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.