Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just call me Queen Bee...

My daughter is participating in a district-wide spelling bee today. In the past she has done really well, but today she is nervous as heck. I think she feels unprepared. Hey, we're just happy she's participating.

I think correct spelling is very important. Especially in this day and age where everyone is communicating through some form of electronic medium as opposed to face to face. My grandmother was a teacher, and I guess a bit of that rubbed off on me. Let me give you an example of why I feel it's important to communicate properly.

Several years ago, I was on a chat board for jewelry makers, doing my thing when this new guy came in. He asked "I'm having trouble melting down some metal fillings and was wondering if there's any way to tell what they're made of?" This kind of question wasn't unusual in itself, until someone read his profile and found out that his day job was at a mortuary. There was this huge uproar, claiming the guy was desecrating the dead, etc.

Turns out he'd misspelled the word "filings" (as in what jewelers get when they file down wire ends and rough edges). One little letter out of place, and it caused this huge uproar in a community. Seriously... people were starting to ask how they could call the cops on this poor guy.

Generally I don't like to correct/point out people's bad spelling, punctuation, or grammar unless I A) Think they're in a position to be embarrased by the misspelling, such as when they're representing themselves as an expert in their field or B) When its so atrocious I can't even figure out what they just said.

On those occasions where I have pointed it out, there's always one joker who calls me a spelling nazi, which, since my father was jewish is really offensive to me. There are lots of people who just don't *care* if they're terrible spellers. That doesn't bother me... what bothers me are the people who will so *vehemently* defend their right to misspell that they will start long, argumentative threads about how wrong it is to correct someone (oh, the irony).

Taking the time to complain about people who complain is just the biggest waste of time. Although... I suppose that's what I'm doing now, eh? Heh, it's a vicious cycle.

Anyway, wish Mini-Til good luck today. If there's a trophy, there will be pictures. :D

EDITED TO ADD: She took 3rd place out of twenty entrants.... way to go! Picture tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Betty Crocker done me wrong!

I swear, I will try to cut down on the "dialogue from a western" style titles for my blog posts.

So, I'm making brownies (from a mix, obviously) and as I'm stirring in the wet team of ingredients, I find not one, but *two* mysterious lumps of... something... in my batter. So I fish them out, and they look like globs of something that dripped out of a hot glue gun... you know, like plastic. Funny thing, though, this mix came in a stand-alone foil-ish pouch. There's no plastic to be seen unless it's the coating on the pouch? Weird.

So, no brownies for me. :( If I caught two pieces, how many more are there that I didn't catch?

On the shop side of things, you may notice a new addition to my side bar. Yep, I joined Artfire. At first I wasn't going to. I didn't want to have to juggle two shops, keep track of what I listed where, etc. But I'm really starting to warm up to them and like their style. For one thing, unlike another site, they advertise for you. They also don't charge fees. Now if the traffic is there, I will totally switch over.... or run both side by side.

No new items today, as I just couldn't shake the chill I got from going outside in the below-freezing weather we are having. In fact, it is after noon and my feet are still cold... probably from a draft because Texans have no idea how to build a place that's draft-free. I'm surprised housing even has walls. :/ Forget insulation or weather-stripping.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 1 - Or How My Husband turned into a Grump

So... it is DAY 1 of the "Husband Has Quit Smoking" festival. So far, he's been cranky, easy to take offense, and impossible to live with. On the bright side, there are fewer leftovers because he's eating everything in sight. However, when I make a gorgeous, delicious, dark cherry pie, I would like at least one piece left. Humph.

On the shop side of things, earrings (NOT the amethyst ones I'd planned, but still...) and stitch markers have been listed.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My neighbor done pissed me off...

I live in an apartment building. Each building is really four units, connected together. I'm on the second floor, and my downstairs neighbor is great. My side neighbor though...

We both have kids in the same grade, so we kind of made like friends right at the beginning of the school year down at the pick-up spot for the bus. She had this rather horrible tale of how they were starting over from scratch because her drug-addicted brother stole everything she owned of value. I thought, wow, I can relate because of the whole hurricane Katrina thing. The drug addict brother kind of gave me pause, but hey, you can't pick family, right?

So if she was complaining about not having money for gas for the car, or whatever, I'd help out if I could. I mean, I'd rather give a helping hand to someone I actually know than send it off to some anonymous charity where a percentage goes to administration costs.

But here's the thing people... if you get paid on Friday, and you go get take-out food three nights in a row, don't come complaining to me on Tuesday about how you're broke and don't have money for stuff. I mean, DUH! I see how you are... you'll go and buy luxuries that *I don't even get for myself* so that when the money runs out, you can say that you don't have it for the actual necessities. Screw that... I am not your supplemental income.

So anyway... on the crafty front, I am finally trying something I've always wanted to try doing... knitting with straight, unspun roving. I had a couple of braids that turned out rather... blech, so last night I just ripped a pinkie-sized strip off of one of them and cast on a hat. It works up like a really bulky single, and if I don't let it get too fat, or draft it a bit so that it stays semi-thin, it's really easy to knit with. Splitting is kind of a problem with my Knit Picks DPNs, I just have to be careful where I stick the points (don't we all? Hah).



In the shop, I couldn't resist listing two items yesterday, one of which is this cute little aventurine/jasper bracelet. A guy might even be able to pull off wearing this if it was a dressy occasion. It's eight inches, which is a little large on me (bony wrists, lol) but I'm getting the feeling that that's small for other folks... what do you think? Comment here if you have an opinion.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Panning for gold...

One of the drawbacks of going back to a hobby that's lain dormant for years is that any of your supplies you still have on hand may be in, shall we say, a less than pretty state.

I have multi-drawer end-table sized plastic organizers with all my old beading/jewelry stuff in them. These have moved with us from the plague house in Louisiana to storage in Houston, to storage outside of Houston, to here. My daughter was five when these supplies were in pristine condition, and just like mama, she likes to play with sparkly things.

So I'm still doing inventory (it is taking forEVER) and I get to the fourth drawer in organizer #1... seed beads. And they are EVERYWHERE. Tops had popped open, and I think my daughter was doing some kind of zen-garden thing in there at some point. After Katrina, while our house lay un-airconditioned and unattended for months, insects and other fun, nature-type stuff had moved in. I found serious evidence of that in that drawer. It was not pleasant.

A lesser woman not in the middle of a recession/depression economy might have just pitched the lot of them and started over. I thought about it for about five seconds, when my grandmother's voice (she lived through the '30s you know) piped up in my head and said "You're going to throw all that out because it's dirty??!"

Sigh.

So I wrestled the drawer out of its moorings and dumped the whole lot into one of my crappier pieces of plasticware. It's amazing how many seed beads will actually float in water, but the process felt a lot like panning for gold, and as the dirt washed away, it looked like it too. Some nice AB fire-polished Czech barrels showed themselves like little glimmers of purple and green metal.

I may have to sit at my spinning wheel for a bit today, I feel so "pioneer-y".

New items up on the shop. Two new sets of stitch markers. I'm getting the yen to do some earrings today, if I can ever locate my amethyst briolettes.




Just edited to add.... After re-reading this post, I feel it's necessary to add the following: Please don't think that just because of this post all my stuff is in the same state! Everything is triple-cleaned and polished before it goes out.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Witch Hair and curses

New roving up on the shop last night... "Witch Hair". When I saw that streaky black and purple braid, I knew there wasn't anything else to call it.

On to the home life. First of all, why is it only weirdos and politicians that ask to follow my Twitter feed? I mean, I don't mind if the people I'm following myself ask to follow me back... that's just courtesy. But random ones I've never even heard of? Especially when their profiles are a little... odd? No thank you. Help me out folks, and let me get some real people on my feed.

Second, never let your husband pick a movie for the Saturday night entertainment. Barronius picked some weird Thai horror film (dubbed, fortunately... or not) and while I'll watch a good Freddy or Jason flick, this thing was gross. I was in the Army, and I couldn't stand to watch a good portion of this film. Let's just say Cambodian curses don't screw around. I had been thinking about getting into glass fusing for the shop, but I don't think I'll ever touch a blowtorch again. Or fish hooks. Or soup. Bleahrrrgh.

Grocery trip later today. I've started using DVO's Cook'n software to manage my menu and get the food budget under control... I got tired of having leftovers that ended up getting thrown away at the end of the week. Now, by picking meals ahead of time, practicing a little portion control, and only cooking big meals every other day, we've knocked about 50% off our food budget without feeling like we did anything. I've also gone back to shopping sales and using the freezer more... I've always done that, but I've gotten more strict about what constitutes a "bargain". The software is not the best recipe management software I've used, and the website's articles have a decidedly biased religious slant, but it was the only one that didn't have ridiculous licensing hoops to jump through every time I had to reinstall. After about the fifth time of asking "Living Cookbook" to reset my license on their servers because my operating system had gone FUBAR, and then they didn't even bother to answer my request, I decided to move on. Mastercook has had severe bugs for many years, and is basically abandonware. So I'm stuck with DVO.

Later today I may try video taping my time at the spinning wheel. I haven't decided yet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crunch time

So the other day we get a registered letter from the state of Louisiana. In this letter, they claim we owe over $600 in income tax from 2004. This is patently ridiculous, as we usually have to jump through hoops in order to get our money back from Louisiana after it's deducted from my husband's pay. They probably owe *us* money for some obscure deduction we missed.

Here's what makes me angry about this... I'm sure we're not the only targets. And furthermore, anyone who went through Katrina as we did will have a hard time proving they don't owe money, as all our paper records were the first thing destroyed in the disaster. You may be able to rescue a couch or a picture frame, but try rescuing a stack of photos or a cabinet of file folders after being soaked.

Don't talk to me about secondary storage sites... this disaster and its effects stretched way beyond the recommended distance you are supposed to keep backup copies of any items. Any bank safety deposit or storage locker would have been just as susceptible to damage. Even a CD backup would have been vulnerable to scratches, water damage, and the *vermin invasion* that happened after Katrina.

They're feeling broke, and they're pretty much mugging us for money we can't afford to lose.

We have 60 days to pay it. We have 30 days to contest it before they get bitchy about it. If we don't pay it, they'll garnish it from any refund we have coming to us this year. It's robbery, and it makes me angry.

PS. Did I mention we live in Texas now? :/

Friday, January 23, 2009

Galaxia - Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon

It's up on the shop!



This one had me guessing right up until the end, just like its cousin "Different Flamingo". It's amazing how much difference a little water makes in roving's appearance and appeal.

Last new roving for a few days... it's back to inventory, stitch markers and jewelry.

Stupid math!

Okay, there was a reason I got a D in freshman math, and it was not stupidity related... it was boy related. (Although the argument could be made that's the same thing) But still, you'd think that two people as smart as Barronius and myself would be able to figure out that if he's getting paid more often, he'll be getting paid *less* each paycheck.

Yeah, we were *that* dumb.

Fortunately, now that the change-over waiting period is over, we know it will be exactly two weeks until he gets paid again. No more "what day is the fifteenth on again? A Sunday? So will it hit the bank Saturday or Monday?"

He says we'll still be able to get my workbench... where I was paying for half, and the "house" was paying for half (actually, more like 75% if I wanted an adjustable work chair to go with it. $70 for a hydraulic adjustable bench stool? Really?) I might have to take the martyr route though and say we should hold off. Because while I really like getting new work toys (Spinning wheel FTW!) I really hate having to try to pull dinner out of a hat... even if I am MacGuyver in the kitchen.

"Let's see... 3lbs. of frozen chicken leg quarters, a can of spinach, and egg noodles..." Yeah, I can make dinner out of that, but would you want to *eat* it?

Still, our philosophy, culled from hours upon hours of playing PC games, is "invest in what makes you money... so you make more money" So if that means investing in a work bench for me, or new work golf shirts for him, we usually do it.

We're going to be eyeing those numbers pretty darn close though.

And my new bench will be so *pretty*. Built-in lighting (fluorescent though, ugh). FOUR built in power outlets. And spiffy pegboard backsplash so I can get my tools up off the work surface. Real drawers, ones that can withstand 99lbs of weight. You have no idea how happy this freakin' bench would make me. Honey, forget diamonds, get me tools for our anniversary.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Stone Soup Challenge

One of my awesome fellow artists/sellers on Etsy has come up with a great idea! It's called the "Stone Soup Challenge". Named for the childhood fable that some of us heard as kids, it's a call to artists to take some of the money they make from their shop and turn around and spend a percentage of it on other artists' efforts.

I think this is a great idea, and hopefully will be a boost to the artisan community as a whole. You can read about the challenge in the original post here:

http://stonesoupchallenge.blogspot.com/

A Different Flamingo...

... is up!




This actually was much better looking once I got it dry. The red was less brown, and blended better. I had to run it through two rinse sessions though, because that pink is pernicious! The roving seems unharmed though (I'm really careful about felting this stuff... like "OMG, do I dare touch it??")

I got an interesting convo from a Texas business woman looking for donations to a yarn-themed charity event. I'm seriously considering it, but me and deadlines are like (to quote Buffy) "unmixy things". I may just *try* to make enough stitch markers, and then if I don't make them in time I won't donate. We'll see though.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I feel so wired in...

Yesterday's quickie post was a photo taken on my phone (no, really!) and posted straight from it during the rinse stage of the dye process. It looks much better if you only look at the thumbnail. LOL In my defense I got my phone wet... well okay, just the keypad.

I may or may not be posting that roving to my shop. I was trying a new color, and it came out rather spotty, which is fine in some rovings, but here it's a little annoying. The "scarlet" is also much browner than represented by my supplier. Ah well this is why I warn my customers about monitor calibration... dyer heal thyself, eh?

It was cold enough to see my breath again this morning... who needs to be homesick for Minnesota when Texas is freezing its collective butt off?

I spent a half an hour looking for my Microsoft Money 2004 disk yesterday... it sat on my desk for *months* unneeded and flopping over at the most inconvenient times right across my mousepad (desk space is at a premium) and yesterday it was really, really hard to find. Whilst I was looking, however, I found yet another box of bead stock... so for the rest of the week I will probably be sorting through and doing *inventory*. Yes, I know I said I'd do that two weeks ago. Cest la vie.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ha! Or How I Saved $100 and My Sanity...

Yep, I couldn't take it anymore. The constant memory-hogging. The flaky behavior. It. Had. To. Stop. So I bit my lip and wiped my hard drive, rolling back to Windows XP pro... goodbye Vista!

You would not believe the short loading time now. With Vista, I could restart the machine, go make a sandwich, and watch an episode of Xena, and that thing would still be loading by the time I got back. Now I can barely get a cup of water before that opening music plays.

The best part is that I could also roll back to Office 2003, which my Jewelry design manager software *absolutely* required (funny how they don't advertise the fact that someone else actually did most of the programming)so my software works again! I don't have to buy Quickbooks pro after all.

We'll be seeing later today if Amazon's Unbox program will be cranky. If it works, my life is pretty much set.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Night Sky



Some new stitch markers are up on the shop... this will probably be the last of them for a while. I've pretty much gotten down to the dregs of my "old" jewelry supplies... next "payday" I will be buying shop equipment, so I won't be developing any new items until two weeks after that.

Who knows... I might get crazy with the drill and mandrels and whip up some chainmail items though.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Setting themselves up for failure...

Argh! Okay, now I remember some of the other "pitfalls" of doing jewelry quite vividly... and this irks me to no end.

Take your average pair of earrings, hand-crafted by a loving artisan. Parts breakdown works like this:

-Non-allergenic stainless steel french style earring hooks: $.10 each
-Non-tarnish silver wire: $.02 per inch
-Swarovski crystal bicone: $.15 each
-Other misc. compononents: $.25 per earring

So for a standard pair of dangly earrings, it's about $2.28, but only if you use one bead per earring... add $.30 per for more beads. For argument's sake, we'll use one. And this is with crappy wire, not real silver. If you're using precious materials, expect to double that. And that's just the *cost of materials*. Even if you're really, really good and practiced, it will take you at least 10 minutes to make a pair of earrings. Even if it doesn't, consider your time when photographing the finished item and your initial "research" time while making up the design. For simple earrings I rounded it out to be 10 minutes. If you're paying yourself minimum wage, that's about a dollar right there. More if you've set the value on your time higher.

Okay, but wait... more costs to consider. Those spiffy cards you had printed up to double as business cards and earring cards? They're $.17 cents each. $.10 cents if you go with matte finish and a blank back.

Expenses like overhead on a home-based business are harder to calculate... you have to guess at how much of your electric bill goes towards running your equipment (like lights, polishing machine, or dremel) but lets go conservative and say $.25 for those ten minutes. We're not going to touch what you pay for shipping materials and Etsy/Paypal fees, but those should be built into the cost of the item too... and they are if you use the standard formula below.

Right now, you're looking at earrings that cost you $3.70 to make and mount to a card, assuming you're using minimum wage for your time. In order to pay for the stock you just used, buy replacement stock, and pay yourself a wage, you have to charge at least three times that for the earrings... and that's considered the wholesale price. Selling direct to the customer should be at least five times. So an etsy site should be charging at least $18.50 for a pair of simple, one-bead earrings. Sounds like a reasonable price, yes? You'd pay just as much for a pair of cheap molded-plastic Walmart specials, so why not something better?

Now, why on earth am I seeing sets of stitch markers in other's shops... which use two and a half times as many materials (or more) and time at a mere pittance of $5? Ladies, you are selling yourselves short... literally. You'll be losing money for a long time, covering it with your "real" job wages, and wondering why you never get ahead. If you want to use your stock as a savings account, one where you lose money instead of making interest, then go ahead.

I plan to come out ahead. If you sold every single item you have in stock, and all your raw materials, would you be able to say the same?

Not only are you losing yourself money, you are making the rest of us who did the math look like greedy money-grubbers when all we want is a successful business.

And see? Now I sound like a shrew (which I hate). It's just so frustrating for me. Almost as frustrating as it costing me $9 per four ounces of roving to produce, and seeing someone advertise theirs for sale at $9. You just want to mail-order an accountant and send them to their house. :D

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The world's ugliest freebie

I do love my jewelry suppliers... most of the ones I gravitated towards offer bulk buying incentives, or freebies with every order. But I have to say that my first freebie since I went back to jewelry has me at a loss:



Do people, somewhere, *wear* this kind of thing!? It wouldn't be so bad if the shells were those pretty peachy-pink, shiny type of shells, but they're sort of a mottled grayish-blue, and possibly dyed. The spacer beads are the cheap plastic kind that have molded seams around each side, and the rounds have some kind of cheap AB coating on them that is already scratched off in places.

I may repurpose the smaller shells into stitch markers, but I have no idea what to do with the focal shell or its slightly smaller brothers.

I do have some new stitch markers that are going up into the shop this afternoon... some nice fluorite ones that are mostly green with streaks of amethyst purple through them. It sounds like a gross combination of colors, but it works.



I hope no one thinks these are the ugly freebies in the title, heh.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Antiqued Silver Stitch Markers

The new stitch markers are up! These are one of a kind, and will probably never be duplicated, since the bead mix I got these from is almost out, and it was hard to find matching pairs as it was... and buying a new 50gram package is out of the budget, for sure. Sterling prices are way up from when I bought the originals.



I think I need to start working with cheaper materials, lol.

Edited to add: And what's up with the crappy photography?!

Browser Bummer...

That's it, I'm switching browsers again. I was sticking with Firefox for most of my internet usage, but more and more often lately it's had little quirks that have made doing things impossible. (See previous post about how Google products refused to let me sign in to any of them in Firefox)

Then, last night while trying to read Dubious Quality my screen was flickering on and off so badly that I couldn't even find the place I left off before it went dark again... like my monitor was trying to go to sleep over and over. (I should tell you it's been doing this for months, but usually only once every hour or so) I want to emphasize that it *only does this in Firefox*. The screen "flicker" drives me crazy, I've done extensive testing, and it only does it in FF, and then only on certain web pages... like Bloglines.

Well, I've had enough. I originally switched to FF two years ago because of the horrible rumors about IE's bad password security. I don't keep up on these things like I should, but I would imagine they've been patched by now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Changeover has begun

Well the first of the jewelry resupply orders came in today... and the first of the stitch markers went up! I think they turned out really cute for only having leftover supplies on hand from *three years ago* when I wasn't even making stitch markers. Once I start whittling down my old supplies, I have some definite ideas as to how I want to construct them "better".


Next planned purchase for the business is the workbench I have been wanting to get for ten years... a real, proper one with electrical knockouts on the front and shelving. Pegboard "backsplash" so I can organize my tools instead of scattering them across the universe. Sorry hubby, the plastic card table isn't going to cut it if I'm going to be soldering... although it's good if you want to drill holes in the surface to make a jig system. :P

And... upgrading my software from Money Small Business 2004 to the slightly more robust (for inventory tracking) Quickbooks Pro. That would have been in the works no matter what, but for the jewelry thing it's even more crucial, as there are a *lot* of fiddly little parts to track. And it's a lot easier to lose a 3x3 baggie of stitch markers than a 4oz. braid of roving, let me tell you.

Tomorrow... Indian Silver stitch markers.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The magpie in me won the war

So, I was going through all my old "stash" of jewelry stuff, looking for things to cull out to make room for what was going to be my new product, candles, when I realized I still love jewelry. I never wear it, but boy, I could look at sparkly pretty things all day long. In fact, I did. Instead of planning ahead for what equipment I needed to make candles, and prioritizing my purchases, I went shopping for bits and sparklies.

Oy. Big mistake... sort of. I spent all day on my old favorites, comparing prices, seeing what's new, and occasionally seeing improvements in the old suppliers' web stores.

I have now decided that instead of investing in new equipment and supplies for candles, (and starting over with yet another learning curve) I will merely straighten out my jewelry stash and go back to jewelry. Maybe add some clever stitch markers to my bag of tricks. Inventory would certainly be more compact... right now I have stacks of 40 gallon rubbermaid tubs all over the apartment. If I went with candles, my inventory storage needs would most likely grow. With jewelry, even a 100 listing inventory would fit into *one* of my tubs with room to spare.

Not to mention that the main reason I gave up jewelry in the first place was because I couldn't find a decent sales venue without travelling to a bazillion shows and craft fairs. Now that I've found Etsy, that problem is solved.

I will continue to sell roving until my current stock is all gone. I still have some undyed stock that I may or may not dye up and list... I have been itching to try spinning up some natural bulky for a sweater, and I think I have just enough left.

Of course, my knitting has been making me crazy enough recently that I may just switch to knitting nothing but dishrags. At least they're quick and easy.

I am *still* working on my Scorched Snapdragon socks, and the end looks very far away. Freakin' tiny needles. Freakin' tiny yarn. I swear, if I ever cast on a sock again, it's going to be a plain Jane sock all the way. No lace. No cables. And definitely no heel flaps or freakin' gussets. Just afterthought/peasant from now on. I'm really starting to hate having to *think* while I'm knitting.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bloody Brilliant!

No, I have not pulled a Madonna and decided after 40 years that I'm suddenly British. It's just the most accurate title I could think of...

Part of my New Year's thing is that I planned to be more organized. To that end, I purchased a large corkboard to put up to keep swatches, color ideas, and notes. It arrived yesterday, and so today I made the foray into my husband's dangerous office to find the tool bag.

He didn't warn me there was an *exacto knife blade* in one of the pockets.

Granted, it looks as though it was originally stored with safety in mind... a paperclip was looped through the guide hole on one end (it's for those little pen-type exacto knives) and then it was clipped inside the pocket. The problem comes when said tool bag has moved with us four times, been beaten around, and then left under a pile of empty boxes. A nice, finger-slicing half inch had worked its way through the leather pocket it was tucked into.

So here I am, freaking out because it looks like I got a finger-stick test from nurse Ratchett on steroids, and the blade looks a teensy bit rusty, when this spider the *size of a freakin' quarter* makes its way out of another pocket in the bag.

The empty bag is outside now. Hubby will just have to deal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New bits...

Despite my dire and depressing post yesterday, I'm still dyeing, so here are the two latest additions to the shop:


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Well... sigh.

It looks as though I will no longer be selling roving, yarn, or any other type of fibery goods from my Etsy shop. (And I just spent $300 on inventory, and R&D stock) My shop received a mortal wound in the form of feedback recently, made worse by the fact that it was TOTALLY deserved. I'd been fooling myself for a year thinking I could work around it, manage it, or change the conditions at home, but let's face it... if I could control people and get them to change, I'd be married to Rick Springfield and living in New Zealand or something.

This whole thing has left me somewhat depressed, to be honest. I couldn't look at anything fiber-related for two days. Then a fit of artistic expression took over as I tried to dye myself into feeling better... you do not want to see what came out of the dye studio that day. :/ It was bad. I have finally gotten back to knitting yesterday, but my heart just isn't in it... although trying to stick to a resolution that I would finish all my current projects before casting any new ones on is not helping. Anyhoo...

I'd divorce the chiminy I'm married to, but he's very handy for things like opening jar lids and replacing the water bottle on the watercooler, and I'd hate to give that up. :D

So it looks like I'll be switching to non-absorbant goods. Heck, people will probably still complain. We'll see. I'm leaning heavily towards candles and soaps. Paintings are on canvas, so that's out. So is kit bags for knitting projects (part of the R&D money was towards sewing patterns... such timing. I'd been thinking about it for three months). I might possibly go back to jewelry, but I'm pretty sure my aesthetic sense for that got lost somewhere... if I ever had it.

Anyway, expect changes over the next month or so. It's been a great year, and I want to thank all of you for being the great customers you are. I hope I'll continue to see you in the future!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! To all my friends and customers and family, may 2009 be a joyous one!