What a great weekend! The First Annual Soap and Candlemaking Bee in Ft. Wayne, IN was a rousing success!
My sister, Tina, and I drove the 9 hour trip in about 11 hours (there are a lot of nice rest stops between Lancaster and Ft. Wayne!) The drive out was fun and relatively easy since it was almost all interstate highways. We didn't get lost even once... door to door.
The hotel and conference center was a perfect venue and everything was organized to a "T", even with a few last minute glitches that seemed to come the way of Traci, our "Hostess with the Mostest". I won't even get into the food... we seemed to eat non-stop from the time we left until we got home, but the chocolate buffet Saturday afternoon was the highlight of the trip.
It was a blast meeting, in person, many of the people we have only met through forums and email over the years - putting faces to their forum personae, so to speak!
We picked up a lot of new and interesting ideas and products to try from the wonderful selection of vendors. And the goodie bag(s) was a definite winner.
The presentations were fun and informative, and our talk on adding herbs to soaps went very well, especially considering we haven't spoken together to a group in over five years!
As vendors, it was a great show. I sold a number of my soap bead necklaces (as well as a few bees) and will be hard at work making a bunch of new ones. I'll be adding them to my website soon, on their own page. Tina gathered quite a few new fans for her magazine, The Essential Herbal as well as selling a number of her booklets and kits. Our book, Herbal Soaps from Scratch was also a hit. The books are available on the Essential Herbal Site.
The trip home was still fun, but much more tiring than the trip out. Coming in from the nice, flat, smooth, straight highways of the midwest to the mountainous, twisting highways of western PA is a challenge.
Our worst problem was deciding to get new windshield wipers somewhere in Indiana. We had experienced a number of showers and downpours on the way out and thought it would be nice to have a clear view on the way home, just in case. The problem came when we had to install the new wiper blades. We couldn't figure it out and neither could the people working at the rest stop. After about 45 minutes of struggling, Tina turned the unchanged wiper upside down and said, "I think this is the trick." We tried it and she was right... they just slipped right on! We were on our way with something new to talk about. Oh, and we never did get a chance to try them out since the weather was perfect the whole way home!
Then there was the stop for fireworks in Ohio. Bob (my husband) and Rob (our son) requested we stock up. It was interesting reading the names of all the various fountains, mortars and other amazing things available in the store. We made our choices... it was a two for one sale after all and it only took 1/2 an hour to fill the trunk! We moved all our goodies from the show to the back seat so we could stow the fireworks safely in the trunk, and were on our way again.
After a stop for gas, we decided we were basically driving a bomb... an overstatement for sure, but one we found more than amusing as we (now a bit punchy) rolled along through PA on our way home.
Almost exactly 12 hours after leaving Ft Wayne on Sunday, we drove in my driveway. What a fun trip... The Twisted Sisters definitely ride again!
Now, we're considering doing the Chicago Soap Convention in August. It's only 70 miles longer than this one... why not?!