December 1, 2014

Candy Land


Maybe I'm just being too nostalgic, but I was really bummed when I went to buy a copy of CANDY LAND and realized the artwork had been updated. I'm now in a dilemma where I must decide if I want to spend $40 for a vintage version on Ebay or if I should just suck it up and save myself  $30.
New Candy Land

Kiwi Loco, Holiday Parade, 2012
In December 2012, a year and four months before we closed our frozen yogurt store, we participated in ourcity's annual holiday parade. Estimated turn out was 15000+ people out of 70,000 or so in the city. In 2012, we had a simple walking group and handed out 3,000 coupons for 3 oz of free yogurt with an 8 oz purchase. We had an amazing return of 300 coupons.

Last year, we decided we'd do a float. Candy Land seemed like a fun theme since it combined sweets and toys and I knew I could borrow the Princess Lolly costume from someone.

Kiwi Loco, Holiday Parade, 2013
I'd printed twice as many coupons using the exact same promotion, format, graphics etc... Out of 6,000 coupons, we had 25 returned. Ouch. Many families later said it was a struggle to buy gifts for their kids and they had to cut back expenses in anticipation of higher health care costs for 2014. I can't say I blame them because when money gets tight, the first thing I'd cut is ice cream too.

Maybe this year I'll get to watch instead of walking for once!

November 5, 2014

Night Circus Skirt

I'm published! Sort of...

Caroline is a dear friend of mine and co-author of  JUST FOR YOU: Selfish Sewing with Your Favorite SewCanShe Bloggers.

I am the designer of one of the 24 simply stylish sewing projects... and I have a free copy from Stash Books to give away! *Entry details below.*

I forget when Caroline first mentioned she and Sarah were considering collecting some of their daily sewing blog tutorials into a book-- but the time stamp on my digital file is dated back to June 2013, so I know it's been longer than a year.

Night Circus Skirt Designs
The inspiration stemmed from an idea I had to make a red and white striped, circular tent style skirt to wear as the hostess of a circus themed Halloween party . (Check it out here: The Fright Circus   )

Moving away from the costume side of things, I drew up a few designs.
Next, the designs were evaluated on sewing difficulty, how it would fit with the rest of the collection, and how well the design would translate into other fabric/pattern choices.

Oh la la!

So, here's a sneak peek at my  "Night Circus" inspired color-blocked skirt.
The skirt pairs fabulously with the red infinity scarf by Jessica Christian of Craftiness Is Not Optional .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 3, 2014

Parallel Triangles

As someone who has dabbled in ballet, I am sold on this one just by the cover. This is the sequel to TRIANGLES by Kimberly Ann Miller.

How does a cruise change your life?

By sailing through the Bermuda Triangle.
Carly Carmichael has one goal in life--to perform on Broadway. She refuses to have a Plan B because she's never needed one--until now. When Carly's parents send her on a cruise as a graduation present, she takes her best friend and their boyfriends along with her. Once the ship sails into the Bermuda Triangle, Carly finds herself unable to sing or walk, much less preform. And things just go downhill from there. Hoping for help from the ship's doctor, she ends up with more questions than answers about the mystery behind the Bermuda Triangle and why her life is now unrecognizable. If Carly can't get her real life back on track, she may end up spending the next sixty years trapped in a life the Triangle chooses for her.

Title: Parallel Triangles
Release date:  April 28th 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Formats: Paper, e-book

August 30, 2014

High Tea Anyone?

Not going to pretend to make up excuses why I haven't blogged in months, just going to get back into it.

I got bit by the Halloween bug sometime in July and was toying with the idea of doing a Fairytale Gone Bad theme for the party this year.

Somewhere in the process of browsing Alice in Wonderland/ Red Queen themed parties on the internet I ended up falling in love with the concept of high-tea-stand serving platters and decided I needed one for myself.


Mikasa Venitian Lace Bone China Set  from Bed Bath & Beyond (Don't be fooled by the high sticker price, I lucked out and picked up this set for $15 in the clearance section. I'm guessing it was a return or the display set since it was unboxed.)

1/4" Diamond Drill Bit from Home Depot/ Lowes/Ace Hardware etc.

Cake/High Tea Stand Kit/Hardware  from Ebay. Measurment of the pieces from the seller said the rods were 6mm so I bought a 1/4" or 6.4 mm drill bit.

Cordless Drill

Teacup Variation requires in addition to the above:

*Specialty Threaded Rod
*6mm nuts  (Qty: 5)

DIY Instructions:

Make a template for drilling the circular hole by setting the plate on a towel and placing a piece of paper over the bottom.  Crease the paper around the rim of the base to form a circle.  Fold the circle in eighths until the creases form a point in the center. Using the tip of a pen, pierce a hole where the lines intersect. Replace the template over the plate bottom and mark the center with a permanent marker.

Drilling the hole:  Getting the hole started in the right place is the hardest part, and did I mention this is a wet drill bit so your mark may wash off if you didn't use a good marker? Start by tiling the drill at a 45 degree angle and using the edge to form a slight groove. Gradually ease the drill into an upright, vertical alignment, applying gentle pressure.  Be sure to keep the area you are drilling saturated with water. If the area becomes too milky, rinse with more water and continue drilling.

I was worried the top finish of the plate would chip when the bit pushed through, but the gentle pressure and water worked perfectly.

Assemble the tiers:  The kit came with a 6mm screw and metal washer to support the bottom.

However, I wanted to have the tea cup on the top, which required some additional hardware since the threads of the middle rod were too short to pass through the cup and the small plate.

Specialty 6mm threaded extension piece.
In Lowes or Ace Hardware there's an aisle with drawers and all kinds of special threaded rods, nuts, and bots. The extension piece I used for the tea cup was in the Specialty/Automotive drawer.

The extension piece screws into the top handle.

The next problem was that the middle rod had a threaded end and there's no such thing as a 6mm male to female converter that will still fit through a 6mm hole.

So... I flipped the rods upside down.  This now meant that I had a thread sticking out of the bottom instead of the original securing screw.   I used a washer and locking nut to secure the plate and glued four more nuts on the bottom to make feet to fix the stability issue created by having a 6mm nut on the bottom instead of a flat headed screw.

May 1, 2014

Kiwi Loco is CLOSED

May 4th would have been the 2 year anniversary of our frozen yogurt store, Kiwi Loco. Sadly, we had to close our doors last month due to poor sales.

This has been a significant financial loss for me and my husband, though we are blessed that we are not in serious debt because of it and that my husband still has a good paycheck from his original employer. It just really sucks that it seems even if we try to sell the equipment/assets we might not even be able to recoup 30% of what we put into it.

Closing our doors would have been much more difficult and saddening if I didn't truly believe in my heart I did everything I could to make it work.  I have learned a hard lesson that the return business of advertising is only about 1% and sure enough... LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.

So many of our customers were sad to hear we were closing and it always pained me to have the conversation with them because they'd all ask "Have you tried _____?"  More like, what didn't I try? And gee, if I knew what was wrong, I would have fixed it already! 

So, I encourage everyone to think of a locally owned business (or better, an indie bookstore) they have not been to in the last 4 months and to go spend some money there!