Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wednesday Review - Granola Lab

Coffee and Chocolate Granola

First, the name. I like that instead of conjuring up what granola usually does, for me anyway, patchouli and body hair (both in excess) I envision stainless steel ovens.  This is a big plus.

Price: It's $7.50 a pound which is quite reasonable. This comment is not meant to encourage GL to increase its prices.  In fact, if you are GL, skip this part. Given that the ingredients are organic and top notch and the product is hand made by some folks in Brooklyn, its a nice price point. I'd be hard pressed to pay more, it's perhaps worth more, but it's all about me right now.

Shipping: Fast. This is really important when ordering food online as normally you are ordering it because you want to eat it NOW.

Packaging: Brown coffee type bag with a plastic peekaboo window. Nice label, cute design. Ingredients listed in order. My only thought is that a caloric serving size type label is needed. I don't need the whole how many whatever of vitamin A, but, I would like to know how many calories are in how much granola. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.

Flavor: I ordered the Gingersnap and the Coffee and Chocolate flavor. Yum! In fact, despite the healthy things like raw sunflower seeds, my ten year old son LIKED the Gingersnap. I just forbade him to look at it before he tasted it. Not because it looks yuck (see pic) but because it doesn't look like a Ho Ho and therefore would be judged inedible.

Ginger Snap

The balance of flavor and ingredient is something to behold, nothing overwhelms, at no time are you feeling like you are eating something you have to because it's good for you. The Gingersnap in particular is fantastic. Think gingersnap dipped in milk.

Plus, they don't put too many raisins in it. I can't tell you how many good cereals have been ruined because of raisin overload.

The Coffee and Chocolate flavor has coffee nips in it that have been ground up enough that you don't crack a cap or lodge a nib. What? That's never happened to you? The chocolate is subtle, which i Appreciated, I was a little worried it would be like Cocoa Puffs or something but its all very cohesive.

In fact, cohesiveness is really where Granola Lab excels. I'd imagine they got pretty sick of granola by the time they figured out the right balance.  It's baked perfectly, obviously they signed a pact with Satan or something because that, in homemade granola, is not an easy thing to master.

So there you go, that's your Wednesday  review and it's tasty one too.

UPDATE: I have been in touch with the talented and charming Alex and GL is in the process of writing up a nutritional label. Alex warns that this label may not be great news, as granola is high in calories. I assured Alex that anyone who cares enough to ask is painfully aware of that. The trick is finding granola that is worth the caloric intake, which, I can state with utter conviction, GL's is.


Ducks, rows, all that good stuff. I have learned mostly how to use a MacBook, spreadsheets of the simplest kind, Bento 3 and iPhoto. Now I have to take pictures. Which I enjoy doing about as much as I don't know, dentistry maybe? Except I have a Xanax script for dental work.

At this point I have just put the the idea of making new things aside. Spending the rest of this year working on The Big Plan. Which, for now, seems to consist of me figuring out some sort of reasonable lifestyle. You know, where I give up the do everything notion and figure out what can be done?

Just that part should take me well into December.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You know when you stumble on a song

you haven't heard in like, forever? I was making my KC & The Sunshine band mix and ran across this in a disco 80's hit selection. I have no idea why. But man, this song just killed me when it came out and while I can't recall when that was, I'm 44 now so it was a while ago indeed.

Oh, and remember when music videos were you know, videos of the band playing music with maybe some dried ice?


and if you are killing time, here's my mix list.

Get Down Tonight -   KC
More More More -      Andrea True
Thats The Way I like It -  KC
If ya think I'm sexy - Rod Stewart  (OMG this song just makes me stupid giddy)
My House  - Shannon
Kiss - Prince
I Was Made For Dancing - Leif Garret
I'm Your Boogie Man - KC
First Cut is The Deepest - Stewart
You Drooped a Bomb On Me - Gap Band
Purple Rain - Prince (duh, right?)
Boogie Shoes - KC
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Can't remember, damn.
When Doves Cry - Prince
Young Turks - Stewart (another song that makes me all wistful and happy)
Shake Shake Shake - KC
It's Different For Girls - Joe Jackson
Driver Seat - Sniff 'n' the Tears (what a name, right?)

Kick Ass

In case anyone wonders,

I'm fine, just busy. Busy like redoing the house as far as the 'office' and bedrooms being organized. Busy as in learning like, five different software programs and how to use a MacBook. Busy as in "Oh, shit, these have to go in the craft room too..."

So its all good busy. Part of The Big Plan for next year. So, Happy Turkey Day and I'll catch up with you as soon as I can. God willing, next year will be great, albeit its a low bar to beat this year.

Now where is that filing cabinet?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm just gonna come out and say it.

No, The Beatles on iTunes is not a life changing event nor is it 'a day I will always remember'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AKA Etsy Forum Affliction

explodExploding head syndrome December 13, 2006

Posted by Dr. Bertalan Mesk√≥ in HealthInventionMedicineSyndrome,science

Don’t worry, it’s not about a horror movie. Exploding head syndrome is a moderate psychological condition. Wikipedia article says:
Exploding head syndrome is a rare condition that causes the sufferer to occasionally experience a tremendously loud noise as if from within his or her own head, usually described as an explosion or a roar. This usually occurs within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not the result of a dream. Although perceived as tremendously loud, the noise is usually not accompanied by pain.
Usually, it’s described as a loud bang, a clash of cymbals or a bomb exploding. The problem is that most of the patients can’t even realize they have exploding head syndrome and won’t go to doctor. But on the other hand, currently there isn’t any efficient treatment. Reducing stress may help;Clomipramine has been used in three patients, who experienced immediate relief from this condition.
It is also important to know if there is something else that is causing the imagined sound. Instead of being exploding head syndrome, it may be a result of one of the following:
  • Another sleep disorder
  • A medical condition
  • Medication use
  • A mental health disorder
  • Substance abuse
Obviously this researcher hasn't spent any time on the Etsy Forums much less spoken with an Etsy seller. Had they done so this article would have been so much more informative. 
Everyone knows the REAL cause of Exploding Head Syndrome is Etsy.

If you squeeze hard enough FP regulars pop out.
Squeeze this...

Etsy Customer Service
Stress Weiner


So last night I wake up at two am and am in really bad pain. I take six Advil and nope. Think about the cold I can't get rid of and start to freak out thinking I have Spinal Meningitis. It's my neck, see, the source of all stored tension and the reason why, in the time before time, I had a massage every two weeks.

I've pinched a nerve between my neck and my shoulder and it's really gone downhill from there. As long as I don't move my head I'm fine, but the longer I don't move my head the tighter everything gets and it's hurt like a MF.

I have an appointment for Thursday. It's fucking demoralizing. Monday was supposed to me go to the gym, start new work schedule, take pics and so far Sunday is just Manage to Drive without yelling 'Ow!' every three seconds. You know, sometimes, it's hard to believe someone isn't out there fucking with you. Seriously.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

So... beautiful....

So my Bernina is in the shop. Good thing is she thinks it will only be a couple weeks and not the usual 4 to 6 because well, everyone is holding onto their machine during holiday season.

Plus they will replace the door and the thread holder and service it for about $130 which is less then I was originally told.

In the interim I did something stupid and totally unlike me and bought a cheap ($130) Singer from JoAnn's to have as a back up machine. The minute I took it out I could tell the difference. I know people use them and blah blah and some can't understand HOW anyone can spend $2000 and up on a machine when blah blah.

I am convinced that none of these people have ever used a high end machine. There is a huge difference is quality and workmanship from the bobbins to the casing to the motor. I'm not passing judgment, but it does get my back up when people who choose use low end machine's behave as if using a high end is some crazy choice based on nothing more then a desire to be 'fancy'. I'm pretty sure if they spent a few hours with my Bernina they'd get it. Or at least lose the weird sanctimony.

The Singer was a piece of crap that out of the box refused to work properly and I'm not a sewing novice. Bear in mind I'm also not a part time seamstress, this is a tool I need in order to make what I sell. To make it even better, Joanns won't take the damn thing back, so it's going on Craigslist. I'm sure someone can make it work.


I still needed a back up machine. So I got a refurbished Juki. I prefer to buy refurbished when possible because my experience is that they always work out of the box having been put through rigorous testing. With a higher end machine you aren't saving more then usually $100 but I know it's been tested, oiled and all that good stuff. You still have the warranty, Juki's have a 5 year warranty which is pretty good.

This Juki is a quilting/semi industrial machine. All it does is straight stitch. Which for most of what I do is fine. But, the fantastic things about it are huge foot pedal which also cuts the thread, the pressure foot knee lift and the needle down position.

The needle down position option is crucial for people like me who make plushes. It's a deal breaker and while my Bernina has it, the other Bernina's I was looking at (higher end) don't. That was a bit of a surprise. Juki also has a handy reverse stitch lever and a HUGE extension table. This saves me $45 for the custom inset for my table.

I'm very pleased, it's top quality and aluminum. The extension table is heavy duty thick plastic.

Again, I have nothing against regular old sewing machines, although I will never buy a Singer again. I do think you should buy the best tools you can afford. Do I sound defensive? lol  I'm sure the Singer will make someone very happy, although the reviews I've read since buying it don't bode well.

As for me, I'm satisfied and looking forward to seeing what this little beauty (or not so little) can do. I may even start quilting again...

Juki TL98Q Quilting Sewing Machine

Juki TL98Q Quilting Sewing Machine
The new TL98Q lockstitch machine was developed by Juki to preserve the inspiration and design sewn into every quilt. The TL-98Q performs truly consistent, smooth, even stitching to secure quilt seams.
Today's quilters can now streamline projects as they operate basic sewing functions by foot pedal, simplify chain piecing by raising and lowering the presser foot by knee lift, efficiently trim threads quickly and enjoy a wider work area for larger quilts. The TL98Q sews at high speeds up to 1,500 stitches per minute, is equipped with drop feed, an automatic needle threader, easy bobbin replacement and an extension table as standard. Also provided are two great new quilting feet for free motion and embroidery, a 1/4 seam piecing foot, a walking foot for difficult-to -feed materials, and additional feet for hemming and zipper attaching.

Two Types of Quilting Foot / Drop FeedTwo types of quilting feet are supplied as standard accessories with the machine. A 1/5 Quilting Foot is used for basic quilting and the 1/4 Quilting Foot for precision sewing with 1/4 inch stitch width.
The feed dog can be raised and lowered simply by depressing a switch. When quilting, the drop feed allows you to sew curved stitches with ease.

Even Feed FootWith its reliable feed, the even feed foot ensures the machine's ability to produce beautiful seams when sewing difficult-to-feed fabrics, such as georgette and velvet, as well as heavy-weight materials such as leather.

Automatic Thread TrimmerThe machine is equipped with an automatic thread trimming device that simultaneously cuts the needle and bobbin threads at the sewing end by lightly pressing the push-button. It uses the thread trimming mechanism that is similar to the industrial sewing machine type.

Foot Pedal Switch for Thread TrimmingAs with an industrial sewing machine, the thread trimmer can be activated with the foot pedal switch. It greatly increases sewing efficiency.

Easy Bobbin ReplacementA new bobbin case latch and an enlarged bobbin case are make it easier to remove and replace the bobbin.

Automatic Needle ThreaderThe push lever automatic needle threader easily threads the needle without eye strain and allows you to start sewing quickly.

Knee Lifter LeverThe knee lifter lever allows you to lift / lower the presser foot without using your hands.

Presser Foot Pressure AdjustmentPresser foot pressure can be adjusted according to the fabric being sewn by turning a regulator located on the top of the machine.

Heavy-Weight Materials are Sewn with EaseThe speed control mechanism, operated by microcomputer, allows the machine to sew material at low speeds. This provides for accurate feed and perfect stitching when sewing heavy-weight fabrics, quilting and multiple layers of materials.

Predetermined Stop Position of the NeedleTo move the needle up or down as desired, simply press the needle up/down button. When the button is pressed continuously, the machine sews stitch-by-stitch at low speed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Space!

Sorry, I'm too lazy to cut and paste everything here to, so go here.... Blue Dot Shops Blog and all will be revealed...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Evil Santa, Martha Stewart and a pack of Chow Chows

Well it figures. Santa hates me. It's obvious. All this time I thought Christmases as a kid sucked because between welfare and an insane Mother well, they sucked.

I know now that the reason Christmas always sucked is because Santa is trying to kill me. I don't know if it's a competition thing, if he feels like my hand crafted goods somehow threaten his mass produced ones, maybe he just doesn't like women, or dogs, or both.

It's the only thing that makes sense, really. Otherwise how would any rational person explain the perfect storm of illness, home remodeling and the break down of an otherwise stalwart sewing machine? Or maybe they could, but faced with the utter lack of motivation on my part coupled with the head exploding learning 'curve' that is Photoshop and picture taking, it's all very clear.

In fact, I bet I was born into a really nice, wealthy family. Santa must have like, a Magic Mirror which foretold of my creative abilities. Sent elves out to look for me, scour the earth and then when they found me, stuck me with a crazy woman.

Who knows? Had I not been cruelly kidnapped and displaced I could have, with my well adjusted parental support and barrels of cash, had my own kick ass Workshop. Maybe even offered those poor Elves a better pay scale and benefits, plus it's a lot warmer here.

Despite Santa's black and evil heart, I did manage to survive. And while I'm years behind where I could have been I make some pretty nice stuff. I figure what happened is Martha Stewart ratted me out. That bitch has always been jealous. Her Chows must have tracked me down (Martha and Chow Chows are like bread and biting butter) despite my own dogs covering me with hair and saliva in an attempt to damp down my scent.

So what does Santa do? It's glaringly obvious. Breaks my machine and uses some weird elven based mind control to remove all my motivation and desire to craft anything more then a, well, anything. Of course, now that I know, I can start to pull myself together.

I'm pretty sure this means listing much for Christmas is a bust. Almost all my Grumpy stuff is on consignment. Santa can't touch that. Although, if I start seeing my monsters mass produced, I'll know who to blame. SO for now, I'm resigned. That sounds so much more noble then burnt out and wanting to kill someone. Which isn't a very 'accepting' set of behaviors.

My apologies to anyone waiting for inventory to be listed. I can't imagine much will before the first week of December. Then I have to get it all up before the Easter Bunny starts in...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Am I having fun yet?


Sorry but Etsy pretty much ruined orange for me.

Set Two

This reminds me of a first grade school picture.

I have some off white felt somewhere, if that doesn't work, then that's just too damn bad. I can't recall the last time a process sucked all the joy out of making things as much as this one is. I'm not enjoying the 'learning process' I'm not enjoying any of it. At all. In fact I'm getting close to fucking hating it with a pinch of total demoralization thrown in.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting there

So here is the latest Photoshop/Light box picture. I figure at this rate I will simply raise my prices a kajillion and that will cover the time it takes to get one picture.

I tried just the white background but the poor things look so lifeless.

And yeah, I know, I need to iron the back drop. This is all Auto Fix, dude.

Monday, November 1, 2010

But, but....

I just wanted to make stuff and sell it.....

Good gravy. Who knew? Between the registering the business names and moving the work space and gathering the patterns and what not I haven't made nothin'.

It is with a heavy whiny crybaby heart I admit that i need to learn *sigh* Photoshop. Because everyone else's pics on The Dot are better then mine. Except for my soap ones. Who the hell KNEW plushes were so damn difficult to photograph?

Not me. Obviously.

This had lead me to the other realisation that any hopes I had of making and listing in time for Christmas shopping is kaput. The realisation and acceptance sort of takes a bit of the pressure off though. I need to remind myself that I am in this for the long term long haul for real I'm a genuine business thing.

It's kinda funny really, how people say "You should sell those." as if all you have to do is stand on the back of a truck and pass whatever out.

I cannot express, fully, the desire I lack to learn Photoshop. I hate taking pics. It is, I think, the most tedious aspect of this business. I tried to read my Photoshop for Dumbasses while waiting for Gabriel after school but kept falling asleep. If I suffered from insomnia this would be great, but since my problem is staying awake, not so much.

I have an Expenses binder now. Now, if I can find that consignment agreement I was supposed to send in last  week....