Friday, April 6, 2012

80ish:365 oh where were we now?

I might have a blog comeback. We'll see. This weekend, I took a trip to Ikea. And purchased organizing equipment. With that equipment, I just finished organizing and tidying my new sewing room! Yep, I took over the guest room.

One of the reasons I've been absent is because I've hired someone new at the shop, and she is great at sewing. So I then went and revamped the sewing and quilting class offerings which means there's lots of samples to sew. Time to get down to business!

It doesn't look like much here in the very early morning light. Soon enough...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

80:365 Blank Brain

The 80th day! And I am just too darn tired to pull a photo out of arse. Today, once I turned on the dyepots, I moved numbers from one column to another, for literally 6 hours straight. Now, I feel kinda crossed eyed. Sometimes I am disheartened, shocked, blind-sighted by the amount of tasks I do similar to my last job (like hours of bookkeeping), except at my last job, I was paid way more to do it. Huh. Well enough of that thought pattern, I'm still dedicated to making my business work through my lease of 5 years. At least, from my business, I have the confidence to tackle just about any bookkeeping / business model nightmare, um, I mean creative beast so in the case that I ever need to get a job post-Verb, I will have more experience.

Things I am working on - for the first time ever I have been asked to prepay sales tax. This must be done by Friday. I just completed entering in all of the expenses and income (95%) for 2011. I have a tiny dream of filing my taxes for the first time since owning my business, on time, without an extension. All of that said, I am certainly not holding my breath lest I choke. on. my. own. words. And then there's my fear of how much I will own in self-employment taxes. I was utterly shocked (naive) to the fact that little Miss Capitalistic Own-Your-Own-Business United States of America would make one pay special taxes just for being self-employed. I figured they would encourage such behavior, and might even give one a tax break (gasp).  And then, given the fact, as I have explained in a previous tax, that my inventory shows as an asset, I will most likely show a profit - hmmm, where will I get the money to pay my taxes?

Since Sarah no longer works at Verb, while I had already taken on many of her tasks, such as help with dyeing and many other odds and ends while she was on leave, I have now also re-inherit her post-pregnancy job of scheduling classes, updating the website with that info, creating the end of month newsletter, and creating the paper handout, and designing new classes for the shop (we need a sewing curriculum). By the way, if you are a sewing / quilting teacher, please get in touch!

Other than that, by April 15th, I have our Pro-Verbial club shipment, Essential Luxury Club shipment, a secret club shipment for a designer, our regular stock, and a few wholesale orders.

And this weekend, we are hosting a very special teacher, Kathy Hattori, flying all the way from Seattle to teach natural dyeing classes. It is a great opportunity to learn natural dyeing on cellulose, since Kathy dyes for light-fastness, and cellulose can be very tricky. So most likely I will be attending class - alas, not in the dye studio doing the above mentioned work.

Well it shall be interesting as always! On April 17th, I am done!!! With the most insane 6 months of my entire life. I am so close!! The shop is so close to entering into a new phase, one of not being completely brand new.

Ok, in the meantime, back to more books.

Monday, March 19, 2012

79:365 water

I need to remember to drink water. Sometimes I get moving so fast I don't drink a single glass of water all day.

In other news, things continue to heat up in regards to women's health issues and the government. All in all, I am quite political. I struggle with my identity as a business owner and how much I allow my political stance to show. That said, I'm thinking of a project for our gallery space in which i will ask women who are pro-choice, and pro birth control to submit hand written statements of want we want in terms of reproductive health and rights. I kind of find it sad that I'm scared to do this and am afraid of being targeted. Stay tuned.

78:365 ocean side quilt show

The view from the quilt show. More soon!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

77:365 optical illusion

76:365 prepping

I've been slipping on my posts here, indulging in twitter instead. I can get a little precious about the blog. Wanting to edit the photos before I post them. I have a pet peeve about badly photographed blogs. Though these extra grainy photos certainly add another level of insight or reflection as to where I'm at in life. On the run. Or in bed, like I am today, blogging from bed on my iphone.

Here's a photo from the 76th day. Wool fabric, I dyed, ready for the quilt show. Now I must get out of bed and go to the show. Soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

74-75:365 Color keeps us going.

Here's the wool fabric I dyed. It's a little more purple than blue. I haven't yet had time to indigo dye (or indigo overdye) any fabric yet. I really like them. Now to decide what to make with them! Any ideas?

And still cutting the Oakshotts. We'll have bundles of fat 1/8ths at the show this weekend. I'm super excited to be finished with the shows, so I can focus on sewing and dyeing. I've been on Pinterest a lot over the past few days. I am pretty much using it as my Ravelry for sewing and quilting; collecting images, inspiration, and links to patterns. There is so much I'd like to sew for the shop, plus, I have a bunch of classes floating around in my head, and I think it is high time to make them reality, right?

If you haven't heard, we are hosting a very special guest next weekend, March 24 &25. Kathy Hattori, owner of Botanical Colors, is traveling all the way from Seattle to teach natural dyeing on cellulose, specifically fabric. I am so excited. I hope you will join us!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

73:365 Naturally Dyed Wool Fabric

8pm tonight and we are at the shop, re-skeining yarn, just off the drying rack, for this weekend's show, Voices in Cloth. Aday is watching a video on fungus. In case you don't know, she is obsessed with fungus and mushrooms. Ok, though the thing I love most about this photo, are the fabrics that I naturally dyed hanging in the background. This is my secret project I've been working on. 100% wool flannel, available this weekend at the show.

Uh-oh! Cleo! You've been working too hard. Please know we did not place this piece of yarn on her nose. She did it entirely herself. I swear.

Monday, March 12, 2012

72:365 Oakshotts and Bow Ties

New obsessions in our house: Oakshott cottons and bowties. To read about our delivery of Oakshott received today, click here.

And, a self-portrait by Aday, in Ikea (known for its fantastic lighting!!), in her brand new bow tie that she sewed! Watch out world, by the time she is finished, we will all be wearing bow ties, and enrolled in her Bow-tie Brigade.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

71:365 Ramblings of a Fabric Shop Owner

Gosh, you guys, please excuse for the uber funky photos. Back when Sarah was pregnant with G., all of us who attended her baby shower made blocks for G. Sarah chose the bird fabric found in the center of each block. She also chose a few pieces of fabric, mainly from the Prince Charming collection, to create a sense of cohesion, though everyone was asked to add a few of their own fabrics if they wished to add a little zing. Then, I pieced the blocks together. Sarah's Mom and Sister made blocks a bit larger, so instead of cutting them down, I put them on the other side of the quilt - making it reversible. I then quilted the fabric with a zigzag pattern. 
Now comes the part when G. is born. Do you think the quilt was complete? Nope. So as I was focusing on it, and really wanted to complete it for him, I didn't spend a lot of time on the photos. I hope you can make out the pattern. I think it turned out quite nicely. 
Today, I am posting these photos because my day got away from me, my camera in the car, and my phone dead, so, no photos. Though if you can imagine, I spent the entire day at the cutting table, cutting fat quarters for next weekend's show, Voices in Cloth. I also dyed wool flannel. It is so pretty and so refreshingly different from dyeing yarn. 

In other news, I am on the lookout for independent quilt designers. If you have one (or more) you'd like to share, please do! 
As I've been getting ready for the upcoming fabric show, it dawned on me that I would really like to bundle fabrics, similar to my Pressed Seam Club.  Oh, and better yet, I would like to offer a pattern, or a collection of patterns, for customers to choose from, to go with their bundles.
I really don't buy fabric within a collection / colorway. Many times, as I sit with a rep, I choose the color which a print looks best in. So, we could have 2 bolts of this, and 2 bolts of that. I have wondered if this can of buying is going to bite me in the a**. Though, when trying to purchase an entire collection in a single colorway, it just doesn't sit well with me. So, I've decided screw it. Point being, when we look at bundling fabrics to sell with a pattern (typically by a fabric designer: Tula Pink, Denyse Schmidt, etc), we wouldn't have all of the fabrics in the collection and would need to sub. Plus, I would really like to encourage clients to think outside of the box and to find confidence in their own choices of fabric. While I love many designers who do design fabric, I would like to create fabric bundles from our collection of fabric (v. a line of fabric), and feel odd doing it with a pattern specifically made to go with a single collection of fabric. Instead, I thought it a good opportunity to work with independent designers, who may use an eclectic collection of fabrics. And those whose main interest perhaps is selling patterns rather than raw materials. 
It's amazing in the knitting world, how the shift from knitting designers working for a yarn company to publishing independently has influenced knitting trends. More times than not, when I came across patterns made for yarn companies, they were created to sell yarn, which makes sense, though sometimes, you just want to use a single skein. And now there are quite a few independent knitwear designers, knowing that the public is searching for such patterns, offering single skein projects. I've noticed when quilting patterns are released in conjunction with a line of fabric, the number of fabrics called for in a pattern can be extraordinary, for example Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt. Don't get me wrong, there is an aesthetic here, scrappy, flea market finds, takes a lot of different fabrics to make up that style. I guess it's just the fact that I really like to support people who have a vision or a perspective, and would like to see more quilting designers, design independently for profit. I think to cultivate more perspectives, creates a more interesting environment, and a clientele with greater diversity.

Here's another idea. Maybe you make quilts, maybe you would like to make a pattern. I would happily donate fabric support (read free fabric) if you would like to make a pattern, and sell it in our shop. Oh, and allow us to display your sample in our shop. What about this, if you wanted to teach, you could also teach a class on how to make your quilt. Please let me know if you are interested, or pass this along to anyone you might think would be interested.

Though prepping for shows is super stressful, I love how it makes me notice how things can be better or more thorough. It helps me to refine my own voice and perspective.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

70:365 new cutting table

We've been talking about building a proper cutting table for over a year. Before Stitches, Adrienne popped into Urban Ore and saw this huge table. When we returned from Stitches, Aday and I stopped by Urban Ore. Sadly, the table had sold. Though, through a turn of luck, we ended up able to purchase it.
 Aday and Sarah O. wheeled the table 7 blocks to the shop! 

 We then found ourselves unable to fit it through the door. We took the casters off and the door off its hinges. 
Aday sanded the table, routed 9 inch x 9 inch panels into the top of the table, and varnished it. Voila! We have a huge new table to cut fabric and patterns!

Friday, March 9, 2012

69:365 New Fabric Project

The first steps towards making naturally dyed wool fabric! Very excited to embark on this new adventure. If all goes well, it will debut at the Voices in Cloth show.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

68:365 More Corpse Reviving Tales

The Corpse Reviver may have worked! Today, I was a bit more like myself. I headed across the bridge to San Francisco. My Mom wanted to try Tartine, my favorite bakery.

  There's nothing like dual-ling bulldozers to make you come alive! There was a great construction show outside Tartine, complete with tar and smoke!

 Though nothing could taint my sweet lil' box of banana cream pie. 

Look at this cute guy, named Waldo, sitting outside Tartine, waiting for his Mom. 

We walked down the street to Bi-Rite so we could swim through the piles of beautiful, local, organic vegetables and fruit.

We crossed town to Flora Grubb - always a source of inspiration and beauty. 

And, finally, we stopped at San Francisco Center for the Book. They have an exhibit dedicated to John Cage, who was a book maker and artist. Who knew? This was a piece that particularly caught my attention given its reference to fiber and textiles. I also love anytime an artist makes up tools for a pretend world. This piece is made by Biolunar (Robin Hill and Ulla Warchol) and is named Object Lessons.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

67:365 The Corpse Reviver

Another day of choppy waters in these parts. Putting my gloom (exhaustion) aside, I went to a lovely dinner with my Mom and Adrienne. We went to Sidebar, and come to think of it, sat at the side bar. I love to watch others in their craft, in this case, cooking. See that beverage, that is The Corpse Reviver #2, try it if you haven't, it's delicious! And hopefully this corpse will be revived!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

66:365 To the Pennisula

Well, I probably should have worked today though my mind feels a bit crispy at the moment. So, instead, we headed to the Peninsula. My Mom is still in town and I wanted to bring her to an amazing garden named Filoli. I took a photos of these flowers to remember the promise to myself that I will continue to work with people who are creative and for whom Verb is a good fit. I guess it's another way of saying, when one door closes another door opens. And to have faith that people will be here to help when help is needed. After we toured the garden, we went to Pescadero for crab cioppino and pie at Durate's. Then, we headed to Nine Rubies in San Mateo. I had never been there, and it is a lovely shop.

In other news, I committed to doing my first fabric show on March 17-18th. I did this thinking that it would be a good way for me to reach more crafters and to let more people know that we have fabric in our shop. Given the fact that we had such great success at Stitches West and sold out of many colorways, I should be dyeing. Though really, I would like to allow my mind to wander and to sleep, oh yeah, and there's always running the shop.

I also really wanted to dye wool and silk for the show. I did order a couple bolts. It is something I've wanted to do since opening the shop, so I guess, the least the show has done is to get me moving in that direction. Carrying fabric has been a really interesting juxtaposition to carrying yarn. Since we don't dye fabric (well, not yet anyway), I don't have quite the connection to the material or to the client as I do with our yarn. And then there's the fact that we have fabric shops in the area with a ton of inventory. So, doing this show, and as I gather my samples and explore our class offerings, has brought to my attention once again, that I have a lot of work in strengthening my voice and vision in the fabric department. In time, right? In time. If anything, I know doing this show that I will learn a lot. And the focus for me is going to be as healthy and balanced as possible within the circumstances - in other words - keep things simple but beautiful.

Monday, March 5, 2012

65:365 where

Blogger just gobbled my blog post.

Spent a quiet evening ordering blue sky alpaca / spud and Chloe.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

64:365 Sake

Drinking sake, eating sushi, and reading about shibori on Ysolda's last night in the U.S.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

63:365 Done

So many months of holding it together, coupled with the intense preparation of Stitches, with nearly no time to myself in between Stitches and starting my work week, has led to a day of crying, a first for me at the shop. Today my resentment towards the fact that I depend on other humans to help run my business peaked. The fact that every time an employee decides they no longer want to do their work, and that I am left with the work, that all others can walk away, and I can't, is so overwhelming and can be so lonely. And that I as a business owner have chosen this bring this feeling into words is nearly impossible due to the overwhelming nature of my anger and sadness. If I could just do it myself, I would. But at this point, I can't. And for that fact, there is no photo.

I know it will get better. Just know, that this is all part of the story.

62:365 8 minutes late

Finally getting a chance to blog. Re-arranged the shop, special guests, Anne and Cookie, joined us mid-afternoon. Now to sleep.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

61:365 Ragga

Ragga from Knitting Iceland came to the shop this evening. Here's an outtake! Ysolda, Ragga, and Cleopatra all in lopi sweaters! More soon!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

60:365 Leap!

60 days of blogging and it's leap year! We decided that since it is a special day, we would purchase special leap day shoes. I've been on a no-shopping, no-new-clothing program for the last few years as I've been building my business. Though every now and then, I splurge. Here are new Spring shoes by Coclico. I may have also purchased new eyeglasses.

Speaking of being a fashion hoar, have you heard of Pinterest? It's a place to collect images and to be inspired. Just remember to credit the work in the photos to the creator, right? If you are on Pinterest, let me know your name, so I can see what you are pinning. I have been collecting dozens of ideas for Spring dresses - to wear with my new shoes!!

Then, I walked down the street and saw this beautiful Iguana.

And in the case, you need a new keychain - look at this! Available at the Bone Room. You are welcome! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

59:365 And Then I Walked

For the past five years, I truly thought I was running a real business versus a hobby business. I have priced things, taken inventory, created projections in order to open and maintain a stable business. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for having employees. It is the one addition, from moving my shop into it's current location, that has made my heart skip a beat.

Today, I learned that Sarah E. will leave Verb. Late last year, Sarah had a baby. Coupled with her hour long commute, this, for obvious, well founded reasons, has led her to the decision to stay closer to home.

I could not have opened my new shop without Sarah. Due to her past experience in architecture and project leadership, Sarah helped me create and build Verb's new space. To her, I am so grateful for what she has given me and Verb.

Having employees, I see two sides of a coin; their life and my life.  And the all the intricacies in between, of wanting their best interests in mind, and needing to run a business, being harnessed by the reality of a limited income stream, wanting them to feel valued, while in my own right trying to feel of value. When to ask for help, accepting the help offered and given. Depending on my employees, asking them to be accountable, and being gracious for what they can give when I would like to demand more - because I am so demanding of myself - or simply because I want Verb to be better. Being a friend, and being a boss. Being a peer, and being a teacher and a manager. Constantly working on balancing a shifting set of scales for each individual and their unique set of circumstances.

So today, I walked. Above are photos of what I saw.

Monday, February 27, 2012

58:365 The Day after Stitches West

Today, the van needed to be back at 9am and filled with gas. Guess who did that? Me and Aday! We stopped by headed back home, picked up Ysolda and headed to the shop.

I always forget that the shop is very busy right after Stitches. The shop was bustling with activity as people stop in from out of town and putting everything back in its place.

We only have one license for our point of sale system, so, over the weekend, the staff wrote all sales tickets by hand while we used the license on our laptop at the shop. So, we needed to transfer the files from this weekend, over to the shop desktop computer, and start using that system again. The less double bookkeeping the better, right? There was a bit of a problem with the transfer, which entailed a call to customer service, but for the most part the transfer went smoother than last year. We ran to the bank, made a deposit, and I headed home to take a long nap. I am so thankful that my staff is there to help and to take care of things. I would be an absolute bear right now without them.

I have uploaded a bunch of photos from the weekend, am working on editing them, and will post them in the next couple days. Now, I get to cast-on with my new Toots LeBlanc. Can't wait!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

56:365 recounting

Here's Ysolda. About to eat dinner. Recounting the 2 bites of food she had today. Another day at stitches west! Till tomorrow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

55:365 Pupperdoodle!

Oh lil' booger! You're so cute and you visited me at my booth. Thanks!! I have photos of my booth but they'll have to wait. Way to sleep to post them. Soon!! Promise! I hope if you're at Stitches, you'll stop by. We still have new colorways on super luscious yarns - like Floating!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

54:365 receipts

This is pretty much what I stared at all night: register receipts - with smiles, nods, and a lot of "long time, no see! Great to see you!" Thank you everyone who came to our booth. Thank you do much!! Hopefully, some booth photos tomorrow...see you soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

53:365 lime green and wine

After today, my glass of wine tastes too good. I'm staying in silicon valley. Do you like the color of the table??