Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Lost My Temper and Can't Seem to Find It...

The other day, I went to our local craft store for some supplies. Because of our budget, I always try to look at the discount and sale items first. So, I go to the discount shelf - and see a treasure: several pieces of Zweigart linen. Of course, I pick one up - what a deal, what a surprise, what a... never mind. I get to the cash register, and the girl tells me it's a mistake, an oversight, the price on this item is three times what I expected.... It was not even supposed to be on the sale rack.
It's not the first time this happened at our store: I see something in the discount bin, I pick it up, and at the cash register there is a "misunderstanding." In the past, I just refused the item and went on my way, slightly disappointed. But this time, I snapped. This was the last straw. I requested to talk to the manager. The impertinent tone of the cashier asking "Regarding what??" only confirmed it for me that something had to be done...
When the manager came, I explained to her the situation, and she was on my side. Wow, that's a first. She even said that they would honor the sale price of the item - it's their policy: after all, it's not my fault they put it on the wrong shelf.
The wrong price of material was the obvious trigger of my temper tantrum. I think, though, the real reason for my "rebellion" is deeper than wanting a piece of stitching material.... I come to this store at least once a week, and every time I know exactly what I am looking for. I know about different types of stitching cloth and the stitch count. That is why it is frustrating for me to talk to the personnel of that store - they do not seem to know anything related to this craft. Every time I asked for help finding something, they could not help me, because they did not know what I was talking about: "Eh, Aida? Evenweave? I am not sure we have it..." One time, I had to explain to the employee what poly-fil was: "You know, stuffing for pillows? Comes in bags, looks like cotton puffs?" He still did not know... Finally, I located it by myself, and one thing I was thinking - I could do this job so much better... Yet, he is doing it instead. When I tried to apply at our local craft store, I was deemed "overqualified"....  If that means I actually know my stitching stuff - I am guilty...
In the end, I got what I came for, and got my "treasure." But beneath the surface, there is so much more...

Thank you for reading my rant. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My First Blog Award Ever!

It seems this is the time for firsts. The other day I posted my first design; yesterday I received my first blog award... In my experience, all things come in threes, so I wonder - what is the third "first" in store?
My first blog award is called The Liebster Blog.

Leibster is a German word meaning favorite, dearest or beloved. The Leibster is awarded by bloggers to other new (and not so new) bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers., to help spread the word and help the new talented bloggers gain wider recognition. 
The Leibster award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy:
1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award the Liebster to
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them
3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don't know about you.

Thank you so much, Michele, for choosing me as one of your winners. Your blog Stitches is interesting, creative, and true. If I could, I would give it a "Cute-free" award. (I hope it came out as a compliment - I don't like "cute" things.)

The five blogs I chose for this amazing award are...
1. Laura at Cross Stitch A to Z
2. Jeanine at Made by Pien
3. Chris at Always Smiling
5. Nadezjda at MamaTita

Each one of these ladies is very creative, please visit their blogs and see for yourself.

Five random facts about me... Hmm, that could take some time. One fact I already shared...
1. I don't like "cute" things. Bunnies, fluffy sad-eyed toys, "baby" voices some adults use when speaking to children - they annoy me. Because of that, some people find me "rough" or even "rude" (quoting the sources). But, that is just the way I am.
2. I do not like Disneyland. This dislike was so sudden it was a surprise to me. I was there with my kids one winter when I suddenly saw it not as an amusement park, but as one big shopping mall... with lines for attractions. From that day on, I don't like Disneyland.
3. My favorite shows are "Family Guy" and "Rescue Me." To some who know me it may seem strange because I (almost) never curse and don't laugh at tacky jokes. But to me, the first show is the basic and funny illustration of the current problems in society (and tacky jokes fit in), and the second show is as real as life is - so cursing often seems appropriate...
4. My favorite color is blue - the darker the better. I cannot stand pink.
5. For a long time, I have been able to convince my children that I had invisible eyes in the back of my head. 

Thank you, and have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My First Big Design

About a month ago my niece asked me if I could stitch her a verse she loved: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Yesterday, I put in the final stitches in, and this is what came out.

My first real design... Surprisingly for myself, I do not even have the official chart drawn yet. All my work was done in Word and on paper. Word - for proper centering (and it still came out different from the original - of course); on paper - approximate sketches of the border, based on some ideas from magazines... Most of it was in my head, though. So, when I stitched the border, it felt more like drawing or painting than stitching. What would be the right color? How would the branch twist? Same thing happened with the leaves: I was just trying to make them look more natural.
My niece says she loves it... First design - first success! She will pick it up next week. In the meantime, that will give me a chance to draw the "official chart...
Wait.... does that mean I am now a designer???

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Quick Stitching Update

With all the business and job searching talk, I almost forgot to mention the project I work on for sheer pleasure. Here it is, in progress....

Hogwarts Crest in the making
I have been looking for a good pattern of Hogwarts Crest for a long time, and there it is - designed by littlemojo. (Unfortunately, I do not know the designer's real name. This was the nickname used on the Harry Potter Fans web site.)
Stitching this project goes perfectly with watching British sitcoms and murder mysteries. My survival pack: a cup of tea with a biscuit, a face of Tom Barnaby on the TV screen, and the stitching.
To everyone out there with a needle in their hand, have a good stitch! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Business-like thoughts

At the beginning of the school year my daughters came home from school with "exciting" news: their field trips are no longer sponsored through school, they can only go if they collect enough money - through fundraising. Fundraising is not my favorite activity: I firmly believe that children go to school to prepare for college, not to acquire rudimentary selling skills. So, fundraising was a "no."
Instead, I made a different deal with my children: for every item I sell on Etsy (at my online store), I donate $1 to their class, cash. That way, everything I gave to school would actually go to the classroom, and, additionally, it would not put a squeeze on our already overstretched budget - since the money comes out of the profits.
Well, it's time to pay up. As of today, I have made my 11th sale on Etsy. In addition to that, I have sold some items on Tophatter - an auction site for anything and everything, handmade and not. My children have earned about $20 - fair and square.
Of course, for many people out there 20 sales is not much. I see shops on Etsy that have hundreds and thousands of sales. But - for me it's a milestone. A good start. Something to hope for. And - a way to contribute to my kids' classrooms without having to buy things I don't need. In the times of financial strain, every (seemingly) little thing makes a big difference.

For the Love of Stitching is still developing and taking shape. It will be a while before I can call a business in the official way. But every new visit, every new sale, every suggestion brings it closer to the goal. Please visit and let me know what you think. All feedback is appreciated, and constructive criticism is welcome.