Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Springer Gets Nixed

Plagued with a headache I stayed home from work.  Back in the old days when I took a sick day I would lay around and watch daytime TV with all its commercials aimed toward unemployed and injured people.  I hated being talked to like I didn't know what I was doing, as in calling the right ambulance chaser lawyer or furthering my education to procure a lucrative position in a greasy spoon successful business.

I stopped watching daytime TV with its screaming audiences, melodramatic plots, and overly enthusiastic contestants.

But I have a headache.  What else am I supposed to do?

The TV did not come on at all, but the computer did.  However, unlike my friend Mary Ann I was not glued to a screen of Spider Solitaire or even Bejeweled.  I took care of my computer business and went on to more pressing chores like finishing up the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and washing dishes.  Holiday weekends cause me to fall behind in my duties as housekeeper and it was just proper that I ignore the throbbing pain in my head and the fuzzy blind spot in my eye to take care of the business at hand.

I'm glad I didn't turn on the TV.  Didn't even turn on the stereo.  I was as focused as I could be while in massive headache mode.  Makes me think that when I have a stroke or heart attack I'll be able to clean the oven while waiting for the ambulance to come and take me to the hospital.  Knowing that is so much more satisfying than watching Jerry Springer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prove To Me That You're No Fool ~ Walk Across My Swimming Pool

I hope everyone had a happy Easter holiday.  I spent some time in church, some time with family, and way too much time eating candy.  Halloween and Easter ~ I think lots of us are like kids when it comes to these holidays and the indulgence in candy.  Doesn't matter how old we get.

When I returned home from all the festivities I was surprised to see TCM was offering Jesus Christ Superstar as the evening's 7:00 movie.  Well, maybe surprised isn't the right word.  It made perfect sense that it was showing on Easter, but I've not seen it in the TV listings in, like, ever.

I remember the first time I saw JC Superstar.  I was twelve years old and was allowed to walk down to the Cini Capri theater with Charlotte and her friend (who were fourteen) for the matinee showing.  I guess my mom figured our seeing a movie about Jesus would be harmless enough.

The movie came out in 1973 and was about the coolest thing I could imagine.  Except for, well, Jesus was really cute and they did those dastardly things to him.  Charlotte, her friend and I walked home after the movie, bawling the whole way.  Well, I know I was bawling.  I can't remember for sure if they were, but I like to remember it that way.  Three young girls walking home, crying over what they did to Jesus.  I guess it made an impact.

Watching it on Easter evening brought back memories of spending a hot summer afternoon with the big kids in a dark, air conditioned theater.  We were uber cool (what would Father Finn have said?!) taking in the hippie spin on the story of Jesus.  And I'm sure I' m not the only one who thought Herod's song was about the most bizarre thing to happen to a Bible story ever.  It's my favorite.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a classic worth watching if for nothing more than the whole early '70s interpretation of The Passion. It focuses on psychological conflict rather than blind faith. For a little twelve-year-old girl it told a story much better than a stuffy old man in a pulpit ever could.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hipster Store Passes On Opportunity Of A Lifetime

Remember when I was acting all brave and proud because I submitted an application to consign at a particular brick and mortar shop?  It took me months to screw up the courage to just send the e-mail, but I faced my insecurities and fears and just did it.  Yay for me! I said.  Well, guess what? 


Yep.  I've been having a rough time of it trying to get my business act together despite my courageous and brazen ways.  There are several tweeks I've been trying to make without much luck.  With the rejection letter I got from this particularly desirable store I thought about falling to pieces, packing up everything and going home, never to play with the big kids again.  But then I thought again.

There's no reason to take this personally, I told myself.  This is business, and someone made a business decision that didn't include me.  That's all there is to it.  I can live with that.  So instead of packing up and going home I reopened my e-mail and saw I had made another sale in my Etsy shop.  That sale did a lot more than soothe my hurt feelings.  It inspired me to open up a whole new online shop.

You see, the sale I made was for the WWMPD magnet, which has been the bulk of my sales since I opened my new Etsy shop in February.  For some reason, this particular sale made me think about opening a shop at Zazzle. 

Zazzle can do things Etsy can't, and vice versa.  So why not have two shops?  I'm starting out with the WWMPD design, which is available at my Zazzle shop in t-shirts, aprons, and mugs. 

I especially like this design on the burly guy wearing the t-shirt.

So what d'ya think of me now?!  I'll be taking it slow on Zazzle for the time being, but WWMPD products are available immediately. 

What could have turned out to be a dismal afternoon of dejection turned out to be one of navigating a new venue, redesigning my original image to suit new products, and generally feeling more empowered than ever.  Thanks, hipster store, for rejecting me.  It forced me to ask "What would Mary Poppins do?"  I think she would approve of my positive reaction to a disappointing situation.  A special thanks too, to the person who most recently bought the WWMPD magnet.  You made a difference in a way you'll never know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Step Away From Your Attempts And Be Amazed

Do you ever feel like you're just trying too hard?  Sometimes that thought occurs to me and I have to just step away.

Trying too hard is different than simply trying. There's a desperation in trying too hard.  Grasping, clawing, rationalizing your way to the goal you think you want.  You make hurried, half-hearted attempts as the clock ticks away the minutes, days, and years you haven't reached your goal.  The trying, the unsuccessful trying over and over again could be just the thing that prevents you from attaining that goal.

My nephews have a creativity in them that is astounding.  One evening they were telling the story of a character they made up together.  This character has been alive for them since they were very small boys.  There are intricate details to the character's life that the boys know by heart, as though this character was an actual person in their lives.  These boys I speak of, my nephews, are pretty much grown by now and still refer to this make-believe character and add aspects to his life still.

I told them how interesting it was to hear about this character, and how it seemed the "story" came to them so easily.  I commented on their vivid imaginations and how much I admired their creative thinking.  I envied them and said so.  Why can't a story with that much imagination just flow from me like that? I asked.  One of my nephews said immediately and simply, "you're trying too hard."  Brilliant insight from someone thirty-five years younger than me.

Perhaps it is desperation that leaves me frustrated,  like the artist who can't get the lighting just right in his painting or the author toiling over the perfect words.  Maybe it's better to just walk away for a while, to gain a different perspective.  Why isn't my plan working out exactly how I envisioned?  I'm trying too hard.

This can all be summed up with the sentiment in a card Husby gave me once.  Take the world lightly, and see how easy things become.

I'm going to experiment with this theory and broaden my field of vision.  Instead of focusing so mightily on one aspect of my life and being disappointed, I'm going to give more attention to other parts of my life.  I'm going to see if stepping away from the desperate trying will perhaps lighten my mood and my attitude.  I'll keep trying, just not so hard.

So what do you think of that?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ammonia, Vinegar, And Murphy's Oil Soap

I've talked about spring cleaning a lot on this blog.  Every year I fail to complete all the tasks on my list, but still partake in the ritual as much as I can and as much is absolutely necessary. 

Slow and easy is my method this year.  Just a little at a time so it doesn't seem so overwhelming.  The rumpus room was my focus this past weekend.  The furniture was vacuumed and the windows were washed.  The baseboards were vacuumed and cleaned and the woodwork washed.  Lampshades were and light bulbs were vacuumed.  I feel like such a homemaker when I actually put those vacuum cleaner attachments to work.

I didn't tackle washing the walls, but they totally need it.  It's a daunting task to be sure as I have a vaulted ceiling in the rumpus room.  I procrastinate, sometimes for years, on any job that requires a ladder.

Despite a mid-April snow shower and very chilly temperatures my spring cleaning tasks are getting checked off slowly but surely.  Maybe the snow is what motivated me ~ just like the snow that aroused Dorothy in a field of poppies. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's The Story?

The older I get the more I love the old movies.  I'm not talking movies from the '80s or even '60s.  I'm talking movies from the '30s and '40s.  They were made long before I was born and embody a Hollywood glamor no longer found in the movie industry. 

The old movie stars were my first inspiration for the bottle cap drink charms I sell.  Currently I have four sets of these black-and-white drink charms.  They were given as Christmas gifts to the board of directors of the Katharine Hepburn Center for the Arts in Connecticut by the chairman of the board, a sale I was so proud to make.

I could sit for hours watching the film noir gangster movies or the comedies of the Marx Brothers.  Nick and Nora Charles are my absolute favorite ~ starring characters in The Thin Man movies.  Give me a rainy day and a bowl of popcorn and you won't be able to tear me away from my old movies. 

Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to old Hollywood.  If you're an old movie buff or know someone who is, you can get a set of these fun charms at my shop.  They're my small way of paying tribute to Hollywood and its legends.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

I've decided to spend some of my down time (??what's that??) and play around with writing.  I've always liked to write, but find my motivation has become more presentation than expression.  To get back into expressing myself through writing, whether it's on this blog, a small thank-you note, or jumping into producing the Great American Novel I've turned to The Right To Write by Julia Cameron.  This will be my second time through the book.  The following is the result of the first "invitation" to write.  It is three pages of hand-written free-form thinking.  So if it isn't coherent don't fear you are having a stroke or something ~ it's just me and my scattered brain transcribed on paper. 

I'm sitting out on my back deck as I write this.  It's a little brisk compared to the last few days, but my long, bulky sweater is keeping me warm.  I love this sweater.  I bought it when I got married; I knew my new husband kept his house at cooler temperatures and I wanted something I could cozy up in.  That was nearly fifteen years ago.  I usually keep sweaters until the shreds fall off me.

The yard this evening is a dingy yellow color and is a nice contrast to the dark pine trees that line the back fence.  Our Christmas tree is propped up against the wood pile and has retained its perfect shape, has lost no needs, and has turned a regal rust color.  It was the best tree we've had in many Christmases.

Geese fly overhead.  The other day I noticed a snow-white swan flying above me.  The water foul are so much nicer to look at than the occasional turkeys walking around.  What a clumsy, ugly bird, the turkey.  But mighty tasty!

Lately I've been troubled with making decisions.  Not so much troubled, I guess, as nervous.  I know I have to decide things once and for all, but can't bring myself to announce these decisions to the people they affect.  But tomorrow is the deadline I set for one of these announcements.  Well, the proposal to make an appointment to make the announcement.  The outcome of my decision will affect me either positively or negatively, but it will have to be made.  And action, for better or worse, is better than standing stagnant in fear of an unknown outcome.

Besides these life-changing decisions I remain busy with my tasks of business and household.  Spring cleaning has begun, although not at a sprinter's speed at the onset.  But the goal is to get these things done, whether in the span of one month or six months.  I guess my spring cleaning tasks should be renamed "annual" tasks.

And there's a bunny, chewing on a dead leaf.  I bet he can hardly wait for those new tender shoots of grass to start sprouting.  And there's a squirrel in the maple with a mouthful of something that looks like a potato chip, but I'm pretty sure it isn't.  He scurries up to his nest to hide/eat whatever it is safely.  And now bunny is joined by another and partakes in a little grooming activity.

Such activity in the back yard.  So much I miss as I'm busy indoors doing this or that.

Summer is near, despite a forecast of snow this weekend.  The summer weekends are booking up already.  So many activities and events that must be crammed into the warm months so we can stay indoors cozy and warm during the winter.  Good thing I still have my long, bulky sweater for those cold months, and for sitting on my deck on an early spring evening.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Case Of The Dripping Taper

As you may know by now, I love candles.  One of the things I hear a lot when I'm out on the road is "do your candles drip?"  Well let me tell you...

It doesn't matter how good a pillar or taper is, there is a chance that it could drip.  Part of this could be the fault of the chandler (the maker of the candle) and part could be how the candle is burned.  My biggest advice to candle burners is to keep the wick trimmed to 1/4". 

However, no matter how well a candle is made and no matter how well the burner tends to the candle there are still factors that could cause dripping.   This is especially true with tapers.  Drafts are usually the main culprit and a draft can be as subtle someone walking past the candle. 

My favorite way to keep tapers from accidentally messing up the expensive tablecloth is to take a cup-like container, could be a votive cup, a teacup, or a small bowl and fill it about 3/4 full with sand. You could also use rice or beans.  That way, if and when the candle decides to spill a little wax it is caught in a wide-mouthed container and spills on the sand (or other filling) instead of sticking to the glass and more importantly saves your table surface or cloth.

It works like a dream. When the candle is burned down all you have to do is pull the remains out of the sand and throw it in the garbage.* 

This method can also be used with pillars, using a bigger cup/bowl or an interesting jar large enough to accomodate the diameter of your candle.  The sand-filled container method is fun for outdoor parties in the summer, giving your indoor decor or outside party area a beachy feel. 

With this easy clean-up candle burning technique I'll bet you'll be more inclined to use candles more often! 

*Be sure the flame is extinguished, the wick is completely doused, and the wax has solidified before removing from the container.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Husby's Hosta Bed

At no matter what point we are in our lives, things will always change.  The seasons in Minnesota are a constant reminder to me how things will eventually turn into something else.  The change might be one that makes me happy or one that makes me sad.  I relish each change as it comes, good or bad, because I know it won't last forever. 

Just a few weeks ago our backyard looked like this.

I love the landscaping Husby did with our backyard.  There's a beautiful hosta bed underneath all of that snow.  And any of you who know me also know I love the fresh look and feel of winter.  Things are brisk and clean.  Though I love wintertime I can't see the hosta bed. 

And so the season turns to spring.  Early spring makes me restless and crabby.  It's dirty and brown and ugly.  The temperature rises and the snow melts completely.  When the air starts smelling like wet dirt I know the beautiful part of spring is nearly here.  And Husby's hosta bed, though appearing dead, is visible.

With the coming of spring we feel a sense of renewal.  The redwing blackbirds gather in the bare tree tops and instead of icy snow comes nurishing rain.  I've noticed a sense of renewal in my business life too.  I've been taking a hard look at how Auntie B's Wax is progressing and growing and have decided to throw a little fertilizer into the mix ~ a little boost of sorts.  I've also decided to do some weeding, which is necessary for the new growth to thrive.

The changes of spring are exciting, but the calmness of winter is gone.  It's hard not to reflect on what is missing, but the transformation can be exhilerating.

I can only hope the changes I make in my business produce glorious results similar to Husby's hosta bed in summertime.

Summer is a time of exaggerated activity in Minnesota.  People are outdoors as much as they are allowed, the sunlight lingers well into the evening, and Husby's hosta bed is lush and full of activity both seen and unseen. 

Summertime brings on a new season for Auntie B's Wax too, with craft shows and festivals and baring my wares for all to see.  The fertilizing and weeding done in springtime was done in speculation, and summertime brings a slight feeling of anxiety as I can only hope the results of my previous care will be satisfying. 

Then comes autumn.  While the business is still in a very active state the colors change and things slow down a little.  In the hosta bed there are less birds using the bird bath and the leaves of the flora turn golden.  The temperatures in the air cool down a bit, bringing relief from the blazing sun and humid air of summer. 

The hurried lifestyle of summertime is decreased and everything prepares to be put to sleep once again.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting these past few weeks.  There are changes in my business that have to be made if I want to continue it without loathing.  After all, the whole point of going into business for yourself is to do something you love.  Things have to change when challenge is replaced with stress and request is replaced with demand. 

The changes I face are uncomfortable, but necessary.  I can only hope the choices I make will yield vibrance and healthiness for me and my work.  My wish is that Auntie B's Wax will always be around with natural changes occuring here and there...just like Husby's hosta bed.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Dive Night ~ Lakeside Club

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. 

"...Where the customer is always wrong."  Seriously, the waitresses at the Lakeside Club wear t-shirts with this slogan on the back.  I'll get back to that later.

The Lakeside Club has been family owned and operated in Mahtomedi, MN since 1946.  It's nothing fancy, that's for sure.  But you don't really need fancy when you're hungry for good food.

Don't let the lack of patrons scare you away.  We arrived quite early.  By the time we left the place was packed.  However, this next image might scare you a little.  It was hanging on the wall right over Ruthie's head and I had to look at it all evening long.

Now, on with the show.  Waitress #1 came to our table to take our drink orders.  That went all fine and well as we're an easy bunch to please.  Wine and beer is pretty much the extent of it.  So she goes and gets our drinks and tells us about the nightly special ~ an all-you-can eat cod fish fry for $14.99.  I asked what comes with the special.  She answered "soup (clam chowder) and salad and a choice of baked potato or french fries."  That sounded pretty good to me, but we had to order appetizers first.  We chose onion rings (heavenly!) and fried cheese curds.  They were delivered by Waitress #2.

When Waitress #2 delivered our appetizers she took our entree orders.  Ruthie, Ray and I ordered the fish fry special and Husby ordered a ribeye steak.  Because we were so eager to jump into the appetizers it didn't occur to us that she didn't ask us whether we wanted french fries or baked potato.  We devoured the very delicious onion rings and cheese curds.  Yum!

Waitress #3 came to our table with our entrees.  Husby's steak came with a baked potato and a lovely salad with little goldfish.

I had a bite of the steak and it melted in my mouth.  It was absolutely perfect.  This is the fish fry special the rest of us ordered...

I asked Waitress #3 about the soup and salad that's supposed to come with our meal and she looked at me as though my hair was on fire.  "That doesn't come with the meal."  Oh, really?  Well that's what we were told, and were also told we'd have a choice of baked potato or french fries.  I didn't mind the fries as I love to dip them in tartar sauce and plus they were really good ~ crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and very hot.  Waitress #3 pretty much blew us off, saying once again that we got what comes with the special and that's all we were going to get.  The fish was very good and Ruthie, Ray, and I all had seconds.  Might as well take advantage of the all-you-can-eat part of the special as the rest of it was a lie.  Waitress #1 came back to our table to apologize about giving us misinformation, but offered nothing for our trouble.  We were kind and said it was okay and the food we did get was delicious.  And it was delicious.  The Lakeside Club has excellent food, let me be very clear on that.

When we were nearly done with our meals Waitress #1 came back and said to us, "if you're going to pay your bill in cash I can offer you a free dessert."  Now I don't know if that's a rule for the restaurant in general or if they were trying to make up for the fact that they basically pulled a bait-and-switch on us with the fish special.   But I spoke up right away and said I'll take a free dessert.  Why not?  When I asked what they had to offer Waitress #1 rattled off several desserts they had, many of which there was only one piece available.  I found that puzzling as we were ordering dessert around 6:30, not at some late hour of the evening when it would be more understandable if they were running out of options.  No matter, Husby and I shared a piece of turtle cheesecake which was very good.

All in all it was a kind of weird experience.  I'm not sure why there were three people waiting on us.  I also hesitate to label Waitress #1 a bubblehead because of the misinformation she gave us regarding the special because I can't be sure the offerings aren't in constant flux in the kitchen.  I think things are run pretty casually at the Lakeside Club.  However, I will stand firm on saying the food was excellent and would definitely recommend their steak. 

As for the waitress' t-shirt slogans "...where the customer is always wrong," I'll say Amen.  While all of the people who waited on us were polite and efficient, I think the restaurant as a whole figures it can get away with a lot of shinanigans because they know they'll make up for it with their fabulous food.  Try it out and see what your experience is.  No matter what happens you'll be rewarded with an excellent meal.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


About four months ago we had plans to drive up to visit Paenney at school in Superior, Wisconsin but got snowed in with about seventeen inches of the stuff.  I was so disappointed I could have cried.  Four months later we finally we got our schedules aligned and Husby and I went up to see the college freshman in action.

On the way up we stopped at Tobies for some of their delicious and enormous doughnuts.  It took all of my might not eat one before we arrived in Superior.  When Paenney escorted us into his dorm and we got situated in his room had a little breakfast.  I don't think I have to tell you what the dorm room of two college boys men looks like.  I didn't want to take a picture much less post one for fear of divulging the contents of the secret lair.  I will say this ~ they have a special chair for company.  A pink wheelchair with a sticker that says "Boobies" on the back.  It was a little something they picked up at the Goodwill store.  Husby was very comfy in it.

The main highlight of our trip was a visit to the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, or Bong Museum for short.  Paenney volunteers a lot of his time there, which is perfect for him because he is a World War II buff from way back.  Along with his duties of washing windows and performing other maintenance tasks he helps set up some of the exhibits.  Here are examples of what he's constructed...

Paenney creates these exhibits with meticulous detail.  Husby and I were very impressed not only with what we learned at the museum, but also with how Paenney contributes in such a wonderful way.  It's the perfect job for him! 

After meeting Paenney's coworkers and touring the entire museum we went on to Canal Park in Duluth.  It must have been the first really nice spring-like day because the park was packed with visitors...and seagulls!  We weren't fortunate enough to see any ships pass under the lift bridge, but we did scope out the small maritime museum on the park.  By the time we were done walking through that we had a little lunch at Grandma's.  The way Paenney tore into his reuben sandwich I feared he isn't getting enough food at school.  But then I realized he's a growing boy man.  Not only did we all have a hefty lunch, we also indulged in dessert afterwards.  It was just enough to keep Paenney going; Husby and I were stuffed to the gills.

To work off a bit of our lunch Paenney took us up to the tower on top of the mountain of Duluth.  Okay, it probably isn't a mountain, per se, but the tower is way up above the town and you can see for miles.  We didn't get all the way up to the tower as the path was forbidden due to maintenance.  But we reached the uppermost point we could without breaking too many rules.  The view was fabulous. 

Of course being that high up can inspire a person.  Paenney dreamt up a new reality show premise involving hang gliding, rifle shooting, and scuba diving.  An Olympic event of sorts.  I can see him now, soaring off this ridge in a hang glider with his rifle in hand and flippers on his feet over the town of Duluth.

Next on the agenda was a visit to The Rocking Horse, a lovely gift shop in Superior.  The Rocking Horse holds the consignment venue Lu, which carries some of my drink charms, bottle cap magnets and pulp fiction magnets.  I think this means I can write off the trip as a business expense!  I was completely enamored with the shop and will visit again next time I'm in Superior.

Not-so-great photo of a really cute display of Auntie B's magnets

After that we strolled through the campus while Paenney pointed out which buildings he goes to for his various classes.  We also walked through the Student Union which I thought was really nice.  College cafeterias have come a long way since I was in school.  We also got to hear about the union flies (like barflies only they hang out in the student union) Paenney has named Tuna, Thunder Thighs, and Puff Head.  He is following the path of his mom and auntie in giving familiar strangers descriptive names.  I especially liked the name Puff Head.

Then it was time for Husby and I to head back home.  We spent the ride back talking about how Paenney has become a boy man of many interests and talents.  He was the perfect host and we hope he'll have us back again some time.  I think he's lucky to be on a campus like UWS and he's taking advantage of lots of new and exciting opportunities there, not to mention flourishing at the Bong Museum. 

What a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Featured Shop ~ Sweet Planet

As someone who grew up without the internet I am constantly stunned at the easy access we now have to the millions of fabulous things for sale throughout the entire world, and all with a simple little click of a button.  My most recent find wasn't from the other side of the earth, but from my own state. 

Sweet Planet, how in the world do you do it?

Is this the shop of a world-class confectioner?  No.  What you see is actually soap.  Yes, soap.  I can tell you're just as stunned as I was, and still am.  Sweet Planet specializes in cold process goat's milk soap made to look and smell like something right out of a bakery. 

How much fun would a cake or pie be at a shower or other girlie event?  Take home a slice of soap as a lovely parting gift!  Boy, when Sweet Planet refers to a "cake" of soap, she's not kidding!

And check this out...

I still can't believe these aren't actual pies.  And Sweet Planet offers a variety of "flavors," offering what is essentially a custom soap pie just for you.

Sweet Planet's soapy confections are made with 100% vegetarian oils and quality cosmetic-grade fragrance oils and dyes.  They're gentle on the skin with wonderful lathering and cleansing abilities. 

I was so agog by this shop I had to get a sample of what was offered.  I chose the Gingersnap Cookies soaps. 

Not currently available because I bought them

So realistic, so wonderfully fragrant, and really nice soap.  Customer service is stupendous too!  For your next event or just to pretty up your own powder room I suggest you check out Sweet Planet.  Goat's milk soap never looked and smelled so good! 

*as tempted as you will be, please do not eat the soap*

This article will soon be published on the HandmadeMN blog, a blog I'm sure you will enjoy.  Not only do they publish my Featured Shops, but have lots of giveaways and interesting articles presented by many Minnesota artisans like me. 

Monday, April 04, 2011


This year at the Auntie B's Wax world headquarters the mantra is You have to play big to win big. 

That started out just fine when I got over my fear of spending money.  I bought a ton of stuff to keep me in business for an entire year rather than bits and pieces at different times throughout the year as I did in the past.  This saved me money on shipping charges.  Yes, shipping on six hundred pounds of wax costs more than shipping on fifty pounds of wax, but with some smart shopping and a very heavy order I got a deal with hundredweight shipping ~ much more economical than paying substantial money several times a year with smaller orders.  I'll use all the wax, so nothing is wasted and money is saved.  The same is true with other orders.  Shipping charges rise only minimally with an increased order.  Playing big with my money in regard to ordering is saving money.

I'm also spending more money on live show applications.  For those of you who didn't know, participating in craft shows, festivals and events costs money for the vendors.  Different shows cost different amounts of money.  In my case I've always played it really safe, applying to shows that have low registration fees.  Because my items are inexpensive (all items under $20 and most under $10) it takes a lot of sales to make up the cost of doing a show, and even more sales to turn a profit.  This year I've decided to kick it up a notch and apply to some different shows despite registration fees that are higher than I'm used to paying.  Chances are pretty good that a higher-priced show also has higher attendance.  Of course higher attendance increases my chances for sales and my exposure skyrockets.  I've also decided to do more shows, which will cut into my cash, but will increase my chances of sales and exposure.

Taking chances with money is one thing.  Taking chances on wholesale and consignment venues is completely another.  For some reason, rejection by brick and mortar stores hits me harder than rejections given by festival coordinators.  My business is personal, and when someone says they don't think my products would be a good fit for their store it tends to make me feel like...a misfit.  But logic must enter into the business just a tad more than emotion and how I handle rejection is all a part of it.  Today I'm proud to say I took a big chance and submitted a proposal to a store I've long admired.  I feel brave!  I've also resolved to not feeling like a misfit if they reject my proposal.  After all, it's only business.  They too are looking out for what's best for their business.  If they don't want to carry my products, someone else will, and I will keep trying.  And if they accept my propsal?  Kudos to me!  It will be a whole new adventure, giving me inspiration and motivation.

It takes guts to go beyond the comfort zone.  I remember a time when I would get sweaty palms filling out applications for church bazaars.  There are always going to be circumstances that give me sweaty attacks.  I get over it and get used to it.  It's all about taking chances and risks, learning from mistakes, and reveling in successes.  Today I was gutsy.  Yay for me!
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