Cioppino Clams

So, I decided to try clams for the first time, ever.  I chose cherry stone.  I had mussels for the first time, during the summer and really enjoyed them.  The only drawback was they were so small that you had to eat a lot of them to get full.  I got the biggest clams I saw because I figured 3 or 4 would be enough for each of us.

The first thing I noticed was that the little clams cost more than the big ones. Great! I didn’t want to pay a lot for something I wasn’t sure I’d like. The second thing I noticed was how heavy they were! I got 12. The clerk instructed me to store them in the back of the fridge and keep the bag open because “they’re alive and they need air”. Now I thought my clams were adorable and started to seriously consider keeping them as pets instead of eating them 😆!

The cleaning process was another surprise. I knew I had to scrub, then place them in salt water to sit for 2 hours or more. What I did not expect was them not being done spitting all of their crap out after sitting for 2 hours! So…I scrubbed them some more and sat them in a fresh bowl of salty water.

I sautéed my onions & celery in olive oil and butter, for 5 min., then added the garlic. I let that cook for about a min. and added the wine, tomato paste, basil, a pinch of sugar, and a cup of water (maybe I should’ve added more water, too). I let that cook down a bit before I added the clams, covered and let them steam. They opened after about 7 minutes. We got very excited as we watched our little guys open…then wider and wider!IMG_1100

I made some spaghetti, plated them up and we sat down to enjoy our fascinating entree.

We hated them! They were rubbery and smelly and WHAT …IS THE BLACK, DIRT-LOOKING, STUFF, ON THE INSIDE?!

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I am not diverted, however.  My husband said that the little clams are for soup.  The ones I bought are for the grill.  I will try again and keep you posted 😉

Things Are Looking Up

Well! My original pattern maker has done a complete “about-face”.  Here’s what’s happening:

I’m preparing for a “soft” launch of the line by the end of this month so, I needed to finalize some things.  If you remember from previous posts, I had samples of the entire line sewn but there was at least one thing I didn’t like about each dress.  On Wednesday, I dropped them off with my pattern maker to be tweeked (except one. It’s only buttons and I can do that myself).  I’ve written a description and care instructions for each and after I price them I’ll set up the website.  I’ve been fasting and praying about a venue and more capital, as I depleted what I had some months ago.

What’s got me in high spirits, though, is my pattern maker!  If you follow this blog you know I was frustrated with my pattern maker (who is also my seamstress) and had to find another one.  I got some help from my reluctant mother-in-law, a local seamstress, and finally a pattern making company in NYC.  I don’t think I ever specified why I had to find someone new because I didn’t want her feelings to be hurt if she happened by the blog, but one of the things was, when I’d call to see how things were coming along, she never remembered what she was doing for me!  I even suggested, on more than one occasion, that she create a file for me. “Why didn’t she think of that?”, you ask?  I have no idea, but such were her former dealings with me and, despite her being a bonafied professional; being truly skilled in her craft and having good contacts, I was forced to seek more professional services.

We parted on good terms. I didn’t tell her I never planned to use her again and after not having spoken to her for almost 2 years, I called her one day for her opinion on something.  She was so affable and helpful I thought I’d give her another try.  Sure enough, it’s as if she’s a different person!  I called her yesterday and she sounded so lively.  She knew who I was and immediately let me know where she was in the process.  I can’t imagine what’s changed her attitude, but I’m SOOO HAPPY!

Keep me in your prayers, please.  It looks like my dresses will average around $150 a piece.  I’m trusting God for a venue.  Oh! I found some fabric that I think is lovely but I bought the last 5 yds. of it and the company is no longer printing this pattern BUT I found a printing company!  I also found a possible manufacturer near me.  I will make appointments to meet with both as soon as the seamstress is done because the manufacturer needs to see each dress in order to give me a price.  Until next time, please comment and please pray 🙂

Stage Fright

I finally realized what my problem is: I’m scared.  I mean, why else have I not launched?  I have all the dresses completed, so why delay?  BECAUSE I’M SCARED… that people won’t like the final products…that everyone will think my designs are absurd and say “Why would anyone wear that!”

Let’s think this thing through: The dresses were completed in my spare time, of which, really. . . I have none.  No matter where I was and what was going on, I was always trying to get back to the kids or worse…they were with me.  I dragged 3 kids around NYC, NJ and PA, up and down flights of stairs in old fabric houses with no working elevators…  And this was all done between scheduled dentist appointments and unscheduled doctor’s visits; an extra 4 hours out of my week at the laundromat when the washer broke, then the dryer broke, then both at the same time (remember I’m a homeschool mom & homemaker so I’m not even going to mention my day-to-day).  All while dedicating as much time as I could to developing the clothing line.   And my budget?  Sigh… my trips to NY completely depleted it.  Gone.  No more money.

I wanted each piece to be perfect before I presented it to the public.  Needless to say, they simply aren’t.  But you know what else they aren’t?  They aren’t the final product.

The dresses that I’ve completed are only samples.  Since these particular dresses are my initial offering, everyone who buys one will, in so doing, be helping to establish the line for the spring season.  I’ll explain, in detail, on the website.  The bottom line is, I’m in the process of getting photos of the dresses without models because…I just can’t go through that again (see previous blogs for disaster stories), and as soon as I’m done, I will set up the site.  First thing I’m going to do is see if I can un-wrinkle my backdrop by steaming it with an iron. If not, I’ll buy a little steamer. I’ll get started today, after school .

PLEASE give me some feedback, people!  See you soon 😉

 

Home Maintainence Never Stops

Well, we got the new washer settled in and the dryer is back in the laundry room  and I’m no longer lugging wet clothes to the laundromat.  Thank You, Jesus!

So what’s this constant dripping I hear?  Oh, some hidden disaster has rotted a hole through the wood under the kitchen sink and is actually leaking water into the room downstairs?  REALLY?!  (sigh) My amazing husband got to work on that, immediately, so I expect that situation to be remedied in no time (:-D !

Aside from that, we’ve been busy with academics, the kids extracurricular activities, and I’ve been making sure they read some scripture, daily.  If you read my last post, you know my dilemma with the clothing line.  I’ll let you know when I know.

We began work on my daughter’s magazine.  I realized that I need a program similar to  Windows© Paint.  I should have a sample of the mag. by the end of the month.

Thanks for your support!

Off & Running!

It’s 2017 and we’re off and running!  Well…walking  purposefully.

1st: While re-reading one of the books that lit a fire under us and ignited our faith a few years ago, I realized something.  When God gives you direction…He’ll give you a word: either a scripture or something that directly relates to some scripture.  I realized…I mean…it seems to me…that I never received a scripture, or a word from The Lord, concerning the clothing line.  Now what?!.  I’ve spent so much money on it, but I mean, if God hasn’t assigned me to it…if it’s just something I dreamed up…I can’t continue.  So, that’s been in the back of my head during this busy time of getting back to the daily business of life.  Josh has had 3 basketball games since the new year began and, of course,  all other of the children’s activities have commenced. The older ones have gone back to school and I’ve been working on getting the house back in order.  The washer broke (completely, this time) so, while we waited for the delivery of the new one, I added hauling wet clothes to the laundromat to my list of things to do.

Well, this morning, YouTube reminded me of this one channel I’d forgotten I subscribed to.  It’s this guy named Michael Moore just sharing  what’s going on in his life with God.  I’ve only listened to a couple of his videos on fasting and I listened to one again today.  Well it stirred in me a longing to be with my Heavenly Father.  I know He’s with me all the time, but I want to go to Him and be with Him for a bit and in my experience, fasting is, kind of, how you do that.  So…that’s all I’m gonna say about that for now but I expect to have some answers concerning the clothing line, after my fast, which I look forward to sharing with you.

2nd: What else is going on?  Oh!  I’m trying to make more You Tube Videos and connect with you more than I have been.  In these videos (click here) I’m sitting on the steps, putting my make-up on, preparing to run out and meet my husband.  I had a “studio” set up but it had to be disassembled and turned into sleeping quarters!  It was a wonderful time, don’t misunderstand me.   We had a great time, BUT I’VE GOT NO WHERE TO MAKE VIDEOS (laugh)! I wanted to make a video on our favorite Christmas ornaments, but got busy and never did.  Maybe I’ll record us taking the tree down.  Anyway, how was YOUR Christmas, Dear Reader?  I’d love to hear about it : ) 

3rd: We’ve started work on my daughter’s magazine.  I hope to be giving those away, to any girl who wants them, by the end of this month.  I know there’s more but I’ve had to stop typing three times and now I can’t remember all that I wanted to tell you, but…alas…

“I’LL BE BACK” (in my Arnold voice-lol).  Thank you for stopping by.

Baby Steps

PHEW!  …finally finished “product descriptions” for the 1st 3 dresses and it’s 2:58am (shaking my head).  Just have to do what I can when I can and not stress out.  This is supposed to be fun, after all.  It’s something to focus my attention on instead of trying to raise my children who are already grown.  And it’s working😝!  It certainly is.  It’s Christmas vacation and, not only are all the children home, but they’ve brought guests!  Well…only one.  Before the vacation started, my daughter asked if her cousin could stay a few days.  (ok…it is now 3:06am.  A friend of my son is apparently stranded in Jersey and needs a place to crash.  So make that 2 house guests).  Anyway…I was glad to oblige my beautiful girl because she surrounded by boys most of the time.  I’ve been baking and decorating cookies, making candy and pies, in addition to regular everyday chores.  I designated this holiday week to work on the clothing line and I’ve been able to get quite a bit done.  Problem is,  by the time things finally settle down in here and I’m able to rally my thoughts to focus on one thing, I’m exhausted and ready for bed! Talk to you in the new year.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

It’s 7:03 pm.  Christmas 2016 has come and gone.  We just finished our prime rib dinner with one of the most DELICIOUS salads I’ve had in a long time!  Tomorrow it’s “Back to life – Back to reality” …well, sort of.  We don’t start school again until the new year so, I’m using this down time to work on the clothing line.

This week I’ll get photos of my dresses, create a portfolio, and mail it out to the few ladies I think may share my sense of style and be interested in buying.  I will also canvas boutiques to determine which ones might, most likely, sell my products and the best way to approach them.

Please pray for my success!  Thank you for your support!  I will record all that I can, this week, and see you on You Tube😉

January 1st: My New Deadline

So, apparently, you can’t separate yourself from a person for 25 years then come back into their lives and pick-up where you left-off; So. . . yeah.  This is the lesson I recently learned when I tried to reconnect with old friends.  In my defense, I wanted to raise my children in New York!  My friend new this!  We used to talk about it ALL THE TIME!  And it’s a little difficult to remain besties 1,000 miles apart!  ANY who…it is what it is.  In other news…

My 16 yr. old is adjusting to school life…I think.  Although things do not seem to have changed for the better, they aren’t getting worse… so, I’m thankful for that.  He seems to be, just, going through the motions, waiting for the year to end.  At first, I thought he was just trying to finish homework assignments so he could play his game, so I took the game away in the hopes that he’d actually pay attention to his school work.   I’m praying and waiting for the “realness” of it to dawn on him.  I know it will.  I’m just waiting.

Well! I finished all 5 dresses.  I want to share everything that’s going on in the clothing line with you, but when I start writing, it sounds, to me, like I’m being too detailed and I think I’m boring you.  I’m going to try again here, though, ok?  Here goes:

If you’ve been following this story (which begins here), you know that I’ve designed 5 dresses.  In order to sell them to the public, I need:

1.) samples of all 5 dresses

2.) a platform by which to display and sell them

3.) a manufacturer to recreate the dresses in different sizes and colors

I need a lot more than that, but let’s just start with that.

It’s taken me 3 years, but I finally have a sample of all 5 dresses.  The problem is, I am not happy with either and here’s why:

This dress:

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The pattern for this dress is on it’s way to the pattern maker for adjustments!

…has to have adjustments.  I sent the pattern back to my very first pattern maker and she revised it so that the sleeves aren’t so bulky and the neckline isn’t so close to the neck.

The Maxi dress doesn’t have ruffles where it matters most and the fabric is too heavy.  It’s a lightweight fabric, but not light enough for a hot, summer day.  I originally thought it was perfect as you know if you read my post on finally finding the perfect fabric.  I was ecstatic about that fabric!  It’s beautiful and it feels lovely on your skin, but, alas, it is NOT the perfect fabric.  Why didn’t I know that as soon as I touched it?  BECAUSE I DON’T …

KNOW…WHAT I’M DOING…but, I’m doing it; and I’m going to keep on doing it until I get it right.  God is with me and we aren’t starving (yet).

So, I asked the people, whose shop I’m standing in in the photo above, if they would make the adjustments, on the dress, according to the revised pattern.  They said, “No.”   I don’t really understand the reasoning she gave me for flat out saying “No.” but that’s what she said.  So. . . tomorrow, I’m going to try to meet with my original pattern maker (with whom I really didn’t want any more dealings) and ask her if she’ll make the adjustments in the sample.  I’m also going to buy different fabric for the maxi  and the wrap around and ask her to make two more samples of these.

The problem with the wrap around is that the pattern was created incorrectly, but that was my mistake.  So, I’m just going to ask her if she’ll make samples for the one above and the maxi and if she’ll create another pattern for the wrap around or revise it and make a sample for it, too.

When these tasks are completed, I will create a catalog to send to people who  do not buy online and I will create a website.  “With 3 dresses?”  Maybe 4.  My goal is to have the catalog and webpage up by January 1st.  If I make a dress, like the one in the photo above, in a shimmery fabric, that will bring the count to four.  The actual dress featured above will    be included in the fall/2017 line.

That’s all for now.  Thank you for your interest in my little adventure!

 

 

Picking-Up Dress No. 2

Hi Everybody!  I really feel quite uninspired to write much of anything, but apparently, this blog is followed by over 100 people,  so I’ll give you what I’ve got!

We got back from the airport sometime around 1am.  My brother-in-law, is visitng. I woke my Joshua up at 5am to finish a homework assignment.  Since, to my surprise, he was able to produce said assignment, completed and ready to be turned-in, I let him go back to sleep.  He stomped off to bed and THAT is how my day began.

The plan was to go into the city, after school, pick-up the dress my pattern maker just finished and buy a ball gown for an event we’ll be attending in a bit.  I didn’t finish school until 30 min. later than I’d planned and as a result, I missed picking Joshua up from school (which would’ve saved a lot of time) and so, he rode the bus.  In spite of the super improbability of me making it to NYC before the pattern-maker closed, I made it!  Then, realized I’d forgotten my checkbook.

We resolved to complete this little bit of business via U.S. Post & I was off to buy the gown!  My goal was to get as near the store as I could because, though I enjoy walking in the city, it was getting dark and I didn’t want to have to walk too far in Manhattan at night.  I found parking.  Not only was it inexpensive, but it was across the street from an entrance to the store!

I found the dress:

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– Adrianna Papell Three Quarter Sleeve Gown –

It didn’t fit.

So what did I accomplish, today?  I learned that I’ve gone up a dress size.

In the end, I decided on a gown that I already own.  I haven’t worn it in so long, my daughter doesn’t recall ever seeing it, so…I’ll take it to the cleaners tomorrow and that’ll be that.

There’s actually quite a bit going on but I think I’ll just make a video and tell you all about it as, my fingers and toes feel like they’re freezing and I just don’t want to think about it all right now.   It actually isn’t all bad.  It’s just frustrating to be working so hard and seemingly making no progress.  Not the clothing line.  That’s doing well…I can hardly wait to launch.  No…personal (teenage) things.   Please keep us in prayer.  Thank you so very much for your support.

P.S.  I spoke with my original pattern-maker and she gave me hope about how to sell the line! I’m going to take her advice and I’ll keep you posted.