So it is over! ( mostly) The holiday season has come to a close…and yet, we are still busy. So busy, in fact, that I have not been able to blog over the last week and things are piling up! So now that I have the time, there is just so much to blog about! Add on top of that, the computer TOTALLY MELTING DOWN and having to be lobotomize! Even now I’m struggling to get all of my upgrades back and things running as they once were. So where shall we begin?
I guess with the Stocking season. Things settled down after last Tuesday, but continued to trickle in every day just to be annoying. Even now, we have 8 stockings to make AFTER CHRISTMAS! Annoying is not really the right word. Surprise and Awesomeness should really be the words to describe it. Last year, we stopped selling everything the week after Christmas. Perhaps this is a good sign that we will continue to sell a few as the new year comes into being. Cheryl is excited about new designs and colors and can’t wait to try out some of her ideas for Easter. We shall see what 2014 has in store for us.
This brings me to what has been getting me excited. Embroidery! I have received several requests through the years for embroidered names on the stockings. Well, we did not have an embroidery machine, or any idea on how to bring one on and get it to work for the stockings. So I have been using glitter or names . I didn't know what to expect that first year with names, but people seemed up for it. That first year we sold 200 names on our stockings. I’m not sure about 2012, but we have the tats for 2013 : about 400 names! It has felt like it…..those names piling up at 10:00 pm and having to wait for them to dry was such a bother at times. However, I do think i had it down to a science and they are fairly easy to do
But this year I have different plans…..BIGGER plans! I have decided to try to sew on the names this coming year. I looked it up on YouTube and it looked simple enough.. I purchased a quilting foot for my machine and thought I would have a go at it….just to see what can be done. Behold!
This will obviously require much more practice! However, I am seeing a pattern that seems to have a built in flaw. Namely…there is a HUMAN behind the machine. No matter how steady I have the material, what backing I put behind it, I always have a thick erratic line to deal with. Cheryl says it is impressive that I can do this well just with my free hand. No hoop, no backing. Just me holding the material and messing around with the settings. I’m impressed that Cheryl is impressed! With her onboard, I now have the confidence to take things to the next level. That being said, I would say that playing around like this has no value except for my own ego, but it does! I now see what makes an embroidery machine different and superior ( in some cases) to free hand embroidery.
So…with the money earned from just the names, I now plan on purchasing a Brother 770 embroidery only sewing machine. I have done my research, and brother seems to be the best for the price…..and I have see it in action. Both on YouTube and in live demonstrations at the local sewing store. It also has several features that I think are valuable…but we will have to test them out once the package arrives.
In addition to all of that, it has been crazy weather here the entire week leading up to Christmas. First there was freezing rain. Ice storms are just wonderful to drive in. Then there was snow. Slightly easier than ice, but still a mess. And then finally was the cold. It dropped to –9 degrees here. We still went on our walks, but it caused us to purchase some MAJOR snow gear. Things I thought I would never need in Iowa! Stuff I still had from Alaska would have come in useful….like ice cleats, down gauntlets, Goretex jacket with down lining, and Thermal underwear. Of coarse, the temp is a balmy 40 degrees today and the sun is shining warm and bright. I guess it is ok. I knew if we purchased those items it would warm up and I would rather walk in slightly warmer weather than need those heavy duty snow gear again.
And before I forget. We went to Michigan for Christmas day. Following the snowstorm that hit us two days before. It was Ok, until we hit the Michigan Border. Around the “HORN” or Africa…I mean Lake Michigan. The snow kicked up and the drivers were crazy. Driving 70 MPH in slushy conditions. We saw two vehicles spin out in front of us! This caused me to freak out and drive slower…which probably was the best thing in the end. But that didn’t seem to stop people from passing and kicking up mud on my windshield. What fun!
So, that is all for the time being. There is so much more to blog about, but this post is getting long….and rather boring. I guess I can at least use it as a reminder of how things went down in 2013 the final hours. Sometimes it is good to have a record of previous years so your memory does not gloss over things. We shall see.