Thursday, October 27, 2011

Percystence: Yes, I Just Made Up a Word

Persistence: Noun
1.  the act of fact of persisting
2.  the quality of being persistent
3.  the continued existence or occurrence
4.  the continuance of an effect after the cause is removed

Percystence:
1.  a word made up by me
2.  the quality of annoyance and pain
3.  something that happens when Kevin is out of town

 I won't be sewing for a few days.  My neck is a little sore and feel best in the upright position.  Yes, Kevin went to Washington DC today.  Just for the day, no biggie.  However, today I woke up and decided a medical procedure was in order.  Isn't that how you all start your day?  Instead of giving the girls a bath, I summoned my parents and summoned my dermatologist due to a persistent cyst that has been making it's presence known for the past week.

Yeah, I have a cyst on the back of my neck.  No big deal as it has been there for about two years.  It has been the size of a mosquito bite for most of it's life.  About a week ago, as Kevin was on his way to Cincinnati, I noticed the bugger getting a bit bigger.  Then it started to hurt a bit.  Then Kevin came home and I scheduled an appointment to see a doctor.  I was told it was nothing to worry about but if it hurt, then the cyst needs to be removed.  But, in order to get it removed, I need to see a plastic surgeon due to all the important nerves and veins that call the neck home.  Yippee!  Now you must know, I have an aversion to medical procedures so this must tell you one thing:  the sucker hurt.  It felt like an enormous bruise.  The first appointment I could get with the surgeon was not until November 8th.  In the mean time, meaning two days, this lump on my neck had grown about three times larger.  It was interrupting my life as in I could only sleep on my left side (just like when I was pregnant,) I was losing the ability to fully move my neck, and I was in a lot of pain.  This morning I decided to call the derm again.

When I called, I explained to the nurse, using my words, what was going on.  Basically, I can't stand it anymore, this sucker is huge, I found another lump, and I can't wait until November 8th.  This nurse takes this as a medical emergency because she thinks the cyst has grown three times larger and gets me an appointment for 10:45 this morning.  Nope, not a medical emergency though.  The cyst is the same size just surrounded by fluid and the second lump is a lymph node that is upset by it's neighbor, Mr. Cyst.  Thank God, because after playing around on the internet I was pretty sure death was coming my way.  I seriously thought this.  I am every doctor's worse nightmare.  My doctor explained the cyst could be lanced.  I took this statement as a choice: lance or not to lance.  She said, "You will be lanced today.  That is why I brought you in."  Oh, okay then.  While getting numbed which hurt like hell I asked, "How long will this take?"  Doctor says, "Why?  Do you need to be someplace?"  "Me:  "Uh, no.  Just general curiosity."  This is not a medical blog.  This is not a gore blog.  I will save you all the gross details.  Just know, I thank God again for local numbing drugs because it was gross.  Blech!

Pain!  Pain! Pain! was what I felt for quite awhile after this took place.  I am still in pain but I also have some pain meds in my body.  But this is the conversation that really made me feel better:

Violet:  Mommy, what is on your neck?
Me:  A big bandaid
Violet:  Why?
Me:  The doctor had to fix my boo boo.
Violet:  Does your boo boo hurt?
Me:  A little bit.
Violet:  Here, take this rock it will make you better.
Me:  Thank you, sweetie pie.
Violet:  Are you all better now?

I love two year olds.  Mimi just stayed away from me and asked all of her questions about my general health to my mom.  I guess I am really scary with an extra large bandage on the back of my neck.  But, at least I know my girls love me!

Now, I must heal.  I have a hole in my neck.  The lancing will either cure the problem or not.  Time will only tell if the fluid will come back.  I have been told not to cancel that plastic surgery appointment anytime soon.  Grr...  So, don't expect me to be posting anymore pillows to Etsy over the weekend.  And, the only reason I am blogging is because I am waiting up for Kevin to come home and I feel best sitting up.  I am not even going to really promote this blog.  I just needed a venting forum.  Maybe I should have used my own personal journal.  Just know dear readers, if you have a cyst it is not abnormal for it to get huge and painful.  Just get it checked out and stay off of WebMd.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready, Set, Win!

It is Wednesday morning and, as promised, it is contest day.  The contest will start now and the winner will be chosen on Friday evening.  I need to give you all a few days to formulate your thoughts.  Yes, this is a contest but I am not just going to just give away two pillows!  No, you need to earn your butterfly pillows.  Don't worry, it is not going to be difficult, but, it is going to be pretty darn fun.  Okay, here are the rules, and remember, the winner will get two fantastic butterfly pillows:

1.  You must "like"  715 Pillows on Facebook (click here).  Without "liking" the page, you will be unable to submit your entry.  You might as well do it because there will be more fun contests from time to time!

2.  The contest opens Wednesday morning, October 26, 2011 and will close on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5:00pm Eastern Time.  I will be getting my hair cut at 6:00, putting my kids to bed at 7:00, and will start judging at 8:00pm.

These two pillows could be your major award!
3.  Beside liking 715 Pillows on Facebook (click here) this is what you must do!  I will post a picture of the two lovely butterfly pillows on Facebook.  You, dear readers, will need to tell me why you should win the pillows in the comment section under the picture in the following way:
  • Find a really cool quote or song about pillows written, spoken, or sung by someone else
  • Write your own quote or song about pillows
  • Write a poem about pillows
  • Write a haiku about pillows
  • Or, just tell me why you think you should win 
Now, I am not trying to be difficult and I don't expect you all to write like William Blake. Chaucer, maybe; but not Blake.  Have fun with it, and please, please enter.  I think it will be lots of fun.  Make me laugh, make me cry, make me want to give you a two pillows!  And did I mention, this will be lots and lots of fun?

So, just so that you don't feel like you are doing all of the work, here is my own shot at a song and poem about pillows (even though I'm not eligible to win):

I'm A Little Pillow 
(sing to the tune of I'm A Little Tea Pot)
By:  Jenny Mlutkowski

I am little pillow, full and stout
Here is my stuffing, here is my fluff
When you are all comfortable here me shout
Flip me over, cool side up!

Pillows are cool
By: Jenny Mlutkowski

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Butterflies are sweet
And soft pillows are too!

Okay, so you get the point.  Be a little silly and have a little fun.  Now go on, like 715 Pillows on Facebook (click here), submit your entry, and win yourself or someone else two pillows!









Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pillows for Sale: 715 Pillows is Officially Open for Business!

It has been an awesome weekend!  My husband came home and if you read about my frustrations and misfortunes last week you will know that having another adult in my house is a dream come true.  I have spent the last few days enjoying a good mix of time with my family, time with my girlfriends, and I even enjoyed some alone time.  On Friday, after dropping Mimi off at school, I went fabric shopping with Kevin and Violet.  I have to say, I got some pretty great stuff.  I am actually kind of jealous because quite a few of the patterns would look pretty snazzy in my house.  You can probably tell by the title of this post that there is a reason for buying so much fabric.

MY ETSY STORE IS OFFICIALLY OPEN!!!!  Feel free to click on this link to see some awesome pillows:  715pillows.etsy.com  What is strange to me is that this is my store, my project, my baby.  Almost exactly a year ago, I was stressing out because I was starting my job as a paralegal and simultaneously interviewing for a position as a part-time city planner, which I did not get.  Never did I think I would be selling pillows.  Never.  I was super stressed and excited by all the changes and a year later I am once again super excited and not so stressed.  Right now I have five different pillows for sale on Etsy.  I have something for everyone:  grown-ups, kids, and those who love Christmas decor!  Check it out, here is the link in case you missed it:  715pillows.etsy.com  In the next couple days/weeks, I have plans to add more pillows.  Check https://www.facebook.com/pages/715-Pillows/252452058129061 for updates and additions regarding Etsy.

Hoo wants an owl pillow?  Check out Etsy!

Classy brown and ivory throw pillow.

Versatile and fun!

Christmas cheer, anyone?
This pillow will be added to the store before I go to bed tonight.
Speaking of Facebook, watch my Facebook page for my upcoming contest.  I will be giving away two small butterfly pillows in a contest scheduled to start on Wednesday.  In order to enter, you will have to like 715 Pillows on Facebook.  So go ahead, like me!

In other news, I am getting my inventory ready not just for Etsy but also for the Candy Lane Craft Show which will be on Saturday, December 10 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Berkley Community Center.  Thursday afternoon I dropped off my application and check.  Feel free to come by and say hi.  This will be my first craft show.  Also, I have not attended a craft show since I was in middle school and high school when I would walk up to the Fox Fair with my mom.  Yeah, it has been over twenty years since I have stepped foot in a local craft show.  Yeah, it would be nice to see some smiling faces.  I am thinking I might have a bowl of free Christmas candy at my table...  Free candy and pillows for sale...  I know you are interested.

Well, these are my exciting updates:  I had a really fun weekend, I opened my Etsy store, there will be a contest on Wednesday, and a craft show on December 10th.  Whew!  I think I am going to be a little busy.  But, if I wasn't busy I would be bored so this is a very good thing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Driving (Literally) Myself Crazy

Today started out as I believe all days should:  peacefully.  When Kevin is gone, Violet does not feel the need to wait until 6am to crawl into my bed for her morning snuggle.  I am not sure what time she actually arrives but I think it is around 3am or 4am.  Mimi comes up anywhere between 6am and 8am.  This morning, I woke up with a girl on each side and both were in pleasant moods.  We had some snuggles and laughs which is a really a blissful way to start the morning.  Things were going so well I proclaimed:  "Let's go to Ikea for dinner tonight."  Oh, the girls were so excited.  Vi was yelling, "I want meatballs."  Mimi was yelling, "I want tubes (pasta!)  They love Ikea so much.  I figured since it was a yucky, rainy day we all might benefit from a night out.  Well, to quote Robert Burns, I would use the translation but my father might not approve:

The best-laid scheme o'mice an'men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promise'd joy!

I picked Mimi up at school at 3:15pm and we immediately left for Ikea.  There was a lot of excitement in the car.  It was cold and rainy which equals lots of puddles so Ikea and wet weather equals excitement.  Everything was going as planned.  However, traffic starts to back up around the 696/I-275 interchange which I just attributed to the time of day.  Then the traffic just slowed to a ridiculous crawl.  Fortunately, Violet was taking a snooze and Mimi was talking my ear off.  I turned on the radio to find out what was going on.  Turns out there was a jackknifed semi on 275 around 8 Mile.  Ugh!  We did not get to Ikea until 5:00pm.  It was horrible.  Mimi was getting hungry and every five minutes would ask, "Are we almost there?"  It was torture.  Not because of Mimi but because my body wanted some meatballs.  I seriously felt like my body was eating itself.  However, when we were finally rounding the exit ramp all of a sudden Vi shrieks, "I see it!!!  I see Ikea!!!  It is right there on my side!!!"  Happiness once again filled the car.  Shortly thereafter, happiness filled our bellies when we all at dinner for $11.00.  Cheap and tasty - my kind of dinner.  

Initially, we were going to Ikea just to get out of the house and have a little fun.  But, thanks to a call I got while stuck in the traffic jam from hell, we also had a purpose.  Earlier in the day, I inquired about buying a table at the local craft fair in Berkley which is scheduled for December 10th.  I thought, this is my experimentation phase of life.  I know the connotation is completely different for someone maybe under the age of thirty, but for me it means how can I get some income during a recession.  So, the phone rings and it is the chair of the Candy Cane Lane Craft Show.  She says she will e-mail me an application and a table costs $45.00.  I told myself I would do it if a table costs $50.00 or less.  Well, I tomorrow I am going to drop off my check and my application.  The first 26 crafters get a table.  I'm a crafter?  No! I AM A CRAFTER AND PROUD OF IT!  There, I said it!  I am a crafty lady!  Okay, I have a lot to do.  Get my Etsy store up and running by the end of the month and sew a lot of pillows for the craft show.  Lucky for me, Ikea sells fabric.  Mimi and Violet went straight to work picking out fabrics.  Mimi made herself at home at the cutting table finding all the supplies I needed which would be fabric cutting scissors.  She is almost five and so proud that she found what I needed.  I bought two fabrics.  One is a bold, colorful floral and the other is muted gray and white floral.  I am quite fond of both.  We paid for our fabric and raced out of the store into the cold rainy elements with the hopes that we would be home in about a half hour.  

Bold Floral

Muted Floral
Here we go again!  Now would be a good time to quote my friend Robert Burns, again.  It was raining really hard.  It was dark.  There was a glare.  My kids were talking a lot.  I was distracted.  I ended up on I-96 headed for downtown Detroit.  So out of my way.  My GPS is in my house.  Because of my GPS and the brain I was born with, I am dumb when it comes to finding my way home.  I get off off on I-94, then onto 10 which I thought was the Southfield Freeway but is not but took me it took me to Southfield Road. (No this sentence is not written correctly.  This was my mind set:  Rainy, dark, two kids who want to go home in the backseat, one needs to poop, and I am ready to be done with this day.)  Southfield Road is of course under construction and it took forever to get home.  Like around an hour and fifteen minutes.  It sucked.  But the girls are in bed and I think they had fun even though I did not enjoy all the driving.  It seems as though the execution of my little outings with the girls have been a little off lately.  Things can only get better!

Now I am home.  My craft show application is complete.  I am mentally configuring what my table will look like.  I am visualizing my bold printed pillows being purchased by my fellow Berkley residents.  I am trying to picture what I am going to wear.  Crafters often wear crafty clothes.  My clothes are either drab blacks, browns, and greens or bold florals - kind of like my pillows.  Maybe I will go with bold floral and clash with my product.  I will make sure everyone knows that I AM THE CRAZY PILLOW LADY OF BERKLEY.  

Crazy Pillow Lady

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Rambling Post About Connecting With Others, Headbutting, and Product Descriptions

Apology:  This is a rambling post.  This post does not contain many pictures as our good camera is en route to Panasonic for service.  I am too lazy this week to re-install the software for the old camera to upload new pictures.  Please bear with me.  

When I was in college, the Internet was in it infancy.  It wasn't until my sophomore year that I got an e-mail account and the only one who e-mailed me was my Uncle Roger.  My family owned one cell phone.  Actually, it was referred to as a car phone and it came in an enormous bag and was plugged into the cigarette lighter.  I had a phone on the wall in my dorm and access to numerous pay phones on campus.  I was able to call home and my friends whenever I wanted but I had to pay long distance.  I could not send cute, funny, or sad messages to my friends and family and expect them to get it within seconds.  I had to use the mail!  I owned lots of stationary and bought lots of cards.  Downstairs in our basement I have boxes and boxes of letters, cards, and postcards from my friends and family.  Some letters were literally four to five pages long, full of wonderful details.  I kind of miss those days.  The only person who still writes me a real letter is my grandmother.  It was the paper, the handwriting, the words that brought a connection that is unequal to an e-mail or text message.  But we connect electronically now.  Through blogging, I can connect with friends all over the country and with my husband when he is travelling for work.  What is even more mind boggling, is that I am able to reach people with my silly blog all over the world.  I have had readers in the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Iraq, and the Philippines. How cool is that!!!  I would love to know how you all found me.  Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment and let me know how you found 715 Pillows.

The three Mlutkowski girls!  We are never far apart.  
As you know, my children are driving me a little batty.  But, at two and almost five I think it would be unrealistic to suppose that they would not drive me nuts.  Today, Mimi was standing in the entryway to the kitchen with her arms and legs outstretched so her sister could not enter.  Well, Violet does not put up with much of anything so she reared back, moved forward and headbutted her sister out of the way.  Mimi seemed a little shocked and thought her sister should get into trouble.  While Violet should not headbutt her sister, Mimi should not be putting herself in the situation where a headbutt might be called for.  I could go on since I have been dealing with the scenarios since Friday.  The point is, my head needs a soft pillow and I need a break but product descriptions must be written.




I have been looking at the Etsy website and noticing that 90% of the throw pillows sewn are pillow covers.  This means two things:  1.  I am onto something and there is a need for complete pillows or 2.  I am missing the boat completely.  I guess I will know soon enough as I am getting seriously close to opening my store.  If you look up 715 Pillows under people on etsy.com you will find my empty store.  I have checked out the descriptions other sellers have posted.  They are all well written and professional.  I want mine to be well written, professional, and a little funny.  Do you think I can do it?  Of course I can!  I actually googled the history of the throw pillow tonight and found a few fun facts.  Maybe I can incorporate these facts into my product descriptions.  Here are some fun pillow facts:

1.  Pillows were initially reserved for wealthy men in Asia and found in Egyptian tombs.
2.  In Tudor England, only women in labor and weak men were allowed pillows.
3.  Egyptians slept on pillows made from stone.  Yikes!
4. The Industrial Revolution brought about mass produced decorative throw pillows to the masses at     affordable costs.

Why not have fun with the descriptions?  If it is okay for Groupon, is it okay for 715 Pillows?  Words can have lasting impact so I need to think carefully about what I want to do and what is right for 715 Pillows.  I am not going to share what I wrote tonight, you will just have to wait and see.  But unlike the Egyptian's pillows, my words are not set in stone.  I would love your feed back.  Let me know on Facebook, e-mail, or even in the comment section of this blog.      

Now, if anyone have ever received a voicemail from me, you know that I ramble something awful.  My husband is usually sitting next to me laughing or mouthing to me, "End it!"  This post reminds me of a voicemail.  I have a couple things to say and none of them are related.  But, blame it on my husband.  He told me he likes reading my blogs when he travels.  I told him I did not have anything good to blog about but he told me to do it.  So, if you all hate this post, throw the tomatoes at Kevin.  Just don't throw them at our house since he is not home to clean up the mess.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Motherhood: Why I Hate Balloons!

Advisory:  If you really want to read about the pillow making process, this post is not for you.  Click here for a feel good post about pillows!  Once again, my husband is travelling for work and I feel the need to vent.  My children are making me question my already questionable sanity.  But, hey, at least I am not sick.  

I despise loathe abhor hate balloons!  Yes, I know that balloons make people happy with all their pretty colors, characters, designs, sizes, shapes, the way the sway and move, but they usually just bring me to the brink of insanity.  Like most children, my little ones love to get a balloon.  However, parting with the balloon is not sweet sorrow.  It is a strong and bitter sorrow and sometimes behaving with a balloon is problematic.  There are many instances that I could share with you when having a balloon has been an issue, but I will share the following story on why balloons are really hate filled sacks of helium.  

video
This video does in fact exhibit an ability for the Mlutkowski girls to coexist with a balloon.

Background:

Violet must have been around a year old and that would make Mimi around three the last time I swore my children would never touch another balloon.  I however have since caved but tonight has made me revisit my my ban on balloons.  Okay, lets go back two years ago.  It was a cold day when I decided we needed to get out of the house.  I took my kids to Oakland Mall to play at the germ infested play area.  The girls had a marvelous time playing on the hippo and got along well with all the other children.  Eventually, they came running over begging to be fed.  While walking to Olga's, a woman working at the 1-800 Hansen's kiosk assaulted us with orange Hansen's balloons - not filled with helium, just air.  I should have said, "Thank you so much for the offer.  Can we come back for the balloons after the children have eaten their lunch?"  What I said was, "Gee, thanks so much for the balloons.  Who doesn't like a balloon?"  Yeah, me!  We order lunch and Mimi cannot stop bopping the balloon around.  I ask her nicely to please stop and of course she just can't because she is three.  That does not mean I don't try.  She keeps bopping the balloon, creating havoc, and not eating.  Fortunately, no one was there as we were eating around 11:30.  Finally, all hell breaks lose.  I told her to stop playing with the balloon or I would take it away.  She bops the balloon, spills water, I take the balloon away, she cries, I put the balloon under the table.  Mimi tries to get the balloon, I am angry, I step on balloon and pop it, pay the bill, and get out of Olga's.  I tell her it will be a long time before she gets another balloon and eats at a restaurant again.  Trust me, I kept my promise.  Fast forward to tonight.

Present Day Madness

Violet is depressed and missing her daddy sooooo much.  Both girls really wanted to play in the play area at Great Lakes Crossing.  So, I decided that once I knew MSU was going to win today, we would head out.  We arrived at the mall and I noticed the play area looked uncharacteristically calm.  As we get closer, we have the following dialog:

Me:  Uh oh!
Mimi:  What's wrong, Mommy?
Me:  It looks like the play area is closed.
Mimi:  ***gasp*** Why?
Me:  Closed for renovations.
Violet:  Pick me up!  I can't see!  Why is it closed?  I want to play!
Me:  You can't play here.  It is closed.
Violet:  ***tears***  I want to play.
Me:  We can walk around the mall.
Violet:  No, I want to play!
Mimi:  Let's just eat dinner.
Me:  Ok!

We arrive at Johnny Rockets and they were excited because it looks like an old diner.  The girls have never eaten there before.  Mimi gets a grilled cheese and orange pop.  (Score for mom.)  Violet gets two mini hots dogs and milk. (Deduct a point for mom because Vi wanted three mini hot dogs.)  Violet spills her milk. (Deduct a point)  Waitstaff does a corny dance. (Score a half point)  Mom says no to dessert. (Deduct a point.)  Waitress brings over two balloons.  (Score 1,000 points for Mom and waitress.)  I tied the balloon onto their adorably soft wrists.  Ahh....happiness.  The mall was incredibly busy and chaotic.  I have to say, having the balloons was a great way to keep track of my two children.  However, it was time to leave.  I untied Mimi's balloon so she could get her coat on.  When I tied it back on, apparently the tie was not tight enough.  As we walked out the door, the balloon flew off her adorably soft wrist.  Commence the following conversation:

Mimi:  Oh no!!!! My balloon.  I am so unhappy.  I am so mad.  I want my balloon.
Me:  I am so sorry Mimi! 
Mimi:  Please take me back to the restaurant to get another balloon?
Me:  No, Mimi!  I am sorry but we need to go home.
Mimi:  Do you think it will blow to our house and be waiting for us when we get home?
Me:  No, it is just gone.
Mimi:  I am so mad!
(at the car, I untie Vi's balloon to get her buckled into her car seat.)
Mimi:  I got Vi's balloon.  Now we can share.
Violet:  Mimi!  Give me my balloon!
Mimi:  No!  I am so mad I lost mine!
Me:  Girls!  Stop!  Mimi give Vi back her balloon!
(ruckus of crying and yelling from little girls due to balloon inequality.  oops!  how did that happen?  mom grabs a hold of the balloon and it somehow flies out of the car.)
Violet:  ***screams. cries**** I need my balloon!!!!!!!
Mimi:  Well, I guess neither of us has a balloon.

As we were leaving the mall and both girls were boisterously recounting the balloon mishaps, I completely zoned out and turned on the radio.  The song, The Search is Over, by Survivor was on and I was transported back to middle school roller skating parties and forgot to get on I-75.  (For your own flashback click here!)  Oops.  I corrected my mistake and we made it home.  

By 7:00, the girls and I were having cuddle time and we had the following conversation:

Mimi:  Excuse me for tooting.  I feel a big fart coming on tonight.  (Keep in mind, she spends her day with boys, there is only one other girl in her class.)
Violet:  Poopy Baby
Mimi:  Pig Butt!
Me:  Stop talking like that!
Girls:  ***Lots of giggles***
Me:  Time for bed!

They have been tucked in more times then I can count in the past hour because someone always has to tell me something.  We have covered Halloween costumes, pooping, what we are going to do tomorrow, and what happens if I die when Mimi is still a kid.  All the important stuff is out of the way and the children are finally quiet.  What ever will I do with myself for the next couple hours?  I am guessing I will throw some laundry in the dryer, stitch up a couple pillows, maybe I will watch a movie (damn, I just remembered I forgot to return the movies), and prepare myself for tomorrow craziness.   

Yes, I love my children dearly!
And I will probably let them have a balloon
 sometime before their 18th birthdays.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Damaged Goods and Product Testing

Sadness Alert:  Due to a camera malfunction, this post does not include any new photos.  I will be taking my camera to Best Buy tomorrow to discuss the warranty/possible fix tomorrow since it is not even a year old.


Happiness Alert:  While this post does not contain pictures, it does contain useful information for those who plan to buy my pillows.  


One of the first pillows I ever made has been damaged but not destroyed.  I really like this pillow as it livens up a very boring brown chair in my office.  In case you would like your memory jogged, see the following post: refresh your memory here!  The culprit of the damage is a certain two year old.  I cannot confirm this as no one will fess up, but here are the facts, just the facts:



1.  A certain blond, curly head enjoys using markers and hates to put the caps back on.  This is an ongoing argument.
2.  She likes to color her coloring books while resting the book on the boring brown chair
3.  Yes, I am setting myself up for disaster because I do not tend to yell at her about this too much.  I don't really care too much.  The chair is old anyway.  This lack of discipline does not apply to all areas of her upbringing.  Plus, she uses colored pencils more than markers.  
4.  The pillow was found with a blue stain on the bottom.  It looked as though an uncapped marker bled onto the pillow.

I am not mad because the fabric was super cheap.  Cheap as in I got in on the clearance rack for the purpose of practicing.  Therefore, I thought it was important to look on the bright side:  Product testing time!


I have never washed a pillow that I have made before.  This pillow was made out of a basic cotton and poly-fil batting.  I treated the stain and dumped it in the washer with detergent and washed on normal.  When the pillow came out of the washer, it looked pretty good.  I then threw it in the dryer with a tennis ball for optimal fluffing. Genius!!!  The pillow came out clean and fluffed.  This is fantastic news for the following reasons:

1.  I bought owl and zoo animal fabric in a basic cotton for pillows to sell on Etsy.
2.  This is great fabric for kids.  They always have messy faces, pukey bellies, snotty noses, ect. and as moms we have to launder everything they touch.
3.  I now know for sure that I can market these pillows as kid friendly, durable, and washing machine friendly.

Brilliant!!!  I am way to excited about this discovery.  But, it is kind of exciting.  I think I need to get more of a life.  I am turning into a crazy pillow lady!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Ready for Etsy and a Contest! Wanna Sneak Peek at the Merchandise?

Guess what?  I have sewed 30 pillows since August!  This is kind of exciting for me given my past aversion to domestic arts.  However, even given my excitement, I am so not into the really important business details that come with trying to market a product.  Part of me in disbelief that I am handcrafting a product with the intent to sell.  How can this possibly work?  Therefore, I have been leaning on my husband to read articles on Etsy, to let me know what pricing should be, to inform me we are going to have to adjust graphics, to send me multiple e-mails on how to become an entrepreneur.  Kevin is wonderful and supportive and trust me, I am not making him do all the work.  I have spent quite a bit of time doing research too, but it is his confidence that is propelling the start of the "business."  Right now, I am a bit of a scaredy cat.  Let's face it, taking risks is scary.  Kevin is in Toronto and before he left said, "You should get your PayPal account set up.  It could take a week to activate."  I am so out of it.  I have never used PayPal and have no idea how to set up an account.  I also have not even attempted to look in to PayPal this week.  Oops, that's my bad.  Next week, Kevin and I can go through the details together.

Next week details -  this week I have been sewing.  And, I have to say the pillows look fantastic.  I mean, I would actually consider spending my own money on these pillows.   This is HUGE because most everyone knows I don't spend much money on myself these days.  Necessities only.  I am thinking that after this week, Dairy Store ice cream from MSU might be a future necessity - we have been postponing our trip to the Motherland due to weather and there is just no excuse for not going this weekend.  I digress.  The pillows are fabulous but there is an exception:  The butterfly fabric is so hard to work with due to the pattern.  If I pin my pattern and it is just a little off or when I cut, I cut just a little off, the whole pillow is askew just enough to make me angry.  Grrrrrr.....so, I am not going to sell these pillows.  In conjunction to opening my Etsy store at the end of the month, I am going to giveaway my "oops" butterfly pillows.  You will have to actually "Like" my Facebook page to qualify since that is where the contest will take place.  Stay tuned for more information.

Two of four pillows made from this pattern.
The fabric is a sturdier home decorator fabric. 

I hand sewed the seam - much improved since I first started.

These are the "oops" pillows I am going to give away in a future contest.
Make sure you "Like"  715 Pillows Facebook Page for a chance at winning

"Oops" pillow that still needs a lot of work.  I sewed the outside panel outside
of the pillow, instead of inside.  Can you say seam ripper?  

Four awesome pillows and two "oops" pillows getting ready to find a new home.
And yes, I need to work on staging these guys a little bit better.  

I am going to make this short, just thought I would share with you an update on what I have been working on lately.  This weekend, I am planning on spending lot of quality time with my family and sewing machine so more pillow to come.    Hope you enjoyed the photos of the pillows.  More to come...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pillows for Haven: Pillows Have Been Delivered!!!

Finally!  Mimi, Violet, and I drove to Pontiac this morning to deliver our pillows to HAVEN, the domestic violence shelter in Oakland County.  Last night, while the girls were sleeping, I bagged up the pillows so we could deliver them before Mimi had to be at school.  When they woke up this morning and saw the pillows, they were so excited about the delivery.  I think we need to do more volunteer projects as a family.  The girls seemed to enjoy it and learned a valuable lesson.  

The girls were having a hard time concentrating on smiling for this picture.
The wood chipper truck was down the street.

Mimi putting a bag of pillows into the trunk.

Ready to go!  After everyone is buckled in of course!
HAVEN is a great organization helping women who have been abused or raped.  Their website is  http://www.haven-oakland.org/ in case anyone reading this needs help or knows someone who needs help.  There is also information on their website on how to volunteer for their organization.  

Thanks again to everyone who lent their support to my project.  I have appreciated all of your kind words and donations.  Now, get out there and volunteer!!!    

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Sickness, Single Parenting, and Sewing Just Don't Mix

Kevin travels a fair amount every year for work but I am okay with it.  I use the time at night to read and catch up on documentaries.  Oh, and I also indulge in some solitary snacks from time to time.  Yum - potato chips and ice cream.  During the day I try my best to be a calm and cool mom despite knowing that I am not going to get a break until the kids go to bed.  Even then, my nighttime break is sometimes interrupted because two little girls who seem to think I am lonely and don't like to sleep alone.  Nevertheless, we all survive even though we have all come to expect the expected.

Sloth, my alter ego!
What is the expected?  The expected is that the majority of the weeks when Kevin is travelling, I am sick.  Not just a little sick, flat on my back sick!  Last year he went to sunny Florida for a conference.  In the mean time I was suffering from one of the worst sinus infections I have ever had.  My head and nose were congested and I had a horrible sore throat.  After a couple days I thought I should see a doctor.  Of course, nothing was wrong with me.  Nothing.  I mentioned to the doctor that my eye was really itchy.  He said it was nothing.  I came home, put the girls down for a nap and when I woke up, I looked like Sloth from the movie The Goonies.  My eye and face were swollen and my eye was oozing.  I was so disgusting.  I packed the girls up and headed out to the eye doctor who diagnosed me with Pink Eye.  The theory was that this infection was travelling around my throat, head, nose, and ended up in both my eyes.  My face and eyes were swollen so much that I could not even drive.  My parents risked their own health to drive me around to doctors appointments and help take care of the kids.  Worst week ever.  Also super expensive with co-pays and prescriptions. Plus, I missed two weeks of work.  Fun.  So, guess what?  Kevin left today for Greenbuild in fashionable Toronto and I am home sick.  Fortunately, I am not quite as sick as I have been in the past, but I have a cold and I am cranky.  I have a mild cold but enough of a cold to make me hate life.  I tried to be productive today.  I have no idea why I felt we all needed clean sheets and laundry but we all have clean sheets and laundry.  However, the laundry is not folded and it is not going to get folded tonight!

I give a lot of credit to single parents.  Parenting is really hard and I really prefer to have a partner in crime.  Having someone else around helps you to laugh off the ridiculous instead of getting upset when you are standing in the kitchen, head filled with snot, and having the following conversation with a two year old (this conversation has been reduced for the sanity of the reader):

Violet:  I want my dinner!
Me:  Good!  I am making dinner.
Violet:  I want a bologna sandwich.
Me:  Let me get your sister's pancakes started and I will make you a sandwich.
Violet:  NO!  I WANT BOLOGNA NOW!  I WANT MY DINNER!
Me:  You will just have to wait.
Violet: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  (crying, screaming, very distressed)
Mimi:  What am I having for dinner?  I don't want a sandwich.  Oh, you are making me pancakes!  When will my pancake be done?  Can I have chocolate chips?
Violet:  I have to go poo poo!!!! (She has been saying this all day long!)
Me:  EVERYONE STOP TALKING TO ME NOW!!!!
Violet:  GIVE ME MY BOLOGNA!!!!!

Everything today was going fine until dinner.  I did not blow up much after that but it also helped that I plopped the excitable little creatures down in front of the television to enjoy the DVD, The Hungry Caterpillar.  For any parents who do not know this trick, if your child needs to be calmed down, this DVD will do it in the matter of seconds.  Buy it now!!!!! Anyway, they are all a snooze dreaming of a day filled with all you can eat bologna and chocolate chips.

I on the other hand cannot breathe.  I have taken medicine and frankly, it has not worked. There is a large pile of Kleenex next to me and I cannot say the blowing has given me any relief.  When I woke up earlier today, I had high hopes for sewing tonight.  I could breathe, a lot of coughing, but I could breathe.  I organized my sewing area a bit and thought I would complete four pillows.  Naw!  Don't feel like it.  Plus, I don't want to make pillows full of my germs.  Imagine this description on Etsy:  Lovely pillows made with a floral decorator fabric.  These pillows were crafted with love in a smoke-free home filled with germs that will cause laryngitis, coughing, head and nose congestion.  Please use pillows at your own risk.  While I don't believe that germs really live that long on a surface, the truth is, I just don't want to sew tonight for the simple reason that I just don't feel good and I need a break.  Therefore, after sharing my experiences with you, I am calling in sick from my non-paying job.