June 11-17, 2007 Week 24

It strikes me odd that no matter how “in tune” with my body I try to be, it typically sends me signals and hints that I either completely ignore or just don’t notice at all, until the hammer bears down on me and I get sick in some way. You would have thought that by now I would have learned that when I start to sleep bad I am getting sick, you would think that by now that I would have learned that when I start having nightmares I am getting sick… but nooooo, not I. It is only when my GERD gets in high gear and I feel as though my chest and shoulders are on fire, that I look back at the past week and realize that I should have seen this coming. See I am supposed to be on medication for this- everyday- well I HATE daily medication with a passion, so I don’t take it, until the pain and discomfort is too much to bear, then I take the medicine for a few weeks, until things calm down, and then I stop taking it again. A few months later I get sick, and then start taking my medicine again. It is an endless cycle that you’d think by now I would see the signs and head it off at the pass…. But noooooo, not me….

Monday: I ran the credit cards from the weekends show, mailed an order out, and did my typical errands (grocery, P.O., drycleaner, etc). I also had an impromptu lunch with B. We caught up on what has been going on and we sort of had a UWBW meeting to figure out what we are doing in the next few weeks. I updated my events calendar since I finally got accepted to a few shows I had been waiting to hear about.

Tuesday: I finished the laundry that I had started the day before, ordered stuff for my garden to try and keep the rabbits away (they love my lettuce). I did lots in the shop and learned my last batch of shampoo bars had separated (I guess I didn’t stir enough) and was just a big sticky mess that took me forever to clean up. I started to bake C his (late) birthday cake- Tres Leches. It’s a two part process where you bake the cake and let it cool, and then pour over it the three milk mixture and let it sit overnight. The next day you make the whipped topping for it. It is a cool, sweet, almost gooey, heavenly dessert.

Wednesday: I emptied the van, put away all the inventory, and did a count to see if there was anything that was low enough that I needed to make it. Nope--- that is how bad the spring has been, 7 shows and not one soap that had already sold over 100 bars. Yikes, its gonna be a lean year I think…I finished the Tres Leches cake, blogged, labeled products to log into inventory at Out of Our Hands and got the oil changed in the car and got it inspected and emission tested as well. Seems like I’ll need brakes soon, they passed, but I’ll need them in a few months for sure.

Thursday: I printed out some show apps that had been sent to me in order to file them, joined the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, because my insurance was lapping and getting it through them is cheaper, dropped off my inventory that I had ready to Out Of Our Hands, and cleaned up the house some. I also started to knit this sweater that I have been dying to knit. I got the back almost entirely finished, and so hope that I don’t run out of yarn… it will be close for sure…

Friday: C worked from home which is cool. I really like having him home all day and wish he could do it more often. I did my typical Friday errands and chores and I also downloaded new audio books for my dad. I put up the first rabbit fence in my garden (just three more to go, one around each planter) and we went to Lowe’s and Best Buy together later on in the day.

Saturday: We worked outside on the lawn. I edged the sidewalks and paths while C trimmed the trees. Later in the afternoon we went on a show hunting trek, where we go and check out possible craft shows for me to exhibit at the next year. We checked out the York Hot Air Balloon Festival. Nice festival, lots of people, no one buying, bad crafts, lots of imported merchandise, terrible layout of crafters and other vendors. No where I want to be next year for sure.

Sunday: I out together the grocery list and ran and got groceries for the week. I stick dinner in the crock pot and called my mom to check on her and to wish Rad a Happy Father’s Day. I napped through most of the NASCAR race but got to see Carl Edwards win (*niiice*), and later in the evening C and I put together my last raides bed and got it into place and filled with dirt.


June 9-10 2007 Great Grapes Wine Arts & Food Festival

Great Grapes Wine, Arts, & Food Festival, Cockeysville, MD

In a word: disappointing. But it was enlightening and educational. We left pretty early in the morning on Saturday and we had a relatively pleasant drive to Maryland. Getting to the show was easy and it was pretty easy to get in next to our booth and to set up. Unfortunately a storm had blown through the night before and there were many, many tents that sustained quite heavy damage. As the morning progressed more and more people came to set up and of course we were put next to a real jerk. I mean, he was nice to us, but he treated the young girls that worked for the promoters like crap and really was just a nasty little fellow. Luckily C was with me. I really think if it was just me and K the situation would have been different, especially since he totally ignored me and only talked to C on Saturday. The show opened and the people came. I was amazed how many people actually came to the show, I mean, it was north of Baltimore and also hot out and sort of expensive to get into, $20 for entrance and a tasting glass. Well now… one thing about Maryland and this wine show that I had never seen before- the sale of full, chilled, bottles of wine. Let me tell you there was quite a bit of intoxication going on and because of the heat most people just sat in the shade with their bottle, rather than walking around and taking in the rest of the show. Sales for the day were depressingly low and I really thought about going home, but we were so far in the hole, C talked me into staying to see if sales on Sunday would dig us out any.

That night C got us a room using rewards points and he was super disappointed in the service we got. He actually called to complain, that’s not like him. We had dinner at a fat food taco place that was pretty good. The bed was comfortable and clean and I got a pretty good nights sleep.

Sunday in the morning we found a bagel place and ate before going to the show. We also picked up sandwich stuff from the grocery store because the food at the show really left something to be desired, it was not good at all. C also did some wine tasting on Sat and he couldn’t find any good wine either! But the sales were better on Sunday. It was almost a different show. It seemed the day pulled in a totally different demographic with older and more sophisticated customers. I had a in depth discussion about soapmaking and its chemistry with a young man who really wanted to show me up with his knowledge, but was let down by his lack of ability to follow through. I learned of a few shows in Maryland that I have been told were good and got applications to a few others that I know nothing about but need to do some research on.

I learned a few really important lessons: 1) there is a thing as “too drunk” to buy. Usually alcohol loosens the wallet, but this show cost so much there was little left over for people to spend on crafts. 2) these shows are different: typically a good rule of thumb at a craft show is that your Sunday sales will be ½ of Saturday, but with this on Sunday was almost double Saturday. So I am glad that I didn’t tear down and bolt. At least I squeaked by with enough sales to break even. 3) its not my imagination, good shows are getting harder and harder to come by and I am going to find many, many, more bad ones than good ones. So I need to chill out and be happy with breaking even and be glad that I am not loosing more money learning about these shows. 4) I need to research first hand. I don’t have many weekends without shows but when I do I need to go out and check out ones that I am interested in doing. I don’t have to check out dozens in a weekend, but one or two of the most interesting would be good.

June 4-9 2007 Week 23

The week itself was tiring and emotional at times. I don’t know what has been going on with me but I have had this overwhelming sense of dread that something bad is looming on the horizon. C has been busy at work and is tired and we are falling into the habit of just spending the evening eating at watching TV. I don’t want this to be our legacy, the way that we live day to day, but I am a loss on how to change it right now. I tend to internalize it when I think he is unhappy and blame myself. I’ve been sleeping badly, having terrible nightmares about C, and in general just having a hard time getting and staying motivated about anything at all.

Monday: The good news was that the NASCAR race had been delayed due to rain so I got to watch the race while doing a bunch of other stuff. I’m only a few weeks away from getting my soap inventory complete for most of the year so the day was filled with making soap, cutting soap, putting soap away and doing inventory after the weekend’s show. I also went to the bank and the post office, did some accounting, mailed an order, logged, updated my mailing list, EBayed, paid bills, and started cleaning my closet & rearranging winter/summer clothes.

Tuesday: U updated my calendar, called a promoter about a show, went to the grocery store, did my usual household chores, started doing paperwork for a show, and broke my new tent. What a day it was... In the morning I set up the tent so it could be hosed off and then dried out and then folded and put away properly. I went inside for just a few minutes and a wind came by, blowing it upside down, bending a few rafters. I had to order new parts, but that was after I freaked for a while. I talked to C, I talked to B, and I just really let the last few weeks of tiredness and dread fill me and consume me for about an hour or two. The good news was that the gentleman who was letting me borrow the tent decided to sell it to me and for a good price.

Wednesday: It was a day of errands, Home Depot, target, bank, post office, and then lots of making & cutting soap. I got good news; the promoter I have been trying to get a hold of finally let me switch shows from a July show to a November show. This means I’m no longer double booked for a weekend, and I have filled a weekend in November with a potentially good show. Besides that I just did paperwork and tried to determine exactly when I am setting up for some upcoming shows, etc…

Thursday: I went over to Out of Our Hands and did an inventory and determined what I need to label and bring over to fully stock my area. Wow, I really let that get farther down in inventory than I had planned on. I need to get over there more often and keep it better stocked for sure. I finished mowing for C and made lots of soap.

Friday: I had a terrible migraine. Not surprising since they tend to be tension/stress induced for me. I did some labels for Out of Our Hands and did some of my typical chores. I also got the van packed with displays and inventory before I just had to lay down for the rest of the day.

Saturday & Sunday: Great Grapes Wine, Arts, & Food Festival.


June 2-3, 2007 Chester NJ Spring Craft Show

This show is a prime example on how a show can be great for one crafter in one medium, but not be all that great for another in anther medium. But first let’s talk about the positive…

Set up was great… It was easy to get into our space, the promoters knew exactly what they were doing and never let too many cars into the same area at one time. We made it out before the rain hit too. Our neighbors on one side were there setting up too and they seemed like really nice people. There were more tents set up already than I had expected but they were all in nice shape and everything looked very professional.

Saturday: It was easy to get in and drop off things near the booth before going to park. Parking was easy and well directed as well. The staff are all in constant radio contact and are very good at giving directions. There was a line at the gate even before the show opened and there were donuts and coffee for the exhibitors. Staff checked on you at least once during the show and getting out for the night was also easy and painless…

Sunday: Once again, simple parking and when the rain came the show was closed early so everyone could get out easily and safely. Direction to your booth so you could tear down was great and we got right next to where we were located. It was easy to get out and as we left we got lots of thanks and even a handful of chocolate candy…

Now for the not so good….

Friday: after set up was done the rain came and came hard. C and I stopped at one of my favorite places to eat, the Clinton Station Diner and picked up some desserts to go… yummy…Traffic was less than pleasant due to the rain and a spot of construction on I78 really slowed the drive home down…

Saturday: Other than the fact that sales were much slower than expected there was nothing all that bad. It was oppressively hot and humid, with very little breeze. I saw that most people at the show had bought something, because mostly everyone was carrying bags, just not buying soap. The day started out strong and I was hopeful, but it fizzled and I left disappointed.

Sunday: C came with me to the show and at least it wasn’t as hot and there was more wind. The rain projected for the previous evening had missed us completely, so we had put away the entire product for naught. The rains came around three, closing the show two hours early and we had yet another tear down in the rain. The drive home was filled with drama, as I78 was closed due to a horrific accident which killed 2 and sent 11 others to the hospital, this meant that the other highways were jam packed and we ended up taking 2+ hours to get home from a typically 1 hour trip.

This is one of those shows where even though sales were not as brisk as I would have liked, the experience of the show itself was pleasant (till the rain) and I may try the fall show in this location in 2008.

May 28-June 3, 2007 Week 22

Well the major updates from last week are that B is fine. The did some CAT scans looking for an embolism and decided that she was dehydrated, that her potassium was low, and that the fumes got to her. I also met up with a few crafters at this week’s show- two of which had lost their booths- their big heavy booths. They said that the winds gusted at 60 mph. Good thing I held on tight.

Monday: I counted sales from the weekend, ran my credit cards, did my inventory, and started drying my tent out. Since we were supposed to be at Mayfair but weren’t we had the day to relax as well. C helped my out tremendously by hosing mud off my Rubbermaid containers and helping me with the tent. We also did laundry, watched TV, and knitted.

Tuesday: I had an interesting phone conversation with Cambridge Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals. I remember being in the Who’s Who of American High School Students as a child and even then I thought it was sort of hokey, but it made my family happy, and they bought a book with my name and bio in it, and it seemed sort of spiffy. So a few weeks ago I got a thing in the mail asking me to apply for the Executives and Professionals version. I filled out the info and they called me to “interview” me to see if I fit their criteria…. Then the interviewer went on to recite an obviously scripted sales pitch- to join as a “lifetime member” and to be published in the book every year till I die is only a mere $795… but wait, I could do it for only three years for $595… still too much? How bout one year for $395… what, still not buying??? How could that be? OK, I’ll extend to you a rate we typically reserve for non profit organizations $199 for a year… Nope that’s ok, I’m fine without the prestige, but thanks for the interview…

So the rest of the day that I wasn’t on the phone with Cambridge, I still was working on getting that darn tent clean and dry. I made samplers, mailed stuff I sold on ebay, put supplies away, blogged, did my typical Tuesday household chores, ordered C’s birthday gifts (Can’t tell you what they are in case he reads this…) and went to the grocery store.

Wednesday:: The tent is finished… just three more days before it gets wet and dirty again…I gardened, mowed, fed the birds, vacuumed, cleaned the house, and the dude from Lowe’s came in to FINALLY put up the last of our blinds. Sure glad that fiasco is over…

Thursday I packed inventory for the upcoming show, while packing I came across what I call the “grey tub”- this is my Rubbermaid container filled with all the needed stuff for EVERY show—and it was a mess, because I just tossed everything into it, so I had to clean and reorganize that, I finished updating my mailing list and cleansing it of dupes, I filed a little (not enough), wrapped soap on a rope, washed my table covers (they were gross) and gardened some more…

Friday: Post office , packed van, washed the covers for my directors chair (too gross to sit on after the mud from last week), did my Friday errands and chores, and then went and set up for the show (more in another post…)

Saturday: Chester Spring Craft show.. I packed the last of the things I needed for the show into the van, packed lunch, printed out directions, and picked up K for the day. When I got home I checked my garden and my cherry tomato plants must be happy because I have my first little yellow flower—I’ll be eating cherry tomatoes for snacks in just a few short weeks!

Sunday: Second day at the show….too tired to do anything else really…