Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So, someone noticed I haven't made a blog post in over 6 months! 

SO, to that end, here is a quick post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Maybe I can find time to make another post ... sometime less than 6 months from now!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It has been a while since I posted!

I guess all the 'stuff' happening with the Grand Princess has put me behind on a lot of things!

But, today I want to write a bit about being a snob.  I know I am a thread snob.  Being a machine quilter, there are certain types and brands of thread that simply do no hold up to the abuse the machine puts on it.  Now that I am an embroiderer as well, I have found the same thing.  Like NEVER buy a spool of thread from your local discount store.  Even though it may be a good brand, it has been sitting who knows how long, who know where, under whose guess as to the conditions!

I have now come to find that I am a snob of applique designers as well!

I realize that the very best designers (like Frou Frou by Heather Sue) do a fantastic job of making me look like I have a great talent.  When a design is so perfect, it is hard to mess it up!   A little fabric here, a cut there, a stitch or two here and you end up with a perfect applique.  No real thought or talent goes into it.  You would have to try really, REALLY hard to mess it up!

Other 'designers' are a pain to deal with.  The stitches don't cover the fabric right, the instructions are totally confusing, the stitch map is sometimes non existent, it takes forever to make it look ...well sometimes the best you can do is to make it passable.

When I first started, I only filed my purchased designs by subject matter, never by designer.  This has led to so much frustration!  When looking at nice, slick web sites, you see something you like, purchase it, download and put it in your machine and start to stitch...only to discover that it is from one of THOSE designers!  YUCK!

Now I have a method of filing the designs away that eliminates that (at least on newly purchased designs).  True, it takes me three times as long to download them, but it helps me to remember who is who.

Of course, the fact that so many 'designers' copy from each other (the good ones are the ones BEING copied, not the ones DOING the copying)  makes it difficult!  When you are searching for a design, and you see 'designer' D has the design you are looking for...sometimes you aren't sure if they are the ones that have it done 'right' or not.  Especially when you see that 'designer' V also has the same design.

Then there is the problem that they like to change their names a lot...I guess if you get a reputation of having 'iffy' designs, you don't want to carry that design over to new customers!

I just spent $18 purchasing 4 designs.  They were really cute...something I had not seen before.  They were a 'family'...Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister.  I had high hopes for what I wanted to do with it.  Only to stitch it out (as a test...learned the hard way never to trust the pictures on the web sites!) and discover that the Dad and the Brother are the same design.  While the Mom and the Sister are the same design.  They are not even taller and shorter...they are the SAME design!  They have become completely useless to me!  They will not work for what I had envisioned.  Frankly, I don't have a clue what they can be used for!

I will spend several hours with my software and try to make them into something I can use...or I will delete them from my computer.

But the good thing is...I will now add a notation to this 'designers' folder and NOT purchase from her again!


Sunday, March 11, 2012


I'm thinking this may not be a good sign!

I am so sore this morning... my arthritis is worse than it has been in the past several years!  Usually this amount of pain can be attributed to either NOT taking my meds, or to too much exercise.  Usually, just walking is NOT enough exercise top make me not able to move.  Usually, this type of pain from walking only comes after day 7 or 8 of a 10 day Disney trip.  While I did walk a lot more than any other shopping trip.

The only meds I have not been  taking was my Enbrel...and only because of the bronchitis and cough that will not go away.   I broke down and took the shot this morning...and I am soooooooo hoping it works its magic!

If this does not go away, I will have to curtail my plans for the April launch.  I will have to go only with the two outfits I have almost finished, and will not be able to offer any customs on them.  I had hoped to get at least two more outfits done. (a little brother/sister set that will be darling!)  I guess I can save them for next time!

On the agenda for today is getting some (ok...a LOT!) Velcro to make some clothes for a certain AG doll for a certain Princess that is having surgery this week.

By the way...the Princess is adorable!  She told me she is looking forward to her surgery...because people are going to give her presents because she is special!  She plans on getting some candy too!  She then asked me what I was giving her!  During our shopping trip yesterday I found a cute gown with Minnie on it at the Disney I just HAD to get that for her!  Now to see if I can replicate something similar for her AG doll... along with one or two outfits to keep her busy for a minute or two!

Hope you set your clocks back...if not...have an extra cup of  coffee for me...I think I may be drinking coffee all day today!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bits and Pieces playing Catch Up

I am been missing a bit from here lately!

I did manage to retrieve Bubba from the Spa...but he really wanted to go back.  He started spewing black oil all over everything I made.  NOT a pretty site.  The repair person wasn't much help...he said it would stop ... eventually... I could bring it back and he would clean it again.  Of course...I do live 2 and a half hours away.  Not like I could drop everything and drop it off.

He is now semi behaving himself...but is very loudly announcing his disapproval at being forced to work!

So...I did what I had to do and ordered a back up machine.  Actually I ordered a new machine and Bubba will become my back up machine.  (or more than likely I will use bath at once!)

We have had lots and lots of drama about our Disney trip.  Dates have been moved...fired on TA and got my old faithful back (even though she is NOT old!  LOL!) Number of travelers has increased, and decreased.

The bottom line is...I really want to go in November.  However, it is not worth an extra $2000 to be able to go then.  That is what the Free Dining promotion is saving us.

Unless the Free Dining is offered early enough for us to take advantage of it...we will be going in September with hopes of going in November next year.  (I have a plan on how that is going to work!)

Mr Max (our new puppy ...even though he is only a few days shy of 6 months old now) was officially named this week.  He is officially Maximillin Von Doofenschmirtz.  He was supposed to be BARON Maxinillian Von Doofenschmirtz... but I pushed the enter button too fast!  Since his official registration and naming he has received numerous offers of insurance quotes, lots of great merchandise offers and other assorted emails...unfortunately, he does not have his own email address, so they are all coming to me!!

So far he hasn't gotten any credit card offers...since he doesn't have a job I guess that is a good thing!

We are getting ready to head over to the Quilt and Sewing Expo in a little bit.  I need to pick up some more thread and stabilizers from Marathon...this way I don't have to pay for shipping.  I also get to drool over all the new machines and fabrics...I will be strong!

Of course, since Dad is working today I get the honor and pleasure of taking Mr D and Miss B with me.  I also convinced Amanda to go with us.  Two adults and two kids makes it an even fight.  Of course...I AM taking my three youngest kids with me....saying it that way sounds worse!  LOL!

I am going to be part of my first launch on Facebook!  I am truly excited about that!  I had plans for 5 or 6 outfits, but the first one has taken me 3 weeks to get it just right!  I had planned on offering it as a ready to ship (RTS) and a custom...after all the problems I have had with it I decided I am not ready to make this as a custom just yet!  LOL!
My Steamboat Willie dress has always been my most requested dress.  I had no trouble selling the dress after we got back as a I thought it was a good place to start.  I have also modified it a bit as a Grace Ruffle dress (which was much easier to accomplish!  LOL!)  So, at least I have 2 dresses for the launch.

Since the Princess is having surgery on her tootsie next week, I promised her a gown and matchy gown for her new American Girl doll.  Then I want to make some more outfits for her doll so she can play.  I have not started on this at all!  I really need to get to work!

After I get this special request done ( who can resist a Princess request?) I will try for another dress or outfit for the launch.

If you have the time...stop by our shop on April 3 for some fantastic clothes......


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hmm... I wonder

Some thing I have learned about myself...

When I was working outside the home and making an insane amount of money, I was obsessed with driving new cars.  Every year I had to have a new car.  Nothing was wrong with the one I had, but I felt I had to have the newest greatest thing around.

When the accident happened and I lost my job, cars no longer held an importance to me.  I like to think I have grown to the point that my "must haves " are not as expensive as driving a new car all the time.

I do have to say, the car dealers were more than happy to keep allowing me to purchase new what if I hadn't finish paying for the car I was driving?  They would just roll that amount into the new car!  Not exactly the most financially smart way to do it, but hey...I got a new car to drive!

My embroidery machine broke last week.

I really want a new, super big boy Bubba machine.  One of those Brother PR650e.  It is only around $7000....  and I thought about getting another PE770...and I found where I can get it for about $200 less than what I paid for mine.

In the end, I went the cheapest  route.  I spent $135 to get mine fixed.  I still plan on getting the Super Big Boy Bubba, and I am seriously thinking about getting another machine to use as a back up.  But for today, I will stay with my old faithful workhorse Bubba.

I get to go pick him up tomorrow from the Spa.  I hope he really enjoyed his stay.  He is averaging 2 and a half million stitches a year... NOW...Back to WORK!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Customer Service part 958

Yes, I know, I complain about Customer Service a lot on here.

But seriously, I think it is one of the most important parts of running a business...if not THE most important part!

I am having some major problems with my embroidery machine (and the story behind THAT could be several posts on customer service, but I am not ready to go there!).  So, I have been looking at a new one.

Since I have very little liquid cash, and not so great credit, I have limited options on where to buy.  There is a shopping channel that allows you to get the item with a 4 or 5 payment plan and they don't charge interest.  (which means we know that the price is a bit more than a brick and mortar store would charge, so they throw in a few extras to make it worth it)

I saw the exact machine I wanted.  Larger hoop, and a few more bells and whistles.  But I had zero in the bank account.  I put it in my shopping cart and hoped it would be there in the morning so I could order it.

...of course, it was sold out by the next morning.

I researched all day trying to find another model that I could be happy with, but there was some missing information in the item size of hoops.  It listed a large and a small.  I really needed to know what the size on the large was...since some 5x7 were called large, and others called the 6x10 large.  (same manufacturer)

I sent a nice brief (which I know is hard for me to do!) email asking 1- when the machine I wanted was expected to be back in stock, and 2- what the actual hoop size was on the second machine I was considering.

In there defense, they did respond to me within 12 hours....more like 8.

Here it is:

Hello Ms. Morris,

You ask some great questions about our sewing machine products. From personal experience, a sewing machine can be a great investment.

To answer your first question, at this time, I do not have any information available as to when it will be back in stock. I would suggest checking _____ at your convenience for the latest up to date information.

To answer your second question, regrettably, I do not have the information available for the size of the hoop. I would suggest calling Singer customer service at ______;  M-F 8am to 4pm CST regarding model number: SES1000 and I am sure they will be happy to answer that question.

I truly appreciate your understanding in this matter and  hope you allow us another opportunity to serve you in the future.



See...they DID respond to me!  They just didn't really answer any of my questions!  Now, I get to start the research all over again!  If only I had some extra spending money laying around.  I would just go to someplace local and buy the machine I wanted and be done with it!


Monday, January 23, 2012

January review

As this month is starting to wind down I thought I would take a few minutes to think about how my month has gone wise.

I set several goals for myself this month.  I am happy to report that I actually came pretty close to meeting some of them, not so close on others.

I had a goal of 12 marketing projects (small projects that I won't go into here, but they involved making and then mailing them out to prospective customers.  I actually finished and mailed only 3 of them.

I had a goal of finishing 8 personal Disney shirts.  I actually finished only 6 of them.

I had a goal of making 4 ready to ship dresses and I only finished 2 of them.

I had a goal of making 4 onesies to list on my Etsy shop and I finished zero of them.

I had a goal of making a baby quilt, three onesies, and three burp cloths for a gift and I am glad to report they were actually finished before the baby arrived.

I had a goal of completing a birthday gift for my daughter in law, and I ham happy to report that I finished it so quickly that I had to remember where I put it when it was time to gift it!

In addition to those goals, I also managed to get one customer gift of 8 napkins  monogrammed and almost complete another customer order of two onesies and two bibs.

Although my most important goal for the outfits was to try to only use fabric I had on hand!  That one was met with a resounding success!

Since to day is only Monday and I still have a week to go, I am pretty sure I will be able to finish the customer order; finish the two personal Disney shirts; and I am pretty sure I will be able to complete at least 3 more of my marketing projects.

All in all it has not been too bad of a month.  In my original plans, I had not taken into account that the kids would be out of school for about a week of the month.  The kids will be out of school for two weeks next month, (winter intersession) so I will make my plans and goals for the month keeping that in mind.

Sometime in the next week or so I plan on having my daughter in law take some pictures of the outfits I did manage to complete, as well as a couple outfits I have not sold from last Spring.  (provided we get a bit of pretty weather this week!) My plan is to have a Spring grand re-opening of my Etsy site.

I do think it is important to note...I managed to meet my goals only spending an average of two hours a day in the studio.  I was expecting to spend closer to 4 to 6 hours a day in the studio; five days a week.  I am pretty excited about how close I came without spending a lot of time in the studio.  Just imagine how well I could do if I just added 30 minutes or an hour!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Confession time!

My last three quilts have turned out less than spectacular.  Add to that one customer quilt that was really bad and you see a pattern developing.  I don't think I have had a single quilt after the surgery that has looked nice.  (Forget good or great!)

I now have three outstanding baby quilts for gifts coming up in the next few weeks and I think you see my problem.  I am seriously having doubts about my ability to turn out a reasonable gift!

I have some gorgeous fat quarters washed and ready to go down to the studio to become a beautiful baby boy quilt for my niece's new baby.  The fabric is perfect.  It is going to be a small turning twenty quilt.  I am going to make a few onesies and burpies to go with it.  I can see it in my mind as a perfect set.  I'm seriously wondering if the actual gift will be any where near what I envision.

When the actual quilting starts, I will have to take careful mental notes to see what I am doing wrong (or right) and see what I can physically do to make a change.  I refuse to believe I can never do another decent quilt.  I'm hoping it is just that I am seriously out of practice.  Time will tell.