I need a vacation from my vacation

So the three days before I left I worked some insane hours trying to get caught up, and maybe even a little ahead before I left.

Then I spent 12 days with family, always stressing about emails that were coming in, phone messages piling up, and my list of things to do when I got home getting longer and longer. I even tried to limit my online to just once a day. It was just enough to answer the most heated messages, make sure the shop hadn't inadvertently burned to the ground, answer any of Dad's questions or concerns, and generally write down more things to remember to take care of. That list was up to 42 things when I got home late Tuesday night.

Now I am working long and hard again to get caught up. I am blogging when I should be on the sofa knitting. Simultaneously I am cooking tomatoes for sauce since I came home to two complete refrigerator drawers full of them. I have been at that since 3 pm. Looks like a 3 gallon day, maybe a little more. At least I have some jet lag in my favor and can't get to sleep till midnight, yet still pop awake at 5 am as it starts to get light outside. Wondering how many days that will last.

I hope by tomorrow I can be back to normal. Then I have a show this weekend. Monday I start making soap again in order to have enough inventory for the rest of the year.

This is why most of America doesn't take enough vacation time. The stress isn't worth the rewards of the time off. And I have to be out of town again in just a few weeks.

I am thinking of throwing all my electronics in a lake, anyone joining me?



I will be on vacation from September 12-24, 2013.

  • Orders placed during this time will ship starting September 25th in the order in which they are received.
  • Dad will be at Farm Markets and other events as listed below during this time.
  • I will be answering email every few days.
  • Phone messages will be returned when I get back.

Thank you for your patience and see you at the Fine Arts & Crafts Festival in New Hope PA September 28-29!


Keeping Organized

Last week a friend of mine came over and saw the workshop for the first time. She was pretty amazed by my organization of everything and told me I should teach other people how I do it. I remarked that there was only two problems with that 1) every one's brain works different so what is good for me may not be good for you and 2) just because I teach you doesn't me you have the internal capacity to keep it organized, some of us are just born organized and some of us aren't.

But I will run down an few tips and tricks I think will work no matter what you make (almost).

1) Inventory. Figure out a level of inventory you want to keep, get there, keep it there. Sounds easy, but the execution is very hard. For example: I need to keep 200 bars of Oatmeal soap in stock to be able to meet demands at peak times of the year. I split these 200 bars into 4 boxes of 50. Every time I sell a box (50), I make a box (50). The theory is that by the time I sell all 200, the next ones will be ready for sale.

2) Everything in it's place. I have designated spots for soap, lotion bars, sachets, supplies, you name it. Everything is in boxes or cabinets, and neatly marked with what is in it. Basically I could blindfold you, stick you in my shop, remove the blindfold, and ask you to find something and it wouldn't take you more than 15 minutes to accomplish the task. I don't think I would even have to point you in a particular direction. Yes you see the labels, no it isn't like looking in a magazine, but yes anyone can help me without too much direction.

3) Supplies. Figure out what you need, who you get it from, and where else you can get it in an emergency. I keep a list of all my supplies and the top 3 or 4 places I can get it (price wise and geography wise). I hate to say it but in what has seemed like a constant stream of emergencies, this is becoming a necessary thing. I get most of my supplies near home or on the East Coast. Who expected Sandy? But with my handy emergency list I had places in the mid-west I could get Cocoa Butter from right away. and what if they have an emergency, not me. A warehouse fire could shut down a major supplier for years if not forever. That shouldn't mean I have to stop making a best seller.

4) Don't be afraid to reorganize, to make changes, to streamline, to take the time. Nothing is worse than getting bogged down in a system that doesn't work because you claim not to have the time to fix it. The time you spend now will be caught up on later because you will feel better and be better at what you do. Each year I take January to do this and pretty much take the entire month off. I inventory, clean, reorganize, re-evaluate my product line, rework the web site, do lots and lots of paperwork, and come out ready in February to hot the ground running and have a great new year.

Hope these tips and tricks help you. have any of your own??