Sunday, February 25, 2007

Would like your opion

This post is a consumer survey of sorts. Over the past few years, I've made all kinds of things as gifts for others, or for myself. As always, my entrepreneurial mind is working, and I'm wondering if I could make the things I enjoy making, and actually make money off of them. I've compiled a list of the things I've made (or could/plan to make). I'm putting up photos of each of these, and I'd like you to state A) How much you would expect to see this run for in a specialty gift shop, and B) How much you would actually pay for it. I've already put together a list of guesses (my B is always much lower than A, so don't feel bad if you're a cheapskate, too), but I thought I would poll the audience for your thoughts, as well. If you've seen things similar in gift shops, and remember those prices, that would be helpful, too.

I figure the A price is a good price to start, and the B price would serve as a sale/special price. I also realize the venue makes a huge difference. At the moment, I'm still undecided what a good venue would actually be. Because of the eclectic nature of these things, I've considered a place like Canton (where prices might be expected to be lower), but a specialty gift shop like Spice would also work (where prices would be expected to be higher).

So here they are. I'll number them, then you can fill out your comment as follows:

1 a) 10.00 b) 7.50
2 a) 12.00 b) 8.00

I'm afraid some of them don't justify the production cost and time, so they would never make it, but I'm interested to see what you think!

1. Topiaries: ready-made, with many options to choose from

2. Cat beds: special-ordered with your choice of fabric

3. Frosted Glasses: ready-made, set of 4

4. T-shirts

5. Magnets: ready-made, set of 7

6. Coasters: set of 6

7. Embroidery kits: customized with your choice of fabric/ribbon

8. Family Trees: special order with your choice of frame and color scheme

9. Draft stoppers: customized, your choice of fabric (the things that you put at the bottoms of windows and doors to keep cold air from coming in). I haven't made this, so no photo

10. Aprons: customized, your choice of fabric, and maybe even design. I haven't made this, either.

I have lots of customized things, and Leanna (my business partner in crime) suggested we have a "Custom Creations" section. We could also just make a variety of styles, and not offer customization on anything but the family tree. So there you go! It's really a huge help to me to know what you think, so I appreciate your comments! Thanks!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Photo Blog

Because I haven't come up with anything good to post in forever, I'm just posting photos today.

First, a slideshow of the world's biggest yawn.

Next, a photo of little Sophie. She's starting to crawl, and I got to babysit her last weekend!

We had a new bird come to our feeders! I just added suet to the menu, and evidently this Downy Woodpecker likes it! (I thought it was a Hairy Woodpecker, but the beak seems too small...still a funny name, though.)

And in case you didn't see enough of Friday....

Go away Spammers!

Due to a large amount of spam coming to my blog, I've enabled word verification. If you have a blog, I don't think you'll have to use it, but I don't know. It's a pain, and I hate it, but maybe it will keep the spam off. I've deleted so many in the past few days, it's ridiculous! It's weird, because I've had this almost two years, with no word verification, and have just started getting spam. Maybe it's the New Blogger. Argh.

Anyway, happy Friday! Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I'm working on one right now that hopefully I'll have up by the end of the day.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Goings on in my day

Well, today has been a different day for me. It started at 5:30am, getting ready to go to the hospital. Holly's baby, Sophia, was getting tubes put in her ears. I was going along for moral support, and, it turns out, to hold things as we went from room to room. Anyway, I felt very important with my arm band that identified me as One Who Could Enter the Recovery Room.

Sophie was not a happy girl. She hasn't been for some time, hence the tubes, but she was particularly unhappy for several reasons.
  1. Her ears hurt.
  2. All the medicine to make her ears better made her throw up (I was covered in green bean goo last night–another first for me).
  3. She couldn't eat anything this morning, and anything she had eaten last night (the aforementioned green beans) had been thrown up. So she was pretty hungry.
  4. She hadn't slept since 2 this morning, so she was pretty tired, too.
  5. Doctors have scary snake things hanging around their necks, which they kept touching her with. (Also known as stethoscopes, but she didn't know that).
Then...she went into surgery (we were thankful she had been cleared, even though she was sick) and came out about 15 minutes later. We headed to the recovery room, where lots of little babies were being comforted by their mothers. Sophia was even less happy than before. Now, her ears felt better, but according to the doctor, everything would sound like a scream to her. She has been virtually deaf because of all the gunk in her ears, and every noise would be a rude awakening. Kind of like after your ears finally pop, only probably ten times worse.

Finally in the car, she fell asleep on the way home. I dropped she and Holly off on their side of the duplex, so they could make up for all the lost sleep last night, before heading to mine to start work for the day. Supposedly, Sophie will wake up a whole new kid, happy and pain-free. I can't wait to go visit this evening.

I also bought the Big-E Pak of Eclipse gum. That was actually last night, on a late night trip to Walgreens for Pedialyte, but it was still exciting. It has 60 pieces of gum in it. I thought it would fit in a cup holder in a car, and it will, but it's still sort of small. So "big" is relative. I still like it, though. Does anyone else buy a product for the package? Reminds me of the time my mother-in-law bought this great milk for me in Kansas City, just because I fell in love with the way it looked. It was in a glass bottle, with a really clean design. Very cool. I still have it, and use it to hold water when I'm painting. It was from a dairy farm in Missouri.

Speaking of dairy farms, did you know you can buy your own dairy farm? Don't tell me you're not tempted! Fresh (and warm...ew...) milk every day!

In regards to farming, my little seedlings are starting to take a turn for the worse. Several that had looked so healthy are starting to droop and die. There's just the right amount of water, so I'm wondering if it's the amount of light, or if it's too cold in the house, or what. Needless to say, I'm starting to look for coupons to our local nursery. Maybe I just wasn't meant to grow plants from seed.

Ah! That reminds me! You might know that my birthday is coming up. Last year I asked for things for my garden. I feel like it is pretty well-established (unless, of course, I go buy plants from a nursery), so I have another item on my birthday list. It is a handy dandy camcorder! A lot of you have seen videos of Friday; I've even put one up here before. But, my little digital camera has only so much it can do. And, it's starting to get lines running through the video, which just won't do. Anyway, I've picked out a nice camcorder (left), which is, of course, very expensive. However, I'm hoping to save up for it, and if that doesn't work out, I'll get the one right below this one in quality (and almost $300 less!). Or wait until a good price comes up on this one at eBay. All that to say, if you want to help with the Lydia Wants To Be Spielberg Fund, just cash would be great, instead of gift cards to any certain place.

However, if you feel like you want to give something else, I've decided to start utilizing the Amazon Wish List. (Link to the right.) It has some limitations, but it should give a general idea of things I think are fun, if you're ever stuck for an idea. For example, I would like a reclining chair for my back yard. At, the cheapest one I could find was almost $70. That's ridiculous, and if you see one for $10 at Big Lots, I'd be perfectly fine with that. However, when you see the H180 Holton Farkas Double French Horn with Fixed Bell, that is exactly what I want. :) Oh, and I also put a lot of accessories for the camcorder I like, but if I end up getting the cheaper one, then none of those accessories would work, so you might as well stick to the other stuff.

Whew, so much explanation for how to give me stuff! So silly, too. Any one of you could come spend a day with me, and I would be a happy girl. Of course, if you came with an indoor/outdoor weather station, that would be really great! Haha! :) I'll try to update my list, and add some more stuff, mostly because it's fun to "shop." Karen N mentioned the other day that she appreciated that her brother had an Amazon wish list, so I thought that maybe it would be a helpful thing for people. Of course, I notice she doesn't have one of her own.... :)

Friday has his own little medical drama over the past couple of days. He got his yearly round of vaccinations on Tuesday, and he got pretty sick, probably worse than Sophia, in proportion. I was glad he hadn't had any green beans, and that we were able to keep him on the tile. Poor kitty. Anyway, we ran him back to the vet for a shot to calm his stomach, and to make a note to give him medicine before his vaccinations next year, so it won't happen again. He's been kinda puny since then, but started playing a little this afternoon, and eating a few bites. He's resilient, and he'll make it. His eye is looking pretty good now, and I think it's all healed up. It still waters a bit, but the vet thinks that is a side effect we'll have to live with because of scarring in his tear duct.

So, I guess that's about the last few days in review. Our lives seem pretty busy right now, and March isn't looking very calm either. But, I guess that's life. Might as well live it instead of sitting at home!

Which is what I'm doing right now....

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Tale of the Crazy Hair Lady

As I went into the process of getting a short cut, I struggled with the decision of who would cut my hair. I am a very frugal person, and have been known to trim my own hair to avoid paying for it. I knew this cut was beyond my limited ability, so a stylist was a must. But which one?

There's my stylist, Lynn. I've been to her twice, which is a sign of loyalty from me. It's only $10.95 for a haircut (add on $10 for actually fixing it), so that's been my choice for haircuts, if needed. But then again, would I get a good cut for $10.95? I was a little skeptical. Plus, English is not her native language. Would she understand, "Pixie cut, but longer in the back because of this weird cowlick thing I have"?

Then there was the nicer salon with a more expensive stylist. Jen was $35, but she would also have a consultation about what haircut fit my face and hair type the best. I liked that idea, but wondered if it would cost extra. Then there was the problem of trims later on. I certainly wasn't going to spend $35 every time I got a trim! So I would have Lynn trim it, but if I couldn't trust her with the initial haircut, could I trust her with the trim?

I finally remembered that my mom, who keeps her hair quite short, has gotten her hair cut by Lynn, and really liked it, so I shouldn't worry. I promptly made an appointment with Lynn, though it took a while to understand that "Twa" was not two, it was not ten, it was twelve. And that's when my appointment would be.

----- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I arrive at noon, armed with photos and a friend, Margie, who vows to stay by my side and make sure my hair does not come to ruin. It turns out that "twelve" is just a general term, and we finally make it to the chair at 12:30. My first hint at danger should be the chunks of hair still on the floor, but I decide to ignore it. Lynn is in such a hurry, she does not bother to sweep her previous customer's hair up. Even my own hair grosses me out once it's left my head! And now I am stepping on salt-and-pepper locks, and it's crunching under my shoes. "It's only $10.95, it's only $10.95...."

I hand Lynn the photos; she looks at me and laughs, "Are you sure??" Yes, I am!

Lynn makes quick work of my haircut. About three minutes after she starts, it has transformed into a cute bob with those long bangs that are in style now. Lynn reaches for the hairdryer, and it is then that I realize she thinks she's done.

"Wait! This is too long!"

"No, you don't want it that short. This is good for your face!"

"But I don't want a bob. I want a pixie!" (I realize I'm sounding a little like the whiny six-year-old in the waiting area.)

Lynn leaves for a moment, evidently to wax someone's eyebrows. She's been quite distracted the whole time, and Margie is pretty sure she's never even glanced at the photos I brought. I start to worry that the growing number of people flipping through hair books in the waiting area is causing Lynn to think more about the clock than my hair. "It's only $10.95, it's only $10.95...."

Lynn returns, and without a word begins working on my hair again. And again, three minutes later, she reaches for the blowdryer.

"Wait! Is it finished?"

With an exasperated sigh, Lynn hands me a mirror to inspect before she fixes it. It's all wet and stuck to my head, but it seems like it might be okay. I hand the mirror back, and she finishes drying my hair. At this point, I can't see the mirror, but Margie is looking at me as though to say, "Something is horribly wrong with your hair." Her eyes go from the reference photos to my haircut, and she says to Lynn, "It might be a little long still on top...."

Lynn flips the chair around so I'm finally facing the mirror. Ignoring Margie, she grabs some pomade and begins to work it into my hair.

"Wait!!" I stare at my hair, and the fluff ball it has become. I might actually resemble a Q-tip, if my hair were white.

Lynn, with her goop-laden hands suspended above my head, says, "You have to let me fix it! It will look good! You don't want it as short as you think!"

At which point, definitely crossing the whiny-baby line, I ask Margie to get out the photo I had of me when I had a pixie a few years ago. "See? I've done it before! I like short hair, and I want it really short!!"

I take a breath, knowing I was in dangerous territory to cross the one holding the scissors.

"Maybe just another half inch? I think that's what I'd like...."

She wipes her hands and picks up some scissors, quickly snipping off a little more off the top. It looks much better to me. But now the sides are a little long....

"I have to give you a whole new haircut! I have to cut it all over again!"

At which point she stomps off to do someone else's eyebrows. I notice that she's dropped her scissors on the floor.

During the small reprieve, Margie reminds me that I should not make the hair lady mad. Yet on the other hand, my hair did not look right the way it was. Somehow, I had to balance between keeping Lynn happy, and getting a haircut I wouldn't have to cover with a hat for the next month. Ambassadors have had easier jobs than this!

Lynn returns, seemingly a little calmer. I feel sorry for the eyebrows that took the brunt of her anger. She says, "I'll have to cut the sides really short so it won't cover your ears, and shave the back of your neck, which you didn't want."

Forgetting Margie's warnings, I say, "But the picture has longer hair in the back. I really don't want you to shave anything! And a little hair over my ears is fine."

At which point, Lynn jams a finger at the photo and says, "But you want it to look like the picture! See?? Her hair is not covering her ears! You SAID you want it like that!!"

Margie and I look at each other in horror. I am going to be bald when I leave the salon, and we both know it.

So, swallowing my hopes of a cute haircut, and settling for any hair at all, I say, "You know what will look good. Do whatever you think is best."

Triumphant, she begins looking for her scissors. I don't tell her about the ones on the floor, because each time she dropped her comb, she got a new one from the sterile box. I was sure she would do the same here. But after several minutes, she asks, "Have you seen my scissors?" I point to the scissors on the floor, half-hidden in masses of salt-and-pepper, and now my own brown, hair. She picks them up, flicks off the debris, and starts back in on my hair. $10.95 starts to sound exorbitant for what I'm getting.

Again in control, Lynn finishes my hair, saying, "Your hair looks cute! This makes your face look pretty! This is a good cut." I have no idea why the turnaround, but she is right. Finally, my hair looks like the hair in the picture. Margie smiles in approval to let me know Lynn hasn't hacked away at parts I can't see.

Knowing that I would be coming back (after all, $10.95 is $10.95), I decide to give Lynn a peace offering in the form of a large tip. Altogether, between the cut, the fix, and the tip, my ten dollar haircut costs almost thirty. But that's okay.

Frankly, I'm glad to be alive.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Before and After!

Here it is! The tale of the crazy hair lady to come!

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's time, once again

The skies are blue, the birds are chirping, little green shoots of life peer up from the earth. It's time. Time to cast off the old, bring on the new, refresh, renew. It's time for change, for fresh air, for new things.

It's time for the Spring Haircut.

My hair fluctuates from long to short. It doesn't happen annually, but there is a pattern. Usually, I cut it short once, then don't want to go back to get another hair cut, so I start growing it out, until it feels heavy and long and untameable, then I go and chop it all off again.

I seldom do more than blow-dry my hair. That's usually sufficient, but lately, it still hasn't looked "fixed," and I feel frumpy. I'm thinking (and this could change, of course) that it's time for a short cut, and this time I might stick to it for awhile. Which means, I have to pick the perfect one. Let's go through a series of images now....

Here is my first extreme haircut. It worked out really well, primarily because my hair was used to having a lot of weight on it, so it bounced up with lots of volume. The cons are that it eventually got used to not as much weight, and it flattened back down. Also, the back doesn't really look fixed to me.

Plus, this is basically what it would look like on a bad day (this wasn't the same haircut, but similar):

On my next short cut, I decided to take it to the extreme--the pixie.

The pros to this are that it's extremely easy to take care of. Sure, it still needs some kind of product in it, but usually just run through with my fingers, and no blow-drying. I could probably do that, even on a bad day. The cons are that I didn't, so there were days that I looked like a boy. Plus, the back was so short, it felt kind of weird. That was the only time I've had someone shave my neck. That was odd. It was at this point that I decided to grow out my hair again, which I did until after our wedding.

Spring came, and I again had the desire to cut my hair, but this time I went for a more fun, casual cut, that flipped out in the back.

I loved this cut, and felt it fit my personality very well. However, the cons are that it won't flip out about three weeks after the cut, and if I don't flip it out, it doesn't look too great. Also, I was putting about four different products in my hair, which seemed kind of ridiculous. To add on top of that, I was cutting it myself to save on salon costs, which worked out okay, but you can tell I can't cut bangs.

Looking at old photos today, it turns out I'd had that cut before, only I didn't work nearly as hard at it....

Back to present times, I kept that for awhile, and then started growing it out again. Here's what it looks like growing out:

It's really not so bad, and I wouldn't mind going back to that, but I think I want something a little more different than what I have now. The pros to that cut are that it didn't take any product, just blow-drying it out well. The cons are that this is the longest cut here, and it takes longer to blow-dry.

So it seems like the best one is the pixie, because it takes the least amount of work and product (discounting the longer cut). But I have to find a way to make it feel more feminine, with longer length in the back. Would that end up looking like a mullet? Ooh...scary....

Here is a picture I found probably a couple of years ago, and saved for that day (today) when I decided to chop all my hair off again.

It does have a little more length in the back, but I'm not sure it's exactly right. For example, I think the longer area around the ears might make my face look longer than it already is. And I have lovely cowlicks at the nape of my neck, so I might need even a little more length on the back than this photo suggests, to keep things laying properly. Then again, I'm wanting it to flip out, so maybe I should just run with it! :)

Anyway, now you know my dilemma. Basically, I want my hair to fix itself, and look fabulous the minute I get out of bed. Is that too much to ask? All I really ask is that I never have hair like this again:

Talk about out-of-bed beauty!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

To my Knight in Shining Armor

Happy Birthday Jon!!

I love you!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunny and 62!

There might be a hint of Spring today! If the weatherman is wrong, I'm going to cry.

As a side note, I have been spamless for probably a year now, but this morning some spammer has hit quite of a few of my old posts. I've tried to delete them as quickly as they came up, but I apologize if I've missed any!

Friday, February 02, 2007


The booth and banners came in! I set them up, almost all by myself, on the receptionist's floor at the office yesterday. That way, we could see how it all goes together, plus that's where the break room is, so everyone coming by would notice it. It turned out so great! John came by, and he was very complimentary of it, which meant more to me than my boss liking it. (Brothers don't worry as much about making you feel good, so they'll tell the truth. Plus, John has a good eye for things.) He took a picture of me in front of the booth.

And here it is with the banners and everything. It's a lot bigger than I had imagined!

I sat in a chair nearby for about 30 minutes, listening and explaining as people came by. It was so much fun. I missed seeing the president when he saw it for the first time, but I was there when he wanted his picture taken with it, so he could send it on to his president at MetLife. I guess he wanted to show it off, too. :)

In other Tada news, here's a picture of my little plants.

Since I planted extra seeds to every pot, I've had to pull quite a few little seedlings. But I've been strong, and I've done it! The tall ones in the back are the morning glories. Those are an experiment going directly in the ground by the columns of my front porch, so I hope they work. It looks like I may need to start giving them a stake to grow up on already!