Thursday, February 10, 2011

Something old, something new, something aggravating

First, the aggravating - the status of my back. I went to the Doctor on Tuesday morning. Stubborn me wasn't willing to admit defeat and tried to work over the weekend. NOT a good idea it seems. By Sunday noon I was in tears just trying to walk. Turns out that because of overcompensating for the bruised tailbone, I have definitely pinched my sciatic nerve. Doc gave me Percoset and Naproxen. I've been taking the Naproxen, but I avoid the Percs except at bedtime. I don't like how they make me all groggy and loopy. Sure they kill the pain, but I'm a drooling idiot for six hours after taking them. Not much fun. It's slowly improving. As far as I know (I have to call to get my schedule for next week) I'm off work until Monday. This time I'm making no guarantees, if it still aches on Sunday, I'll make other arrangements.

On the subject of work... I've come to a decision. I can't really go into a lot of details, but because of a situation at work I'm sinking further and further into a serious depression. I did talk to my Dr. about it, he wanted to put me on anti-depressants, but it's situational more than chemical. The depression would be gone if I didn't have to be in this situation. I know that for a fact, because the only time I feel it is when I'm either at work, getting ready for work or just home from work. I've been looking for something else for a few months now, but I was being pickier at the time because I could. Now because of this change in circumstances at work, I've decided that I need to find something else. NOW. I'm at that point where I don't even care if I find something else first - I'm giving my notice as soon as I'm able to go back. I can't keep going like this. I cry at the drop of a hat, I'm having panic attacks when I know I have to go in or even when I'm there, I don't sleep nights before I have to work and when I do I have nightmares. I wish that I could make enough designing to not have to worry about a job out of the house, but I don't see that happening any time soon. I don't want full time, just something 3 days a week. Even at that, there aren't a whole lot of options around here. But I'm looking.

Okay, on to something new. I was feeling inspired yesterday, so I did some charting. Jon was good enough to install all my design software onto the laptop so I didn't have to sit at the computer. :) I finished up one design and either started or worked on several others. Rose, the sixth floral design is ready to stitch - which poses a dilemma. Rose or Daisy first? Probably Daisy, it's been in the to do pile longer. Both of them are pink - though different pinks... hmmm....

And something old - I've also been stitching a bit when I feel up to it. Maybe it's because Valentine's day is coming, but I've been in the mood to stitch something red. So I worked on Rhapsody in Red for a few days. This is where it stands now. Love this design so much. I've moved on, but still on my red fixation, and am now working on Strawberry Sampler. No picture this time, but will have one when I get tired of red or when I start the next model. Likely the latter. Strawberry Sampler is so much fun!!

And some various, random things... Daffodil, Forget Me Not and Hearts Entwined have arrived safe and sound at my distributor. For you Canadian ladies, Purolator is the way to go if you have to get something there quick. I sent it Tuesday, it was in California on Wednesday. Okay, so it was $30 to send the three models, BUT, next day delivery is pretty great. Canada Post wanted $54 to guarantee five days.

Oooooh and one last thing, moreso for you Canadian ladies. I was, as I often do, surfing around needlework shops and I noticed something. The prices from a couple of shops here in Ontario are ridiculous!!! I can see why so many people shop online. I do about half and half. As much as possible I use my LNS. She's reasonably priced, and while it's a small shop, she's always happy to order anything she can for me. Brenda definitely knows customer service. When I shop online it's mostly from Karen at Wasatch Needlecraft, because she's always dependable, and she has great sales. Apart from those two, any money I spend is generally on wholesale items for designing. If there's something I can't get from one of those, I will shop around.

Anyway, back to my point. What do I think is reasonably priced for Canada? Well, I figure it should cost me the same amount to buy something here that it costs me to buy online from the US. So figure MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) plus a bit added on to cover shipping, customs and dollar exchange expenses. I usually figure about 20-25% is reasonable So for a chart that costs $15, I would expect to pay about $18 here. Sound about right??? I found out that it totally depends on where you shop here.

To give you a couple of examples, I recently purchased Ink Circles Turkish Delight at Country Accents and I paid $16.99. For me to buy that same chart online, with shipping, would cost me about $16 with the current exchange rate, though the exchange rate is unusually high, so normally it would be about $17. So Brenda's price is just what you'd expect. For the exact same chart at another shop in Ontario was $21.50. When I saw that, my jaw dropped, so I investigated further. Given I work in the industry and know what the wholesale price of everything is, I was shocked. Yes, in Canada shops pay a little more for shipping and customs and exchange so prices here will always be slightly higher, but that was ridiculous. I was appalled. Just to give you a couple more examples... Sampler Cove's Spanish Rouge has an MSRP of $22USD. So you'd expect to pay about $27CDN. Wrong. This shop is charging $34. Rosewood Manor's Family Reunion - MSRP $28. Brenda carries this at $31.99. Sounds about right, no? Nope. The retail at this other shop is $42. $42!!!!!! It's just as bad with threads and fabric. I'll give you a couple more examples. Hand Dyed Fibers threads... order them directly from the HDF website and you get 8 meters of any solid colour on a micro spool for $1.65USD or a 25 yard mini spool for $4.95. This shop carries 5 yard skeins, and they're $2.55CDN - I didn't see the 25 yard spool option on their website. Same goes for variegated colours - from the Hand Dyed Fibers website, an 8m spool is $2.00, a 25 yard spool is $6.00. This shop is charging $3.00 for a 5 yard skein. Confused yet? Fabric is the same thing. A fat eighth of cashel hand dyed linen from Picture This Plus is $13.25 if you order from Picture This Plus. If you buy from this shop, it's $20 for the same piece of fabric.

I'm not saying all shops here are THAT bad. There are a few that are honest and not looking to rip off consumers. The best thing to do when you're looking to buy something here? Before you trek to the shop, look around at prices at various shops online, both here and the US. That way when you get there, you know what you should be paying rather than what THEY say you should be paying. The needlework market is struggling enough without price gouging.

Okay, vent over. Actually I kind of got sidetracked there, but it irks me. Going to stitch now and try to cheer up a bit.


  1. So sorry to read about your back (I know from personal experience how debilitating that can be) and also about the way your job is making you feel. I had a similar issue in a job and started to become quite ill over it. I left. It was a very good decision. I wish you well finding another job.

    I find that prices in New Zealand can be very expensive when compared to ordering on-line, even after taking shipping into account. And there are many products that are simply not available here. As a result, most of my purchases are now on-line. I want to support the local stores, but the prices are sometimes prohibitive.

    All the best. I'll be thinking of you.
    Irene in NZ

  2. You also have to watch prices in the US. I bought two expensive Leigh handpainted canvases. I ended up buying both of them from a shop in St. Louis for a little more than the cost of one at a LNS. I like to support the LNS because I do not want them to go away but we have to be sensable with our money as well.

    I hope your back is better soon and you figure a way out of the job situation.

  3. I love the Rhapsodic in Red it is so very pretty and has just about any border you may possibly want shy of some corners but that's not hard to figure out.
    As far as the pricing in LNS's around Ontario, yes there are some stores which charge outrageous prices for some charts but because they have so many items in their premises people will pay the price simply because they are in that location at that time. I prefer to cruse through the net and than fire off an email to our LNS and if she does not have it in stock she will order it and typically have it within a week or two.

    Fortunately we do have a store in our city so we do not have to do the hour drive east or west. Sure road trips are always fun especially if you get a few of your stitching friends together and hit the road but when there is one in town with very reasonable prices and a nice selection of designs I personally would rather pop in there and then I could stitch for the time it would have taken to travel to another city. And quite frankly I could live out the rest of my life with the stash I already have accumulated here so most of my pop-ins are for a quick visit, with a coffee in hand for our enabler and then whatever happens to come home with me is a flirtation with having more time to stitch... Although I do have a few, I am not into the "Cute sey" quick stitchery patterns (No disrespect intended to any designers)I prefer the pieces you actually have to think with...... and when you complete your work and are able to admire it on a wall, you can think to yourself,,, "I did that and I am proud of my accomplishment"

  4. Irene, you are very right. I think the biggest reason for the lack of selection and the high prices reflected by shops in Australia and New Zealand are mostly based on the cost of getting products there. It's not that they can't get the products, but often it's just too costly for them to do so, especially on specialty items that may not sell. They have to decide if it's worth the risk to place an order for something that might not end up being very cost effective and sit on the shelves for ages.

    Kelly, that is very true as well. Whenever you're shopping for something, it's always good to look around and see what the price is at various different shops because they don't all price the same way.

    Jayne, we are very lucky. Sure a trip to London or Mississauga is fun and it's nice to see all that selection in one place. The problem for me is that I just can't bring myself to pay more for something I know I can get at a much more reasonable price somewhere else - AND much closer! And like you, there isn't much I NEED, I could stitch from my stash for years without buying anything new. But I'm a sucker for new stuff, and I just can't help myself. :D