Friday, 21 December 2012

Looking forward to a good year

It's been an up and down year for me, I hope you've all had good ones. This year does end on a high note for me though; I'm working with very nice people, and one of the wonderful ladies who ordered some custom soaps from me this year called to say she would be ordering more!

To all my friends, family and other dear people who have graced my life with their presence both in person and on line, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas/Hanukah/Kwaanza or whatever you want to celebrate.

Next week, I'm going to take a break from blogging, so I'll see you in 2013!


Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Lights

Last week, hubby and I went to partake in the VanDusen Festival of Lights. Luckily for us, traffic wasn't as bad as one would expect when everyone's dog is out doing their Christmas shopping and Mother Nature was kind enough to keep the rains away. Here are pictures from the show.





















Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Festivus or whatever you celebrate.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Virtual Cookie Exchange


Michelle had a great idea of having a virtual cookie exchange since a bunch of us live far away from each other and can't have a real cookie exchange. This is probably better for the waistline anyway.

To be honest, I'd forgotten all about it until Kathy said the deadline was coming up. I was tempted to just share this picture of a bag of goodies I got at work. I'd show you what's inside but I've eaten about half already. The gal did a great job, she had sugar cookies, gingersnap, a cake pop, and some banana bread.


I'd thought about sharing the whipped shortbread recipe which Teresa and I both adore, however, I got caught up in the excitement of recipes on-line and I had about a dozen eggs I wanted to use up in baking. The whipped shortbread doesn't even want to see an egg.

So I decided on biscotti. This year because I didn't bake as much, so I decided to go the extra mile and dip them in chocolate.

This is what I've done for Christmas baking for this year. Obviously I didn't fill up the counters with dozens of varieties like years past, which brings me to the obvious question:  what the heck was I thinking in previous years?




Biscotti
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped coarse

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and foamy. Beat in orange rind and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in almonds.

On greased and floured baking sheet (hah!), shape dough into two (14" x 2") logs about 4" apart. Smooth tops and sides with a rubber spatula.

Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until firm and golden. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 275F. Cool for 10 minutes.

Slide a metal spatula under logs and transfer them to a cutting board. With a large chef's knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2"slices. (The best way to do this it to place the tip of the knife on the board, then press down firmly. This will cut cleanly through the almonds and the cookie will be less likely to crumble.

Stand the slices upright (not on a cut side) on baking sheet about 1/2" apart.

Bake at 275F for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted.


The other ladies in this group have wonderful blogs the rest of the year as well. Check out their cookies and other wonderful posts at:

and last, but definitely not least,

Not all cookie posts are up quite yet, but they will be soon!


Friday, 7 December 2012

The Craft Fair

Last weekend was the craft fair and I'll spare you all the gory details and only go with the major points.


Gingerbread man and coffee gift pack

Highlights

  • Wonderful hosts. Made sure vendors were well fed and well watered.







"Food" displays at my booth

  • Intimate. I think there were only 30 vendors in this show, so customers could spend quality time at each booth. And if the customers are anything like me, anything more is just stimulus overload.

One of the kids' sections
  • No rain! The weather gods cooperated during set up and take down by not having a deluge.

Hmm, didn't get many comments on the baby/toddler selection.
  • Friends:  Wonderful to see friends coming by to support me.
Lots of people pointed and smiled at this Three Little Pigs house that hubby made.
  • Meeting new vendors. There are some really amazingly talented people out there who make the most incredible things. I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to buy something from practically all the other vendors.


Managed to sell off a few of these guys, though not the entire aquarium.
  • Prizes. I won a $25 gift certificate to be used at the show. I put that towards two jars of honey: one pumpkin honey and one raspberry honey.

Forgot to make sure these were facing the right way again.

  • LEGO men, both big and small were a big hit.
The Christmas shelf
  • The lovely customers. I had one young mom come and buy a lot of gifts, all the while gushing about how wonderful she thought the soaps were and how creative I am. She made my weekend. The other group that warmed my heart was the family with the two boys. The boys reminded me of my nephews with their smiles and respectfulness.
I ran out of green LEGO men.

Lowlights
  • Too many craft fairs that weekend resulted in less customers. At this time of year tho, that's to be expected.
People thought these were cute.
  • Getting sick. I was violently ill Saturday night/Sunday morning to the point that hubby thought I'd have to go to ER. Thankfully Tums is my cure-all.
My last two customers of the day.  I think they were kind enough to try and support as many vendors as they could.

This was the only show I signed up for this year, and as anyone who's done these shows can attest, they are a lot of work and very tiring. But I do look forward to doing more next year.








Friday, 30 November 2012

We'll return to our regularly scheduled program next week

If you haven't guessed by now, I've gone into panic mode for the upcoming fair. I've been staying up way too late (for me, for other people, it'd be early still) trying to get the website up and running and having soaps ready for the show. Hubby's been helping with the display which you saw last week, but it's been re-vamped (again) so I'll have new pictures to show next week.

In the meanwhile, enjoy these pictures of the lovely view I have from the office I'm currently at. This was a nice break in the rainy weather we've been having for a while, so I took advantage.





Friday, 23 November 2012

We have a website

After what  feels like forever, but probably has only been a couple of months I finally have my website up and running again. It's been a long, slow process as anyone who's tried to set up a website can attest. The webhosting company is great though, helping me install the required software because that is so not my forte.

It took a lot of searching, looking, trying on, going back before I found a look for a website I liked. Best part is, it's free! Gotta love open source and all those wonderfully geeky people who are willing to share their gifts.

Gdranted my website still isn't perfect, I need to do a lot of tweaking to it but at least when I head into the craft fair next week (if you're in Surrey, don't forget to come by and check it out), I can hand out my business card and be safe in the knowledge that if people do try and look up my business, they won't come to a blank page or worse yet, a 404 error.

Of course getting a website going means getting together a lot of information and having pretty pictures. To that end, hubby is helping me take some new pictures of the soaps which I think takes my products to a whole new level. It'll take some time for him to re-take all the photos of the products and for me to put them all up, but in the meanwhile, take a gander at these photos, and please check out the newly revised website and let me know what you think.






Friday, 16 November 2012

Craft Fair Preparedness

Why oh why do I make promises I can't keep without going insane? Partly because I'm crazy, partly because I am in denial that I'm getting old and don't have as much energy as I used to. I had forgotten how tiring it is going to work. Actually the work part is fine, it's the commuting that's tough. It takes me almost as much time to go from one end of town to the other as it does to go through two cities.

Last week, in a fit of insanity, I said I'd post a picture of my display. So, this post is late because I needed to have something to show as promised. Not being the most organized person I had to rush to get a display together for this post. Please remember that this is a work in progress and pardon the messy basement.

This is what the display would look like if all the lights were out. It looks much cooler in person.

The full display

Top two shelves

Bottom 3 shelves
 

Top shelf, gift boxes ready to go.
There's going to be more tweaking and adding of other soaps before the craft fair, but this is what's been done for now. I'd love to get some feedback

Friday, 9 November 2012

Should I panic?

It's November 9 today. Wow. I have approximately 3 weeks until I do my craft show. I think in terms of stuff made, I'm not too badly off since it's a 2 day affair rather than a 4 day one. However, there are still displays to be created, soaps to be packed into nice little gift bags, and all those other niceties. Plus I want to make more hot chocolate/coffee soaps because I think those are ├╝ber cute.

What is setting me into a bit of a tizzy, besides my propensity to procrastinate, is that I'm starting a job on Tuesday. I don't know how long it'll last, but it means I don't get to sit on my butt at home all day and work slowly at putting my display together. I have to organize my time better so that I am efficient. Plus, I'm still working on putting together a website so when I hand out my cards at the show, it doesn't end up leading people to nowheresville.

So, for now I'll stop blabbing and get working. Have a great weekend everyone, and don't forget to take two minutes out to remember those who laid their lives on the line for us.

Next week:  pictures of the display


Friday, 2 November 2012

New molds

When we went to Portland, we stopped in at Otion on the way back so I could pick up some more scents and molds. Besides the amazing smells of Pomegranate and Black Currant, and Fresh Snow, I also picked up Exotic Fruit Smoothie. Don't those fragrances sound amazing?

As always, the first time I make something, it's not quite right.
This is supposed to be old fashioned looking but it's a little dull .
So I tried to brighten it up
Much better!
The bears suffered the same fate, but even more so.

Second try resulted in these:
The blue background is still a little bright, so next set it'll be toned down.
But I thought together, these would make a nice little stocking stuffer.

I used my existing molds to make some new maple leaf soaps

Also managed to finish off a customer's order, 52 of these cute piggies

And for those of you who like Twitter