Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pondering My Future In Tea...

On the brink of a new and hopeful year, I do have some sad news to share, and seek some advice from my tea loving friends... Something's been "steeping" in my mind this last month, and I wasn't sure how to address it or what, if anything to say.

I've been an Independent Tea Consultant with Let's Do Tea since March of 2009... not terribly long, but certainly long enough to fall in love with the product, share it with many, many of my friends and family and become very invested in my own little side business. First and foremost, I really love this tea, and I love to share it with people. I'm not a "sales" type person; I just liked it so much I felt compelled to spread the word... The last couple of months especially, I feel like I hit a comfortable stride, happily hosting tea parties almost every weekend.

Unbeknownst to most of us consultants, things were a'changing over at the home office in Texas. On December 2nd, I was SHOCKED to discover an email from our President, Meredith Tieszen, informing us that Let's Do Tea would be ceasing operations today, December 31st 2009. Really? Wow. You could have knocked me out of my chair with a feather...  Apparently the economy has hit our business hard, and the company didn't want to further raise prices (as they did January of 2009) or further cut consultants commissions (as they did in April 2009). To say I didn't see this coming would be an understatement. I was stunned, as was my friend and mentor Mary . We've only seen our business growing, not declining... but there is always more than one side, so who knows. A month isn't very long to wrap up your business, make contact with all of your customers to see if they'd like to place any orders to stock up on their favorites before the company closed... especially in the most financially draining (not to mention BUSY) month of the year for most families... December. Ouch.

At any rate, there have since been some changes and Meredith has decided to keep Let's Do Tea going, but as an online sales company only, which is good for the customers who enjoy the tea, but bad for us consultants left with a big investment on our part, and few options to continue to grow our businesses. We could buy the tea wholesale (if we have a business license) and move forward in that direction, but unless you have an actual brick & mortar store or tea shop, that isn't realistic for many of us. I'm glad that Meredith has found a way to continue the company and secure a future for herself and glad for my customers who now find themselves unable to cope without their daily cuppa. But frankly, I'm not as happy with what's left to us. I really hate to sound like sour grapes, but I made an investment in Let's Do Tea. I put a lot of my time, money and energy into this business knowing not to expect to make a profit right away (and I have not) but rather over the years to come, all that I've put into it would come back to me, and maybe a little extra too. Not to mention the friends that I make along the way... Much to my dismay, that isn't going to happen with Let's Do Tea. I'm really trying to see it as "nothing ventured, nothing gained" and "it's business", but its a bit of a hard pill to swallow...

So, now where do I go from here? Another Tea based home sales business; Tealightful Treasures has graciously opened their doors to us displaced Let's Do Tea consultants and offered us a place in their company. A wise move, as there are hundreds of active Let's Do Tea consultants with tea drinking customer bases already in place. Charlene Phillips the Founder and CEO of Tealightful Treasures, seems great, I have had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of conference calls with her as we decide to make the transition or not and Charlene seems genuinely happy to have us, and understands that its like starting all over again. Tealightful Treasures is going above and beyond to accommodate us and make us a part of their team, for which I am grateful. I feel like I already have one leg over the fence, yet I feel hesitant... I have put so much into my tea biz, I don't want to see it go...'s another risk... should I or shouldn't I... I don't mind saying that I enjoy being known as a "tea lady" around here, hehehe... it's kind of fun! But it really is starting ALL OVER. New product, new inventory, new everything...

I'd love to hear your advice and thoughts. Have you heard of Tealightful Treasures? Are there other tea companies out there? I'm just one person, I've never run my own company so I'm very open to any advise more experienced business ladies may have to offer.

As I've sat here writing this blog, the FedEx guy delivered a great big box... my last order from Let's Do Tea... (biiig sigh) what to do?

With a tear in my tea,

p.s. Gee whiz... what a buzzkill. Please let me add before it's too late, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

Yeah, let's give the boy's a hand...

Ha! Now you'll have that song stuck in your head too. I heart 80's pop.

I hope you all had a holly-jolly Christmas! Mine was faboo, I still can't believe I finished everything in time! As some of you may know, I vowed to hand make all of my Christmas gifts this year, and I'm so happy to say that I did it!! It was a close call, let me tell you what. I have so much to share with you all, but before I do, I wanted to share something that I received this year which brings me back to my blog title, d'oh! There goes that song in my head again!

I love it when guys get crafty! I've been a fan of Dudecraft for a while, we gals should encourage our menfolk to get crafty more often. I think lots of guys are brimming with creativity, but don't know how to express it. Cool stuff happens when guys get crafty, this for instance, look what I got!!

Heeeheee! Don'cha love it?!? Here, let me turn the lights on so you can see it better...

(Eeegads! Please ignore the scuff marks on the wall. I had no idea they were there until I saw this pic on the computer. Guess I need to move my blanket trunk...)

Isn't it awesome? My friend Arlen made this for me, I just love it! I work with Arlen at my full time job in new home construction. One day last week when I got to my office, this beautiful present was glowing softly on my desk. It was early and still dark, even without the storm that was brewing outside,  my whole office was a glow! Arlen is such a cool guy, he made all of us gals in the office one of these goodies, each one different. He came in extra early, plugged these in at all of our desks, then snuck away like Santa Claus! We were like kids running into each others offices to see all the different styles. Arlen is so thoughtful that he even brought us all a new extension cord in case we didn't have a plug handy. What a guy!

Have you guessed what it is yet? It's a glass block that they make shower walls and decorative windows from!

Arlen used a special glass drill bit on one side, made a hole just big enough to feed through a string of multi-colored Christmas lights, plugged the hole with some kind of gromet, tied it with a gorgeous irridescent red ribbon, added a sweet ornament (mine's a kitty cat) and viola! A beautiful glowing gift! I have never seen this type of thing before, I think he's brilliant! I LOVE when an ordinary object is made into something extraordinary!

I love my glowing gift! I knew exactly where I was going to put it when I got it home and I've had it plugged in at all times (when I'm home of course, safety first!) since they day I received it. I think it's positively neato!! Sean thinks its pretty neato too, I've caught him standing in the hallway gazing at it at least 4 times which makes me giggle.

Thank you ~ thank you ~ thank you, Arlen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Changing up a bit...

Hi All~
I'm trying to find a new look for this blog... that peuce color wasn't doing it for me... I want something kinda neutral, but with a kick. Does that even make sense? Hmm... I thought not. Well, if you see some changes around here, don't fret... I'm just testing things out.
Wish me luck,

p.s. Any suggestions for cute, easy to use blog template websites?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sneaky Peeky

Hello Beautifuls,

Here's a little sneaky-peeky at something I'm trying like heck to finish before Christmas, it's for my brother and my sister-in-love.

I can show it to you all because they don't read this blog, you see... But if you happen to be in Wilseyville and run into them, let's just keep this between us, shall we?

It's going to be a pillow, a quilted pillow! Hello, quilted?!? From the girl who's just learned how to embroider a few months ago!  The design is Hawaiian, it's the 'ohi'a lehua flower. This hand-quilting stuff (like so much else recently) is brand new to me, it's so cool! And OMgosh, so much work!!

Side (and probably rather lengthy) Note: This year has been a banner year for me as far as crafting/sewing/needle work and blogging. I've tried so many new things this year, and love them all. Deciding what to spend free time on these days is a doosie! I'm sharing this in the interest of full disclosure because recently someone (a real life someone, not a blogland someone) told me they didn't believe I was as new at all this as I truly am. At first I didn't know how to take that, and was a little offended. But after having some time to reflect, here's what I've come up with. I've always felt like I was kind of crafty, but my Mom is super crafty, creative and artistic (as was my Dad). My Dad was a draftsman (the old fashion way, no computers. He died when I was 12 and Greg was 10... my Mom was only 29. My Dad needed a new heart & lungs but he passed away before a match was found. He was 31 years old.) and my Mom was a homemaker. I love them, a lot! They are without a doubt the biggest influence in my life, to this day. Which is as it should be. I don't think there's anything my Mom is bad at... and everything she attempts looks expertly done, even on the first try. Only thing Mom hasn't managed... "teaching" me. I'm not sure why, we butt heads. We're too much a like I think. She says I always want to do things "my way" (hehe... anybody else got a daughter like that?)  But I DO and HAVE ALWAYS learned from her, loads in fact! Like how to be creative, how to think outside the box, how to make something from nothing, the value of things well made, and that love should go into everything you do. Money was pretty tight for my family when we were young, my brother and I never wore the latest fashions, and didn't we have the newest toys. Don't get me wrong, we were definitely spoiled in retrospect, but not with the usual junk. We were loved, and valued. Our parents invested in us, time, attention, imagination, patience, and experience. I learned a great deal just by observing them in thier normal everyday ways, especially their attention to detail, Mom in her sewing, and Dad with his maticulous drawings. I think what I'm getting at, is that when I do/make/try something new, I'm always thinking of my Mom or how she would do it, (WWMD!!!) so I do it all the way, and to the very best of my ability. Time, just like money is an investment, so if I'm going to pour myself into something, I'm going to do my darndest to make sure it's as well made/pretty/tasty/perfect as it can be. So, here in my mid 30's (late bloomer, no?) I'm finally teaching myself all the things my mom tried to show me when I was younger and so much more stubborn. Thanks Mom. Sorry I was such a brat. I'll really listen this time if you want to try that tatting thing again :o)

So what I'm really trying to say to you all, is this; as I start to explore more and more of what has always interested me (beautiful handmade things), I'm still experienceing a lot of "firsts", so you'll probably read that alot. Please bare with me as I share my novice excitement with you. I assure you I really am just learning all of the things I blog about, which is why I'm so excited to share them. I am very open about the newbie mistakes I make, the things I've botched and I will always be open to tips on how to do things better. I like to look at it like this... with me, what you see (or read as it were) is what you get. I really am a dork, I really get excited over small things like tea, my dog when I get home from work, being able to do a pretty lazy daisy stitch, a ride on my scooter, a pepper I grew myself, a good song on the radio and all the rest of it, swears. I think Popeye said it best, "I yam what I yam." And most day's I'm pretty happy with that...

Ok, I'm coming down from the soapbox now (grinning cheesily). So! Getting back to that pillow! I saw it in Martha Stewart over the summer, see? I instantly thought it would be perfect for Greg & Apryl. Their relationship really started in Hawaii and they were married there almost 4 years ago. It was magical, there was a double rainbow in the sky when they said their vows. We think it was our father, as well as Apryls dad... magic I tell you. They love all things Hawaiiana. Why I thought this project would be a quick 'whip up' is beyond me... this stuff takes a lot of time!! I think I'm about 1/2 way through, and I'd venture a guess that I've spent 10 hours so far. At least. Applique and echo quilting are no joke, people! I can't wait to see how it's going to end up. I'll share more (and better quality) pics as I get further along and inch towards completion. Christmas is only 11 days away, eeek! I gotta go, lots more echoing do!

Hope my soapbox wasn't to dreadfully soapy.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just a quick hello...

Greetings Y'all!

Hope all my friends in blog~land are happy little elves dashing here and there and making holiday cheer! Hey, that sorta rhymes! Hmm, well not really, actually.... It's been very busy here at Casa Leggett, tonight I'm making candy pretzels to share with the bunco girls tomorrow night, yay bunco!! The picture isn't great since it's from my phone, but you get the idea. In person, they're much sparklier. So I'm taking a break from my toiling (snickering, hehe) to do some blog-o-phoning :o)~ Ahh, cell phone, how did I ever once live without thee?

And speaking of "sparkle", I know I'm a little late getting to this, but I can't skip it, I just can't! Who's seen New Moon?? Come on... I know you're out there... I wasn't the only non-teenybopper in that theater, that place was jam packed with ladies of all ages! Sooo, whad'ya think?? Likes it? Loves it? My vote, LOVE! So much better than Twilight. The production value alone made it a better film, but whoa, the acting has improved, alot! I'm still Team Edward...I think... but darn that Jacob is a cutie! Meow! Oh, I mean woof! Woof-woof!

Anyhoo... I have lots of crafting to share as soon as I have 5 minutes to sit down, even something to do with the above mentioned... oooh, hint, hint Ana!! Check back soon!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why, thank you ever so...

Paulette, this one goes out to you!

Wow, you are such a nice lady! I wish we lived closer than 2,884 miles apart. I'd rush right over after work so we could have a hug and some tea and some gossip and a giggle. I'm so glad that you liked everything that you won, and you wrote such a beautiful blog about it, what a doll you are!

You've made my Christmas spirit come alive today, thank you!


p.s. Thank you Graphics Fairy