Friday, August 26, 2011

Anna goes to Maine! Along with a crappy gift for her goddaughter.

(I started writing this yesterday)

I flew into Maine this morning, narrowly escaping hurricane Irene by a mere 2 to 3 days. After a death-defying flight (they didn't serve alcohol until the 9 am snack service), Abby and baby Mary scooped me up at the airport and promptly rushed me to the nearest Tim Horton's for an emergency grilled cheese sandwich and a donut. Oh, and a Coke, which I shared with the baby to get her to like me even more. I'm not above bribes. I'm pretty sure they're mandatory with small children anyway. And is there any way possible to not give  this child anything she asks for? Just tell me you could look at this face and say no. Yeah, I didn't think so. I'm her monkey and her plaything all rolled into one if she wants.

And after Abby tells me that they limit the time they use electronics to pacify her so that she wont' depend on them while out, I immediately fire up the shapes game on the iPhone and hand it over to her tiny, willing hands. Shit, I would have given that baby crack if I thought she wanted it. Okay, maybe not crack, but lots and lots of goldfish crackers and movies until her eyes glaze over. Honestly, I'm not much better with any of my nieces and nephews. I like to give them a taste of the good life and then let mom and dad deal with the fallout later when it inevitably goes back to normal. Heh heh heh.

Hey, at least she's learning from the game- today she told me she found a piece of dirt shaped like a hexagon on the floor. Go iPhone baby!

When we get to the house, the first thing I notice is my elaborate gift basket left in my room. This goes back to what we do at our house; I once read an article on how to make your guests more comfortable and it said that your guests aren't going to let you know if they're cold or hungry or probably lots of other things but frankly I can only care so much so I quit reading after that. So ever since then, I make sure I have bottled water and snacks in the guest room for any visitors and some extra blankets. But my gift baskets usually consist of some old water bottles filled with tap water and some Pringles. Maybe old cookies if they're lucky but that's about it. Here's Abby's gift basket. It's like the Showcase Showdown of gift baskets!

The only thing I found a little suspicious were the many, many, MANY personal hygiene items included. Toothpaste? Great, I didn't have to pack it in my carry-on. Razors, tic tacs, deodorant, and a comb? Okay, that's hitting a little too close to home! But she rounded it out with a big bottle o' wine so I couldn't get too offended.

We ended up taking it easy today. Mary and I both took naps in the afternoon and then had snacks of pickles, BBQ chips, and string cheese on her puppy pillow afterwards. Just an FYI for the next monkey coming up here, Mary is a pickle hog so keep your stash separate if you want to get more than one. She's not above double fisting those things.

Then we read a book about some a-hole rainbow fish and just hung out until dinner. Then when it came time for her bath and Bobby went to run the water, she started yelling, "No, I want Aunt Anna to do it! I want Aunt Anna!". Ah, the conversion took less time than I thought. I had given her this toy earlier that was a little basket of plastic clothes with mud stains on them that disappeared with warm water so that kids can pretend they are washing clothes while they take a bath. Turns out, this gift really sucked ass.

Hey Aunt Anna, next time can you at least give me this rock for a gift? That way I can at least brain you with it as a thank you.

We put them in the tub, and at first Mary was mesmerized by how you could dunk the little clothes under the water and the mud would disappear. So I told her to put the clean clothes in the little basket as she goes, and she follows suit for a few more garments. But then she notices that the stuff in the basket is dirty again. So she washes it again. But as soon as she takes it out of the water, the stain reappears.

She gives me this look that I'm pretty sure says, "Are you fricking kidding me here lady? Isn't it bad enough that you got me this crap-ass toy that has me washing clothes while I'm supposed to be having a relaxing soak, but now the motherf'ing stains come back as soon as I finish so I just have to start all over again!?". I really felt bad when she got her little bar of soap and washcloth and went to town trying to clean these suckers and the damn mud just won't stay gone. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for children dong menial household chores, but she seemed to be getting no sense of accomplishment here. Not even a bonus quarter like mom gets making those jon jons. She let me know where I could stick my toy.

I went to bed and slept like a log, and the next day we went for an amazing hike in Acadia National Park.

Then she helped me eat some of my stash from my gift basket.

Mary is currently walking around with a little plastic club in her pocket, looking for the baby bird's nest (presumably so that she can club the birds like baby seals) but she's so stinking cute in her pigtail braids that I'm sure we'd just say, "Aww, how cute!" as she brains the baby birds and smiles for the camera.

My favorite Mary quote so far? I was getting her dressed this morning and out of nowhere, she tells me, "I love you very much Aunt Anna!". I'm pretty sure I'm leaving most of my heart here in Maine in those tiny little hands. Hopefully she won't club it to death like the baby bird.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Just Can't Get Enough- of those Jon Jons!

A few months ago, I used to have a glass of wine or a roofie or two to relax after work; now, I just fire up the sewing machine and make a jon jon after a long, hard day. Sometimes I have contests with myself to see if I can beat my best jon jon time, but then I end up having so much fun that I completely lose track of time! Even on those rare occasions that Bobby and I disagree, we'll often just say, "Woah- let's just slow down, make some jon jons, and then talk about this in a little bit." Then by the time we're finished making the jon jons, we've completely forgotten what we were fighting about to start with! Oh, those jon jons!

Thank you jon jon for keeping the pieces of my broken marriage together!
You know, talking about all the fun I've been having makes me feel a little guilty for hogging  it all to myself. It's like I've discovered a new religion and I want to share it with the world! And we all know how annoying religious zealots can be so you may as well just listen to my spiel and get it over with. 
But first, let me tell you about my jon jons.....
The jon jons are big sellers. Fortunately, my shirts are doing pretty well too. And I really like making the women's shirts because I get to be creative. Where else would I be able to make a Mary Poppins and a Belle shirt for women running a half marathon? Or a maternity Cinderella shirt? I can pretty much make you feel pretty in any situation. I'm thinking of expanding into the colonoscopy market. I'll have Shrimp do the field testing to find out what to wear when you're having something shoved up your ass. 

But that brings me back to jon jons. I have more requests for these things than I can complete and I could use some help. Does it pay well? No. Are the working conditions reasonable? Not in  the slightest. I basically need someone who's so desperate for money that they'll do anything but they're past their prime for the street corner. Junkie comes to mind first. Then I thought, "Mom"! Since she was coming down for a week, it was the perfect time to lure her into my jon jon web. 

It started off great, it really did. We cut out the material to make 2 jon jons and got sewing. I showed mom how to make the french seams to make sure that there are no raw edges inside that will fray in the wash, then we sewed up the red parts in no time. Then we added the black bib part and something wasn't quite right..... Oh, oops. I forgot to mention that we have to factor in our own seam allowance for the black part since the original pattern is all one piece for the front and I just cut the pattern off to make the black. Without adding the seam allowance to the red and black parts, when you sew them back together, your front ends up an inch shorter than the back. Damn, that sucks.

So mom had to take apart the top, cut a new one, then sew that on. And she has old lady eyes so taking out the stitches was extra difficult for her. It was kind of hard to watch, really. Like an old dog with cataracts trying to find his way to the water bowl. But by golly, she got it done! But then she accidentally sewed the straps down the wrong way, and had to take that apart also. A few times. Seriously sad. And completely my fault because I've made all these mistakes already so I knew how to avoid them but forgot to tell her about them. But hey, she's gotta learn, right?
I hear your other senses sharpen when one goes but mom still can't hear worth a shit either. 

And in the end, her jon jon looked pretty good. All I had to do was add the button holes and buttons and hem up the legs and I sent it off to a client. Of course, if she returns it due to defects I'll have to deduct the cost of materials from mom Christmas present, but I'm sure it'll be okay. 

So now mom is back home and thinking of making the jon jons. So in order to try to persuade her to work for the best boss ever- me- I've made my plea in a short video. Aptly titled "Persuasive Jon Jon Speech".  Mom, I'm hoping this will win you over!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Do you think KFC serves crow? Because I like mine extra crispy.

It's time for me to eat some crow. Remember the jon jons I mocked a few posts back? They are by far the most popular item in my store. The listing has 26 favorites, or roughly 30% of all the favorites from my store combined.

I guess this guy croaked out 'Nevermore' one too many times
Okay, no joke- I just went to get my stats for the store, and I had another email about the jon jon! That thing is going viral.

Raise your hand if you want a jon jon!
But my point is that even though I made fun of the thing, it sold fast and I've sold 4 so far. So that means every time I get another sale, Colleen (Roughie) calls me up to sing "Time to make the jon jon!". It would be annoying if they weren't selling so fast. 

This is going to be my 'after' picture by the time I get through the jon jon craze.
And to give Roughie her props, she manages my store and Abby's store and whatever Rough tells us to make sells well. So after I make these next 2 jon jons, I'm getting on those Winnie the Pooh shirts and dresses because they might be my next goldmine. And Jen, I haven't forgotten about your jacket- I'm fixing the crooked ruffle while I'm making the jon jons and sending it out soon, I promise!
Jen, you aren't by any chance naturally an inch shorter on one side, are you?
But here's something Bobby brought up tonight that's made me think. And you know how I don't like to think when I'm off the clock. He said that I could probably make more money for my time if I pursued the mural painting instead of the sewing. If you haven't seen the murals, take a look at the top of the blog and you'll see the 3 different pages for the owl, mermaid, and the almost finished Lake Tahoe murals. 

I ain't paying for that sucky mural!

But I think Bobby is right. For the amount of time I spend sewing, I think I might be cracking minimum wage. But I've sewn exponentially more than I've painted so I'm a lot more confident with marketing myself for sewing. Although I would never attempt a mural that I didn't think I could do well, I would be pretty nervous about painting for someone I don't know. 

Um, sure, I like owls....

On the other hand, I was browsing through Etsy last night and owls are still pretty popular so I was thinking I could put up a listing on Craig's list to paint exactly what I've already painted and see if I get any takers. The owls were easy and fast and so damn cute! With my luck though I'd get some creepy dude with a bunch of blow-up dolls just trying to lure me into his trailer. They caught the Craig's List killer, right?

So I'm indecisive tonight. Opening up VaVaVaVoom has definitely given me more confidence in my creative abilities so I'm more open to putting myself out there for painting but I'd have to choose one or the other- sewing or painting- because I can't do both and work full time. It's like Sophie's Choice! I have so many more ideas for VaVaVaVoom but this afternoon Shrimp said she could just pick up a princess dress at Disney for $39.95 so that kind of burst my bubble. Way to go, Debbie Downer! And here I just got my business cards and personalized clothing labels. 

"I've seen nicer shirts at the Dollar Store"

Any thoughts? Advice? I'm on the fence about this. Should I pursue the painting? Keep on sewing for minimum wage? I don't know. For once in my life, I want someone to tell me what to do! No, I'm serious. I'll even keep the mocking to a minimum.