Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WAIT! Let Me Catch That Turnip Truck I Just Fell Off Of!!!

Surely you saw it drive by right? I HAD to have fallen off a turnip truck to be in the middle of the this online drama. I must vent. You may or may not listen.

Once upon a time, you may recall I "worked" for a little online radio station called Blockhead Radio. They had a small but faithful following and even had cross promotions with major selling venues. BHR was run by two people who shall remain nameless so they cannot accuse me of mudslinging.

Loooooooooooooong and boring story short they ran a fun radio station focused at handmade artisans for roughly a year. It was lots of fun and I made a TON of fabulous friends I wouldn't trade for anything :) (Ok maybe for fabric, but they know that about me and accept it!) Anyhoo, it was fun for awhile.

Then it all hit the fan. There was a radio telethon for a fellow artisan who was supposed to be in serious health need. Well over 100 artisans banded together to donate $12,252.40 worth of merchandise to auction off for this artisan. The auction brought in 5,233.32, roughly 40% of the contributions which is a good percentage for a silent auction. The money was supposed to be given to the artisan in need. I tracked said artisan down and called him, he says he received the money and it did go to his health care. I have no idea if that's the truth.

The radiothon came and went. By the time the radiothon started, my relationship with the owners of BHR was already strained and after the auction they openly lied about my own brother and caused unnecessary drama in online forums thus ending our relationship for good.

You don't mess with my family or my friends. Let it be known.

So the radiothon finished and it was a 'success'. BUT then it all started to crumble....not everyone got the merchandise they bid on, artisans had no idea where to mail their items that someone had won, it all fell apart. The owners of BHR  disappeared off the face of the earth, supposedly selling all their stuff and going to galavante the country in an RV. By the time THAT was supposed to have happened, I knew they were scammers and I cut all contact off with them. Sadly, they got away with lots of advertising money because they were SUPPOSED to paint ads on the side of said RV.

Yeah, I think that RV is pulling the Turnip Truck I fell off of.

So, that is a SUPER shortened version. My personal aspect of it is I was supposed to get 30% of the advertising monies as my salary for working roughly 20-25 hours a week for this radio station for about 4 months. I had access to ONE of their online shops and from that shop alone, just in advertising sales on THAT one shop, MY percentage is 640.00. So you can do the math at how much money they ACTUALLY made if my 30% is 640. So needless to say, I want my money but I will never see it.

So time passes, they disappear, I do background checks (because well, that was my job was to stay on top of information, they just didn't know how good I was at my job.) and find out they've gotten in trouble for scamming people before. Churches even! (lovely people, I tell you.)

Soooooooooo I'm a forgiving person, but that doesn't mean I forget. So I'm living my happy little life when a familiar name pops up on my Yahoo "updates" stream. Silly little person had been signed in under her "old" online identity and I easily followed the online trail to find these two owners of BHR------

Living in another state. RUNNING A SHOP OF THEIR ART!!!! INTERESTING. Considering I got a sob story of how they were homeless and what not, I find it interesting they had all that time to create art, or when they were homeless where did they store all the art? (because I recognize some of it as art they created back in 09.) So I do not believe said story about being homeless and "just now" getting back online when they have an Etsy profile that started in Feb 2010.

They are scammers. They cheated money out of countless artisans, and did even worse to a friend of mine, details of which I won't discuss because it's under investigation. Let's just say, they cannot hide and they will get the karma coming to them.

So the moral of the story is do not trust everyone you run into! We all know this, and I do not regret my time at BHR when it WAS a reputable radio station. It had a good purpose and it served a good number of artisans for a short time. It was most definitely a learning experience for all involved and for myself, I learned a lot about how to handle myself, my business and I learned I am not afraid of doing what needs to be done to protect myself and others.

The owners of BHR are now running a brick and mortar art studio/shop and are claiming to have found God and other lies but not once have they apologized publicly for what they did or owned up to it. In fact the only "apology" I got was that they were sorry for how "I felt". That my friends is not an apology, it is trying to make ME look like the bad guy.

Face it scammers, you're going to get what comes to you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sensory Tag Blanket--Impatient Craftaholic Series

Let me share an evil word in the handmade industry...


Boo, Hiss, MEOW! What are Taggies? Taggies is a company that makes tag blankets..you know those blankets our grandma's made? Well, they copyrighted it, as of course they have every right to do so. I most certainly do not begrudge anyone their right to the almighty dollar and I am a big fan of capitalism. But the copyrights these owners have on Taggies is INSANE. They want to copyright EVERY blanket with four sides and looped ribbons. They even want to copyright pretty much any fabric with looped ribbons inside. I have had EVERY ITEM I made with looped ribbons pulled off Etsy, Artfire, and other venues because of the lawyers for the Taggie company. Do they have the right to do so, Sure. Do I have to like it? NOPE.

So here you go my friends, since they say I can't sell any blankets with tags in them (which by the way Mrs. Taggies, you should probably call up WAL-MART because they sell tag blankets too. Oh wait, you only go after small time moms at home.) Anyways, since I can't sell mine...I'll share with you how to MAKE your own.

Two fabrics (I used Flannel and Minky)
Ribbons to coordinate or contrast your fabrics
Cutting Mat or Surface

Step One:
Choose the size of your blanket. You may want a large blanket or just a small lovey. Whatever size you choose, put your fabrics right sides together and cut them the SAME size/shape.

Step Two:
Gather your ribbons. The type is up to you, grosgrain, satin, solids,etc.

Step Three:
Cut your ribbons to approximately 4-5 inches long.

Step Four:
I like to then lay out my ribbons to see where I want to place them along the edges of the blanket. Rearrange them to your liking.

Step Five:
Now take your ribbon and FOLD it (not making a hard crease, just a gentle fold) with the pattern on the OUTSIDE where it's visible.

Step Six:

Now take the RAW EDGE of your ribbon and insert your ribbon (Still folded) in between the fabric while it's right sides together.

Now your raw edge of the ribbon and the raw edge of the fabrics LINE UP. Pin to keep it straight.

Step Seven:

Now continue this all the way around the edges of the blanket, using the pattern you wanted for the ribbon placement.

Step Eight:

Now head to your sewing machine! You will choose a starting point on your blanket, and remember that you are TURNING and TOP STITCHING this blanket, so you'll be leaving an opening large enough to turn the fabrics right side out. Where you start/finish your opening is up to you.

I prefer a walking foot because I am using minky. But you can use a regular foot, particularly if you are using cottons/flannels, etc. If using stretchy fabrics you should use a ballpoint or Microtex needle.

Step Nine:
Sew along the edge of the blanket in a straight stitch, turning when you get to the corner. You should stop roughly 2 inches from your starting point so you have room to turn the blanket.

Step Ten:
Now you'll need to turn your blanket right side out.

Step Eleven:
Once your blanket is turned right side out, gently tug on all your ribbons to assure they are secure. This also helps gently pull the seams straight. You can iron your blanket at this point, although I did not iron this blanket because you should NOT iron minky.

Once your blanket is smooth, head back to the sewing machine to sew your top stitching.

Step Twelve:

Continue straight stitching (or zigzag, or even decorative stitch if you wish) all the way around the edge of the blanket, making sure you go over the opening you turned your blanket in. If you used a walking foot, you'll need to use a regular foot to backstitch your seams because you should not backstitch with a walking foot.

VIOLA! You have a beautiful taggy blanket!

Step Thirteen:
Now for the clincher....The Taggies company will hunt you down if you SELL a blanket like this. BUT last I checked, their patent does NOT cover if the ribbons are not looped. And quite honestly for my own protection, I'd prefer not to sell a blanket with looped ribbons anyway due to the risk of babies fingers getting stuck in them.

So what to do, what to do? EASY. CUT the loop on the ribbon and HEAT SEAL the edges!!

There you go! Now you have a cool sensory tag blanket and you did not break their patent! Naturally, before you make the blanket if you plan on cutting and heat sealing, you can do that before you make the blanket, but I was showing you both options.

Feel free to ask any questions and share this tutorial, but please give me a link back! :) Check out my other tutorials in the left hand side bar!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog Flashback...

Taking a trip into the way back blog files and reposting this one from March 2010:
It is often hard to explain Autism to people because EVERYONE knows about it, but quite honestly, unless you know someone WITH it, it's really hard to describe. There are also lots of myth's and preconceived notions about Autism.

Here are some thoughts I had from my son's point of view.

I am blonde, beautiful, and happy.
I am two years old and love circles.
Don't bother arguing with me that two is too young to be diagnosed with Autism..
my Mommy took me to the best.

I may repeat your words but I don't really "Talk.". But I am not stupid.

I am a sensory seeker and love rough play..but don't assume my friends will. We are not all the same.
I am Autism.

I will scream when you cut my hair, take away my puzzle pieces and turn off Baby Einstein.
Sometimes you may leave a room and I won't notice.
Sometimes I will...and proceed to tear it apart until you return.
I am Autism.

You will get dirty looks from strangers who think I am just a bad kid having a meltdown and
you stink as a parent.
Go ahead..give them a dirty look back...I'm too busy having a meltdown to notice.
I am Autism.

I will eat bananas on Monday.
But not on Tuesday.
I may try the juice you give me...
but only if its red...
and in a green cup...
or I may just throw the darn thing down and fuss.
I am Autism.

I may sleep great, but  my friends may not.
Potty training may be a fantasy...
Simple errands may drive my mommy insane...
I am Autism.

But despite all that...
I am a child, and "A Person is a Person, No Matter How Small"
As Dr Seuss says (and I like Dr Seuss.)
I do love you, I do need you, and I do miss you when you're gone.
I may not run and hug you (or I may!) and I may not say your name,
but you know I'm in here, waiting for you to help me come out.

And I know you love me more than I will ever know.
I know it by hugs, kisses, and that we try it all again the next day.

We'll try therapies, we'll try games, toys, books--everything "THEY" say to do.
I'll try it all with you Mommy, because I know you know,
I am Autism.

And that is okay!

Mommy here now...

I am 110% thankfully every day for my life. Eli is extremely high functioning and I remind myself that is a huge gift. He is not dying, he does not need surgeries or meds, and he DOES hug me, love me and look at me.

But some days those blessings are a curse. How can a child who can name colors, not say Mommy? How can he not call my name, his dad's or his brother's? How can we do a puzzle in peace, but when we go to the store we MUST go get a banana so he can hold it through the entire store? Why are some of the simplest tasks the hardest, but then the next day they'll be a breeze? How do you make sure your other more 'typical' child (with issues of his own) is given the same attention as his Autistic brother?

People have asked me, are you sure you're done having kids? When I say yes, and they ask why, I reply, "I have one son with sensory issues and one with Autism". They often say, "so?"

Obviously those people have never spent any reasonable amount of time dealing with even a high functioning Autistic child. They have never had to wonder, will I be able to potty train my child? Will he function okay in school? Will he be able to work one day? Those questions don't go through most people's minds because at first glance, Eli is adorable, he says colors and shapes and he (most of the time) listens to simple commands.

But for the good days there are bad, and sometimes it makes me think. I know I do the best I can, and I have faith he will continue to improve. But the downside of him being high functioning, is it's easy to forget that we STILL need to "fight" for him to continue to grow..it's easy to become complacent. Going to the grocery store, park, bank or what not should NOT be a drama..but it is...and until the day it isn't...I will keep working...fighting for the 'real' Eli to keep coming out.

I hope this makes you think again about any Autistic children (or any special needs) children you may know. Please don't ever judge these families until you have walked a mile in their shoes. And just because it LOOKS like a mom may have it all under control...it could be an act... maybe you can just lend a hand...hold a diaper bag...make a dinner...do SOMETHING for a mom who needs a helping hand.

Thanks for letting me vent my friends! :)


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