Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WCCJ Holiday Market - Shopping for a Really Good Cause

Look at this BEAUTIFUL graphic I just got for the WCCJ Holiday market! From the looks of this poster they're going to have some beautiful work. And I'm going to be part of it - botanical beeswax candles, anyone? Very excited on this end.

Best of all, a portion of the proceeds go to support Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice (WCCJ), a cause I strongly believe in. A semi-little-known fact is that I actually possess a law degree myself, and in fact practiced law for several years before we moved back to Asheville, so this is a cause I can fully get behind. It's true that in 1997 when I graduated from UNC with a JD I never thought I'd be supporting criminal justice by selling candles - probably actual use of the law degree would have seemed a safer bet. I love that - you just never quite know where you're going to end up. Keeps some excitement in the whole process.

So - the sale is December 4-5 at the Grove Arcade, lots of great artists and artisans will be represented, and I'll have a lot more information as the time gets closer. I was going to wait until I had a little more detail before I mentioned it - but the graphic just showed up in my inbox, and was so pretty I couldn't wait.

Wait, there's more! Yet another copy of this graphic! Why? Because blogger decreed it should be so. I don't know its reason, but blogger was very insistent, so here's another, somewhat smaller, copy for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reality Sets In

Aha, the reality of having a successful empire has set in. It's 8:12 pm and I'm melting wax to pour some pillars. And anyone who knows me is saying "holy smokes, you're still awake??" Because I'm the person who tells everyone not to call me after 8 or risk hearing really foul language. Because in the morning I'm getting up at 5 to go swim, and I'm a person who really likes my sleep. As in, *really* likes my sleep. And gets a lot of it. So why am I waiting for wax to melt so I can pour candles? Because I'm a dumbass.

Yep, I said it. It's all my fault. SOS called yesterday and asked if I could make some plain pillars for a customer. NO problem, I say. I'm pouring candles tomorrow, I'll have them there on Thursday.

And sure enough, late this afternoon I really am making candles. And it's time to pour, and I think "wouldn't some square pillars look great? I'll make a bunch of those." And right after the wax has set, it hits me. Round, not square! I'm supposed to be making *round* candles tonight.

It's just that I'm not used to anyone actually requesting anything. They usually just buy (or not) whatever I've made. If this is what an empire is like, I've got to get with the program.

So while I know it's really not all that late, and in fact my friend Stephanie has probably not even awakened yet to begin her workday, I still can't believe I'm waiting for wax to melt. In short, building an empire and being a space cadet are a sticky combination.

In Which My Empire Expands

My candles are soon to be found in - drumroll please. . . B.B. Barnes! Very excited about this, since it seems to be the perfect fit for botanical beeswax candles. (Don't you like that phrase?? "botanical beeswax candles" - it finally came to me after months of saying "I make beeswax candles that have pressed flowers in them". I mean, both get the message across, but the former is a bit more elegant than the latter. Elegant is not exactly my long suit, but still, a girl's gotta try.)

So I went in to B.B. Barnes today with the candles, and even though I'm veeeeeery late for stores to bringing in merchandise for the holidays, the very nice people there gave me a great reception, and next week I'm delivering candles. yay!

Also, I stopped by Woolworth Walk to check things out, and met a very nice couple from Gainesville who were wandering about Asheville on vacation, and seemed to have an interest in botanical beeswax candles (there it is again.) I love getting to explain the whole process to people - that's sort of half the fun, which I miss when I'm selling through a store. But sometimes when I'm selling at market it's pouring down rain and 40 degrees and no one in their right mind would show up to buy anything. That's the part of market that I don't miss at all when I'm selling through a store.

So it's been a good day for the candle empire. That's what I'm going to start calling it from now on.

Before my empire building started this morning, I headed over to the Y to meet with one of the trainers to set me up on the weight machines. I figured I might as well get that figured for the winter, and preferably pre-new year, so I don't have to fight my way through all of the New-Years-Resolutioners for an appointment. And he was great and I have a basic routine, but of course what I *really* want is a customized free weight routine and a bunch of cool core exercises using the stability ball, all of which require a personal training session. In other words, where I shell out money. But still, I'm thinking it's probably worth the money for some dedicated advice on that subject. Now the candle empire just needs to take off to pay for my necessary expenses. Like personalized core routines. I know, don't say it. I'm a strange bird.

Today's been a good one - and only getting better since I'm off to pick up Sam D at school. Love that kid - they don't get much sweeter, cuter or funnier than him.

Last month - first swim meet - excitement tinged with terror.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where Aren't We Going to Be?

It's candlepalooza around here. I'm getting ready to take some candles over to the Asheville Art Museum for their Holiday Market (which should be really cool - they bring in a lot of art & craft for the week - I'm looking forward to doing some shopping there.) And tomorrow I'm taking candles over to the Asheville Shop at the Chamber of Commerce - lots of local work in there. And a week from today we're going to the Vance Elementary Holiday Craft Explosion from 12-5. So lots of candle making going on around here.

Also going on around here - lots of bike riding, lots of swimming, tiny little dribble of running. Today Robin and I are heading out on the road bikes - because it's warrrrrm. The mountain bikes are more fun in the cold - really it can't get too cold to ride a mountain bike around here - but the road bike can be slightly miserable when it's really cold. Speaking of mountain bikes Robin introduced me to a new Bent Creek trail on Friday. Lower Sidehill - although if that's the lower version of that trail I'd certainly hate to see the upper one. Somehow I just get in a rut of doing the same thing every time we go, so it's fun to be with someone who knows the trails so well.

More later - gotta go label candles and find my short sleeved bike jersey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Failure to Launch

Yesterday was one of those days that never *quite* gets off the ground. Well, except for swim practice - that definitely got off the ground. I've gotten to the point where I just do what Andrew says without a lot of thought (because honestly, thinking about it doesn't make it any easier.) And then at the end of practice he says that was 3800 yards.

Me swimming 3800 yards is the equivalent of Michael Phelps swimming 3 times around the earth. Inconceivable. But still it totally rocked - and today my lats are sore, which I think is a good thing for swimming. And also, I had a total 1990 flashback.

In 1990 I was running hurdles on my high school track team, and I loved it. I was the kid that made it a point of pride to never, ever complain. If the coach told me to run 400s until I fell over, then that was exactly what I did. I subsequently lost my blind faith in coaches, but that's sort of another story. In 1990 I was still all about doing whatever I was supposed to do, and wasn't satisfied unless I felt like I had done it pretty much as well as I could.

So towards the end of swim practice yesterday we were swimming 100s with fins, and I had been swimming in the 1:05-1:06 range (which for me is jet propelled), and Andrew tells me to try to swim the last one under 1:05. And I suppose I didn't exactly kill myself, and also I was dying from the previous 11 100s we had just done, but when I came in at 1:08 I wasn't all that happy. So I kind of stewed over it while I listened to our cool down, and then I pulled my fins back on and said I'm going to do another 100 or that's going to bug me all day. My lane mate clearly thought I was insane and deserted the field. Andrew seemed kind of cracked up. But off I went, and did a 1:03, and it was the highlight of my day. It was like an old friend came back from 20 years ago. Ok yes, she's kind of a head case, but really, we don't hold that against people.

Why was that the highlight of my day? Because everything else pretty much went like that last slow 100. Kind of ok but not quite. I've had this master plan to approach a few stores about wholesaling candles, but yesterday I realized I've got to take a good hard look at how many pressed flowers I've got to get me through the winter. Not sure it's enough. It's possible I could supplement with purchased pressed flowers - but I've got to think on that one. And I meant to do yoga and never quite got it done. And Sam's swim practice that's supposed to be 45 minutes long ended up being an hour and half, making it a late night home for him, not to mention I thought the poor kid was going to drown during the doggy-paddle relay. (Although the swim coach gets major points for even conceiving a doggy-paddle relay - how fun is that - but unfortunately Sam started swimming in a swim class, and never learned to do the doggy paddle. Which was very apparent during the relay.)

So it certainly wasn't a terrible day - just one of those where everything is slightly off-kilter. And let's face it, I didn't sleep all that well the night before and then was up at 5:00 and swam my ass off for an hour and half to start the day. Which probably didn't leave me in the perkiest frame of mind anyway. Today, on the other hand is already starting out better - a short run in the rain is just enough to wake me up, not enough to leave me pooped. And I just downloaded another yoga class from yogadownloads and am off to the mat. Party on, Wednesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A little ER early in the morning

My phone woke me up at 6 this morning, with my mom saying she was at the hospital with my dad. I was so sleepy this didn't even seem alarming. Turns out it really wasn't alarming - well not much anyway. He'd had a nosebleed all night (ugh), and so they finally took off for the hospital. I'll spare you the gory details, but finally he was ready to go home, which was my job because my mom was substitute teaching today. So I got him home and then we immediately headed right back up there. As it turns out, the problem wasn't with the thingy that's supposed to stop nosebleeds, the problem was more with how much the doctor had explained about how the thingy works. In other words, it looked gross, but was supposed to look gross, so we turned around and headed back home. sigh. So I delivered him back to his house, shouted hello to the goats, checked the horses' feet (no farrier needed for a few more weeks), petted the dog, and hit the road.

First stop - YMCA. I'm trying to get a third swim in every week. It's not much of a swim, mainly drills for a half hour or so. I'm the crazy person at the Y using a wooden kitchen spoon during catch-up drill to try to break my crossover habit. And it's kind of working, so I'll stick with being the crazy spoon person. I also did my 10 minute treadmill run (woohoo!), and the feet are feeling quite happy with their no support, no cushion shoes. Go figure. I'm taking the chinese water torture approach to building up my run - little bits dribbled on at regular intervals. Seems to be working.

Next stop - Woolworth Walk. The candles are selling. Yay! Also of note on this trip, the wacky bike lockers scattered around downtown. The have no signage, so they look like space pods. In fact, a friend of Clark's who works downtown said they've had people asking if they're housing for the homeless. Seriously?!? It's true that it's not very obvious what those things are, but I'm a little worried about anyone who thinks they look like a viable housing option.

So after lunch I was doing the debate of be responsible and work on wholesale docs for the candles vs. go for an hour recovery ride on my bike. I looked at the weather forecast - pouring rain for the next few days - and decided it would be responsible to get a bike ride in. Hmmm. Had fun spinning through Montford and the River - but still no wholesale docs.

Then I picked Sam up (which involved some excitement - a building at Hillcrest exploded and burned down this afternoon, and it's right across from his school. They were all atwitter.) After talking in great depth about what would cause a building to explode (Sam's going with foul play, I said maybe a gas leak) we checked in with Sanctuary of Stuff. No candles selling. Boo. Although if Woolworth keeps going like gangbusters it would suit me to have one place to keep stocked - and Woolworth's a lot closer. But if you want some cool gifts (including but not limited to botanical beeswax candles), head down to Sanctuary of Stuff.

Finally after all of this I am now making candles. Not exactly the hyper efficient day I was looking for, but what are you going to do? Still got a bunch of stuff done - and so far my dad's in pretty good shape, so I'll call that a success.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Food = Good

I just had a biking epiphany. I went for my Sunday morning ride, and went up Town Mountain and then on up Elk Mountain from the Parkway, and then wound through Woodfin a little to the river and home. It's not all that long - about 26 miles - and I definitely didn't go particularly fast, but there is a fair bit of climbing. (ok, that's an understatement - unless one trains on Mt. Ventoux, I think one would find this route is capable of kicking one's ass without the exercise of a little discretion. And I speak from experience, because coming up Elk Mountain from the other direction this summer I started out a little too optimistically and found myself cracked within sight of the crest, while registering a heart rate over 190. Not good times, my friends, not good times.) Anway, I digress (as usual).

So today I decided I was going to take a more regimented approach to getting some nutrition in on the bike, because on a couple of longer rides lately I've found myself feeling veeeery flat until I'd suck down a gu, and then I'd miraculously revive until 45 minutes later when I've be feeling veeery flat. . . you get the idea. And while having no energy sucks, the more alarming part is that when I start losing energy I also get pretty spacey. As in, "oh is that a giant pothole in the road that I'm riding right towards? I dunno, maybe I should consider taking evasive action. Or not...." And that is really not a good frame of mind while on a bike.

So today I sucked down a gu, or ate some gu chomps, every half hour. This maybe was overkill, but I bounced in the door from my ride feeling great, slurped down some chocolate milk (recovery drink of champions), started up some wax for my next round of candles, ran up to the shower, wrote this entry - all a far cry from a couple of Sundays ago when I rode to Marshall and back on two gu's and got home barely able to curl up in a fetal position on the couch. So my conclusion - maybe there is something to this food thing. Food = good.