Busy Week

It has been a busy week. Monday I tore down the tent at Folk Fest and Tuesday I did my best to catch up on paperwork, write up my huge list of things to do, and rest some.

Wednesday I went to B's while dad did the PPL Farm Market.

Thursday we started making soap, rejuvenation was first on the list of things to do, and in the afternoon dad did the Bethlehem Farm Market. That night K & M arrived for their visit so I sat up with them kinda late and chatted.

Friday was Vanilla-Hazelnut day in the morning and dad did the Bath Farm Market in the afternoon. C worked from home, a bad case of poison ivy had popped up and I prescribed three showers a day with pine tar soap and a good slathering of calamine lotion in between for good measure. K & M went to breakfast with me & dad and then went off for their day of adventure. My day ended with some Chinese for dinner and a few episodes of Bones :)

Saturday meant to be a day with K & M, but alas, the poison ivy would have made for an uncomfortable day of walking around. So we got things done around home, including some gardening, but mainly lots of paperwork and napping. Dad did a craft fair at Zion Wesleyan Church in Bath (almost Nazareth). Unfortunately it wasn't the little gem of a show I hoped it would be, but the day wasn't a waste either for him. Dinner was baked potatoes with all the fixings, not exactly balanced, but pretty yummy anyways.

Sunday started with lots of plans. Plans to go to dinner at one place, then plans changed to another, and yet still a third before me, C, K, M, B & M could all eat together. It was great everyone getting all together and I am really glad that we could show M show much we all care about K and miss her terribly. The afternoon was really just chilling and watching a movie (BTW, The Road is good, but depressing!!). Dad and I made some Bay Rum soap and some special order Gardener's Soap before I left with everyone for lunch and he finished up the days soap.

It was a really good, but but busy. This week really isn't much different. Good thing it ends with a long weekend. Too bad it starts with a dentist appointment in a few hours. First.Cavity.Ever. Guess I gotta go brush my teeth and take a shower :(


A moment to reflect...

August is exhausting for me. I have 17 days of shows in 17 days plus three set ups and load outs to deal with, making it a 19 day test of will and stamina.

I am sitting here in my favorite chair after a long hot shower and the fragrance of pepperberry sits lightly on my skin. I am watching the living room grow brighter and then dimmer as the sun peeks in and out from the clouds. For me it is the end of summer. I am already thinking Christmas displays, ordering supplies, and finalizing a show schedule. But for a moment I am reflecting on how blessed I have been the first half of this year.

Dad being in the shop has opened doors to a world I knew existed but wasn't sure how to reach. The farm markets have been a success and the craft shows he has done have all been good as well. We have been blessed with good weather and only one truly lousy show all season. He has streamlined the workshop, kept it going, kept it clean, and kept me on track.

We have had our moments, those moments where the boss/employee and father/daughter relationships overlap for better or for worse. I am still learning how to be a good boss, I am still learning how to be a good daughter, and some days are better than others. But it is easier now than it was, there is a quiet understanding of what needs to be done, and when we need to push each other through the difficult days.

These 19 days of August in retrospect were utterly amazing. I have such wonderful, caring, trustworthy, honorable customers that my days were filled with soapy love in both the form of words and sales. I met three great artisans that I think will remain friends forever now. One experienced her first craft show ever, another is traveling far and wide to sell her wares, and yet another is raising a family filled with love, spirituality, and hope. Talking with and watching these three ladies taught me so much about myself, where I want to go with myself, and where I came from, that I really consider their touch in my life a changing experience.

The shows themselves were secondary this year. Musikfest was its usual self, with long hours, hot dry weather mixed with periods of rain, and my overall love/hate feeling about it. It is a music festival that happens to have a crafts area, we are secondary to the festival, it would go on without us, and that is the overall vibe of the event for me. It is something to survive, to endure, and only the friendly faces of my customers (and so many that have become my friends) that keeps me going day after day. I feed off their energy like a vampire, I need it to survive.

The summer festival at Mulhenberg Hospital is a dying show. Each year it gets less and less crafters, and fewer and fewer buyers. It is a vicious cycle. I for one will not be back next year. It was not worth missing the farm markets for the event. I had fun the two days I was there because I shopped the white elephant sale and the book sale, ate great food, and played bingo, all while dad manned the booth.

And Folk Fest... ahhh Folk Fest. My favorite show of the year. I had a great spot, high and dry, easy to find, and the weather wasn't too bad either. It was my second most successful fest ever. I love the people, the energy, the family atmosphere. I noticed it is becoming a little more commercial, I just hope it doesn't loose its charm along the way. And they take such great care of their crafters, that show leaves me rejuvenated and happy to do festivals. I wish that one was ten days and Musikfest was three :)

The hard month is over, it is all downhill from here. Sure I am busy with shows and inventory and orders, but the hours are not as long, I get to eat better food, and sleep more than I got to this month. Next thing I know it will be January and I will be sitting on a beach somewhere knitting some socks, napping the afternoon away, and pondering what is in store for next year.


Folk Fest & Mulhenberg all done!

I hate to say it but I think Mulhenberg is a dying show. There are fewer and fewer crafters each year and fewer and fewer sales each year. It is a cycle that just seems to keep going on a downward spiral. This year there wasn't enough vendors to fill the three tents so the center spots were completely empty in the center. Sales were sluggish on all the days except the first day, and overall didn't amount to much. Depending on what other shows I am accepted to next year there is a good chance that this one will fall off my show schedule.

Folk Fest was a solid show this year. It rained on Sunday and the sucesss of the show is very dependant on the weather that last day. People tend to camp and buy on the last day before leaving and when it rains, people just run fo rcover rather than going shopping first. But, it is one of my favorite shows to particiapte in, the promoters are wonderful, the custumers are wonderful, and I am very lucky to have this show so close to home. Would I travel for it?? Probably not, but to be able to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, I am happy to be a part of the show :)


PFF & Mulhenberg.. all at once

Yesterday I started the day setting up for the Philly Folk Fest. I have a great spot over by the information booth so I think I will get a lot of traffic. It was an easy set up, I only put up the tent, and will go back today to put up inventory.

The summer festival at Mulhenberg started last night and was the best Wednesday that I remember in a log time. I think the weather was perfect and since there were fewer crafters this year there was space for people to move in the isles more and not feel pushed through.

I had a great time, dad maned the booth, and I played some bingo, bought some books, some glass jars, and got dinner. I really had a wonderful time last night despite my allergies killing me.

My allergies are going absolutely crazy. I can barely breathe and dad is the same way. The dust at Musikfest really got to me and I just can't get it out of my system. I walked from the festival last night to the nearest grocery store to get me something to take. I slept fine, but got up and the snotworks started again...

Wlel I have a few things to do before I can get out of here and down to the Folk Fest so I better get going!


Musikfest 2010- All Done!

Musikfest 2010 is officially done and all I have left to do is to tear down the tent and clean up the displays for the next show. This year was the dustiest, grubbiest, dirtiest, fest that I can remember and my displays and table covers can attest to that. I am pretty sure they will need to be washed twice to get all the grime out.

Even with the rain, sales finished strong and I have experienced my best sales ever. I got to barter with some of my colleagues for wonderful pottery, jewelry, and glass work. I also have a small pile of craft show invitations/applications to go through and look at and try and squeeze into the schedule.

The list of things to do is currently amazing and overwhelming. I am trying to get some rest the next few days in between completing some stuff. I have a small list of special orders, quite a bit of inventory to make, a huge pile of mail to go through, a shop to finish cleaning up (since the water heater exploded last week and left a mess), and a garden to tend. Whew, that list makes me tired just writing it!

Oh, did I mention all I want to do right now is nap??

OK, it is 7:10 am. I have to get going so I can get that tent torn down before the rain starts again.


Big Little Fans

I LOVE my biggest, littlest fans- the kids. And I have so much trouble keeping all the names and ages straight and understanding the smallest ones is so hard (they can talk so quietly)..

But yesterday Gabe came to help me for an hour. He has been asking for three years if he can help in the booth, and finally he is old enough and tall enough to do so. He spent an hour with me, bagging orders, meeting other crafts people, and generally getting tons of questions answered. I had a blast and hope he stops in next year for an hour or two as well!

Emily is a new friend this year and her bubbly personality and joyous inquisitiveness just melts my heart. This is the second time I met her this year and each time is such a joy. Yesterday I answered he questions about what Patchouli is and how I make the colors in the soap... Such fun!

Little Sophie and her big sister came by. Lip balms are their favorites! Mom says they come ask to visit me by name, amazing!

So even though it rained outside, there was sunshine in my heart all day!


Quick updat- Musikfest- 1/2 way!

I am half way done with the fest and I am having a great time this year. You guys/gals are stupendous and I I have so many memories already from this year.

I have had a customer from Spain come and by lip balms because she loved them last year, another purchased Patchouli soap in memory of her late brother, some Pine Tar helped clear up a customer's poison ivy and she finally got a decent night's sleep, and the list goes on and on... just an amazing year!

Also, thanks to everyone who will be at Folk Fest next week. I appreciate the heads up on the large orders so I can get them aside for you and be sure to have the stock for you :)

I also have a special order that I can't give out too much info on until it is complete, but it is exciting and it is making me research and make something I have never done before.

OK, back to the show!!


Musikfest 2010- 3 days down, 7 to go!

Friday started off a little slow. I was worried that the economy finally had reached as far as Musikfest and that besides the great weather, I was in for a long, boring show...

But Saturday and Sunday proved me wrong... can I just say.. BEST WEEKEND EVAH!!! First, I was the recipient of all kinds of soapy love, from the fans of the shaving soap, to the bath fizzy fanatics, my regular customers were out in full force and showing the love! THANK YOU!!! Every time you come in to the both and share your delight, it helps me make sales to new customers. Your testimonials really not only help me feel great on a long hot day, but help spread the word, and that is the best form of marketing a gal can ask for!

I was also interviewed for an upcoming TV show and will let you know when it will be on as soon as I know!

Soaps flew off the table, and if you love the Blue Lagoon, there is a serious chance I will sell out by the end of the show! You are also keeping my friend Bebe busy, as she will need to throw more soap dishes after this is done for sure, they are such a hit! And mom will need to speed up on the knitting, because washcloths seem the be the rage this year too :)

Of course there are always things that can be improved upon, and I wish this year the area was less dusty, I am afraid to think of all the grime I am breathing in, yuck... and of course I wish there was more and better monitored parking nearby. But as a whole this show is run very well and I just hang on for the ride.

So stop on by, say hello, spread the soapy love, and have fun at the fest!!!


Some time to relax!

This past week has been great overall. Except for Wednesday when I forgot I was supposed to have lunch with B and she drove all the way to my house! Whoops!!

The week has been full of getting things done but on a slow schedule, which is nice because the next few weeks get pretty crazy so I enjoy the ability to rest a bit. I wish my allergies would calm down, then I could actually breathe and enjoy the day some, instead I just seem to sleep through the day.

We made some soap and I am all caught up on the list of things to make. I also made lotion bars, so we are all set! So nice to go into a few big shows without a huge deficit in inventory already.

The Farm Markets have been doing well. Plaza Growers Market is just small and not the venue for us, I don't think we will be back next year. Bethlehem is doing OK, it is steady and we are growing slowly. I think after a year of local shows this market will be better next year for us. We can promote it as someplace we are and people can save shipping by going over to get stuff there. But the big surprise is the Bath Market. It is FANTASTIC and growing every week. I love the vibe of the place, and it is where I get my groceries each week now.

So today I am catching up on some paperwork, having that lunch with B, and enjoying the fact that my allergies are subsiding!!!