January 23-29 Week 4

Monday: Monday was what has become a typical day for me: Get up, do my morning routine while making my first batch of soap, the take a lunch break, make two more batches of soap and then clean up, make dinner, do homework, and go to bed.

Tuesday was pretty routine as well but that evening C and I went out to dinner with B & M. We went to this really great seafood restaurant- the Marblehead Grille. Just great, great food. They put us back in a corner , it was like we had our own private little table, it was great. Both couples have been looking for houses so we have been comparing notes about what we have seen. Some they have not gone into, others we have not, but it seems many, many of them we have both driven by or at least looked at online. I always love spending time with them. C & M get along so well and so do B & I. We can always find things to talk about and we are all so laid back it's not like we have to try and entertain one another. I'm not tired of them by the end of the night.

Wednesday: Another typical day. I finished one more fragrance, leaving 16 left to do before I am through. I didn't do much on Wednesday, I just wasn't feeling well and just crawling into bed and putting the blanket over my head was calling me - so I listened and slept. I felt much better afterwards, and then spent the evening stressing about homework…

Thursday: UWBW meeting. D has decided to throw in the towel. She has decided that making her hobby a business takes all the fun out of her hobby. I can see that, I go through times where I feel that as well. I just will miss her at meetings; she always has such great input and ideas. I feel as though I have just gotten to know her and she will be gone. Since I met her through B I don't know if we have enough of a friendship for it to take on a life of its own. After that I ran my errands: groceries, post office, bank…

Friday: All this darn homework. Since I am going away for the evening on Monday I knew I needed to get a bunch of work done so I can go with a lot less stress.

Saturday: More homework. This Perl is just so time consuming. Its hours and hours and hours just to figure out one assignment. I have to be putting in 30+ hours a week trying desperately to figure this stuff out.

Sunday: We looked at more houses. We really have started to whittle down the areas we are interested in. We can tell more easily what is too far to go from where we are now. We know we don't want any more north, we know that the other side of 476 is too far as well. C needs to be able to get to a highway pretty quick, I need a workshop, we want a garage (preferably 2 car) and enough backyard for me to plant a few vegetables. We want at least as many square feet as we have now, preferably more. And we don't want bland- no 1970's developments, two story (or bi-level) plain square houses for us. We'll know what we want when we see it. It is going to hit us over the head like a sledgehammer. And it may take us a year to find it…


January 16-22 Week 3

Monday: C got the day off from work and I worked feverishly all day. Besides making soap and the usual chores, I had to work on homework that I didn't understand and couldn't get to work. This Perl programming language is just Greek to me. It might as well be hieroglyphics. It will be a miracle if I can get through this class.

Tuesday: More soap (what a surprise) but J ended up coming over in the evening. She needed me to sign some paperwork and I needed some help in the shop so it worked well for both of us. She made it around dinnertime.

Wednesday: I got my orders ready. J made some bath fizzys. I also made some more soap. We got the paperwork all finished and grabbed some lunch. In the afternoon she decided to stay another night. That way she could make some more fizzys and get some more homework done.

Thursday: still in the shop. This week I got a total of three more fragrances made, for a total of 17 left to do. I have to start keeping better track of what I get done each day because when I look back on it I can't figure out where the time goes. I know I am crazy busy during the week, I just can't remember what exactly I spent so much time on.

Friday: Errand day. After the groceries and the post office I came home and started experimenting. I played with making a facial mud mask, a salt scrub, and a herbal scrub. I'm not thrilled with the mud mask. It is too gritty for me and seems to spread unevenly. It also is too dark. The mud I used is almost black and it is really scary to put on your face- I was so afraid that it may stain my skin (but it didn't). It was nothing like the clay masks I am used to using. I haven't tried the others yet. I also got meat ready to make jerky. C loves jerky and last time we were at Cabella's we picked up some jerky spices, so I cut up the meat and got it curing. I wanted to pickle some carrots too, but I forgot to get an ingredient, so that is next week.

Saturday: Homework day.. C helped me figure out one problem from last week that I couldn't get to work and I completed 1 of 4 for this week. I am so glad that we are in week three already- only three more to suffer through.

Sunday: House hunting. We are looking for a house. We know this will be a long process. We looked at 7. One we couldn't go into because the open house had just closed. Of the other 6 we went into two. One had the most awesome basement for me to work in that I have ever seen, but the hose itself was just too, too small. And the other we saw was just a jigsaw puzzle of additions to an original small house. I mean this thing had walls that moved so you could get furniture into rooms. It was weird.


January 9-15, 2006 - Week 2

Monday: I had gotten some orders and some request for samples over the weekend so Monday was spent getting everything ready and out the door. I also made Lavender soap and worked on homework, happily actually understanding my Perl assignments and getting them right.

Tuesday: Lunch with the girls at the UWBW. The topic for the day was organization. We each brought in a list of a few things that we were good at organizing, and a few we need help on. I realized that after the hard work that I've put in the first few weeks of this year, I'm not too behind after all. I have built some good foundations that I think will carry me though the year as long as I follow routines as best as I can and fall back on them when I feel lost.

Wednesday: More lavender soap. This makes me up to quota on Lavender. Total 3 down, 20 to go. I also started on some Wisdom as well. I also got some supply orders placed which is a great thing.

Thursday: I made basic soap (4 big batches) after I got home from running errands. Groceries, Bank, Post Office, Drycleaner, and Kitty Food. I also packed for the trip, worked on more homework, and cleaned up around the house a little.

Friday: It was the autopsy meeting at Main Line Art Center for the Fall Craft Show. Once again we beat our sales from last show. It just keeps growing and growing, and that is even with a few days of snow and terrible weather to boot. After that I picked C up at work and we left for West Virginia. It was about a 3 ½ hour ride down and once we got there we explored the town. It started to rain so we never really got out of the car though. We did find some awesome hot dogs for dinner. They had mustard, mild chili, and coleslaw on them, yum…gives our local place a run for their money for sure!

Saturday: We got up early and went to the jury session (that's another post) and then we drive to Harper's Ferry and walked around. I had never been there before, it is a very interesting place. We found a cute place for lunch and by the end, the rain and the cold came in so we just left and drive around for a while before heading back to the hotel. Later we grabbed some dinner at the buffet place across the street from the hotel and went to try and find a movie to watch, but everything started about two hours from when we were looking, so we ended up watching TV for the rest of the night.

Sunday: Rise and shine and a very windy drive home. We stopped at Cabella's for lunch and to walk around for a bit and then headed home. Now I'm just trying to catch up and get ahead. Making the grocery list, paying bills, and blogging my little fingers off. Back to work tomorrow…

Managing Expectations- or- What it was like to Jury

C pointed out this weekend that a great deal of time and energy in succeeding in life is put into "managing expectation". There is nothing worse than expecting one thing and getting another. Its even worse when the "other" isn't as high quality as what was expected.

A few weeks ago I received an application to jury for the 31st Annual West Virginia Mountain Arts & Heritage Festival. The festival is held twice a year for three days near Harper's Ferry West Virginia. So I started to research the show, (Google is an amazing and wondrous invention), and all my research suggested that this show maintains high quality arts & crafts, and isn't overrun with soap makers either. And is only about a 4 hour drive from the house. So I perused my application more thoroughly.

In order to Jury I had two options: 1) to drive to West Virginia or to 2) mail samples of my work to West Virginia. If I chose to drive down, there are only three days of jurying- Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-5, and Sunday 9-12 noon. "There will be no rain or snow dates". Although it nowhere specifically states that the artist will be interviewed in the process, to me the process described implied such an interview. I inferred that there would be such an interview because of statements within the application such as "the Festival Committee will continue its policy of having each artisan bring samples of his/her work."

So on Friday C and I drove to West Virginia and stayed the night. Saturday we got up early and drove to the firehouse where the jurying takes place. Because we knew that the jury process was "first come, first serve", I thought arriving close to 9 am would be sufficient. When we arrived there was already 6 people before me (some arriving as early as 8 am). 9 am came and went, and no one's name was called. C and I started to assume that the process was starting late. This was the first thing that disappointed us.

Around 10 am, the door opened and it was announced that the first six people on the list, could retrieve their items from the jury room, and leave. They would be notified in March of their acceptance. HUH? No interview? The next 6 names were called and we were told to set up or items on the tables next to our names. We then were to leave and wait until called again. OK, so no interview… hmmm…I would have brought more information about items, I would have brought more signage…is it just me or is it different when your work has to speak for itself than when you get to speak for your work? About 45 minutes later I was allowed to get my things and leave, without a word to anyone.

No why does this bug me, besides the fact that they did a bad job at managing my expectations? Because I didn't have the opportunity to have all the information I needed to put my best foot forward, because I drove 4 hours to do something that mailing my work would have been better at (I would have been prepared for it to have to speak for itself), I got all dressed up (I could have worn my PJ's), and I felt as though the jury couldn't be bothered to learn who I am as a person, they couldn't respect me enough as an artist to give me a few minutes to talk and answer questions. In fact, heck, it didn't have to be me who brought my work, the work I brought didn't have to be mine, I didn't have to make it, and they did nothing to try to make me prove that the items I brought in were actually made by my hand. Sure using this process they can better insure and maintain quality, but it does nothing to prove the pieces weren’t made in China, or Mexico, or even in the USA, by someone other than me.

Before the process, I felt as though people who brought their items had an advantage over those who mailed theirs or those who had a fellow artisan stand in for them, now I know that there is no advantage. I know that this process has its faults, and is little better than processes that rely on slides for its jury process. I've learned questions to ask in the future, I've learned how I will handle jurying for this show in the future, and I've learned that there is little worse than not getting what you expected.


January 2-8, 2006- Week 1

Week 1 2006

Wow, I cannot believe that I actually kept up this darn thing for a whole year. It has become such a part of my life and routine I don't know what I would do without it. Many of my friends have blogs now, so we have one more way to keep tabs on each other. Its funny, now we just phone each other and ask "Read your blog, got more to say?" sometimes the answer is no…

So what have I gotten done this first week of the New Year… well I have kept up with one resolution- exercise- I rode the stationary bike for a whopping 18 miles this week. I also cooked dinner almost every night, and when I didn't we went out- not ordered in. I got my website updated with new products and with a page of sale items. I finished and sent out my newsletter and got a bunch of orders too! Yahoo! I finished organizing the basement- including putting up a spiffy dry erase calendar. Each day is a 12"x12" square with the day of the week clearly labeled. There are more squares for my list of things to do, and things to buy, as well as one each for my daily morning, afternoon, and evening routines. Next to it is one of those big desk size calendars so I can write down things in advance, where they will be translated to the big board one week at a time. I also have two more regular calendars upstairs- one for shows- when applications are due, when I should expect to hear about acceptance, and when the shows actually are, and one for school, with my assignments clearly listed and crossed off when complete.

I filed my paperwork for my NJ Tax ID#, so now I can officially and legally participate in shows in New Jersey. That should open up some new adventures later this year. I finally went to the bank and got my "online" straightened out. I can finally transfer money from by business checking to my business savings online. What a concept…

I decided that I am going to try to get accepted to this show in West Virginia. It means that next weekend C and I need to drive down there for a personal, onsite jury. I'm excited about the whole process since I have never been juried in person before. I am a little scared though, just because that type of stuff scares me to death.

I started classes: Advertising Management and the other is Interactive Web Design (perl). Both seem pretty interesting and I realized that once these are complete I only have 10 more to go and I'll be finished. It should be at the end of 2006 and then I need to decide what I want to do when I grow up, LOL!

I also made soap. I decided on a minimum inventory of each fragrance that I want to keep here in storage and I reached that goal this week with two fragrances: Love Potion and Rejuvenation. 2 down, 21 to go! At this pace it should be the end of March before I'm done. Which is good since shows start in April…


Week 52 Accomplishments

Monday: B&M and C&I went to dinner at this cool place called The Brass Rail. They vend food at Musikfest and I've always loved their steak sandwiches, so it was cool to actually make it to the restraint. Then we drove through Lights In The Parkway, a light display in Allentown. It was a little like Mystery Science Theater 3000, with M&C giving commentary on all the lights. B & I haven't laughed so hard in a while!

Tuesday: Tuesday was spent finishing up organizing the basement. C & I had started it on Monday when he was off and it just needed a few more things. I got everything inventoried and ready to go for the sale and all the storage boxes have new labels, and the new dry erase board is up and ready to go. I even finished the samples for the place in Miami and they just need to be mailed.

Wednesday: UWBW meeting- OK Christmas Lunch. I had given out my Christmas gifts early so everyone could open them on Christmas, but I think next year I'll wait till the lunch, I sort of felt left out.. B got me some scrapers from Papered Chef (great for getting soap off the counter) and some awesome sticky notes (for the dry erase board). D got me a great box that her daughter painted with this cool frog motif, and a bog for travel that you put all your toiletries and stuff in. Its got pockets for wet stuff and dry stuff. Its awesome and will get much use.

Thursday: More business prep. Got the computer mostly cleaned out of old programs and files. Just a little more to do. I also started my 2006 Control Journal (I am a flybaby) for this new house and new year, to get started out on the right foot- clean and organized. Flylady.net

Friday-Sunday: C was home from work and we completed lots of errands. We went to Home depot to get some new lights for the basement, and then had to bring them back and get something else. We went to staples for a return, Michaels Arts & Crafts to get a piece of artwork framed, and to get some other frames. We went through the house and finally put up pictures and art in most of the rooms, we cleaned Carlos's storage area, including going through decorations and my dad's trains and figuring out what we have for sure. Saturday we were supposed to go B&M's again for New Years but my stomach was a wreck- a few more times of this and they are going to stop inviting us. And Sunday I had another migraine so we spent much of the day catching up on TiVo and I took a nap.