Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Horror Story

The year was 1980.  I had just dropped out of college with a plan to work a job while I searched for a new school to attend.  I was young and ambitious.  I would work and go to school.  I could do anything because I was young, brave, and free.

The office job I held was mostly typing, something in which I excelled to the point where a coworker accused me of cheating at my job because she couldn't fathom the amount of work I accomplished in a day.  Her frustration amused me.

During my lunch break I would sit at my desk with my can of Coke and read.  My book ~ The Shining

One particular day as I was reading my book and sipping my Coke I became unusually engrossed in the story.  The ghost twins.  Danny/Tony.  Tony/Danny.  Isolation in a huge hotel in the middle of nowhere.  Insanity lurking around every corner.  RedRum.  Allworkandnoplaymakesjackadullboy.  I couldn't get enough and it was impossible for me to put the book down.  I think I read beyond my lunchtime limit, causing more fodder for my coworker to complain about on top of my cheating.  I also think I drank two Cokes as I flipped the pages of suspense and terror.

At last my work ethic got the best of me.  I placed my bookmark between the pages of the book and swallowed the last of my can of Coke.  I took a deep breath and decided to relieve myself of the two Cokes I drank absently during my reading session.  I looked up to the sight of the office and I was suddenly seized with fear. 

There was nothing fearful about the office.  It was beige with florescent lights, just like any other office.  The people looked like normal people, piles of work sat on everyones' desks.  But still I was, all of the sudden, very afraid.  The thought of leaving the office and going down the hall to the bathroom terrified me.  But those two Cokes were too much for me to bear.

I remembered myself and my surroundings, telling myself it was silly to be so afraid.  There's nothing here to be afraid of ~ after all, this bland, boring office building wasn't the Overlook Hotel.  But walking down the hallway toward the restroom put me in the long corridors of the hotel.  The hallway was strangely empty, yet I felt I was being watched.  Once I reached the bathroom I found that to be abandoned too, eerily quiet, terrifying.  Luckily I was able to take care of my business quickly and hurry back to the office where there would at least be people to distract me from those heebie-jeebies.

I've never forgotten that day which occurred over thirty years ago, so engrossed in a story that the fear penetrated even the most mundane of situations.  The Shining had a huge impact on me and to this day remains the scariest story I've ever read.  There is nothing so invigorating as fear. 

This October I'd love to dive into another frightening tale in honor of Halloween.  What's the scariest story you've ever read?  Who is your favorite weaver of horror tales?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who's Dave?

Most of the things I sell at Auntie B's Wax are good, wholesome products you would buy for your grandma for Christmas.  A cute little bottle cap magnet with a picture of a butterfly or a sweet smelling candle.  I start getting a little edgy when it comes to my drink charms, with themes such as The Naughty Nurses, although even the charms tend to be harmless memories of retro TV and movies.

As you know, the person behind Auntie B's Wax is just that ~ a person.  And within every person lies a little spunk and a little bit of naughty.  Adult themes have begun to seep into my work.  But that isn't all bad, is it?

There is one magnet I have for sale which gets big laughs from some people and confused looks from others.  Others think the magnet is great but have no idea of its origins.  Still others, mostly those under the age of 18 will look at this particular magnet and ask, "Who's Dave?"

I give you the inspiration for my Dave's Not Here magnet.  For some of you it will be a blast from the past.  Others may be shocked by the theme and language used.  I'll warn you right now, there is some swearing and references to that old girl Mary Jane.  You hippies may reminisce, you oldsters may faint, and you young innocents, well, you'll finally understand who Dave is.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beware The Germ

I was minding my own business, tending to my daily chores, tasks, and pleasures when once again I got hit with a horrible germ.  They're everywhere!  I've been recovered from my last cold for only two weeks and here I am again, wallowing in a sea of snot, unable to maintain a constant body temperature, and hacking with a terrible cough.

What do you when you have a cold? 

Tell me, did people really think whiskey could cure a cold?  And tell me this too ~ did Aspironal really have less alcohol content than whiskey?  (The ad says 10% alcohol, but I don't believe it for a minute.)  Maybe it all just makes you forget you have a cold.  I love that it is a "delightful elixir" and does not contain opiates.

This time around I think I'll just take some Sudafed (which is very complicated to buy now, thanks to the bad guys), drink lots of juice and water, and suck on some Halls.  I spent all of Sunday laying on the couch watching movies which wasn't all bad.  I don't get to spend an entire day watching movies unless I'm sick, or at least I don't allow myself to. 

Hopefully I'll bounce back quickly, as I would love to spend next Saturday at the Goose Lake Farm & Winery, selling my wares.  I'll keep you posted.

Until then I'll keep breathing through my mouth and trying to stay awake.  They don't look kindly on sick naps at the day job.

Friday, September 24, 2010

No Trees Were Harmed In The Production Of These Candles

One of the things I like so much about doing live craft shows in addition to internet sales is the personal interaction.  I hear feedback and get questions.  Once in a while someone will attempt to inform me...on candle making...which I've been doing for over a decade...and they have not.

I'm not so pompous to think I can't continue to learn.  However, well, I'll just let you assess the situation yourself.

SCENE: Auntie B's Wax booth at local craft show

CHARACTERS:  Auntie B, proprietor of Auntie B's Wax
                            Candle-loving lady, admiring Auntie B's candles
                            Candle-loving lady's husband

Candle-loving lady is enjoying the free candle sniffs available in Auntie B's booth.  She oohs and ahs at the various scents she encounters.  She clearly is a candle-loving lady.  Suddenly she notices the difference between two types of candles, and inquires about the one with which she is unfamiliar.

Auntie B: Those are palm wax candles.  They are made with an all-natural wax made from a renewable resource.

Candle-loving lady: How is that different from paraffin?

Auntie B: My paraffin candles are certainly made from high-grade wax, but all paraffin is a petroleum by-product.  Palm wax is not, which makes it very eco-friendly. 

Candle-loving lady: They're so pretty!  How do you get them to look like that?

Auntie B: Those pretty surface designs are natural in the cooling process.  I don't do anything to achieve that look, it happens naturally.

Candle-loving lady: Where does palm wax come from?

Auntie B: It comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree.  These are not palm trees like you might imagine, with coconuts.  Otherwise the wax would smell, well, like coconuts!  *chuckles lightly at the not-so-funny joke*

Meanwhile candle-loving lady's husband is shaking his head and quietly scoffing.

Auntie B: I see we have someone who's not a big fan of candles.

Candle-loving lady's husband: Oh, candles are fine.  But do you know the rain forest is being depleted to provide you with this wax?

Auntie B displays a look of surprise at his comment. 

First of all, only the fruit of the tree is used in the making of the wax, not the entire tree.  Pick the fruit, leave the tree.  The fruit grows back.  Etc.  That's why they call it a renewable resource. 

Second of all, these trees are grown on plantations.  It is a commercial crop.

These points were made to candle-loving lady's husband, but he was not having it.  Candle-loving lady embarrassingly said she would stop by again to buy a candle on the way out.   She never did.

Palm wax candles are a relatively new product on the market and it is expected that people don't know about it.  Palm wax, as mentioned, is all-natural and very clean.  It's harder than other waxes, which allows the candles to keep their shape.  Even tapers made of palm wax will not get soft or bend in hot weather.  Because of this hardness, the candles burn slower and last longer.  I have also found that I don't need to add as much fragrance oil  to palm wax to achieve a great-smelling candle.  Less fragrance oil means less chance of smoking.  I also only use cotton wicks, making the naturalness of the candle go all the way to the core.

Candle-loving lady's husband was not convinced that palm wax is a marvelous product.  I beg to differ.  It has become one of my favorite waxes to work with, and I love the way these candles look.  Bright and vibrant or soft and pastelly, they all have the fun Jack Frost surface designs for added lovliness.

So candle-loving lady's husband, don't get down on Auntie B.  I'm doing a good job of freshening up smelly kitchens and bathrooms with awesome fragrances.  I'm using an all-natural wax that is kind to your environment and the universe as a whole.  I'm bringing that cozy candlelight to the world.  It's not a bad thing.

Get a load of Auntie B's Wax candles.  You can come and see them in person (see the side bar for locations and shows) and they will be available online again soon. 

If you have any questions about the candles I make, or would like to inquire about a custom order, please contact me here in the comments section, or send me an e-mail at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roll Out The Barrel

Oh what a marvelous weekend Husby and I had at the Chateau St. Croix Fall Festival.  By this point that just goes without saying.  As a vendor I salute the staff at the Chateau for hosting such a fun event with an effort that appears seamless.  There's a lot of hard work that goes into an event like this, and to make it enjoyable for both vistors and vendors is quite a feat.  Everything seemed to click without a hitch, including the weather. 

Morning, before opening

It was great to see all of our Chateau friends again ~ feels like a family reunion or holiday gathering.  Some of us see each other only twice a year, so there's some catching up to do, as well as looking at each others' new wares for sale.  I was in a very buying mood and snagged some very fun wrist warmers and a pair of beautiful earrings (they have some color) via Husby, who ran around and did the actual transactions for me.  Husby also bought some really fun note cards, prints from an oil paint artist whose work was both stunning and whimsical. 

The festival offers a full weekend of art, crafts, live music, food, and of course wine.  The Chateau hosts winery tours and tastings which should not be missed.  And for those of you who would rather win a bottle of win than buy one, there are plenty of chances with the competitions the festival offers.

You can test your ability to spit a grape.  Hurl that baby further than anyone else in the competition and you wine a delicious bottle of wine.

Spitting not your gig?  How about stomping on some grapes?  Feel the juicy goodness between your toes.  You've got thirty seconds to produce more juice than your competitors and again, you win a bottle of wine.

Too much spit and mush for you?  Still want that bottle of wine?  Then try the barrel rolling contest.  Grab a partner, link arms, and roll a wine barrel up the hill with your feet.  It's a cinch!

What makes the Fall Festival so much fun is the people. 

The people of the Corvette Club are always a welcome site at the festival.  Not only are they a fun-loving bunch, their cars serve as yet another attraction to the festival.  Reading the vanity plates is a riot!

Everyone's having a good time ~ no crabby people allowed!

Yep, that one on the left is indeed smoking a cigar.  I also caught a bachelorette on the verge starting a life of bliss with her new husband.  Her girlies took her to the festival for a wine fling. 

The attendees getting the most attention are the dogs.  All shapes and sizes.

Husby and I worked hard to present a nice booth and to offer fun things for you to peruse and buy.  But we also had to let our hair down when Mr. Contest Coordinator (hi Todd) taunted us into participating in one of the barrel races.  We didn't win, but we came in a close second. 

OK, not a cinch, but an awful lot of fun.

If you missed the Fall Festival at the Chateau St. Croix, fear not ~ they'll be hosting another spring festival in June.  I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Farmer's Daughter

White Bear Lake, Minnesota is a lovely suburb of St. Paul and is known for it's quaint shops and small-town feel.  Unlike lots of other suburbs with their strip malls and freeway access, White Bear Lake is like a little town unto itself.  I love White Bear Lake.

One of the shining stars of White Bear Lake is a shop known as The Farmer's Daughter.  It's full of handmade goodness from local crafters and artisans.  Last Friday The Farmer's Daughter hosted a Wine Showcase, featuring wine-related items in the shop.  There were also special guests in attendance.

Meet John and Connie.  They own Wine Obsession, a service that will help you make your own wine, right in White Bear Lake.  You don't even have to grow your own grapes!  They served samples of wines made with the wine-making kits they offer.  Delicious!  I really loved the chocolate raspberry port.

If you'd like more information on Wine Obsession and how to join the fun of making your own wine, contact The Farmer's Daughter

Sandi was also in attendance.  She makes the most delicious wine jellies. 

I bought two jars myself. As you may know, jellies are not just for toast anymore. Sandi told me all about the different things you can do with her jellies, including using them for pancake syrup and mixing them into meatloaf. Who knew?  You can find out more about these winey jellies here.  You'll love them.

The Farmer's Daughter isn't just about wine, however.  It's a shop full of rustic treasures, kitchy magnets, beautiful stitchery, and every other kind of artsy, crafty thing you can think of.  Take a look...

What did I tell you?  There's a little bit of everything.  Wait, there's more!

Right now The Farmer's Daughter has the autumn theme in full swing. 

The Farmer's Daughter is the perfect place to shop ~ you can get gifts for your girlies and goodies for your gala. 

Yes, I know a farmer's daughter, and she's one of my favorite people.  If you haven't visited this shop, it's about time you did.  If you're a visitor in the Twin Cities area, come on up to White Bear Lake and make The Farmer's Daughter one of your stops.  The farmer's daughter is a charm, and so is her store!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Memorable Quotes Of The Weekend

One of the biggest joys of doing live art/craft shows and festivals (versus internet interactions) is catching snippets of conversation as people walk by, and hearing comments made in my booth. A lot of you readers won't get what these quotes mean, especially if you weren't at the Chateau St Croix Winery Fall Festival. If you were there, you might even recognize yourself in these memorable quotes.

"Who's Dave?"

"I don't have time for Facebook, I'm too busy milking the [effing] cow!"

"Do I need a green one?"

"That's nummy!"

"I have to smell them all so know I know what to buy next year."

"Dave, looking lost..."

"My husband's a criminal ~ he stole some corn!"

"You can get yourself a new hardwood floor."

"...the Cumberland Rutabaga Fest..."

"I'm going to be a paleontologist and an artist when I grow up. And a farmer."

There will be more on the Chateau St. Croix Winery festival in later posts. Of course Husby and I had the best time ever, and were even persuaded to participate in the barrel race. Thanks to everyone who stopped by Auntie B's booth. I love ya more than my luggage!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Turn And Face The Strain

Well doncha just know that the events of the other day put me in a bad mood.  This isn't a good thing for anyone who gets in my way.

One thing that really has been getting under my skin is the fact that all of my favorite stores, or often-attended at least, are changing.  Change freaks me out and turns me into a deer in headlights.  I depend on certain things, and when those things go changing on me I have no idea what to do. 

Take for example, my favorite craft supply store.  For years I've been going there.  I know where everything is.  I'm nearly on the verge of asking the employees over to my house for a summer picnic.  I give them tons of money and how do they show their gratitude?  By changing the the brands of their products.  Cheaper products at higher cost.  It started with jump rings and has moved all the way to button magnets.  What's next?

Then I went to that big place that sells paper and pencils, computer games and printer ink.  You know the place.  Their associates wear those phone things in their ears and talk to each other.  I'm sure they're laughing about how that lady (most likely me) in the envelope aisle has toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe or something.  I don't frequent this place as much as the craft supply store, but again I'm familiar with it.  I know where the things I need are so I can get in and out as quickly as possible.  Then they pulled the big switch too.  Suddenly I couldn't get the brands I normally got there.  Today I went in for some simple labels to price my pulp magnets and guess what?  There were very odd-sized and shaped and colored labels available, which of course didn't include the plain, white, rectangular ones I needed.

I just want my stuff, and I'm really disappointed in my stores, mostly the craft supply store.  I feel like I'm running in quicksand these days, and setbacks like this just add to the frustration. 

Plan B: More online shopping and/or getting to know the little guy.  Corporate giants don't fit into my life anymore.

Come back and see me next week when I'm in a better mood.  I most surely will be, as there is a very uplifting weekend in store for me.  Thanks for letting me bend your ear today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No Title For This Rubbish

Boy, things are going kind of icky ever since yesterday afternoon.  This one thing happened, which made me think I should do this other thing.  Then I discovered I have no idea how to do that thing, so I tried to learn about it and found out I need to know lots of other things before I can even begin to do the first thing.  If that initial thing hadn't happened I would be:

A.  Pretty much in the same situation I was in every day prior to now, or
B.  Not thinking about ways to improve my business

So even though that one thing happened to me yesterday it was probably a good thing because it shook me out of my box and I'm looking at things differently.  Except that's making my head hurt because I'm uneducated in the area in which I'm looking for solutions to my dilemma.

And I realize that writing in such vagueries is both confusing and annoying to you, but there is no way I'm going to tell you what that first epiphany-causing event was.  So this post is pretty much a complete bust.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wining This Weekend

This coming weekend will be a winey one for me, that's for sure.  Not whiney.  We don't like whiners.  There's enough of that throughout the week.  Wining.  You know, like "wining and dining," except without the dining.  You can throw in the dining if you want, but the emphasis will be on the wine.

Friday evening there is a big Wine Showcase to be held at The Farmer's Daughter in White Bear Lake.  This event runs from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  There will tastings of wine, wine jellies, and cheese balls.  Along with all the fun gift items to be found in the store, there will certainly be lots of wine-related merchandise for your enjoyment.  Get some Christmas shopping done for the winer in your life.  Of course there will be a great selection of these really fun drink charms made by the most talented Auntie B.

I hope to make an appearance at The Farmer's Daughter Wine Showcase ~ perhaps I can autograph that box of charms you buy for your very best friend!

Saturday and Sunday I'm off to St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin for the ever-wonderful Chateau St. Croix Fall Festival.  If you've never been to the Chateau St. Croix Winery, this is your chance.  The Fall Festival is one of their biggest events with live music, tons of artisans showing their work, a great variety of food vendors,  seed spitting, barrel rolling, grape stomping, and of course wine.  The winery offers tours and tastings ~ I find the best way to buy their wine is by the case.  It's delish!

My drink charms will be available at the Fall Festival too; also I'll be unveiling some new magnets.  Here's a peek...

I'll have an abundance of candles for sale too.  All natural palm wax, creamy beeswax, and traditional paraffin will cover the tables inside my booth. 

Join the rest of us winers this weekend at one or both of these events.  If you don't like wine you probably like shopping, so we've got you covered.  I can hardly wait!

All of the above-mentioned concerns can be found on Facebook ~

The Farmer's Daughter ~!/pages/White-Bear-Lake/The-Farmers-Daughter/198080224125?ref=sgm

The Chateau St. Croix Winery ~!/pages/Saint-Croix-Falls-WI/Chateau-St-Croix-Winery/139648420514?ref=sgm

Auntie B's Wax ~

Monday, September 13, 2010

Autumn Kickoff

This past weekend I showed my wares at the White Bear Township Day celebration.  It was a beautiful day and a great event for adults and children alike.
Believe it or not there was a snake charmer...

All right, she isn't really a snake charmer ~ she's a representative of the Tamarack Nature Center located in the lovely White Bear Township.  She also had a turtle with her.  I took a picture for my mother's sake.  We have turtles like this swimming in the lake where our cottage is, and she claims they're as big as washtubs.  No, Mom, this is what you're seeing in the lake...

I realize there isn't a point of reference shown here, so I can't really prove this turtle isn't as big as a washtub, but trust me.  Not even as big as a dinner plate. 

Along with reptiles there were other fun things for the kids to do...

I also saw some burly, rugged fire fighters giving a demonstration of how to put out a car fire.  They had a very big hose.

There was beer supplied by the local VFW...

...and live entertainment from The Rockin' Hollywoods and Rubber Soul (Beatles tribute band).  Lots of room for people to spread a blanket and enjoy the music.

Lots of people took advantage of the helicopter rides all afternoon and into the evening.

The day was concluded with a grand display of fireworks. 

I don't have a very fancy camera so the fireworks pictures didn't turn out too well.  Believe me, they were admired by everyone at the park and all of the neighboring residents in the area.  Sensational!

Husby and I had a very nice day, ate some good food, and met some nice people.  Thank you all who came to visit my booth and a big fat kiss to those of you who bought something from the humble Auntie B.  It was a beautiful day to kick of the autumn season.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Time To Buck Up

I've been feeling so yucky this past week.  There was a lot of fun to be had at the State Fair, but immediately afterwards I ran face first into the biggest germ I've seen in a long time.  It was just a common cold, but I haven't had one in years and it completely knocked me out.  Even as I write this my head is throbbing with clogged sinuses, and I'm getting dangerously close to running out of Kleenex.

Funny thing about getting sick ~ with all this laying around not getting anything done I realize how much I actually accomplish when I'm not sick.  Lots of times I feel so discouraged about not getting enough done, but as I spent the last week of being propped up on the couch by a giant pillow, tissues stuffed into my nose and watching really sad daytime TV like I Dream of Jeannie, I realize I'm usually fairly productive. 

After a week of lazing around feeling sorry for myself while Husby waited on me with a glass of juice here and fetching Vicks and Sudafed there, I'm kind of itching to get up and move around again.  And not a moment too soon!  Saturday I'll be at the White Bear Township Day Celebration.  I might still be talking kind of funny, plugged nose and all, but I promise I won't be contagious.

Come and have some fun.  There will be live music all day long, featuring the Rockin' Hollywoods and a Beatles tribute band.  Of course there will be food and fun me!  My booth will look something like this:

I'll have lots of candles, really fun drink charms, and hundreds of very fun magnets for sale.  You could probably get a little bit of your Christmas shopping done!  No sense in waiting til the last minute.

Don't forget to stay for the ever-famous White Bear Township Day fireworks, scheduled to begin at dusk.  What a great way to blast into the autumn season!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dive Night - JD's Dining Establishment

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.  See a list and links to the previous dive night posts here.

Well, even though the Minnesota State Fair is over, its essence lives on, especially on this my humble blog.  Ruthie and Ray were in charge of finding this month's dive.  Much to everyone's pleasure they chose one on the State Fairgrounds.

I've been going to the fair since I was one year old.  I won't tell you how many years that adds up to, but I will say it is more than ten and less than one hundred.  I'll also say "many, many" years I've been going to the fair.  In all those years I never ate at this place.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Our first instructions were to go into the Food Building and get an appetizer to share with the group.  Husby and I got potato skins, Ruthie and Ray got the spiral chips.

Both were fine.  One thing I'll say about fair food ~ there's an abundance of liquid cheese.  Or should I say cheeze?  Plus, this was actually too much potato, even for a potato lover like me.  But we didn't consult on the appetizers like we would in a regular restaurant, so it was a risk we took.

Then, on to the main event.  The draw to JD's Dining Establishment is that there is "Definintely Nothin' On A Stick." 

Admittedly I was a little nervous about eating here.  After all, it had been avoided for many years of my fair going.  Turns out I was missing out on some decent food! 

Husby, Ruthie, and Ray all had chili.  It was a blustery day and quite brisk, so a hot bowl of chili sounded good to them.

Along with a bowl of chili, Ray had a hamburger and Ruthie had a fish sandwich.  Both look good and were reported to taste just fine. 

I decided to pull out all the stops and get the pork dinner.  I was pleasantly surprised!

Included in the dinner was a hefty portion of pork, mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, corn, and bread and butter.  All for $7!  It was tasty and hot.  Normally I don't eat regular food at the fair, gravitating toward the unusual and unusually unhealthy choices.  But I would totally recommend eating at JD's Dining Establishment (located across the street from the Butterfly House and next to Choo Choo Bob's) if you want a decent hot meal while visiting the fair. 

Another really nice thing they served on that cold night (and every day and night) is coffee and hot chocolate.  Lots of people stopped by for a cup of something hot to take off the chill.

I can't wrap up this report without mentioning that the service at JD's was outstanding!  Yes, we were actually waited on!  And the waitress checked back with us several times to make sure our dinners were satisfactory and to see if we wanted anything more. 

What a fabulous dive!  I wish I had been able to get this post out before the fair ended so you could all try JD's great cuisine.  Please remember it for next year, just in case you don't want to eat your food off a stick at the fair.
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