December 11-17 Week 50

Monday: The problem with this show is that my whole life becomes one big blur. From what I can vaguely recall I spent the day catching up on things. C left for PR early in the morning and I got up with him for a little while until he left and then I crawled back into bed. The morning was spent making phone calls, answering emails, running errands (like going to the bank) and making soap samplers for the next weekends show. In the evening I got the chance to finally relax some and got some knitting done. A scarf that had been hanging around done, but none of the tails were sewn in, finally got 100% finished. I also started to finish a huge poncho I had started months ago. I only had about 30 more rows to go, but I had run out of yarn and had to wait to get more in to finish the project.

Tuesday was more of the same. I finished the samplers up and took care of a few last minute orders. As I work in the shop I have been watching Six Feet Under on DVD. I’m mid way through season two, and I amaze myself that I can watch that show hour after hour and not get thoroughly depressed. So far this year I have finished all nine seasons of the X-Files and now I’m onto Six Feet Under. After this I’ll rewatch the two seasons of Carnivale, and I think I’ll finally watch 24 too.

Wednesday: Good news! Doc said it’s not Chron’s. I have no intestinal wall thickening and one of the meds they tried and put me on helps, and it wouldn’t if it was Chron’s. So the diagnosis? IBS- irritable bowl syndrome. I am frustrated at what I feel is a non specific diagnosis- that there really isn’t much that can be done for it- I just need to eat better and exercise more, and calm down. Right…I am an artisan, my life revolves around stress, bad food, and a sedentary lifestyle. I meant to make bath fizzys in the afternoon; instead I put a bowl that was covered in soap in the dishwasher. 1” of standing water in the kitchen that leaked through the ceiling into the shop. That took a few hours to clean up. And in the evening I helped B set up her booth and then we went to dinner to celebrate my last day of classes. I am officially done with school. Bachelors in business marketing and a minor in web design. 4 years of hard work that taught me to recognize the things that I already knew but didn’t know I knew, and how to research and where to go to get the answers I need for everything else. But above all I think it gave me some confidence. I always joked (but believed) that my first degree only certified me to ask “So do you want fries with that?” Now I can at least figure how many fries I need to sell to break even, and how to determine my target market for the fries, and how to write a business plan to get financial backing for opening a fry shop.

Thursday-Sunday: LAST WEEKEND of that show I’ve been doing.

Chriskindkmarkt Week 3

Thursday: Expecting the day to be close to a total loss like last weekend, I brought a long list of thing to do. I needed to get caught up on bills, fold flyers, get my mailing list caught up, etc. I started by working on my blog. I can’t believe that I have chronicled my life for two years now, and that some people find it interesting enough to keep reading. A friend from high school told me once that reading it is like sitting next to me and talking to me. I’m glad, that is what I want really. An internal dialogue with myself that tells my friends, family, and customers more about my day to day life, and that leave a detailed account of what has been going on in my life and at shows so I can go back and reread the entries and remember what I felt and thought at a particular time.

Well the show wasn’t as slow as it was Thursday of Week 2, but it was still slow enough for me to blog, do my inventory from last week and from MLAC, pay bills, totally catch up on my mailing list (both e-mail and snail mail), go through and throw out all of my old coupons in my coupon bin, fold 100 flyers, get gift certificates ready to mail out to B, and start both homework and show research. If the Internet wasn’t so darn slow, I’d have plenty of time to get a bunch more stuff done as well.

Sales for the day were stronger than I had expected based on the last two weeks, but I am not certain that I will be able to make as much as I did last year this same weekend.

Friday: Sales started out quite well and then we entered the usual afternoon slump. I got most of my sachets labeled and they are selling well. I don’t know why I am so surprised at this but I am. The samplers are selling well too, which I expected. I may even need to make more before the last weekend. Many people are asking for fizzys, which I am almost totally out of. So I need to try and get some made next week if I get the chance. I only want to make a few of the best selling fragrances since I am so low on them. That way I won’t have a ton of discontinued fragrances left in a few weeks to need to liquidate. Sales for the day were not as good as I would have liked to see them. Last year I did quite well this third week and I just highly doubt that I will have the opportunity to make the same sales this year as I did last year. It was horribly cold out all day and windy. With the weather bring better over the weekend, I can only hope that the crowds follow.

Saturday sales were strong but not close to last year’s. I know that the fact that I am running low on many favorites and am completely out of others is a huge factor, I am also out of almost all of my bath fizzy fragrances and my best selling lip balm. I mean I am out of Patchouli and Lavender- two huge sellers.

Sunday: The day was slow with nothing special to report. Part of this is because there was nothing special, part just because I can’t remember what happened so I am assuming it wasn’t anything special.


December 4-10 Week 49

Monday I went down to MLAC to pick up my extra inventory and to help clean up after the show. I did quite well, up almost ½ from last year. I love doing this show and being part of something, part of the committee. But the time and the hours, the drive and the gas is getting hard to do. I will really have to take a good hard look at this in the spring and decide of what I learn, the time there is worth it or not. When I got back I filled sachets. Those sachets were the surprise of this show; I didn’t expect them to be as popular as they are. Most likely because they are reasonably priced and smell pretty good. C had darts so he got home late, but that allowed me to work late as well.

Tuesday I made samplers up, and finished the sachets. Now they just need to be labeled. I also caught up on my homework that I am desperately behind in. I have Senioritis so bad it isn’t funny. Just another week to go and I will be free of these classes, and bound by student loans. I got three orders out and got a bunch of random paperwork done- including my application for Philly Folk Fest. I received my new slides in the mail and they look terrific. I am hoping that the new slides help me get into some better shows this next year, since I will be trying to get into a bunch of new ones.

Wednesday I started the day by running some errands. I needed to get yarn in order to knit a bath mitt so I can fill an order. I also needed to go and get gas in the car and things like that. C came home from work sick, I think he has the cold that I had last week. It’s a pretty terrible one so I feel really sorry for him. I ran back out and got him the cereal he wanted for dinner, and grabbed myself a pint of ice cream for dinner too. In the afternoon before he came home I started to rearrange my shop. I had gotten a new bookcase and tried to put it where I wanted to put it- well it doesn’t fit the way I wanted. Big surprise. So now the shop is a wreck. Glad I don’t have much else to do for the rest of the year.

Thursday-Sunday Chriskindlmarkt Week 3

Chriskindkmarkt Week 2

Chriskindlemarkt Week 2

Thursday: There is nothing worse for me than being at a show with a cold. Especially one where my ears are plugged and I can’t hear, and the snot keeps rushing out of my nose like a faucet. At least the day didn’t end up all bad- I thought my stomach was going to give me problems by the way it started out in the morning. But at least I ended up not having that as a problem. Sales on Thursdays are always slow but the day was just terrible. I have a pet peeve about this booth that is next to me this week. It is a local store- a coop that rents out a double booth. But I don’t know how they jury in and I don’t think it’s fair that a business has a booth inside this tent- they should be in the other tent with the rest of the businesses. I also dislike the fact that they have products in their booth that are represented by other artists around them. (For example they have soap). There doesn’t seem to be any thought behind where they are placed in the tent. If they are going to be here, they should be next to other booths which are also shared (but not stand alone businesses).

I did take the time to get a bunch of work done. Caught up on blogs, did homework, folded flyers, read magazines, and started to get some postcards ready to send out. C went to the bank for me in the morning before work which was great as well.

Friday: The day was slow. There were tons of busses but it was sort of like watching the night of the living dead. If I was told one more time how they could get 12 bars of soap at Wal-Mart for the same price as I sell one for I was going to scream. The rest of the busses were full of local school kids. Which is cool, they love the lip balms and glosses, as well as the bath fizzys. And I get great input on what kinds of products they like and what fragrances they are looking for. It’s a marketers dream to have some of the conversations that I have with these young ladies. But it is a salespersons nightmare. Not a lot of money to go around and lots of peer pressure to be witnessed.

I have a great neighbor kitty corner from me and I have been enjoying our business talk. She has been doing her craft for 15 years while balancing a home and kids. It is just wonderful to have the opportunity to talk no nonsense with someone who really has seen it and knows it and doesn’t want to blow smoke up your skirt in the process of talking to you.

Saturday was more like it. It was a strong day of sales, not spectacular, but strong and it set me up to possibly make as much as last year, if I have a strong Sunday. My cold started to come back, especially in my sinuses, but nothing that a little medication couldn’t take care of. I also learned that I had a strong day of sales at MLAC and got to come home to a couple of pretty large orders as well. All in all it was a good day.

Sunday I started the day by meeting A at Starbucks in order to drop off more stock for MLAC. That was a good sign. The show sales went well, and all in all I was only down $10 from last years sales. Although I always wish that sales increase from year to year, right now I am just happy to say the same. So many of my friends and acquaintances are struggling with sales this past year. I am happy that I make a consumable product and that I have a reasonable price point. I am worried that I will need to increase prices next year since so many of my supplies are going up in price. But as a whole the weekend went well. Next week was my best weekend last year, lets see if its my best weekend this year.


November 27-December 2 Week 48

Monday morning was my “Small Bowel Series”, a fluoroscope complete with barium shake to track how my insides process food. The Doc there said that everything looked fine. So now I am worried that my Dr. is going to tell me that this is all in my head. I think that is one of my biggest fears, to be told that there is nothing wrong with me except my mind. I got home and napped for most of the rest of the afternoon, while a head cold slowly set in. It started with my throat getting sorer and sorer, and ended with my whole body being sore.

Tuesday I spent the day at MLAC. I have to be honest, I didn’t plan on being there all day when I arrived. I thought I’d drop off my stuff, help for a bit, and then bug out. But It was about 10 pm by the time I got home and I was ready to take a dose and a half of Nyquil and call it a night.

Wednesday started out pretty rough. I wanted to get so much stuff done, but being sick just put me on edge. C and I started with a disagreement which sent me into a tizzy. It was quite cathartic as I sat at the computer listing all the things that I am worried about right now, all the things that make me unhappy. I cried quite a bit, which didn’t help my head cold, but at least emotionally I felt better after getting it all out and on paper. C came home during his lunch to check on me which redeemed him after the morning, and showed me he forgave me for being a jerk as well. He went back to work and on the way home ran some errands for me. I just sat in bed all day, caught up on some of the homework I was behind on, but mostly slept.

Thursday- Sunday: Back to the Show More to come later

Chriskindkmarkt Week 1

Friday was fabulous. The place was packed, people were shopping, and I had the opportunity to catch up with old friends that I don’t get to see too often. My neighbor R and I were near each other a few years ago and just by happenstance ended up together. It was so nice to spend time and to make plans for the winter to get together. J and I have decided to go halfsies on a booth next year so we can both expand out to 15’. Having a double booth is too much, both to handle and cover, and to pay for, but a booth and a half would be perfect.

Saturday was slower than Friday, much to my chagrin. The end of the day was highlighted by C and my dad rescuing two women from the train tracks at the back of the tent. See, at night it is easy to confuse the tracks for a road, which they did, getting they car stuck on the tracks. C, dad, and another crafter got them pushed off before we needed to call 911- since the tracks are still used quite a few times a day by a train! After the show dad, C and I went to dinner at B&M’s favorite Italian restaurant which is on the way home from the show.

Sunday: I didn’t need many sales to surpass last year’s sales, unfortunately that just didn’t pan out. I was only off by a little, but it was disappointing that Sunday was so slow. B & M stopped by to see how it was going, and we went for dinner afterward. I started feeling a little snuffly, with a sort of sore throat. I chalked it up to talking all day, I was wrong….

November 20-26 Week 47

Monday and Tuesday C and I went to Atlantic City. We came back a little richer than we left (if you don’t count the money we spent on food, gas, or tolls). On the way down we went and picked up my new tent at A’s. A few years ago, A and I were neighbors at a craft show and we started talking about the different kinds of craft tents and how easy or hard they were to put up. I really liked his, but I couldn’t rationalize the purchase of a new tent- not only are they really expensive, but if I do go the route of opening my own shop I won’t need a tent for more than another 5 years or so, so the return on investment just wouldn’t be there. So long story short, I offered to buy his if he ever sold it. Well lo and behold; two years later, I have a new, old tent! It needs a bath, and a few spot welds, but besides that it is just perfect. I’ll get years and years out of it, and may even be able to sell it again when I’m done with it.

The first night in AC we stayed at Resorts. I wish the beds were more comfortable, but it is in a nice location right on the boardwalk. We explored the new Pier at Caesars (the AC equivalent of the Forum Shops, minus the prostitutes) and got to walk around quite a bit. The casinos were pretty quiet- just the way we like them. Only time they are ever quieter is the day before Christmas. Tuesday we stayed at the Marina, but spent all of our time and money at Borgata. I’m sure the Marina won’t offer me a free room ever again.

Wednesday on the way home we stopped in at MLAC and helped get the show ready. C was the muscle of the operation, stacking and carrying all sorts of stuff. We stopped at Ikea as well, and picked up more stuff for the bathrooms and another book shelf for my shop.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Like usual it was a day filled with getting ready for Chriskindlemarkt: lots of packing, going and setting up, and figuring out how to lay out the display. We had gotten a boneless turkey breast and a bunch of sides from BJ’s. C didn’t like the squash but the sweet potato casserole more than made up for that. And it gives great leftovers.

Friday- Sunday: Chriskindlemarkt Week 1

November 13-19 Week 46

I started the week doing a good bit of my Christmas shopping for C. Mom and I took the day and went to the Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall, in NY down near the exit on the Thruway for West Point. J and I went last year and it was great to get a bulk of my shopping done so early, without having to stress over it during Chriskindlemart. Everything that I didn’t find or couldn’t get there will be bought online anyway…

Tuesday I drove home from NY, getting there in the early afternoon. The rest of the day was spent catching up on paperwork and reading all of my mail that had acquired while I was gone.

Wednesday I caught up on my homework and got the oil changed in my van. It was way overdue. I tried the dealership here in Emmaus rather than going back to where I bought it in Bethlehem. The experience was a trillion times better. The staff was more friendly, the waiting room was large, clean, and warm, and had coffee available. I’ll be a regular customer from now on for sure. I used to hate bringing the van in for an oil change, now it is just an inconvenience that has to take place.

Thursday: Well Thursday I got a wonderful notice in the mail that somehow I had forgotten to pay my PA sales tax for the previous quarter. Whoops that meant I had forgotten to pay my NJ sales tax too. Unfortunately that means that I didn’t get the credit for paying on time, it’s not much but I like to save as much as I can wherever I can. So I got that paperwork complete. I also went and got my hair cut. Pretty short so I can make it through the holidays with a pretty stress free existence. I also made some fizzys so that I could fill an order and I started conversations w/ A about buying his old tent.

Friday: I got those fizzys wrapped, ran some errands like the post office, and did tons and tons of homework.

Saturday: C decided we should take some time and start to redo our bathrooms in some cosmetic ways- new towels, new medicine cabinets, etc. We will be painting in January/February sometime so wanted to spiffy up the bathrooms anyway. So that meant we spent the day at Marshalls, Target, and Home Depot. We also went to the bank, stopped at the drycleaners, and did homework (well C did work at home and I did homework).

Sunday: I got the opportunity to watch the last NASCAR race of the year. I was pretty bummed that Jimmie Johnson won the cup. I mean, he deserves it, he has been close to winning it more than a few times, he’s just not my favorite driver. There is always next year. I just need to root for someone who will be running a full cup schedule since Mark Martin won’t be. I’m not sure who though. It’s tough to loose a favorite.