Thursday, October 20, 2016

Solving a homeschool/work problem?

When we decided to homeschool this time, my business was still in the slow stages.  I got a little work here and there, I was still sewing for pleasure.  It was doable with homeschool in a BIG way.

However, I did a small show in February highlighting my tshirt quilts at a drill team competition.  It has turned out to be a GREAT event for business.  I have gotten 6 orders from direct customers AND 6-9 (can't remember off the top of my head) from them telling friends.

Then in the summer, I sent my info to the scout leaders in the area telling them about my ability to sew patches on uniforms.  Woo boy - that was an amazing marketing strategy.  I may be getting a contract with a local shop to do all the pre-orders.

Also, I ran a few Facebook ads from late August to just about a month ago - maybe 6 ad runs.  It brought likes for my page up from 150 to over 500.  Now, this brought in more than I could have ever imagined.  The $100 or so I spent on all the ads looks small comparatively to what I brought in. 

Besides that, I added 2 embroidery machines to the mix. 

Needless to say - I am slammed beyond measure and really could use a part-time employee (maybe 10-15 hours a week).  I am trying to train my daughter, but she is not really interested.

What does this have to do with homeschool?  Well, it is seriously difficult to homeschool while customers are knocking on the door, calling, texting, emailing, etc. 

The kids are old enough that most of their work is self directed, but I do like to check their math as they go, explain the writing, talk about the history, etc.  However, this means I may have 15 minutes while they are working, then 1 has a question, then 5 minutes and another has a question, then one is ready for the test, or ready to talk about the writing the assignment, then I may get 30 minutes, but then it is time for math (for the 1st), then another 20 minutes, and it is time for math for the other.  It goes on like this until about 2 in the afternoon. While getting up and going in the morning, I am starting to get wind down for the day when really, it is time for me to just start my job!

So, since something has to give, it is the homeschooling aspect.  We found a really neat school that is part private/part homeschool.  For two days they go to private school and then for two days, they homeschool.  They get one day per week for their extra curriculars.  I would not have to plan, grade or facilitate any curriculum - I am just there on the homeschool days to answer questions and make sure they finish.  Which, my kiddos do fine already. 

This means 2 days a week, I can work without interruption.  2 days I can work a little more than I am doing now, and 1 day will be up in the air, because I do not know what their extra curriculars will be like.

This system helps me keep the homeschool part I love, while getting rid of the administrative portion (which is huge!)

The cost is less than 1/2 of a private school, but they get the benefits of it.  It is a classical private school, so they will learn Latin, Rhetoric and most classes are taught in with the Socratic method - which I LOVE.

We have to go through the admissions process still, but I have a really good feeling about it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Leaving Texas?

 Sorry, title change - the content did not reflect the previous one of Getting into the Flow...

The past couple of months have been very difficult for me.  Starting a new aspect of my work, starting homeschooling up, a show, a trip, a learning curve that is through the roof.

My to-do list gets longer everyday and though I am running to keep up, it just seemed to be getting away from me.  I already cut out non-essentials.  I hardly ever see friends - literally, they are not calling any more at all.  I work around 16 hours a day, every single day.  I have not been out on a date with my husband since who knows when.   Our dates consist of running errands.  I am not reading, cleaning, cooking, working out or anything.

If it does not involve my work or homeschool, it does not get done.

Sigh.  No life at all.

However, I just closed accepting anymore quilts until every single one I have is complete.  I already have a waiting list.  To me, this is insane.  People are willing to wait 6+ months for one of my quilts.  Yes, I have raised the prices.

We just got back from our trip to New Mexico.  Sigh.  I seriously did not want to return to the hotter than hell and humid as hell place we live.  Darrell got sick immediately upon returning and my lethargy hit me again.  My eye is twitching and the bad sleeping returned.  I did not want to drink once while we were on the trip!

Yes, work play into this, but the fact is, we hate this city.  We want to leave, but work keeps us here.  We are currently brainstorming ideas on moving out of Texas, but I never know where life will leave us.

As for homeschool, this morning was the best yet!  We have been struggling to make it work, but getting up 1/2 hour earlier and doing math first thing makes for a very lovely day.  All done before lunch!

Now off to take Laney to sign language class and a run to Joanns for me.  I need thread in a BIG way!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I am drowning.  I have so much to make for the business.  Saying I am underwater is understating it!

I currently have 20 quilts on order - 18 due by Christmas. 

One customer is bring me TONS of applique and embroidery.

I keep thinking if I get over this hump, then I can get back on top of things and move forward.  I LOVE this job - the only one I really have ever loved.  Seems as though people are seeing that because just when I think I am starting to make headway, more come rolling in.

Yes, part of this is my fault, because I cannot say no!  Because so much of what I do is memory oriented, the stories are so sad! 

My son killed himself before he could find out his girlfriend was pregnant with his son.  My grandson is turning 1 now and I want to give him a memory bear from the shirt his Dad (her son) used to wear all the time.  Along with the bear, I am giving him a picture of his father wearing the shirt.

 This is just one story, there are many others!  The husband died and she wants a quilt from all his Harley shirts, a grandmother is surprising her grandchild with a quilt from all the competition shirts she saved,  pictures taken from a PeaceCorp expedition that she wants incorporated into a quilt, birthday this, Christmas that. 

Most break my heart and I cry a bit when I am making them.  Others are just for fun times and to their excitement makes it too hard to say no. 

My current delivery time is March 2017 and people are still ordering!  They don't care!  Some do and want an earlier time, but most are ok with it.

I am still sewing patches and embroidering - LOTS and LOTS of hooded towels.  They are fairly quick and fun though.  Not pushing, but just in case - yes, I can ship, so if you want one just let me know!  I also personalize them.  They are $25 as is, and $30 with an embroidered name.  I have over 100 styles, too!

So much more going on, but I have to get back to work.  Deadlines to meet!