Nov 11 & 12 Herkimer County Arts & Crafts Show

Herkimer was a loss this year. It never was a spectacular show, but it never was bad either. There usually was two, maybe three soapmakers-this year I think I saw 4. And for the last few years I had gotten a blue ribbon- this year not even an honorable mention- even though I had new displays, new labels, and some new product. I learned that the ribbons are more to award newcomers and to try and get them to stay coming back to the show than to really reward who has the best products. I don’t think it was a coincidence that so many vendors that I recognized as new to the show this year had ribbons at the end of Saturday.

So since sales have been pretty good the last few years, when I received the information in the mail about advertising in their flyer I though it might be a good thing. So J designed me up an ad. It even highlighted that I had won a blue ribbon in both 2004 and 2005. I paid an exorbitant amount of money to have it placed in the show flyer/map. And my sales were down by ½. I barely made back my booth fee + my ad rate. Don’t even talk to me about the gas and tolls.

My roommates also annoy the heck out of me. The application says that spaces are 10x10 but they only put three of us in a room. I used 10x7 on my side of the room. The other two just expand and expand. Putting displays so close it is hard to look at my product because people can’t get by one another. And I have complained for two years, and nothing has been done about it. I hate indoor shows like this just for this reason. Crafters want every inch they can, even at an outdoor show when we are supposed to stay in our 10x10 booth, but inside, give us an inch and we’ll take a mile. And since mom is with me I am a lot more likely to roll over than if it was C and I.

So this was my first real dog of a show this year. So I can’t complain. I just need to look for other options next year and I need to hope that this isn’t a precursor to the rest of the holiday shopping season.

November 6-12 Week 45

I keep having to go to NY and I keep feeling like all I am doing is trying to keep my head above water and get something complete by the end of the day. I had a complete mental breakdown (ok for about 10 minutes) feeling totally overwhelmed by everything that HAS to get done and everything that I WANT to do being in total conflict right now. But that is this week, and this post is about last week (that really wasn’t much better).

Monday: Catch up after the weekend’s show. This means lots of laundry, banking, paperwork, homework, and some time cleaning the shop. Why do I keep cleaning the shop? Because I feel out of control and I feel that cleaning it gives me some control over it in some small way. Hey, they say knowing is half the battle….

Tuesday: B and I went and picked up some much needed supplies. I got oils, 200 lbs of lye (B says I bring her to all the nicest chemical supply companies, LOL), and citric acid. We stopped at our favorite place to have lunch, and then headed home. Nothing too eventful, but much more fun spending the 6 hour round trip with a friend. I had gotten up and voted in the morning, B needed to be home to go vote in the afternoon.

I felt all grown up going to vote. I have to admit I hadn’t voted since college, and then it was an absentee ballot, something about those always makes me wonder if they are really going to be counted, ya know?? But I actually went to the school, did my touch pad thingie, and voted. And I feel bad. I voted for someone that I wouldn’t have voted for in a “typical” election, but I felt for what I don’t agree with him about (like women’s right to choose, etc), it was more important to vote for him on issues that I did agree with him on (like the war in Iraq). So if in the next few years PA has more guns and no abortion rights, it’s my own darn fault, but hopefully if that is the way it is, at least we won’t be at war….

Wednesday: Orders are starting to poor in and pile up. At least I got one out on Wednesday. I also started making fizzys that I am severely lacking- I am out of most fragrances right now. Have I ever expressed to you how much I dislike making them. Well I do. And I have to make a ton, and it sucks!

Thursday: More fizzys. I also printed out flyers for the show, caught up on my blog, and did a bunch of homework.

Friday: Morning was homework and packing the van for the trip. The I drive the 4 hours home, picked up mom, drove another hour to Herkimer, et up, and drove another hour back home for the night.

Saturday & Sunday: Herkimer Arts & Crafts Show


November 4&5 2006 Apple Festival at Peddlers Village

The show was COLD! Saturday was the worst of the two days weather, but as usual was the better day in sales. They moved the site of the show this year in order to increase attendance. I think I saw more people, but overall my sales were only up $30 from the last two years. It is possible that with nicer, warmer weather this could have been even more, but you never can tell.

About a week before the show I got a map in the mail telling me my booth space. It was a corner. When I got there the set up was completely different than my map and my corner booth was gone! There were also a bunch of artisans not listed on the original map I got, so my bet is that they were last minute applicants.

The show used to be set up where the tour busses parked after dropping people off. It guaranteed that those people would walk through the crafts to get on their bus at the end of the day. That means people with smaller items, and less expensive items, tended to do the best in sales because they were things that could easily fit on a bus. Now that the show has moved possibly more local people will come through because it is closer to their parking and that may mean bigger sales of bigger items. But I don’t need to work about that since soap is small and inexpensive. So that means I might have more competition for the dollar next year than I have in previous years.

But I am going to look at other shows next year and not just black out the dates indiscriminately like I usually do. If I can find something that I really think is going to be better I am going to apply for it. Of course right after I hang in long enough that I am the only soaper, guess I either scared off the others or they are smarter than me and left to go someplace better. It’s probably the latter.

October 30-November 5 Week 44

Monday: Back from paradise I needed to catch up on homework, catch up on laundry, and paperwork.

Tuesday: I started to clean and organize my shop. I have realized that it has come to the point in the year where I have little time or motivation to do any more than I really have to do. So instead I am just getting ready for next year. I am going through boxes to determine what I don’t need and what I can sell. I am deciding what direction I want to go in, and trying to organize things into a working plan for 2007. It will take me weeks to do this, but that is OK, I can hit the ground running.

Wednesday: Tests. I had my oh so wonderful and fun colonoscopy and endoscope. Good news: my upper G.I is in great condition. My heartburn is most likely a combination of diet, lack of exercise, and overwhelming stress. But I can go off the million dollar a month Nexium and just do an over the counter remedy. And once January hits I’ll be signing up for a yoga class and getting on my bike much more regularly. Now the lower G.I. may pose some problems, it may be Chron’s and luckily if it is, it looks pretty mild. But I go back in January for another meeting with the doc and more will be determined then.

Thursday: I started new classes- my last two!!!! International Marketing and a Resume Writing course. I’ll be done Dec 13th. I already have plans on taking a Spanish class and a Herbalism class in January though. I can’t be bored. I just don’t want to do anything for a grade anymore…for a while…I went to Target and the grocery store. I probably should have waited another day…just a mental note….

Friday: I packed and got ready for my show over the weekend.

Saturday & Sunday: Apple Festival at Peddler’s Village.


October 23-29 Week 43

Monday was spent packing and getting ready for vacation. C left for his business trip to Mexico this morning so I got up early with him and just did stuff: laundry, bills, bank, drycleaner, dishes, etc. In the afternoon B and I picked up her car from the shop and then had lunch at the Brass Rail.

Tuesday: The new furniture arrived! It is stunning and beautiful, and did I mention big. The cats were afraid of it at first but it quickly became cat beds, with each one picking their favorite places. I went over to AC Moore for a present for my mom, and stopped at Barnes & Nobles and picked up a book on Cancun. I packed the van with all my stuff so I didn’t have to do it in the morning and made a list of everything I did need to do in the morning before I left. I tried to get some sleep but the ticket fiasco left me a little uptight (see Vacation- Day 0) and I got much less sleep than I wanted to.

Wednesday-Sunday Vacation Days 1-5

Vaction Day 5

Well there was enough time to pack, to eat a good breakfast and to catch the flight home. It was said to see the vacation end so soon, we both could have filled a few more days with fun activities or just lounging by the pool. Hopefully we will get the chance to do something like this again next year.

We finally go seated together on the flight and were put with a guy who was with a bunch of other people seated behind us, so all he did was either talk or sleep. Customs and Immigration back into the US was a breeze and the J waited for her connecting flight while I drove home. At least she got bumped to first class on her last flight. Home in style.. I was stuck in traffic since the Eagles game had just let out.

Then it was back to real life. Catching up on e-mail, school, phone calls, and bills. Hm… I miss paradise.

Vaction Day 4

A free day. We ventured to the Isla Mujeres. It is a small island, about 7 miles across that mostly has small shops, a tiny Mayan ruin and lost of snorkeling.

We first took a taxi to the pier where we had to catch the ferry. On the way there the sea was sort of rough and we got soaked from the water coming over the top of the ship. Once we were there we rented a golf cart for the day and drove around the entire island. At the tip was the Mayan ruin and some vendors, and along the way plenty of coves and places to explore and get pictures at. We should have brought our bathing suits, as I think it would have been fun to get some snorkeling in too. Then we shopped. Lots of bartering and some vendors are more persistent than others. But it was a fun experience and we got some really good deals.

Once we got back we went to the Italian restaurant for dinner. The food was fabulous and although J and I had a pretty serious conversation the evening was fun. Then it was off to bed for we had to get up early to get ready to leave this paradise.

Vacation Day 3

The second day of seminars. I found most of them boring or useless, except for a great presentation on presentational speaking. I also got a great list of additional reading. So many of the books they suggested for most of the seminars could pertain to any business, I just need to get out there and read them now. At lunch break we ate and went for pedicures. Mine tickled something fierce and unlike me I picked a pretty pink nail polish. I guess the sun was getting to me.

That evening we went on a pirate dinner cruise. Complete with audience participation. Luckily J and I were on the top level so we didn’t have to get dragged into that mess, but it was fun watching everyone else make fools of themselves. J had a crush on our pirate. Disney would love to learn that the ship came complete with a Captain Jack Sparrow look alike and the ship was named the Black Pearl, I’m sure they pay royalties, not…..

Vacation Day 2

We got up early because seminars started at 8:00 am. After breakfast we checked in and sat for the start of the seminar. We realized that once you check in there really wasn’t anything that was keeping you there. So it seemed as the time went on more and more people discreetly left the room, I am sure heading to the pool. For me the first seminar was boring so I left and headed to the business office so I could get online and answer some e-mails and do some homework.

We met back up for the second seminar and I found it quite interesting. After that we headed to lunch and then to the spa for our massages. It was the most beautiful experience in an awesome setting. Just magnificent.

Afternoon brought some more seminars. Dinner for the evening was at the Oriental restaurant where the sushi was excellent and I had some of the best octopus I have ever had. The kept the sake flowing and I was a pretty happy camper by the end of dinner.

Vacation Day 1

Well up and out early in the morning with an arrival time at the airport of about 4:45 am. I got a little lost trying to figure out where long term parking was. It seems that although I figured you followed the “Departing Flights” to get to where you could park for more than 24 hours, you actually follow the “Arriving Flights” signs to get to the parking garage. Who would have thunk it?

I got to the airport in North Carolina no problem and then literally ran to my gate in order to get checked in. Then it was off to J’s gate, where her flight was delayed. And delayed. When she got off we ran again back to the gate where they were already boarding. Whew, we were tired and ready for a few drinks for sure. The in flight movie didn’t work so we talked and read. I tried to start knitting a new project but realized that my circular needles were too big and that I should have brought double points. So much for getting any knitting done.

Arriving in Mexico was pretty easy. Going through customs and immigration was like winning the lottery. You went up, gave them a form, and they had you press a button that seemed like it randomly decided if you passed through or if you were detained for further inquiry. Weird. But we both made it.

A bus was waiting and it brought up to the resort. We were STARVING and as we went upstairs to check in there was a great spread of food for us and lots of mixed drinks to liven the party. Our room wasn’t ready yet so we headed out to the pool area where lunch was being served. We ate while we sweated to death in our long pants and long sleeves, and then walked around and explored the gift shops some. We also took this time to set up some excursions, a spa appointment, and appointments for pedicures.

Once the room was ready we changed, decided on dinner- Brazilian- and went to eat, again. But we were so tired we went to bed early and slept quite well.