Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're Having A Heat Wave

Seems like July has lasted forever. The hot and steamy weather of this past week has worn me down, not that I'm not loving the hot and steamy part of our four seasons. In fact, after spending nine hours of my day in an icy air conditioned office building my skin revels in soaking up the heat of midday. It's just wears me down.

To combat this I've decided to make it a priority to wash my car within the next couple of days. By hand. In my own driveway. (Seems to be a thing of the past, which is why I put so much emphasis on it.) Scrubbing bugs off the grill and windshield will most certainly invigorate me. The cold water from the hose will cool the baked asphalt driveway and trickle between my toes as I sponge off the dust grime that has dulled the dark green finish of the car.

I also know driving around in a clean car will make me feel like a teenager on summer vacation, especially if I have some of the old favorites blaring from the speakers.

Go for it. Pull out the hose, dud yourself up like Daisy Duke, and wash the car in your yard or driveway today. You'll feel like a kid again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let Me Satisfy Your Olfactory Fantasies

The custom orders are complete! I'd like to thank the my regular customers and wholesale buyers for their business. Thanks also to Etsy buyers!

The good thing about custom and wholesale orders - I know exactly what to make. There's not a whole lot of thinking involved, just a lot of making. I like to make what people want. Now that the non-thinking jobs are done, for a little while at least, I have to begin the fall/winter line of candles for shows and consignment. (Stay tuned to my sidebar for upcoming shows you'll want to attend for great holiday gift shopping!) Determining colors and scents always seems to be a crap shoot for me. I'm sure I've toiled over this in previous posts - it's an ongoing dilemma. Stick with the existing scents? Add a few new ones? Create an entirely new line?

Lots of things come into play, like budget and storage space. The biggest challenge is reading the customers' minds. Tell me what you're looking for, so I don't have to pretend I'm psychic!

I've created a short survey concerning candle scents. If you're so inclined, I'd love for you to fill it out, complete with any comments you may have. Do you like floral scents? Bakery? Hippy incense?

I want to make what you like. Click below and tell me what it is.

Click Here to take survey

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Auntie B Caught Lying

It's Thursday again, and Husby and I will be dining at Marketfest in downtown White Bear Lake, MN. Last week I announced that this week would be the last week of Marketfest. It's not. There's one more after tonight. I'm pretty sure. Wait, let me go check... Yep, tonight and next Thursday, then it will be all over.

The music featured at tonight's Marketfest is especially nice. At the gazebo will be Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants. Big Walter filled in for Big Twist for a few songs one night at The Cabooze... Oh, I'm not going to get into all that. Suffice it to say, the Bigs are blues singers, and good ones at that. Big Twist died a while back and I haven't heard live blues in forever, so I'll be eager to see how Big Walter is doing these days.

This is Big Walter Smith, of Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants.

This is Big Twist, of Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows. It's all kind of a deja vu thing, don't you think?

Also this evening at Marketfest on the Qwest 3rd Street Stage is John Evans and Dan Perry. I have a soft spot in my heart for John Evans as I've pretty much had a crush on him and his singing ever since I was in grade school, and plus he sang at my wedding. John's got one of those voices that just gets better and better the older he gets. I can hardly wait to hear what he sounds like when he's 103. (Note: don't try to google a picture of John Evans, because you'll only get body builders and other musicians that aren't the John Evans. The John is a local figure, hence, not very googleable.)

The Farmer's Daughter also has a booth at Marketfest, which is something I take a particular interest in as I consign at the store. Last week a few of my drink charm sets, magnets, and candles sold. Hopefully they'll be a hit tonight too. Visit the booth if you're at Marketfest, and visit the store after Marketfest is done for the year.

Besides attending a small birthday gathering for my mother-in-law, this weekend is wide open for, well, just about anything. I've been meaning to get some sleep, maybe I can squeeze some in between bottle capping, candle pouring, and hanging clothes on the clothesline.

And don't get all mad at me because I linked to Marketfest eleventy times, as well as a bunch of other stuff. I'm still thinking is really cool I know how to do things like link and attach pictures and other techie stuff. When you're pushing fifty, you apply technology where you can.

Monday, July 21, 2008

To My Secret Boyfriend

Dear Neil,

I went to see your concert last Saturday. Yeah, I was the cute one in section 105. I know you meant to send your personal assistant to me, inviting me to a post show cocktail and kanoodle in your hotel - it probably slipped your mind, what with it being the kickoff of your North American tour and all. I didn't want to show up uninvited, so after the concert I just went home and dreamed of you. I'm sure you dreamed of me too. Oh, I know your old enough to be my dad, but whatever.

I liked hearing the old classics, and I'm sure you opened with Holly Holy just for me. A secret message. A hey, I get you message. That day I really needed someone to "get" me, and without becoming all Killing Me Softly on you, I appreciated your efforts.

I really like your new songs too. Insightful, with much more meat to them than, say, the Forever in Blue Jeans thing you pull for your less intense fans.

Next time you're in town give me a call. Or better yet invite me to your place when your tour is over. We'll sit and drink red, red wine, have a couple of cigs for old time's sake, and you can tell me all about how it feels to be a star. To have been a star for forty years. You can teach me how to articulate through art. You can enlighten me on how to capture the hearts of millions. Then you can commission me to be your sole candle supplier, so every time you look into a flickering flame you'll think of me.

Thanks, Neil, for making me look inside, and knowing it's okay. Call me any time. I'll be home before dark.


Auntie B

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last Call For Marketfest - Almost

Hey everyone, have you been to Marketfest yet this year? OK, you there, living in Alaska, you probably haven't. All you people in the Twin Cities area, Minneapolis and St. Paul, I'm talking to you!

Marketfest is a fun community gathering in White Bear Lake offering food, live music, and of course lots of artsy/crafty things Thursday nights throughout June and July. Tonight I'll be working with Lynn in The Farmer's Daughter booth on 3rd Street.

The festivities are from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., rain or shine. Come on up, down, or over, depending on where you are on the map. We'll be having lots of fun.

Next week will be the last week of Marketfest, so time is running out. Check it out. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot Water Vs. Lake Water

I've mentioned the family cabin before, and let me reiterate, it is not by any means a "lake home." It was built by my grandpa over fifty years go. He was not a carpenter, and most of the windows and doors used in the structure were acquired from the county dump. The property doesn't have the luxury of running water or a well. While the setting is beautiful - a forest of birch trees, a lake which is home to loons, fish, eagles, and waterlilies, a quaint and winding gravel road - it has been referred to politely as "rustic."


This past Sunday, at precisely 2:45 p.m., Husby happened to notice our water heater leaking aggressively. He promptly turned off all incoming water to our house. Oh, we filled up a water jug and a few 5-gallon pails to fill the toilet tanks if needed. But for all intents and purposes, we were waterless.

I tried to pretend I was at the lake, and realized that without running water it's much easier to just use an outhouse than your standard modern-day bathroom facilities. It wouldn't have been so bad, but Sunday turned into Monday. A work day. A day which needed running water. A sponge bath would have worked, except what about the hair? I couldn't go into the office without washing my hair. For that I needed running water, or at least a lake and some biodegradable shampoo. I had neither.

I called my boss and explained the situation. She was more than happy to do without me under the circumstances.

We got a new water heater installed and I'm grateful for the return of a modern day convenience I take for granted on a day-to-day basis, and also for an unexpected day away from the office. Except the more I thought about it, an outhouse, a lake and biodegradable shampoo sounded much better than a shower and flushable toilet. For twenty-four hours I was wishing not for the convenience of modern plumbing, but for the convenience of a whole lake of water right outside my door and the rustic lifestyle that comes along with that.

My final analysis: lake water is necessary for restful summertime getaways, while indoor plumbing is necessary when co-mingling with the general public. And never the twain shall meet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Am Chopsticks

I can't vouche for the validity of this little quiz, but I can vouche for the fact that internet quizes are sometimes too irresistable to pass by. The results...

You Are Chopsticks

People see you as exotic, unusual, and even a bit intimidating.

You are a difficult person to figure out.

In truth, you try to live a very simple life.

But most people are too frenzied to recognize the beauty of your simplicity.

Exotic? Intimidating? I don't know about that. Maybe I am like chopsticks in that people find me hard to handle.

Go ahead, find out what utensil you are. Report back. I'd love to hear the results.

Monday, July 07, 2008

And Now, Weekend Update, With Auntie B...

Good morning. I'm Auntie B and you're not. (Apologies to those too young to remember the SNL Weekend Update with Chevy Chase.)

Welcome back from the long holiday weekend. Husbie and I spent the weekend at the family cottage in Wisconsin, along with my parents and Charlotte's whole family. The weather was much more mild than it apparently was in the cities - the heat and humidity was stifling when we returned Sunday night.

Despite the spring-like temperatures, I had an opportunity to take a dip in the very cool water of the lake. Charlotte and I took it upon ourselves to scrub and wax the cottage floor, working up quite a sweat. Without the convenience of running water, freshening up means jumping into the lake rather than the shower. The initial plunge was quite a shock, but the overall swim was very refreshing.

The dry wood floor of the cottage was refreshed too. It gets quite a beating through the summers and had been neglected for many years save for two or three sweepings a day with a straw broom. After a few hours on our hands and knees scrubbing vigorously, and two coats of wax, Charlotte and I insisted everyone take their shoes off while in the cottage. For the first time in years we could walk the old pine floor without turning our socks grey.

Photo compliments of Husbie. Thanks, dear.

On the night of the 4th we all gathered at the shore of the lake for a fireworks show. There were many displays including our own, and cheers could be heard around the lake after especially impressive fountains and aerials. The night was calm and the water was still, reflecting the showers of colored light.

All in all it was a great weekend filled with good food and fun times. Of course the American flag waved over our humble little cottage every day. God bless America!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paenney

Dear Paenney,

Today is a wonderful day because it is the anniversary of the day you were born. You're sixteen years old and the size of a full-grown man. You're also quite a character with much imagination and a good sense of humor. Those are very fine qualities to have.

I remember when you were swaddled in a little cocoon looking like a peanut. There's some auntie talk for you. I might as well be pinching your cheeks while saying, "Oh you're so big!" Well, you are, and I'm amazed at how large such a little creature can become in a mere sixteen years. Sometimes I'm still surprised that you can feed yourself. Time has flown and you have quickly turned into quite an extraordinary young man. But you'll always be a little Rooney Tooney to me.

Happy Birthday!


Mighty Little Foot

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Creative Block Or Domestically Lazy? A Small Pep Talk To Prevent Both

It never ceases to amaze me how far a little organization can go.

There is a group of people I know who have “artist's block” in common. I used to count myself among them, but no longer. In my case the only thing preventing me from creating is clutter. They say identifying the problem is half the battle, so I’m hopeful.

Clutter comes in two forms: physical and cerebral.

Physical clutter is the pile of laundry waiting to be washed. The corner of the kitchen counter covered with mail needing to be dealt with. Dishes in the sink or dishwasher. The box of supplies delivered which remains in the entryway waiting to be unpacked. I let things accumulate until they bog me down. When I’m bogged down the task of de-cluttering seems so overwhelming I put it off for another day. And another. And another. The only thing accomplished by that is the accumulation of even more clutter.

Cerebral clutter is the myriad of things running wildly through my head. The schedules. The mental lists. Creative ideas coming and going, lost in the whirlwind of more practical plans. As is true with physical clutter, cerebral clutter weighs on me. If not remedied, my mind will collapse to a point where it can stand no more stimulation than to watch paint dry.

For some the chaos of clutter is a positive thing. Either it simply doesn’t distract them or it actually gives them drive. For me, the clutter has to be reduced before I’m able to step forward.

Last weekend I took three tasks that were weighing on my mind and committed myself to complete them before anything else. One was to wash the kitchen, dinette, entryway, and powder room floors. The second was to transform my closet from winter wardrobe to summer. (Yes, it is July already, I know.) Lastly, I wanted to take inventory of the remaining items from the winery show and store the items properly.

Cleaning the floors acted as a means to clear the long-ignored task from my mind. It also made my floors brighter and less sticky, which is a very good thing. Alternating my wardrobe gave me many more weather-appropriate garments to choose from, as well as giving me the opportunity to collect outgrown and unworn clothes for donation. Taking inventory gave me a clearer vision of what I have in stock and motivated me to rearrange things in my studio in order to store my products in a much more organized and convenient manner.

After completing these three tasks last weekend not only was much physical clutter eliminated, my mind opened up and was freer to concentrate on more important and interesting things.

If you feel you are experiencing a “block,” otherwise known as a frustrating lack of motivation, I highly recommend taking a small step of action toward decluttering and organization. Mundane chores don’t take that long to complete and should be done on a regular basis; left undone they can cause immeasurable stress. Keep a small notebook and pen or hand-held recorder with you always to keep track of important, creative, or useful ideas for later action. Try to have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. Once your home is in order, your mind will clear, leaving you with the freedom to pursue leisure activities without the burden of physical or cerebral clutter. Less physical clutter = less cerebral clutter.

Note: This entry serves as a reminder to me to get off my butt and remember the priorities. Dust the dining room even if you don’t feel like it. Vacuum more than once a month you lazy fool! A clean, tidy, and organized atmosphere will most certainly clear your mind and give you the energy to do what is fun, like filling all those candle orders!
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