May 21-26, 2008 Mayfair Festival of the Arts

May 21 was set up night. We were supposed to arrive before 5pm, pick up a packet with our booth location and then set up. There was no one there with a packet when we arrived. We waited about 5 minutes and then I drove back home to get my information I had received just to be sure I hadn’t messes up on the times. When we got back to the park there was still no one around. C called the main number , we were given our space number, and were told our packet would be brought to us within the hour. I can tell you I never saw a packet that night, and I was worried that this was not going to be a good sign of things to come.

May 22 The show started at 4 pm and the information I had said that cars would not be allowed in the park after 9 am. So I packed my rollie cart ready to haul some extra stuff in the long way. When I arrived the place was full of cars. So I pulled in, finally got my packet, and dropped off stuff to my booth and then went to park. I didn’t know that Thursday was the free night so I was worried about C being able to come in to help me when he got home from work (since I just got my packet and passes today and wouldn’t see him before the show start.) So we can chalk this up to miscommunication for the festival #3… boy I hope the rest goes better than this…..

May 23 Again the show started at 4 pm. The night was chilly and breezy but sales were brisk as well.
May 24 Still a little chilly but no rain. The crowds were really out this year and I think the smaller number of crafters really helped those of us who were there make some money. Less options means less competition for the few dollars that people have to spend these days. I have been noticing the past few years that I am doing better at shows with fewer crafters. I think that is because there is only a finite amount of disposable income right now and whereas before I needed to really just compete with other soap makers for the dollar, now all crafters are competitors for this small pool of dollars people plan on spending when the come to an event. I also noticed fewer credit cards being used, which is great for me, less fees, but it keeps people from going over their budget as much because they are more aware of their purchases when using cash.

May 25 the weather was still holding out and getting nicer. The sales were strong and I just enjoyed the whole day. Still not that many credit card sales and although I think average sales were lower, the higher attendance and more people buying really evened it out for me in the enc. It seemed to me when looking at peoples bags and talking to them there were spreading out their money more- smaller purchases at a few stands rather than one or two larger purchases.

May 26- a beautiful day. I should have worn shorts. Sales were OK, not as good as the last three, but certainly nothing to sneeze at. Plus with the holiday I don’t think there were as many people there than on the past three days and the show ended two hours earlier as well and really started winding down around 6 pm when some of the vendors with larger set ups started to tear down a little early.

All in all my sales were just about double than last years and I think that although the show is changing from fine arts to crafts, it is getting better attended overall. Some old time vendors can complain about the quality of the artists going down, but I have to say that I think what is there now is OK. Certainly it has room for improvement, but that will come with time and maybe last year was this shows rock bottom and it is on the upswing. I certainly enjoyed it more than I have in many years and have the sales to follow that thinking. I’ll be back next year now, no hesitation, no looking for an alternate show. It isn’t a “best” show for me, but a few more years like this and it will be.

May 18-24 2008

Sunday was the Arbutus Arts Festival, a rainy day with a long drive home

Monday-Wednesday- I kept up with my schedule of soap making and made lots of soap. I am getting to the almost done point and am watching the fragrance names be scratched off the list one by one. Just a few more weeks, then a three week break while everything cures and I get some final inventory counts and then back to making soap in July. Those three weeks will be filled with making bath salts, much asked for lip balms, and getting bath fizzys labeled. Wednesday night we set up for Mayfair.

Thursday and Friday mornings I made more soap (two more scratched off the list) and then went to the show.

Saturday I actually got one batch done before I left and then worked the show all afternoon.

A week filled with crock pot meals and long, long days. Monday K came to work and we got some filing done. I have this huge pile of a few years worth of stuff that needs to be put where it belongs. We finished my dad’s stuff. Now just mine needs to be finished. Wednesday before the show I went and saw H and picked up some pieces to photograph. There is a guy who is interested in putting the works in his gallery so they need to be inventoried before leaving the workshop.


Teppan Hibbachi Steakhouse- my heroes!

I live in Emmaus, PA. The closest restaurant that offers sushi is just down the road a few minutes. A1 Japanese Steak House on Lehigh Street in Allentown. I go there a lot, I would say on average twice a month and in the summer, even once a week. It has never been the BEST sushi around, just close, and affordable with pretty good service.

Until now….

K and I went the other day for a bento box for lunch. I ordered a Sushi and Sashimi Combination plate. It came with a California Roll. So I asked the waitress if I could substitute a tuna roll. She said no. I explained that I am allergic (I use allergy- it is easier to understand than intolerant) to an ingredient in the fake crab (krab) and that I can’t eat it. Could she please check for me, or send over a manager. I then went on to explain that I would be happy to pay more for the tuna roll.

So she left, walked to the back of the sushi bar, spoke with the sushi chef, pointed at us, and then came back and said “no”. What??? I explained it is an allergy issue… (krab has gluten in it because it contains wheat and it makes me ill), I offered to pay more, and we were one of only two tables in the entire restaurant.. and the answer is “no”?????

So I told her to cancel our orders and that we would be going someplace that could accommodate my dietary needs. The roll of her eyes was enough to push me over the edge to never go back again.

So we took the longer drive to Teppan Hibbachi Steakhouse off of Cedar Crest Blvd. I ordered the same thing and asked for a tuna roll instead and no krab in the dish. No problems! At the end of the meal the waiter actually noticed I did not use soy sauce. I explained I can’t eat wheat (which is in the soy sauce) and that it is in the krab too. I was told to come back anytime and they can accommodate me- no Krab! And I didn’t even have to offer to pay more. So now even though the drive is longer, and the prices a little higher (but the food is much better) this is my official new sushi place for life. See how easy it is to win a customer, and one who will blog about how wonderful you are too!

May 11-17, 2008

This week was a blur…. I made LOTS of soap… and, and. and I went to S’s for sewing circle. It was fun to see the ladies again, it had been a while. I met with B on Thursday to talk about our goals for the next two weeks, one of which for me is to get the darn web site done. Somehow in the midst of deleting my site and installing the new one the shopping cart (which is supposed to be independent) went down too. Bugger.

It was a lot of clean up from one show and repacking for the next show. Lots of cutting soaps, making soap, cleaning crock pots and other pretty mundane things that need to get done in order to make inventory. I am on a schedule of inventory completion around June 12. We’ll see how close to that date I can come.

We had a few people come out to give us a quote on putting in a fence. Double what I expected. It will be a while before we get the fence. And then a while till we get a dog because I’m not getting a dog without a fence.

I think I like these weeks of boring drudgery. At least I feel accomplished.

May 18, 2008 Arbutus MD Arts Festival

I was worried about this show, it was a week or so before and I still hadn’t gotten any information about my location or set up...nothing…

Then an e-mail, that information was soon to follow, that it had taken too long to get some things from the printer.

And when it arrived… the surprise… in order to be able to pull the van near my space I was going to have to arrive at 5:45 in the morning. What??? The show starts at 10 am!!

So I e-mailed, what in my biased opinion was an eloquent letter asking what my options were if I didn’t arrive at 5:45 am. I explained that I had a 2:45 hour drive that morning and that really set up took me no longer than 2:00 hours and that leaving at 3 am to get into my booth space two hours or more before I really needed to was, well, a waste of some good sleep.

And they were WONDERFUL! Both an e-mail and a follow up phone call to explain that I could park near my booth in parking lot and then haul my stuff, not too far (across the street) to my booth. Fabulous!

So we arrived around 8:00 am and low and behold, to our surprise (and obvious dismay of other crafters who had arrived at 5:45 am) we were even allowed to pull in next to our space and unload. Which we quickly and quietly did.

Set up was fast and simple. Good music was being played in the intercom. Fun, lively songs, most of which I knew the words to (and this will come back to haunt me later…)

We walked around, the show is pretty large, I recognized a few other crafters who came from pretty far away. There were a few candle makers who had some soaps (in varying amounts and types) but I was the only soap maker who makes only soaps & toiletries.

Sales started around 9:30 am and continued steadily till 12 noon. When the heavens opened and poured forth with rain, lots of rain….

With no sales for 2:30 hours, the radar still showing rain, and an impending 2:45 hour drive home, we packed early. (Not as early as our neighbors and many, many other vendors) and started home. Our drive became longer due to rain and traffic. Dinner was a salad from a McDonalds that had worse than usual customer service. We made it home around 8:00 pm. Tired.

Sales were good, in just a few hours I made ½ of what I wanted to make all day. Bet this is a great show when it doesn’t rain. I’ll try again next year.

Oh, and did I mention they gave all the vendors a commemerative cup. Its plastic and yellow, but more than I get from shows that cost 5x more and last 10x as long...

And that CD I liked during set up... it was the only one they played all day. Over and over and over...I still have "Lime and the Coconut" stuck in my head.


I was tagged....



3. WHAT IS THE LAST FILM THAT YOU SAW AT THE CINEMA? I honestly don’t remember

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWs? Criminal Minds, Top Chef, Bizarre Foods




8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CD? The soundtrack to Twin Peaks

9. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE? Chrysler Town & Country

10. FAVORITE SANDWICH ? Lebanon Bologna


12. FAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING? PJ pants my mom makes for me



15. FAVORITE HOLIDAY ? does my birthday count?


17. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY? About 4 years ago, C was away and B made me dinner & cake at her mom’s house and I gotto eat with her grandmother


19. FURTHEST PLACE YOU ARE SENDING THIS? The stratosphere- it is the Internet

20. WHO DO YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? I don’t expect any answers


22. FAVORITE SAYING ? Does that make sense?




26. PETS? 3 cats

27. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US? Dad just moved in a few months ago



30 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? The bananas in Runts


32. WHAT IS A DAY ON THE CALENDAR YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO? October- maybe we’ll go on vacation

33. WHAT IS YOUR NICK NAME (S) Privit, and Baby, just to name a few

35. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Gluten free pretzels dipped in peanut butter

36. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? sometimes



39. FAVORITE SOFT DRINK? Kutztown Ginger Beer


41. SIBLINGS? A few steps, a few not so steps

42. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? Last day of shows for the year

43. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? Winnebago toy RV and Strawberry Shortcake Dolls


45. HUGS OR KISSES? kisses




49. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Last night while watching a TiVoed CSI:NY



52. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? Drove home from a show in Baltimore, checked my e-mail, watched some TV, went to bed

53. FAVORITE SMELL? welding











May 10-11, Historic Downtown Bethlehem Fine Arts & Crafts Show

Saturday started out as a grey, overcast, cool day that continued to threaten rain most of the day. Set up was easy, getting there was hard because of all of the roads that were closed. Although the paperwork said that Main Street would be closed during the show, the exit from the Hill-to-Hill Bridge to Main Street was closed much earlier, forcing us to find an alternative route. Luckily, being local, this wasn’t too difficult, but I could certainly see where if you came from afar, this could be totally frustrating.

C helped me set up and then went home for a bit and came back later with my dad. Sales were on par with last year, but the show seemed slow. This sometimes happens when the overall sales are more money but you have less of them to fill the day. I knitted some more tawashi and sewed in the ends of a few washcloths too.

Sunday started out with beautiful weather but turned windy and bitter. C dropped me off in the morning and came back in the afternoon in order to hold down the tent all day. I wasn’t really worried about it blowing away, it has really heavy weights on it, but if it gets blowing too heavy it will skitter across the concrete, bending legs and other parts as it goes. There was quite a bit of crashing sounds from both ends of the show and I know of at least two tents that got damaged in the wind. I will take a rainy, gray day over a sunny windy one any time.

Sales were strong and I did better this year than last year. Up about a ½ day of sales. Sunday’s sales were better than Saturday’s which was odd and different than last year, but I expect some of that was due to the impending rain on Saturday.

My only complaint was booth placement. I was in just about the same spot last year, right in front of the Hotel Bethlehem. Last year there were fewer crafters in this area so there was less traffic going between the tents to get to the sidewalk, or the hotel entrance. There were two weddings that day so I felt bad for the brides who arrived just to see EZ-up tents in front of the beautiful hotel. Bet that ruined a few photo ops. My biggest thing is that the entrance to the hotel has a cover, a small roof, which is flat and collected the water from the rain, and when the winds picked up, it blew off the roof, onto C, into the tent, onto the sidewalk, everywhere. They really just shouldn’t put a tent where mine is and give everyone lots of room in and out of the hotel and onto the sidewalk.

But this makes 4 shows for the year: 1 bad, 2 good, 1 terrible.

May 4-10, 2008

Sunday- Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Show
Monday- Main Line Arts Center pick up, grocery store (Trader Joe’s), Target, Joanne Fabrics,
Tuesday- Friday- Gosh, what did I do? I know it had a lot to do with packing and unpacking the van in order to get ready for the Downtown Bethlehem Show. I got the shop clean and ready to be worked in again. This included getting some soap made- shampoo bars mostly. I started working on the web site and finally forced myself to get it done by changing over to the new template and making it just look so awful that I have to work on it or it will drive me crazy. Sometimes this is the best form of motivation for me, just having something so bad it has to be worked on, rather than languishing in mediocrity.
Saturday- Downtown Bethlehem Craft Show


Happy Birthday to me...

Today I am 34…

Where did the time go, just 10 years ago I was 24. I was just 3 years out of college. I was either in Las Vegas or Florida. Getting or just gotten married (not to c btw). And entering a pretty dark period of my life.

Now I am 34. I am happy. I am healthier than I was at 33 (6+ lbs lighter). I am the happiest I have been I think ever. I have connections with my family so strong that my dad actually lives with us when he is home on the weekend. I have a small but strong and stable circle of friends. My life is normal, and sometimes a little boring but I like it.

I make soap for a living, traveling to craft shows in PA, NY, NJ and MD mostly. I have a wonderful husband now who supports what I do, most often traveling with me on the weekends. He has a great job and I am blessed to have little stress about money- he does all the stressing. He sees me in ways I do not see myself. To him I am beautiful no matter what I look like- chubby, tired, puffy, angry, anything… My biggest blessing is that he sees me in ways that I cannot see myself, and in this he gives me a glimpse of what I am, what I can be.

I knit as a hobby and have found wonderful cyber friends through Ravelry. I love having the ability to make, to have my hands on something tangible, to see something that only exists in this world because I made it so.

My mom has just started crafting herself- she is making wonderful plush animals. We will go to her first craft show this September and now we have even more to talk about- the great but silly crafting world.

B and I are best buddies. We support each other through highs and lows, personal and professional. She is my go to girl, my big sister I never had.

J is my soul sister. We connect on so many levels, we shared a childhood and this magically transformed itself into the realm of adulthood. We don’t pander to each other, we don’t have to entertain each other, we don’t dwell in the past- we celebrate the future and get each other through the present the best we can.

S is my new friend. We are both crafty and she is witty and beautiful and all that I would like to be if I ever became a mom. Along with her has come the “sewing circle” E,E,M,&R mostly, a circle of opinionated, talented, loving, strong, and gentle women who every week we meet teach me something about them, something about the world, and something about me.

There is A, I don’t see her often, but she is funny, and young, and inspiring, and so easy to be proud of.

And the other A- who is my virtual friend. Who pumps me up when I am low, who reads my blog even when we don't have time to catch up, who takes time to see me when I am near, and time to e-mail when I am far. She is a blessing my business has brought me- a customer turned friend.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, there is K. My friend, my little sis. How such a young body and mind can harbor such an old soul amazes me every day. She teaches me so much about myself. I see my mistakes and try and keep her from making them, she shows me her triumphs and I get to celebrate with her. I can only hope that I am being a good influence. She makes me want to be a better woman so I can be a better role model, a better mentor to her.

Here is thanks to all of my blessings, that the next year shall be better than the last, and that I shall work to be a better person. It is nice to be 34.


This would be a fitting end...

So I will admit... I have always wanted to be cremated when I am dead and gone. But I also understand that really what I want is a useless thing.. it is what my family NEEDS that is the most important. So, if my loved ones NEED a grave to visit, so be it, do with my hollow shell what you wish, for it is useless without my soul, my spirit, and is nothing but an empty vessel once I have passed on.

But as a soap maker- a person who has a healthy awe and respect for sodium hydroxide-lye- because I use it ever day in the process of making soap, I think I have found how I want to be, well, disposed of....

Dissolve my body with lye. Yep.. it is the new idea in mortuary science. The process has been used to...well..dispose of... animals and human cadavers used for scientific purposes for years. It is cleaner than cremation- no carbon emissions, no mercury from my fillings- plus there is still enough bone left to return to my family in an urn, should they want it. But the rest of me, well it would be flushed down a drain. And although this sound gross, it would be no more dangerous than regular human feces waste, and much better than the blood and embalming fluid that goes down the drain during the process that we use now.

Yep, that is it, that is my decision, dissolve me with lye. And if the process isn't legal by the time I pass.. donate me to science...


May 4, 2008 Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival

For all that was wrong with the Lebanon PA show, all was right with the Chestnut Hill show. First, I will admit, I had never been to Chestnut Hill, I had no idea how cute and posh this place was, with the cobblestone streets and the great boutiques and restaraunts, just a fabulous place to go and hang for a day, window shopping and noshing. About halfway through our day C and I both commented on how we would love to actually attend this festival, rather than vend at it, and honestly, that is something that rarely happends to us, usually we are happier behind the tables.

Set up was hurried but easy. The street is narrow so it is important to get unloaded and get out ASAP. There was one other soapmaker there (as far as we could tell after walking around) and they were Philly locals, and close enough that we could see eachother's booths too. The set up is on cobblestones, so by the end of the day my feet and legs killed me from standing on the uneven ground. Next year I need to rember to bring a piece of plywood to stand on, at least a small one should help.

The show starts late in the morning- 11 am and goes until 5pm. So we even got to sleep in a little comparable to other shows. The drive was only about an hour, not too far at all and was easy to find too.

After we got set up we walked around- lots of food from local eateries, great artists and crafters, plants for sale, and a real feeling that the local shops embrace this festival- many had tables out front and sales going on. So many times when I do a show like this it feels as if the local businesses resent it because it takes away from their business for the day- this one was really embraced by the local business- they became a part of it, made it better, and really used it to highlight waht they have to offer too.

It is typically a good sign when my first sale for the day is even before the show offically starts and that is how the day started. It was steady all day, not too many credit card sales, lots of people took flyers and asked questions, I got a few inquiries about wholesale, and the weather was beautiful on top of it.

I always have numbers in my head- what is a "good day" what is a "great day" etc. they change for every show, but I was only a few dollars off from a "good day" of sales, and only a few dollars off from my "guess the sales" projection. And honestly, the atmosphere of this show is one that can make up for some lower sales, although this year it didn't need too.

May 3, 2008 Lebanon PA Spring Crafts Festival

I have participated in this show before- I am not sure when- it was PB (pre-blog) so honestly I had no real memory of the show itself. I wondered for quite a while while I was sending in the application if I had even done it before. It wasn't until I got the acceptance letter that I was sure that I had in fact particpated in the show before- see there is this thing about hooking up electricty into the lightposts on the side of the street- whiche I remembered from years past.

So now that I rembered doing the show, I started to remember why I didn't continue doing the show. From what I could recall it wan't bad, just that I had found another more reliable, more profiatbel, two day show to do that same weekend. When that "more reliable" show started to become less reliabe, I once again was on the hunt for a show or shows the first weekend in May, which brought me back to trying Lebanon one more time.

So we arreived and the day was damp, cold, and threatening rain. We set up easily, the booth was across from a parking lot, where we left the car, so if the heavens did open up and rain upon us, we would have quick and easy access to a vehile in which to pack our stuff up into.

After getting set up, C and I walked around. We like to play a little game called "guess today's sales". This is based on our overall impression of the town/location, the other vendors setting up, the types of food vendors present, etc. What I can tell you is that we concured on a number, and that we guessed high- about 30% too high.

The show started and we froze, it was so bonechillingly damp that C spent some time in the van just trying to warm up. It got a little better in the afternoon and the last 3 hours of the show is where I actually made money above and beyond my booth fee. The overall pace of the show was so slow that when we got home I was actually surpised that I sold as much as I did.


May 1, 2008 Main Line Art Center

Thursday I worked all day at the Art Center. This gave A the chance to get to some meetings and get some important work accomplished. The day wasn’t eventful or all that busy. I got inventory for the last few days of sales completed, and I got some more fliers folded. All the artisans that volunteer their time came on time and worked really hard to give the customers a great experience at the show. They help explain the items, they help people check out, try things on, etc. It can be fun to volunteer your hours or it can be boring- depending on the time and day. But I think this day was pretty fun- steady but not swamped. I got home around 8 pm, did some stuff around the house and crawled into bed. I was tired- no days off really since before Merlefest. I’m not used to working this hard, LOL!

April 29, 2008 Opening at Main Line Art Center

Tuesday was my day at the Main Line Art Center to help set up for the show and run the opening night reception. I got down there bright and early because I still had to set up my stuff and H’s wood things as well. I got everything inside and then got whisked away to help A pick up food and wine and place lawn signs out to try and drive traffic to the show. My wonderful committee members got everything checked in and set up beautifully for me and when I returned to the center I helped fold fliers, and do other set up tasks. The opening reception went well, not as busy as I expected it to be but still good all the same. I made it home about 10 pm, tired and ready for bed.

The show itself looked great. There were lots of new artists and the ones who have been around for a while really seemed to have new inspiration and invigoration in their work. For me the show seems to be showing down in sales. I think I may need to take a few shows off from exhibiting. With the price of gas, my many trips down and back are becoming less and less profitable.

What Do You Do?

I make soap and according to this article from the NY Times cosmetics and perfume take up %0.3 percent of the average American's spending. This is down %0.4 from 2007.

Jewelry is also %0.3 of America's spending, but this is up %8.7 from last year.

As an artisan what you do-your art, will have a big impact on how this "economic slowdown" effects you.

If I am lucky, soap really falls into the Misc. Personal Goods category- only %0.2 of spending, but at least it is up %2.1. Since I have no idea based on this article, only time will tell I guess.


April 27- May 3, 2008

Sunday- Merlefest (see other post)
Monday- Travel from Merlefest (see other post)
Tuesday- Main Line Arts Center (see other post)
Wednesday- try and catch up- laundry, mail, orders, sleep, pick C up from the airport,
Thursday- Main Line Art Center (see other post)
Friday- Pack van for show, more catching up
Saturday- Lebanon Spring Craft Fair, dinner with dad (see other post)

Show season is in full swing and I have the next 4 weeks filled to the brim with things to do. This week felt like it was all about loading and unloading the van, again and again. Unloaded from Merlefest, loaded for MLAC, unloaded at MLAC, loaded back for Lebanon, etc… I sure do move stuff around a bunch. I bet my neighbors are baffled.

I think it is good though that I booked myself to just keep going. I can get depressed when something, some show, some lost wholesale account, anything, gets me down, making myself keep going week after week doesn’t give me time to reflect, think, or get blue about anything because something awesome usually happens the next week, sometimes just the next day.

Soapy Humor


April 28, 2008 Merlefest Day 6-Trip Home

We started the morning dropping C off at the Raleigh Durham airport so he could rent a car for his stay in NC. Then I programmed the Garmin and headed out. It was a rainy, grey drive and in some parts it rained pretty hard. It took this odd way from Durham, into Virginia and the across the state to I-81. It may have been easier to drive I-95 but I despise the Baltimore, DC, and Philly areas of that trip, so since I was alone I decided to drive the way I like (and try to hit a few yarn stores along the way).

It got really foggy- especially where my trip brought me onto the Blue Ridge Parkway- with all the signs that say to avoid that road in the fog! And then onto (I think) 43 with the signs that it isn’t recommended for RV’s or trailers (yet another good reason not to get a camper or trailer)- personally I wouldn’t have recommended that road for any vehicle larger than an ATV. What a wild ride. I should probably have my breaks checked next time I go in for an oil change.

Finally hitting civilization (or at least a decent road) I used the book B bought me for Christmas and tracked down a few yarn stores in Virginia that I wanted to stop at. One was closed- for good, the other closed for the day, so I ended up hitting The Yarn Basket in Coopersburg, PA. It was an awesome store and I bought J some yarn for soap savers and myself some angora that was on sale half price.

The whole trip took me about 10 hours and I got home tired and hungry. I ate, rested, read the mail, and fell fast asleep….

April 27, 2008 Merlefest Day 5- Last day of the show

The show was defiantly winding down on Sunday. I was hoping for a big end of day surge of sales, which never came. It rained more and just as we were finishing loading out it started to come down hard. Load out was pretty easy, C found a parking space nearby and we hauled some stuff to the van before we could get it in next to the booth. As usual there was someone with a big camper, blocking a bunch of spaces and complaining to us to move our van- which was parked perfectly in front of our booth, blocking no one.

Every year C and I discuss the possibility of getting a camper or getting a trailer to make the business easier- no more loading and unloading of the van, just leave all the displays in the camper/trailer. But then there are the people who feel they should have special treatment because they have this monster vehicle and they annoy me, and I decide that the best way of making sure I never become one of them is to just not get a monster vehicle in the first place. Although I do secretly harbor fantasies of getting a full sized Hummer and just intimidating may way in and out of craft shows. I think it would be great to paint it light blue (like water) and cover it in painted soap bubbles.

We got out of the show about 6 pm on Sunday and drove to Durham, NC. We tried to have dinner at a Texas Roadhouse but were seated near a huge loud party and our server was non existent, so C ate the bread they gave us as they sat us and we left and went to Honey’s. It was a great diner and I had breakfast for dinner before going back to the room and falling into a deep restful sleep.


April 26, 2008 Merlefest Day 4

So today it rains….close the booth, watch the water fill up to your ankles kind of rain. And the day was going so well…It was OK after the rain mostly sopped. It drizzled on and off till we left at 10 pm. I got sunburn on the back of my neck and on one arm- I look ridiculous! Finally breaking even on the show, so at least I can stop worrying about that. Dad called- couldn’t get the lawnmower started- stupid electric lawnmower! C noticed the areas finer architectural details- like why just about every property has some out building in such a state of disrepair that it should just be torn down… he made me laugh about that one.

It is hard to stay positive when you had such high hopes for a show. I find it depressing and it is hard for it not to set the tone for the upcoming season. So I hope I don’t seem to snarky or pessimistic, just need to get some things out of my head and onto paper so they stop banging around my brain. I want this blog to really show how I am feeling about things and how having your own business can be ups and downs. I think too many blogs seem all happy and fun- look at me I am a crafter- and I am more like- look at me I am a crafter and it can be harder than you think.

April 25, 2008 Merlefest Day 3

I find it amazing what you notice about a place on the third, fourth, or even fifth time you drive by it. So what is up with the prison with the Wal-Mart across the street? It used to be a much smaller Wal-Mart and the closed it, building a bigger one right next door. Doesn’t Wal-Mart sell guns? Isn’t it a bad idea to tell guns across from a prison? So many things go through my head, irate family or friends buying a gun and then trying to shoot their way in and out of the prison – in a true TV style prison break. How about the escaped con stealing his firearm for while he is out on the lam? Or the best, guards during an uprising running across the street to get backup from the gun & ammo manager and employees! Just the odd things that run through my head in the early morning…

Did I tell you I felt that there was a plethora of people form the Lehigh Valley buying my soaps? There was more….

What exactly is the fashion statement concerning the cammo shorts with tie dye shirts? Did you come to the festival straight from hunting, or do you plan on going straight there afterward? If you do, don’t forget to change your shirt or the only deer you will bag will be the hippy dippy ones:)

So the show on Friday was scary slow. We left again at 9pm. C says I can’t be over worried until Sat at 4 pm. That is when I can start to worry about breaking even. I was hoping that the sow would be so good that I could skip a few I had coming up- looks like not. The only place making money is the coffee stand behind me. There is a line 20 people deep from first thing in the morning till we leave at night, amazing!


April 24, 2008- Merlefest Day 2- First day of the Fest

I got to start the day having breakfast with a virtual friend “A”. I got to meet A years ago at Musikfest and to be honest she remembered me better than I remembered her. To me she was just one of the overwhelming number of customers that year. But she has an infectious personality and through the years as she has made orders and we have corresponded about other things, we have stuck up quite a friendship. I was more than pleased and more than a little honored that she would drive an hour from her home just to have breakfast with me before my show started. And it never ceases to amaze me how I can meet friends in such odd ways, how fate throws you together with people who are meant to be in your life. A is one of those people, sweet, charming, and darn funny, we connected in our philosophies on so many topics. I could have sat and happily spent the whole day with her, but alas, I had to leave to set up my booth and sell some soap….

The drive from the hotel was much closer to an hour than the half hour we expected. This changed our perspective on exactly how many hours we would stay open at the show.

Set up was very easy and I loved having the tent provided for me. No need to pack it. No time to set it up, and no need to worry about it blowing away! C left to get some ice for the cooler and for a moment I stressed, thinking that I forgot a box of display baskets, but I found it and all was right in the world. It was odd though, you “sort of” got electricity- you got one large light in the center top of your tent provided for you, but no electrical outlet. Glad I bought batteries for the cash register…

Sales were slow… scary slow…. So I started knitting Tawashi (got ten done) assembled flyers with their order forms (noticing a typo, hey only printed 500 of them!) I was between a shoe guy and a garden light guy- they didn’t do well either so at least it wasn’t me.

We could have stayed till 11 but were allowed to leave at 9. We were out of there at 9 and back to the hotel doe a good nights sleep.

I think I have learned that this big festival thing isn’t for me- I am all up for the local ones, but this travel so far away I don’t think is my cup of tea. Maybe 1 a year just to try something different, but I am not becoming a traveling vendor any time soon.

April 23, 2008- Merlefest Day 1- Travel

OK, So maybe not the wizard… but I am off to see new lands, experience new things, and hopefully sell some soap in the process…

The morning went well. I got the last of my pending orders out the door. I got the cats all taken care of- lots of food and water, plus dad will be home in a few days to restock them. I got my clothes packed and if I forgot anything I’ll just have to buy it when I get there.

Looks like I will be driving home alone. I need to drop C off in Durham for a business meeting. If I didn’t drop him off I would be literally dropping him at the Philly airport as we drove by it on the way home. So instead, Sun night we will go to Durham and Monday morning I will leave. I think I will be trying to make it a yarn crawl on the way home. I brought my map of yarn shops and the Garmin so it may just be fun to make a stop or two along the way.

Went to the Bethlehem book sale and came home with TONS of old knitting patterns as well as stuff for K- spinning books and books about wool. Also got my mom some sewing patterns too.

Around 2 we left, traffic was just fine for most of the trip, it was just at the end that we hit some construction, it took about 9 ½ hours to get to the hotel in Hickory. C remarked that he hoped that the attitude of the woman checking him wasn’t a sign of things to come. She was not nice at all.