Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Holidays are Almost Over

I'm a little late to the game in regards to the holidays. Christmas is next week and I still don't have our dinner menu planned. All I know is we are getting a ham.

I know I keep using the excuse that we are taking time for me to settle in in order to pick back up on my videos. I actually got everything set up to finish a handful of videos I had started, then I received a big shipment from my factory. That unfortunately took over my sewing studio for a month and I am just now getting everything put away.

I got a cool new machine that helped me package everything 10 times faster than normal, so that is a good thing. I'll post about my adventures with that machine soon. And by soon, I mean after the holidays.

Its a little belated, but I am putting all my fabrics on Sale for 70% off from now until December 27th.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Back in the spotlight

I did it! I did my first video in our new home. I only had to film it 3 times. The first time, I completely screwed up and altered the wrong pattern pieces and was adamant about it. The second time my daughter was helping me. I actually got some usable footage from it, but then went on a tangent and filmed bad directions. The third time was actually a composition of 3 filmings because I kept messing up! I cut the clips and put them together. I think only one place jumps a bit, but I really, seriously, had to cut the bit out in between.

I just started using Premier Pro and I really don't know my way around it yet, so the editing will get better eventually. I have new camera mounts arriving today, so the camera angle will be changing too.

This video shows how to alter a pattern for the vertical flat wire. Well, technically the video shows changing the California Dreaming Bra pattern from a vertical wire to a vertical flat wire. What I have discovered is that my naming of the vertical flat wires was off by one size. I can't change it after the fact, so if you fit a vertical wire and want to try a vertical flat wire, go up one number in the vertical flat.

Now that I have explained my madness, here is the tutorial. Enjoy Emily's little cameo appearance.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Downsizing and Reorganizing

The last 4 months have been trying, stressful and exciting. We closed our Southern California chapter and started our new Florida chapter. In the process of this adventure, I have learned several things.

1. Moving with a family is complicated and exhausting
2. Trying to meal plan in a hotel room or a vacation rental is near impossible
3. Basic TV sucks, I truly missed my OnDemand and recorded programming. We had no idea what was going on in the world for 3 months.
4. Trying to keep your business goals intact while making a huge transition is not practical.
5. What you think you can do in a week, actually takes 8 weeks to complete.
6. Breaking your promises happen. Sorry- this is in regards to my video tutorials. I really, honest to goodness, wanted to press on, but I just couldn't.
7. Moving with stuff sucks even more. I strongly suggest if you ever do what I did, just sell everything you own and get new (and used) when you land in your destination.

My expectations of myself have also changed. I am not able to work in chaos. A room full of stuff that doesn't have a place will make me leave that room rather than find places for said stuff. I made so many promises in regards to my video goals, book goals and inventory goals, that I know I have let people down. It kills me, but I can't even begin to pick back up on my goals until the boxes in my workshop are no longer in the room.

For a bit of prospective, I used to own a 2300 square foot store and workshop and had a 2300 square foot house. Our new house, which I am now working out of, is 1800 square feet. Ouch. I have no place for my stuff, mainly inventory items that take up space. Because of this, I have decided to discontinue carrying several items and am having a fire sale on it all.

Select Colored Hooks & Eyes for 25 cents each

My $2 sale - This includes a variety of size tags, bra hardware, cups, corset busks and lacing bones, pattern supplies, elastics, sewing supplies and all the random little bits and pieces

50% off all Fabrics - Help me make some room in my tiny little studio

More updates and videos coming soon. I promise.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

And life got delayed again

As I was trucking along, getting our house unpacked, we had to suddenly stop doing everything to prepare for Hurricane Irma. We boarded our windows and doors, took down or secured everything in our yard in the days before, then on Sunday, we lost power at the beginning of the storm.

And then the storm got bad, then the county of Pinellas lost 90% of all power. Not to mention the rest of the state. I'm not sure what the total count was but I think it was something like 3.5 million people were left with no power and food rotting in their fridge.

This also means that 3.5 - 5 million people have not been able to shower or clean themselves. Lets just say we stink. I have taken a couple cold showers, but I've limited it to one every other day because the water treatment plants are also without power.

I will never take electricity for granted again. We bought a generator off someone who didn't lose power yesterday, but can't really run it much because of the noise and fumes. I've been able to work and process orders with the help of a battery backup and my cell phone hot spot.

Duke Energy, our power company, has stated that we (Pinellas county) will have power by Friday at midnight. I am looking forward to that, although there are still downed power lines in our neighborhood. I'm crossing my fingers. In the days since our power went out, I have taken advantage of the discounts being offered at the different entertainment venues. Here is a picture from our venture to the aquarium by the lemurs and turtles.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Settling in at a Snail's Pace

We moved in about a week and a half ago and this is what my sewing room looks like.

As you can see, there are no sewing machines set up and all you see is STUFF. There is an order to the madness though. I have been throwing some big sales to move some of the items I don't want to sell anymore and are just taking up space.

Check out my $2 Sale and my Fabric Sale. I also have all my downloads on sale for half price right now to encourage shopping of my other items. Here is my Download Sale.

I know the pictures above look to be chaos, but I have been organizing my stock room (although it is about 10 times too small for my stock). While organizing, I'm evaluating what I plan to continue carrying and what will be discontinued, so make sure you keep checking my $2 sale until its out of items. I have more items planning to hit the sale this week.

I still have a lot to do, but I am making progress. I am working on filling my storage drawers with my rings, slides and hook hardware. I wish I had a magic want or could blink and make everything organized. Hopefully I will have an actually sewing room by next week.

Monday, August 14, 2017

3 months later.....

It has been nearly 3 months since we packed up California and headed east to Florida. The journey really started back in January when we decided to make this change, but we are getting closer to see our move completed. We found a house a month ago and have been going through the escrow process, which I can tell you has been even more stressful than our first house purchase.

We found a cute (meaning smaller than our previous house) house literally 2 blocks from my parent's house. From 2000 miles away to 2 blocks away. That's the biggest change.

We have been staying in a vacation rental for the last 3 months and I am totally over it. It has a kitchen smaller than my smallest kitchen as a single person. Try cooking a meal with 3 in a room that is has foot room of 2 feet by 4 feet. Many tempers have been lost and I hate that.

Our closing is on Thursday. We get our keys and sign over our life savings. Then the fun begins. Movers come Saturday, then again on Tuesday with the rest of our stuff. I really miss my bed and good nights of sleep.

Luckily Emily started school last week, so she's getting into a routine again. I look forward to getting into a routine myself. I'll report back again after we are physically in our house. In the mean time, here are some pictures from our summer adventures.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Countdown to my final day in California

I still don't think that this whole move has really hit reality for any of us. We spent yesterday morning staging each room, photographing each room, then removing the furniture and putting it on our U-haul to get it to our moving trailer. We aren't taking all our furniture, but the furniture we are taking is fairly bulky.

We have probably one last trip to fill up the moving trailer, then anything remaining will have to be hauled behind our cars. It is a little overwhelming with what we have left to fit in, but I'm confident we can do it. I'm glad we had to option to use as much of the trailer as we needed and not just the 13 feet I had originally reserved. We will be using the whole 25 feet.

We got to see a bear the last 2 days, and as I was writing this, I heard some rustling outside and saw the bear again just now. I haven't seen bears up here in about 3 years, so this has been a real treat to see them 3 days in a row. Emily spotted the bear on Saturday. She was playing outside and the bear was in the neighbors yard. I feel like the bear is saying to us "Have a great new adventure, but look at me first."

The cats are completely freaking out. They don't understand whats happening. Sasha has moved several times, so she slightly understands but Brian was born up here and came to us when he was about 2 months old, so he only knows this house. I'm most afraid he will try to escape the car on our drive cross country.

Our drive will be a little adventure. I will be taking the Rogue with Emily, Hanna (our not daughter-daughter), and the two cats on a 5 day drive to Florida. I expect some crankiness will ensue with all the ladies in the car. David wants to stay behind to finish up some projects and to pack up all his tools. Hopefully he will be along shortly after.

Today is Monday and Saturday is our moving day. Only 5 days left in California.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Moving has commenced

Our moving adventure has already begun. On Wednesday the trailer was delivered, although not to where we ordered it. The big rig pulling the trailer made it about a quarter up our street when he had to stop because he was hitting the phone and power lines.

I just don't understand why the phone and power company would put the lines so low. We had to reevaluate where the trailer would sit. The only solution - my store. He had to maneuver off our street and back down the mountain to park it across our parking spots at the store.

Thankfully my neighbors have been nice (to my face) about the trailer in back, but that was our only option.

I spent yesterday loading up all the boxes and inventory into the trailer then my husband came down to help me load up the industrial sewing machines and big furniture items.

I am somewhat enjoying packing the trailer. Its like a giant game of Tetris. Fitting smaller things into the small holes to keep things from moving. I have a lot of plastic storage bins that I store the merchandise in and unfortunately stacking those aren't very stable, but I think I've made it work relatively well.

Today I pack the remaining small plastic boxes in my giant Ikea bags to complete the store move. Tomorrow we begin with the house.

This weekend will be interesting. We will be doing finishing touches on a room, cleaning it, setting it up staged, photographing it, then hauling our furniture down the mountain to pack up the rest of the trailer.

I had originally planned to have a fun filled day in Los Angeles (trim and notion shopping) on Monday with Emily, but if the loading of the truck isn't done, I may have to forego the trip. Crossing my fingers everything is going to go smoothly this weekend.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Across the world and back in 7 days

I just returned from a 7 day whirlwind of a trip to Bosnia and back. Yes, Bosnia. Why you ask? My husband had to go to train the new programmers who are taking over the program he started working on nearly 5 years ago and I hitched along for the ride.

When he first said he was going to go to Bosnia, I had no idea where the country was located or anything about it. In the 1990s, they went through a major civil war to break free from Yugoslavia, but that was during my high school and college years so I had no idea of what as going on in the world at that time. I blame it on my youth ignorance.

Our flights took us all day. We flew into SFO then boarded Lufthansa to Munich, then a puddle jumper from Munich to Zagreb, Croatia. I had the best flying experience with Lufthansa. Flight attendants that cared about our comfort, private in-seat entertainment, hot meals, hot towels, free wine. Plus there was room for our long legs.

We landed in Zagreb at 10pm and grabbed a hotel room around midnight before getting up to drive into Bosnia at 6am the next morning. Our destination was Banja Luka, which is in northern Bosnia. From the border guard to the hotel reception, everyone wanted to know why, oh why, would we be traveling to Bosnia. There is no tourism from the western part of the world.

Bosnia is an economically depressed country. The cities and countrysides are still being rebuilt. Old buildings that were damaged during the war have been stripped down to the bricks and you can see where the buildings have been fixed. Most were still a work in progress. It also appeared that they worked on the houses from the ground up. Once they stripped the building down, they made the first floor habitable, then worked on rebuilding the rest of the house.

The countrysides were covered with farm land and people selling or trading their produce and grains. The cities were also going through their own reconstruction. Banja Luka had a lot of construction going on. I also traveled to Doboj which reminded me of San Francisco. The houses were built on the hills with barely enough room to drive and people parking anywhere they could.

I also traveled to Jajce (which I am having the hardest time pronouncing - maybe it was pronouced "yite-za"?). I had a nice conversation with the museum guy about tourism and such so I got to understand the country a bit more.

It really sucked that there is no information for tourists on their history. At the sites I visited, I was the only person and received personalized tours of the fortresses, catacombs and castles. I hope that in the next 10 to 20 years they build a tourist industry. I think it will help build their economy.

The parts that sucked: There was smoking everywhere and all cars ran on diesel. I had a pollution headache when I was in Banja Luka and my asthma was terrible. I had thought Los Angeles pollution was bad, but it was worse in Banja Luka. I was going to go to Sarajevo, but I feared the pollution would be just as bad, so I avoided it and just went to castles on the countrysides.

Now for the pictures. These first ones were taken in Banja Luka. People would be smoking not only on the streets, but in the restaurants and in clothing stores. I nearly threw up several times because of the smoke and the pollution migraines I had.

These were in and on the way to Jajce. The drive there is the most dangerous road in Bosnia. They were narrow and were cut right into the rocks on the mountain. It followed the river, so there weren't steep cliffs on the drop off side, just really windy roads with trucks that drive too fast.

Jajce was an interesting little town. I arrived around 10 am and there was so much traffic, I even drove down a one way street the wrong way, but the people were friendly in letting me back up and turn around. I explored about an hour and a half and by the time I let, the streets were empty. The farmers market is what made the down busy. I was the only person in the Catacombs and the Fortress. it was a little sad that there weren't any visitors there and they didn't charge enough for entry. It was the equivalent of $1 for entry to each.  It was a steep walk up to the Fortress. I parked in town and really should have brought a water with me. I was parched by the time I got to the Fortress and there were no vendors or facilities up there.

This was walking to the waterfalls in Jajce. There were a lot of tourists here, but really, it was local Bosnian tourists.

I believe this was a hospital as I saw the medic symbol at one of the entrances. I assume this was destroyed in the 90s.

These were at Kozara National Park. I had originally ventured out to the Srebrenik Fortress on this day but the car's navigation system tried to navigate me over the border to Croatia then back into Bosnia. I decided that was not a good idea, so I went back to Banja Luka and asked the reception desk to help me discover some places locally. They had no idea where to send me. Obviously they had never had a tourist stay at their hotel. I downloaded the maps from Google Maps to view offline on my phone and went out to explore Kozara and the waterfalls.

I did not believe these steps could be walked on so I followed a trail instead.

I'm not sure what the history of this structure is, but it reminded me of the movie The Maze. The concrete blocks in the front were extremely tall and it looked like a maze.

These are at Krupa Water Falls outside of Banja Luka. Had I not had GPS I would never have found it. There were no signs to this. There was a trail that went further, but I was reluctant to go too far on my own. There were some people selling grains and one person selling alcohol at one of the structures there. Guessing they were locals selling their own goods. It didn't look like these had formed naturally either. There were large concrete blocks and metal poles sticking out of part of the falls.

These are pictures of Srebrenik Fortress. It was literally in the middle of nowhere and no one spoke English anywhere. The roads were the worst I had driven while in Bosnia and I was a bit frazzled when I got here, so the one lane dirt road to the castle freaked me out. I parked at the end and started walking instead. I was actually too scared to walk all the way there, as I didn't know if I had parked illegally or if I had driven down it, there was no way to go if I encountered another car. I stopped about where I took this picture, then encountered a tractor carrying bails of grass on my way back to the car.

I had actually gotten pulled over for speeding on my way here but the cops didn't speak English and I played lost tourist. I was going 53 in a 50 (kilometers an hour) which is equivalent to 32 in a 31 mile an hour zone. Guess they figured it would be more hassle for them to ticket me than it was worth it. I got off without a ticket.

This was taken as I drove way. The tall bridge to the castle would never had made me go in, so I didn't feel so bad not having gone all the way to it.

These are pictures of Doboj Fortress and the town of Doboj. The wooden structures have all been rebuilt and restored. It was a shame it was not used for tourism. The guard there gave me a tour even though we didn't speak the same language. He showed me what happened in places by mimicking being drowned, sewing, and eating as well as the lookout. I was the only one here. The town was neat to drive through. If I hadn't gone to Srebrenik, I would have explore this town more.

And that was all I took photos of. At the end of it all, we were on a United Flight for the return to the US. It was the WORST FLIGHT EVER! First of all, if you thought domestic flights were uncomfortable because of no leg room, try being on a 10.5 hour flight with no leg room. 

Then they tell you there is free personal entertainment once you are in the air, but you need to have the app on your phone, tablet or computer to use it, but you needed to have it downloaded prior to the flight. All information that would have been helpful in an email prior to the flight. I purchased one hour of internet so I could download the app, but happy us, as soon as it was able to charge my credit card, there was literally no internet for the remainder of the flight. I had to sit in boredom for 10.5 hours. I have since requested a refund for my internet. I wish I could do the same for the flight.

My iPad had about 3 hours on it, so I played angry birds for 3 hours then the last 7 was just terrible. I will NEVER EVER EVER fly United again, no matter what. The Lufthansa and the United flights cost the same, so why does a US company think its acceptable to treat its passengers like crap. From this day on, I have made two decisions about flying. Domestically, I will only fly Southwest or Virgin. Internationally, anything buy United, but I will swing the extra cost for Business Class. Just crossing my fingers to win that lottery one day so I can just fly First Class or charter my own plane.