Thoughtful Thursday

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My personal goal for this week comes from a bumper sticker I saw today:

Wag More, Bark Less
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Oh, who am I kidding? It ain't gonna happen....some of us are just natural born barkers.

Doing Your Duty

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Since I (try to) make my living selling homemade dog treats, I feel an obligation to follow the dog treat cycle to it's natural and inevitable conclusion:
Dog poop
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Think about it.
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You put one of my treats in one end of your dog and it eventually comes out the other end so shouldn't I feel just a little responsible to help with the clean-up?
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So...I created a new product. I had a basic design in mind so I used Excel to sketch it out and calculate the dimensions. (I think of Excel as the duct tape of software...it can do anything.)
The Creative Process began with me cutting the toe off an old tube sock. wth? Well, Before I started cutting into expensive fabric I needed something with the same basic shape I had in my mind and if you squint at my design you can see a tube sock...can't you? Really? Squint harder.
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I stuffed it with a plastic bag full of rubber dog poop, (a gift-someone's idea of a great place to hide a front door key) safety-pinned it to a leash and went out for a walk to see how it would/should move while hanging from a leash. While Gracie seemed oblivious to the fact that she was trotting around with a rubber poop-filled sock dangling from her leash handle, we didn't venture any further than the yard.
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The neighbors (all cat people) already think we're a bit strange.
No point in proving them right again.
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I’ve named my new product the “Dog Duty Pouch”.

It looks a lot more dignified in print than it does when you say it. You read the label “Dog Duty” - as in "Good for You! You're an upstanding citizen and you take your responsibility to clean up after your dog seriously"…but if you say it aloud it’s…Dog doodie! OK, I resorted to playground potty mouth humor but it's kind of cute, doncha think? There are plenty of chuckles when customers read the sign, so I guess they get it.

Hmm...We're talking about a dog poop bag here, how am I going to market it?

I now know the quandary the Gas-X marketing folks must have felt. How do you promote the need for a slightly unmentionable product? Think of the squirming interviewee who is “flatulent in three languages.” My answer: very carefully, with humor and some sincere empathy.

The name usually breaks the ice for a discussion. “What is that ?” I explain that I’ve always had a problem with having to carry a filled and flimsy plastic grocery bag after cleaning up Gracie's calling cards so I created an attractive, discreet alternative. (BTW, my problem is not the carrying as much as the perception. I’m walking a 50 lb. red heeler and people assume the bag I’m carrying has tomatoes in it? Get real! everybody knows what's in the bag) The mental image of a bag of steaming dog poop is…Ugh! Get it out of my head!

So then I show them the slotted dispenser for the clean bag. I provide a biodegradable Mutt Mitt bag (http://www.muttmitts.com/.) with every pouch (my treat- after that you're on your own) and how the...ahem...used bag is easily slipped into the pouch where the flap folds down to close the pouch with a hook & loop closure. (The Trademark Police don't like you to say Velcro so I won't.) Voila! The job is done. It's what I call the peek-a-boo theory. If you can't see it- it's not there. It's simply a stylish green pouch attached to your leash handle. "You're carrying dog poop? Amazing! It never crossed my mind! You could have the Hope Diamond in there for all I know."

I point out the mesh pocket in front which is handy for stashing keys or a cell phone. I fill the pocket with my dog treats as an added value with every purchase. I explain the pouch is made of Sunbrella brand fabric (designed for outdoor furniture upholstery) and can go right into the washer. And it can be used to store your leash between walks.
(Insert Vanna White hand flourish here)
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Customer Reactions range from... "Hmm...Interesting", (exit stage right) to "Brilliant! What a great idea!" A couple of ladies had the...um...brass bells to turn one inside out to see how it was made while discussing their plan to go home and make one. I gently explained they should certainly do that but not with MY design. Jeez, where's a rabid rottweiler when you need one?

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My first DDP sale. Thanks, Emma's owner!
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So that's my latest creation. Would really appreciate your feedback, comments and suggestions.
I have no idea where my imagination will take me next. I mean, how do you follow a dog excrement carrier?

Oh no! Blog Block!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No great thoughts...No inspiration... My mind is totally blank so I'll just share my "be right back" sign from the market while I go bake treats and wait for the muse to smack me upside the head with a spatula.

Charity Begins In The Kitchen

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I have to smile when I hear the term "vintage". Now that I'm of an (ahem) certain age, I've realized when people say "vintage" or "mid-century decor" they're referring to those magical years that were my childhood. I suppose I should cringe at being reminded I'm so dated (old) but the 50's were a happy and simple time. I know I certainly was happy & simple. My biggest problem was a broken lunch box thermos or losing my skate key . (If you don't know what a skate key is, stop reading right now and get offa my blog. Go play with your Wii or text your BFF about your newest tat. My vintage wit will be wasted on you.) But I digress.... One does that when one is dated (old) I call it digressing. My sons call it rambling...


I've been smiling a lot at the Farmer's Market this season because my neighbor across the way is my new friend Charity, a Vintage Virtuoso. Her handmade kitchen textiles are totally and uniquely vintage and looking at them makes everyone smile.
I can glance across at her booth and spiral back through time into my mom's 1950s-something kitchen and see the rooster curtains and remember the bright red and yellow metal bread box on the counter. It had little half-hatched chicks in egg-shell pants marching behind mama & papa chicken across the front.

I'm sure mom's curtains had rick-rack on them. (If you don't know what rick-rack is, you were supposed to have left five minutes ago). Every thing else in her kitchen (and my closetful of home-made clothes) did. What ever caused rick-rack to fall from grace? I suspect if someone did a study they'd find the world started going to hell in a handbasket when we stopped using rick rack on everything in the house.

Think about it...

...or maybe it was because after every washing, the rick-rack curled up so that the curtains had to be starched, sprinkled, rolled up in a plastic bag to dampen and then ironed flat with a twelve pound iron (If you don't know what an iron is...yada, yada.) It was what we now call "labor intensive". I'm sure that problem has been eliminated with the new, improved 2009 version of rick-rack.
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Did I just digress again? No, that was definitely a ramble.

This is Charity's first season at our market but to look at her booth and presentation you'd think she was an old hand. (Maybe "old hand" is misleading. I have shoes older than she is. I might even have a couple of pair older than her mom.) She's already a savvy vendor with a real flair for knowing what her customers want and creating it.
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From her Home Deconomics blog profile,
"Whether you're a do-it-yourself diva or delegation goddess, you are the Queen B! I love the sweet, idyllic, optimistic aura surrounding the fifties but I'm also a modern gal."
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and I love her attention to detail...

Besides the added benefit of my nostalgic stirrings, (and besides the fact that she is so much fun) I like being adjacent to her booth because everyone is drawn to her eye-catching riot of color and their reactions are always fun to see.

Colors and Patterns and Textures, Oh My!
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Isn't this dress fabulous?





I'd swear my mom had one just like it that she wore with brown and white spectator pumps. Everyone that passes, stops to admire it. I wonder if they're thinking the same thing. Maybe every 50's mom in the country had a brown dress with a mandarin collar. Brown was big then and brown is big now. Everything that goes around... and Charity's bringing it all back.





Another inspired design to keep those spuds warm in style...
I could go on and on but I hear the oven calling my name...and since I slip Charity's cool black lab freebie treats once in a while, she won't mind if I stop here and go rattle some pots and pans.
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Don't despair if you can't pop down to our Farmers' Market to pick up Charity's delightful wares. She has a great shop on Etsy HBIC Etsy Shop where you can see more of her talents...and stop by her blog, Home Deconomics, Home Ec and Home Dec to catch more of this self-proclaimed Head Bitch In Charge.

There goes my profit for the day...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

At my booth at the Farmer's Market I always offer free samples because it's great to see how much the dogs enjoy all my hard work in the kitchen....OK, OK, so it doesn't suck that the their cute antics usually result in a sale, either. Either way, it's always fun to watch. Occasionally there's an uber-exuberant pup that takes "free samples" to another level.

Yesterday, a few minutes before the Market closed, this gorgeous guy was walking by with his owners. I had just opened my mouth to ask if he could have a sample when his curiosity took over...

One sniff of the Peanut Buddier treats & the hoovering began....

By the time I grabbed the camera, turned it on & remembered to rip off the lens cap (Thank you, God [which is dog backwards, you know] for fresh batteries loaded earlier in the day) he'd gone through about a half a dozen treats...I started snapping pictures and...

...he kept hoovering

Going...
Going...

GONE!















It was hilarious to watch - even through the camera's view finder. And it was a great to end the day with everyone grinning- even if his (unapologetic) owners didn't buy any dog treats. (Yikes-did that sound mercenary? Hey, this isn't a hobby and gorgeous guy ate about $7 worth of treats ) Maybe they realized- as I did that it really was a great photo op & would have cost me a fortune to have it professionally staged. Reward enough for me. Thanks, gorgeous guy.

wOrdless wednesday

Tuesday, August 4, 2009





To Market, To Market

Sunday, August 2, 2009

This week, Aug 2nd - Aug 8th is
NATIONAL FARMER'S MARKET WEEK!



Have you been to your local Farmer's Market lately?
If not, you have NO IDEA what you're missing!