Packing and getting ready to go...

Am I the only person who thinks that going away takes more work than staying home? I have so much to do- bills, laundry, packing, and the list just goes on and on. I am trying to make sure that Wednesday morning I am not running around like a maniac, but somehow I know that will be the case.

I think some of it is planning ahead. Having to look and see what show applications need to be mailed before I go, what bills need to be paid, what supplies need to be ordered, and what laundry needs to be done so I can pack. And then the packing- what outfits, how many, what shoes, what knitting projects, what will I read, is my Ipod up to date, do I have snacks for the plane ride, do the cats have enough food and litter, have I checked the mail... It makes my head spin....

I planned on doing lots of stuff on Monday but now have something I need to do in the morning, so that changes my plans some. One reason I am blogging now, to cross it off my list for tomorrow, since I usually update on Mondays. I am not going to get much done in the shop, but I plan on bringing my lap top so I can work on the web site even more.

I got a request for pictures on the web site- they are coming soon. But I need to set up the photo booth and get everything made before I can take photos. I like them on the site too, but they are secondary to all the important info like ingredients and order buttons that work. When I return I should be in a place where I can make them a priority. I sure hope so.

That is it for now. I get to cross off "update blog" from my list, but as I have sat here and typed I have thought of three other things I need to do, so the list is longer than ever!


So close.... I can almost tell you...

I am "this close" (imagine my fingers being a hairs breath apart) to having TWO places you will be able to buy my soap locally. I am very excited about both of them. One I have a verbal "yes we want to carry your stuff"- but no order yet and the second I have a written "yes we want to carry your stuff" but I have a bunch to do to get that account ready-lots of paperwork and I need some website stuff done first... But I hope, I hope, that in a few weeks I can so some major announcements- so keep your fingers crossed for me!!

I have made two new fragrances- Bay Rum and Palmarosa. I really, really, (did I say really?) like the Bay Rum. It is white with yellow swirls and I hope that it beaks the "curse of the yellow soap". Have you ever noticed that none of my "regular line" soaps are yellow? I have. And every year I try at least one yellow soap, and every year it bombs. I have green and yellow, but no plain yellow.

The palmarosa is less of a favorite of mine. It is a very green floral. Like being in the garden while the grass is being cut. Fresh, clean, ...strong. But it may mellow out some after it cures and is ready for sale. I tried a new oxide for the color and it really lost it's color. So rather than a vibrant purple I got a tan/gray. Not as gray as Star Anise, not as tan as Egyptian Cotton, and not as dark as Lavender-Patch. And certainly not the color I was shooting for. I have to make more, so I have to decide if this color is a mistake or a design choice. And if it is a mistake, then I need to figure out what color to make it and I am sort of at a loss for that answer right now.

I am getting ready to go away. Next week I will leave for a vacation, celebrating my anniversary and Valentine's Day all at once. Dad will watch the house, the cats, and the shop. So orders will still be mailed, and I will try and answer email once a day so I can get things taken care of so it isn't too much of a mess when I return:)


Monday Update

It is going to be a busy week. I didn't get as much as I wantd to get done over the weekend. Caught some 24 hour bug that knocked me out for a day. Had an ear ache and stuffy nose, but now all is well. Lots of rest seemed to do the trick.

I planned on doing lots of errands today but the rain will hang in there till this afternoon. So I will do that stuff tomorrow. No need to drive in the wind and rain if I don't have to. Also need to do fun stuff- like paperwork and pay bills and show applications and such.

Starting lotion bars today. Will have to order some supplies but I need to figure out how much of what so I don't order too many. Trying to think lean and mean this year, just getting what I need and not too much else. Trying to get everything I need from one supplier all at once to save on shipping too. It is hard to plan and not just order willie nille as I think of something. But I know it is a better way to run the business, so I am trying my best to plan better this year.

Well I guess it is time to get dressed and get to the workshop. We had lost power this morning and I thought for a bit it would last all day, but it came back on, so now it is time to go to work...


Done with Lipbalms!

OK, so they have to be labeled and such, but I have made the first 1,000 lip balms of the year. Some of the new flavors I am in love with, some I can pass by. It will be interesting to me to see what everyone else likes.

Went and picked up oils to make soap with and ingredients for bath fizzys yesterday. Got 7 big batches of soap made today.

Tomorrow I am going to start making lotion bars.

I placed an order for a bunch of clays and herbs that I need and wrappers for the bath fizzys as well. Really excited that I found a new vendor for those wrappers. Not only is it closer geographically but it was less expensive as well and I didn't have to buy as many at one time either so I will save some storage room too. I also could buy more colors of wrappers which means I can expand the number of bath fizzy fragarnces I make now if I want to. I also got rid of the black wrapper - it will be burgundy now. I just think the black is sort of depressing. Not bad if you are using the fizzy yourself, but who wants to give a gift wrapped in black...

Npt much else going on here. Sort of a slow week in the shop. Kept waiting for supplies to arrive. Lots to get done next week and lots of updating on the web site to get done as well. I have the new fragrances up and will add shopping cart buttons as they become available. Next I have to get the clearance page up to date. And then get those lip balms on as well.


Weekly Update

Lets see here: last week I got soap made- I already updated you on the Star Anise. My shop still smalls like licorice every time I go in there. Yum...

Started making lip balms: got Peppermint, Coconut, and Pomegranate done. Three down, seven to go. Dulche de Leche is next in line...

I mailed out the January Newsletter. Thanks again everyone. I have gotten great feedback from it. It makes me smile every time I get a response.

Got orders to get mailed out. Keep 'em comming! Hope to have the web site updated soon.Got to make myself work on that this week for sure...

Ordered oils to make soap. Can't pick them up until later this week. Then I will be in a frenzy again.

Starting to get applications out for craft shows. Will update the events list as soon as I get acceptance letters.

Haven't exercise one bit. Knee has been hurting. Need to start again today. Think I will bike rather than run/walk. Maybe less stress on it. Been taking my vitamin though. Feel good and energized overall. Although you wouldn't know it by the long naps I have been taking. Feels good to listen to my body and catch up on rest.

Dad has been re-potting plants. Lots of snake plants, some small jade plants, and some eternity plants. They will need a month or so to get established. Then I will post pics and descriptions of them here and on the web site. Get to start some seeds soon. Maybe some columbine??


New Fragrance- Star Anise

Yesterday I made the first batch of Star Anise. The workshop smells like licorice now. It is almost like black jelly beans. Wonderful stuff. I expected it to be so strong that I might hate it, but it is just on that edge. The soap is white with a gray marble to it. I think one of the reasons I like the fragrance so much is because I can't eat licorice vines anymore (made with wheat flour) and the fragrance brings back memories of black vines and Easter time.

I also got all the supplies I need for lip balms (except the shrink wraps- always forget to order the shrink wraps!!) so I will start making those this week as well.

Also hope to get the January newsletter mailed out and emailed in the next few days. Got to go buy some envelopes this morning.


2010- the year of a better me.....weeks 1 & 2

I want to be a better person by the end of this year- inside and out. So each week I am going to to try to add one POSITIVE thing each week. I think it is important to be positive. Rather than saying- don't eat sweets (an impossibility), I am going to try and eat more raw veggies- hopefully lessening my desire for sweets in the process.

So last week was week 1. I ADDED EXERCISE into my routine. I got a Wii Active and have started the thirty day challenge. I took a day off due to a headache, and missed the weekend- just really busy, but I will start again today and try to exercise a little every day. I think the scale shows a change already, but really it is more that I feel better already. More awake, more alert, and more motivated.

This week is week 2. I have ADDED A DAILY VITAMIN into my routine. Although I do believe you can and should get all you need from the foods you eat, right now I can safely say that isn't happening. I eat terrible right now. No real meal plans, haphazardly throughout the day, sometimes skipping meals. I mean really- should ice cream be dinner? But all those things are for the future. This week I just have added some vitamins to get me through till other things start to balance out.


Tired of the cold!!

I am sick of this cold spell. My hands are stuff, my feet are cold, my cats are like Velcro, my laundry piles up because of all the layers, and the thought of going outside just turn my stomach.

But staying in has it's advantages. Been working in the shop. Done with inventory. Made up the order form for the sale that starts in February. Designed the 2010 order form. Filed a bunch of stuff. Made two batches of shampoo bars, and three batches of unscented. Got orders filled and mailed out. Ordered some essential oils, and lip balm flavors. In general cleaned and organized. Wrote up the January newsletter- soon to be printed and mailed. That's all since Tuesday! I have had a busy month already!

I hope my essential oils show up in a few days, I would like to start making new fragrances on Monday. I have to keep a look out for next weeks weather report. Hopefully I can go get some oils for unscented soap. But too long of a drive in bad weather or yucky roads.

I have gotten really inspired with color lately. I knit a hat this week too, it was burgundy and tweedy. I am thinking how I could make soap look more like tweed rather than the marble I get now... hmmmm...

But I am off to knit a cowl. Take some time to relax a little. This is supposed to be my slow time of year, I need to remember that :)


Not a bad day....

Not a bad day for starting out with a dentist appointment. Teeth are clean now and just fine. Had to get x-rays. Hate them. But it had been 5 years or so, so it was time to do it. I always think of CSI while they do my dental x-rays. Like they are something I should keep up with just in case someday my body needs to be identified. I know, strange thoughts.

After the dentist I went to Trader Joe's. The closest one to me is about 40 minutes away (but just down the street from the dentist). So I go every time I get my teeth cleaned (about twice a year). I still have my old dentist from when I moved to PA and lived in Lansdale. I know, another odd thing, but I love him, and it is hard to love your dentist, so I keep him, and make the drive twice a year. Also gives me the excuse to go grocery shopping, and usually yarn shopping too, but I skipped that this time. Anyway, I stocked up on rice pasta, and gluten free mac & cheese, and all of those staples that I like to have in the house and love getting from TJ's.

Since my morning was spent at the dentist, after lunch I started in on my afternoon routine- paperwork/computer work. I wrote up the January newsletter and hop to get it emailed out in a day or so. I have a bunch of addresses to add to the list before it is mailed. I paid bills- that is always fun (not). Later I got a bunch of files complete. Each year every show I do goes into a file with notes about it. The files are color coded as to how likely I am to do the show again. So I got everything filed and labeled for 2009. Now I can start sending out applications and putting together my show schedule for 2010.

That's it for yesterday... onward...today I hope to get some soap made!


More New Stuff...

Well the water is working, and I got new lights in what I call the "packaging" area of the workshop. I also got new lights in the "workroom" and soon will have some in the "cure room" too. I will take pics as soon as it is more finished.

Yesterday I started ordering supplies. I got the components I need to mix the fragrance for shaving soaps, and I got flavors for lip balms as well as containers for lip balms. Four flavors from 2009 stay- Peppermint, Watermelon, Coconut, and Chocolate Truffle and six (yes six!) new flavors for 2010. Want to know what they will be? OK. You talked me into telling you: Pink Lemonade, Very Berry, Green Tea, Tangerine, Pomegranate, and Dulce de Leche. I was going to make a lot of other new flavors but C talked me out of it. Don't want too much change all at once. And I was going to keep French Vanilla too, but that flavor is no longer carried, so I had to decide on something else.

B had her surgery and is doing fine. I sat with her last night while C and M went out for a night of good humor. Much pain from the rehab, and the staples, and all that junk, but she is looking better every time I see her so I know there is progress.

K left for school. She officially loves in Pittsburgh now. I am a sap and I already miss her. Had to keep myself from crying when she left. I know we will keep in touch and I am so overwhelmingly proud of her it is amazing.

As for me, I got a Wii Active for Christmas. I have done two workouts of the 30 day challenge so far. I really like it and can feel the burn as they say. I sweat during the workouts and I haven't gotten bored yet. I like how they will get harder as I progress. I think it is a good program and will keep me interested for a while longer than the Wii Fit. Today was my rest day so I did some yoga this morning and feel better after a good stretch.

Well it is my first real day of work since taking off for the Holidays. C left for a business trip about an hour ago, so I am going to start my year off right and get to work. I plan 3-5 hours in the shop and 3 hours in the shop, 3 hours at the computer (newsletter/ web site etc.) and 2 hours of paperwork (inventory spreadsheets, filing, etc.). Off I go!