Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our Mini Vacation

First of all I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We made it home from Tennessee on Tuesday night. The pictures on my last post don't compare to seeing the mountains with your own eyes. It was very cold, 27 degrees when we got there on Friday night. The highs were in the mid 40's. The cabin we rented was beautiful.
We enjoyed the hot tub every day, and it was quite an experience to have part of your body emerged in steaming hot water while you could still see your breath above. We were staying between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and visited both places during our stay. We ate at the Brass Lantern in Gatlinburg, a restaurant we remembered from our honeymoon 23 yrs ago. We walked through the shops and went to the Ripley's Aquarium.
We had a nice relaxing time. We didn't get to see it snow, and Lee didn't see any deer or bears. It was great just being away and out of our normal routine. We left Gatlinburg on Monday and went to Dunlap for a night. We got up Tuesday morning and drove up the mountain to see our land. Here are some pics of the drive up Cagle Mountain, and a picture of our land.

I slept most of the way home on Tuesday. I am thankful that we had the chance to get away for a few days. It brings to mind the verse.....come apart and rest for awhile. Now I feel refreshed and ready to handle my busy schedule for the next month. I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving today!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

View from our back porch and the view from the drive to our cabin.
More pics and update to come.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Off to Gatlinburg

I just wanted to drop a quick note and ask for prayer for safety on our trip and a nice relaxing time. It's supposed to snow there in the morning, but we won't arrive early enough to see it (it will probably melt during the day). Lee would like to see a bear and deer (not like the little ones here in Florida), and I'd like to see snow. Pray that God gives us these little blessings and a nice refreshing time! I'll post pictures when I return.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm at the Ivy Leaf Tea Parlor!

I am so excited about all of the good things happening with my business. A special friend,( talked to the owner at the Ivy leaf about my candles. She was planning to order candles for the holidays anyway and wanted to meet me and see what I have. I met with her on Tuesday, and she ordered candles for her tea shop and the flower shop on Hwy.85. I am so excited! The shop is beautiful, and I feel honored to be in there.

I had a cup of French Creme Brulee tea while I was there and had to buy some and get all the accessories to go along with it. I have always been a huge coffee advocate, but now I have a new addiction to tea. It is so good!

I have been very busy the past few days getting my stock up for Hometown Christmas. I have to work Monday & Tuesday night on candles, but then I can enjoy the rest of the week. We leave Friday morning for Gatlinburg! I'll post pictures and updates when I get back.

Monday, November 10, 2008's a small world

I forgot to share some really neat news on my post last night. While in Navarre, a customer came up to me and asked if my last name was Cagle. I said no and explained the story of why I named the business Cagle Creations, and that it's actually after the mountain in Dunlap, TN where our land is and how since we were not able to actually move to Tennessee last year, we decided to bring the mountain to us - therefore Cagle Creations was born. She smiled as I told this story and then informed me that she is a Cagle and all of her decendants still live on Cagle Mountain, and they have a huge family reunion every summer. I was literally speechless and told her that I am so happy to meet her, and that I love that little town and will move there some day. It is literally a hidden paradise, sort of an old version of what Gatlinburg may have been like before touched by the tourist industry. Anyway I decided to take the time to include some pictures of this sweet town, so you can see why we love it so much.

The picture above is from a scenic outlook of Dunlap just outside of town going towards Chattanooga on Hwy.111. If you look closely toward the left of the center of the picture where two mountains sort of overlap, you will see Cagle Mountain to the right of the one in front of it.

The Cookie Jar Cafe is the best place to eat (in my opinion) just outside of town. It is located on the Johnson's family farm. They have country cooking and an awesome view from the front porch of the restaurant as you can see below. Dunlap finally got a Walmart last January. Now the locals don't have to drive across the mountain to shop in Soddy Daisy. It sits below Fredonia Mountain.

Dunlap is known for it's annual bluegrass festival each June. Some people travel a long way to come to this and take part. It is located at the old Coke Ovens Park. There's a museum there telling about the history of the town, and the landscape there is beautiful. There is no alcohol allowed, so it's a fun family event. People camp there and play music for two days. This past June a college student from the local area was doing a project and actually interviewed me & my Mom and got some footage of my Dad playing his guitar along with some locals. My parents travel to the town to meet us there and have fell in love with it too.

I just had to share a little bit of this town that I've grown to love. As you can tell, I am in my Tennessee mode since we are heading that way in just over a week. I hope you enjoyed a little history behind the naming of Cagle Creations.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

God's Goodness

I want to take some time to give God the glory for blessing my business the way that He has! I was at Navarre's First United Methodist Church yesterday and sold well above my expectations! It was my third highest craft show of the past year. When I think back over the last six weeks, I wonder how I managed to get up by 6:00 a.m. on each Saturday morning and head out the door to a show and still have the energy to make candles two to three nights a week, stay faithful to church, work full time at school, and not be a total grouch. All I can say is it is because of God's goodness and faithfulness to me! I also have to take time to throw some flowers Lee's way. I could not do this without him supporting me 100% and being there with me during the shows. He jokes and says he is shipping, delivery, and inventory control. He has nothing to do with making the candles or doing the bookkeeping for the business, but I could not do this on my own. We have our little system, and we've learned what works best, and it just gets better and better. We have a good time together, even in the crazy times when there are three to four customers at the table at once trying to hand us money and candles. Because of my background in accounting and type A personality, we have numbered all of our candles, and they are on a spreadsheet. We print this for each show, and as we sell them, we take the sticker off (inventory number) and track each customer's sales. When it slows down, Lee highlights the candles on the list that have sold. This keeps us straight because we always know what is available or not, and if we need to sell the candle that is on the table. This can get a little crazy because of the rushes. One weekend I felt terrible because one lady wanted a certain scent but wanted to buy three candles and kept trying to decide. While she was deciding, another lady came up and picked up one that she wanted, and it was the only one we had left in that scent & size. Yesterday, a lady wanted to know if I had a smaller candle in the Christmas Cheer, and the same thing happened. According to the inventory list, we had one left and looked all over the table for it. Another customer was standing there with the candle in her hand while trying to help us find the candle the lady wanted.....ooops... Oh well, we have a good time and am thankful that on most weekends we do sell out of certain scents. I enjoy meeting new people too and explaining the benefits of using soy candles, but I do admit I feel like just tape recording myself, so I can hit play when customers come up toward the end of the day.

I was hoping to take a week off, but since my sales were really good I have to work this coming week again. Please don't think I'm complaining, I am very excited! Lee & I are taking our much needed vacation to Gatlinburg, TN next Friday through Tuesday (21st-25th). I can't wait!

My next show is Hometown Christmas in DeFuniak Springs right after Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it and hope that I get some repeat customers that bought candles from me last year. Sales in the stores have picked up also, so I have to keep up with those too. Thats all the news for now.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heritage Days Highlights

I had a very relaxing day sitting outside at Baker Heritage Days yesterday. I shared my booth with a good friend from the school that works for Title 1. She makes Christmas ornaments from wood that she cuts and shapes herself. She was on one side of me, and Denise was on the other side selling her delicious jams and cocoa mixes. We were close to the music this year, so we got to listen to bluegrass, southern gospel music all day. In one of the old cabins there was a woodburning stove, so the air smelled like Fall. I love the smell of wood or leaves burning.

It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people there. I forgot my camera again, so I don't have pictures to share. I knew it would be a fun day when we arrived at 7 a.m. to set up our tent and heard the rooster crowing. Blue, the town dog, wandered around us a few times and visited all the other vendors & children that came by. A Republican party van was parked right behind us on the other side of the fence, giving out signs and buttons. At one point a couple of students came by my booth and asked, "What is this, a McCain party or something?" because she said everyone was wearing pins, which I plan to proudly wear to school on Monday & Tuesday.

I did get a good amount of sales and saw a lot of people I know from the school. Several of my First Start families came by to see me too. I saw a dear couple, Priscilla & Roger Bonjour, that we met last year at a craft show. We've seen them the past month at the other craft shows. Priscilla is an artist and uses pastels. She sells her original works, and her husband takes pictures of her artwork and sells the prints and notecards. We bought 3 of her original works last year of birdhouses. They are hanging in my candle room. They are a very sweet couple who have taken us under their wing, so to speak, and shared info about which craft fairs are the best. I recognized several customers from other craft shows. They bought candles again and said they love them. One couple said they plan to visit me in DeFuniak Springs to buy my candles for Christmas gifts. It was a very relaxing day and because of the time change, I got lots of sleep last night!

I had a lazy week this past week, but I have to make candles this week for the "Gingerbread House Craft Show" in Navarre next weekend.