Saturday, November 16, 2013

Successes and Progress

I think we're finally making progress on some things that have been issues.
Finally got notice that I could pay for our ACen exhibitor space, and have done so. (You may have noticed a giant sucking sound from the direction of our bank). That should mean that we've finally completed the registration process. If we want to get services (pipe & drape, electrical, etc.) from the convention center, which I don't plan to, that will be handled a little closer to May. We do still need to figure out if there's anywhere nearby we can park the truck & trailer Thursday and Sunday. 

The check for our Reenactor Fest spaces has been cashed, and the check for Boar's Head is listed as "in clearing", so I'm comfortable with where we are for those events.

Still haven't heard back from Anime Midwest, but I'll give it until at least Sunday afternoon/evening, if I don't hold out for a solid week. 

Pippin got out of the yard again yesterday. Robin called me just as I'd arrived at work. As I arrived home he was down the street, and happily came when I called - he's happy to go exploring, and he's happy to come home. Ron and Robin procured 6x6 landscaping timbers, a new chain for the chain saw, and we think we've got the problem areas dealt with - except for a couple small spots Robin is supposed to deal with . . . any time now.  

Last night I tried to order some clear sheet vinyl for one or more additional new projects, but the web site in question was not playing nicely with my iWhatsit. This morning I tried again with better success. 

The pebbled black leather that arrived Thursday is very nice. I don't think it's going to last long - besides the small project I ordered it for, I'm going to make it into sporrans, belt satchel, and satchels. Still waiting on the grommets to finish the small project. Had a "duh" moment on the way to work yesterday (the first trip) about a simpler way to put dees on pouches for use as sporrans. Which means more shopping. Its been a busy month for shopping.

Not sure the piece of black leather I got a couple weeks ago is large enough for both a map case and a valise. I'm going to do the map case first, as I think it'll sell sooner. Ron suggested a slightly smaller valise, which is an option, as they don't seem to have been standardized like some accoutrements. 

I probably could/should work on the books some more, but I'm going to start the map case this afternoon. Dammit.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

About That Thing . . .

Being a Post About Things Which Are Not the Things Which Were Expected

A Map Case Type of Thing:

I still have not started the map case. While I was working on dinner(s) (1) on Monday a single-serving bottle of Moscato (a white wine made from Muscat grapes) demanded that I drink it. I decided that making critical decisions on a new project and working with sharp pointy things and somewhat expensive leather while under the influence was not the wisest idea, so I sorted paperwork. Then I attacked acorn squash with a kitchen knife, thus proving that alcohol impairs judgement. No injuries. 

Things of a Record-Keeping Nature:

As noted above, I've finally started getting the books for this year in shape. Trying a different way of sorting purchases this year, we'll see how it works out. Still have not dealt with sales since we started using the PoS software.

I'm Annoyed About a Thing:

At Windycon I was rather annoyed about our Virgin Mobile coverage, and the lack of clarity on their webpage. Alternatives seem to be thin in the ethernet. (2)

And Another Thing I'm Annoyed About, or Rather Two Related Annoying Things:

Received and returned my ACen contract, still not able to pay, as of this morning, although the message on login says my exhibitor space invoice is available. This is likely due to the contract not being processed yet, and was specifically mentioned in the e-mail exchange last week as frustrating. 

When I submitted my exhibitor/vendor application to Anime Midwest on the 31st of October, via web form, I did not receive any sort of acknowledgement or echo back of what I submitted. Therefore, on Tuesday I sent e-mail to their general contact e-mail address, and asked for confirmation my application was received, and an estimate of when I could expect acceptance or denial. Response has been the chirping of crickets.  

E-mail Things:

I've realized I will need to go through all my e-mailed purchase receipts (and probably receipts for on-line sales) and make sure they get into the books. This realization led me to break down and sort my e-mail in-box. Over 400 messages. Now I have a better chance of finding things. (4)

Pouch-Type Things:

Working on the fourth belt pouch that I took to Windycon. Still need to do various finishing bits on all the others.

Shopping for Things:

Today I bought silk and silk-wool blend fabrics. For a leatherworking project. Specifically for lining a music roll/portfolio. 

Yes, you may have noted that I sayd "fabrics" plural for a "project" singular. So shoot me, the second fabric jumped into my cart. I have other projects in mind that would warrant a fancy-schmancy fabric lining. Or maybe I want it for . . . meeeeeee!

Personal-Type Things, Since I've Been Remiss in Posting on My Personal Blog:

Yesterday Pippin escaped from the yard, by going under the fence where it doesn't quite come down to the ground, again. Robin has been assigned the task of moving (more) rocks (5) back to that side of the yard to prevent discourage further escapes. 

More Project-Type Things:

Ron and/or Robin will be doing the required woodworking to make molds to form leather sockets for small cobalt blue potion bottles by the end of this coming weekend. Expletive. 

Have to figure out a way of holding the plastic bottles I got, as they aren't as sturdy/rigid as glass bottles, and wrapping a leather strap around them tightly may result in crushing. 

See above note about shopping for lining fabric for a music roll. 

Late last week I received footman's loops for making a saddle valise.

Perhaps the leather and grommet setter I ordered Monday to make a piece commissioned at Windycon will (or has) arrived today. Also waiting for black grommets, from a different supplier. 

Need to update inventory to reflect sales at and since ACen, and figure out what we need to make in the way of pouches. I should also probably check to see if I made myself any notes. Because that would (have) be(en) S-M-R-T smart. 

Footnote Types of Things:

Dinners plural, because I made both Monday's (pot roast and acorn squash) and Tuesday's dinners (kibbeh and cucumbers & onions in yogurt) on Monday. 

At least that fall within the ill-defined matrix of price, contracts, and data allowances that we have in mind. Cricket seemed like a front-runner until I realized they don't actually have WiFi hotspots. (3)


Or they do not any more, which boils down to the same thing.

Yes, I know how nice/easy it is to search gmail, which the account in question happens to be, but some tasks are not as well suited to a google search of everything as they are to scanning a set of sorted messages. 

Rocks, of a reasonably rectangular prism-ish blocky nature, that were originally dug out of the ground along that side of the yard because they were right on the lot/fence line, and piled up on the other side of the yard.

Monday, November 11, 2013

International B-to-B Commerce

The internet has really changed business-to-business commerce, at least in my experience as a small business order.

Today I ordered button studs from Thailand and Japan. I also ordered leather and hardware from Ohio, and grommets from a manufacturer in New Jersey. I phoned in the order to Ohio (because their on-line ordering is for retail customers, and I'm wholesale), but the rest were all on-line. 

I've also looked at reproduction brass navigational equipment (box sextants) from two suppliers in India in the past. 

My mind kinda boggles at this all.  

In other news, I got the sewing done on three pouches while at Windycon, out of the four I took. My version of the Japanese map case needs to have the flap trimmed to the right length and then a tab sewn on - about 1" of sewing. All three pouches also need some finishing work, but they're substantially done.

I probably could have sewn the fourth pouch yesterday after I got home with the dogs, but we weren't that ambitious. 

Once I go make dinner for tonight and tomorrow I think I'm going to start on the new tubular map case. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Registration Frustration

Just fired off e-mail to the Anime Central Exhibit Hall (vendor) staff. To simplify to the bare essentials, their described process for registering as a vendor, choosing space, receiving the vendor contract, and remitting payment appears to be . . . not actually as described.

Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk . . . the profits will be worth this . . . the profits will be worth this . . .

Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy-Ish Weekend

Ron and I have spent the last week looking at/for pictures of various map cases and other pouches, mostly from the WWII era. We have a bunch of ideas, and one Russian example on order. 

One that we both liked is a reproduction of a Japanese map case, which isn't obviously for maps:

It's about 6" tall by 4" wide, and hangs from the belt by that brass hook. 

I decided to make my own version. I started converting the dimensions from centimeters to inches, then realized that was stupid, and set my CAD program units to centimeters. 

I've come up with a design and cut out a prototype, which is going to be dyed black, because the selling power of black will overpower any imperfections in the prototype. The belt clips I have are black, need to see if I can find some brass ones similar to the ones in the picture.

I also cut out three Civil War-era belt pouches while I was at it, also to be dyed black. If I'm really ambitious, I'll get several things ready to sew together and can work on them at Windycon (not vending there, though).

I didn't get as far as starting a new tubular map case, although I got my thinnish-wall PVC in last week and meant to. I've decided how I'm going to construct it, though. I think this version will be more successful than the first one. And black, because . . . you know.

Saturday we went to the local Tandy/Leather Factory store, with Xap, who hadn't been there before. Some dark teal heavy garment/upholstery leather followed us home, as well as some more . . . interesting colors: metallic purple-ish that called to Ron, and screaming sparkly metallic magenta. It isn't a large piece of magenta, but big enough to do several soft belt pouches, because I think it may go at anime cons. 

I also got some black button studs, a couple steampunk-ish belt buckles, and nickel hardware to use on the black map case. And then we got home, and I ordered some shorter button studs, and footman's loops. The loops are to use for making a saddle valise/portmanteau, as is the ticking material I ordered last week. Nice sturdy twill-woven blue-striped old-fashioned pillow or mattress ticking, with an honest-to-bob woven-in (not printed) stripe. That will be the lining for the valise.

Ordered a couple books on WWII German cavalry from ABE, turns out from the same seller. Today a book I ordered last weekend, "Art Nouveau Designers at The Paris Salons, Volume VI: Textiles & Leather", arrived. From a quick flip through, most of the leather is in the form of bookbinding. 

Still waiting to hear back from Anime Midwest on my initial application, and ACen on my contract/payment information. Its been over a week since I chose my ACen space, my opinion of their process is not improving. Trying not to make any judgements yet on Anime Midwest. 

The shutdown of our ArtFire store is completed, as of October 31. I think I got all of one sale on ArtFire, it definitely was not working for us.