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.