Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sneak Peak

Our final Calendar Covers are finished and waiting for photography. We apologize for the delay in getting them out but ....

The move, the move, the move!

How aggravating certain aspects of moving are! There are always some things that mistakenly get shipped to the old address and, as Murphy's law would have it, this is exactly what happened. We have two other pieces in addition to the Calendar covers that we want to release at the same time and the frame and mat for one and the finishing fabric for the other are waiting for me on my old doorstep in Steamboat. So I will leave early Monday to make the drive to pick them up. Back on Tuesday so we can finish the final pieces and get the photography done. After photography, thanks to our wonderful new digital world, it is only a few hours of work to insert the photos into the charts and print. It looks like it will probably be after Labor Day when we can start shipping. We will get the photos posted to the web site as soon as they are downloaded from the camera.

In the meantime, while you wait for me to get back from Steamboat and get our new releases back on track, I have a sneak peak of the Calendar Covers in a special format. I know that many of you are stitching them all together on one piece of linen instead of making them into calendar/check book covers. (One customer mentioned that she was horrified by the idea of putting one in her pocket book after all the time it took to stitch and finish.) I thought it would be fun to take all my original drawings for each month and photoshop them into one piece. The result:

Click for a larger version. If you are stitching them all together or have considered doing so, this is pretty much what they will look like.

Be back soon. Until then .... happy trails,

Monday, August 22, 2011

On a happier note :-)

My little family ... playing in my office while I work. They share toys, a water bowl ... and romps around the house. Ollie is starting to use his paws like a cat though. Funny to see this big-footed fur ball playing like a kitten. I think I know who is going to be the "Alpha" in the house ... and it isn't me and it isn't the big furry guy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sad ....

commentary ....

I woke up this morning to find an email informing me of yet another cross stitch "sharing" site. A little "members only" site run by a large Chinese conglomerate. You can join by simply entering a user name and your email address and then .... you can upload cross stitch charts so that everyone else who is a member can download them.

There I found that just by posting enough comments I could earn "gold coins". And what could I do with these "gold coins"? I could download almost all of my charts for free. I could also earn even more "gold coins" by uploading any chart in my collection.

Trouble is ... I can't pay my rent or buy groceries with these "gold" coins. And I'm going to have trouble paying my rent and buying groceries if my charts continue to be pirated on these kinds of sites.

They call it "sharing". On this board people are actually thanking each other for "sharing". They are posting comments like "thank you for sharing this beautiful chart". Sharing? Strange new definition for "sharing". Stealing is what it is actually.

I don't know about you but I don't think I would enjoy stitching a chart that I know I had stolen. It would nag at me constantly with each stitch I took. Same reason I don't steal movies or music over the internet. Something would just bother me about listening to that music or watching that movie.

Everyone says ... "Hey, you're just taking from a big multinational corporation.... Sony Pictures, Universal, NBC. They make millions of dollars. You're just taking one song, one movie ... and times are tough. What difference will it make?"

It will make a big karmic difference! Because then that attitude starts to seep down into everything we do. We justify downloading free cross stitch patterns over the internet to save $8.00. We justify stealing from a fellow stitcher who earns her living designing the charts that give us so many hours of pleasure. Pretty soon we're justifying not returning that extra change that the cashier gave us by mistake. Pretty soon we don't bother to return that wallet we found on the sidewalk. Pretty soon every thing we do is about "us" and what "we" want or feel entitled to. Pretty soon we don't care about what happens to others anymore.

Karmic quicksand.

And it's not just me. There were thousands of charts there. Everyone from Lizzie Kate to Miribilia. All your favorite designers .... available for download .... for FREE!! Yahoo!!! They'll never miss that little bit of income you stole from them .... right? Right?

As I'm getting ready to release new charts, this was particularly discouraging. I began to think "what's the point?" Months and months of work and then people will just upload them to these sites. It really doesn't seem worth it anymore. It's too difficult to try to keep up with these "pirates". A few weeks, sometimes just a few days, after the new designs are released they are available for free download on the internet. I'm a very, very small enterprise. One person. I don't have the strength or endurance or resources to hunt down and fight these "pirates".

So what to do? Perhaps look for a job where people can't freely and easily steal part of my paycheck each month.

I am not so much angry as I am discouraged. I have this talent for designing these patterns and I love doing it but it is time consuming and tedious work. There comes a point when you have to decide if working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week is worth it. If I'm not earning enough to pay the rent or buy groceries, then I need to find a job where I will.

I wish these people would stop and think for just a moment before they hit the "download" button. Do they understand that what they are doing is stealing? Do they realize they are stealing part of someone's monthly paycheck? Do they realize that they are contributing to the demise of their own favorite hobby. This kind of pirating does not hurt just one designer. It hurts hundreds. It hurts the entire industry. Each time someone downloads an illegal copy of a chart a designer loses part of their income, a distributor loses part of their income and a shop owner loses part of their income. It adds up quickly.

Why are so many shops closing and why are so many good designers quitting the business and moving on to other occupations?

Because so many thieves are shoplifting from them that they can't afford to stay in business any longer.

What goes around comes around,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick Update

For those of you who were rooting for Beau, he now has a new home with us here on Quitman Street ... and sort of a new name.

I decided to keep the name he came with, much as I did with Mister Oliver, but when I got him home my son started calling him "Pierre". Go figure. At any rate I call him Beau. My son calls him Pierre and it just sort of naturally melded into "Beaupierre".

Been a very, very long time since I've had a cat but I've always wanted to have both a dog and kitty living with me. So far so good with Oliver and Monsieur Beaupierre. Oliver is still learning to restrain himself with the little guy. He likes to lick and clean him but sometimes that big furry mouth opens up just a bit. Luckily he has what is know as a "soft mouth" (or soft bite) and is a very gentle soul with little prey drive. Monsieur Beaupierre, on the other hand, knows no fear and is already running around the house, perching on bookshelves and tables and tauting Mr. Twist. I think he is going to be pretty darn good at taking care of himself and won't need me to watch over him for long. As soon as I can get them both to sit still together ... a few minutes a day Ollie decides to lay down with him and clean him up ... I'll try to get some pix of them together. Meanwhile, may I introduce Monsieur Beaupierre:

All in all it's quite wonderful to have these two lounging around in my office as I work ... or scampering around the office while I try to work, depending on the time of day and the energy level of one or both. Beaupierre has a love of the desktop and, just as many of you warned me, is frequently draped across the keyboard. Good excuse for not getting much work done this week.

I can't stop watching them. So cute! So funny!

Happy little family :-) Now if I can just teach Beaupierre to run along side the bicycle with Ollie ..... :-)