Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Featured on Etsy's Storque Today

Check it out! My Rosemary Mint Heel Butter is one of the featured products for their Etsy Finds: Spa Day article. I am thrilled! I just wish I'd had a heads up, because I may have lost some sales due to only listing a quantity of 1 most of the time. But I fixed that now and hope I sell all of them today. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All Over But the Shouting

We had a lovely, quiet Christmas. Just the way I like it. I did get some wonderful gifts from my DH, including two of those ceramic-coated cast iron Dutch Ovens, bright orange, in the 3.5 and 5.5 quart sizes. Plus a set of Cuisinart pots and pans with the clear glass lids. Everything is so shiny and beautiful and professional looking. My DH went crazy in Sam's Club when he saw all those things I'd been drooling over while watching my cooking shows.

I've already started using my new toys to cook with! Before I started watching the Food Network I used to muddle along with the cheap, ancient pots and pans I've had since my 20's, and various hand-me-downs. It really is a pleasure to cook with beautiful, effective tools, just the right one for whatever you're making. I'm a happy woman. Not quite the Barefoot Contessa or Giada yet, but I'm getting there...

So now we're down to our last week with Vicky at home. The time has gone by so quickly, for us and for her. It's going to be hard on everyone when she has to pack all her stuff up again and go back to Tampa. Fortunately she can drive home every other weekend or so in a couple of hours.

I'm totally burned out on packaging and shipping orders. Even on a relatively modest scale, things were very hectic. I'm out of almost all my soaps, or nearly out of them. In a few days or a week or so, I'll have to start replenishing my stock and trying a few new fragrances, including Winter Solstice and Hunter's Moon.

The pressure of getting orders out reminded me once again about how important it is, when you run a small business, to know what you want from it. It is easy to feel compelled to take on a big wholesale order or something like that, especially if the person flatters you about how nice your soaps are, etc. Also easy to feel the pressure to make more money.

Early on, I decided I didn't want to do wholesale. I know it's a great option for many soapmakers, but it's not what I want. For example, someone who buys my stuff keeps urging me to "get it into stores." It is incomprehensible for them to understand that I don't want to work that hard, and success isn't always measured in making more and more money.

I'm retired and at that age when killing myself to make a little extra dough isn't that appealing. I like having the freedom to blow it all off and take a walk on the beach, or take a nap or just forget about it all for a few days. I need more time than the average person to just sit and stare into space, I always have needed that. I like keeping the "small" in my small business.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost Christmas Eve

I've been terrible about keeping up with this blog. To the few who still come by regularly, my apologies. Things have just gotten away from me. I have been so busy making and selling soap, Geoff is in the process of applying to colleges, and Vicky is home from USF for the break. It's been very busy, hectic, fun and stressful, all at once.

We decided on a relatively lean Christmas this year, nothing too extravagant. One big present for each kid and the rest is little stuff. Many people in our family are hurting, financially and with illness. While there's always much to be grateful for, there is also a lot to worry about too.

The other night I put up our fake Christmas tree. I've resisted liking it, even though it's very pretty, for two years now. But I'm finally to the point where I can't justify spending $80 on a real tree, only to throw it away a few weeks later. Not particularly "green," is it? So I dragged out all the old ornaments I've been collecting for years and put them on the tree, especially the ones the kids have made over the years. The tree is stunning and magical now!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I'm going to make homemade lasagne and bread, and buy some really good cannolis for dessert. I'd love to make gnocchi, but the kids won't eat it, so I'll save the gnocchi for New Year's Eve, for me and Lowell.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas with your family and friends.