August 20-26, 2012

Just trying to catch up on everything: emails, bills, phone calls, orders, soap, fizzys, lotions, you name it. I started out the week with two full pages (college ruled), two columns each of things to do. Now I start this week with one column on only one page.

The week was a blur. We made soap almost every day and I I got one wedding out the door and another started, almost half way done. I acquired one new wholesale account and one that I am making some test soaps for because they want a specific sized bar.

Orders, lots of orders have been rolling through and for that I am eternally grateful. It is really nice to start the day with a few orders. Dad has been doing really well at the farm markets. We are even looking at adding one more next year.

I already had show applications for next year to do, crikey! I can't believe I have three things for next year already lined up. Amazing how early shows are getting their applications out now. I actually like it because I can really know what is going on in advance and it sure makes planning easier.

I have also been napping almost every day trying to catch up on some of the sleep I didn't get recently. And I have been cooking dinner every night because I can not explain how much I have been missing real food. No time for knitting at night yet and I hope in another week I will be able to get back to having a hobby.

Over the weekend time was spent catching up on the garden. It was like a wild jungle. We pulled out four raised beds, two just were full of weeds, but the others were spaghetti squash, artichokes, and kohlrabi. I was bummed I didn't get to the one artichoke in time to eat it, it went to flower. It was very pretty and I got a few nice pictures. Don't think I will try artichokes again though. Only got one in four plants and they took up a crazy amount of space. We did harvest and cook about 10 lbs of kohlrabi, and made 6 1/2 gallons of tomato sauce. Yes, gallons! And I have plants that are still loaded with tomatoes so there will be another batch in a few weeks. So now I at least think it is manageable. I also had to promise C that I wouldn't try to expand the garden again nest year until I can get a handle on what I have going. It is hard when the peak of the season is my hardest time of year for shows.

OK, it is time for me to try and get some more things done today. I think I have one more hard week of work before I can relax some. Off I go!


Tuesday's Tweets I Didn't Send

Well last weeks got a few chuckles, so maybe I will make this a weekly feature...

1) I must be getting old, I think the music is too loud from here

2) Thanks for applying the spray on bug spray/sunscreen (can of chemicals) right in front of my booth. The whole empty field ten feet to my left isn't empty enough for you?

3) Just because I live in Emmaus doesn't mean I know the former or current mayor personally.

4) Wow, someone at Folk Fest actually doesn't know what Patchouli is, or how to say it...Patch-Ow-Wee is not it.

5) Kittens should come with an off switch

6) So a journalist (maybe photog) comes into my booth and tells me he buys soap from someone else...in Oregon...and it looks just like this...really???

7) "Does it work?" especially regarding the Bug Off, like 500 times

8) Lots of innapropriate clothing choices. Weird is cool, vulgar is not.

9) How many different words for the female anatomy can the people outside my tent use in one sentence...up to 5 so far

10) Overheard: "Hope he finds a rich one, there isn't much future in there"

11) Yes you shave with the brush, and magical faries make the hairs on your face go away

12) Watching you bring your kid who is learning to walk on stilts  into a booth full of pottery...priceless!


Philly Folk Fest Day 3

Well I have had crazier days there, but in the end, I was happy with the sales, and ecstatic with the repeat sales, I am always amazed how much this festival really is a family.

The weather held out for us and the day went by pretty quickly. I was super excited to be able to barter for a T-shirt I really wanted from a vendor I haven't seen in quite a few years.

Speaking of fiber and clothing. There was way too much of it his year, at least 12 of the vendors had some kind of clothes.

I also have a problem with "fair trade" at any festival. First, I think it should be quarantined from handcrafts, not mixed in. (Folk Fest at least denotes the difference in the fest guide, most do not). I also think this should be used to augment a show. If a promoter can't find someone that makes dresses to come, then yes, invite fair trade dresses, but if you can get a handcrafter then that person should be afforded the luxury of not having the competition from someone who does not make their things and can sell them for a song and still make cash. The same goes for beaded and other jewelry, shoes, leather items, and any other "fair trade" item. When festivals begin to realize fair trade is not fair to the US Handcrafter then the whole system will be better.

Load out wasn't bad at all. First I was amazed, just the fact that for once it was cool and dry, it made a big difference. We also started taking down tent sides and ropes and signs earlier in the day when we could see better and taking them to the car. Once the time came we started with inventory and then displays and finally the tent. Just as we were leaving others were lining up to get into the field. but 60 minutes for us and we were gone. Home and in bed by midnight. Woot!

Well my busy time of the summer is over. I have a few weekends off and the just small one day events after that. I visit my mom next month so I am planning that trip with fun things for both of us to do. Next big show is the end of September. I am excited to get back to the smaller shows where I have the time and energy to devote to everyone who comes by.

Time to try and devour that crazy list of things to so I have in front of me. Gonna be a great few days easing back into real life! Thanks for being on the ride with me:)


Philly Folk Fest- Day 2

Hmmmm.. what an odd day. Usually my Fridays are the worst, and Saturdays is OK and Sunday is stellar. Wondering if it will be the same this year or not. I mean, today was OK, but not as OK as usual. But I had lots and lots of "be back tomorrows" so if even half of those show I think I will be golden.

And it got COLD. I was freezing by the time I left. The humidity was way up and as the temperature dropped I could actually see my breath for a few minutes.

Super glad that C drove yesterday. I actually caught some extra sleep both on the way there and on the way home. I actually feel a little more normal today. Can't believe it is break down all ready. If it is nice out I may start taking down sides wile it is still day light and pulling up ropes and stuff (leaving the stakes and weights on till the end). That way once it gets dark a lot of the hard stuff will be done. I will be really surprised if they let us drive onto the field for break down. I think we will be dragging everything through the grass and wet to get it in the car. At least the parking area doesn't seem too muddy (yet) so I hop ewe can get the loaded car out of the lot.

OK, time to pack inventory. I have a bit to do before I get going. See you soon!


Philly Folk Fest Day 1

So I was thinking that I was going to be alone all day and then something awesome happened. Rachel, who I only see every year at fest, emailed me and asked me if I would be there and if I would need help. It was a yes to both questions. C wasn't due in till early evening, and I hadn't finished set up with G. So I had a van full of inventory, a booth that was just the tent set up, and just a few hours in the am to get it all ready before the show started.

So I took her up on her offer. He arrived around 8 am and by 10 we were done. Everything out, labeled, signage, everything. I even had time for breakfast. Then she continued to take awesome care of me till the late afternoon. She can sell, and stock and remind me to drink water and eat too. So the day I thought was going to be like hell, ended up being pretty darn pleasant. It was a great way to start the fest.

Sales were good, I only missed my goal by one or two sales, but the rains came in and out so that is not surprising at all. I am actually surprised I did as well as I did. I love this show because I really see the same faces each year and get to have a "fest family". I have watched kids grow up and now they bring in their friends too. It is cool to see the boys, one ashamed to come in with mom, now bringing in their girlfriends to buy them a lip balm or two.

The drive home was brutal and I was so glad I had C behind me the whole way. The rain got hard a few times, and I was super tired. Had to opened the windows a few times for a blast of air to wake me up some. I was in bed by 1 am, and Mona thought 5 am was the prefect playtime. Yikes!

So it is time for me to take a shower, pack some inventory and food, and get out of here for another day of fun and excitement at the fest!


Have you seen this?

Have you seen this? It was misappropriated during Musikfest. (Stolen sounds like such a harsh word for something probably used to cart home one or more drunken acquaintances).

The important thing is that the Bethlehem Police know it is gone and are looking for it. So...

1) If you or someone you like has it, please contact me. I can arrange for it's rightful owner to pick it up, no questions asked.


2) If you know who has it and you don't like them, feel free to contact the Bethlehem Police Department, they will be happy to hear from you.

Tweets I Didn't Send

So earlier this year I started a twitter account. A few of my friends stressed that it might not be a great idea for me to have a place where I could not have a filter between my brain and my fingers. They were afraid that I might get a large following and then insult someone when they were less than 100 feet out of the booth.

So I have been censoring myself. Actually keeping it pretty boring, more for facebook updates, and newsletter updates, and show space locations, then what I want to use it for, a place where my inner snark can have a place to be heard.

So here are a few tweets I didn't send during Musikfest.

1) Bath fizzys do not make you eat another person's face. Those are bath salts and I don't make those either.

2) Please stop smoking in my booth, how can you smell anything through all that haze?

3) Why does the sale that takes the most energy out of me have to be to someone I know?

4) Overheard: when we role play I am the UPS man...

5) Really asking me to just sell you lye? You either make soap or meth and I don't want to help you do either.

6) The Bath farmer's Market is not a market of all bath products

7) You thought the bath mitts were socks? For people with one giant misplaced toe I guess.

8) So our guard hippes didn't work, people (not me) had things stolen last night.

9) Rumor has it we have no security down here, so glad to hear that.

10) You use Hungarian Lavender? Have anything that smells good? Hope that was the beer talking, even though it is just 1 pm.

11) I miss hot food.

12) I swear the bell guy's voice has changed... maybe he has minions...

So what is your opinion... should I live tweet or let the filter of time just give me some rocking blog posts every few weeks?


Musikfest Day 10 + Tear Down and Beyond

Day 10 was awesome, almost as good as Day 9 and it probably could have been better if I hadn't run out of soaps like the Sea Salt, Oatmeal, and the samplers too. But hey, what is a girl to do? I try and project what I am going to need for the show and sometimes things ho haywire. It has been a long time since I ran out of something at a show. I have sold out, with lots back at the shop to bring the next day, but my boxes were empty, and the soap on the racks not ready for a week or more. Woah!!!

That night we packed everything away and then came back the next morning to tear down. It was an easy load out, everything was dry and fit in the van nicely. A few things needed to come out as soon as I got home so they didn't get too hot but the rest just gets to stay until Folk Fest set up tomorrow :)

I am sick, my throat is killing me. I think that it is just allergies, because my nose is running too, but I am pretty miserable and I hope the next few days kicks it.

I have lost some paperwork I needed, a few show apps and a parking pass. I hate being the one to call up and have to get new ones. I always feel like a jerk. I swear I remember taking them out of the car to bring inside. But they are not in the car, and they are not inside. And then that just spins me into another, "I am so tired I can only cry" mode and I get angry at everything and then mad at myself for being angry. It is an awful Catch 22. I even got mad at C for trying to make me feel better. Seriously. I should be locked in a room for a few days till I decompress. 

OK. This one is going to be short since "blog" was on my list of things to do along with a few dozen other things, so I can't spend my whole day here, and I am sure you don't want to hear all about it. I know in my heart and head that my problems are trivial and I am blessed. But sometimes when you are in it you can't see it from any other perspective.

All I can say is THANK YOU!!! For supporting me, for buying, for caring, for listening, for letting me into your world and for being interested in mine just for a bit. Musikfest 2012 was my best year ever and I really hope to have another ten years there!



Musikfest Day 7 & 8 & 9

Don't mind me.. I am on auto pilot. What energy isn't used at the 'fest is used to try and keep myself from just being mad at the world.Today that isn't working.

I am tired. I crave a hot sit down meal with a real napkin. I crave a shower that I can sit in without falling asleep. I would like not to have to put on the same dirty shoes each morning (but I only want to ruin one pair in the mud each year). I wish for the opportunity for an afternoon nap.The migraine that started on Day 9 is going strong day 10. This may suck a little today.

Sales on Thursday were OK, nothing crazy but I was still happy. Friday was slower than I expected it to be, almost as slow as the first Friday. But Saturday completely rocked and was the best day of the festival so far. I have surpassed 2011 sales (not too hard given the rain and the flood, but still a milestone to be excited about) and I am on my way to equally or surpassing 2010 (my best year ever). All I need is the weather to hold out a bit and for people to come on down and visit.

I am still amazed how many people each day mention the newspaper article. It is kinda odd, but exciting, and humbling, and amazing all at the same time.

For the first time in many years I have completely sold out of a soap- Himalayan Sea Salt. It is all gone and the ones in the rack may not be ready for next week.  I am getting close on a few others. This means that the entire batch of 200 was sold through within the last few weeks. Just amazing!

OK, I gotta run. I slept late and desperately need a shower and to pack inventory for the last day. Hope to see you soon!


Musikfest Day 6

Almost done and the best days should be ahead of me. The publicity from the paper was overwhelming. I got lots of new people who came out just to try a bar or two, and my dedicated customers came by all day just to tell me they saw me and were glad to say "I've been buying from her for years!". I really enjoyed the fact that the afternoon was slower and I had the chance to get into some deep conversations about what I do and why I do it. Sometimes we talked ingredients (local versus organic advantages), sometimes process (why I hand mill) and sometimes just about life in general being a craftsperson.

There is another blurb about me in the Express Times today. I think I have just about used up my 15 minutes of fame. I think the hubbub will die down a little after the 'fest is over. I was so excited to see today that yesterday and the day before were my two highest web page views since I updated my web site in January. Over 900 people checked me out just because of the article in the paper. I am overjoyed.

As for yesterday, it started out very slow, but as usual the night is the time to sell. It picked up a little later than it has been, about 7:30 but I had a few really good hours, so the day ended up much better than I had thought it would earlier in the evening.

But that is about it. Beckah and Gabe both came to help me out for a while. It was so nice to have the company. I needed to be invigorated with conversation and hilarity. They kept me going while I was at my most tired. Speaking of tired, I slept late today, so I have to get going or I wont get my inventory and food packed up in time to leave. Gotta run, hope to see you soon!


Musikfest Day 5

So my Monday was better than Friday and now my Tuesday was better than my Sunday? I totally forgot how awesome Musikfest can be when the weather participates. There were so many people out and about and having fun too, not just getting from point A to B in the driest and least muddy way possible (which never includes my part of Handwerkzplatz).

The day started off awesomely. I had gotten there early so I could drive in and drop off inventory and suddenly Dan Sheehan his photographer Emily Robson come wandering through. An innocent conversation turns into a full article in The Morning Call, complete with some awesome pictures!  What a great way to start a morning. It also just reinforces that the "early bird gets the worm", I was just in the right place at the right time, with a smile on my face!

The first five days are done, I am looking at five more but I am ready for them. Just two more days till the weekend. I so hope that the weather predictions don't hold true, we could sure use a warm, dry weekend. I think as long as the storms are short everything will be OK, it is those all day rains that just make it miserable.

Gabe came to help me last night and that is always awesome. He ran his first unassisted credit card while I was at the ladies room and  I am so proud of him! I totally know that he can do it all by him self. He just needs the confidence boost of doing it more often. The math is the hardest part, not that he can't do it, just that he sometimes get s a little flustered. I did too when I started, and still do when I get busy, time and practice is the only way to get used to it.

So I am now pretty energized and excited to see what today brings. It is supposed to be warmer again today, but still beautiful out tonight. Should be a great day! Hope to see you soon!


Musikfest Day 4

Wow, what a surprisingly awesome Monday it was! The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was great to see everyone out and about enjoying it.

Between being pretty tired, and the day just being a steady stream of people, it went by so quickly and I don't have much to report.

I am settling into the daily routine of  packing up food, stopping on the way in for a morning coffee, and just getting there, doing my job, loving whoever comes in the booth, and letting everything else just slide down my back. I still have a few things that I am highly disappointed over, but you know what, you can't change them and as long as they don't stop people from enjoying me and my products, right now I am too tired to care much anymore.

At the end of today I am halfway there, and the second half is usually the best one for me, so I am looking down a road that I think will only get better! I already have has a few wonderful prospects and I hope that I get a few new shows, an new farm market, and maybe a new store account out of all this.

I have to take some new pictures of the kitten, she is growing up so fast. Her eyes have started to change color already, and only having a few hours a day with her is pretty rough. I wish I could being her to the show but 1) I follow the no pets rule and 2) others don't and I don't trust their dogs.

Ok, it is time for me to get going and pack up inventory and stuff. Got a lot to do this morning and want to find time to languish in a warm shower.

Hope you come out to Musikfest!


Musikfest Day 3

Well there was a little burst of liquid sunshine right as the event opened, but it blew through really fast and not too furiously. The ducks in the creek came up behind my tent to take shelter from the storm. I got to take a few cool pictures, but forgot to bring my camera home so I could upload them! So I guess I will share those tomorrow.

The afternoon's sales for me were terrific. I  had a lot of fun talking with everyone. It was my favorite pace of show, busy enough that I don't get a chance to stop, but slow enough that I can really stop and have conversations with everyone and catch up with people I only see once a year.

I also have to take the time and thank everyone who comes out each year to support me. I cannot thank you enough. I love the fact that not only do you come back, but you very often tell me about it, and tell other's in the booth about how much you like my products. It really helps make a new sale when someone who has "been buying for years" chimes in about how you get soap from me every year. I love how the energy in the booth is so positive and uplifiting. If you all didn't share your energy with me I wouldn't have the energy to particpate in a show this long or hot. I do all of this all because of you!

Then the rain came again. It was a little longer this time. I was very disappointed in seeing how many people left for the day at this time. It is very hard to be in the back of the show and have so many people right at the main entrance are closed. It does not make the area look enticing at all. Once we reopened after the rains passed I had another hour or so of good sales and then the night just wound down.

I have to vent a little. What is the deal with vendors who feel they need to light incense in their booths when they don't sell incense?? It makes me so sick, plus it ruins my fragrances. I don't put up jewelry, or clothes, or paintings in my booth, why do they not realize what you are doing is impacting me?? Honestly all I think when I smell it is you are smoking pot and trying to cover it up like a college kid(any maybe you are...). I think shows should have a no incense rule just like no pets and no alchohol. (not like either are enforced even if the rule exists). OK, I am done. I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening. 

OK, it is getting late. need to stop at the bank for change and pack my lunch before I head over to the show! Love you all and see you soon!


Musikfest Day 2

Lets start with the good...AWESOME day of sales, quite possibly one of my best first Saturday's ever. It was pretty hot out and the day started slow for me, but it really picked up right around 7 pm and was busy through till about 10. I had a flurry of shaving mugs sell, four actually, I think that may be a one day record. Not sure what caused that stir, but it was really cool. Overall it was just a great day meeting new people and seeing others that come and stop by every year.

Now the bad...

Seriously, why is Handwerksplatz looking like an Occupy Bethlehem Camp. There are a few tents with so many tarps and crap strung up that you would swear they were camping rather than selling.

Speaking of camping. I think there is at least one person sleeping there at night, possibly more. First, I think this is in the rules that you can't, but the morning bath in the Monacacy this morning was pretty disgusting even if they are not sleeping there, I don't care if the show isn't open yet.

And what makes some vendors think that they are immune to the Bethlehem open container policies? Glass bottles in cozies are everywhere. Buy a darn mug and put your preferred beverage in an authorized container and be done with it. I don't need to worry about your broken glass getting into my feet (or car tires when I load out).

Hopefully in the next few days once things calm down these things will either quit bugging me because I will just get past caring, or someone will notice and get it cleaned up. Perception is everything and it is important for me to take part in events that have a good, clean, professional look. I know this is a festival (not an art show), but it is still in the heart of historic Bethlehem and should reflect that fact and represent the people and the values of the area. 

Off to pack inventory, and take a long hot shower, and find some coffee. Hope to see you later today!


Musikfest Day 1

Wow, did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or what? I was crank-y. All I wanted was to come into the show, set up, and avoid drama. I could, but it took effort to do so. I appreciate that ll my friends worry about me because there is another soapmaker at the event. I am glad they worry about me because that person is in a "better spot" (I am not so sure of that). But to spend the first hour of so with everyone coming up and wanting to chat about it..not so fun.

Oh, and just a little craft show etiquette: if you are not there to set up, and decide to wander through anyway, do not get offended when you are perceived as a threat or completely brushed off. When we are setting up and loading out, we are at our most vulnerable. The vans we drive are all open so we can unload, our inventory is laid out everywhere, and our personal belongings like purses and electronics are not in the safest locations yet. This is a stressful time for us. When you wander through trying to negotiate the stuff, we all honestly think you may be trying to steal something. Most loss at a show comes during load in and load out, not during the show itself. Please, wait to come through when the show is officially open. You will enjoy our customer service much more, and we will be ready to serve you to our utmost ability. I know it is fun to feel like you are "back stage" but we just worry about your intentions and your safety.

OK, so back to the show...Things started off slow. By 7:30 pm I had one sale and I was starting to get worried that the night might be a flop. But happily I was wrong. Just as I mentioned to K and C that I really was worried, the love started pouring in. Thank you all for that. Just like everyone else, I go through times wondering if I am doing the right thing, if I am on the right path, and your kind words reassure me that I am.It means the world to me!

Between 8 and 10 we rocked it out and did a good days work in just a few hours. Then it was time to inventory, rearrange a few things, and get ready to close up. At 11 we were out of there and on our way home. An hour or so of paperwork later I got to climb into bed.

A broken night's sleep has left me a little tired, but I can manage and a good night's sleep tonight will come for sure just due to exhaustion. So it is time for me to go pack some inventory and some food, and head out in just a few scant hours. See you soon!


Musikfest day 0- Load In & Set Up

Well getting there at 8 am makes load in so much easier! Katrina and I arrived first thing this morning and the tent was set up and we were home again by 10 am. Then it was a quick stop at the house, reloading with inventory, and back to the show to load in that stuff. Again, we were home again by about noon.

I am so proud that we made it in and out before it got too crowded and tight with crafters, we beat the heat, and even made up a list of the things to do and to bring tomorrow.

I am super excited that they got rid of their "one parking pass for every day" system and just went to one pass that has the dates you will be attending written on it. I was so tired of forgetting to bring the next days color or to switch it in the car even if I had it with me. This should stop my inevitable, once a Musikfest $30 parking ticket. Yay!

So all the inventory is there, displays are ready and set up. Tomorrow I will get there early and get everything set out. Super excited Musikfest is here!