Sunday, September 11, 2016

Full of Fail

This week was full of sewing fails, file disasters that nearly made huge trouble at work, and that time I got stranded at a fiber festival. I'm not sure I ever really believed in the whole Mercury in retrograde thing before....but I might now!

I typically work 4 days a week - I chose Mondays as my usual day off, and I really love that schedule. When the weekend is over, I still have that ONE extra day to get stuff done. The only real bummer is that there are a surprising amount of businesses which are closed that day, but that's not terrible because I frequently don't get out of pajamas when I'm home! I work enough hours though that I still get paid for holidays. When they fall on a Monday, I get to choose another day to stay home, which varies depending on what's happening at work that week.

So, all that to say that I took Thursday as my day off this week since we were off Monday for Labor Day. I planned to go for a long run, do a whole bunch of sewing, maybe record a podcast, all on deliciously on my own time before the daycare pickup around 5. HA. HAHAHAHA

Where oh where to begin? First off, I didn't want to run at all, because while the temperature was a comfortable 75 or so, the humidity was nuts. I'm not a very experienced or good runner, so the thought of running in soup? No thanks. I ended up doing a DVD at home, but even that wasn't very satisfying. Maybe I just didn't pick a good one for me that day, or didn't push myself hard enough, but it sort of felt like a waste of time. (The one thing that did kind of work out was that I washed my hair with a "no 'poo" recipe that called for first scrubbing with baking soda and then with apple cider vinegar. It really helped my hair feel quite clean, as lately I've felt like I've had a lot of shampoo build up or something. Anyway.)

By that time it was about 10:30, and I was feeling quite stressed that I was wasting my day. I went down to my sewing room, and cleaned up a whole bunch of past project debris that was holding me back from doing anything else down there. It took me SO long after that, but I finally finished the bra I started a couple of weekends ago. I am pretty sure I put the back part of the band on upside down, but it turns out that makes no difference at all because the fit was BEYOND horrible. It was bad. So, so bad. I was essentially swimming in this thing, in all of the ways that a bra can just NOT fit. I don't know where I went wrong. I even made a muslin! Just....the front didn't fit, and there were seriously extra INCHES around my ribcage. It was not a, well, let's tweak it here and there and see if it works. It's a full on chuck it in the corner and be mad at it for awhile kind of fail. My friend said that hers really didn't turn out either. Perhaps not as full of fail as mine, but still not good. She said that maybe for the next go round, if we can bring ourselves to go there, we should try doing the fitting with the foam for the cups, rather than just fabric. That's a pretty good idea, but I don't know when I'm going to feel like going for it again. Ugh, such a bummer. (I was using this pattern, which I feel bad even saying because I was so unsuccessful!)

After all of that, it was about 3:30. I thought ok, let's change gears. I got out a pattern that I've wanted to make for years, the Lola dress by Victory patterns. I have the fabric too, a navy sweatshirt material. I thought a cute sweatshirt dress might be the perfect palette cleanser to a horribly ill fitting bra. I got the pattern pieces all traced and cut out before I had to leave to get the kidlets, so I was feeling like maybe I turned this thing around and salvaged some of the day after all!

And do you think that was true? No. After dinner and baths, I headed back down because I wanted SOMETHING cute to show for my precious solo day. The pattern directions were really easy to follow, and by 11 pm, I had a totally assembled dress except for the neck, wrist and bottom bands. Before going through the effort of putting those on, I decided to try the dress on for fit. I'm sure you see where this is going....

I could get it ON...but I was totally uncomfortable, and couldn't really move my arms without feeling like I was going to hulk the thing apart. Before completely throwing in the towel, I let out the seam allowance on one of the arms (which, ugh, was only 3/8" instead of 5/8" like many clothing patterns! Now is one of the only times I wished I had that extra 1/4"!!), and it was a great improvement. I can probably go through and let out some of the other seams and it should fit ok in the end, but ugh! I cut the same size in the bra and the dress, and ended up with a tight sweatshirt dress and a bra so loose I could have put it on over said dress.

The following day at at work, I'd left just a couple of things to finish off when I left Wednesday night. I thought, surely I'll have enough time to do these things before my 2:30 call to sign off on these plans!

 Yeah. There was some kind of ridiculous file problem which made it so that I couldn't get into the file until 1 pm!! I had an email window open on my other screen about to cancel the meeting, which would have been sort of a disaster to the project timeline, which obviously would have been very bad. Let's just say that when I finally got in there, I was drawing like the wind and there might have been smoke coming from my mouse. In the end, I got everything done that needed to get done and I got the sign off, but MAN was I stressed out!

So that's Friday. Friday night, I made a last minute decision (in hindsight, OHMYGOD stop making last minute decisions!) to head about an hour away to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. I dragged my family along last year, and when I brought it up to my husband he seemed pretty enthusiastic about it....ha, wait, nope! So I decided to go on my own, and rather than drive, I caught a bus from one of our local yarn shops with a friend from knit group. She had told me that it left at 7:45 and would leave the fairgrounds at about 5:30, and I thought that sounded fun. A whole day of shopping, watching the sheep shearing, maybe petting some baby lambs, and I could knit the whole way there and back!

And it was a really great day! It was fun to hang out, I spent way too much money buying pretty things that I don't need, and just had a really relaxing day. We headed over to where the bus had dropped us off around 5:15, and saw zero other people waiting.

And that's when I got nervous. You see....I didn't reserve my spot on the bus ahead of time due to aforementioned last minute decision. One of our other friends decided not to go, so I just took her spot. This meant I had no official confirmation, and no contact info in either direction. The friend I was with is one of those rare birds who does not have a smartphone, and also doesn't know her email password and only checks it at home. The shop website mentioned the bus, but again, no times. I tried calling the shop to see if they could hook us up with a cell phone of the owners, but it had closed at 4, so no answer. The woman standing near the entrance said that yes, there WAS a bus, but it had just left at 5. It was scheduled to leave at 4:30, but hung around until just after 5 when they finally left....just minutes before we showed up at 5:15.

In the end, we got home ok because luckily another friend was vending the event, and luckily not staying overnight between the Saturday and Sunday shows, and we were able to catch a ride with her back to the city. Even if that hadn't happened, I'm sure my husband could have come to rescue us, but that would have been about as exciting as coming along in the first place.

All this ramble to say that in the end, really, no harm, no foul on all of it.....but I am definitely staying in bed Sunday. (She says while typing this during a bout of insomnia in the wee hours Sunday morning....)

Monday, August 29, 2016

One month with It Works. Is it working?

It's probably early to issue a final judgement....but I would say that my experience is definitely not one of those runaway success stories where the person quits their job inside of 3 months and starts living a life of leisure. I would say, that one month in, It Works has been a bit of a mixed bag. Let's start with the upside!

When you sign on with It Works as a distributor, one of the things you get in your kit is a box of four wraps, which is considered one treatment. It's the company's flagship product, so they definitely want all distributors to have some personal experience with it. Well, I tried the wrap, and I really didn't think it did anything for me. AT FIRST. They say that you should take pictures because it's hard to judge changes when they happen over time. (I remember taking a before picture one of those times I started and didn't finish p90x lol.) Some people get really dramatic results after just one wrap, but some don't. I ended up doing all four wraps that come in the package, which is a full treatment. I took one last picture, and was surprised to see that it DID actually WORK! (And no, you will not see one of those bare tummy pictures from me. That's really the "preferred" marketing tool for this sort of thing, but I just could not get on board with that for myself. I barely show my face around these parts, so...yeah. #youdoyou)

Yep, difference!

The wrap is a twofold kind of product. The tagline is that it firms, tightens, and tones. It is supposed to do some detox which would reduce bloating and make you look slimmer, but the main benefits are for your skin. If you have stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin, that sort of thing, the wrap gives much more dramatic results. I count myself as pretty lucky because my skin came through two pregnancies pretty unscathed, but despite losing all of that baby weight by the numbers, I DO have a tummy that I never did before. It's not terrible, it's a reminder of the awesome thing my body did. At the same time though, it's been a year. It's not going to go away on its own. I'm one of those horrible people who maintained their weight through much of life on sheer metabolism. They said it wouldn't last, they said turning 30 would flip a switch, they were not wrong. I've halfheartedly worked out over the past year, but tummy just sort of stayed where it was, and I shoved all my tighter clothes to the back of the closet, closer to the donate pile. (Just because I know about the tummy doesn't mean everyone needed to!) That's why, after trying three of four wraps and not really seeing a difference, I just chalked it up to the fact that I didn't have loose skin to fix, I just had fat, and that was going to take some sweat to change. Then I tried the fourth wrap, just to be thorough, and lo and behold, that cumulative treatment DID have an effect. And honestly, it's been really motivating! I heard someone else say that the wrap is not "Barbie in a box," and that's totally true. The wrap CAN help change your appearance, but it's just one tool. You need to support those changes with a healthy diet and exercise. But the great thing about it is that I can give you a jumpstart. It can show you physical changes faster than diet and exercise might on their own, which can be its own reward to keep you going. Working out is so much better when you can SEE the changes!

I said though that it's been a mixed bag. My wrap results are the positive, so there must be a counterpoint. I had my official launch party on Thursday. I had a pretty good turnout, 10 people, and Erin did a nice presentation. She brought samples of everything, people tried the greens, she gave away some wraps and a facial, the essential oil diffuser smelled great! We had wine, snacks, and not much for orders. That....seems unusual.

So let me be clear, I'm not mad at anybody for not jumping right up and placing an order. I can't even look at it like my friends aren't being supportive, because they are. They showed up - that's support. They listened. That's support. They made their own choices to buy or not buy - that's totally up to them! It might mean no I'm not interested at all, it might mean no I'm not interested RIGHT NOW, but it's fine. It's not personal, because the personal part was in the showing up, you know? My friends are my friends, not my income source.

Still though, the ratio of attendance to orders for this sort of party was pretty low, so I have to ask myself why, and what I could have done differently, or should do differently in the future. Something that occurred to me was that maybe instead of doing a drawing to give away a wrap, we should do a drawing for someone who wants to try a wrap right NOW. That could be pretty motivating, because some people DO get that immediate effect after 45 minutes. And you definitely do feel like its doing something - it feels kind of like icy hot. Maybe we should have shown more before and afters, those can be pretty compelling. Maybe the loyal customer agreement scared people. The premise is that you just need to order something for 3 consecutive months to take advantage of the lower pricing and to get free shipping in the future. It's a bit of a different model than some direct sales companies because it's all consumable products vs. something like a bag or jewelry where a subscription model wouldn't make sense. The nice thing about the 3 month commitment is that it's totally flexible. You can order ANYTHING over those 3 months, doesn't have to be the same thing, and there's no minimum order. Maybe we just didn't explain that well enough? And there's no further fees or commitment required, though there are perks for continuing to do an autoship.

So while I wouldn't say my launch was a resounding success...I am not ready to say, well, that didn't work out, oh well. I joined for a reason. Plenty of people are customers and happy with their products because there are great products! And certainly not every person is obligated to buy everything that comes along. I don't, and it's never anything personal. Often when I do buy, it IS because someone I know personally recommended it, but I don't often buy immediately. I'm a muller, I mull things over for some time. I saw Erin post consistently for 2 years before I decided there was something I wanted to try. You tend to surround yourself with like people. If it took me 2 years to flip the switch, can I really be surprised that my nearest and dearest are not the kind to make impulsive decisions? All I can do is follow my gut (ha, even though there's a little less now than there was before!). I don't know what seems to have put people off, but I do know that the products are good quality, and they DO work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Podcast episode 3 show notes

Podcast episode 3 is up! You can either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link

Thank you to Eva from the charm of it for the shout out!

 I talk about Wild Haven Fiber Company and the upcoming classes - see the full schedule and details for how to sign up here.

Almost done with podster mittens ( Put thumb in backward. Playing yarn chicken with last of the Ella Rae classic wool. Working my way up the flap before I decide if I need to carefully uneven the thumb or just snip it off and re knit with fresh yarn 

Also working on some class samples for crochet 101. Using cotton fleece by brown sheep company. 80 cotton 20 merino in Terra cotta. Should look nice in the shop as a sample. Doing a couple samples, rectangular dish cloth with single, half double, double crochet, a round cloth to teach about typical increases in round, and a big granny square. 

Got my first 3 ply off the wheel! 
Ready to spin something more colorful and traditionally handspun looking yarn

In sewing, I started working on bras

Contact links


Thursday, August 18, 2016

My first taste of Greens

Last night I had a drink / get to know you / business meeting with my enroller / upline / boss (I clearly don't know the lingo!) Erin, and she gave me a couple product samples to try. One of these were a couple of Greens on the Go, one of the most popular products offered by It Works. (There was a facial wrap in there too, which I totally would have tried when I got home had it not been so late and I so tired!)

This morning I had a couple of spare minutes while we were getting out the door, so I decided to start my day with a sample! While it's fresh in my mind, here are my thoughts in the order in which they occurred.

Open packet. Think, huh, this smells like Crystal Light. I like Crystal Light. This is a good sign.

Dump it into my water bottle and shake.

Think, oh my god, that looks disgusting. What have I gotten myself into! How will I ask people to buy this and say it's great if I can't choke it down?! I don't have a poker face, this is a disaster! still smells good, so......

Big drink. Hey! It's yummy! It's not as sweet as Crystal Light, but there is a pleasant berry taste. I gave it a decent shake but not terribly thorough. I can taste just a few undissolved crystals, but one more swirl in the bottle takes care of it. Plus there are bottles with agitators in them for more thorough mixing if that's an issue for you.

Turn to husband. Say, try this. He side eyes it, but gamely takes a swig. Same reaction - Hey, this is GOOD! What is it! I told him it's that Greens stuff I've been telling you about. It has all kinds of veggies and good stuff in it, plus green tea. I'm going to order some next month - would you drink it if it's in the house? He says sure, he would. So that's cool!

Finally, one of the little ones grabs it and takes a drink, not looking at it. She expected it to be water, as that's usually what's in my water bottle, and she said, "Hey! This water tastes like LEMONADE!!"

So there you have it - a totally unvarnished review, straight from the mouths of babes.

Want to try them for yourself? Leave a comment or send me an email! I'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Podcast Episode 2 show notes

While I don't expect to make this to be a weekly endeavor, I've released my second podcast! You can either listen below or subscribe in iTunes. You can search for Cozy Cape Cottage, or click this link. (check out my show notes for episode 1 if you aren't familiar with subscribing to podcasts)

Links I mentioned in the show:

Snappy Stitches, Gingell socks
Susan B Anderson
Sweet 16 Bralette by Pin Up Girls
Stitched in Time by Alicia Paulson
Posie Gets Cozy

A photo posted by Kim Frer (@cozycapecottage) on
Wiksten Tova top
Tilly and the Buttons lining tutorial
Invisible zipper through waistband tutorial
Grainline rolled hem

Thank you so much for listening!