Monday, July 17, 2017

Dry Clean Only. A lie most of the time.

I have been slacking again on my blogging.  Having a difficult time coming up with subjects that are interesting or helpful.  I came up with this idea for a blog post after finding a 100% cotton dress with a Dry Clean Only tag.  Are you for real?  Cotton?  Seriously?  I did sell that dress, and wrote a note to the new owner explaining that I did wash this dress.  No harm done at all.  I am very careful with fabrics to begin with.  Special zip up nylon bags,  cold water, gentle detergent, delicate wash cycle, and hang to dry.  You can wash just about anything including almost all of the Dry Clean Only stuff. 

Dry cleaning fluid is bad for the environment, and actually very bad for you.  These chemicals leach into your skin as you wear the garment.  Besides, who wants to pay the bill for having clothing cleaned?  I used to pass up on anything with a dry clean tag.  Now that I have actually learned about the handling of different fibers, I wash just about everything.  Granted, some large items may be a little difficult to handle, and anything that bleeds is a real problem. 

Just about anything can be put in a bag, washed in cold water with gentle detergent on the delicate cycle, and hung to dry.  The only real exception to this is wool.  Wool does not like to be agitated.  Agitating wool equals felting.  Felting is bad.  When I read a label and it has wool listed (wool includes mohair, alpaca, and angora), I automatically hand wash these items.

 I fill a sink with room temp water, then add a little bit of wool cleaner (don't get carried away), and stir it with my hand.  Next, I push the wool garment into the water until it is saturated and sinks.  No agitation.  Do not slosh around in the water.  Any stain can be gently rubbed with the tips of your fingers.  You can also add a small drop of cleaner to that stain.  Dawn dish detergent and wool go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I allow the garment to soak for a bit.  In the next sink, I fill with the same temperature water (very important).  Don't add anything to this water.  I gently squeeze the water from the garment, and rinse it by pushing it into the clean water sink.  I just move it about ever so gently, then take the garment out and squeeze the water out.  You notice that I said squeeze and not wring.  Very important.  Wringing will stretch and ruin fiber.  At this point, you will have a garment that drips.  I like to place the garment on a folding rack placed in the bathtub.  Gently shape and let the water drip out until dry.  You can also place the item flat between two bath towels, roll tightly and the squeeze the water out.  You still have to put it on a rack to dry.  Shape the garment so that it looks nice and keeps it's shape. 

Silk and viscose can have a problem with stiffness.  After washing, you can place the item in the dryer on air dry.  NO HEAT at all.  The rolling about will soften the fabric.  I washed a Kate Spade dress and it felt like sandpaper.  Put it on air dry and it came out very soft.

Rayon is a favorite fabric now days.  The tag may say wash and dry, but this is a big mistake.  Rayon is made from trees.  That particular fabric absolutely hates heat (spandex hates heat as well).  I recommend that you treat all of your clothing with respect.  Put all soft fabrics in bags for protection, use the delicate cycle, and always hang to dry.  The only thing you should put in the dryer is your towels. 

Some rules for the laundry:

  Denim jeans ONLY wash with denim.  Turn your jeans inside out for added protection.  You do have to put them in the dryer or they will be stiff as a board.  Only put them in for 20 minutes.  Get them out and hang them up after doing a little shaking and shaping. 

Towels, wash cloths, and cotton underwear are the only things that go together.  Want to know why your clothes look bad?  You probably put a towel in with your clothes.  You can definitely put towels and cotton underwear in the dryer.

White only goes with white.  Unless you want something less than white. 

Red and all relative colors only go with same.  Obvious, but sometimes not obvious enough.

If you want your clothes to live for a decent time.  Hang everything besides towels and underwear to dry.  You can get these great folding racks that work really well.  You can also put up a tension rod across your bathtub and hang anything that won't stretch. 

Hope this article is helpful.  As always, feel free to ask questions.  I would be glad to help you out.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Starting Poshmark

Keeping up with my blog is apparently a problem for me.  I have been busy shopping for product, for my Poshmark store.  You can find me @kimtn2.  Take a look if you can.  I have been trying to learn the app, and try to list a few things everyday.  I am very slow at doing so.  Keeping up with the social aspect of this app has been a little overwhelming at times, because I do try to follow and share everything when people follow and share my things.  That's just what you do.  Sales have been slow.  I just got my 4th sale for this month.  When you consider that I did the same on Agnes and Dora with more work on that end, I guess I'm actually doing okay.  

Shopping at the thrift stores has been a lot of fun.  I always thrifted for my jeans because I am unwilling to pay the ridiculous prices at the stores.  That, and I'm a total cheap skate.  Not that I won't pay up for something of quality, but if I can get that same item for next to nothing, I'm all about it.  I just recently bought 6 pairs of Miss Me Jeans for my sister, for the price she would have paid for one pair at a regular store.  Oh, and also, two really cute shirts.  All of the stuff looks brand new.  And that's the thing about the thrift store.  You won't believe how many clothes are just tossed away with the original price tags still dangling from the arm.  I guess we all have closets full of clothes that we don't wear very much, or at all.

Now, keep in mind, you just don't walk into the thrift store and get all of this great stuff.  Finding great stuff requires hours of patient searching.  For every 100 pieces I look at, I might find one good thing.  I might not find a "great" thing, that day.  I thrift to resale.  I figure that I at least deserve a finders fee for spending all of that time searching for that piece that you just have to have.  I stop looking for stuff in about 4 to 5 hours when my back gives out, or my arms just get too tired from pushing clothes around.  They pack those things in so tight, that it is a wonder that you can find anything.

Some people don't like the thrift store, or have really negative ideas about the thrift store.  I think that it must be overwhelming to look at a warehouse full of stuff.  The diamonds are among the piles of coal, if you just take the time to look.  I have hooked every person that I have taken thrifting.  The look on their face, when they find an item that they know costs an arm and a leg, is priceless.  Finding that gem with the price tag attached is amazing.  If you liked Easter egg hunting as a kid, you will love thrifting.  I think that I have an addiction.

Unfortunately, after you drag that stuff home, you have to wash it all.  I don't know how people, who resale this stuff, don't wash everything.  The stores put something on the clothes.  It makes it hard for me to even breathe, and my eyes swell.  No way that I will send anything less than clean to someone.  Especially someone who sent me money to support my habit. Having a lot of experience with different fabrics, I even wash the dry clean stuff.  Dry cleaning is harmful to the environment and also harmful to you.  You wouldn't believe what I wash out of some of these garments.  With a little care, anything can be washed.  If you ever need help, just drop me a line, and I will walk you thru washing an item. 

The next step in this adventure is selling.  I admit that I do not like this part at all.  Selling on line is difficult, and this social media stuff is for the birds.  Seems like I spend a great deal of time looking at a phone.  Being older, I don't really have a grasp on all of the workings of the internet, and I spend a huge amount of time with "how to" videos.  I haven't even figured out all the ways to use the tools for this blog site.  At any rate, I did figure out how to list on Poshmark, and now I am working on an Ebay store.  Selling to people you don't meet face to face, can be challenging. I always dread getting one of those "nasty" customers that you can't reason with.  Seems like there are a lot of complaints about this on Ebay.  It would be very stressful. 

Below, I have posted some of my good finds that have been listed to Poshmark.

This is not listed.  It is an Emilio Pucci tank and top made in the 1960's.  Apparently a vintage work of art.  Valued at around $700.  I paid $5.99.  Have no idea what to do with this.  Maybe, I'll wear it around for fun.  

Have a great day.  And thanks for the visit.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Went Thrifting Yesterday

I Spent all day thrifting yesterday at the local Good Will.  Can't believe the clothing that can be found there.  I find it super therapeutic to stand at clothing racks for hours, just moving one hanger after another to look for hidden treasures.  It does take a long time, and I probably look at 100 items before I find a good one.  I have decided to sell my great finds on Poshmark and possibly Ebay.  I don't plan on making tons of money, but I do feel that I at least deserve a finders fee for spending the huge amounts of time looking thru the clothes to find real gems for people to treasure.  

Today, I have spent all day washing and logging my clothing items into my log book.  Most thrifters/re-salers say that they do not wash the clothing before they mail them out to their customers, but I do wash everything.  The clothes have a nauseating odor and actually feel grimy to the touch.  Even the new with tags items are in this condition.  I even hand wash the dry clean only stuff, and it turns out just fine.  I would not send these unwashed items to anyone, so rest assured, the clothes you get from me are nice and clean.

I found this stunning Whit House/Black Market cocktail dress.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  I could just picture this as some winter parties and other events.

I love this little stretchy sweater dress.  Put a long sleeved tee, some leggings, and slip on some little boots and you would be ready to go.  Toss on a leather biker jacket and you could do the Urban chic thing.

I found this Banana Republic wool blend career dress.  Said it was dry clean only, but I hand washed it.  Came out just great.  This would be some very classy office wear.  Jazz it up a little and you could do an after 5 look.

Found this adorable J Crew linen jacket.  My dress form is ridiculously busty, so I couldn't button it up.  Wish I was small so that I could wear it.

 Military green is always in.  This is a wonderful little jacket from Ann Taylor Loft. 

The Ebay sellers are always talking about North Face items.  This vest is in superb condition. I have never come across this brand before yesterday.


Another great Banana Republic office dress.  Hand washed this dry clean only gem and it is right as rain.  I personally don't like dry clean anything.  If I can wash it, I will sell it.  If it is ruined by being washed, well, I didn't want it anyway.  Love the vibrant pink.  Could jazz this up as well for after 5.

This was so unusual, that I couldn't pass it up.  Just wish I was small enough to wear most of this stuff.  Look at the sleeves and ruffles.  Who doesn't like polk-a-dots?

This is one of the best denim shirts I have ever found.  What interesting details.  There is actually a tab on the inside of the sleeve, so you can turn it up and then tie it thru those O rings.

This Banana republic sweater is the lightest sweater I have ever seen.  It has alpaca wool in it, and is so unbelievably soft.  Not a single snag on it.  Some lucky girl will love to add this to her wardrobe  and wear this little gem. 

That's just a few of the items I found this time.  I will be holding most of this stuff over until fall, when I will most likely list it on Poshmark.  I need to get busy and list all of the lovely things I have for spring and summer.  When I do list items, I will be sure to post my link on the contact page.  If you see anything you must have, just shoot me and e-mail.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Styling photos

Last week, I talked about my experience with a direct sales company called Agnes and Dora.  I wrote about some of the clothing that I really liked, but never provided any pictures.  I had decided to engage my sales group by styling the clothing, making a great picture, and then posting the picture on the sales page.  This worked out really well, because after seeing what they could do with that item, they usually purchased that piece.  I realized that some people just can't see the potential in an item of clothing.  This is why the stores sell out of everything they put on a mannequin.  Just try it sometimes.  Walk into a store, point to the mannequin, and declare that you want that outfit.  I have taken more stuff off a mannequin, because that is usually all they have left.  Lucky for me, I usually fit what the mannequin is wearing.

I actually kept this lovely maxi skirt from Agnes and Dora.  Just a beautiful spring floral print.  It sells for $28, and if you can, I would suggest adding one to your wardrobe.  If you need to find a rep, just send me an e-mail and I'll hook you up with some nice ladies who I know will treat you right.  The top that I paired with this outfit, is this amazing tank with sequins and embroidery. I found that top while on my many thrifting trips. 

The Curie dress is a total steel of a deal at a mere $58.  This gorgeous western look was just paired with a denim jacket, and some chunky turquoises look jewelry.  Add some boots, and your look would be complete.


Agnes and Dora does some great skirts.  The yoga waistband ensures a good fit.  I went two different ways in styling these.  One is for the office, and the other one could take you to a rock concert.  Seriously girls, you really can dress anything up or down to fit your purpose.  Sometimes, the fanciest looking stuff can just be stunning with the grunge look.  This pencil skirt sells for $28.

This is the Angelou.  A sleeveless dress that can be layered.  You can put a blouse over or under them.  Here I just put a denim jacket, because this particular dress was made of tee shirt material, and it just looked so right.  I wish I had kept one of these.  This dress also sells for a mere $58.

This is the Lee dress.  Unfortunately,  this dress was a hard sell.  It is one that you have to try it to like it.  Basically, it is a very long tee shirt.  You have to go up a size, because it tends to show all of those unfortunate lumps and bumps.  I haven't been able to liquidate not one of these, but I am not worried.  I have some wonderful up-cycle ideas for this comfortable gem.  It really is a great little dress.  I hesitated to call it the perfect "mom" dress, but it is.  Look at the picture above.  You can wad that up into your bag, bring a slouchy shirt and some flip flops,  and off to the beach or shopping you go. 

This is the Austen dress.  It is the Agnes and Dora floor length maxi dress.  Again, a bargain at $64.  You should defiantly get one.


I didn't do much styling to this Curie dress.  The patterns are so amazing, and beautiful.

 With this picture, I was trying to illustrate how you don't need to dress up with a skirt.  This season's big thing is florals paired with stripes.  Here you go.  A striped tee with a very nice flowy floral midi skirt.  This skirt is also a great deal at $34.  I kept this skirt for myself.  I have looked for skirts, but failed to find them before I started selling Agnes and Dora. 

Hope you enjoyed the style show.  I will be making more blogs like this using the clothing that I have found while thrifting.  I so enjoy putting outfits together.  If you want some cool pieces from Agnes and Dora, do drop me a line and I will put you in touch with someone nice.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Experience With A Direct Sales Company

For my first post of this new beginning, I decided to start with a story about what I have been involved with recently.  I hope I can tell it in a clear and concise manner.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I can be all over the place with multiple thoughts.  So here goes.

After settling in to our new house, I was looking for something interesting to do.  I am not very good with computers, so I was thinking about various ways to learn some important skills that I could then use for my Etsy hobby.  I mean business.  I looked into actual local colleges, and couldn't find a single course that looked like it would help.  Sometimes, when you don't know much about something, you just have no clue where to look.  This is when I ran across a direct sales company that talked about training people to sell on line. 

I studied a company called LuLaRoe, for days.  Yes, I really spent all day for a week reading everything I could find, and watching hours of YouTube videos.  Unfortunately, their fan club at the Better Business Bureau wasn't going so well.  I then found out that the owner of LuLaRoe had a niece with a similar company called Agnes and Dora.  After looking at this company, I decided to give it a try.

 Now, keep in mind that I approached this as an internet marketing learning experience.  I in no way, was going to do this forever.  I also didn't plan to have to bail out as soon as I did though.  I did learn a lot about marketing on Facebook, and some ideas for Instagram and Periscope.  I also met some really nice ladies who have put a tremendous amount of time and money into this business.

My husband gave me a $7,000, interest free for 18 months credit card, to start my new venture.  When you start with this company, you have to buy a kit consisting of inventory to sell.  The kits at that time (just a few months ago) were priced at $2,500, $3,500, and $5,000.  As to be expected, you can find a lot of testimonials about how women made back their initial investment in days or even a few weeks.  I was not such an optimist.  I was here to learn marketing.  I figured that I could definitely do something in 18 months.

It took a while to get my kit.  I paid at the very end of October and received my inventory mid December.  I signed a contract and paid for my kit up front.  Not but a few days later, I received a new policy about how the company was not going to take back damage merchandise.  They named it a cutesy name by combining the words flaw and awesome.  Yes, a flawsome policy.  Unless the garment had been annihilated by rabid chipmunks,  they would not take the item back.  Instead, you could be sweet and donate the item to a local shelter.  In other words, you would just have to eat this.  Let me expand on this thought a little.  When you signed the contract, it basically said that you would abide by the policy and procedures, but those could change with the direction of the wind.  Also, these clothes are sold to you whole sale and then you mark them up 100%.  Actually, the clothing was bought by the company whole sale, and then they marked it up and sold it to you. 

I knew all about the pricing of the clothing and I still ventured into this.  Just telling you this so you will be aware.  The same leggings that sell for $22 can be bought from amazon for $9 to $11.  You have to pay shipping of at least $4 from an A&D rep, but Amazon shipping is free.  Same leggings from the same distributor.  Needless to say, I was not thrilled to get over 100 of these things  in my start up kit.  I had to pay $11 a pair from the company. 

The products from this company that I did like were the skirts and dresses.  I can't tell you how many times I have tried and failed to find a good dress or skirt.  The skirts all have a yoga waist band which insures a good and comfortable fit, and the dresses are classic A line dresses that are flattering to most body types.  I never left the house in one of these dresses where I didn't get a ton of compliments.  The price points are really good too, and I highly recommend that you buy some of these dresses and skirts. 

The only problem is that purchasing these products can be slightly difficult.  You almost have to be on Facebook, and may have to join many groups to find what you like.  I found this to be very restrictive.  Most people who wanted the dress, just didn't do Facebook.  You could also go on Periscope, but most people don't have a clue what that is, nor do they want to put the app on their phones.  The other option is the dreaded house party.  I had so many people tell me how they hated to be invited to all of these home parties, and felt obligated to buy the products even if they didn't want them.  I saw tons of on line complaints about home parties.  I am new to this area and don't know anyone, so that was one reason I couldn't do a home party.  The other reason was that I would feel terrible if someone felt forced to buy something I was selling.  Basically, I was stuck with on line sales.  I was told that I could do this quite easily, but that just wasn't the case.

On line selling is not easy.  This company had great training on the use of a few select internet platforms.  Unfortunately,  It takes a ton of time.  Growing a group on Facebook is not easy at all.  If you have any problems with bothering people (like I do), you are not going to get far.  Some of the girls who were doing really well, had come with a huge following from another direct sales company.  They hit the ground running.  I hit the ground with a sound thud.  In an effort to get people interested in joining my sales group, I made style photos.  This did start to increase sales, but it was only at a trickle.  Which was totally fine with me.  Some of these ladies were so swamped with sales, that they literally could not even take care of their homes and families.  This time suck definitely couldn't fly with me because I have so many other interests, and I just couldn't spend the huge amount of time on this project.

I was told to build deep in my inventory, meaning that I needed to stock my store with many variations of one style.  I decided to get 8 different prints in each of the 6 sizes.  This worked out to cost me about $1,400 per style of dress.  I picked 4 styles of dresses, and 3 styles of skirts.  I didn't reach my goal though, because I started to become very cautious. I built my inventory to a whole sale cost of about $5,700 and quit.  I began to believe that the advice I was given was not correct.  Do I believe that I was lied to?  No.  The women, in charge of teaching us, were just giving out the best advice they had available at the time.  Over time, the advice evolved into collecting at least 800 to 1,000 pieces, and get the newest and hottest things.  Oh, well.  I'm learning.

I began to notice that the platforms, that we were taught to sell on, were becoming a little tired of our presence.  Facebook started putting people in Facebook jail.  Yes, that really is a thing.  They block you out of your accounts for a period of time.  Periscope disabled the links so people could not pay for their purchases.  I think that in the future, these platforms may just toss everyone off.  That's okay, because I actually learned to use these platforms correctly.  I have new uses for them moving forward.

Then one day, came the dreaded contract.  This baby had some teeth.  Being fearful of legal entanglements, and also tired of constant changes, I decided to cut my losses and run.  It is not easy to sell off your inventory.  I got about $3,300 back, and have several boxes of winter stuff that I will re-offer to the other reps this fall.  The other reps just can't absorb all of the old inventory.  They are trying to buy new and interesting stuff to keep up their sales momentum.  I figure that I only really lost a couple thousand from my adventure, and figure that the things I learned, more than makes up for that.   So I guess you could actually call that a win.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

My Big Wheel for Big Art Yarn

This is old, but found it unpublished.  Still making art yarns with it.

I’m pretty excited about my latest purchase.  It’s the fantastic Ashford Country Spinner.

My bobbin from the Kiwi Wheel - too quickly filled-up.
I have used my smaller Ashford Kiwi wheel for years.  It’s good for a lot of stuff, but it couldn’t really handle large, bulky yarns.  The bobbins fill up way too fast, and the flyer isn’t really optimized for dealing with bulky yarn.

The problem was that I really had my eye on art yarn.  It appeals exactly to my artistic sensibilities.  I want to create something unique, something one-of-a-kind.  I have a whole herd of sheep of varying breeds - each one’s wool bringing it’s own unique qualities.  I have angora rabbits happily growing luxurious hair.  I have an eye for color, and I love dying my fiber to suite my taste.

So for heaven’s sake, I needed the right tool to take advantage of all these opportunities.  

You know how it is, when you get into that “shopping / research” mode.  It feels almost like a little obsession.  I spent a long time looking online for the larger wheels.  I compared products and prices.  I finally found the wheel on eBay, where the guy added spinning oil and an extra bobbin for the same price as most people wanted for the wheel itself.  So I snatched it up.

It took a couple of hours to assemble - and that was with the help of my husband and a delicately-wielded electric drill to screw everything together.  But I must say, I am impressed.

The bobbin swallows 2 1/2 pounds of yarn!  The larger flyer is especially designed for  big yarn.

Note the difference.  It's like night and day.

I’ve haven’t had the chance to spin very much with it yet, but what I've done has turned out wonderfully!

A confession of something I hate

OK...maybe hate is too strong a word.  It's not my intention to spew a bunch of negativity here.  But there is so much I love about fiber arts, wool, and spinning in general, that I feel a girl is entitled to have a thing or two that she really doesn't like, right?

Well, I really don't care for spinning uniform, consistent, machine-like yarn.

photo credit Roberto Verzo

It's not that I have anything against that type of yarn itself, it has many excellent things going for it.  It's that I have something against spinning that yarn.  And it's not that I can't spin yarn like that.  I've paid my dues, learned the ropes strings, and mastered the basics.  This ain't my first rodeo, so to speak.


I'm busy.  I have stuff to do.  I have to maximize my time at the wheel.  Spinning that machine perfect yarn is time consuming.  It's laborious.  And frankly, it's boring.

Now who wants to be bored working with fiber?

I say let the machines do what all those smart engineers built them to do, and let us fiber artists do what we do best.

What do you think?