Sunday, November 30, 2014

‘Twas the Night Before Cyber-Monday….

I can’t help it!   I guess I just like the word : ‘Twas.   It sounds so cool and romantic. 

Cheryl Packing things up Cheryl tying on the cute little tags So Cheryl and I have been thinking that Cyber-Monday is actually Cyber-Weekend after Thanksgiving.  Today was not too bad as far as work goes.  We were pretty much able to get caught up by 3 pm….without any Iowa City Visits to distract us. 

Currently we are just waiting for Labels to arrive in the Mail tomorrow.  It’s always a tough thing when you run out of materials during a weekend.   Luckily,  This is one issue we can side step as Cheryl pre-packs things and gets them ready before the labels arrive.  Note the stickers and Notecards   Simply packing things up is quite an endeavor.   Cheryl has to put on the tags and labels and put each order in a clear plastic bag….then seal it with a sticker.  Clear plastic keeps things nice and protected..Who cares about the earth anyway.Ultimately we put them in a Blue mailer with the shipping label and then they are ready to go.

As for me.   I guess it ends up being rather easy.   I had to put the embroidery on as well as the buttons as usual. more embroidery for me   Many of the stockings were either old custom or premade.   I did not fold anything today, but I have been folding when I could for the Ohio financial request.   If they purchase them tomorrow, The origami Eagle I’ll have to ship them out all the while facing the omen of Cyber Monday.  




Cyber-Monday It could be that Cyber Monday is just something that the Media uses to scare people or trump up news on these slow news days.  Every year we hear the same story that businesses are “concerned” that sales are lower then “expected.”  While this IS true  ( EVERY YEAR)  arrow-business-crisis-decline-depression-down   it is not really “news” that shoppers need to worry about.  Yeah, Yeah!  We get it!   The Economy is in the pits!   It always is!   Go find a celebrity scandal to report.




   Anyway,  I’m still hoping for crazy sales tomorrow.  Although I’m sure things will remain at the steady pace they currently are now.   No matter what happens,  tomorrow is going to be pretty busy for us. right view  We have to go to Iowa City to do some errands and then hopefully UPS will deliver the goods so we can ship this latest batch of stockings.   We may not get to actually making anything until late.   We shall see how things play out…  In the mean time…enjoyThe Eagle's Left..that is. the eagles.  Not really an origami step here left view

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What Happened to Black Friday?

26 stockings...Friday's orders..I think. Lots of Embroidery!   You may have noticed that I failed to blog yesterday.   There are a couple of fairly good reasons for this.    First….I guess I forgot that 24 hours comes and goes so quickly during the holidays.   Second…we were a little busy making stockings.   This is actually bitter sweet because we enjoy the sales…like the money…..even like the work…however!   Our customers make us work far more than we should have to. Even more pet names! 


CasCrazy dog stockings!e in point:   With a little research and statistics from previous years, we stock-piled up a few designs that we were sure were going to be the “main sellers”. Every Christmas,  Rudolph and fox stockings are popular.   Red and green are popular Christmas colors as well.   If you have to invest in designs and colors for your “pre-made” stockings…these guys are the ones.   So.   With several years of sales at our fingertips,   we created a fair number of these stockings ( along with some others)  so that the Christmas rush will not be so hectic.   I knew it was going to be a little more challenging now that I have the embroidery machine and have never tried it out on this large of a scale.   I thought we were at the very least, prepared slightly so we would not have any Remember when Blue Bear was popular last year?long crazy days.( By the way :   We sold 38 today, and 26 yesterday…..And there are currently 39 more orders with even more processing!)

Enter the customer!     No,  not the previous customers that made those statistics that we were counting on.   Oh no!  These customers put the “custom” in customers.   They all want something different..   Something NOT on the menu.  Not in the store.   Something NOT prepared in advance. Might not look like it, but there are 38 Stockings here!

Cheryl made the observation that the items we have ready in the closet are actually being selected AGAINST!    Why is this?   Is there an eye in the closet making sure that those are not the stockings sold?   Is the universe making us look bad or just messing with out minds?

Probably the later.   I mean,   we ARE still making the stockings and they are getting out.   But I feel like we have wasted all that time and money trying to prepare for a good year.  And it makes us look bad because we seem “unprepared”  when we actually were!   Cheryl thinks we should just avoid thinking about stockings altogether until October next year.  I am beginning to see the wisdom in this thinking.


So.  After all that complaining….I still want to say that I’m happy to be finally making sales at this level.   And I’m sure that the jury is still out as we get closer to Christmas as to how the closet stockings will sell.   Everyone still wants their custom pets I guess.   Perhaps we traded one customer that bought for families And yet another "glitter" name from the past! and traded them for the customer that buys for their pets.  We were HOPING for BOTH.   What better way to double our sales!

So it is currently 9PM and Cheryl is still wrapping up the remaining orders up for the day….and that is when it happened….I realized it is Saturday!  Where did Friday go?   I mentioned I could time travel….Well occasionally I leap forward.   Which is slightly better than leaping back in time in that I can actually remember more from future jumps.  It’s a bit complicated to explain.   I seriously have to write that blog posting about my time travels.  But I digress…..

I’m sure in a couple of hours,  after cutting some felt and ironing some blank stockings,   I will wonder where Saturday went and will not believe it is Sunday already.   We shall see how things go.   And I should probably end this post as I’m probably in the wrong “mood” to be writing.   I’m somewhere between giddy and sore and exhausted.Cool looking font, Eh? Does the "G" stand for something?  

I leave you with some of the creative names that people are putting on the stockings.   I can only imagine they are pet names or else these kids are going to be scarred for life

Hope this is a pet name.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cheryl and Ethan’s Polar Turkey Run!

turkey-burn What better way to kick off the day of feasting than by burning off those calories BEFORE you over indulge?  Well,  by running!   of coarse!   We had big plans today. 142689540_640   Cheryl with her ninja tights and me with my new biking gear,  decided that today we would reverse the order of tradition and exercise before the sun went down and the dinner was cooked. turkeyburnlogo1

Well,   everything was going fine….Cheryl caught up all those questions on the stockings and I finished folding an Eagle for Ohio Financial.   Time to go for a brisk run.  

Brisk?   Did I say Brisk?  Frozen was more like it.   I knew I was in trouble when we first hit the church parking lot and I could not feel my hands.  th6UHYSYCK This happens almost every time, but not within the first half mile!   I also felt like the wind was blowing right over my naked body….even though I had three layers of clothing on.   Granted, these layers were high tech clothes that Cheryl purchased for me so I could look cool while biking along side.   I understand her concern for wanting to have “attractive” people around her instead of me looking like a marshmallow man.  Not to mention when I dress up like the wooly bear from Alaska,  I probably look pretty creepy.

6teGxeAAga1322516945558_normal By the way, I was not biking naked…..even though…apparently, there is a race somewhere here in the US where they run a the winter without any clothes on.   That is just crazy!

Anyway,  the run was completed…in the wind and snow.   With the temperature hitting a high of 10 degrees!  I lost the feeling in both hands,  my face, legs and feet.    I thought if Cheryl could stand it, then I could as well…however,  she was a frozen icicle as well. cold-running-22934678  Ice had frosted her hair and eye lashes so that she could barely see.  It is difficult to believe that I used to run in –30 degree weather in Alaska.   But running generates a little more heat than biking.  And we were also better dressed for the occasion.  I really should have looked at the temperature BEFORE heading out.   I could have saved the experience with several more layers and the heavy arctic mittens I have for these occasions.


DSC_7783 So now,   We are drinking the pumpkin beer we have been saving for several months now just for this holiday.   And Cheryl is trying out the latest recipe discovered in the latest HyVee food magazine.   “Where is the turkey?”  You may ask?  Why,  in the little waffles!   We don’t need much after all.   It is just the two of us….And I get all of the DSC_7779 Pumpkin pie because …..Well, I’m not Dutch.     I guess the Dutch ONLY eat apple pie for thanksgiving.  Not to worry though,  in previous years, Cheryl’s family always made sure I had an entire pumpkin pie of my own.   DSC_7780

So that pretty much sums up our Thanksgiving.  And we have new Neighbors…..wonderful!   They have announced their presents yesterday with music bordering on the loud and today they finished moving in.  I thought we would have the building to ourselves,  but the music is already on the edge of annoying.   I simply can not wait to move out of here.   I guess we will have to wait until the stocking season is completed and we can evaluate our situation.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.

DSC_7742 And Cheryl and Ethan were feverishly making Stockings for Christmas.   I guess that is a good thing over all.  Although it is 8:30 PM and we are still in the process of packing them up.  It was only 26 again…I think… Who knows how many Cheryl adds in with these last minute things.


Well,  to be honest,  we DID go to Iowa City today…for some last minute errands and paying off back taxes.  So that means we sort of got a late start on them to begin with.   And then…When we finally got home,  we worked on them on a couple hours before going out for a run.   Did I mention Cheryl has taken up running?   Seems like something I would say just to get attention….but it is true.   She is up to running the full three miles now.   I get to bike along side her like in those Rocky movies where the old man yells obscenities at Sylvester Stallone.   album-rocky-mickey However, I only say words of encouragement….like:   “Only three miles to go!”  or “You run like a GIRL!”  “ I think  you’re slowing down a little….but it’s ok to walk.”      I’d like to think that my constant encouragement is helping.


By the way,  it snowed today and we have a wonderful blanket of snow all over now. Thanksgiving food and video 004 I’m very happy we will NOT be going to Iowa city tomorrow.   Our Thanksgiving will consist of eating a few crackers and salmon dip,  going out for a brief physical exercise ( i.e: running…again!) and then relaxing while sampling several brands of beer.  We currently have another 98 score beer in the fridge!   I can’t wait to try it out. 

DSC_7732 Oh sure, there will be pumpkin pie and hors devoirs.   And we may even do  a few stockings if the orders get out of hand.   I still have to make an Eagle for the Ohio group….as well as finish this horse I have been working on for the last couple days. DSC_7749   Perhaps I will have a little more time to fold on stuff, but hopefully stockings will start to sell more and keep me occupied.   Stockings = money after all. 


mad_men_wallpaper_2_by_seb88-d37mt7v And then there will be movies.   Hopefully we will find some time to relax with a movie on  edge of tomorrow I’m not sure what we will settle on, but Cheryl wants to Marathon through the last season of Mad Men.  We shall see.   I like “period pieces” just fine,  but I prefer science fiction myself.  ( Not Transformers!  What do I look like?  Some little kid? )

  So there it is.   Time standing still….moving forward faster than we would like and then the day more or less…repeats.  One of these days I will have to blog about my time travels.   Did you know I could time travel?   It’s fairly complicated…so I will elaborate at a later day.  In the mean time…Enjoy the Origami Lizard!  DSC_7747 DSC_7748

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Stocking Day!

DSC_7698    Finally we are having “normal” days in the world of Christmas Stockings.  DSC_7699 I’m not sure why the sales are lower than last year, but hopefully we will have more days like today.  Granted, it IS a Sunday night….and we have already sold 15 more ( I guess) for Monday morning.   But this was the second time this year we have had to work a full day just to sew up the stockings.  

DSC_7700On a brighter note….And this really excites me.   Cheryl has finally decided to put an end to custom stockings for the year.   It was just getting out of control.   People request things and then change their mind.  All the time we are wasting materials and time that should be put towards customers that have already paid! DSC_7701 It is frustrating for me because I can not really help much in that field.  

But now!   Hopefully… The real shoppers are online and will soon be buying up what we already have made and ready to ship.   I don’t mind putting on as many names as possible since we are prepared for that.  But crazy “non-Allebrite” stockings are no more.  ( unless Cheryl is feeling excited about some request) 

DSC_7690 DSC_7697 In the mean time…..I have been folding for the Ohio Financial Group for their quarter annual report magazine.  I already folded up a bunch of Koi and hopefully the will like the Eagle I have been working on. DSC_7702 We shall see if it meets their approval. 

OH!  And before I forget for another day.  I recently Purchased a BIKE!   A “GOOD” one… Cheryl calls it.   Meaning: GIAN_13_REVEL_2_GREY_GREEN_1 One from an actual bike shop.   a brand name   A sturdy bike.   A Slightly more expensive bike.  By that I mean it is not a Wal-Mart Special found in the toy department for $60…  I have been riding on it for several days now. ( I picked it up on Wednesday) and have had to break it in a little as the stock seat was not really very nice.   If you have ever ridden a new bike…and are male…..You may know what I’m talking about.17 bicycling equipment 2013-new-PINARELLO-cycling-jerseys-wear-clothes-bicycle-bike-riding-short-sleeve-jerseys-bib-shorts   

Anyway, the bike is cool and now that I found the right seat…I’m very excited to get out there when the weather is more cooperative.    Cheryl can’t wait to buy me a bunch of riding accessories.


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