Saturday, March 27, 2010

Any Cat Lovers Out There?

I have a beautiful long haired kitty named Tia, who I adopted from the shelter two years ago, and who is the inspiration and namesake for my shop, She is spoiled rotten and since it's just she and I in my apartment, she is never lacking in attention. Of course, when my boyfriend visits, she is quite annoyed that there is no space on "her side" of the bed!

Tia has all sorts of toys to play with, both handmade and store bought. But do you know what her favourite thing to do is? Grab my latest doll head off my sewing desk and run off with it. After watching her attack one with a particularly nice face, I realized that she likes the way the heads roll along the floor when she bats them around. So I altered my doll head pattern, and the roly poly mouse was born.

Sure enough, the first roly poly mouse I made was snatched right off my desk before it was finished, and I had to track it down by finding stray ears that I had not yet sewn in place. Apparently it's a hit! I'll be making loads more of next will be a roly poly cow. I'm pretty excited to fill in my shop a bit more!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A day to myself

I've just spent an entire Saturday alone in my apartment. I can't remember the last time I have done this. It felt strange since my weekends are usually booked to the max...I do my best to "do 'er all" as we say in my family. But as weird as today was, I loved it. I got to clean my disaster of an apartment (only to make it messy again, of course. Something about crafting destroys any hopes of cleanliness), promote myself on etsy a bit, list a train I made ages ago, work on a few ongoing projects...and finish my newest doll. So without further ado, here is Clara.

A Work in Progress...

So this weekend I'm staying at my place for a change, a rarity as I'm in a long distance relationship and most weekends are spent with my boyfriend at his house.
But staying home gives me a chance to catch on on some crafting...on this weekend's schedule: Getting a start on a new art doll, making some cat toys (I'm thinking mice), and finishing off this little cutie:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Surprise! Snarky Waitresses don't get Tips.

On Saturday I went out for dinner with my mum, aunt, and cousin Owen. We went to a pub in Ottawa, O'Connors, which I have been to before (and had a perfectly nice experience). This time.... not so pleasant.

We arrived at the pub at 7:30, right after leaving the theatre (Alice in Wonderland is AMAZING, by the way. Go see it.) Our waitress came to the table about five minutes after we were seated and took our drink orders. She then left and came back with our drinks to take our dinner orders about ten minutes later. I ordered potato skins, Mum ordered zucchini, Marian went with a quesidilla, and Owen, a club wrap. All in all, regular pub fare. Appetizers. Nothing too complicated.

Our waitress then disappeared, finally returning after about 30 minutes to state that she "hasn't forgot" about us, and the left again without offering a drink refill, apologizing for the wait, or asking is we wanted anything else. She didn't come back for another 20 minutes, when my mum stood up at the table and made eye contact with her. She then returned to the table looking irritated, and said "I know it's taking a long time, It's not my fault, it's the kitchen". Marian said that she understood, but some service would be nice. Could we have a glass or water while we waited? The waitress (all of 16 years old) responded with "Well I know it's been a long time but it's not my fault. I'll get you some water and you can talk to my manager if you want, but don't get all fussy with me," before turning and storming off. (Let me just reiterate here. We asked for water.)

We never did see that waitress again. A few minutes later, the reinforcements arrived; two more waitresses carrying glasses of water. Or food arrived via yet another waitress shortly after. During our stay we were not asked if we wanted anything else, offered another drink, or asked how the meal was. Upon finishing a waitress came and cleared our plates, but did not stay long enough for us to ask for the bill. It was another 5 minutes before a waitress made eye contact with us so we could ask for the bill.

When the bill finally did arrive, we were fed up. We had been forgotten about, told off, and ignored all night. The pub was not a busy place. They did not seem to be understaffed. We were not so much as apologized to for the wait. So between mum, Marian and I, we counted out to the penny what we owed for the meal. There was no reason to tip, in our opinion. There had been no service.

No sooner had we left the restaurant than a waitress came chasing us into the parking lot, complaining that we hadn't left the right amount. We mentioned that yes, we had counted it out exactly, she said "well yes, but you haven't left a tip." So we explained to her that no, there was no tip. We were not treated well, it took and hour and a half to get what should have been a 30-minute meal, and we were offered no apology. We thought that was it and started to walk away, but she followed us again, complaining that it wasn't fair, because they had to share tips with everyone including the kitchen, etc etc etc. We told her sorry, but there was no reason to tip. The service was severely lacking. To which she responded, "well, when you don't tip, waitresses don't take it to mean that the service was bad". Um.... what? How are waitresses not getting the hint? Finally we just walked away from here, and she gave up and went back to the pub, sans tip.

I understand that waitresses and kitchen staff do, to some extent, depend on tips, but when did not tipping become as bad as walking out on your check? And why is it that waitresses can treat people appallingly, and still expect a tip in return?? The whole scene was just surreal to me. What happened to tipping your waitress for good service? If waitresses and kitchen staff are depending this much on tips (without having to work for them, apparently), then restaurant owners need to take a good hard look at how they are compensating their staff. Not to mention, how they are training their staff in customer satisfaction.

The next day, we went to Broadways in Kemptville. We had an adorable waiter who took our orders right away, chatted with us, offered us drinks, and checked twice to see if our food was alright. We tipped him well above the standard 15%. And you know what? I don't think he would have chased us into the parking lot if we had not.

In closing...if you are a waitress, please, please treat people with some respect. Yes, maybe you don't like your job. Get over it. You are getting paid. And if you do your job well, you may even get a little extra cash.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Great Post on the Etsy Blog

Every time I participate in any shop critique on the Etsy forums, I come away with something like "Oh, your stuff is so cute! This is my favourite...I can't imagine why you aren't selling!" Great for the ego, maybe. Helpful? No.
Today on the Storgue blog there is a great article on how to critique your own shop. SO much more helpful!! As soon as I have a few hours to spare I'm going to go through the checklist point by point and make all the adjustments my shop so badly needs.

Here's the post....take a look and critique your shop!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crafter's ADD

Lately I've been all over the place with my projects. This week I made a pillow for a cat basket, as well as starting (but of course not finishing) a train for my nephew, three dolls and a pink cat. When I am crafting everything else seems to fall by the wayside. Dishes pile up, clothing covers my floor, and craft materials seem to take over my tiny apartment. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all! While immersed in a project I'm lucky if I remember to make dinner. On more than one occasion I've looked up from my creation and decided it's far past when I should have been in bed, only to realize once I'm there that I haven't eaten since lunch. And then when I do cook, it's minimal.

I love to cook, but not when I'm creating. I can't focus on cooking a nice meal when all I can think about is what colour that doll's eyes should be, how can I get the dress to work out with no real pattern, how should I decorate that train. This week I have existed on chocolate chips, tostitos, sandwiches, and perogies. Thank God they feed me well at work.