12.30.2009

Water Water Everywhere...




Have I ever told you how much I LOVE this time of year. The craft shows have ended and I get to do a bunch of things that are time consuming but rejuvenating and inspiring. Today C and Dad took over and did some amazing things!

Today I got a new sink and a spiffy new faucet. It is a single deep stainless steel sink. I can actually fit a pot in it. And my faucet is the type you see fancy kitchens, the ones that have a sprayer and come up tall with a spring over the sink. (picture above). So now I can use the sink and fill up pots and plastic containers, etc all at the same time.....Whoo Hoo!!!

I also had the door removed to the kitchen part of the work shop. This allowed me to free up a wall where I could move the file cabinet and some pictures and cork board. I started to file labels and that sort of thing. Still have a few hours to go through show applications, etc...

I adore this renovation, moving, restocking, reorganizing, cleaning part of the year. It makes it all fresh and new again. I got new lights for the workshop, now it is bright and cheery rather than dark and cave like.

Now C and Dad need to fix the drain. I have water, but it has no where to go right now. They need to put in a garbage disposal and a new pump and then my sink will be complete and ready to rock! And I can stop cleaning molds in my kitchen sink, and get my kitchen island back too!

12.28.2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Monday after the show K and I spent a good portion of the day getting things put away and counted for inventory. I started to rearrange the workshop once again and try to get some things into places that make them easier to find/get to, and generally pick up (those heavy boxes on the top shelf have sucked!).

Tuesday and Wednesday C and I went to Atlantic City. We lost on the slots, but had some nice meals, got to sleep late, and saw Avatar in Imax 3D. Pretty impressive movie when it comes to the special effects and 3D. I think on the smaller screen in 2d I wouldn't have been as impressed or happy with the movie. 3D is the way to go and IMax for sure if you can too, well worth the price of the tickets.

Christmas Eve we came home in the afternoon to dad. He is decided that driving big rig isn't for him anymore and it is time for him to move on. Not sure to what yet, but until he figures that out, I'll put him to work in the workshop as much as I can.

Dad made a great meal for Christmas Eve- BBQ Pork Ribs and I made a loaded potato soup to go with it. Yum. Christmas day we all opened gifts and generally hung around and napped, ate, and slept. I knit some and tried to figure out how much more I need to do to finish my afghan. in case you wondered, the answer is lots---

The day after Christmas we went to see Sherlock Holmes. Pretty cool movie and Robert Downey Jr is getting handsome in his old age. Quirky cute in this role. Most movies I have seen on the big screen in ages. It was a nice treat. Stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things, came home and decided not to cook.

Yesterday I cooked a nice lunch and then C,K, and I went shopping. 4 hours in a mall. The most time I have been in one of those in probably 5 years or more. We got her a load of clothes for her new job and new school. They all look great on her and shouldn't be too hard to wash, I don't think anything needs to be dry-cleaned, just pressed by hand sometimes.

Today is lunch with B, and time to start in on cleaning the workshop. A little a day and it shouldn't take too long. Just lots of stuff to put away. Then to work on the January sale and get the web site updated for that. The work never ends even when I try to make it!

12.22.2009

The show is over...

The workshop is the emptiest it has ever been. This makes me happy (but a little stressed too). But it is time to enjoy time with family and friends. It is also time to think about changes for 2010 and to think about my show schedule, wholesale opportunities, and how to clean/rearrange the workshop to make it more efficient.

There were some wonderful milestones this show. Seriously. If you take it as four different shows (each weekend being its own) then week three is was my highest grossing craft show ever. If you take it as one big show (all four weeks together, which is how I think of it), then it was my highest grossing craft show ever. Sales were up by 25% over previous years. I have really been blessed.

Actually when I think of it it really still boggles my mind. It hasn't set in yet that I can actually go this spring without taking out a huge loan for supplies, that I have enough to pay the bills I need to pay, that I won't need to put off my student loans for the spring, or turn off my credit card processing, or the dozens of other things I have gone through in the past to make it from December to May. I can't run off for a cruise either, but there is a certain comfort level going into 2010 that I have lacked in past years.

For me 2010 will be the year of balance. I tried to get more balanced in 2009 and I think I have come a long way. But there were big changes here in the house, with lots of travel and new routines, and my dad being here. I want to take this level I have found into the next year. I think that I fell the happiest I have in a while when it comes to the whole of everything. I have always been happy at home in that part of my life, but other parts needed some love and attention and I think in 2009 I had that chance and I am going to continue that into 2010.

Like the t-shirts say..."life is good"

12.14.2009

Weekend three is over!!

And it was the best one yet!! I am above my projected sales and very happy with the way things are going. I haven't run out of anything yet so I am really happy that I pushed myself as much as I did right before the show. If I hadn't I would have been out of stuff for sure. But i am positive that some things will run out by the end of the show- Lavender soap and Shampoo bars are almost gone, as are Oatmeal Almond bath fizzys.

Thursday wasn't bad, it wasn't as good as last Thursday but it was much, much colder out so I think that kept people home and warm. Friday wasn't much better than Thursday, but it was even colder outside so it wasn't surprising. The wind was wreaking havoc with the show and the lights even flickered a few times. The tent was flapping in the breeze by me and the wind was freezing my feet. I brought in a foot warming pad (the kind that usually goes under desks) and toe warmers I bought at LL Bean. So although it was very cold in my booth, I was OK.

Saturday was about the same as last Saturday, which was very good. We had a lot of buses full of buyers. I really, really need to redesign my booth next year because my position in the booth is just a huge log jam of people trying to sniff and trying to pay. A bad choice that I will need to really think about next year.

But Sunday killed. I did great, almost as good as Saturday. That was a surprise to me. This was the day I finally started to think about running out of things and how I was going to rearrange and cope with that fact. I have run out of many fragrances of sachets too.

I have started to think about load out and how to get everything home in one trip. I think I need to bring home a bunch of stuff on Saturday night, a few displays, extra stock, and the cooler. So if you are thinking of coming to the show next Sunday- this is fair warning- I may be out of something you want before you get there:)

12.07.2009

Weekend 2 is done!

And I kicked some soapie butt! Sales exceeded my goals/expectations. Customers were so pleasant and happy. It was COLD in my booth a few times, but I survived with my leg warmers, double socks, and heating pad (and hat).

I get to spoil myself again since I did so well. I think this week I am going to get myself a garlic pot to store my garlic in, rather than the cereal bowl on the counter it is currently sitting in. Then I get my cereal bowl back to eat out of :)

I traded some soap for some hand spun BFL Ia really yummy yummy yarn) in bright yellows and greens. It is very happy yarn.

It snowed on Saturday but it didn't really diminish sales until the afternoon when things got sorta bad out and it slowed down and got cold.

I made a huge list of things to do on my "weekend" off (Monday-Wed) but I forgot it in my booth so I am trying to recreate it and remember everything I wanted/needed to do.

I have been proud of myself, I have been exercising on my days off and hope to keep it up after the show ends. I also have been trying to eat better too. Less chocolate (the horrors!) and more veggies.

My toe seems back to normal. It hurt like crazy over the weekend, deep in the foot, must of been where the nerve was pinched or something. But the feeling is back and the color is good, and I won't wear those shoes with two pairs of socks ever again.

I bought a pair of tights to wear under my pants to stay warmer, and put a run in them the first time I wore them. Had to get another pair so I can wear them with a skirt/dress and not look stupid.

Got almost all my Christmas shopping done and boxes have started to arrive. Just have a few more things to order tonight. We are trying to decide where we will be for Christmas/New Years. Maybe home, maybe Puerto Rico, maybe Orlando Florida. I have to see where dad will be over the holiday as well so we can make a decision.

I am really excited about 2010. i am ready to hit the ground running, make lots of inventory, and get things ready- like the web site, and some stores to sell at, and some home shows to do. This is the first year I can remember in a while where I feel invigorated rather than tired at the end of the year. I think this is a great sign of things to come.

12.02.2009

Back to work tomorrow

Well it is back to work tomorrow. Second weekend of the craft show. It has been raining hard all afternoon, so I hope that I don't have too much water in the booth. I will wear my duck boots just in case.

I have been getting lots done. Got the last soap out of the molds finally. Glad there was a bunch of small shaving soap, because that is selling really well. I also figure out how to get the molds I bought to release without destroying them in the process, it was an easy fix, and will save me lots of money in new molds in the future. It also opens me up to being able to so some soaps in different sizes, so that is something that I want to pursue in the next year. maybe sample sizes or hotel/guest soaps... not sure where to go with it.

My toe is still weird. better than it was the other day, but now it feels like I am walking on a blueberry that squishes every time I step down. It feels fat (and it isn't) and is just odd. But the feeling is certainly on its way back to normal.

S and I went to the Sands casino today in Bethlehem. Only the second time I have been there. I won $20. So since last time I was there I lost $20, I'm now even. It was fun to have lunch there and play a bit.

Got to go to the show early tomorrow and inventory and put out new stock. The empty boxes are starting to pile up here, If I have a few more good weeks, who knows what I will have to sell the last week. Lets hope that happens, I would love to just sell it all and start fresh next year.

12.01.2009

So much for a day off...

I got orders out and lots of other things done. Including some exercise , which according to my Wii is the first time in about 4 months.. that was depressing.

But the weirdest thing is that my tie is numb, I wore these shoes the other day and two of my toes went to sleep (I think the extra pair of socks made them too tight) and it is still asleep. No pins and needles, just an odd numbness, like it was wrapped in plastic or something. Too weird. Must of pinched a nerve or something. It just feels really odd in a shoe, like it is fat or swollen, but it bends fine and the color is fine so I don't think it is falling off any time soon...

It felt good to get almost caught up, probably need Tuesday to get completely caught up. But I did get to take a nap and go to bed early. Which explains why I was wide awake at 4 am today.

Off to keep myself motivated...

11.30.2009

Booth Picture 3


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Originally uploaded by PrivetKnits

Booth Picture 2


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Originally uploaded by PrivetKnits

Booth Picture 1


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Originally uploaded by PrivetKnits

Christkindlmart Weekend 1

Can I say it? Should I say it? Will it jinx the rest of the show?? I don't care, I'm gonna say it...

BEST WEEKEND EVAH!!!

Sales were phenomenal. I had wonderful repeat customers, and lots of new ones. I sold more sachets than I expected to and lots and lots of soap as well. Usually the next two weeks are my best, so I hope that this trend continues into next weekend.

I did well enough that I am splurging on a new bird feeder that I adore from a potter down the aisle. I also get up a barter for a shawl pin, just beautiful and perfect for the stole I am knitting now.

It all makes up for the fact that I have "Blue Christmas' stuck in my head. Must have heard it a half dozen times this weekend...

But all these sales means lots of work in the shop over the next few days. So I have to get going and get downstairs.

11.28.2009

Christkindlmart day 1

Pretty good show today. I got to see a lot of familiar faces and lots of new ones. I was surprised by the number of shaving soaps I sold and the number of bath fizzys as well. I am gonna run out of some of those this year for sure.

It was kinda cold out. Glad I had on extra socks and I need to get something to block the hole in the tent, especially because itis supposed to be mega windy on Saturday. I brought a heating pad to sit on that helps a lot, but then I don't want to stand up for anything...brrrr....

The stand it set up different than usual, so i have different space t work with. I found that I put the garbage bag too far away from me and I have no room to pack soap bags. i will need to move a few things around I think to give myself some more space. It always takes me the first weekend to settle in anyway..

Hope these strong sales continue. That would be great. On target for right now so that is all I can hope for.

11.24.2009

Set up is tomorrow

And I am doing GREAT!! My tummy is all better and I have lots of energy. C is helping by doing lots of the the shop dishes- cleaning molds and such, dad is cleaning the downstairs bathroom and wrapped fizzys for me, and I have made two batches of soap and gotten everything ready for the few things I need to do in the shop tomorrow morning.

Lots of laundry to do and cleaning yet. But I am blogging because it is on my list f things to do and I want stuff CROSSED OFF ASAP!!

Once I get done here it is on to vacuum the living room, moping, and cleaning the upstairs bathroom. Finishing the laundry, including the shop towels and the sofa covers, and then getting some packages together that need to be sent out.

Then on to pack the van and Jeep and truck for tomorrow. It will take us at least three cars to get most of the inventory and displays over to the show. A lot of this is lighting, rugs, and decorations that I don't use for any other shows but this one. Once noon hits tomorrow we are setting up as much as possible, that way we can relax Wednesday night and Thanksgiving as much as we can.

I feel good. Very accomplished and proud of myself. I have pushed hard and I have gotten a lot of work done and things prepared. I don't feel as behind as I have in previous years and I feel like I have done all I can in most areas. It is what it is.

Anyway, I'll update again tomorrow after set up, maybe with a few photos:)

11.23.2009

Two more days until set up...

With only two day until set up, there are plenty of things I need to do. But I am really happy with how much I have accomplished lately. I am running low on supplies and have made everything I can make when it comes to most products.

I only have a few last things on my list to do. I need to make some shampoo bars and shaving soaps, I have some bath teas to make, and some gift boxes of bath fizzys. I also want to make some soap on a rope. But these are all things that I can get to as the show goes on. Bath teas are done except for labels, gift boxes just need labels, I need to make soap still, but that is about all.

I am hoping that I will only have 3-4 hours of work tomorrow and the rest of the day I will be able to relax. Set up starts at noon on Wed and I will be there setting up. I figure 2 car loads Wed and 1 Thursday afternoon with the last of the stuff.

My stomach has been killing me and I think it is partially nerves and also some stomach flu sort of thing. I went without eating most of the day today hoping to starve it out, but then got so hungry I jut had to eat. So after being up half the night last night, we will see how tonight goes. Right now I am chowing down on Strawberry Peanut Butter M & M's. Sort of gross and delish all at the same time. Kind of depends on how many I shove in my mouth at the same time, and i am glad I only have a little bag of them, because if it was bigger I'd eat the whole thing and then I certainly would be sick to my tummy.

well, I am off. Going to try and put together a plan for tomorrow. Also plan on getting myself a nice glass of tea and a blanket. It is chilly in here!

11.22.2009

4 very busy days...

The 19th I had lunch with B. It was our last lunch of the year and we went over all the things we had accomplished during the year. Even with our busy schedules we still accomplished so much and came so far within this past year. I am very proud of us both. Then I drove to my mom's and cooked dinner.

Friday was a day with mom, it was restful and rejuvenating for me. It was just running around, having breakfast, and watching movies. I got to see my nephew for a little while. Such a cutie he is!

Saturday I had a home show at Becky M's. It went wonderfully! I hadn't done a home show in a while and I felt rusty and scared. It was great to jump in with a small group of ladies and in a place where I felt so comfortable and wanted. It went very well and I was extremely pleased with the entire adventure. After the home show I drove back home and dove into bed for a long night's sleep.

Today, Sunday, is one of the last days I can work in the shop before Christkindlmart starts. I made both lemongrass soap and bath fizzys. I usually go by my production schedule, but these last few days I am going with my gut and making whatever I think is going to sell.

I am worried about the set up later this week and don't feel ready. But I have to remind myself that I really have two days plus Friday morning to get things perfect. I am worried about lighting since I need to get all new lights and i am worried about floor covering, because I think I need some new rugs. I also am worried that some of the displays will fall into the background and I am not sure how I am going to bring attention to them. This summer I bought some great bath themed things that I hope to use in the display and make it more whimsical than usual.

There is still lots to do but I feel like I can get it done. Whew, wasn't sure it would happen!

11.18.2009

One more day closer

This time next week I will be spending the day setting up for Christkindlmart. So I have a bout a week left to finish everything on my to do list. I will be done with most of the soap, I may have to pour a mold or two of shampoo bars or soap on a rope.

I desperately want to curl up and do nothing today. back to sleep. But I have to clean the kitchen and the bathroom, clean up the work shop, wrap and make more fizzys. And send out a couple of orders I have gotten. Not to mention returning phone calls and emails and needing to get an order form fixed and printed out.

Lots to do today, gotta go start a list and give myself some focus. See where to start what what can go without being done.

OK, off to move the cat off mt lap and start that list...

11.17.2009

Finally.. Bath Fizzys

I finally got to making bath fizzys. I have always hated the process, but it wasn't so bad yesterday. It was sort of zen like. I would mix two batches of ingredients, and then bang out almost 30 of them, then go back and mix two more batches of ingredients. In between I would stir soap and pour it into molds. my feet hurt more than anything because of having to stand for so long, but I got 3 (almost 4) fragrances done. That still leaves me about 800 or so to make, but I still have about a week to go, so they all should be done, no problem!

I have these great tins that I am trying to decide what to do with. At first I was thinking fizzing bath salts- sort of like a combo of bath salts and bath fizzys, but then I thought they could be used to hold fizzys like a gift set. But then again three lotion bars fit as well... not sure what I will do here...

The good thing is that I feel as though I have lots to do, but I am not overwhelmed. I was a few days ago, and even yesterday I had a stomach ache that just wouldn't let up. But now I am feeling like I have a handle on things and that it is what it is. There is just not more time or hours in the day. Just gotta do what I can and be happy with it.

11.16.2009

The November Sale

What a great little show. Sales were strong, the other crafters/artisans were excellent. Wonderful people, wonderful setting. I almost wish sales were slower so I could have gotten to know my fellow artisans better- almost.

Load out was kind of a pain because the doors we loaded into were blocked by artisans on the way out so we lugged down stairs instead. We could have had the doors opened but we felt that by the time that was an option the stairs were just quicker than moving the car.

This show is invitation only, but I highly suggest if you get invited as an artisan, do it. and if you love craft and art fairs as a customer- this is one you have to track down next year. This show to me is like the Philly Folk fest- I will be here every year they invite me but because it is so small, there needs to be a high turnover of crafters to keep the public interested. It is the only way it will stay vibrant and growing.

On the way home a deer came out of nowhere and we hit it. Luckily no one was hurt (including the deer than ran off) and there was minimal damage to the car- just a crack in the bumper, and maybe one in the windshield. Overall for an encounter with a deer it wasn't as bad as I had expected. I figured the bumper would be crushed and the headlight smashed, but just a crack and deer dung to wash off. Guess we scared the poo out of the poor thing.

By the time we got home I was exhausted and sore. Took a few aspirin and watched some TV and then went to bed early after fast forwarding through the NASCAR Race. Looks like poor Mark Martin will come in second again, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Bummer, the man deserves it.

Well, got to get going. Lots to do today. Get more soap made, get bath fizzys made, get my shop cleaned up, fix up the web site some.. all the fun stuff. TTFN!

11.15.2009

Busy Few Days...

Friday I got up and kind of goofed off. I got the house clean for C to come home, which was important as the soap had taken over the house and the living room coffee table was being used to fill sachets- so there were bags, and soap, and more bags of soap everywhere. But it made a boring job less dull by allowing me to watch some TV while doing it. I actually watched some CSI:Miami which I had actually stopped watching because I had gotten to the point I just found it funny rather than entertaining. But this season they seemed to mix it up, add some new characters, get rid of a few old ones, and generally put H on the screen much less. I may actually enjoy this show again....

Anyway, I digressed. Set up was, well, weird. Every ounce of crafter in me says that this show will be bad. It is in the middle of nowhere, it is in a barn with little parking, I saw few signs pointing it out, everything that makes me not even want to set up. But I tell dad that they have my money and I need to try and make it back, so set up we do. Well...

The barn is BEAUTIFUL inside. What a stunning place to have a show. I could not sell a thing all day and be happy to sit in that barn all day and take it in. It was a little like being in a church for me. I got to set up in a corner, which I really liked because I get to sit and look out at the whole show during the day. Dad and I got set up and I made a list of things I needed, including lights, my corner was a little dark, and we went home.

I packed up everything I needed and C got home from his business trip. The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with him and going to bed early for some well deserved rest.

Saturday C and I arrived and set up the lighting and put out inventory. He ran and got me some paper bags and he surprised me with some chocolate and some coke. He figured I would need the caffeine if the show ended up being boring.

Which it didn't. What a nice little show. Even being in the middle of nowhere lots of people came and bought. I got to see a few friendly faces that I recognized and got to meet a lot more. It was busy just at the start of the show and didn't really slow down until 3 pm. It was a steady stream of people. Not the most attended show I have been too. But overall I was happy with my sales and the overall show seemed successful for everyone involved.

11.13.2009

Rejuvenation, I needs it...

Yesterday was Rejuvenation day. It is always one of my best sellers so I made as much as I could before running out of essential oil.

Dad and I also worked on sachets. Just a few more hours and we should be done with them for this year. They are like laundry- I have some to make every week and I tend to let them all pile up till the end of the year and then have thousands to make all at once. I should try and stay up on them throughout the year, and last year I vowed, and failed, to do this. I think in 2010 I will designate a sachet day each month where I will get them worked on and nothing else, maybe that will help.

Hopefully next week I can start making bath fizzys. I have tons to make and wrap. Luckily these are something I can easily make during the days I have off during Christkindlmart. Now wanting to make them is a whole nother story...

I have a new show this weekend. I really hope it is as nice as it seems to be. The November Sale takes place in a renovated barn and is only a small number of crafters (like 10 or so) that have been hand chosen by a local glass artisan. The quality of the work should be exceptional and I am really hoping that the turn out is great. I have gotten quite a few hits on the site from my newsletter, so I want to see some friendly faces!! But I have a back up plan if it is slow- I have some more face scrubbers to finish and I should be able to get some work done on the web site as well. Can't take the chance of wasting time right now with so much to do.

Well it is 6 am. Time to finish today's To Do List and go and do some morning yoga. Then a few things in the shop, and off to set up for the show.

11.12.2009

Mental Health Break...

Yesterday was a mental health break. I started the morning early making sachets and then went shopping for essentials: like milk and cat litter. I went to WalMart- where I rarely ever go, but when I do only pre 8 am so I can stand it, and looked for rugs for my Christkindlmart display and couldn't find anything I both liked and could afford.

When I got home I just had an overwhelming desire to bake. Now I rarely bake. I love to cook, but not bake, and since going gluten free baking has gotten even farther down on my list of things to do because I have no desire to experiment with xantham gum and rice flour. But I have been collecting a shelf full of gluten free baking mixes. Many I have been given and also many I have just picked up along the way so if I do have a craving I can try and make something.

So I started with brownies. I started with the new Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie mix and added a cream cheese top. I should have used a smaller pan so the brownie was thicker, put overall, pretty good.

Next was the Bob's red mill GF Bread mix. Much better than the $10 loaf of GF bread I bought from a GF bakery a few weeks ago. Nit sure how it will be in the next few days, but warm and out of the oven was pretty yummy.

Then onto pretzel dogs. I wrapped GF hot dogs in GF pretzel mix batter and baked. I got more shrinkage than I expected, so now they look like hot dogs in some kind of thick taco shell. But they were pretty good. I liked the taste, and will have the left overs for lunch over the next few days. I was hoping I could freeze them and eat later, but they are not that good. Also learned not all hot dogs are GF. I never really looked but I bought some that wee labeled GF which lead me to read ingredients in the other dogs in our freezer- and there it was-wheat-. Bummer...the one thing I thought I could always eat- hot dig without the bun... that is shot...

And finally chocolate chocolate chip cookies. I used the Trader Joe's brownie mix and the recipe on the side to make them cookies. I used Dark chocolate chips. Very good. Better as cookies than as brownies I think.

This baking spree was all over by 1 pm, and I started to vegetate. I started looking for shows into 2010 and printed out a calendar and wrote in what I wanted to do next year. There are a bunch of new shows I want to try. But I need to take a good hard look and make sure I give myself time to do the things I need to do around here. Balance- I need to find balance..Next year's schedule will take more work, but it will be nice to try new stuff.

Then I watched SYTYCD, and went to bed. Early to bed... early to rise... and tomorrow will be a busy day in the shop now that my mental health day is over :)

11.11.2009

The days are flying by- 15 to go...

Tuesday have been odd for me the last few weeks. I have been taking B to an afternoon Dr apt and then we have lunch and assess our goals for the week. So what has been happening is that Tuesday becomes sort of a day off, or a me day depending on the week. I really like this as it gives me some time to re-energize, but I have had Monday to get a load of things off my mind and done, so I really can enjoy the day.

Yesterday while I was gone dad finished up some laundry for me- I had to wash my table covers because at the last show someone let their dog with muddy feet put them on my table, so I had paw prints everywhere. He also finished washing my tent sides so they are clean and ready for next year. And shop towels wee washed- I always have lots of dirty shop towels that need a good washing.

In the morning I got some paperwork done and I started cleaning my bathroom, since we will have a guest soon. I got my jewelry box uncluttered and in order. It was driving me nuts having to search for earrings. I also got the layout for Chriskindlmart finished. I have some idea what tables I want to go where, now all I have to do is try and figure out display locations. And of course this will probably all change the moment I get into the space, but at least it gives me a place to start and idea of what size rug I need to buy.

Then it was off to the Dr, and lunch. On the way home I meant to run errands, but it was already getting dark out and I just wanted to go home. So i picked up the mail and wandered home, for the errands will be taken care of later.

By now it was 4 pm. I checked emails, did a few things for dad, and started making my list of things to do for the next day. I got the last of my lotion bar containers into the storage box they belong in, giving me more floor room in the shop, and started making sachets. By 8 I was tired, and decided to go upstairs and watch SYTYCD. I was asleep by 9 and didn't wake up till 2:30 which is a long stretch of sleep for me, I usually wake up 4-5 times a night. Maybe I am finally de-stressing a little? Doubt it :)

11.09.2009

Busy Day- 16 to go

Well it has been a busy day. I got up early because C was flying out for work again. I started with lots of computer stuff- paying bills, running credit cards from the weekend's show, blogging, getting a bank deposit ready.. all that fun stuff. It was pretty late before I started making soap, I almost was going to skip the day, but then I realized I only had 10 more days available to make soap.

Dad got the soaking wet rugs out of my van and got them dried out in the sun. He also cleaned off the tent and got that packed for the rest of the year. I peinted out the last newsletter for the year and dad got it folded and mailed out. Later he started labeling the last of the lotion bars that I made today.

Beides soap and lotion bars I also got lots of equipment cleaned, laundry done, and a bunch of basic soap milled.

By 5 pm I was exhausted so after my last batch of soap it was off for a hot shower, and a night of chilling. It's 7:30 now and I am ready for bed, just need to keep myself awake for a few more hours. Too tired to knit. Nothing on TV.

17 days and counting....

There are only 17 more days until my biggest show of the season starts: Christkindlmart. And you would think that after 5 years, I would now have to look up how to spell that, but I always do. I always try and make it a markt, not a mart :)

So last week flew by again. I had 4 days of craft shows: 2 down at WCU for a Woman's Symposium and 2 at Peddler's Village for the Apple Festival.

First the Symposium. I love doing these corporate type shows because everyone is always so friendly and warm. I hoped that the Symposium itself would have attracted more people, thus more shoppers, but I didn't do too bad. I sold to a high % of people who passed into our craft are, there just wasn't a high volume of shoppers.

The Apple Festival was very good this year. It seems to fluctuate in sales depending on the economy and weather, but this year has been one of my best in quite a few years. I didn't see some people that I usually see, but lots of new faces, so I really liked that. This show is just painful to do. You have to have ground cover, so I have to keep a rug just for this show, and you set up early, outside, so Saturday it was only 27 degrees when we arrived.

Saturday was cold, but C brought the heaters so it wasn't bad in the tent. Sunday was very nice, I actually wore too many layers of clothes and was uncomfortable for a while. Sunday sales were about 1/2 of Saturday's- but that is pretty typical. All in all, I'll be back again next year. I was thinking of leaving the show based on sales the last 2 years, but it has shown me that it can certainly be worth being there, so it gets a chance in 2010:)

Because of so many days at shows I haven't accomplished as much as I had wanted to. So I really have to push this week to get things done. I have another show this week as well, just no rest for the weary, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel:)

Off to work...

11.02.2009

Another one bites the dust...

I can't believe that a week has flown by so quickly! It is going to be a hard few months if time keeps on slipping by like this. Not enough time in the day.

Over the weekend and Monday I worked in the shop. It was sort of hard to have C home and work with him here, but since he had so much stuff to do as well, it was OK.

Tuesday I brought B to a Dr. appointment and then we had lunch. Once again we reviewed goals and once again I got nothing on the web site done, so I owed her $1. Pretty soon it will be $5. I have to find some time to sit and work on it. UGH!

Wednesday we sat around, I mean literally, not even out of PJ's kind of day. It was fun to sit and watch TV and knit some and generally chill.

Thursday, Friday, Sat & Sun- back to work... Lots of soap made, lots of sachets. Got the shed cleaned and an idea f what I want/need for displays for shows for the remainder of the year.

I still haven't started making fizzies. I wonder how much longer I can put the little buggers off... I guess till I am out and apologizing to customers.. and I don't want to be in that situation.

Got Shows this week Thursday-Sunday. Busy busy and another next week, the week after that, and then till the end of the year. Got to make soap every day that I can in order to have enough stock. And I think I am going to keep working hard till Christmas to get myself ahead for next year so I don't find myself in this same situation.

OK, back to work, go to pay bills and stir soap!

10.28.2009

Apartment in Pittsburg

I have a friend moving in January to Pittsburgh for school. She needs a place to live, at least for one semester (until summer break)...

Anyone who may know someone who is looking for a roommate, please let me know...

Feeling Pretty Good

I got a lot done last week.. nothing on the web site... which so needs to be fixed and updated.. but I got lots of other things done.

I made three kinds of soap after figuring out what I need and how much I need to make to get me through the end of the year. I also made some shampoo bars and I made sachets, lip balms, and bath salts. I am feeling caught up in most things, really just a bunch of soap and bath fizzys to make, all the stuff that takes the most time.

C has been home so we have been able to have normal dinners and do fun things like clean the attic, but I like the feeling of being normal, even if it is only for a week.

Dad has been helping me with lots of labeling. I have lots to label since I am making so much stuff. And it is very time consuming, so having him here to help is great.

So I have just had my head down, nose to the grindstone, working working working. My big breaks are the chance to watch Project Runway, oh, aren't I living an exciting life??

B and I have been meeting every week to track our goals. I really have been getting a lot done, more than normal. I like this push right before the holidays. Maybe we will try this again next year.

OK, got to keep this short... have lots of stuff to do!!

10.19.2009

Busy, Busy Week

I am always amazed how I can be busy for hours and hours and then still feel unaccomplished at the end of the day. I friend told me the other day she was amazed I could keep a business going, have C halfway around the world, and my dad home all at the same time. I am amazed by the things that are a time suck- you expect it to take 15 minutes and an hour or more later you are still working on the same thing.

What I did get done was some shampoo bars were made, and I poured lots of lotion bars. I also filled lots of sachets (like 200+) and dad helped me get those labeled.

I took Monday off due to the sniffles, Tuesday I had a 1/2 day with B, Wednesday and Thursday I worked, Friday I had to pick C up from the airport and we stopped at IKEA and a gluten free bakery and an Asian market on the way back. Saturday I worked on sachets and Sunday I rested.

What a week, gone in a flash. Now I am trying to catch up on stuff and get things done. I figured out how to make shaving bars smaller so they fit into antique mugs, and I ordered more lotion bar containers and more sachet bags.

And the thought of the Holidays coming is too much. Having to clean the house for Thanksgiving and put out Christmas decorations, plus need to buy gifts. UGH!!

10.13.2009

National Apple Harvest Festival- Weekend 2

OK, it is a sure thing that this show will not be on my list of shows to do next year.

1) Sales were down by 50%.

2) Wednesday there were high winds and B had booth trouble so I drove back with her to take care of the mess. The drive was too long, I mean to deal with a booth that is is who knows what shape and have over two hours to stew and worry about it is just too much to handle. My booth was fine but I am still glad I had the opportunity to check. Some people were not called and showed up on Saturday to find the destruction.

3) During the booth trouble I saw no security. They were supposed to be there but no one checked us in or checked on our identities. We easily could have driven in, taken a whole booth and stuff that was not ours and driven out with not a word from anyone. In fact there seems to have been some looting going on while the winds were high and the booths were open due to damage. There were things missing- things too heavy to blow away.

4) It was a whopping 37 degrees Sunday morning. Too cold for this soul to handle. I ended up taking Monday off just to get over the soreness and sniffles I had acquired. A day of making inventory lost :(

5) I walked around and most of what I saw was just not good. Lots of resale, lots of country, primitive, and other designs that I don't really fit into. My booth is more clean and spa like, so I didn't fit in with the decor.

6) And rude... thanks to all who spit while in my booth. Glad you chew tobacco, or sunflower seeds, or whatever, but the spitting while in the booth (even the girls spit!) really turned my stomach.

10.05.2009

National Apple Harvest Festival- Weekend 1

Well I hate to say it, but unless next weekend is wonderful, I probably won't be back next year. There are actually quite a few reasons for this beyond the fact that sales are down considerably from last year.

1) I hate the drive there. It is only supposed to be 2 hours, but when you are driving home Sunday after a 10 hour day in the dark, well, let's just say that I am lucky I didn't fall to sleep at the wheel.

2) I hate the fact that it opens at 8 am. I am an early riser, but waking up to an alarm at a set time is a whole different thing. Then sitting outside when it is 40 degrees and having to be nice to customers is a bit of a stretch.

3) Downright rude customers. Not everyone is rude, but there are enough crappy comments to really bring a girl down... (Thanks again to the customer who admitted to my face that she was trying to pull apart a face scrubber till it broke.)

4) Vendor placement.. Really folks, putting the other soapmaker 1 booth away is a good choice on the promoter's part- I think not... Not good for the vendors not good for the customers and shows overall lack of planning/caring by the people who run the show.

5) Lack of good food- everything good is a hike and has huge long lines. When you are there alone this is a big problem...

6)The two weekend commitment.. too much and too many other good shows going on the same weekends that I want to try out.

7)The hotel stay. This year C used points so I didn't have to pay for the hotel, but having the lady be pissy because I was taking a yogurt before 6:30 am was a bit much. And the pillows are terrible (too soft) and the 40 minute drive is still far in the early mornings...

9.28.2009

Every Time I Go Away...

there is so much that happens while I am gone. I guess this means I am busier than I think I am while I am here. But I get back and there are order, and e-mails, and phone calls, and inventory, and possible new wholesale accounts, and other wholesale accounts that close. Not to mention the pile of personal mail, laundry, and gardening to get through.

I need a vacation from my time away. I swear, I take a week preparing to leave, and a week to make up for it when I get back. I mean, I was only gone five business days!

I start with a list. when I get back I just start a list of things I need to do. Personal goes on one side, business on the other. Then I start from the top down and get as much done as I can as quickly as I can.

I also never thought how bad my garden would be looking right now. Just awful. Not to mention the skunk that likes my tomatoes and to dig up my yard looking for grubs as well.

I have gotten a lot of knitting done but that means I have a lot of blocking and assembly to take care of now too. As well as Ravelry updates and swap packages to be sent out.

Oh, and have I mentioned my cats are like Velcro since I have been gone??

Sometimes my idea of making a list and then just going top to bottom doesn't make much sense, sometimes it means I shine my shoes before sending out an order, but when I am really really overwhelmed I haven't come up with a better solution yet. It is too hard to list, then prioritize, and then do things. It takes too much time, and how do you judge if laundry (personal) is more or less important than laundry (shop towels)??

OK, I guess I can cross off "update blog" and go on to the next thing.. lets see here... clean soap molds and then brush the cat....

9.17.2009

Now It IS War!!!

I have a mouse, ok... mouses.. mices... mice.. They are cute, big ears and they sort of hop rather than run. And I feel bad when they die..

Usually we get one once in a while. Pimienta used to be the mouser so they didn't hang out for long. They either got trapped by a trap or by the cat. But typically we are in the house and in the workshop and garage enough that they don't hang around. They don't like the light and the noise, and the total lack of food.

But we have been traveling lately. And I haven't been keeping everything buttoned up tight because it is summer. And I like to have to doors open and the windows open. So combine the two and my home has become the perfect hide away for a series of mice. I like to think that I am a serial monogamist when it comes to my relationships with mice. I would rather think that one comes in, dies, and then another comes in, than the alternative- that I have more than one mouse in my house at any time- that skives me out.

Fuchsia has proven to be a great mouser. She chases them till they have little mouse heart attacks and fall over dead. Then they are no more fun, so she moves on to the next interesting thing, leaving them wherever they lay, hopefully for me to find them before I can smell them.

But there has been a rash of the little critters lately. I think they are adorable, except they are uninvited guests. So after another one was discovered today I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned until the shivers stopped running down my spine. Dad bought traps, and even then I was reluctant to set them right away.. until...

I found my size 17 circular needles chewed into and unusable!!!

THIS IS WAR!!

So six peanut butter slathered traps went out into all the places I have seen them or traces of them before. By the water heater, the oil tank, and the heater are on the list, as well as under the freezer. Traps deployed and they are all mine. I take no prisoners and release no POW's, and I no longer feel remorse. They have chewed their last set of needles in this house!!

9.14.2009

Why can't I sleep???

I just can't sleep lately. I wake up every hour or so and stare at the clock, get comfortable, and fall back to sleep. It is not insomnia in the way that I can't fall asleep, or that I wake up during the night and stay awake, I sleep 8 or more hours a night, but in short bursts.

I have tried sleep aids. But then I wake up groggy and am sleepy the whole next day. I have tried herbs, and gotten some odd results including weird dreams and bad acid reflux.

Sometimes I think its is the cats that bug me. Sometimes I think it is C because he travels so much, when he is home it is his moving around that bothers me, maybe...Sometimes I think I am not tired enough when I go to sleep in the first place, that I should try to exercise before bed, or maybe take a hot bath, or have a glass of wine.

I know that setting the alarm is the worst for me. I have gotten so used to sleeping on my personal schedule that getting up for an alarm fills me with anxiety. What if I don't hear it, what if I set it wrong, what if the power goes out, and what if the thing just doesn't go off?? Every time I have a craft show, a flight to catch, or C needs to get up at a certain time for work, I go through this dance in my brain and wake up every hour, just to look at the clock, tell myself how many more hours I have to sleep, and then roll back over and go back to bed.

I am at a loss, I don't know what to do, and I am tired of being tired. Fighting my way through not taking an afternoon nap so I am tired at night, or waking up early just to fall back asleep on the sofa at 7 am. I am sure all the travel doesn't help.. the strange beds, the odd noises, and all the stuff going on in my head.

Ugh!!! Maybe tonight I'll sleep well.... I wonder..

9.09.2009

What has been going on here....

Well the last month has just been a blur on the radar. With everything going on I have been in a major tailspin and just hanging on trying to get some things done and not loose my cool in the process.

Around the time of my last show my dad made the really intelligent decision of leaving his job. It was the best thing he could have done for himself. The job was physically and mentally tearing him apart and draining him beyond belief. But this added to my stress- what about money? How about a new job? And what is up with benefits?? UGH!!

I got into the workshop for a few days to clean up and make some basic soap. Then I left to go to PR with Ca and K. It was a fun time and I enjoyed the sights and just chilaxing by the pool. But with so many things going on in my head!!

Back for a week. More soap. More catching up on paperwork. More to do. But they were productive days. Long, but productive.

Then back to PR. This time more work than fun. Needed to help SIL to move. My legs are still sore. But the family time was wonderful. I love C's family and all that comes with it. I really felt more included, more a part of it than I ever had before this trip. I think a lot of it was because I could do for them, not just have them do things for me. I was family, not company and it was great.

So now I am back. I have things to order, to make, to drop off, to do. I have a show this weekend- Chester, NJ. So I have to pack the van- probably in between rain drops. I have soap to make, special orders, new products I am trying out, and a bunch of cleaning the house to do as well.

And next Friday I leave again- this time for my Mom's and a show there. 9 days home. And I need to make them count.

8.17.2009

Mulhenberg Summer Festival Day 4

Well I wanted a busy day but didn't get it. It was hot, and slow, very slow. I almost did better on Wednesday with only 5 hours to the day rather than 10.

The people across from me insisted on playing the same two CD's the whole time. It was Willie Nelson- singing all kinds of stuff- including "Wind Beneath My Wings".. and the other was 20 different versions of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" which has now taken the place of "Roll Out The Barrel" in my head. Wonderful...

If I look at the show as an individual experience- for what I paid for it, I did OK. And Since I haven't been there in 4 years I did pretty good, and since I have done two other bigger shows in the same geographic region in just under a month, I didn't do too bad at all.

My problem is that it comes on the heels of Musikfest, and this show is so much slower. If I do a bigger show, say Philly Folk Fest, then my adrenaline stays up and I just keep on going like the Energizer Bunny. But this show is slow, so I get tired, and a little cranky too. And it feels like a let down. I mean, going to the bank yesterday helped, filling out the deposit slip felt good, but the hours at the show were excruciating at some points.

But depending on next year's schedule I may go back. It will also depend if K is around or not so she can pick up many of these hours as well. But I am exhausted and I can't wait for vacation to start later this week. But I have so much to do before then it is ridiculous.

8.14.2009

Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival Day 3

So day two's sales were only a few dollars more than day one's were. Bummer. Here is hoping that today gets busier since it is a Friday.

I have had a headache all day, started out with my sinuses- so I took some sinus meds that put me to sleep. Then fell back to sleep this afternoon with a slight headache still and woke up with a whopper. Certainly feels like a migraine.

I brought socks to knit tonight. I usually don't knit non-business things at shows but I need these needles empty for another project before I go away next week. And i am getting sick of these socks!

Tomorrow I start a Dorset button tutorial on my favorite Ravelry group so I have to get that info together, maybe tonight if the show is quiet.

So yesterday I kept myself from keeping tract of the stupider comments I have gotten at the show... but today...
"Patchouli Soup" (the sign clearly states soap.. and that "you should buy it for your father because he is always eating"
"Are these fudge?"- now EVERY fragrance is labeled with the word SOAP, and there is a big banner above my head that says NATURAL SOAP, and another banner with my company name and the words SOAPS & TOILETRIES... Where fudge figured into this is any ones guess...

Overall sales were pretty good for only having 5 hours of show. The rain stayed away and I am looking forward to a busy Saturday...

8.13.2009

Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival Day 2

Well, in the first two hours I made more sales than all of yesterday. That is a good thing.

I am also trying to strain to stay awake, because although I took a nap today, the music that my neighbor is playing is lulling me to sleep. I don't mind the music, I actually like it, it is just ballad after ballad. Zzzzz...

I am also resisting the urge to keep track of every dumb comment I hear tonight. There have already been a few winners.

Since this show is at a hospital it draws an interesting crowd. The usual you expect, doctors and nurses and administrative staff. Then it brings in people who are visiting loved ones and stop in to take in the festival. It also gets locals, because of the rides and games, lots of families. The Bingo brings in the seniors. It is one of the most diverse crowds I sell to to say the least.

I miss having K here. I would love to go play bingo. I am a bingo junkie and will play whenever I get the chance, which isn't that often to tell you the truth.

I am seaming together soap savers. I knit almost 50 during Musikfest but I hate seaming them so I am trying to bring 15 or so a day to get done. Then they need to be sent to my mom so she can make the ties, since I don't crochet.

I do love the fact that the hospital grounds are non-smoking. It is a nice change from all the cigar smoke at Musikfest for sure.

I am also taking this time to get a lot of stuff done. i have placed orders for supplies, researched some new packaging, and even started a new catalog. It is great that I can get Internet service here and that it is pretty stable service as well.

But that is all for now. I am getting cold. The crafters on each side of me put the sides of the tent up so they can get a breeze and it freezes me out. If I come back next year I am going to have to try and get a center spot- less breeze, but of course that means next year will be sweltering hot too. You just can't win.

8.12.2009

Mulhenberg Hospital Summer Festival- Day 1

I love that this show is only from 5-10 pm during the week. The place is pretty busy right now and it is 7 pm. It is also a good family atmosphere.

It is raining some, very humid, but I am cold. Most people are looking at me weird in my sweatshirt, and bare feet, but I am comfortable- sticky- but comfortable.

The booth across from me is playing some gosh awful music. I think it may be old Willie Nelson?? But I am not sure. I can tell you it has a distinct twang to it and a slow enough tempo that I am going to fall asleep soon.

It is fun to be next to B, but she is so far away. The booth between us was not sold so she let me spread out some. The tables are all laid out straight, about 18 feet. Everything seems so far away.

The soaps are getting slick due to the humidity. Some of them never really dried out after Musikfest.

I have tried to bring a bunch of things to do to the show but I am being thwarted by technology. First I want to work on a new catalog, but I am having trouble with the small screen and lack of mouse on the lap top to really get any real work done. Then I tried to work on my mailing list and get it updated from the last few shows, but I guess I forgot my password, because I couldn't log into the account. So now I am waiting for an e-mail with my password information so maybe I can start that later.

Sales seem slow, but after just getting done with Musikfest, it is hard not to think that the day is slow. Also, many people come here multiple days and they buy later on in the festival. Today is to look around, eat, and let the kids ride the rides.

Also this show has a more mature audience than many I do. The crochet tea towels are flying off the table of the lady next to me. It is just that kinda show.

8.10.2009

Musikfest- the day after

We went early this morning to the bank to make the post show deposit and then to tear down the tent. Tear down went quickly expecially after C showed up to help. Glad he did because the temperature and humidity were quickly climbing through the roof. We got to the house and unloaded what I don't need for my next show and brought everything that can melt into the house.

I made hot dogs and roasted corn for lunch before C and K left for the airport. C has a business trip and K is visiting a friend for a cmaping trip. I napped before they left, I was just exhausted. And although it is barely 7 pm, I could go back to sleep now. But if I did I would be up at 4 am so I am trying to make myself stay up at least a few more hours.

I've started my monsterous list of things to do, which includes this blog. It also included cleaning my desk, which turned up a ring I have been missing for about 6 weeks now. It was prety much in front of my nose the whole time, just under some technology (a flash drive) on my desk. But it is found, and back on my hand where it belongs and i am happy and my finger no longer feels naked, and I don't try to play with a ring that isn't there anymore.

But I am off to do more things on my list. I am trying to fix my desktop that I think has a virus, so here I am in the living room ordering supplies and other stuff. Tomorrow is soap making and set up for my next show...

Musikfest Day 10

Rain, rain, mud, mud, and more mud is the theme for the day. It rained during the night so we came in to puddles all around. They got drained out because of the promoter coming around with a hose and a sump. Things were messy but not too bad. I even made a few sales, even though the soaps were slick from the humidity, and really, honestly, downright yucky. I din't even like putting them in the bags they were so slimy.

Around 6 it rained again, this time hard, with lots of thunder and lightening. More puddles, bigger puddles. Another trip out with the sump drained most of them, but really all the mud was slick and gross. It was hard to walk around and it was even sucking the shoes off of some peoples feet.

The day wasn't terrible but it wasn't stellar either. Sales wise it was the worst of the last five days. I got a good sale at the end from another vendor and had a few good trades as well. We put everything away and left for the night so that everyone who needed to get out could leave and we didn't have to fight as much mud and fight the darkness and potential for more rain.

Overall I was up this show, about 10% over last year. It was great to finally be up for a show this year. I ran out of quite a few soaps, got two special orders in the works, a possible wedding, and 7 stores in contact with me about carrying my products. One is for sure, and the others are strong possibilities. I think that this year was a great year for me and I am really happy with the results.

8.09.2009

Musikfest Day 9

Not as fabulous as the day before but still good. Multi-day shows always make me wonder a little- how every day can draw a different crowd- in size - in temperament- in socio-economic status. I wonder if it is the music being offered that day or exactly what it is that seems to draw such a diverse crowd.

I am tired and although I sit at the show thinking of things I want to blog, once I get here in the morning I can't think of any of the witty remarks I was thinking of during the day before. I have tried writing myself notes but then I don't live in the moment as much, the day is almost seen through a lens, of how I would blog this, or blog that.

I did learn that male horses like the smell of Patchouli and find it an aphrodisiac. See what an interesting job I have!

I do now have the possibility of three local shops looking at my stuff to sell. A few of them would be special order fragrances which I really like, that way I may be able to have things in all the places without stepping on each others toes. I also have a possible wedding in the works to do favors for. I say possible because until a contract is signed I don't get too excited, but I am pretty sure this one is a done deal.

Sales were good, not as good as Friday but still good on their own. After Friday being so busy, Saturday seemed tame. I have made my sales goal and have exceeded it by just a few dollars. Time to see if the rain lets up and if Sunday is a good day or a wash out...

8.08.2009

Musikfest Day 8

One word...

FAB-U-LOUS!!!

I had about an hour where the booth was just jam packed with customers making rather large purchases. It really sent the night's sales over the expectations of the day. The rest of the day was a steady stream of people so I never felt bored.

As night came I got really cold. I always thinks it's odd to feel cold in August, but sometimes it happens.

It is funny how different crafters at the same event can have such totally different experiences. This year for me is invigorating. I am excited about getting back in the workshop and making more soap, having to redesign the catalog, order more supplies and all that. Some people are just not having a good show and feeling the love of the crowd. My heart goes out to the, I want to see everyone succeed.

I got home and was exhausted. Flopped into bed, dirty feet and all, and instantly fell asleep.

8.07.2009

Musikfest Day 7

Today K went and opened the booth for me so I didn't have to come in until 4is. I got a bunch of stuff done around the house and things cleaned up before C came home from his trip. I also ran to the bank for some change and got her some curry chicken for dinner:)

Today is more about the little things...

1) I LOVE having the new stage by the crafts section. I know for some crafters this means some music they need to talk over during the night, but for me and my booth placement, I love it. I think it draws a large crowd and dare I say it, a better (spending money) crowd as well. The music is in short sets with the bell guy doing his routine in between. So people seem to be listening, shopping, and then listening some more. It keeps people in the area more than other things have done in the past that have been down by us.

2) They fixed the light by my house. It used to be AWFUL at night. I'd come home tired and would literally sit for 5 minutes at a red light. I often put my car in park for fear that I would fall asleep and roll through the intersection. They must have fixed the timing because each night I only sit there for a few seconds before it changes to green and I get to go home!

3) The vibe at this year's fest s very positive and uplifting. I am not spiritually or emotionally tired this year at all. In previous years I have felt drained in all aspects, not just physically tired, but this year I have been getting such positive feed back and seeing so many repeat customers that it has been uplifting and is helping me find my groove again. This show has renewed my passion for being a soapmaker.

As for sales- I am right on target. If the weather holds out I may even surpass my goal, but I am not counting my chickens before they hatch just yet...

8.06.2009

Musikfest Day 6

Banker's hours. That is what I kept today- banker's hours. I went in early with K and brought in inventory and came back to the workshop to get a bunch of stuff done. But honestly, I ended up taking a nap for a hour. I actually woke up feeling rested for the first time in weeks. I have been dealing with a month or so of insomnia. I have no problem getting to sleep, it is the staying asleep part that is hard. So I listened to my body and took the nap.

I arrived bringing lunch and K and I got to have some sushi. Yum. I walked around and saw the new vendors for the second half on the festival, some are great, and well, some aren't...

K left me about 6 pm and then the night began. Sales were brisk once the tempo started picking up and some customers brought in friends so it was a joyous night as I got to see some regular faces and meet some new ones.

All in all when I got home I did my nightly paperwork and was very happy with a Wednesday sales number and I got packed up for the next day and crawled into bed. Only 4 more days left to go!

8.05.2009

Musikfest Day 5

Today I got up and packed up inventory, measured out some lye so I can make soap, and picked some beans from the garden. Then I went over to the show and set up with K and left here there while B and I went to have lunch. By the time we got back to bring K her salad, she had only made 1 sale, so needless to say, the morning started rather slow. I left again with B and we went over to a local park for our twice a month goal meeting. This is where we catchup with each other and share our goals for the next few weeks and see how much we accomplished over the past few weeks. This is not only to keep us on track with our business, but we hash out personal goals and domestic goals as well. It is good to have someone keep me in check and keep me motivated. Besides, I have to pay her $1 for every goal I don't accomplish, and that is a lot of motivation in itself.

Anyway, I made it back to the show about 3:30 and it was still pretty empty so I walked around the festival for a bit to check out the crowd and the retail vendors and the food vendors. When I made it back around 5:00 things were starting to pick up. K left around 6 and about 7-10 pm I had a real rush of sales. The day turned out to be good for a Tuesday and I am still close to my sales goal for the show. But I still have the second weekend, which is usually better for me anyway, so it is still possible to be on target by the end.

All in all, the first five days have been a success and I am happy:)

8.03.2009

Musikfest Day 4

C had to get up at 4 am to get to the airport on time for his morning flight. I got to bed about midnight but kept waking up coughing. My throat has been dry a lot at night, I don't know if I need more water during the day or what, but it has been happening quite often lately. Anyway, he was sweet enough to tell me to go back to sleep and just woke me for a goodbye kiss before he left. I got up about 6 am and checked my e-mails and ran the credit card sales from the day before but was just tired so I went back to sleep until C called to tell me his plane was leaving.

I cooked some zucchini before I left and got packed up as well as paid some bills and answered some e-mails. The time in the morning before I leave passes so quickly, before I know it I am back at the show.

The mud is drying out and the area as a distinct "wet dog" smell. I brought the computer to do work but forgot the cord, so this will be short lived. The people are out and about, no one wants to shop this early in the day, hope they all come back later!

And they did come back! Sales were brisk and surprisingly good for a Monday. I am right on track to make the amount of money that I need/want to make for this show. I don't want to get my hopes up, but it even has the ability to beat last year, if the weather cooperates and if the the crowds stay large.

Last night K came over and surprised me. I didn't expect to see her so soon after getting back from her summer trip. I was really excited to have her and am glad that I will have some help this week while C is away.

I freaked out a customer, because I remembered that last year he bought an orange wash cloth. It is funny how some things just stick in my mind, like a sale, or a particular shirt or face, but I am terrible with names and hardly ever remember anyone's. I think it is great that my customers make an impression on me, I hope I make as much of an impression on them.

Onto Day 5- halfway done and soon some new vendors switch around. It will be interesting to see who comes and goes. I guess I could look it up in the show book, but it is more fun just to see what happens...

Musikfest Day 3

Better if it was referred to as as Musikmess. It rained hard overnight and continued on into the morning. Large puddles of mud formed around the craft area and some electricity (including ours) was out. I even has about 2 inches of standing water in one section of the booth, but luckily it was in the back where we sit rather than where people shop.

Another crafter and I joked about mud wrestling in the puddles to make money, because if the rain didn't stop it may be the only chance we would have to make an income all day:)

After C got our electrity fixed, guess it was the GFI, we hunkered in for a few hours and watched the rain go by. The soaps get downright slick in the rain as they draw the humidity from the air to them. Yesterday they felt like I showered with them before putting them out for sale. Pretty gross.

The rains came back in the afternoon but this time they left the thunder and lightening behind. It was just a few hours of on again - off again rain with no real wind. I wish the rain would cool things off, but it doesn't, it just makes the day more sauna like.

Given the weather I was really happy with sales. I am close to last year's average, so if the weather holds out like they say it should, I think this will be a good show this year. I am tired though, I keep thinking that it is Friday tomorrow rather than Monday. I keep expecting my dad to come home and he just left... I cooked some yellow squash in the morning and finally got to try my three bean salad which was AWESOME!! and eat some peppers and onions with sausages.

8.02.2009

Musikfest Day 2

Wow, what a good day. The weather was hot, but beautiful (except for that freak 10 minute rain storm mid afternoon) and the people were out and about. Sales were great, I sold three shaving mug sets and am very excited about the response I am getting to this new product. I have even sold out of all the shaving soaps that can be used alone or as refills, so I have to get pouring more of those ASAP. They won't be ready for this show, but maybe the next if I can get on them right away.

I have realized there is a plethora of people smoking cigars this year, both men and women. I really, really, hate cigars. They are pungent and persistent, with the smell lingering for what feels like hours. I also think that so far the cigar smokers I have ran into are less courteous than cigarette smokers. They just some on in the booth, smoking away, and driving out other customers like bee keepers tending their hives. And even 20 minutes later customers come in and comment on the cigar smell. The tents don't have great ventilation so the smoke just rises and sits in the top portion of the tent dome. Blech!

Now I know I shouldn't generalize like this, I am sure there are plenty of courteous, pleasant, cigar smoking people who smoke genuinely good smelling cigars. I just haven't seen/met any yet this show, and boy, how I would love to meet some.

This morning I cooked some three bean salad using fresh beans from the garden and the CSA. I'll try it tomorrow after it marinates, and I think this is the first time I have ever had it with fresh beans, rather than those out of a can (and made my own dressing, rather than a bottle). I think that cooking a little every morning helps me feel normal during this time of intense hours at the show. I am trying to eat better and use up the veggies that are taking over my fridge.

I also met a gentleman who works for a local essential oil distiller. I would love to source all my oils locally, and can't wait for the show to end so I can explore this possibility. I am always leery of these sorts of encounters, but I genuinely think this may pan out. I'll keep everyone posted.

8.01.2009

Musikfest Day 1

We started the morning by setting up the booth. Typically I do this on Thursday but with K in Costa Rica and C in Puerto Rico, I had to wait for C to get home to help me. We went over around 10 am and it was nice and quiet, easily found our spot (Yay, I'm next to A!) and started set up. It wasn't that hot, less than 80 degrees, but VERY humid. I was dripping by the time we got done. Once we got the tent up, C concentrated on getting the tent tied down and I set up the product.

About Noon we left with just some signs to put up and a few things to bring from the shop. We went over to Dickey's BBQ for lunch..yummy, but by the time we got home we were both a little sick from the combination of the hot set up and then the food. Our bellies ached to say the least...

C did a bunch of stuff for work, I took a nap, and then a shower, and after packing the car with some last minute stuff, we headed back to the show, just as the rain started. We checked the weather and it looked like we were in for a long night of thunderstorms, but just a few hours later, the sun came out and the weather cleared. This was great because just this afternoon they were calling for hail and enough rain to possibly flood the creek in some areas. So I am sure some prayers were answered with the weather passing us by. BTW, thanks B for calling me and warning me about the weather possibility, I am humbled that you thought of me at fest:)

The night continued to be quiet, much quieter than a usual Friday at Musikfest. Sales were not brisk, but I saw many of my regular customers, and some new ones from Mayfair as well. Overall the night was pleasant and fun. I liked having the time to chat with people rather than having to hurry to the next customer and being able to point out new products and stuff.

I got a new sign from Isa, it just says "natural soap" but I think it may help with some confusion over if I have candles or not. From far away sometimes it is hard to tell, and now there is a sign, all anyone has to do is read it. Ironically, I was still asked at least three times if the soaps were natural- even with the sign, and my company name being A Natural Alternative. I like to think it is the copious amounts of beer at the fest, not the IQ of the general population at fault for these silly questions.

So overall, I can't let the first day of sales get me down. I will still have a great fest and with day 2 slated for some beautiful weather I think I am in for a busy day. They also put a new stage in near the handcrafts, it is acoustic, singer/songwriter sort of stuff. It is a nice interlude between the bell guy's performances and last night had some good stuff to listen to that drowned out the Polka from behind me. It is nice to actually be able to hear and enjoy some music at Musikfest for once!

7.27.2009

More done and another show in the books...

Last week I made two new fragrances of soap- Chamomile and Bergamot. I don't think they will be ready for Musikfest with all this humidity but maybe for the last weekend if I am lucky and can crank up the dehumidifier in the workshop.

I also was a crafter at the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival down in Wiggins Park at the Camden Water front. Pros: good music, good volume of sales, nice organizer. Cons: windy, getting lost in Camden, individual sales were low $.

I was referred to this show a few years ago and am glad that I finally got to do it. I was really bummed that the Toby Keith concert at the other side of the marina was going on when the only band I really wanted to see- They Might Be Giants- was on.. so I din't really get to hear them play but a few songs.

The booth was right on the water and the wind certainly made things interesting. They came by and tied everyone down and provided additional weights for people who needed it. C did a great job when we set up and we needed no additional tie down, which was cool. At the end, a storm was comming so volunteers helped people tear down and pack to get us out before the rains came. If they got the stom we drove through on the way home, it would have been a nightmare to packup in that deluge.

There isn't many vendors, maybe 15 or so. I hope to be back next year, it was fun and could turn into a good show in a better economy. It is sort of expensive, but since I like the music it isn't all bad.

7.20.2009

My past week or so...

Well I have made a quite a bit of soap, mostly Egyptian Cotton and Lavender-Patch. I wanted to make sure I had enough to get me through Musikfest and into the fall. I also worked on Merlot soap and am experimenting on using a slightly different recipes, so hopefully it won't be quite so crumbly in the future.

I also worked on making samplers. The last for the year I think. I have run out of crates and they are so expensive I don't think I will be buying anymore this year if I can help it. Last time I bought them I bought enough for 2 years and I probably will do that again, so I have to be sure I have enough room to store them all too.

I have harvested about 1/2 of my garlic from the garden, about 20 or so cloves. Some are really small, I think my soil got too compacted, but some are huge so I think I will have more garlic than I need for quite a while. I have also been harvesting beans, a handful here and there. I like these that I am growing because the harvest is ongoing. Last year I planted some that you harvested all at the same time and then they were done, so I had a ton that I had to eat right away, this year I can have some every week.

My tomatoes are growing and have little green tomatoes. I am wondering what kind my volunteers will be. I sort of hope they are yellow, since the ones I plated are red. I also found a few more volunteers amongst the wonderberry... The wonderberry are flowering, the cauliflower is almost ready to harvest, the green peppers have flowers, and the luffa is growing so tall pretty soon I will need to harvest it from my second story bathroom window!

I met a nice crafter who reads my blog. At first I thought it was odd, she knew so much about me and I knew so little about her, but then I felt almost famous in a silly way. But we were neighbors at the Blueberry festival and we had a good time being next to each other, so I think I made a new friend:)

OK, i am off to do work. I have been lazy today. The heat and hours of the Blueberry fest kicked my butt and I am tired and sore. I have to get back into shape for these shows, I lack the stamina. But since I have 5 weekends in a row now, I think I will be back in shape in no time!

Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation

UGH!! 28% down in sales. Only about 40 crafters this year, and I would say 1/2 of them were lame (or not even crafts...). 10% of the crafters were soapmakers.

Me and another business usually are there and our items are so different it doesn't matter and hasn't mattered to my sales. I would have been livid if I was them, because the promoters actually put another soapmaker right next to them! I mean as they both set up I thought it was the one business expanding, not two seperate places.

As usual, although sales were down, I did meet some new people and I saw a lot of supporting, friendly, repeat customers. What a blessing! One person said she came just for me and to get bath fizzies, and given the show has an $8 entrance fee, that is a HUGE compliment!!!

I am going to have to really think about this one next year. I am going to look through my list of shows at some that I have never tried because this one has been so good in the past, and think about trying something new next year. Also, it will depend if K is in town next summer or not, it is certainly a show she could do by herself now, so that may be an option as well.

I hate to see a good show falter and this one has been teatering on and off for a while, but at least sales have been steady for me in the past. I am looking at it in a positive light- I have a brand new show next week, so I am hoping that fate is telling me I will need the inventory there!!

7.13.2009

Some more knitting related stuff...



I got to meet a fellow Ravelry member last week. JMknitster and I met up at Mountain Knits and Pearls and had a lovely time. First was breakfast at a local diner and then some yarn shopping. The camera battery was dead so the owner of the shop took a pic for us and sent it so we could have it. How cool!!!

I have also been trying to finish a bunch of old projects. I completed a sweater that was over a year old and a skirt that I started just about a year ago as well. I finished some charity items and am starting to seam together the afghan I am knitting so I don't have it all to do in December when it is complete.

7.06.2009

Cooking my CSA

We joined a CSA this year. For those of you not "in the know", CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically I prepay a local farm for food that I pick up once a week during the growing season. This gives the farm some opperational cash during a quiet time and during planting, and gets me farm fresh veggies once a week at a considerable savings from my local farmer's market.

But every week they bounty is a surprise, and every week I need to figure out what in the heck I am going to make from the food.

In the beginning it was easy, I got lots of lettuce and spinach and peas- so lots of salad. Then radishes- fo radish salad.. and then it started- I got Swiss Chard. What in God's name is Swiss Chard?? After being happy that umanity had invented Google, I searched and learned it would be sort of like Kollard Greens. So I would like it, and C wouldn't. So one night I made myself up Swiss Chard with bacon for dinner....

Then what to do with my Zuchini (since I can't eat zuchini bread unless it is gluten free).. off to my cookbooks where I found an Amish recipie for Zuchini skillet. Basically ground beef, zuchini and other vegies.. Very yummy...

The basil became pesto sauce...

The peas became Risi E Bisi- risotto with peas. Yummy too! I think the freshness of the veggies really is taking this food to the next level..

I have lots of leftovers for this week without C and I still have some peas to figure out what to do with. But I am looking forward to this weeks surprise and can't wait to figure out what to cook next!

Revenge for what I put my parents through...

I don't want to go into too much detail, I need to protect the innocent. Lets just say that a child of a friend (who is a young adult now) went for an "adventure" this weekend- visiting a person that they met via the internet, many hours away (albeit at this person's parent's house).

I was told of this adventure, in confidence, so that if anything was to go wrong at least someone would know this young adult's whereabouts. I asked to be texted along the way so I knew of their safety. After the initial "I am here" there was silence- I went to be worrying, I woke up and worried, I texted, I called, I e-mailed....

I learned that the phone was off to conserve battery and that all was OK. But during this time I imagined having to go and tell parent's of the adventure and having to deal with some awful calamity.

And then I thought that by the time I was this person's age I had gone off to live in Nevada, at the other side of the country, with friends my parents had never met, and no job until I found one, and no car, and no apartment. Wow, I really put them through hell. And this was life's revenge...

6.30.2009

Bath Fizzy Classes



I have been really lucky the last two years to be able to teach some local Girl Scouts how to make bath fizzies while they are at his year I had a total of 95 young ladies who each got to make two bath fizzies each. It was so much fun. I got to answer all kinds of questions about my business and how to make my things and how I sell and market them as well. My mom helped us get them all wrapped up and put into organza bags, and K helped make fizzies, as the groups were large (25 girls each) and we only had an hour or so per group.

K had the foresight to take a few picture so I could post one here :)

Mom's Visit

So once a year my mom comes to visit and her trip just ended a few days ago. I go and pick her up and we arrived back here in PA on Sunday. C picked us up some Chinese food for dinner and it was very welcome, as we were starving.

Monday we went down to Lancaster County and went to her favorite fabric store. Although it didn't have the fabric she was looking for, we did get some fabric so she can make me a skirt. From there we went on and got me some gluten free pretzels from a pretzel maker, some artisan cheeses, and some sugar free candy for C's dad. When we got back we went and saw Up in 3-D. It was very cool and the first time mom has been in a movie theatre in years. After that it was soup and salad for dinner and an early night to bed, we were whooped.

Tuesday was a long day teaching girl scouts and brownies how to make bath fizzies. Dinner was salads from Saladworks. I got this great one with candied pecans and apple slices, yum!


Wednesday we started with another bath fizzy class, and then during our break we went and got Rita's (water ice and frozen custard) and took a tour of the Kraemer Textile mill. It is up in Nazareth, PA and is one of the last places in the USA to spin yarn and other textiles. We had one more class in the afternoon and dinner was burgers from 5 Guys. It is my favorite place to get burgers because they not only make them without the bun, but they don't fry anything but french fries- so they are gluten free and I can eat as many as my little heart desires!

Thursday was garden day. We weeded the gardens and vegetables. It was great to see that my cauliflower were making cauliflowers, and my beans had baby beans. I found three or four volunteer tomato plants and I let them go because they looked better than the ones I planted on purpose. The garlic should be ready soon and the luffa are starting to get big- hopefully I'll have some flowers soon. We went around to a bunch of local garden centers and I picked up a few pepper plants and mom got Rad strawberries for his garden at home. We grabbed dinner at Yocco's. I certainly was treating mom to all the local favorites this trip!

Friday we relaxed. It was nice to sit and watch moves on the TV, relax outside in the screen room, and knit a lot. It threatened to rain all day and finally did so when we went to dinner (Mexican) and it was over by the time we were finished eating.

Saturday was back home for mom. We drove the long way and stopped at a garden shop along the way whee I got some loose leaf tea and she got a new plant for her garden. Rad made dinner- awesome grilled chicken capping off a long drive with a great meal.

Sunday was back home for me. I cooked a few meals for mom and Rad before I left, making their next few weeks of meal planning easier. And then drove back home as fast as I could before the rain came.

Trip to Puerto Rico



I got to go to Puerto Rico for just over a week in June. C has a project at work that brings him there quite a bit, so as long as we pay for my airplane and food, I get to hang in the hotel room while he slaves away at the office.

It just took me a few days to trip and twist my ankle which kept me from doing most of the things I wanted to do the rest of the trip. But I really enjoyed getting some knitting done, enjoying napping in a hammock by the ocean, and listening to a copius amount of audio books.

I hope to get to go back soon so I can explore more of Old San Juan and the are surrounding the hotel. While I was away, it rained here in PA almost all day every day, and there it only rained for the requisite hour a day, and then it passed through.

6.08.2009

Overall Update

Lets see here... the weekend after Mayfair K and I went to Philly to check out a show I have applied to in the past (but not been accepted to). I was disappointed in the soapmakers they had there. Obviously, it isn't the quality of my work that kept me out as much as the fact my booth display just isn't hip enough for the indie crafts circuit. I think I'll try again next year since my booth is updated to some more popular and younger colors now.

I went to the dentist- no cavities!! This is always good news. I have been blessed with pretty good teeth so they are rarely a problem and I hope it stays that way, I m not fond of going to the dentist.

We started making bath fizzys. Just enough to get some orders out right now, but more will be made soon...

I went and did another craft show at the Morgan Log Home down near Lansdale. Sales were super slow, I did better last time in the rain:) Next time I will have to evaluate if I should continue to do this...

I am going to be out of the workshop till the 19th. K will be making soap and lotion bars while I am gone. Lucky me:)

5.26.2009

Mayfair Festival of the Arts

Overall, all I can say is UGH! But lets start with the good first...

1) I have THE BEST customers on the planet. Their loyalty constantly brightened my day. Even when they didn't make a purchase, I was showered with smiles and laughs from people who are now old friends (and some new ones too!)Many stop by with their kids who I just love to watch grow up, and some seem to stay forever young as well:) This show does not have the rude, uncouthness of some other shows I do. I truly enjoyed every encounter.

2) We missed the worst rain. One night we left just as it started, at 9 pm and got home and could ride out the rain in the safety of our home. We also experienced no damage that night (a few others did) and no mud or poor drainage in the booth. The other night they claimed a bad storm so we left early. The storm blew over, but a few lost sales was better than the possibility of dealing with rain and hail in a tent:)

3) Sales were not all that bad. Not great, but they certainly could have been worse. About a 25% decrease from last year. This seems about average so far for me at shows. But my orders are up and that is filling the gaps...

and now the bad...

1) Upon arrival, the check in booth was not set up as indicated on the paperwork mailed earlier in the month. Another crafter had to explain to me how to get my booth assignment. It would be better if this information is just mailed to me, like every other show I do...

2) The booth numbers were screwy. Mine was 57, next to me was 68, and 58 was a dozen booths down on the other side of the street.

3) There are maybe 100 vendors, but somehow, me, another soapmaker, and the potpourri guy, all were in the same 50 feet. This means our scents conflict and we can't take advantage of one of our strengths- our fragrance and people smelling it as they walk by and being enticed in the booth.

4) Attendance was certainly down. Usually it is a challenge to get out of my booth at night and to my car because there are so many people. This year, it was empty...Low attendance equals low sales for everyone...

So that is it.. my critique for this year. I will probably be back next year if the lower the price some, but I am not sure if I will if it remains at it's current entry fee. I really thought this show had reached it's low and was on the way back up, but this year I am not so sure now...

5.19.2009

Just Do It...



I had a doctor of mine the other day relate to me how she tried to learn how to knit when she was pregnant and just couldn't do it. I mean, she is a doctor, she completed medical school, and she can't learn to knit??? Everyone learns different, she tried by a book. But if you are trying to learn and are having trouble try a book, try a class, try videos on Youtube, or try a combination of them all. And if you don't like your class or instructor, try another! Sometimes the way people teach just doesn't work and we just need to try another way.

BTW: this is not my artwork, and I can't find the designer to credit them, so if you know, let me know, so I can do the right thing:)

5.18.2009

Beacuse it is a cow....

Yesterday was the Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Show. It was supposed to be two weeks ago but the rain delayed it until yesterday. It was a shell of the usual show, but still not that bad. Typically the streets are lined with really good crafters, some local stores displaying merchandise, and some local businesses drumming up business (think window replacement and gutter dohickies)...

But yesterday the crafters were scarce. I figure that between the rain delay, and the not wonderful weather yesterday, may crafters decided to stay home or do another show. So the spaces that were empty were filled by the local stores with their merchandise (nice stores by the way..) so the street wasn't as much of a crfat fair as a street fair kind of atmosphere.

But even with the questionable economy, and the rain delay, I still did pretty well. I sold two shaving mugs which is exciting and they got a lot of attention as well. I also got a lead on a possible new show which is great news too.

So someplace was giving out balloons to the kids. I kept seeing these white balloons go by with what I thought were the shapes of continents on them. So I turn to K an say "I think those earth balloons are cool, but they would look better if they were blue rather than white"..to which she replies.. "That is because they are cows"...after a better look, there were no distinguishable continent shapes at all..

5.11.2009

New Excercise Program

I got a new exercise program for the Wii yesterday. C got it for me as a birthday present. It is quite a work out. I did 30 minutes at intermediate level and burned off 190 calories.

Reasons I like it better (or the same) than Wii Fit:

1) It weighs you every day
2) It tells you how many calories you burned each day
3) The routine does not start and stop like the Wii Fit
4) You can choose from three levels of difficulty
5) You can work out from 5 to 60 minutes- your choice
6) All the exercise are available- no unlocking required
7) You can use it with or without the balance board
8) using the balance board makes it harder, I think.


Reasons I don't like it as much:

1) to me it is primarily a running game with interludes of other sports, which are fun, but worthless when it comes to burning calories

There are four workouts. Today I chose weight loss, but there is also interval training, strength training, and hill climb. I also need to practice a few of the sports, I can't seem to jump through the tires at all. I need to get the movement right. Just practice I guess:)

Bethlehem Fine Arts and Crafts Show

This past weekend was the Mother's Day Craft show in Bethlehem. It was up on Main Street. Hands down this show and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the sales and hate the weather. Saturday the show is typically slower and my sales were off by about half from previous years.

I knew that this economy crunch was going to effect us crafter but I think that this kind of show in particular may be the hardest hit. Most of the people there are two dimensional artists (think $1200 paintings), photographers, and jewelers. There are potters and a few other fine crafters like myself, but it is much more an art show than anything else. I think that some people don't want to be reminded of their financial problems by "window shopping" high end fine arts and crafts.

Saturday night the wind came. We survived it, but many, many others didn't. There was rampant wind damage with some people loosing their expensive ($1000) tents, not to mention their work. I counted at least a dozen with major damage. Some even had to come in the middle of the night to get their things that were strewn all over the street. When we got there we just packed and left. To me there is nothing worse than loosing the tent and displays to weather when you can make an informed decision and avoid it. Sometimes storms sneak up, but when you know what you are going to be against, sometimes it isn't right to fight it. I hope that the people who stayed did really well and made lots of money.

So I apologize to anyone who braved the wind on Sunday to come find me, only to find an empty space. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't risk having to buy another tent, and I couldn't risk my safety and the safety of the customers. Wind is dangerous. I'll take rain over wind any day.