From this past Friday evening until Sunday morning my husband and I were up at the Mount Washington Hotel. We had won tickets and I am very grateful that we did... it was a MUCH needed break from our rather chaotic life right now.
------> WANT TO KNOW MY PROCESS RIGHT NOW? READ ON! <------
My husband has been in school, or doing something relating to school, for almost 5 years now. He has been working f/t as well as going to school throughout this period. His school was 2.5 hours from home so, multiple times throughout these few years, he has literally been gone for days on end, (over multiple month periods), staying with my sister or his friend in Manchester. When he *was* home he tried to help me by watching our two pip squeaks so that I could work as well as keeping up with his homework.
He finally got his degree a few months ago and then, promptly, was let go from his job before he got his state certification to work within his field. So he now still could not work within his field and, also, was in the worst job market our country has seen in years.
My husband has been applying for, literally, any job that he can do but also knew that he was studying to take his certification test and that, once he got it, he would be leaving the job he got if it wasn't in his field or able to become p/t. Given our ethics this created quite a conundrum.
What we decided to do was to push up his test date for his certification and have him focus on passing that and THEN getting a position instead of starting a job knowing that he'd be leaving it soon thereafter, (hopefully, because he'd have passed his test). We don't like doing that to employers, though, since it's a waste of their time and money and just generally unethical.
So, with a mortgage and two kids, college loans and other various bills mounting up and me working as much as I can to keep us afloat we REALLY needed this vacation! Just a vacation would have been nice but a vacation to one of the finest and most regal resorts in the country, maybe even the world, was even better! We still had to pay for our own food and drink, so we kept our selves in check... a LOT, but it was worth it. We also found out that the hotel had been on a "Haunted Locations" type of TV show.
I'll please the 5th on our experience unless someone asks.
We spent about 1/2 of our awake time in the hotel room and 1/2 looking around or doing various small things, (like a wine & cheese tasting and a hotel tour). When in the room, and not eating or sleeping, we studied for my husband's exam. It's hard because he has to recall 4.5 years of school when he has been away from his area of study for heading on a year! They give you a large study guide with example tests, (1,000 questions that can be randomized), but they are not identical to what will be on the test.
Yesterday, 4/7/09, my husband took his test at 9am in Portsmouth, NH. He was in for almost 3.5 hours. We're praying that he passed! He has been doing really well on the practice exams but the "real thing" is always askew from the practice ones and he had no feel for how he did when he came out. We won't know the results for at least a week, (oy!), so we'll know then if our lives can proceed in the proper direction at that point or if we'll have another ___ months of h-e-double-hockey-sticks. If the exam isn't passed one has to wait another few months to re-take the test. I am not sure how many and I really don't want to look.
I have not shared this info. with people as this has happened, (my husband stopped working on 2/9/09), because we haven't been in the best space and talking about it wasn't fun, especially repeatedly. We have been doing our best to keep our chins up and a positive outlook for our kids' sake and our own sanity but it has been difficult at best.
We are REALLY hoping that yesterday went well so that life can get back on track for us and our family. Luckily, due to my husband being home more, he has been able to help with the kids some, (in between job searches), so that I could be at the bench more but our faire is coming up so I have also been putting in a ton of time on that and he has been helping there also. [link]
way, we're plugging along and doing our best to stay sane.
I am posting this so that some of my more insistent customers understand my process and understand why paying jobs will be coming before beta-jobs, (like working on my own projects or beta testing my hooves). I am hoping to catch up on my in-process orders so that the hooves can be made ASAP but I have 1 or 2 big mask commissions coming up and other orders in the wings and will have to get them done first.
------------> HOOF LOVERS & GOGGLE LOVERS <------------
You ARE in my mind and you ARE in the works! I have ordered some new material for the hooves, which I think *should* work well, knock on wood.
----------> WHY I DON'T TAKE HOOF ORDERS YET <----------
People have been interested in ordering hooves since the day I posted my first beta pictures! Why am I not taking their orders left and right then???
I have done something since I first started this business, in 2001, I don't take ANY orders or money until I am 99.9% sure that I can give the customer what they want and have it be as lightweight as possible as well as easy to use and, more importantly, *safe*. I also don't take multiple huge projects in a row. This keeps me able to make people's deadlines and keeps customers knowing where I am in the process and knowing that I am NOT going to take their money and hold it indefinitely. It's very easy to lose track of customers and orders, especially when I am taking both in-stock *and* custom orders. If I take on small bites at a time I am less apt to forget someone's order.
My first beta test hoof was child sized, made for My Rome Model. Is it comfortable? Can it be walked in easily? How much weight can it hold? These are all good questions and ones that a small child can't answer easily, especially if her main goal is to be taller and will not complain about anything that accomplishes this task. LOL
My next beta test will be for me. Anything that can hold me will definitely hold almost anyone interested in wearing hooves. I will also be able to answer comfort questions and ease of use. I want folks to understand, though, that the chances of these hooves being "comfortable" is probably pretty slim. To me a costume hoof's main focus will be on looking realistic and transforming the lines of the leg to make it look less human. Comfort will, of course, be a concern but, to put the foot at the angle that it needs to be, will probably ruin most chances of comfort. Are stilettos comfortable? No. Do they look good? Yes! I'll do my best to make these as comfortable as possible but, if comfort is more important to you then design, hooves are probably not the best costume accessory to use.
Once my beta test is complete, if all goes to plan, I *will* be starting to take hoof orders! I apologize for the delay but, until my business is *not* the only money coming in, orders that I know I can make and make within a reasonable amount of time will come first.
I hope this explains what my process is and why I have held off on the hooves slightly.
I hope that you are all well and enjoying spring! I am looking forward to it and, hopefully, to having a tiny bit more family/me time instead of working with little hope of reprieve.
Thanks for reading my "book"!
I will keep you all posted on the hooves and goggles etc. in the works. In the interim please feel free to take a look at my most recent posts of images from this past weekend.
Shannon aka Gypsy~Rose