Friday, February 27, 2009

He Sent Us Two Angels

After three arduous months of worry the end of misfortune has come!!!

We, John and I, were down to my last thread of hope that we would ever get out of this mess, that seemed to be snowballing, until my dear friend, Gisele offered to lend us her car (mostly to take our teenage children to their respective jobs) while she took a well deserved vacation in the sun.

The night she picked me up with her car (I had to take her to her gentleman friends home prior to their trip) I was in tears..., normally a very composed person, I reliquished all my emotion on her..., God bless her. Like the true friend that she is, she cried along with me.

She was the first angel that He sent!!
She held my hand and re-affirmed to me what I already knew..., that everything will work out in the end. I was so thankfull for her kindness. I wanted to give to her something special and to me something made from the heart is always special to me. Yes!! I do make a lot of these but they are practical and people do like them. :P But hers was different. I stamped something on the back - "My Angel"
The story gets better! Just when John and I thought that there was no way for us to get a vehicle the assistant to the sales manager of KIA , Alison called us to tell us that Mario had appoved a lease-to-own on a trade-in he had received. It was perfect. We had the money but the banks wouldn't touch us. As the old saying goes, They won't lend you money unless you can show them you don't need it..., well Mario came through for us. He actually went to another dealership to obtain a lease agreement form so we could have the van.
He is the second angel.
So, the happy ending to this story is that prayers can and always are answered.

Thanks again to Gisele, Mario and Alison you are truly angels in our book!!

Anne ^i^ & John

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Luther's Legacy

About a month ago I received an email from a woman by the name Danni. She wanted to know if I could make her a custom key ring similar to the ones she had seen in our Etsy shop. She was having it made for her husband in memory of his beloved pet and recently deceased dog, Luther. I was touched by this and agreed. Her request was not a unique one, as I have made many of them before but this was to be my first as a keepsake in memory of a dog.

These are samples of our personalized, handstamped keychains
from our shop As I read further on, I realized that she wanted me to make two personalized key chains out of an existing dog collar that was previously worn by Luther. I had no idea at the time what the collar looked like nor if I could emboss it with the dogs name on it. You see, the leather was finished and worn for some time. Danni left the desicion up to me, regardless. But as I am sure other leather workers will attest - once leather has been dyed and finished with a protective coat it is unlikely that other impressions stamped into the leather will be able to leave permanently embossed markings.
I had forgotten about our conversation until the day I received a package in the mail. It contained the dog collar below. As I held it in my hands and caressed the extremely weathered and worn leather, fond memories of my dog, Friday, came to mind. I felt a sense of duty to Danni and her husband to deliver to them the best possible reconstructed item I could using this wonderful old dog collar.
John and I both examined it closely. It had years of grim built up on it from dirt and water. I had to strip it down, clean, and condition the leather to the base so I would be able to attempt the undertaking of embossing lettering.
It came out beautifully. I had enough of the collar left to make a personalized wristband as well.
A few nights later, I lay awake imagining how it would come out. Like every thing we do I handled it as if it were my own.

I had to wait patiently for the treatment to dry fully before John could add the new dye. The leather sucked up the first application of dye like a dry sponge. It took several coats of dye and two applications of "super sheen" to bring it to a rich luster. John and I were thrilled with the results.

This has to be one of my most rewarding and memorable moments in this business. For someone to part with and entrust us with this cherished article made me feel quite honored. If you have such an article that you would like us to give life to visit us at our website or Etsy shop. We would love to chat with you and possible deliver to you the same results as we did to Danni and her husband.


Anne ^i^

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Test of Faith

To test a dye that we may use on our products I made this wristband. The test was a failure but I fell in love with the wristband regardless. I wear it often, especially when I need to remind myself to have faith in God and that things will work out.

Yes, it may be a ostentatious bracelet but if I am going to ask for help I might as well ask for it loudly. On the other side of it, which you don't see, are the words, "Thank you, God." I am Christian and I do believe in the power of prayer and as a spiritualist I know He hears us.

In mid-November we had problems with our '97 SUV. Unexpectedly, "Jimmy needed major repairs to pass the emissions test. Thus taking a huge bite out of our Christmas money. With cool heads John and I presevered having faith that the money would magically show up. The magic of prayer and positive thinking brought us a rush of sales from our Etsy site at Christmas and continues to this day.

Sadly, it has been reported that our area (near Toronto, Canada) has a recorded high amount of snow fall in over 75 years. That translates to - yes - you have it, "Jimmy" lost his reverse gear. Parking for the last two months has been a challenge..., sigh!! Again, John and I remained calm and put our faith in God that we would get through this. The sales continued to come in and we thank Him for every blessing. At one point we believed the crisis was over...., until of course one afternoon, while taking our son to work in the next town, the transmission ceased to work. Jimmy would not go beyond second gear. Thirty-five kilometers an hour was all it could do. I never thought I would look forward to stopping for red lights or travelling behind slow moving vehicles. In fact, John and I would laugh when a garbage truck sped off leaving us trailing behind.

Since we have invested all our savings in getting our business off the ground, cash flow is sparce. At least the interact machines haven't laughed at us yet - that's a good sign.
As I look down at my wristband I sent out another request to the universe - any color vehicle will do - God -thank you!! Patience is our lesson at this time.

When I start to feel sorry for myself and downtrodden I think of the ladies that I have met on etsy. All of them in their own way have faced great adversities. One of my most recent friends is, Nancy. In one of our first conversations she candidely shared some life experiences with me. Hers dwarfed mine by a longshot. An error occurred during a transaction and I wanted to re-imburse her for it. She nonchalantly told me to send it along stating, they are just things! She was referring to objects in our lives that most of us (me) consider(d) important. She in her own way reminded me of what is important in our short lives. It is something I give thanks for everyday - my family. When I feel like I am drowning in circumstance I close my eyes for a second and imagine them gone. Everything else pales in comparison.
Pat is another such friend. She and Nancy have helped me open my eyes. Their kindness and candor is refreshing and welcome.
To the wonderful people that chat with me on our Etsy site and my good friends, Kim and Deb, at the post office, their friendly smile and kind words get me through these hard times. Thank you!!!
Smiles!!! ^i^