amount of change, much more than anyone else I know with my price point. It would be nice if they came around and exchanged 20's for 1's and 5's during the course of the day. It would be even better if they did quarters and such, but that's asking a lot, I know. It would be easy to implement. Send around one person with a clipboard. Have both people (the volunteer and the vendor) sign next to the amount the vendor wants change for. Then the vendor gives over the cash. Later when the change arrives, both sign for the amount received, showing it’s the same as the amount given. It works for other festivals I participate in, I would think it could work here as well.

Best Sellers:

Soap: Lilac
Fizzys: Lavender
Lotion Bars: Lavender
Lip Balms: Cantaloupe


Holiday Boutique- Brown School- recap

Holiday Boutique- Brown School- recap

Best Sellers:
Soap: Lavender, Pomegranate
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber
Lip Balm: Chocolate Truffle

Observations: My cousin's son attends this school and she attended this boutique for me because I was in PA and its in NY and I had a ton of other things to do. However, I think that she wanted to/ expected to do better, but the volume of sales personally pleasantly surprised me. The boutique itself is only for a few hours (like 4) on a Friday afternoon. It is set up so that when parents home to pick up their kids, they can come in and shop for a bit, and the kids can do a little shopping too. To put it into perspective, she sold only 1/3 less at this 4-hour show, than I did in 13 days at the Holiday Craft Boutique in Chalfont. It was also the first show that I had out a new product that I am working on: Lip Gloss. They sold quite well: as much lip-gloss as lip balm. It solidified that in the New Year I am going to make a final decision on what flavors I will be making and I will be adding them to my lineup of products for '06.

Holiday Craft Boutique- Chalfont- Recap

Holiday Craft Boutique- Chalfont- Recap

Best Sellers:
Soap: Wisdom
Lotion Bars: Lavender
Lip Balm: Raspberry Crème

Observations: I was using this year's shows (spring and fall) to decide if this venue was still working out for me. Based on sluggish sales I have decided that I'll take a break from this show. There are lots of reasons why my sales may be down, but I think that I have been at the show both spring and fall now for three plus years. People like new products, new crafters, and I think I have just outstayed my welcome. I wasn't at the show when it was open to the public so I can't comment on attendance, but that might also be a factor. I know of another crafter who had bad sales as well, so attendance may have been a factor. What I did sell a bunch of was lip balms. Well, I hope they sold and weren’t stolen because this was the first year my table was set up out of the main room, out of direct sight of the cash register. There is certainly a big possibility that what I expect my final sales tally to be and what it will end up being will be two different things…

Follow Up: This was the case. My expected check was to be almost $40 higher than I received. I need to try and straighten out the mistake, but I have a feeling that stuff just grew legs and walksed away. Right now I am not even sure if it is worth the effort to try and figure out what went wrong. Its so darn busy around here and all.


Weekend 1 Recap

Best Sellers:

Soap: Rejuvenation
Fizzys: Oatmeal, Milk & Honey and Lavender (tie)
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber
Lip Balms: Chai, Mango & Watermellon (tie)

Weekend 1- Chriskindlemarkt:

Sales were up from last year almost 10%
I met a cool new customer who is helping me to develop a new product for '06.
It was only really, really cold on the first day
Lots of new people signed up for my mailing list
Saw some old friends who I only get to see a few times a year
My idea of using organza bags so people can make their own gift bags is a hit
My neighbor crafters aren't annoying
I even got some schoolwork done
They lowered the price for next year by close to 10%

I have a different space than last year
They mailed me my name tag- it was squished- I already lost it
Empty booths- they are having trouble getting crafters
My neighbor across didn't open till 11:30- we were supposed to be there at 10.

There is an admission fee for this show and it is a catch-22 for the crafters (and the promoters too). If they continue to allow crafters to "set their own schedule" and not enforce the fact that the show opens at 10 and closes at 8 then invariably someone who pays an admission will feel as though they did not receive the full value for their money. They will see vacant spots, and closed booths and wonder why they bothered coming in the first place. This means next year they will either 1) not come at all or 2) come another weekend. Either way that means less people for the vendors who are there when they should be, lowering their sales, and eventually they get discouraged and come in when they feel like it, or stop doing the show this weekend all together. Starting the cycle again until no one comes- attendees or vendors.

Perks: Some little things would boost morale in a huge way and cost little to no money. I especially think that vendors who attend all four weekends and who have done so for years in a row should be given some things. This would encourage other vendors to do the same- and should increase the number of core vendors for the event year after year. 1) Give us a real nametag. Volunteers get this nice shiny, hard, nametag with their name on it (from one of those P-touch machines). We get flimsy, plastic, squished in the mail, name tags. 2) Each year volunteers get a pin with the year they volunteered on it. Vendors who do all four weekends should get them too. We should be encouraged to display them or wear them each year, showing our dedication to the show, year after year. 3) We should be pre-approved. What I mean is that we should be able to forgo the jury process for the next year and know that we have been selected and admitted for the next year. We should still pay the application fee and the space fee, but spare us the hassle of sending in slides again and again, year after year. 4) Priority spaces. People who attend the whole show and want a particular space should be given the priority of having it over people who are there only one or two weekends. And if this isn't feasible, at least let us choose where we want to be if we can't have the same space as the previous year.

Overall for all vendors I think we need a little place to call our own. This year there was an empty booth and they put in benches and closed it off so crafters have a quiet place to sit for a bit. But it needs a little more. I for one would like some hot water for tea or instant coffee. I'm not even asking for free tea bags or coffee, just the water to be able to make it. It burns me every time I want some tea and a food vendor charges me $1 for it, and all I want is the hot water- not the bag! I mean Friday morning it was 27 degrees out. The tent may be heated, but it is by no means hot and comfortable. And when a heater dies, its just plain cold in there!

Week 47 Accomplishments

The week was filled with me slowly getting sicker and sicker and then finally fighting it off, only to give it to C, who most likely will give it back to me in a mutated, more ornery form than it started.
Monday was spent fighting the ills. I tried my best to get things done and succeeded to a small degree. I finished the whole week of algebra homework I had to do, so I didn't have to think about it over the weekend at all.
Tuesday, J came and we worked. She made a ton (ok about 500) bath fizzys and I finished labeling product for the Main Line Arts Center show, as well as started to clean up my workspace some and get some orders shipped out. C came down and helped make 4 batches of basic soap, so those will be ready to go as soon as I have time to make soap again.
Wednesday: T came and wrapped the fizzys. I packed for my weekend craft show and she helped me out by ironing table covers and such.
Thursday was Thanksgiving. I just gotta say: I love the Honey Baked Ham Company- because they do Turkey too! And the fixings! So it was an easy Thursday. C packed the van in the evening and we slept a bunch and watched TV. So mellow!
Friday-Sunday- The first weekend of Chriskindlemarkt


Week 46 Accomplishments

Home from NY, Visited my cousin B for a few minutes. She is selling for me at a boutique at her son's school this Friday so I also had to drop off inventory. Stopped and visited with J and got a good portion of my Christmas shopping done. This is good because usually I am so stressed by Christmas that I am sick to my stomach with the dread of going shopping. The rest I will do on line or at Chriskindlemarkt. Once I got home I ran some errands- like going to the post office, but that was about it.

Tuesday: Made soap, ordered some needed supplies, paid bills, made an appointment for my car to be looked at, went to the bank and updated this blog. I also did a bunch of homework that I hadn't gotten done while I was away.

Wednesday: B came over to help me. She edged soaps while I made soap and got some orders ready. I also got inventory for a store ready to go. My contact was killing me so I had to take it out and fend one eyed all day. I could have put on my glasses byt they annoy me, I am always knocking them off, and they make me a little sea sick, so I am better off with only one contact in.

Thursday: B came over again, she finished edging the soaps and she wrapped all the bath fizzys. This gave me an accurate idea of what I need to make in the next week before all the chaos starts. When C came home we emptied the car of all the stuff from the last show, and when B's husband got out of work, we all went to dinner. I also got soap made- 4 batches of basic soap and a few batches of fragranced as well.

Friday: I started out bringing the truck in for a service that I thought would take 15 minutes and sat there for 2 hours. Glad I brought some homework to do. I still have to bring it back next week. My tailgate sometimes doesn't go down and they think there is something electrical going on with it. All I can say is that my dealerships service department has the same ability to communicate with me as a dead fish does. I am not sure how they keep their 5-star rating, because they are just awful! I got home, made more soap, and just generally tried to catch up on things to do.

Saturday: We had a bunch of general running around to do and I stated feeling ill. Sore throat and stuffy. We managed to have a little fun exploring a few places on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail. Most of the stuff isn't all that good, but we did find a few that we liked. The rest of the day I worked on homework- am trying to get ahead so it is easier during Chriskindlmarkt. I also have two big papers due in one class so I am trying to make sure I have plenty of time to write them.

Sunday: I stayed in bed most of the day just trying to get better, This sore throat could go both ways- either stop in a day, or lay me flat on my back. I don't have time for the latter so I took the day to lay around, do homework, and watch the last NASCAR race of the season. C will be so happy that he doesn't have to listen to vroom-vroom all Sunday afternoon for a few months. LOL!


HCCC- recep

Best Sellers:
Soap: Lavender
Fizzys: Love Potion

Nothing else stood out sales wise. Everything else was pertty even across the board.

Herkimer County Community College Art & Craft Fair

Well I won another blue ribbon this year for best soap booth. Part of me says its isn't much because there are only 3 or 4 of us in the show, but the other part of me gets excited, I am the outsider, I am the only one that comes from out of state, and I have only been there for two years (won blue both times!). So although a small accomplishment, it is still an accomplishment. Some day when I have my store I'll have my collection of ribbons framed and put up by the register.

The show itself went well. Saturday was very, very busy and I really thought I was going to have a record show, but Sunday tapered off more than last year, so it just ended up being average. Mom comes to the show with me and she loves the opportunity to help and I love having her there. I got a little annoyed at my roommates, as I think they took up much more room than what is allotted to us, and I get very cramped and antsy when that happens. That is one thing that I dislike about many indoor shows, they just don't give enough space to the vendors, and sometimes even the walkways are too narrow for the customers.

I sold a ton of bath fizzys- most to one person. She is going to put them in small bail or canning jars and give them as gifts. I thought that was a terrific idea and may expand on that myself in the next year. I sold out of my extra large bail jars full of fizzys, so I have to go pick up more of them as well.

But the show as a whole went well. Easy load in, easy load out, they bring lunch to your booth for you, and get lots of attendees (even though they charge an admission).

Week 45 Accomplishments

Monday: Errand and Miscellaneous day: blog, bank, bills, post office, mailing list, deliver to Holiday Craft Boutique

Tuesday: do homework, pack for trip, make 3 batches basic soap, print flyers for show, make soap for swap

Wednesday: pack truck for show, meet with B, clean the house a little, drive to J's, go to dinner and do some early Christmas shopping

Thursday: Meet with my grandmother and pick up some old trains of my dads, get a hair cut, pick up dinner for Mom & Rad

Friday: Go shopping with mom, cook dinner, go and set up craft show

Saturday & Sunday: Herkimer Craft Show


Almost 2000

Well according to the hit counter, I have had almost 2000 unique visitors. The blog started in January, and hit 1000 around mid-July, so another 1000 in only 4 months. Pretty cool!

So if you are a regular vsiitor who just doesn't leave comments, let me know who you are. Tell me what you like or dislike. You know so much about me, and I know so little about you, LOL!

Anyway, I have found this little corner of the World Wide Web to be quite cathartic. Sharing my littel rants and raves. I also like being able to look back at things and see how far I've really come this year. A baby business, growing by baby steps.


Week 44 Accomplishments

Monday: Made soap, got an order ready, made up my donation basket to Main Line Art Center, started to get fizzys wrapped.

Tuesday: Fizzys made, bath salts made (and all in the new containers with the new labels), made more soap

Wednesday: Main Line Art Center to put labels on postcards to send out about the fall craft show, delivered my order to Country Coop in Coopersburg, post office, finished labeling bath salts, J came with Little Miss M

Thursday: Ran errands with J: BJ's etc. wrapped more fizzys, generally hung out with the Little Miss

Friday: Packed for the show, laundry, drycleaner, picked up a prescription, switched cable companies and C needed to deal with the install, printed flyers, and wrapped fizzys

Saturday and Sunday: Apple Festival, Peddlers Village, Lahaska

Apple Festival Recap

Apple Festival Recap:

Well I lost my bet, due to the inclement weather a few weeks ago; my bet was it would be snowing this weekend. Instead I got 74 and sunny on Saturday, and overcast, and breezy, bit still pretty warm on Sunday. We got out before the rain came, lucky us.

Best Sellers:
Soap: Black Cherry Oatmeal (by a landslide)
Bath Fizzys: Rejuvenation
Lotion Bars: Lavender
Lip Balm: Strawberry

Apple Festival Day 2

Today was a little less uneventful than yesterday. I met a nice woman who works for a chemical company in NJ, they also import oils. It may end up being a good lead for some supplies. Her companion gave me some hints about having labels printed and commented on how nice the bath salt labels are. Score for the new labels! I also got a wholesale inquiry, need to send out samples now, the store is in NJ. It got really windy; the afternoon's entertainment included watching the booths near me hold their tents down, because no one had stakes, newbies….

Sales were brisker than expected. Usually Sunday is about ½ of Saturday and it was closer to 2/3 this year. It was a pleasant surprise. I had a brief conversation with one of the jury members about how even the stores have been hurting the last 3 years. Since I ended up almost exactly the same as last year, I'm OK with that. It's also good to know that the store managers are also trying to make the show better, because the stores really benefit (much more than the crafters) from these events. And its nice to know it's not just me in my little craft world feeling the brunt of this wartime economy. The stores at Peddler's Village are all pretty much artsy, eclectic boutiques, so I think it's just the nonessential artsy, crafty that is hurting.


Apple Festival Day 1

As usually this show is just plain uneventful. You go, you set up, you sell, and you go home. The foot traffic is primarily because of the busses of tourists that come in. This means that in the morning, you get locals who come before it gets busy, and in the afternoon you get the bus riders who didn't want to carry stuff around all day and buy just before they get on the bus to go home. It is great for me; my stuff is small and light. But I think people with larger items have trouble selling their stuff, because people can't put it on their lap, and have trouble fitting it in the bottom of the bus, or worry about it breaking, etc.

The bad thing is that for the past few years, sales are slowly declining. This year looks like it will turn out to be about the same as last year, but its still not as good as it was 3-4 years ago. I have to remember though, with so many other shows being down in sales, and hearing from some many other vendors that their sales are down, staying even is really just like going up. It's just hard to think that way sometimes.

C and I were discussing yesterday how the typical person reaches his/her earning prime in their late 40's to early 50's. That really gives me at least 10 more years before I reach my prime. Just with a small amount of growth each year, that puts me in a pretty good position in 10 years, and the last 3 years I've been doubling sales, so I think I'll be Ok in 10 years. It's just hard to think that far ahead. Heck my 5-year plan seems so far away…

I would think that many small businesses have the same problem. I want to grow and I want to grow, NOW, but I don't want to take out a huge loan to do it. I could, but then I'd be working for someone else, the bank. And I want to work for me, I want to be able to walk away if I want to or need to, without going bankrupt in the process. So instead, I grow slow, I save up, I plan, and I go stir crazy, watching others pass me by. I hate to say it, and then I watch some of them (not all) crash and burn, and then fall away, picking up the pieces. At least I know I won't be that falling star…


Visit from Little Miss M

J brought the baby over to visit. And I actually held her! I have this thing about babies when they are small and rubber like and tough to hold onto, but M is much stronger than her sister was at this age, so it wasn't too bad, I actually kinda liked it!


Week 43 Accomplishments

Monday and Tuesday were spent on vacation. The trip home on Tuesday was a bit longer than expected, the Nor'easter in the are delayed flights out of Philly to Allentown. The funny thing was, we could have drove home quicker, but we couldn't get our bags. If we cancelled our flight, they wouldn't send them on to Allentown, some 9/11 rule about bags having to match a ticketed customer. So if we cancelled out flight, we'd have to drive back to Philly the next day to get our bags. But, if we hung around for a few hours, and the last flight of the night was cancelled due to weather, we could find alternative transport and they'd send the bags on to Allentown in the morning. What a pain…. But we got home. M & B picked us up from the airport and even had a big welcome home sign waiting for us! It was really cool, first time that ever happened for me.

Wednesday: I met with the ladies at the UWBW for lunch. I got to show off my pictures of paradise and my tan lines (I actually have tan lines!). My thing to do for the next two weeks is to work on a press release… After I got home from the meeting I spent the day catcing up on orders, reading my mail, and answering e-mail.

Thursday: Errand catch up day: Post Office, Bank, Groceries, Target (had to get Halloween candy to give out), updated the blog and went to dinner with B & M at this great seafood place in Emmaus. Good stuff! Somehow, even though it was sort of their anniversary dinner, they paid. Something about the fact that we paid the last time… always disturbing to me to figure out who owes who…

Friday: Made C an eye doctors appointment for Monday. He keeps getting a dry redish spot in his eye. It’s the third time now, time to see a doctor. Show applications: can you believe that I am sending out applications for shows that take place next year already. I swear it gets earlier and earlier each year. I send out pre apps for shows in October, and full apps for February and April. And I have more to do. I need to start and try to find shows for weekends I'm free next year. This year was slow- only about 22 shows; I need about 10 more for next year if I can find stuff that's worth it.

Saturday: I was supposed to be at the VFMOTTC craft show, but on Friday evening I was really feeling under the weather. Really stuffed up, and scratchy throat. Not good signs. I was worse off on Saturday, so I didn't attend the show. I hate skipping out on shows like that. They are not only fun, but it is for a small organization to raise money and I like being apart of that. I also find that customers at shows like this are very loyal, which makes them great return customers. Instead I caught up on my homework. Fate was smiling on me, and the instructor had canceled the big paper I thought I needed to do. Whoo Hoo! C Vacuumed and did laundry, so the house is finally feeling normal again…

Sunday: We made plates. C and I went over and helped B make plates. She was really behind so we came over and learned and did. Wow, that is a tough process and extremely labor intensive. She needs a new craft…I washed, glued, painted, and edged, while C edged, sealed, and cleaned some others. Her husband M was there as well, so she had a little production facility going all day. In return she is going to come over in a few weeks and give me a day of labor in my shop.


Week 42 Accomplishments

Just 10 weeks left to the year, can you belive it! This week I did nothing but vacation. Ah, I did a little homework, but nothing was on time, LOL!

Vacation Day 6 Through Day 11 in a nutshell

Day 6:
Another day aboard ship. Once again filled with bingo, art auctions, some time by the pool, and lots of food. I won again at bingo, twice, and a little at the casino. I'm winning just enough to cover what I've lost, not too bad…

Day 7:
St. Martin. They forgot to tell us that the Dutch side was observing a national holiday, so barely anything was open. We went to the French side and explored an open-air market, had some great pastries, and generally just walked around. It got gray out and started to downpour just as we were getting ready to go back to the ship, so after the taxi dropped us off we got a little wet getting back to the ship.

Day 8:
St. Thomas. We went snorkeling in the morning. I got to see some really cool fish pretty up close, including a stingray, and some parrotfishes. The water was pretty choppy and I swallowed a little too much seawater, so I was feeling a little green on the way back. It rained on the way out in the boat and on the way back as well, but we had clear snorkeling which was cool.

Day 9:
Return home: The ship got in and luckily we were some of the first people off. They call by number so it was just luck we got off when we did. C's sister lives in Miami and had changed her flight the day before to an earlier one so she could get home before Wilma came to visit. Good thing to, they cancelled the flight she was on, she would have been stuck in PR for a few days till the airport reopened. She made it through just fine, just had no power and a 14th floor apartment, I think that's bad enough!

Day 10:
Relaxation. C went into the office and I just relaxed in the hotel room. I caught up on some sleep, watched a movie, and worked on class homework. Later we went to dinner over at his mom's and got to spend some more family time.

Day 11:
Home. Our flight left in the afternoon, and the connecting flight was cancelled so we had to take a later one. It was only about 12 hours from destination to destination. Blech…


Some Pictures

Some Aruba Humor

The Ships's Promenade

Aruba from the docked ship

Vacation Day 4 & 5

Day 4: Aruba
On the whole I was a little disappointed in Aruba. If you just want to lay on the beach this is the perfect place to go. I love the beach but I hate the sand. I also turn lobster red after only about an hour, so by the time I get there and get comfortable its time to go home. The shopping on this island is the thing to do. But I'm not really into that either, and we learned that the prices are better on other islands, so this was much more just a window shopping experience. We went on a tour, but the tour guide had a lot to be desired so we really didn't learn as much as we would have liked.
The ship didn't leave until after midnight, so we explored a little and had lunch at a place called Iguana Joe's. It was good food, but nothing special and not as "local food" as I would have liked. We were going to go to this local place for dinner, but we were so full from lunch we ended up back on the ship for a late dinner instead.

Day 5: Curacao
C's sister and I started the day at the spa. I had a 25 minute massage and a Ginger and Lime Sugar Scrub. It was nice to be pampered and I love seeing the products they use and the ingredients they have so I can go home and try and make it for myself and make it better.
We then went on a tour of the island. It is a very small but interesting place. The downtown still has its Dutch influence and is very pretty. After the tour we started walking around the shopping district. It is just a really cute island.

Vacation Day 2 & 3

Day 2
First Day on the ship
We awoke in the morning to a huge list of things to finish before being able to embark on our journey. After finishing packing and repacking we checked out of the hotel and went to see C's parents and pick up his sister. From there we returned the rental car to the airport and then went to a gathering of family and friends. When C was very young his oldest sister had a few very close friends, over the years one passed on and another was lost touch with. When she regained contact she was destroyed to find out her best friend growing up is loosing a battle with Cancer. Her friend just returned to the island this week to see all of her old pals. One get together was on Sunday and L wanted to be able to introduce and "show off" the entire family. It was important that time was made to stay and visit before going on the cruise.

It took us a while to get onboard, but once we did we were greeted with a large room with porthole windows that over look the bow of the boat. We quickly started exploring and grabbed some much needed lunch. There is ice skating, roller blading, mini-golf, rock climbing and a grand promenade of shops and bars. The ship is amazing and huge.

Dinner was casual since we didn't all have our luggage yet. But it was very good. Our head waiter, Oliver, is excellent. But our assistant waiter is a little obnoxious. It just reminds me of someone who is trying to hard to be "American", or like Americans. He is just a little over the top. He also tends to end his sentences quieter than he started them, so it gets harder and harder to understand him as the conversation progresses.

After dinner we just explored the ship. There are a few clubs, a casino, and a Johnny Rockets amongst a bunch of different bars and places to stop and eat.

Day 3: A Day at Sea
Every other ship I have been on I have been bored to death on sea days, but not this one. C's sister and I went to play bingo, and between the two of us we won three games! We also went to the onboard art auction. This is one of my favorite things to do and we have quite a few artworks at the house that we have bought this way. It was good to find out that one of our favorite artist's works have appreciated over the past few years; we can barely afford him now. Luckily we won a raffle, so we can still bring home one of his newest works! C's sister bought some stuff for her new apartment too, so it was a fun time.

Dinner was formal, so it was time to get dressed up and get our pictures taken; we got a great picture of the three of us. We need to get some copies so we can give them out to C's mom and family.

After dinner we went to see the show. I have to admit I have been disappointed by the caliber of shows on board. But the nice thing is there are many other things to do, so we don't just sit there bored. Since its Monday I went to the onboard cyber café and posted some homework. I wanted to blog but the darn thing was so expensive (and slow on top of it!) I decided to wait till the end of the cruise.


Vacation Day 1

3:00 am- get up,feed the cats, get dresed, take out the garbage

4:00 am- "B" comes and picks me up to bring me to the airport. I still can't believe that she volunteered to do this. Man its early. And I'm so excited I just rattle on and on, it must have been annoying...

4:30 am- arrive at the airport. Not even the people who work the check in counters are there yet. I'm told they'll show around 5am. I turn on my I-pod and start listening to "The Wish List" by Eoin Coffer. It is one of those kids books that also works well for adults and is all about a kid who gets killed and sent back to help an old man complete his wish list before he dies so she can get into heaven. Needless to say, Satan would really like her as a resident of hell and sends another demon to try and stop her from doing good.

5:00 am- check in, surrender my bags, and go find my gate. I pick up a really bad crossiant for breakfast and can only eat half...back to the book..

6:00 am-on the plane for boarding. the first leg of the flight is so short I don't even get the chance to turn on any electronic devices, so I just read the magazine they have. Interestingly enough there is a long article about Lancaster PA. I'll have to bring home a copy of the mag on my way home.

7:00 am- in philly for my connection. Take the bus to the A gate. Scrambled eggs and some hash browns for breakfast, and back to my book....

9:00 am- on the plane again. we are delyed due to some last minute luggage, so I take this time to finish my book, and then start "Skinny Dip' by Carl Haiseen. Interesting enough it is about a woman who's husband flips her overboard on a cruise ship in the effort to kill her. Out of all the books I could have chosen, I choose one about murder on board...

1:30 pm- Finally there! C comes to pick me up with two of his sisters, M & C. C is coming on the crusie with us. We go back to the hotel, freshen up, and then pick up his niece C and go to lunch where his last suster L and one of his other nieces meet us. It have this great meal called crab bisque, but its made with land crab, not sea crab, which tastes completely different. It also isn't like any bisque I've ever had- no cream in it- not even a soup per say. It reminds me of a Manhattan Clam where they've taken out all the broth, and added 10x the normal amount of clam. It comes with rice and plaintain fritters... yum.....

5:30 pm- back to the hotel, time to do homework and take a nap

8:30- go and visit mom and dad. C and L come back from shopping and its just some really nice family time. even with the language barrier, just the looks on their faces, and tone of their voice is filled with love for one another. that trancends language.

10:00 pm- back to the hotel, and I find the last of the NASCAR race on and sit and watch it until I fall asleep.


Another Baby "M"

Naming your baby starting with the letter "M" must be popular this year, especially for girls, I've had two in a row! This is my niece "M", my step-sister "J" and her husband "M" are the proud parents of this beautiful little one. The dude in the picture is my step-dad, better known as "Rad"..


Week 41 Accomplishments

Amazing I got anything done with my mind planted firmly on vacation. I promise I'll take lots of pictures and share :)

Monday: Dentist appointment (no cavities!), Post office, bank; buy sneakers for the cruise, pay bills, blog, and I tried making whipped soap. It was a lame first attempt, but it came out better than I thought it would and gave me a really good idea for what to do for my upcoming soap swap.

Tuesday: Made rejuvenation soap, labeled soap and products to bringto stores and to boutique shows this fall, did some homework

Wednesday: horrible migraine, made one batch of Coconut soap before I caved in and gave up and went to bed

Thursday: Went and dropped off inventory at DCCA, picked up oils to make soap from, and stopped at CDM, this interesting wholesale store. They have some cool baskets and containers I think I will be using in the future for gift baskets.

Friday: Printed my boarding passes, ironed, did laundry and more homework. Finished packing for the cruise and stuff.

Sat-Tuesday: VA-CA-TI-ON… Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, and St. Martin here I come…


Week 40 Accomplishments

Monday: Made Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Soap. Went to Home Depot and bought a big Rubbermaid storage shed for the car port. It holds all my tables and displays perfectly (including the tent!) so now we don't have to carry everything up and down stairs and take up room in the basement either. Everything else was typical post show stuff- run credit cards, do inventory, catch up on this blog, etc.

Tuesday: Grocery store, post office, bank. Then I worked on the web site and got it all updated to reflect the October Free Shipping Sale, and got the Fragrance of the Month Survey working and posted to the blog and the web site. Finished my newsletter (hard copy) as well. I did lots of overdue home work, and finally got the new TiVo programmed with this years line up.

Wednesday: Milled soap and made more Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey. Also made Raspberry Fizzys and Rejuvenation Bath Salts. Finished getting all the names and addresses into my mailing list, and did more homework.

Thursday: Paid my sales tax (since it is due while I am on the cruise and I'd hate to pay the penalty if its late), answered the pile of e-mails that I hadn't gotten done, made Rejuvenation Soap, emptied out all of my containers from my last show and got all my inventory put away where it belongs, made more bath salts, fizzys, and got my newsletter in the mail *whoo hoo!*

Friday: Cleaned the house, did launder, and more homework (I can't wait till I am doesn't with these classes!)

Saturday: Finished the laundry. Learned that the basement leaks when it rains over 8 inches in 24 hours. The leak reminds me of those fountains with the little boys peeing...comes out of the wall just like that. Went to Home Depot to find something to stop the leak, bought groceries for the week, chatted online with some of my soapie friends, and started to pack for the cruise

Sunday: More packing, run to Target to get important things like stockings and a garment bag, come home but a bunch of other stuff. Watched the MASCAR race (go #6!) and cooked beef stew for dinner. I really hate packing. I hate having to decide so far ahead of time what I am going to wear. I hate having to plan for just about any weather, and I hate the process of folding, and getting it to fit into luggage. Why is it that the week before a vacation is always so darn stressful?


Little Baby "M"

I FINALLY got some pictures of my new "niece". The first one was when she was about 10 minutes old, the second is with her big sister "K". K has been a great big sister so far, helping mum as best she can. I get to see the little one in about three more weeks. I can't wait!


No Such Thing As Blind Faith

In another conversation about something totally different, a friend of mine said, "Faith is like a muscle, it has to be used in order to become stronger. Faith is not a blind hopefulness; faith is a strong leaning on or dependence on." This just rang my bell.

I have been contemplating the meaning of faith a lot lately, but faith outside of a religious context. You see its been banging around my head the last 6 months or so that with C working and traveling and being gone so much, the experience had to be part of my life for a reason. To be cliché, everything happens for a reason, and that which does not kill you only makes you stronger. His being away has been very hard, it has brought up things in me that I have had to deal with: like fear of abandonment, fear of loss, and my perception of faith. I had been thinking that the last two years has taught me faith, and I realized today that it didn't teach me faith, but it has caused me to exercise it and make it strong.

Until a few years ago I had very little faith in most people, probably because I never gave myself a reason to practice it. If I had a problem, I left, I ran, and I blamed it on people in general, that people shouldn't be trusted, that it was a bad thing to put your faith in someone. But these last few years have been different. It has been hard, and I have been tested. But my faith remains. My faith is stronger. It is a good thing. I see that I have grown a faith in others, and a faith in myself that I have never had before. It is empowering.


Bedford Fall Foliage Festival

This show requests that you set up on Friday and gives you a specific time that you can drive into the festival to set up. The area that we are in though, is not on the main road, so we were able to come in and set up a few minutes early, thus avoiding the rush and getting unpacked very quickly. One drawback is the fact that the booth is on pavement. It always makes the tie down difficult and usually we can drill into the topcoat, but not this time. Luckily the air couldn't get any stiller and it remained so all weekend. The drive was about an hour longer than we had expected due to construction, but besides that it was simple to find and simple to find our spot and hotel. We had done a show in Bedford last year so we have a working knowledge of the town and how it is set up so it was easy to get around once we were there.

The portion of the show that we are in is down by the river, there is one huge hill to go down/up to get there but it is a nice area and (maybe for the better) has fewer crowds. The hill is so steep it keeps the least interested shoppers from coming into the area, keeps the crowds down, and I think, keeps the sales down. The main street is packed with people, so packed that some crafters claim that the shoppers can't stop at their booths and look, but I think that I would have had better sales with more traffic. My booth is set up so people can actually come in the booth and get out of traffic, there are many booths that don't have that option and are hindered by large crowds.

Sales were mediocre at best. If this was a local show I would come back for sure next year, but it is a long drive and two nights hotel as well. I also have to look for a less expensive hotel for next year. C suggested a bed and breakfast so we could make the show a little more of a vacation as well. Since the days are pretty short and we have to go out on Friday anyway, I think that is a good idea. But this is one that I have to look at for 2006. It may be better next year, it does deserve a second chance, but if there is something closer that I am sure will be better, I may just do that instead.

Decisions Decisions...

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Week 39 Accomplishments

Monday: I drove home from the Eagle Mills show. In the morning I stopped to see my cousin for a little bit, and then went on my way. I always love seeing Beth. I have a sort of fractured family and I really like the idea that staying in touch may heal that rupture in a generation or two. Keeping in touch keeps me in touch with her son, A, and I love watching him grow into a little man. I then drove to this little out of the way place in Stamford, NY to pick up some supplies for B. It was a beautiful drive and I wish it wasn't raining on and off. Like so many places on my trip, I really just hate being without cell phone service, in the middle of nowhere, where I've never been before. I got home and rested from the long drive and just tried to catch up on e-mail and the like.

Tuesday: The UWBW meeting. The ladies looked at my new, soon to be released newsletter, and gave me some great ideas.

Wednesday: I made a special order of bergamot soap. That is a really nice fragrance. Its much more lemony than I thought it would be. It's also a little different recipe than I usually make, but the bars look and smell great. Maybe I'll make it as a fragrance of the month next year…

Thursday: I had a doctor's appointment. I have been feeling a little under the weather for oh, about the last six months, but I tend to avoid doctors at all cost. According to her it was a simple side effect of a medication I was on, so she switched my prescription to something new. I have to see how that goes for a month or so and keep her posted.

Friday: Packed the truck and drove to Bedford for the Fall Foliage Festival. The three-hour drive took four because of construction, but besides that it was uneventful.

Saturday: Bedford Fall Foliage Festival

Sunday: Bedford Fall Foliage Festival


Bedford Fall Foliage Festival Recap

Well, I'm not sure if it was worth the 3+ hour drive, the two nights in a hotel, and the cost of gas & tolls. I wish the show was closer...

Best Sellers:
Soap: Rejuvenation & Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Bath Salts: Love Potion
Bath Fizzys: Love Potion & Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber & Patchouli & Unscented
Lip Balm: Raspberry Cream


Eagle Mills- Day 2- Weekend 2

I was thinking how I had never posted about the last day of Eagle Mills. I think it is funny how sometimes things need to bang around in my head for a few days, while other times I have a witty rhetoric right away. This has been a little combination of the two.

The day itself was a waste. The sales just weren’t there. The rain was on and off. Mostly off, but always looming. It was cold and uncomfortable; the kind of cold that just sort of eats through you and lingers no matter what. I tried hot chocolate, I tried hot cider, I tried soup, the four layers of clothes on didn't help much either. It is worse when you are bored because you aren't moving around as much and the cold just sinks in. Overall I made as much as I needed to equal last year, and in the economy today, that in itself is a miracle.

But the highlight of the day was D and B stopping by to visit. In high school if you asked me if I was friends with them I would have answered yes, but looking back on it as an adult we were much more just acquaintances. We knew many of the same people, we ended up at many of the same events, we just never shared deep dark secrets or our life's ambitions, two things that as an adult, help me define my true friends. I digress….

B had been by the booth the day before and bought some stuff, went home and recognized me, and then came by the next day with D. It was really cool to have someone come by and chat and catch up. But the best was that it wasn't a "me versus you" chat, you know, the kind where the person talking only talks about themselves and is trying to show you how much better they are than you. It was just a nice conversation about what they had been up to, how their lives had changed, and a quick update on some of the people we both knew in school. I found myself telling them that we need to stay in touch and maybe get together for dinner when I come though again- and I actually meant it! After spending so much of the show feeling like an outsider, it was so nice to feel a little on the inside, a little missed.


Eagle Mills Recap

Once again Rejuvenation is the hands down best seller. I have sold 50% more of this fragrance than any other this year so far. As of today it looks as if Just Plain Raspberry will be discontinued at the end of the year, to be replaced by Gardenia. But you never know, things may change...

Best Sellers:
Soap: Rejuvenation
Bath Salts: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey and Plumeria tied
Fizzys: Rejuvenation
Lotion Bars: Peppermint Foot Balm
Lip Balm: Wild Cherry

Week 38 Accomplishments

Monday: Spent the day with mom. In the morning we started making up some samplers using the crates that Rad makes for me. Then we went and ran some errands, grabbed lunch and came home to rest and relax (i.e. nap) and then made dinner. I started knitting this monster sweater I want to make. Its gonna take me years to finish!

Tuesday: I brought mom to the Roosevelt Spa at the Gideon Putman Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY for a morning of bliss. The mineral bath and the massage was the coolest and very relaxing. We then spent the afternoon grabbing some lunch and shopping.

Wednesday: Much like Monday, finished all the samplers we could make given the amount of supplies I brought with me. Cooked dinner for the third time. I didn't think I was going to be allowed to go home now that I've proved I can actually cook.

Thursday: We went to the mall looking for a bathing suit (I need one for the cruise) but couldn't find one. Rad brought us out to celebrate Moms birthday to a really great local Italian restaurant that I can't remember the name of now. But they know the owners from church. It was a great meal.

Friday: We just relaxed after running to the craft store and buying some fabric for my booth tables and some yarn and knitting supplies. Dinner was at Ruby Tuesdays and we all agreed that after the gourmet of the ret of the week, it felt really "fast food", funny how that happens. I made Chili for them to eat next week while I'm gone, LOL!

Saturday: Eagle Mills

Sunday: Eagle Mills


Eagle Mills- Day 1- Weekend 2

It was a beautiful fall day, the air was crisp, the people were out and the money was flowing. It was the most profitable day so far and I was suprised at how many people came by to purchase that told me that they came back specifically to get soap from me. I was blushing all day. Many also brought their friends and family to the booth. I am always most happy when not only does someone like my products, but that they like them enough to share with their closest friends and family.

Besides that the day was uneventful, other than hearing from J about the baby!!! And what a great event that is!!

A New Baby

My best friend J and her husband J are the pround parents of a healthy and beautiful baby girl, M. She was born at 4:59 on Saturday September 24 and weighs an even 7 lbs. At 19 1/2 inches long, she is sure to become a tall and beautiful (and intelligent) woman. Just want they need, another reason to stand on the front portch with a shot gun in the future, LOL!. Good thing they are both military, they can use those M-16's. Glad I don't have a son who will be trying to date M, or her big sister K. Blessings to your family J, I am so proud to be an "Aunt" again!


Week 37 Accomplishments

Monday: Return from Atlantic City. Clean up the house some, especially the kitchen.

Tuesday: MLAC Jury. Grocery Store. Make my list of the things I need to do before I leave.

Wednesday: Honeysuckle soap. Pack for the show. Take care of things, like putting the mail on hold, etc.

Thursday: Jasmine soap. I fell and hurt my arm a little, I slipped and fell and jammed it up some, but nothing major. I went and picked up dad, his first long run brought him to NJ and he had time to stop for the night. We had dinner, we picked C up from the airport and went home. Dad then flooded the basement some when he started doing some laundry. Cleaned that up and went to sleep.

Friday: brought dad back to his truck, packed up for the show and left for NY. Go there and set up for the show and visited with mom and Rad.

Saturday and Sunday: Eagle Mills Craft Show.

Eagle Mills- Day 2- Weekend 1

The weather today was much better than on Saturday. Many more people came out to enjoy the festival. Overall, sales were comparable with Saturday even though there were many more people.

I think like many people, my school experience was overall, less than memorable. I keep in touch with very few people, and those I do keep in touch with tend to be people I went to school with, but not in the same graduating class, or in the same graduating class year, but not from the same school system. Now I recognize lots of people, even if I can barely remember their names. This show being so close to where I grew up, I really recognize a decent amount of people. Some come in and buy, some just walk by, some stop in and say hello. I always wonder thought, if the ones that walk by recognize me at all. I think it is funny how all the insecurities one has during school can rear their ugly heads just by being back in the same geographic location as where one grew up. I find myself wondering if I've changed so much that most people don't recognize me, or if I'm just not worth saying hello to, or what. I really find it funny that I care. I mean, I haven't seen or heard from 99% of these people in 13+ years, but when they just walk by me I feel less, just like I did in school.

So the weekends are not only full of doing the show, but they are full of introspection. I wonder what I want to happen? Do I want to show how much better off I am then them? Do I just want to feel a little included? Do I want to feel like they missed me? Or is it just because since I miss C and my friends back home so much I am blue and every little thing makes me a little bluer? And why don't I run into the isle yelling their name, trying to catch up on lost time? That one I can answer... because for most, I just don't care. And I guess that answers my question, they just don't care either. I'm OK with that. Really.


Eagle Mills- Day 1- Weekend 1

The day started out rainy and grey. Mom came with me and we set up and then spent some time worrying about the weather. By the end of the day I felt like I did pretty well. It is always a goal for me to make my booth fee back the first day of a multi day show, and I made what I wanted to make. Yeah for me!

This show is one of my favorites. First, its cool because its right up the road from where I grew up, so I get to visit my mom and stay with her and my step-dad (who I nicknamed Rad, as a kid.) It also falls on the weekends that bookend her birthday, so I get to spend her birthday with her. This year we're gonna have a little spa time:) It also is at an apple cider mill. They make their own cider with one of the oldest presses still around. It is still the best tasting apple cider I've ever had. They also make some wicked good cider doughnuts and apple turnovers, and other baked goods.

This is also one of those shows that takes good care of their crafters. They have runners that take orders for food and drink all day, so you never have to leave your booth. Often the food vendors give the crafters a discount when ordered through the runners too. I think I have the best runner in the place. "A" runs around like a mad woman all day, checking at least once an hour. Last year I gave her a big bag of product as a tip at the end of the show. The first thing out of her (besides "hello") this year was how much she likes my products. It was nice to hear that. I thought that if I had given her a cash tip she would have appreciated that too, but I don't think I would have gotten additional thanks and adoration this year for it. It was a great way to start the day.

In general, although I would have liked sales to be brisker, I was happy that so many people came back to buy again and mentioned to me how they were return customers. I got to see some family and some old friends. Besides selling soap, the day really reminded me how happy I am to be me: who I am, where I am. No regrets.


MLAC- Jury Fall Fine Craft Show

I love going to jury for the fine craft shows at the Main Line Art Center. I really learn so much every time I am down there, it's truly amazing. The artists on the committee are a diverse bunch of people, who not only excel in their art medium of choice, but also really have a great overall working knowledge of many techniques. Just being on the committee for the three shows now that I have been a part of has changed how I view art and fine crafts overall.

One thing that I know I really have to take a look at is my slides and how I present my soaps to jury committees. There was another soap maker who applied to the show this time and her (I assume it’s a her) slides were amazing. I really have to take a few days this winter and set up great ways to show my soaps and products in a more interesting way than I do now. I think I am going to look into how much hiring a photographer would cost. I really need someone who specializes in print ads or that sort of marketing type materials, not a person who takes wedding portraits. I really think just trying to find the right one will take some time.


Week 36 Accomplishments

Monday: Last day of the Allentown Fair (for some reason this seems like ages away now, the rest of the week was so busy. I actually had to check my calendar to see if my notes were right).

Tuesday: Unload the truck, run the regular errands, make Honeysuckle soap, lots and lots of paperwork to catch up on.

Wednesday: Lunch at the UWBW. We defiantly were not in the mood to work and seriously skirted our responsibilities. I lost my notebook. It had a check in it. I can't believe I lost a notebook with a check in it. I am at a complete loss as to where it could be. I remember putting it "someplace safe", well it's so safe I can't find it!

Tuesday and Friday: I was lazy, but did a lot too. I worked on my newsletter and my mailing list. I found a great service that will take care of all that permission-marketing headache and legalities. I just upload to them the addresses and the newsletter and they take care of the database maintenance and security for a small monthly fee. I also got a ton of phone calls made and things just generally straightened out. I can finally find my desk.

Saturday: ran errands with C: Best Buy, Radio Shack. I also made the first real meal I've cooked in over a month (ok more like 3 months). It was a great beef stew and I've forgotten how good it is to smell the crock-pot cooking all day. I really can't wait until January so I can have a real life, a few months without shows, and a few months without C traveling (I can wish, can't I?).

Sunday: C and I went to Atlantic City with B & M. It is always so fun and relaxing there. It would have been nicer if the slots were a little looser though. But that would always be nicer, wouldn't it?


Vacation Destination

So barring any hurricanes, we've booked our vacation cruise for October. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to set sail. One thing that I love about taking a cruise is that after the initial decision of exactly which cruise to take, the rest is out of your hands. There are very few decisions to be made: the big ones, where you are going and when you are getting there and when you are leaving, are all made for you. Its fun just planning the minutia: what to wear, what to eat, when to take a nap, all those big important things…

So the ship is the Adventure of the Seas, it’s a Royal Caribbean ship. Destinations include Aruba, Curacao, St. Maartin, and St. Thomas. Its also pretty cool because we got a family suite, which is really two bedrooms, connected by a living room, and C's sister will be joining us for the cruise. I really like his sister, she's the type of person I'd be a friend with, even if she wasn't C's sister, so I think we'll have a lot of fun. The ship sails from Puerto Rico, so I'm sure we'll take a day or two before to visit the rest of the family as well.

I think that being in Aruba will be fun. It's the only port that the ship will be spending the night in, so I hope to get the chance to really explore and find some great local food. All the other ports we leave before dinner, so I'll only have the opportunity to find a nice lunch spot in those. I really enjoy exploring other places through their food, and since I am a huge seafood lover, being on an island tends to be one of my most favorite places to find good food.


A Smile Today

Ok I love doing things with my name. I guess its because growing up I could never find pencils and stickers with my name on them like the other kids could.

This one just made me smile


Allentown Fair Recap

This is the first show of the season that I can think of that had been bad enough to be able to make a definite decision not to participate in next years event. Its really too bad too because I heard so many nice things about it in the past. Really it is just too long and expensive for me to justify taking another chance on it. There are dozens of other shows that I can take a stab at next year instead.

Best Sellers:

Soap: Rejuvenation
Fizzys: Tie: Rejuvenation and Black Cherry
Lotion Bars: Tie: Peppermint Foot Balm and Unscented
Lip Balms: Wild Cherry

Allentown Fair- Day 7

Well the last day wasn't any better than any of the others. I just don't understand. You'd think that with gas prices soaring, people would want to save money and do something that is close to home. Guess not. I don't think our gasoline prices will ever go down all that much because we as Americans have proved that we really don't care how much gas costs, we're still going to drive all we want. But I may be wrong, time will tell.

Load out last night was a joke. It was such a confusing mess that even B cussed about it, and B never cusses. First we were told that the building closes at 10 pm, and that we could start breaking down then, with security allowing us to drive our cars onto property starting around 11 pm. Instead, about 8 pm, a security guard told us that we had to be out of the building completely by 10 pm, or we'd have to come back at 8 am to finish breaking down. The kicker was that we still weren’t to move our cars until 11 pm. What? So in essence they wanted us to vacate the building and then sit with our things outside for an hour or more until we could move the cars in. What a joke. M moved B's truck from designated on site parking over to the side of the building against security's protests and C went as far as parking the van in the middle of the entrance gate until he got a supervisor over to actually make a decision about how he was supposed to get loaded out without a vehicle. But we were out by 10, and actually home by 10ish as well.

Everything fits really well inside of the new van and we have plenty of room left over. Its going to take a few times to figure out exactly how to put everything in with the best use of space, but I'm sure it won't take too long to figure out. It was nice to be able to pack it totally haphazardly and still everything fit. Once we get the right pattern down I think there will be plenty of room to spare. It even rode nice fully loaded, it didn't feel slower or off balance in any way. I'm so glad I have the new van!


Week 35 Accomplishments

Monday: Set up for the Allentown fair, did lots of paperwork associated with the business, received a call that a family member has gotten me a possible in at a store that's not yet built up in Massachusetts. I need to send product samples and then sit and wait to see on that one.

Tuesday: Made Honeysuckle soap (about 100 bars), met with the family lawyer and dad to do some will and medical stuff, printed flyers, went to the show.

Wednesday: Made another 50 bars of Honeysuckle, slept most of the afternoon (headache), went to show at night

Thursday: Down with headache most of the day, tried going for dinner, failed, went back to bed

Friday: Still sick, went to show at night

Saturday: Went to show all day

Sunday: Ran errands with C: Home Depot, BJ's, etc. Still not 100%, took another nap. Went to show at night.

Allentown Fair- Day 6

Best day of sales so far. One more day like that and I'll actually go home in the black, as long as you don't consider what has been spent on parking or food during the week. Although sales are slow, at least it's been fun. B,M, C and I all get along really well, and we spend the time joking and laughing and sharing funny stories. It funny, on the boring days I tend to each twice as much as when I'm at a busy show, where I can go all day without food sometimes. I've tried the turkey dinner, the sweet potato fries, fired vegetables, lots of ice cream, and a couple of burgers and hot dogs. Some of the food is really, really good, like the chicken dinners, but a lot of it is mediocre at best.

Last night we were commenting on how so much of the local press coverage of the event has been negative. How bad the nightly shows are and how you'll get robbed by playing the games of chance. They've liked Allen Jackson's performance, and given multiple articles to the local magician who made a cow disappear and then reappear a few days later (4 full articles to be exact). But you'd think that will all the bad things happening in the US right now, they could find a few human-interest stories amongst the entire fair. They have a few, the 4-H stands out as a great thing to applaud, but I haven't seen much else. Once again I am sad to see how the Morning Call supports its local fairs and festivals.

But its just one more day left…


Allentown Fair- Day 5

OK, So I officially think this fair is a wash out. There is nothing that I can do about it, there are just not people and the people there just aren't spending a lot of money, and what money they are spending certainly isn't on soap.

B has this idea in her head that she talked me into this show and now she feels guilty that it looks as if I will come out of it in the red. But she forgets. After Mayfair I gave her an application to the fair because I was approached and asked about being a vendor in their new "crafters cove". I sent in such application and then was told that there would be no cove this year, but I could be a regular vendor mixed in with the others. After looking at the price and the number of hours in conjunction with my current show schedule I decided not to do the fair. I would be by myself, I would be there 10+ hours a day for a week, C may or may not be in town, and then my dad may still be staying with us. But I decided then that in 2006 I would either participate in their "crafter cove" (if they got one going), or I would be a regular vendor, regardless because my show schedule changes for 2006 and I felt I had the ability time wise and resource wise to be thee in 2006.

At Musikfest B came and asked my why I wasn't doing the fair, was it because I had so many shows before hand I would be too tired, was it because I wouldn't have the inventory, was it because it just cost too much money? I explained it was because it was just too many hours for me, and that I was worried about inventory, but that no longer was a concern. She suggested that we get a big booth and put our items in together, that way she could work the show and I could come help when I had the chance. Awesome idea! To me this was the answer. How to be at a show, but not physically be at a show all the time, see if the show is good in 2005 and solidify if I wanted to be there in 2006 or not.

And here I am, learning that the fair isn't for me. Better to know this year than next. Hey, I chose four new shows this year, and of the three that I have completed two were good, that is still a good average. I'd be happy to go to Vegas with those odds. I hope of the three or four new shows I want to do next year that two end up being good. I'd be happy to find two new good shows a year. And I never know, some of my best customers have come from my worst shows. They reorder in big quantities, they come by and see me at other shows, and they refer their friends to me. Just the fact that people may recognize me in the future is a good thing; it may be why they purchase from me and not someone else. No show is a waste, sometimes you just have to wait to see why you wee there, but the reason will show itself eventually.


Allentown Fair- Day 4

Well what has turned out to be a three-day ordeal, the headache finally was gone. C and I got breakfast in the morning and lunch before I left for the show. In between I took still another nap, and we took some time to look for and decide upon our October vacation. We want to go on a cruise, and with gas prices skyrocketing, I think that the land of the last minute deals is non-existent. We need to get those tickets before the cruise industry starts hiking up those prices. And we need to get those tickets fast.

As for other things that are non-existent. People coming to the fair fits the bill well. B had done this fair with other things besides crafts for 10+ years and can't believe how poorly attended the exhibits in the Agri-plex are. I wonder is its because the plex has become synonymous with the 4-H exhibits, and the other blue ribbon winning items. Has America really just lost interest in the best quilt of the fair, the best squash, and the best wedding cake? Yup, I think they have. Going to the fair is much more than the fair foods and the rides; it is a connection to our agricultural heritage. How few people anymore can tell you that they can grow vegetables, or that they can their own foods, or that they have any idea how to follow a pattern and sew a shirt. Its funny, I used to think that my undergraduate degree in Theatre was pretty useless in the real world, but those costuming classes sure taught me to sew.

But I think the Fair itself is poorly attended so far. When I go for food there is hardly a line (if a line at all) and historically the food vendors are almost always packed. The rides spin around looking empty, and the games of chance are the last place people want to spend their money right now. People are coming at night for the concerts (last night was Hillary Duff) and look around a little, but don't want to carry things into the concert. By the time it lets out, the Agri-plex is closed. Does that mean that we'd be doing better in a tent outside the building? I don't know if the increase in people walking by would make the people walking by better buyers. I just don't think so.


Allentown Fair- Day 3

Well I wasn't there but I heard from B this morning that sales were still slow. It's not just us though, in general the place seems much emptier than in years past she says. I really think it is hard to ask people who are paying over $3 a gallon at the pump, and who are afraid that it may raise into the $4-$5 gallon range to go out and spend their money at a local fair. I also think those images from New Orleans takes the wind out of people. I sure don't feel like celebrating anything, or having any fun. I rally think shows for the rest of the year will be really hard hit. What all of us artisans and crafters make are luxury goods, and I think we may be at the point where fewer people can afford luxury, and most who can, feel guilty about having a little luxury right now.

However I wasn't there. It was dad's last day with us and I had spent the day fighting back a headache that split into a migraine as we drove to the restaurant. Poor dad spent his last night eating alone, while C tried to pile me into bed and generally take care of me. Looking back I should have known it was coming, but I ignored the signs. I must start taking better care of myself.


Allentown Fair- Day 2

Sales were slow again today but there was not many people attending the Fair. The weather called for some rain, that could be intense at times, and the morning even had a tornado warning. When B and I left at 10 pm, many of the vendors that are outside of the Agri-plex were already packed up and gone, and they are supposed to be there at least an hour, maybe two, longer than us. You know it's slow when the food vendors have time to come in and walk around. B did pretty well in sales though (given the weather and such), one person came back from yesterday and bought more, and another made a relatively big purchase. I also think that just collectively the nation is disheartened by what has happened due to Katrina. It is hard to go and play and escape when all you see on TV is such utter devastation.

I also think it is very hard to spend money when fuel prices are rising by the day. No one knows where this is going to end, and the fuel prices are affecting everything. I have surcharges on my products shipped to me, plastic container prices are rising, it is costing me more to go to craft shows, to pick up supplies, to drop off orders at the post office. If prices stay so high I will need to take a good look at some shows that I do that are 4 and 5 hours from the house. It could cost me almost 4 tanks of gas to get there and back, which right now is close to $180.00 bucks just in gas, lets not add in tolls! I will have to look at which shows are really worth doing on '06 if this keeps up.


Allentown Fair- Day 1

Day one of the Fair was extremely uneventful. The first day the hours are short (pnly 4-10) and admission is free. This means that you get a very diverse crowd, most of which are just coming over to take a look and not to buy. I made a few sales, and B did better then she expected to, making ½ her sales in one shot right at the end of the night. I can only say I bow to her wisdom of only taking part in the show if we got a space in the Agri-plex. I actually had to put on my sweat shirt to keep warm, we are close to snacks and bathrooms, and after taking a little walk outside, the humidity last night was just killer. But I can't complain, our little remnants of Katrina are pale in comparison to the horrors taking place in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and many other states. As I listen and watch the news my stomach just turns, my heart goes out, and I am compelled to pray.

I am one of the guilty ones, I am going on with my life as if this tragedy hasn't happened just a few thousand miles away. But it amazes me the fact that it isn't even a major topic of conversation. I think we talked more about the Tsunami than Katrina in our social circle. I just can't help but think about how many people that not only lost everything, but lost the ability to fend for themselves too. I would like to think that if something like that happened here that C and I would go someplace else, look for jobs, and start over from scratch. But we are two people who have done that before, moved someplace with close to nothing and built up a life. But I'd loose my business, I'd have to start over, and we are lucky C is in a business where he has desirable skills and can pretty easily find a job anywhere. We are also lucky enough to have a nest egg that could sustain us through a tragedy for at least a little while. But I was reading yesterday an article in Forbes Small Business about a family of shrimpers in Mississippi on the coast. All I could think of is that they have most likely lost their home, their business, their boats, and they were already living, scraping by week to week, and many in the family lack job skills that could bring them to another geographic part of the country to start over even if they wanted to. There must be millions of people like that who have lived though this tragedy.

I'll admit, I didn't give a donation when it came to the Tsunami victims, but I sure am donating to help the victims of Katrina. Not only will I be donating to the Red Cross, but I will donate to CERF, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund in hope to help another crafter pick up the pieces after this tragedy.


Allentown Fair- Day 0- Set Up

I have to admit the set up for the fair was much easier than I expected. By the time we got over there in the late afternoon, mostly everyone else was set up (except our neighbors on both sides). It was actually scarier to watch our neighbors set up than for us to get ours right. When we were applying I thought it was strange that the insurance requirements for the show were so strict when it came to having a $0 deductible on the policy, but after watching things crash all around us for a few hours, I can see why it is needed. On one side, they were putting up a pipe cage to hang lights from to showcase their artwork, needless to say the cage fell apart a few times before they got it right. I think the lack of foresight to bring a few stepladders had much to do with their assembly problems. Luckily when things fell no one was hurt, and the only things damaged were things they owned, not us. On the other side we have a vacuum demonstrator that puts together this weird clear PVC maze and then sucks things through it to show the strength of the vacuum. Only one part of the PVC fell during assembly, and that missed us too. I am contemplating bringing hard hats for the disassembly.

I think the thing that burned me the most was our neighbor who was having all the trouble setting up their booth. We made sure that we gave them plenty of room while they struggled, and we made sure that we put our entrance aisle to behind our tables on their side. This gave them a little more than 2' more space to work with while assembling. Then they have the gall to ask if they can hang more artwork to face our side of the booth. Hey I paid for a 10'x20' foot space and am already only using 18' because you scare the heck out of me, and now you want me to let you hang your artwork where your customers will need to walk BEHIND my display to see your things up close? No way! You want to hang you artwork where it will distract from the items in my display? No way! Oh, and did I mention that the things displayed that B makes are GLASS! Imagine the lady (or gent) with the huge bag or umbrella trying to skinny themselves between the table and the wall to see some painting up close. I see a few plates crashing, don't you? I politely pointed out that our display is made up of glass plates, and I'd appreciate of they kept their artwork within the confines of their booth. I was pretty hungry and cranky by then, so I bet my old evil eye while smiling and sounding cute, got my point across just fine.


Week 34 Accomplishments

Monday I got to go and pick up my new car. It is a white Town and Country with stow n' go seats, a moon roof, and touch button doors and hatch. I can sit in my living room and open the doors on both sides and the hatch all from the key chain. It's pretty cool. I can't believe how much room is in it once the seats are folded down and how nice the van drives. It is easy to see out of and easy to steer and has cruise control as well. I'm just so excited!

Tuesday and Wednesday I got ready for the Folk Festival. I repacked the truck, placed some orders for some supplies I need, paid for some upcoming shows, and just did a general clean up of the house.

Thursday dad and I went down and set up for the show (see Day 0 post). I also got a call from a show that I really wanted to do, but was put on a waiting list. They had a cancellation and now I have a spot in the show. I'm really excited because it actually takes place on two weekends and I got a space for the better of the two weekends, so next year if I want I can do both, so that will take care of finding any shows in October of next year if this one works out.

Fri-Sun Philadelphia Folk Festival (see other posts)

Philadelphia Folk Festival Recap

Soaps: Rejuvenation
Bath Salts: Rejuvenation
Bath Fizzys: Rejuvenation
Lotion Bars: Lavender
Lip Balms: Coconut Lemongrass

I think I see a theme here with these top sellers the last few shows. Looks like a rejuvenation summer.

Philadelphia Folk Festival- Day 3

Except that the small chance of rain that the weather station called for became almost a n all day affair, the day was most pleasant. Dad came with us and he really enjoyed himself. When we arrived we had breakfast- French toast- and then set up the booth. The rain from the night before had filled some tents tops with water but there was a craft angel going around with a bucket, emptying them before the crafters even arrived. We weathered the weather overnight just fine and except that a display finally tipped over, all went well. Sales were brisk, and if the rain had held off I really think I would have sold as much on Sunday as on Friday and Saturday combined. Even with the rain it was pretty close and overall I was quite happy with my sales. From what I gather from my customers, the last few years has brought them a few different soap makers and while they were very fond of one, the other left quite a bit to be desired. So I had a two-fold battle- converting some from the beloved soap maker to me, and getting those that hated the other to realize I was a different company. I think much of that was accomplished and I think that if I get to return next year I will do even better.

I was also invited to start selling my stuff at a place in Delaware. I still have a little negotiating to take care of, but once that is all finalized I'll post that great information as well. That really means that in the last month I have potentially added three new stores to carry my stuff. I'm really excited about this because the idea of expanding into wholesale and into other markets was a goal for this year and I feel like its really working out.

Clean up at the end was a pain though. You can't bring your car in until everything is clear, and with the rain, and the hill the crafters are on, getting in would be difficult, but getting out would be harder. Dad and C used the rolling cart and pushed and pulled through the field to the parking lot and then loaded the truck. I got the easy job of packing up and keeping watch over the booth. But even with all that work, it only took about an hour to pack, getting us home at a decent hour with the real possibility of catching up on some much needed sleep.

One of my favorite aspects was the fact that a real person came around to ask some survey questions. I often get asked to fill out a written survey, only to return the next year and feel that nothing had been addressed, much less actually read. Sending a real human being around to ask three or four simple questions gave me the ability to speak my mind, but also to feel like someone was actually listening. There is one thing I can say about this show as a crafter I felt loved, and wanted. They want good crafters, they want good people crafting, they want to expand the craft area and expand the experience they give to the festival attendees. I can really tell that these are things they want, that they are striving for, they are not just striving for a new way to make some cash. I'm sure if you polled, not everyone was has happy as me, but you can't make everyone happy all of the time.