Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Presents

This year I/We have decided to give presents from the business to the extended family - brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, and nephews.

For our Dads, they are getting flannel pillows with scripture embroidered on them.  This flannel is so incredibly soft and sews like butter.  I am making Darrell and myself one as well!

For our Moms and my Sister, they are getting these gorgeous plaid scarves (blanket type scarves) with their monogram. 

For my Brother in Law - he is getting two key fobs - one Cowboys as a joke, then Houston Texans for him to really use (my sister's idea!)

For all other sibling sets - they are getting embroidered jute coozies.

For nieces and nephews under 18, they are getting sweatshirt cinch bags with the younger ones monogram and the older ones a patch of their liking.

For my sister's nephew - a hooded towels and possibly a Tooth Goblin.

We are MUCH closer to my sister's family than the rest of the family, so they get a little more personal and unique gifts.

All these items I bought through the business, blanks that are to be embroidered or heat vinyl pressed into them.  I don't use the heat vinyl, so embroidery it is!  Everything was under $8 each - most coming in around the $5 amount.

The pillow forms we bought we at 70% off through a Joann sale, they ended up about $5 each. The flannel I paid full price for @ $8.99 a yard (on a regular sale though), but it does not take much fabric for a pillow.

The scarves were $6.50 each.  The key fobs cost me about $2.00 to make.  The coozies were $2.50 each.  The cinch bags were $5 each!  (I love them they are awesome!)  The hooded towel is the most expensive coming in at $10.  Add about $10 total for thread and stabilizer.

4 Dads @ $7.50 each = $30.00

4 Moms and Sister @ $6.50 each = $26.00

2 Key fobs @ $2.00 each = $4.00

10 coozies for 5 couples @ $2.50 each = $25.00

6 Cinch Bags for nieces and nephews @ $5.00 each = $30.00

1 Hooded Towel @ $10

$10 for thread and stabilizer

Total spent for 26 people $135.00

I really don't think that is all that bad!  We love giving to everyone, we just keep it in the budget.  This year I think we have done fabulous!  I will post pictures when I get them all done!

Do you buy for extended family?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Overhaul

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we woke up when we woke up - around 9:30 a.m.  We made sausage balls, had some coffee, then some more coffee, then another cup for good measure until about 11.  Then, we went for a slow, 2 mile walk.

Came back home, opened up the turkey to find it still frozen on one part.  Laughing, we steeped it in water to thaw quickly, why I jumped in the shower.

Once I was dressed, and discovered the turkey was now thaw, then I set that up while hubs got the potatoes started, then I got a glass of champagne and sipped while the kids and hubs set up the Christmas tree.

My son and his girlfriend came over, helped with the tree, visited while we cooked on and off.  They left for her house and we continued cooking.  My oldest son came and we were ready to go pretty soon.

We sat down and my daughter only wanted turkey, fruit salad, rolls and olives.  While others took only a couple of things as well.  After no one finishing and dinner being eaten inside of 10 minutes, we are done with Thanksgiving meals.  No one in my family really likes it anyway and I am tired of cooking all that much and it being lackluster at best.

We all talked about it afterward and decided that this was our last Thanksgiving.  What we all agreed is that is would be MUCH nicer, if we could go serve others, then come home to a simple meal - it would mean so much more.

SOOOO, that is what we are going to try to do next year. 

Now, that banana trifle was excellent!  That I just might keep.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - I hope you were able to spend it with people you love!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday's mind

I think I am doing everything I can to keep from working today, which equals to a whole lot of nothing!  My back and hip is killing me and I just want to veg out.  I have a little bit of burn out, but only because I am burning the candle at both ends.  We are planning a little get away next weekend, so that will help.

My Black Friday deals are not going too well, but, that's ok.  I am super busy and sometimes the marketing helps keep the name out there.  I need to take stock and change my tactic for future marketing projects.

As for Thanksgiving, we like keep it simple.  Holidays were very awful for me growing up, so I tend to want to over-plan and make it special, then get depressed and not do anything.  It is so odd.  So, over the past oh, 20 years or more, I have learned that keeping it low key is the best.  The holiday happens (as opposed to me completely shutting down), and the pressure is lessened on everyone.  There is no drama - thank goodness!

We are having some friends over - we all get along wonderfully and though part of me is dreading it, with my back being the way it is, I think it will be fine.  They tend to fancy it up, but I am goos-fra-ba ing it.  That is their issue - not mine.

So, with that, we are having Turkey!  This is my area.  I hate dry turkey, so I baste and remove from oven - SHOCK - before it is done!  Yes folks, it cooks even when you take it out of the oven!

Full menu that I know of right now:

Cranberry sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans w/bacon
Fruit Salad
Deviled Eggs
Banana Trifle
Pecan Pie

I think the others are bringing things, but they have not told me what yet.  Pretty simple - nothing fancy.  We will probably make soup with the left over turkey, if my oldest does not take the leftovers (I will offer push them on him).

I decided to make the day a little festive by putting up our Christmas Trees.  No other decor, just the trees.  We have a sentimental one - the biggest of them in the living room - the one with all the kids' ornaments from growing up.  Then we have two smaller ones - 1 holds all the Historical White House Ornaments and the other stores our travel ornaments - we have states, state parks, national parks, etc.  I LOVE THEM!!!!!

Anyone have multiple trees?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Black Friday Week!

It is not what most of you will think!

I do not partake in Black Friday at all - I hate the crowds and cannot stand getting up early at all - especially after the food fest the day before.

However, I am offering Black Friday deals/codes all week for my customers!  This is my first time doing this, so we will see how this goes.

This is what I am offering:

1.  Key Fob Wristlets personalized or with a sports theme for $8.  These are nice and thick - made with ribbon or fabric and batting for long life.  The cording underneath helps support the fabric and stays cleaner longer!  I love them!  Discount code good through 12/31/2016

2. Hooded Towels with personalization for $20!  This is a steal because I normally charge $30 without personalization and $35 to $45 depending on how intricate they want the add-ons.  I use Kohl's towel for the most part, but have to stray if there are specific towel colors requested. Discount Code good through 12/31/16

3. Scout Patches - I am offering to sew on 10 free scout patches (discount to be used all at once).  My scout customers are my bread and butter.  There are months I have done up to 500, so I felt like I had to offer them something!  Coupon Code good through 05/31/17

4.  Garden Flags for $15 with a name, $25 with a full design.  These are made with burlap and woven mold free fabric.  Limited quantities are available since this is something I am dabbling in.  Coupon Code good through 12/31/16

another stocking flag design

5. From the most popular item I make and by demand, I am offering the ColorBlock border on my Tshirt Quilt for FREE!  It is either this option or $40 off $200 or more.  Coupon Code good for one year from the date issued.

I am hoping my customers appreciate this and it brings in some new customers along the way.  I am so super custom, that is difficult for new customers to understand sometimes and the typical way of marketing does not work.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year for a few friends, so I have that as well, but we are trying to keep it simple.  I will save it for another post - maybe tomorrow!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

So sad today

I am going to bring it up, only in so much as it has affected me.

This election has been the worst I have ever gone through.  I have lost friends over our differences - really pathetic actually, so superficial.

So, this friend of mine, we have never agreed politically.  However, in all our differences, we had such fun - laughing, talking about the earth, social injustices, the education of our children, sewing, knitting, crocheting, art - she is/was my most well-rounded friend.

Well, she took a stand against Trump and for Clinton like no-one I have ever seen.  Last night, she wrote that she would unfriend anyone who voted for Trump (really she meant anyone against Clinton).  Now, I will not say who I voted for, but I did not vote for Clinton (don't assume only 2 parties either).  I basically told her that a new day would come, people would go to work, kids would go to school, husbands and wives would argue and love, friends would disagree and hug. 

She responded to me by saying she hoped I was right, but would hold me PERSONALLY responsibly for anything bad that happens while Trump was in office and that by NOT voting for Clinton, I was being anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-black, anti-hispanic, anti-women, basically, against any minority group, which is ludicrous.

It actually hurt my heart to be told this by a person who sat in my home drinking wine and/or coffee, who I went to her home and watched her kids.  Someone I shopped with.

I don't do these things very often or with everyone I know.

My husband said she will get over it eventually.  I know he is right, but I really hate how the media and this election has polarized this country.  Very sad indeed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Putting myself out there....again

Sometimes, I think I am a glutton for punishment, maybe sometimes I deserve it, mostly though I don't.  I am harder on myself than anyone could ever be on me.

To preface this post, I am going to give you a very brief background about my childhood and why it affects me today and why I seem to disappear, then reappear, and yes, even make bad decisions.

The first time I remember my mother beating me was when I was 3.  I said something wrong is all I remember.  She beat me with a wooden spoon until it broke, then she beat me some more.  I was in a bathroom.  That is all I remember about that time.

It was the start (in my mind) of a long 10-12 years of being physically abused often, but mental abused daily.  I was lucky in that belts, spatulas, spoons, etc were her only choices and I did not endure some of the horrors people make movies and write books about.  I just had welps and scabs - usually in places no one could see.  Once I was old enough to go to PE at school, she kept it on my back so a shirt could always cover it.

Usually I was beaten when she was in a bad mood, not really when I did something wrong, so it kind of messed me up a bit.  That and the constant name calling, degrading, gas lighting.  My mother, was and is a very sick person.

Fortunately for me, I had a wonderful grandmother that I escaped to and through her I learned how a parental figure should act and what love really was, so I don't have problems with forming long term relationships (been married 17+ years).  However, I have difficulty forming those superficial friendships, so I have very few friends - like 2, maybe.

Besides all that, we were poor, like living with a dirt floor poor.  Not my whole childhood, but enough that I remember it.

I am SO NOT looking for sympathy, just asking, please, that you refrain from attacking me.  My instinct is to flee big time.  I am not a fighter.  So, even though I am going to talk about our finances again, I don't want anyone telling me my kids will hate me, how stupid we are, etc.  Our actions may be stupid, but we are not.  We may make decisions you would not, but name calling is not called for.  I don't do it, as I know first hand how it feels.

Yes, I may be too sensitive, but I cannot help it.  Yes, I have gone to therapists, counseling both individual and in a group.  I did not carry on this abuse cycle - I do not abuse my kids in any way.  I am prone to depression and struggle with self-image, but my daughter does not, nor do my boys.  A wonderful gift I was able to give them!

So, in a nutshell - that is why I am over sensitive, make bad decisions sometimes, back off, come back, etc, etc.  Also, it is why I am asking you to be sensitive in your responses.

Now, on to the juicy part.

We are back in debt.


Wow - that took a lot of courage for me.  I have been sitting on this for several months.

Over the summer, we made 4 big purchases that are the ONLY reasons for our debt and yes, we are back on pay off mode.

1) A truck to pull our travel trailer - $29,999
2) A travel trailer to pull behind the truck - $22,000
3) A Babylock 1-needle Embroidery Machine - $6,000
4) A Babylock 10-needle Embroidery Machine - $8,500

I am guessing a little at what we bought them each for - I am not looking it up right now, but I do know our currently balances. 

Ok, current balances -

Truck loan - $27,790
Travel Trailer - $19,168
Machines - $7,705
Total - $54,663

My business is paying the machine off slowly, but personally we will pay them much faster.  They have taken my business to the next level and I am shipping to all over the country now through my website.  Mainly, embroidery items.  The quilts are still 100% local.

At this point, we have taken 6 trips in the travel trailer - one to New Mexico, which was LOVELY!

That is all for now.  I will post later about what we are doing (we made tough decisions), where the rest of the money is going, etc, etc.

That actually feels better - it was like I was holding on to a dark secret or something!