Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Sudsy Love

I have been busily preparing over the past several weeks for an event which finally happens tomorrow. Weddings in Woodinville will showcase 6 different venues (of the winery sort) that perspective brides and grooms may be interested in renting for their big event. They will be shuttled around from one venue to another, where they will sip wine, mix and mingle, and check out vendors like Seattle Sundries who offer wedding related products and services. I will be at the JM Cellars location with 9 other other companies, including Tom Douglas Catering and Pink Lilly Press.

It has forced me to get more organized with my custom favor offerings. I will be showing over 40 different examples and variations of color, label design and vintage artwork. I'm very excited about the whole event and the opportunity to have so many people get a hands-on view of my soaps and packaging. I'll be following up later with photos and more info on custom favors...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nominated for a Poppies Award!!

I've been nominated for a Poppies Award in the "handmade accessories" category! Please visit the Poppytalk blog to vote for Seattle Sundries... and spread the word! There are lots of other incredible arts and crafts people spotlighted. Check them all out...I'm in great company!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to: Sewing Sanctuary

January is the month to get organized and I'm an organizing freak. Seriously. I love Storables, The Container Store, Daiso...any place that has a plethora of bins, baskets and containers. After I've gotten a room or an area organized I find that I go back and gaze at it a few times a day, for weeks. It's like packing porn. I've also been keeping up with the Craft Magazine blog, which this month is focusing on different ways to organize your craft space.

My sewing supplies got out of hand several years ago. Although our house is plenty large for living, it's not divided in a way that allows for a craft or sewing room...or even a soap room, for that matter. I have to carve out little bits of space from each common room of the house, and then find away to hide my supplies when not in use. We had one wall of our bedroom that was available for a piece of furniture. I needed a place to put my sewing machine and supplies so that I could get at them easily, leave some projects in progress without having to totally put everything away, but be able to hide it all...or else it would be a hard sell with my husband. I also had virtually no money to spend on furniture.

Yeah Craigslist!!! One...two...three!

I found this very nice home office unit that is made to hold a computer, monitor, office supplies, etc. It has holes in the back for power chords, a cork board and storage cubbies. I built and attached a thread rack to one door so that I can easily sort my thread by color. The sliding keyboard shelf is the perfect height to set my sewing machine on when I'm actually using it, and slides stealthily away when I'm not. I love it. What I love even more is that I can do a five minute project in five minutes, without having to spend an extra half hour setting everything up and then putting it all away.

How do you like to hide your mess?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SheGyver Tip #2

We have an awesome toy Australian Shepherd named Murdoch. He weighs about 16 pounds and has a little bit of a Napoleon complex. He likes to sit on top of the back cushions on our dark blue family room couch because it gives him a good vantage point from which to view his domain...and because he's on constant mountain beaver alert. He leaves small bits of fine, white undercoat hair all over the blue couch.

So here's the tip: do you want to know how to get dog hair (especially the really fine, undercoat hair) off of your furniture or clothing? Put on some rubber dishwashing gloves (like the Playtex ones you can buy at the grocery store) and stroke your hands over the furniture. The dog hair will stick to the rubber gloves and get rolled into bundles that are easily removable!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I visited the Ranch where I grew up over New Year's and ran into some schoolmates that I haven't seen for over 25 years. This set off a flurry of looking through old photos and reminiscing about the past. I guess it's appropriate at the turn of a new decade to spend some time remembering...

Several of the photos that I found are of my uncle Roberto. He was from Argentina and was the first husband of one of my aunts. He was a very handsome, suave, well-traveled and dapper fellow. All three of my aunts were in show business when they were younger, which is where they met Roberto and his brother Dante. The Half Brothers had a juggling/skating/unicycle act that they traveled the North and South American circuit with, performing regularly in places like Las Vegas and Reno and on television shows like the Ed Sullivan Show.

There's a great story about how Roberto and Dante happened to be performing in Cuba in 1959 when Castro seized power. As a result of the revolution, no one could come or go from the country for some time and they were basically stranded in a hotel in Havana. One day an Argentinian man in military fatigues came to their room and said that he was a fan of their act and wanted to try and help them get the necessary papers to be able to leave the country. He did not identify himself, but did follow through on his promise and a few days later they were able to depart from Cuba. Once back in the US, Roberto saw a photo in the newspaper of the man who had helped them: Che Guevara.

I remember Roberto and my aunt visiting the Ranch a few times when I was very young, always bringing gifts that left a strong impression on me like a jewelry box with a dancing ballerina or a jar of pennies. When they divorced after a few years and he was no longer a performer, Roberto couldn't bring himself to separate from our family and so remained nearby. He and my father started a feedlot operation together. He helped to build the original version of the huge gate that sits at the entrance to the Ranch. He also opened an Argentinian steakhouse restaurant in town and remained close friends with my father. Somewhere along the way (my memory is cloudy because I was so young) his financial situation turned sour and he would stay with us for extended periods. He became less dapper and he drank too much.

Roberto had really wanted a family. I'm not sure why he never remarried, but I remember my father telling me how much he had wanted children and knew he would never have them, so my brother and I were like his children. He loved us. He taught my brother how to ride a unicycle and juggle. He taught me how to cook Argentinian style. He would drive us to school in his two-seater Porche and bring us treats.

This is the part of the story that hurts me to to tell: we were awful to him. Our parents had divorced by this time and my Mom had moved off of the Ranch. Our lives felt less stable than we would have liked and his presence in the house was a glaring reminder of that. We were also just kids at that sort of obnoxious stage of life and we egged each other on. He was a very heavy sleeper and would often fall asleep in front of the TV and remain there all night. That annoyed me to no end. I remember once, my brother and I snickered uncontrollably as we flicked popcorn kernels at his balding head while he lay snoring on the couch. I'm sure I wasn't very friendly or respectful toward him.

He eventually moved out and into a series of depressing apartments in town. He spent much of his remaining days hanging out at the Shady Rest Bar, but still did things like work as a volunteer fireman and help on the Ranch when he could. He died very suddenly at the young age of 52 when I was in high school, when my teenage life was so all-consuming that I barely paid him any attention. I think he may have one niece alive, but left no other family. What are left of his photos and possessions stayed with us. His ashes are scattered by the spring near our house on the Ranch.

As I left adolescence and became an adult I would think about him often and regret the way that I had treated him. I don't remember him ever being anything but kind and caring to me and almost all of my memories of him are very positive ones. I wish that he had lived long enough for me to be able to apologize, and for him to know how much I did love and value him...and that he may not have had any children of his own, but I'm proud to be an honorary one and will try to keep his memory alive.