Thursday, August 8, 2013

Roses, Violets and Viruses

Hi, everyone!  I haven't posted lately (tsk, tsk!) because I've been really busy sewing garments for the gallery.  So far I've mailed twelve, the most recent mailing accomplished yesterday, and the owner of the gallery fell in love with them, telling me when she received the first batch, "They're so cute I can't stand it! (LOL)."  I haven't received word on whether any of them have sold, but I probably won't know until September 1, when she pays her artists via PayPal.

Here's a pic of a dress I mailed yesterday, one I've decided to make exclusive to the gallery (not for listing on Etsy):
I've dubbed this the "Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue" Dog Dress, and it's available in both the Small and XSmall sizes.

For about the past month, viruses were the story of my computing life.  Over that period of time I noticed worsening aggravation in the form of unexpected web pages and windows surfacing when I'd typed a URL into the address bar.  It became intensely aggravating yesterday evening, and I hardly had any peace with the machine until this afternoon, when I threw up my hands and called that wonderful techsupport company with which I've had a three-year contact since December of 2010.  The company,, is located in India, and their expertise is awesome; they've resolved every software issue I've had, ranging from unexpected change to my Internet Home Page from MSN to Google to computer viruses, which was the cause of my most recent headaches.  The technician found over 40 viruses!  I came out of this experience $79.95 poorer, since the technician sold me a wonderful virus protection program, which is much better than what I'd been using, a program known as Total Defense, which automatically performs weekly scans and virus eradication.

Other tasks beckon, so I must close for now.  Take care!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cowdogs and Pink Lemonade

Hi, everyone!  I'm glad to be back, and if it wasn't for my wonderful technical support company in India,, you'd still be waiting for this post.  iYogi, with which I've had a three-year contract, has been a lifesaver, bailing me out of miscellaneous software issues time after time.  My most recent experiences with iYogi have largely resulted from failure of the cursor to remain in this text box for a long enough time for me to post.  All I can say (aside from my high opinion of iYogi technicians' expertise) is: computers - aaagh!  I think most computer users have a love/hate relationship with them.

Now for my most recent Etsy listing, which I posted this morning.  The listing will do double-duty, since I'm also sending the item in the photo to the Fort Myers, Florida gallery I mentioned in a recent post.  So far I've sewn four items for the gallery; four down and two to go before I mail the garments to the owner.
Now you see what I mean by "Cowdogs."  As I said in the Etsy listing, how can anyone resist this print?  A brief  look at the photo on the fabric supplier's website, my first thought was, "Done deal!"  I've never seen anything this cool!  Months ago I first used it on the bodice of my Western Shirt, Stonewashed Jeans & Bandanna listing, one of which I've sold so far.

I expect to mail the completed items to the gallery by Friday,  I'll be back then with some pics of them.  I'm really excited about this opportunity, especially because the gallery's owner has informed me that if I send no fewer than six items, she'll arrange them in a display for really good exposure!  I can hardly wait!

Time for a really yummy recipe, Pink Lemonade Fudge: 24 servings

1 8-oz. can pink lemonade frosting
1 3-oz. packet pink lemonade powdered drink mix
small amount of vegetable oil
sprinkles (optional)

Line an 5" x 8" pan with foil extending over the edges of the pan.  Very lightly mist with cooking spray and set aside.  In a microwaveable bowl, melt the white chocolate chips for 1 minute on high.  Stir, then add a small splash of vegetable oil and heat (on high) in microwave for about 30 seconds, until completely melted and smooth (avoid burning the chocolate).  Stir in the drink mix and immediately stir in the frosting.  Combine thoroughly.  Spread the fudge mix evenly in the prepared pan and top with sprinkles if desired.  Refrigerate for about two hours to set.  Cut into swqures to serve.  Store airtight for about 4 says.

I promise to return around the end of the week to post the gallery item photos.  Take care!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Do You Think I Like Bright Colors?

A resounding "yes," as the photo shows:
I listed it this afternoon, and will have more dresses of this type as well as shorter harnesses for les girls and the "boys." 

I'll soon be expanding into another venue, which I'm really excited about: an upscale consignment gallery in Fort Myers, Florida.  Yesterday afternoon, the owner of the gallery sent me a Convo starting with, "I love your items!"  What's unusual about this arrangement is that she's asking me to add her 40% commission to my standard prices, which means I'll do as well as I do on Etsy - actually, even better, since nothing whatsoever will be deducted from my proceeds, whereas Etsy deducts a small amount.  I'll need to download a contract, sign and date it, and enclose it with the items, which I'll mail to her.  The name of the gallery is Savvy on First Gallery.

Last week I mailed another short harness to my regular buyer, who, as usual, waxed enthusiastic over it.  Here's a pic:

Once a buyer has ordered something from me, a proper fit is guaranteed, since a while back I started translating each dog's measurements onto patterns I make.  To make each pattern, I tape several 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper together and then draw a pattern on it, onto which I enter notes about the desired length of a D-ring holder and other measurements.  I'm posting a photo of one of my patterns so you can see what I mean.  As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words:
On this pattern the word "Juicy" is the largest.  That's the name of one of my regular buyer's dogs.  As an aside, I name each garment I make for this dog, and list as a sample, after her, as you can see in the pertinent listings.  I've also listed some "Violet" garments, named after this buyer's other dog who wears some of my garments, and I've listed a "Penny" gown, named after another boyer's dog, as well.

Gotta go now.  Be back later with a mouth-watering recipe.  Take care!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm Back

If at first you don't succeed, try again.  Here's the photo I promised in my last post:
My friends flew to the Dominican Republic Saturday, and the last time I talked to her was when she called from the airport.  For some mysterious reason she hasn't been able to contact me since then, even though she'd promised to get an international calling card and call me the following day.  I've been receiving their mail in my care, and two important pieces of mail have arrived since they left, so I really need to speak with her.  A while ago I got the bright idea of emailing their congregation there in an attempt to get the communication wheels turning.  I know, from having lived overseas, how communications to and from third world countries can pose a challenge, but waiting for her to call is nonetheless frustrating, so I'm hoping my email will end up generating a call from my friend.

Time to close for now.  Take care, and I ptromise to be back soon with a recipe (no time to find any lately).

Been Too Busy to Post

Hi, everyone!  I just checked the date of my last post, and to my dismay I discovered I haven't posted here for 3 1/2 week (sorry about that).  I've been so busy, between processing what I took to calling my Big Kahuna order, helping a dear friend get ready for her and her husband's move to the Dominican Republic, etc.  I've finally been able to "come up for air."

Last Monday I mailed the Big Kahuna order, consisting of five items for the buyer's three dogs: the Executive Dress Shirt & Blue Tie and the pansy print harness for two of her dogs and, for her other pooch, a pink flannel butterfly print harness (doubling as a recent sample listing, pictured below), the dress with a baby blue bodice, three vertical rows of lace and yellow flowered skirt, and the flannel Poky Little Puppy Dress.  I was soooo excited when I checked my Shop Stats the day she ordered them, and saw what she'd ordered as well as what she paid for them!  She wanted a D-ring and closed neck front on each garment.

The dress with the lace-trimmed baby blue bodice and yellow flowered skirt took the longest to make - six hours for a tiny dog's dress! - because, being meticulous by nature, I wanted to make absolutely sure the rows of lace were centered just so and applied securely with Liquid Stitch fabric glue (which, by the way, I swear by for application of trims).

I know I'm admitting to a stereotype - especially because I'm not of pure Swiss ancestry - but some years ago a friend and I saw a diorama, displayed at a museum, of a finely detailed wooden farm, made by some Swiss people.  According to the legend, the Swiss are noted for excellence at precision work, which came as no surprise to my friend and me because of the precision timepieces for which the Swiss are renowned.  When it comes to exactitude in measuring and creating dog apparel, my middle name should be "meticulous," which makes me well suited for the handmade dog apparel business.

I usually have orders ready for mailing two days after receiving them, but preparation of the Big Kahuna order took just five days, since I didn't want to keep the buyer waiting too long.  The first day was devoted to measuring and making a pattern for each dog's garment, then sewing the following four days.

I'm having a problem posting text underneath the photo, so I'll have to close for now.  Be back shortly.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

And Another Style!

Hi, everyone!

More brand new stuff in my Shop!  Yesterday I listed a short version of the "Juicy" and "Violet" clothes, a harness with an almost 2" ruffle.  Doesn't Dominique look adorable in it?

When it comes to refinement of photos, the expression "live and learn" just came to mind.  To come up with a decent pic I had to suffer through five shooting sessions, as I kept ending up with an infuriating yellow shadow.  What was most maddening was that the more I tried tweaking on the photo editing site, the worse they came out.  But with what turned out to thankfully be the final attempt (what you see here with Dom modeling), all I needed to do was increase the contrast , do the invariable cropping, and sharpen.  My sigh of relief could almost be heard in Moscow!

This experience has taught me to avoid posing Dom in such a way that a shadow would result.  As I knew before, the time of day is also important; never when it's dark, even with artificial light, which can impart an overall yellow tint to photos.

To change the subject, it's getting to be really hot here in Florida, yet from what I see in Etsy Expat Team members' posts, it's still cold in France.  Their posts take me back years ago to the time my then-husband and I were in London in June.  It was so cold I had a terrible time using the camera's controls to take pics of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace!  We couldn't believe it!

Speaking of weather, my heart goes out to the people in Oklahoma.  Natural disasters have become much more frequent than they used to be.  Christ accurately (not surprisingly) foretold that in Matthew chapter 24.

Other responsibilities beckon, so I need to sign off for now.  Have a glorious day!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Exciting New Dog Apparel Line (Yes, Another One to choose from!)

Hi, everyone!  I hope all has been well with you and your pets if you have them.

My regular buyer has raved about the harness clothes I've made for two of her teacup Chihuahuas, and so far she's ordered eleven garments (more than that if I lost count) in the past 5-6 months.  Her enthusiasm about my designs and workmanship has increased to the point where she recently started twisting my arm to start listing garments of that style.  A few days ago I yielded to her persuasion, and so far I've listed three.  Here they are:

Dog clothes of this type are so versatile, since they double as a high fashion garment and a harness; a D-ring is attached by means of a length of cloth fastened vertically to the bodice.  They really don't take much longer to make than the styles I'd previously listed, which have no D-ring and are closed at the front of the neck (no Velcro there unless the buyer requests it, and I've offered optional D-rings).

I mailed her last order two days ago, and she's already talking about her next order.  I'm so happy to have her as a regular buyer!

To change the subject, I just had an aggravating experience with part of a social networking site, the name of which will be anonymous here.  I was recently emailed an invitation to join a group of crafters.  Accepting the invitation, little did I know that participation in it would be so heavily regimented, with the person in charge of the group giving orders as to where to post, how often to post, what each post should consist of, and by what means we must post.  On finding that out I beat a hasty retreat from the group and have decided to start one of my own with no rules aside from the common-sense one of showing friendliness in posts, period.

What's so sad about the extreme regimentation of that group is that it promises an increase in sales, which may be materializing for me despite my brief tenure.  This morning I received an inquiry regarding my shipping costs.

How anyone can stand to remain a member under those conditions is beyond me, and other members expressed similar feelings, saying that they're afraid to post anything.

Thanks for letting me vent.  Stay tuned for more info, which will appear here once I find out how to fill out the required form for starting a group without getting an error message telling me I need to enter invitees' names, which I'd tried doing.  When it comes to computers, never a dull moment!