Dec 10-18

Every Monday I get up early to hang out with C before he leaves for a business trip. This Monday was different because he didn't have to go till the afternoon, but he did have to go to the Netherlands so that added some stress to my week. I certainly didn't sleep all that well and the time difference makes it hard to have more than a few text communications each day. I didn't even sleep late, I was wide awake before 7 am and started my weekly routine: bank then grocery store, then home to put food in the slow cooker, then mailing orders, packing inventory, paying bills, catching up on phone calls, and of course catching up on this blog.

So Tuesday after a fitful nights sleep it was back to paperwork, figuring out last month's sales tax, entering new emails into the newsletter database, and making some more sachets. Luckily I mixed in a nap and got to chill and watch a movie that night.

Wednesday was delivering inventory to Chriskindlmarkt, putting gas in the van, and then generally trying to chill out the best I could. I am pretty sure there was another nap or two in there.

Thursday-Sunday was Chriskindlmarkt again. It started out really strong on Thursday but the mood dampened considerably after the news came out on Friday afternoon. It was very hard to stand there and continue to smile when all I wanted to do was go home and cry. I think the singer/songwriter Dina Hall said it best in her blog, I just had to be a voice of peace and calm, and goodness. Inside I was screaming "go home, hug your babies, hug your neighbors babies, hug all the babies you can find", but outside I was doing just that, hugging all the children that came in and thanking their parents for letting me pass on a little love that was overspilling my heart. Saturday things kinda returned to normal, some people wanted to talk about Connecticut, many just wanted to enter those tents and suspend their fears and doubts. I just celebrated all that is good and light and love in the world. Sunday was kinda slower than I had expected it to be, but really I had hit a wall, I was so physically and emotionally tired, I just wanted to go home. It was hard to stay smiles and cheer, and luckily the day is shorter, and by then C was home and I knew I could get a good night's sleep.

Dad did phenomenally well at Christmas City Village. But we have decided this will be his last year there. The cold is just too much for him. He needs indoor shows, and shorter hours, and less days in a row. So look for him at other places in town next year. There are lots to choose from for us.

Monday brought on another early morning, and the usual routine. Lots of orders to get out so that they have a chance to make it there in time for Christmas. I finally made it to Pint's N Purls, my weekly knitting group, and we had our Holiday gift exchange. I was so glad I could make it there, I was worried I would fall asleep before I had to leave.

Today I work up later than ever, 7:30 am. This might as well be noon for me, the early bird. And now I am catching up here. This afternoon I deliver orders, and other random errands. But it will be an early night, maybe I can fit in a movie.

Hope you all had a safe and joyous week and I hope to see you this weekend, the last weekend of Chriskindlmarkt for 2012!


Dec 3-9 2012

So the three days that I have "off" are always such a blur. on Mondays I run around going to the grocery store, bank, and any other errands. Try to get caught up on phone messages, emails, and getting orders out, then do paperwork, like keeping track of taxes and printing any labels I need and all that fun stuff.

Tuesdays I go into the workshop for a few hours. I make up gift baskets, fizzy baskets, any inventory that needs to be made (this week was some bath fizzys to wrap and label), made sachets, and generally tried to keep all that straight so I don't run out of anything.

Wednesday morning I go over and drop off inventory at the show. This makes Thursday mornings easier because I don't have to fight to get in the door while other people are getting there and setting up. I can leisurely park farther way and stroll on in. Then in the afternoon I try to relax, knit a little, watch a little TV, get to bed early and be rested for another weekend at the show.

Christkindlmarkt was fantastic this week. Saturday was by far the best day yet. 2010 was my best year ever and I may actually meet/exceed those sales (but it will take me all 6 weeks, rather than the 4 in 2010). But with some nasty weather looming and who knows what else, I am not planning on it. It would just be exciting to have a great year again after last year's disappointment.

Dad did well at Christmas City Village. His Saturday was by far his best day there so far this year but it still doesn't hold a candle to how well he was doing last year. It is certainly nothing to sneeze at or to not be thankful for, but we will have to take a good look at the show and decide if the days and days of cold and damp on his old bones is worth the deposit slip at the end. Some things money just can't buy and knowing your dad is happy and comfortable is one of those things worth more than money.

So that is it, the quick synopsis of the week.

There was certainly more drama in there. Some things were said in anger and frustration, and although I really wish to share them with you, it isn't in the best interest of the party who said them, so I will hold my tongue rather than wage a war. All I can say is that sometimes things bring out the worst in people and one of these two events has been doing just that. It is sad to see someone you have liked and respected for many years become angry over the hurt they feel. But I am glad I can recognize it for what it is and not take things personally for too long.

That being said, hope to see you this week and if you have already been by, THANK YOU!


November 26-Dec 2

Monday through Wednesday was "relatively" stress free. I had orders to mail out and things to make (like gift baskets) and paperwork to deal with (like bills), but I got to sneak in a few afternoon naps and a few movies while knitting too.

Chriskindlmarkt for me was the best weekends so far. I think we are really getting into the swing of the holiday buying season. Not everyone has been as blessed as I have been and I really just have my loyal customers to thank for supporting me year after year. I know right now there are more and more places you can get natural soaps (even some grocery stores), so continuing to pay a little more to get a local product and support a small artisan is an amazing thing to be doing. Every purchase has a direct impact on me and my family and allows me to keep following my passion. I am so thankful.

Dad had a strong sales week at Christmas City Village too. It was still down from last year, and sometimes that is just a sophomore slump that new events tend to go through. But I have to say that the overwhelming amount of non-crafts is sending me to start researching for alternative shows for next year. I have too many customers that tell me that they come out to a show that I am at, even if they don't need soap, because I am typically at "good shows". I just don't feel this is living up to my expectations, or what my customers would want to see if they came out to see it. There is not much they can't get at their local boutique. In fact some booths are people who have stores in nearby towns who have brought things from their stores (mass produced) to sell. This is unfair not only to me, an artisan, but to the boutiques and stores of Bethlehem. The fact that the Downtown Business Association has let this happen, and seems to encourage it, is appalling to me. I can't in good conscience come back next year to an event that undermines the very people it claims to support.

The surprise for the weekend was the Handmade Hive. A new boutique style show (where the artisan sets up a display, but the staff sell the product), in Hellertown, PA was FANTASTIC! When I pulled in to drop off my inventory I kinda worried. The hall it was held in was a little off the beaten path and the peg board displays felt a little industrial, but when I came back that evening to finish setting up prior to the preview party I was overwhelmed by the quality of the crafters they had there, how nice it looked, and how amazingly well organized it was for a first time event. Sales quickly exceeded my expectations, in fact I sold the first night what I though I would sell all weekend. I am super happy that they plan on a springtime event and that I get to be a part of that too!

OK, it is time for me to get back to work and stop chatting with all of you. Hope to see you soon!