Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordy Wednesday! (Now with Pictures!)

Today's word of the day is Majestic!

Mind-Blowing, radiant, beautiful, exalted, grand.... there are all kinds of words that could be used to describe the things I see when I am here at the out-laws (aka, my BF's parents home in Asheville NC), but instead, I think today, I will just show you the Majesty that I cannot find words for today...

This is the view of the mountains from the bedroom window where we typically stay when visiting the out-laws.  It's even more stunning at night with the lights of the towns in the valley all lit up with the mountains and clouds in high relief from the almost full moon.

And this was the view that I had yesterday when we arrived at the Biltmore "house".  Standing at the top of the long hill near the statue of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

The interior was even more stunning, but alas, they do not allow photos to be taken of the interior.  The whole of it is positively stunning...and the views from the windows of the upper levels are amazing - but in the end, they are much the same as the views from the bedroom here...

In the end, it has been a lovely weekend.  The "vacation" from reality has given me wonderful inspiration for the coming year and I can't wait to get back into the kitchen and start creating new and wonderful products for everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This is why I do this - Say It Sunday!

So, yeah.  December was one of those months that had me in tears from the stress of life more times than I care to admit to or that I wanted to count. But the last few days I've gotten some wonderful feedback from people who have used products from my shop for a long time, and some who have just recently started using them, and that feedback reminds me why I keep trying to improve and why I keep on chugging along even when things seem like they couldn't get any worse.

Like this:

Wow is an understatement for this product. I've lost count of the many very expensive facial products I've tried in the past. NONE of them offered me the kind of exhilarating experience that these items have. I HIGHLY recommend this wonderful set and I will definitely be purchasing more. Thank you so much!

Oh my goodness I'm in love! This little soap is amazing.. super easy lather, nice scent, & cleans without over-drying! A little bit goes a long way! The mask is amazing as well. I love that it's all natural. The toner tingles with freshness, & has a nice grapefruit scent. This little box set is a perfect way to try out some great products at an amazing price.. I will definitely be back for more. Thank you so much!

This one was one of my faves:

I just LOVE these sugar scrub cubes! They are the perfect size for one shower, they crush easily into just the right consistency, and the lather is nice. Skin feels soft and refreshed afterward! Thanks so much.
 and this:

I cannot WAIT till the Little Heathens shop opens, cause if this balm is anything like the rest of the goodies, I am gonna lose my MIND!! Amazing!
 ~which is for the Calm Your Balm! Ointment for calming eczema and skin rashes that I am currently listing custom until the Little Heathens has its Grand Re-Opening in January.

So thank you everyone.  I am so glad you are enjoying the soaps, and so happy I can continue to bring these fantastic products to you :0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordy Wednesday! (now with numbers!)

Todays word is F*ck!

I admit... its my favorite word.  And I've been saying it a lot lately.

As in "The Post Office has really F*cked things up", and "Oh my F*cking god are you serious?!?" and "I'm going to F*cking go Postal - LITERALLY"

10 days - that's the number of days the post office has taken to deliver priority mail packages on average since December 1 (not including the 3 international packages (so far) that have taken more than 30 days to arrive - including 2 priority mail packages that took 30 days!).

4 days - the average number of days the local post office sat on packages from the time they were dropped off till they were scanned at the sorting facility before being shipped out.

5 - the number of packages destroyed or partially destroyed by the post office since November 15th of this year.

2 - the number of packages delivered 2 days late by FedEx

4 - the number of packages sent UPS that have been delivered (or attempted to be delivered) on time as promised.

$1000 - the estimated total loss this month due to mishandled, misdirected, lost, damaged, late packages (including postage, materials, and potential profit on the duplicate items). 
$500 - the estimated total amount of packages shipped via other carriers and reshipped via usps carriers to correct postal mishandling of packages.

$5 - the average cost of domestic postage for orders.

$10 - the average cost of domestic shipping for orders via UPS.

total number of orders for the month of december - 90
total amount that would have been paid had all of them been shipped UPS - $900 (estimate)
total amount paid via USPS (both original and reshipped packages)  - $745.52
total amount paid to other carriers (UPS & FedEx) to get packages to destination by deadlines after 12/15: $289

total cost to the PO or due to the PO's negligence: $1034.52

yeah.  Next year - ALL packages are going via UPS.


is this on?

Blue - Frankincense and Myrrh 
Gold - Amber
Red - Patchouli & Nag Champa. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

THUD Thursday

I just printed postage for 42 packages... on top of the like 10 that were already packed and posted and waiting to go. 

I want to go THUD so badly right now.  I'm trying to decide if its the better part of valor (or something) to just go to bed and rest and sleep for 7 hours, and then get up and finish tomorrow. 

You see... someone posted a new truism on Twitter... "Procrastination is like the end you're only F*cking yourself".   

I don't think I've procrastinated, so much as been lethargic from whatever is going on with my health, but it works out about the same...even though I feel a huge relief at seeing the light at the end of the tunnel I still have that rather dreadful feeling that I'm f*cked.   I slept almost 40 hours straight from Saturday night through till Monday afternoon at 1pm.  I was technically awake, or at least, physically ambulatory, for about an hour and a half during that time.  Long enough at any rate to alarm my husband because of how slurred my speech was and how lethargic I was - and long enough to become physically ill from attempting to eat. 

On top of being woefully unprepared for running the shop alone through the holidays this has become an ongoing stress marathon for the last few days weeks months.  Between the health thing (I've lost almost 60lbs - 45 of which was lost over the span of 45 days between October and November), the post office debacle that caused me to have to redo multiple orders on top of the last minute holiday shopping orders, and the sheer volume of holiday orders (to say nothing of having to constantly reorder supplies due to earlier mentioned woefully unpreparedness)...I'm ready for about a week of sleep. 

So my next few days look something like this (assuming I go to bed after making this post):

Friday: get up at 730, package the remaining completed orders and take them all to the PO.  Finish the remaining orders that need to be finished, pack them all.  Pack up the kitchen/shop supplies, load my truck, and drive from St. Louis to Maryland.

Saturday:  Arrive in Maryland/Northern Virginia by 2pm.  Drop off 2 orders to friends between 2 and 4pm.  Drive to Southern Virginia.  Get home.  Die for at least 36 hours. 

Sunday:  If there is a god anywhere in the universe I will sleep the entire 24 hours.

Monday: get up at a decent hour (before 10am) unpack the truck, unpack the shop supplies, unpack any supply orders that have come in over the last couple of weeks, make whatever is needed for the last last minute pre-holiday orders and mail them.

So yeah.  I think its definitely time for bed.  I can still get it done in the morning.  I have faith in myself. 

Goodnight!  I truly hope everyone has had a fabulous pre-holiday season, and wish us all a less stressful week to come!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Many Mis-Adventures of Me - Introducing Wordy Wednesday

Say that 5 times fast.

I was going to look for some witty way of saying the Many Mis-Adventures of Oh Em Gee... and was looking for a word that fit angsting soapmaker that started with G.  It seemed appropriate since I lost 4 hours last night to a dead car battery because of the cold weather we're having... so,  I hit the thesaurus, I like the visual thesaurus... it amuses me.  Today it amused me more than anything and has inspired me to come up with a new thing to do on Wednesdays to cure mid-week boredom.

Everyone does wordless Wednesday - I'm going to do Wordy Wednesday! :-D

And the word of today is "soap".  Everyone knows soap is a fabulous amalgamation made from the salts of either animal or vegetable fats (all soaps I make are of the vegetable variety, though I do want to try bacon soap - but that's another post).

However, Did you know?

Soap is also these things:

Money to pay a bribe:

A street name for Gamma Hydroxybutyrate aka GHB AKA the Date Rape Drug!

We must do something about this!  Are we going to let soap keep this bad reputation?  Is it not bad enough that all these big companies like to infer that their "detergent bars" are really soap?  I mean, we as a people who love our soap must act!  We cannot allow this disgrace of our beautiful soapy goodness to continue!

Does this look like the face of something as deceitful as bribery to you???

No!  It doesn't!  So join me fellow soap lovers!  Raise your voices and lets be heard! Soap is much better than a drug!  And it leaves you feeling clean and refreshed!  Not slimey and low like bribery!

Who's with me?!?!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Its time for the white rabbit!

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!

I'm not, but I am, and this is rather how I feel lately.  I'm a bit dizzy running around trying to get it all done, but I am determined to get it all done - even the last minute orders coming in hoping for Christmas delivery.  If I can possibly manage it, I will get those done as well...

I think I may have run myself mildly into the ground though.  I slept all weekend.  And unfortunately, that's not much of an exaggeration.  I literally slept from about 10-11pm Saturday night through till 1pm Monday morning with only about 1-1.5 hours of "awake" time in there.  And I hesitate to even call the stupor I was in anything resembling awake.  I was upright, able to walk, and semi-able to converse, but that was about the extent of my awakeness.

I'm fairly certain I'm fighting off something, but I haven't the slightest clue what - and so for now am determined to go on the theory of denial.  If I don't acknowledge it, then whatever is trying to brew itself can just hold off till I am home, the holidays are here, and I can afford a few days to be sick.  :-) 

Has everyone gotten their Christmas shopping done yet?  I'll admit to having mine done - but I have not yet begun to sit down and actually put the gifts together or do my part of them.  I keep thinking "I have time, I'll get it done, and yet, here I am on December 15th, only 10 days left to go till Christmas - 3 days left till I travel back to Virginia (which means 1 gift has to be done by the 18th and 1 has to be done by the 19th) and 3 gifts still to complete. 

At least I've sort of managed to cook!  I started a pot roast Saturday night, and so that was dinner for J on Sunday and for both of us last night.  Today I'm using the leftover broth and starting a stew/soup for dinner tonight and tomorrow.  Then I have to individually pack the rest of the meats to go in the freezer, bleach the kitchen, and then get my tush to work!

Have a great day everyone! 

(Still no word on the shipping mess, I'm hesitant to worry too much about it beyond using a different post office until I get back here in January and know what the resolution was.)

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

How much more expensive ...

Can UPS be than USPS?  I think I am about to find out.

I just had a conversation with my delivery lady that I wish I had never had.  I scheduled a pick up for yesterday for 20 packages.  They were still on my porch when I got home at 9pm last night, so we got back in the car and drove them to the Post Office in town. 

I've been using the pick up option because the post office here is not conveniently located, and given how many packages have been going out, figured that it was best to save myself the half hour round trip and use that time for other things (like keeping up with orders).

She rang the bell about 5pm, and I answered and said "Hi, I don't have any packages going out until Monday, they were scheduled..."

Post lady "I know, for yesterday, here's your slip for the pick up, you'll want to read the note"...

There was a handwritten note at the top of the page, detailing that the slip was not given to the other route driver yesterday despite that being the scheduled date and that she should pick up my packages today and disregard the out of date postage metered on said pick up. 

When she asked her boss about the out of date postage, her boss, she said, waived it off and said it didn't matter that too many people were shipping too many things and that the worst that would happen is that the packages wouldn't get delivered, or they'd wind up late, or eventually returned to me when they got around to resorting it when it came back through the chain. 

I was so floored I completely didn't think to ask her to bring me back a copy of the pick-up slip.  She's keeping it because she plans on taking it, along with the dates of the other pick ups that have been skipped (this is an average of once a week that she hasn't been given the scheduled pick up slips - just for me... at this point, about 3 weeks ago, she just agreed to stop if she saw packages on the porch whether I had scheduled a pick up or not - or more the point - if she got a notice of pick up required or not). 

I asked her what was going to happen - she said she plans on going to the local post master on her day off on Monday, and that if she lost her job, she'd collect unemployment for 18 months and then retire, but she wasn't going to be the only one going down.  Other than that her boss could "stuff it" because she was tired of them making her look bad, and that it wasn't any wonder no one used the post office to ship anything any more. 

She then recommended I start taking my packages to the next town over until this all got sorted out, and in the meantime to verify that all of my customers actually got their packages.  So now I need to change my shipping schedule, because the next town over is a 30 minute or so drive one way, vs the 30 minutes or so round trip that the town one is.

Or I need to find out if its really that much more expensive to ship UPS or Fed-Ex.  Etsy has this cool new hook-up with Fed Ex to save us money when we ship with them.  I think come Monday I will be seriously looking into it.

In the meantime, I will be writing emails to about 100+ people to verify their package arrival for all orders shipped (that i don't have other proof of delivery for) since the beginning of November.  Then I'm going to soak in the bath and cry for a while... because its Christmas season, and between this and the PayPal debacle from the other day, I think I have reached the limit of what I can handle.

Then, after dinner (which will come right after the bath - oh how I wish I had another of these ), I will be hitting the kitchen.  I have until Monday to get as close to done on all current orders as I can be, so that I can start working on anything that may come up between now and then so it all still gets where its going by Christmas.

Are we there yet?  Is it New Years Eve?  Is it 2011?


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good morning! I took advantage of my extra 3 hours today!

No, I did not suddenly become a morning person.  I am still your basic old fashioned grumpus until I've been awake for 3 or 4 hours.  The problem is, it just so happens I have been awake for 3 or 4 hours already, despite it only being 635am.

At 330 this morning, the wind advisory we've been under here in the St. Louis area, went from being an advisory to a full blown wind-storm.  Apparently the balcony door didn't close all the way, so the 35mph wind gusts blew the door open (thank goodness for the cat box, it only blew open about 5 or 6 inches vs all the way!) and trailed in a 22 degree blast of cold air that left me wide awake.  The fact that I was having nightmares about the shop right before that more or less determined my inability to fall back to sleep.

So, I spent the morning being productive in the shop.  Got a bunch of new things listed, edited a few more, worked on copy for the listings, and futzed on twitter. :) 

Here in a bit I'll be taking pics for said new listings, for now they have generic or distinctly older photos in them just to make do.  The hard part, actually listing them, is done at least.  And it solved a rather nagging curiosity of mine.  Sandalwood everything sells very well, but for whatever reason, the sandalwood frosting wasn't selling nearly as well as typically expected - and I figured out why this morning - apparently, it was never listed!  *slap forehead*

So, all of these new listings and edited listings are now located in the Sale section of the shop.  Everything there is 15-50% off, and the listings are only good "while supplies last".  I have an excess of inventory left over from the last show I did about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and since I'm going back to the Virginia House on (or around) the 18th, I want to clear it all out so I don't have to pack it and move it.  (Hot process soaps excluded for the most part because those take too long to restock).

The cool part - other than getting really great products on sale - is that I'm currently at about 6-7 (business) days for fresh made products... since these are already made, they can be shipped immediately - which means they'd be great for you Canadian and European folks because I can still get them out before the holiday deadline.

Speaking of... this coming weekend is the last sale I will be having this year, probably for at least a month or so...I might have a small one on my birthday in January.  So I'm offering a sneak peak for blog readers.  I'm going to be offering Free Shipping for all domestic orders over $25... 50% off  First Class International Shipping with orders over $40... Free Flat Rate International Shipping (medium box - a $26 savings) on all International orders over $75.  If you mention this blog post when you check out, you can get the sale prices now.  No exclusions applicable - this is valid for anything in the shop including sale and clearance items. 

So now I am off to enjoy my oatmeal, which hopefully doesn't have too much cross contamination of wheat or gluten since its the only breakfast food in the house... and then I'll be getting back to the To Do List of Doom. ;-D

Have a great day all!  Don't forget, more to come tomorrow about the approaching holiday! :)


Monday, December 7, 2009

I can't believe it! There are only 25 days left in the year!

Where did this year go?!?!   I haven't the slightest clue where my year went.

But you know, that means there are only 19 days left until Christmas, which is what most of us are ramping up toward these days.

The shop has been alternately slow and very busy... between that and the ongoing testing with my health, I feel like I haven't had a break - but of course, I have.  I took Friday and Saturday last week for myself.  Friday I wasn't left with much choice since the sedation didn't really wear off until late Friday night.  Saturday I was just bone tired and wound up sleeping most of the day away.

I've discovered the last few months that its sometimes more important to listen to my body than to my never ending to do list.  My anxiety aside, I will be no good to anyone if I'm too sick to function.  So I bite the bullet on occasion and give in to my body's demands that I allow it to rest and recuperate for a day or two.

I want to do something special for the holiday season. I already have one last sale of the year scheduled (sneak peak coming soon just for bloggers!), but I am thinking I'm going to do something else for my readers.

So, keep an eye out here. Tomorrow I'll be making the big announcement, both for the sneak peak of the upcoming sale, and for the magic that will be the final countdown to Christmas! :)

In the meantime, lets try to start some discussion here!  I always feel a bit like I'm talking to myself in the big wide world of intarwebz.  So tell me something...what kinds of topics get you talking on a blog?  What would you like to know about me?  About the shop?  Should I start including more personal information and a little less of the running billboard?

For example, odds are good that I'm never going to be able to eat gluten again... would you be interested in my food journeys for finding gluten free recipes?  Should I start a new blog for that?

Talk soon!



The First Snow!

It's not going to stick, and its light and kinda crunchy like ice... but its snow!  Happy Winter (officially - well, in about a week at the Solstice).

I'm sure everyone is going to become very tired of me posting "I swear I'm going to post something fascinating really soon!"... but I am!

I have some really good things coming!  First up is a returning product - Lip Balms!  This time though, they are going into tubes by popular demand :-D

Flavors -
Almond Biscotti
Marshmallow Fluff
Butter Toffee Crunch
Cream de Menthe
Cinnamon Candy
Hazelnut Latte
Chai Tea
Jolly Rancher
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ruby Pomegranate

 the returning and new mix of lip balms :-) 

Pictures and listings coming this week.  They'll be listed at $3 each or 2 for $5.  :-)

Also, a new product is on its way! as well as the full scent list for 2010!  :-D  Stay tuned!

And pssst..  I don't have a lot of time on my hands lately!  So what am I missing out there in the blog world?  What do you want me to know?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tis the season!

To lose your mind!  Bwahahahaha

Ok, ok, not really.   Its been a madhouse around here.  I lost a day somewhere, and blissfully wandered through yesterday thinking it was Tuesday, when in fact, no, it was Wednesday.  So now I have packages going out today by express mail.  My fault, coming out of my pocket.  I will get over it.

I will have fun and interesting things to report soon.  I promise.  In the meantime, I came back from Thanksgiving, was very productive on Sunday, lost Monday to being sick, and I still have no idea where Tuesday went.  :(

So yeah... my to do list is 5 pages long, and getting longer by the day.   I have so much to do, and I need a clone.  Anyone got a cloning device?  ;-)

How are your holiday preparations going?