Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Jacket for my IG!

So, I thought this was the cutest thing ever and I had to have one for my dog...
I originally bought the burgundy and cream colored "canine shrug" for Alabama. In the picture, he's the one with the purple collar. It's a little tight on his legs, he's got long ones. So, Dakota got it! And, he's not sure he likes it but I love it. HEHE.
My son, Nicholas, is holding Dakota in the picture with the shrug on. It was made by another Oklahoma Etsy person, Vintage Garden Knits. She made it to my specifications and after a day like today in Oklahoma with freezing rain and sleet, Dakota is happy with it!

I'm in Dallas tonight and they have freezing weather and rain! UGH! But, I got to have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Pappasitos, and I walked on the treadmill two nights in a row for 40 minutes. I personally feel really good about it, even if I am not sure that I will lose any weight yet. Just would like to fit a little easier into the clothes I have.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Soaps coming Soon!

Thanks go out to my wonderful father in law who made me more wooden soap molds! Thanks Whit! He took one of my molds I ordered and made me 4 more just like it that hold 8 pounds of soap. I use 8 and 12 pound molds, and I am making a lot of soap these days just to get ready for the craft show season!
So, here are the latest creations! I made an attempt at a layered soap as you can see from the picture. It's got chocolate cream pie scent, cocoa powder in the top layer to color it, and chunks of pink/cocoa soap from an earlier batch that I cut up. It smells delicious, and I am hoping it will remind you of a piece of pie that you can't stand to not pick up and take home with you! After paying for it, of course. The other soap that is barely visible on the bottom is sage and citrus with clay (I am loving the clay soaps and I may start making all my soaps with clay) and lavender buds on top. It is really more of a manly scent, or one for the kitchen sink. Part of my effort to branch out.
I bought some rose petals and rose scent, as well as more peony scent since I love peonies and that bloom time is coming soon (ok, not until May but let me dream!) Working on more shops and I go this week to one to sell my soaps. I am also working on selling soaps through the OK Food Coop, and you will be able to buy my soaps and bags through that website in the coming months as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Custom Order for Dorsa's Friend

This is a bag I made as a custom order for my sister's friend. She sent me an email one day and said, do you have a bag that is good for a teenager? I thought immediately of this fabric, and her friend wanted green on the inside. I love the way this turned out, and it snaps shut with a magnetic snap. I am going to make some more for my shop. I put a zebra pocket on the inside of this bag as well.
You can see more of my bags at my artfire or etsy shop by clicking on the items on the side of the blog. This will take you to my online presence, and you can find something that you like or you can request something on your own.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Washing Machine

My old washer, a Kenmore, lasted a long time. My husband had it before we got married and it has taken a lot of abuse. It was a regular top loader machine. I have wanted a front loader machine ever since LG came out with the steam washer about 4 years ago. I have not been able to purchase one as I could not justify paying lots of money for something that was working fine. Well, no longer! My machine broke and luckily we anticipated it and had already bought this machine and ordered it for delivery. So, the old machine stopped pumping out water (yep, that means I got to empty it by hand!) on Friday and this arrived on Saturday.
I love this machine. It uses like, no water, and you can sanitize stuff without using hot water. It gets the clothes really dry when it spins them out, and our dryer is on it's last legs so I guess this will make it last longer, as I will no longer have to dry things twice. Where we live, we use a septic system, so the less water we use, the better for our system. So, I hope the water bill goes down and so does the electric bill. That will be really nice. So, it's a Samsung and there are service people locally, so we should be in good shape. Thanks for taking your time to read about my stuff.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reply from Best Buy

So, 5 days after I sent in a message and then resent a message that I had not received a reply I got this:
Hello Mathea,

I am Brian with Best Buy Customer Care. At Best Buy, we understand the importance of good service, as well as how frustrating poor service can be. I apologize that your experience with our phone agent has been unpleasant. I will pass your comments on. To demonstrate that we do value your business and loyalty as a customer, I have asked that a digital coupon be sent to you, good on your next online purchase.
Again, I am sorry for the trouble you've had, and thank you for your patience as the coupon comes to you. Thank you for sharing your comments with Best Buy.

Best Buy Customer Care Team
What can I say? That is the lamest message I have ever gotten from anyone except American Airlines who is well known for their sucky customer service. So, I already bought another MP3 player from NewEgg.com, and once I finally get the package from Best Buy, I will promptly return it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Soap, Soap, Soap and more Soap

Well, today I spent a long time on the phone, but it appears to be worth it as we can refinance our home loan and save about $520 a month in payments. That's great, especially with the economy slowing down. Keith works for commission and that certainly varies depending on the national economy. Me, I am taking a few vacation days and making stuff for the shops and craft fairs.

So, today, after I got the phone hung up, I started making soap. It's so addictive, I have to say. I have dreams about what I am going to make! So, today I made more of my wildly popular Honey, Oatmeal and Buttermilk soap, made some Sage, Citrus and Lavender soap, and made some layered soap with cocoa butter and chunks and chocolate cream pie fragrance. I will show you later this week in pictures... right now the soap is gelling. Oh, and next week I have my first appointment with someone in a shop to see if they will buy my soap. It's next Friday, so be thinking of me and I will let you know what happens.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Handmadeology Blog Challenge

Wow! Timothy Adams is creating a new standard for folks who want to sell online for handmade goods. First, he has been posting for a long time about how to increase your google page ranking, how to get better search engine hits, where to place ads for a cost effective campaign, and once google analytics hit Etsy and Artfire, he posted video about how to understand what you were getting. Because, believe me, it's not elementary info - it's a treasure trove of valueable data but if you don't know what to do with it you are wasting time.
So, I am writing a post about his newest venture to help out those of us who are really trying to make online selling a workable option. I watched the video a few weeks back, and all I can say is, watch out. He is a self taught metal artist who makes a living selling online. He is also dedicated to helping others achieve their goal of successfully selling their handmade goods online. Classes start Jan 26, 2009. I can't wait to see what he has to say about key words, ads, using social networking sites, and any other stuff that is relevant and he will say it in a way that I understand! WHOOHOO! Visit the site soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I sent an email to the random customer service inbox for Best Buy today and stated this:

I called 888-bestbuy because my MP3 player was sent to the wrong address. I changed my delivery address prior to the order, but for some reason (mistakes happen), it shipped to an old address. I have not lived there for almost 2 years and the package shipped USPS so I call to see if the staff could assist me.
First person I spoke with told me it was my fault, nothing they could do, I would just have to suffer (paraphrasing a little). So I asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor, who stated his name was JP, got on the phone and cussed me out and said I was completely at fault, why did I not do it right the first time, (yelling the entire time) and when I asked him to stop arguing and yelling at me he said he wasn't, said I would have to go get it out of the mailbox from the other house, and then asked if there was anything else he could do, I said I wanted to speak to his superior and he said "No, you are not going to speak to anyone else, I know the policies and you are not going to get any more time from us" and hung up the phone on me.
It took me a while to calm down and call back. I asked Katrina to let me speak with a supervisor, she asked what the problem was, I explained and she stated she would put in a trouble ticket with the delivery folks and try to get it fixed. If I don't get it by Jan 24, she said I could call back and they would do a lost delivery for it.
It's a $60 MP3 player. I do appreciate the young lady who I spoke with the 2nd time, but I believe whoever I spoke with the 1st time should be fired without question.

I am sure I will get no response.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Soap that is pending...

I have been making a lot of soap recently and next week I hope to make some more. Been working on getting it right! In the picture above, you can see the new peony/clay soap I made last week and the Just Plain Soap that has no fragrance or color - great for use on kids! I cut the peony with my new crinkle cutter, and the bars are more consistent. I am getting really excited about next week, and I am going to make about 6 more batches so that I am ready for the shows I have planned for March and April. I bought some new fragrances and other items that I have shipping this week from Majestic Mountain Sage and Wholesale Fragrances. I'm making a face bar that is supposed to help with breakouts. I am also going to do a funky chocolate and cocoa butter swirl bar. And I am going to try to do a shaving soap. Let's see, I think that will keep me busy, besides needing to do some sewing for the artfire shop and visiting a shop to see if they will stock the soap. Coming soon - Coconut Lime Verbena and Lavender Fields soap - ready in about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Beanie Hat in Pink Camouflage!

Here is my new favorite thing! My head to use for a model so that I don't have to convince my little sister to pose! Yeah! And, I must admit, the foam head is a lot easier to work with, doesn't complain about makeup or take smoke breaks. So, don't you love it. Look for new pictures of my beanie caps on my artfire site, I just created a bunch of new ones as well as I am going to update the current pictures.

This beanie cap is going to Lisa, a person I work with. In early December I promised her I would make her one that looked like mine, only in pink camouflage. What a deal! I love the way that this beanie hat is so cute! Lisa's going to love it when she gets it later this week. Yeah!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a Portfolio

Hey, look what I made. I took another pattern that was created for a smaller portfolio with pockets, and enlarged it so that it will hold a 8.5 x 11 pad of paper and some files. And I think it turned out great! The pocket on the inside on the right is just about right for a folder or papers to keep them snug and away from danger, and the extra pocket on top of the other pocket is small for things like a CD or pictures.
So, the other side with the pretty flowers has a hole at the top and will hold a regular sized pad of paper. And it has chipboard in it so that you can have a solid backing. Closed with a ribbon. Excellent.
These colors are for my sister, she loved the two together. And it turned out great with the ribbon on the outside.

So, now I am going to crow a little. Chevas sold some of my soap today - a bar of lovely buttermilk oatmeal. I have been using a bar this weekend and I love it's lather and the little bit of exfoliating it does. Yummy smell as well. I spent the weekend cutting up soap and putting it in the racks to dry. Next week, I am taking a couple of days of vacation and making even more soap. Now if I can only figure out how Quickbooks works...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Luxurious Honey, Oatmeal and Buttermilk soap is done!

Ok, I really don't cook soap. Just warm up the oil a little before I blend together the lye and fragrance. But, I think of it as cooking when it has to sit for 4-6 weeks before you can use it. So, why does it have to sit you ask? So the water evaporates and it becomes harder and more mild.
So, this is the first attempt at an oatmeal bar. And ever since I made it, I come into the room where I have it aging and it has this warm, snuggly smell that makes you want to pick it up and get a big sniff of the scent.

Chevas, my hairdresser, is putting my soaps at her booth at Salon West in OKC. When I let her smell this one a few weeks ago it is all she has asked about! So, I am going to take some to her shop tomorrow when I get my hair done. You can see the oatmeal in it, and the milk really makes it feel wonderful on your skin. No color or fragrance were added, and I think this is going to be my best bar yet.

I am going to spend part of the day today making soap so it's ready for the spring shows I am doing. I bought a bunch of oil and racks from US Foodservice on Tuesday and now it's time to use it. So, look for more posts soon on other recipes I have created. I have a bunch of fragrance oil that has come in over the past couple of weeks and I am dying to use it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, it's here and we are still here! What a year this will be, with all of the changes in the world. For me, I am just wondering what my shop will bring this year. I am making a resolution to work at getting my shop off of the ground. To sell things each and every month, and to create new things that people find useful and interesting. I am also going to dedicate myself to documenting the costs of my business so that I understand what is working for me and what is not.
I kind of stopped sewing for a month while the holidays were approaching so that we could get ready for the parties and guests, and my attitude towards my business was not improving. These past couple of days I have been able to sew items again and make some soap, and it really makes the way I feel so much better, it's like therapy for the business. I am actually sewing and just dreaming up ideas. So, you can look forward to seeing my new ideas as I have some time off over the next couple of weeks and I have to get ready for shows in March.
My hubby and I went to the Clear Sight Eye Center on Tuesday so he could see if he is a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. He is, so he's going to get the surgery on next Friday. They were very nice at the place, and I just wanted him to have the surgery at the place with the laser for cutting the flap on the eye, which they have. It's kind of an expensive surgery, about $3500 for both eyes, but the benefits I think are enormous. So, I will let you know how that goes, but I am anticipating that he will say it's the best money he's spent (next to our wedding!)