Tuesday, September 30, 2008

on the road to a better week...

last weekend's photo shoot didn't turn out a huge amount of photos that were right on...but, this...this is so dave and lydia...and it made me smile. thanks guys!

bummer...but we're working on it

in case you have tried to access it today...moopshop.com is down...something with the DNS and the SNWhat and the Imgoingtothrowthecomputeroutthewindow....
but, I've let the professionals know...and i'm certain it will be working again soon....
whew...at least i don't sell medical supplies...right?!

in the meantime...there's Supermarket and the Etsy shop...hooray!


Monday, September 29, 2008

gearing up

I have been so excited by the changing of the leaves to shades of orange and red and the air feeling crisp and clean. While fall is easily my favorite season, it's hard to forget that winter is on the way. It is cold during the winter months in New England...seriously...it must last 6 months! So, today's edition of the Daily Etsy Finds was perfectly timed...I opened my email and fell instantly in love with this hat....The Hunter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The end of one...the start of another

This past week has been fraught with emotion (both positive and difficult)...some of it self-inflicted by a series of bad decisions (my own bad decisions), some due to equipment failures (ugh), some due to seeing (again) the reality of human nature (not everyone shows integrity) and some from realizing the importance of positive relationships (thanks valerie, paula, kate and jeremy for all of the words of support this week). I think the weeks that feel like they bring you so low you can't see why you do what you do, are important to have every now and then (oh, the knowledge of hindsight). If you work through and turn to those you respect, admire and love, then embarking upon that climb back up to where you can't even see that low point anymore is a lot easier.

Often, I am just going along, doing what I do, not thinking too much about how or why, when I'm faced with having to define for myself why I do what I do and how I continue to make it work for me (uh...is that called growth?). It's not always the most easy thing to confront. Sometimes you see your own behavior has hindered you..or your own obsession with things that do not matter that keep you from focusing on what is important and you loose sight of the skills and knowledge you have gained. But through it all, if you're willing, you humble yourself and begin to see the value in what you do and the relationships you have forged.

This new week is going to be better. My sewing machine has returned and is working better than ever (it was burrs on the bobbin loopers). I will have another person begin working for/with me this week (welcome Sarah!). This will help me to come out from under the overwhelming amount of sewing that needs to be done every day and allow me to better manage all aspects of the business...and hopefully shorten my turnaround time for orders. I have realized (again) how lucky I am to have Jeremy as a constant source of support, encouragement, advice and know-how. And to have Parker...the charming 10 year old who keeps me grounded. They are wonderful and I am lucky.

I apologize for the armchair post this morning...I know, we're not supposed to show our weaknesses in this competitive world we live in, but I can't deny that I am emotional..and therefore human..so take it as reassurance that Moop is run by humans..not robots.

I am looking forward to this new week. It's going to be really good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fresh Totes

So, this past weekend brought many good moments and many frustrating moments. My sewing machine started doing unpleasant things...like skipping three inch sections of bobbin stitching, breaking threads left and right (literally...i use a twin needle machine), ruining perfectly fine and good bags just before the finishing stages, making them "unfit to send." In order to deal with the frustration, I had to remove myself from the situation...for, cursing at inanimate objects makes an adult look very silly.
Rather than look silly in the sewing studio, I decided to put myself in front of the camera and work on photographing some of the new bags. It will likely be the weekend before I make it through the editing process, so be patient little birds...they will be in the shop soon. Here's a small sample of what's coming...the newly re-designed tote.

I'll be uploading photos from the shoot to my flickr page all week...so keep an eye out...

p.s. I had my haircut 2 weeks ago...it's pretty short now...perfect for that new Yokoo warmer that's on its way...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thank you Venus!

So, you're not going to believe this...but, VenusZine nominated me as one of the best indie businesses of the year! I'm so surprised and completely honored to know they think so much of me!
There's a whole slew of things to vote for...go check it out! and vote for Moop!

Here's the link to the voting ballot: VenusZine Hottt List 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Bookbag photo-shoot

I just put some photos up on flickr from the most recent photo-shoot. I'm still sorting through the photos, but you can expect to see the new Bookbag (in blue) available on the website within a few days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

sewing and singing

This is what Jeremy is doing tonight.
(he's performing at the university of maine)
(and the music is great...he's been writing new stuff...and it is so good)

This is what I am doing tonight.
(my studio this morning, just before i started working)
(i'm still working....)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bloesem Kids!

A special thank you to Irene, the writer of the lovely Bloesem projects. She did a nice write up of our Bookbag for Kids on her BloesemKids Blog. Thanks, Irene!

Related to this...I finally posted those photos of Parker's Bookbag after she arrived home from camp. It was filthy! You'll find before washing and after washing photos here. It washed up amazingly well!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

re-group, re-organize, become sane again, become better

i am so excited to have finally hired someone to help me with piece work. it's something i should have done months ago. i am still battling the imbalance that has happened from starting a business with no intentions of starting a business (and every single facet of it relying on my own labor), to it becoming a successful venture that i love and have plans of continuing to grow for years to come. for the first time in my life i have a 10 year plan! kind of, anyway. bits and pieces written down on paper (or the stickie note app. on my ibook)..but, mostly the mental commitment that stability is an alright thing to achieve. this is the longest i have lived in one place (just over 2 years) and from the day we moved here, i've been thinking about moving away. not because i don't like the town (i like the town/s), but because i have commitment issues...those are waning, though and i'm committed more than ever to where we live. it's a great place! and i've met some great people! yay for western massachusetts!

so, the second reason for my note today. as i re-structure everything and begin to think of this business as a group of people all working together to grow a company built upon the philosophy of the handmade revolution (and furthering that revolution), i'm looking to hire a second person to do piece work. if you live in the pioneer valley are super skilled with a sewing machine (i'm very particular about craftsmanship) and would like to work with me....send me an email because i want to meet you! i'm looking forward to this next stage of Moop...and how fun it will be if you can be a part of it, too!

i think this is the next wave of the handmade culture. a term that is used to define a sub-culture rather than a process, because the reality is that most everything we consume/purchase/use is handmade...it is just too often by hands that are under paid or exploited or not protected under worker's rights or government agencies. as each of us individually have made a stance by learning how to make things ourselves and sharing those with consumers around the world (thanks Etsy!)..some of us have found successful businesses within that and are faced with a super great opportunity to grow a business that keeps the same ethics and working sensibility to create long term businesses that can slowly slowly begin to shape the way businesses are thought about and started and how they operate and who they serve and who benefits and how they grow. it's exciting and i'm super thrilled to be a part of it....so, do you want to join me?

here's where you can let me know if you're interested: moopshop at gmail dot com

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Some things for today

Here are some things from the last several weeks:

Parker planted this avocado seed before she left for camp in July. She left me strict instructions to water it every day (i always forget to water things...and then they die). But, I diligently watered it because I did not want to let her down. Nothing happened at all...it was nothing but an empty pot of dirt the whole time she was gone. But, she arrived home and within three days it had sprouted! It was just waiting for her!

Last weekend we were invited to a balsa plane fly-off. My dad used to keep balsa planes in his sock drawer and when we complained of having nothing to do, he would pull them out, give us each one of our own and we would fly them around the yard. So, there was a bit of nostalgia in wanting to participate in this fly-off put on by an artist couple not far from where we live. Thanks to Will & Paula for inviting us! You can find more photos on my flickr page.

This is the pile of scraps underneath my sewing table. I produce a lot of scrap. A big box is going into the mail to Jamie of PGHTravelAgency...I'm looking forward to the results.

While reading DesignMilk this morning, I came across a link to Cibone..then I fell in love with the Gala Chest.

and I'm not sure why? but, this rabbit lamp, too.....?

Now, I'm off to sew...for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

so ooooo long. so oooory!

oh, i'm so sorry it has been so long. i'm completely wiped out. sometime late last year i hired a woman to help me out in the studio. she was a wonderful assistant. she came a few days a week. we had lots of fun. she helped me out with cutting and pleating and ironing and making jokes about the bbc news broadcast and trying out new music and eating warm bowls of rice every day for lunch...but, about 2 months ago, i had to let her go on to other things. she's a wonderful person and i miss her. i did okay for a while, but it has all caught up with me and i've been sewing for long long long hours to fill orders. i'm pooped. so, i've had little time to tell you about all the goings on. (and if you're waiting for an order, you likely have received an email from me....thanks for your patience...you (my customers) are wonderful!)

good news, though. yesterday, i had a (much needed) conversation with a good friend. every time i have talked to her over the last few days, i just cry and have exhausted breakdowns (that's how my body and mind react to stress and tiredness...i just cry). i have been thinking of ways to ease my work load a bit, but have been so overwhelmed by the amount of work i have to do that i have not even had time to think of ways to act on it (i know, it's the best problem to have...i just need to manage it properly or i will not be able to sustain it). but, paula is a great sounding board and did a great job of gently telling me that i do not have to do everything myself. and really, letting another person (who is not tied to the business in the way i am) help me out is a good good thing! so, i've hired someone to do piece work. there are a lot of 'behind the scenes' stitches that i can let someone else do without letting go of ownership. those of you with a moop bag on your shoulder likely know they are very labor intensive. i do not cut corners and my patterns are rather involved (only because i am completely self taught in the world of sewing and re-invented the wheel while i was designing, refining and developing all of the bags)...complexity to achieve simplicity, i guess. but, this new development will mean every bag will just get better and i will be able to get some of the new designs that are whirling around in my head into the shop/s. it will be a few weeks before it gets to the point of easing up some of the sewing time for me, but it will be so nice when it does. and, maybe i will cry less, because moop should not make anyone cry...unless it is out of sheer joy and gratuitous admiration...

oh, one more thing...today was the first day of school for parker. 4th grade. so, what was i doing at 7:45 this morning while she was eating her bagel? ....making her a pencil case. i know, i'm nuts. it needs a few more renditions before you'll see it in the shop..but, i rather like it...she does too. she told me she could easily get her pencils out of it during class without making a peep. that's success if you ask me.