June 27th, 2009
August 10th, 2008
The candle business is booming with wedding orders, and I've been busy as a bee. Just yesterday, a customer picked up 7 boxes of pillars and votives in glass for a wedding later this month. And today I made an order of fuschia votives - they are lovely!
And I've got another wedding order for dark chocolate brown votives and pillars in 3 sizes ready to pick up. I'm awaiting another case of wax tomorrow and will start on an order of 200 tea scented tea lights and another for white unscented votives. So, I'm almost caught up!
I love making the candles. The part of this business I dislike is the packing. It's so time consuming and tedious because I wrap each candle individually, and if I have to ship them, they need extra foam and packing. But I love FedEx because they pick up my boxes so I don't have to haul them anywhere. How nice, since the boxes can be so heavy!
I think my favorite request so far are the black and white candles I made for a customer in Beverly Hills for a party. They are amazing, and I loved making them!
So, I'm taking a little break before I hit the sack. I have a day job that I have to go to tomorrow. My weekends are devoted to my business which is growing. When I hopefully retire next year, I will be able to market and expand even more. I'm excited to plan a 2nd career.
Now, do I have time to do the Brooklyn Flea later this month? I'd like to, if order are caught up and I can do some really fun stuff with colors and fragrances, some of which I haven't even had time to try!
It's been a good weekend....
May 31st, 2008
Well, what a person to do? My daughter is going to Boston this weekend to sing at a friend's recital, so of course, she needed a thank-you gift for her mother. And she always comes to me for an assortment of candles all wrapped up pretty with a bow. I can't blame her. I kind of give her the run of my box, letting her pick out whatever she wants.
I worked most of the day making tins and tea lights for the Brooklyn Flea this Sunday. I also have a couple wedding orders on the front burner. One of them is for 120 votives which I am taking to the Brooklyn Flea this weekend to deliver. At least my load will be a lot lighter when I return home!
Doing a craft show in New York City can be a challenge, expecially if you don't have a car. I started out with a rolling suitcase, but soon abandoned that in favor of a hand-truck and plastic bins with lids. Candles can be awefully heavy, so I've tried to lighten the load and eliminate jars and votives. I find that travel tins sell especially well, so I take lots of them and boxed tea lights which also do well. I try and take a sampling of other candles and encourage people to contact me for custom orders which I will make up and bring the next time I'm at the Flea.
The real challenge is travelling to Brooklyn from upper Manhattan. I start off around 6:30 am and wheel my truck up to 168th St subway stop. There's not many people out and about that early in the morning, so I gently bump by cart down the steps. There's an elevator down to the platform, so that's helpful when it's working. When I finally get to the Brooklyn stop, usually around 8:00 am, the real work starts. It's much harder pulling my hand-cart up the gazillion steps to the street, but sometimes I get lucky, and some nice strong guy will take pity on me and help me carry it up to the street. I never turn down an offer. Returning home is usually easier if I've had a good day. The more often I do the Flea, the easier it gets. I might start looking at other shows to do in the future. I could actually get used to this! Not only is this a chance to sell my products, but I get to meet the nicest people!
I'm at the Brooklyn Flea http://brownstoner.com/brooklynflea/on June 1 and 15th. I'm with the NewNew group http://thenewnew.blogspot.com/ which has a permanent spot every Sunday. We are a great group of crafters and artists, so stop by and say hello!
September 29th, 2007
I do home visits for my job a few times a year, and last week I spent 3 days in the Catskills. Everyone has an interesting story, but some of them are just unforgettable.
One of my clients lives so far out in the country, I couldn't see her house from the road. I had to park on the road and literally climb down to her house deep in the woods.
She is 71 years old.
She has no running water. She goes down to the creek for water and buys water for drinking and cooking.
Most of her electric outlets don't work, so she just doesn't use them.
She heats with a wood stove and in the winter the temperature never goes above 55. She scavenges wood all winter and closes off the upstairs. The state only pays for some of her wood.
There's a tree on her property about to fall on her house and no one wants to do anything about it. She can't afford to have it cut down.
Her house is damp and full of mold and she has to clean it constantly.
Her son & daughter live out west.
Wild animals come up to her house, so she can't let her cats out, ever.
Her stove is broken, so she uses a hotplate.
The door to her fridge fell off one night, but she put it back on.
She needs to go up on her roof to fix it, but she has enough sense not to do it herself.
She has no phone, not even a cell.
Her mailbox is at the top of the hill on the road.
You think she has it bad?
She doesn't. She won't hear of moving. She said when she leaves, it will be in a black bag. As hard as living is for her, she loves her home because growing up, she never had any roots and moved 15 times before she was 8 (depression years). She helped build this house with her ex-husband, has built a greenhouse herself on the side of the house and has a gorgeous collection of green growing things. She has a patio full of pots and flowers everywhere. She has 3 feral cats who love her. She has more energy than I do. She's not afraid (well, a little because of the tree that might fall on her house).
I want to adopt her.
It's also amazing that she survives on about $700/mo. I really wish I could contact a local church or agency to go out and help fix up the place for her. I felt like hugging her when I left. I'll be checking on her remotely, though. Someday when I retire, I want to live in the woods like her, but on level ground with a 4WD with a plow.
I also visited a house with 10 people, various friends and relatives, dad in jail, and about to foreclose on their home. She'll be ok though, I'm pretty sure.
I see a lot, and as bad as I think my situation is, I always feel grateful. It kind of puts things in perspective for me.
Her name is Olive, how cool is that? She's as feisty and cranky as anything, yet had a great sense of humor and smile. I want to buy her an LifeAlert. I'm frightened that something will happen and no one will know. Off-duty, I'd love to visit her again.
I've been doing this for almost 30 years mostly in an office, and the home visits for the past 3 years, which have been the most fullfilling years of my career. Mostly I see welfare rats taking advantage of the system, but I understand they're doing whatever they need to do to survive, and I bend the rules even for them. I fill out forms asking about their daily activities, and it makes me sick when all they can think of is watching TV. I mean, your life is all about watching TV? Someone else does all the cooking, cleaning and laundry for you? I know you're disabled, but so is Stephen Hawking. I know, not everyone can be productive in the usual sense, but some people don't even exercise their minds. I see a lot of disabled people here trying to make a go of it. They're trying, for chrissakes. Some people just don't even try.
And here is this 71 YO lady who should be enjoying her retirement years, living hand to mouth and loving her life! Who needs a million bucks!
August 10th, 2007
I spent the greater part of this past week updating (completely rebuilding) my website. I finally learned how to do shared borders and themes; I don't know why I never did them before. It sure has made building a page much easier. I'm not really thrilled with the theme, but I plan to design my own background, banners and buttons as soon as I learn how.
The main problem with updating the site wasn't building it, but publishing it! For a few days, it contained elements of the old site and the new designs, very strange. It took a few calls to Netfirms and some more playing around to finally figure out the problem. It seems that the Index page was not in the right place, so I figured out where to move it, and then everything worked. What a waste of 4 days, when I could have spent that time finishing the listing, fine-tuning and optimizing. Oh, well, I'm still pretty proud of my accomplishments. I've had a website for about 7 years now, and everything I've done has been totally self-taught, from the very basic basics to now. I still don't know a whole lot, but I continue to learn.
Well, our internet was down all day today. I took the day off to get some more work done on my website, but ended up doing other things, then took a too-long nap. It's cold and cloudy today, a major change from a few days ago when it was blistering hot and horribly humid.
So I have some catching up to do. See ya soon
April 15th, 2007
Actually, it looks pretty nice. I've been having fun looking around at the users and the communities, as well as feeling my way around the nifty looking features. I think this is going to be a fun place to hang out!
So I suppose I should tell you a little about me. I live in Manhattan and love it here. I've been here since 2002, but don't plan to stay forever. As exciting as it is here, I do miss the smell of fresh-cut grass and the sweet breezes of the country, so I will be leaving eventually. At that point, I plan to take an early retirement and devote myself to my numerous crafts fulltime.
What do I do? Well, too many things, but I've narrowed it down to machine knitting, thread crochet, and lampwork beadmaking. I can't do my lampworking here in the city, so my plan is to have my own studio when I move back to the country.
My ideal studio will be a little outbuilding somewhere on my property with a wood stove, skylights and windows all around. The floor will be painted concrete with colorful area rugs here and there and light blue walls with white trim. Very clean and fresh looking. no curtains to obstruct the views. In my studio, I will have my sewing machine, a long cutting/work table, 2 knitting machines, a lampwork bench, and many many shelves to hold my bead boxes, cones of yarn, cloth, and all my other tools. I shall probably have a comfortable chair in which to sit and crochet, and music, must have music.
Well, I need to go finish my home-made chicken soup. mmmm I wish you could smell it.
See you soon.