Selling online, as I do occasionally, I always try to be polite and charming when dealing with customers even when they do not return the favour.
Since moving to France, I have found that the customer is not always right but assumed to be at fault or in error until evidence to the contrary is obtained and, even then, must be offered not an apology but a roll of the eyes and a gallic shrug. However, I stubbornly cling to this basic rule of commerce in my own dealings.
It seems as if not everybody is of the same mind though. I was doing a little online shopping yesterday and, as usual, I checked out the feedback of the seller before committing myself to a purchase. They had quite a few positive comments, a few neutrals and some negatives in a proportion that wouldn’t normally put me off buying but, it was their responses to the negative comments that I found to be an interesting way of dealing with customers. I list a few of the exchanges below but have altered certain details in order to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
1. Buyer Feedback: It came 5 days late, was stained and was the wrong colour.
Seller Response: John Smith is scum. No communication.
2. Buyer Feedback: Shocking ebayer, terrible communications, can’t recommend.
Seller Response: Anne is a scum. She is a liar.
3. Buyer Feedback: Great item, shame about the customer service
Seller Response: He was sent a replacement but still moaning – be careful of this one.
4. Buyer Feedback: Upsetting experience. Four items sent were not those ordered and only received a partial refund. The seller calls buyers ‘scum’.
Seller Response: D. Cooper is a true scummer.
5. Buyer Feedback: Never received the item. Seller very unhelpful. Can’t recommend.
Seller Response: Jane Doe is scum. Made a false claim and conned us for the postage.
and my favourite
6. Buyer Feedback: Disappointed with item, nothing like the photograph.
Seller’s Response: Hayley has an eyesight as well as a mental problem.
(well, at least she wasn’t ‘scum’ I suppose).
I didn’t buy anything.
Anybody remember H.R.PufnStuff? A sort of weird, psychadelic, Saturday morning cartoon from 1969/1970 with a young Jack Wild.
This is the wonderful Witchipoo and she’s wearing what appear to be my last pair of socks.
I’ll spare you a YouTube link because you will have the theme tune in your head for ever more – as I do, along with the one from the Banana Splits.
This is my latest finished pair of socks – they are on sock blockers in case you were wondering whether I’d been run over by a steamroller.
I’ve written before about ‘second sock syndrome’ – where you finish one sock and can’t be arsed to make the next one – which is why I always make two at the same time but now I appear to be suffering from ‘Witchipoo sock syndrome’. Will the pointy hat be next?
These are my bright and lovely sock blockers from this Etsy shop. Now that I have them I must make more socks but perhaps my next ones will be plain – I’m going to be singing that song for at least a week now.
Have you got any songs from the T.V. programmes of your youth that you can still remember all the words to?
I’ve had a bit of cabin fever recently. First, there was some snow. To be honest, not a great deal but we live up a hill which is not pleasant to drive down (or up!) once it is icy so I prefer to stay put unless absolutely necessary. Second, I had a dental implant and was not fit to be seen by the outside world. The inside world wasn’t too keen either but they live with me and had to put up with it. Don’t get me wrong, the procedure to have the implant done was no problem – just in case you’re thinking of having it done and don’t want me to scare you – it’s just that my face was swollen up a bit for a few days, I had an impressive bruise, some stitches which showed between my teeth and almost drove me crazy and a gap while I waited for the temporary crown to be made. No pain though. Plus the swelling plumped my face out somewhat and several wrinkles disappeared although, alas, that was only temporary.
So, using the time spent indoors profitably, I opened a new Etsy shop for my dog collars as they were starting to overtake my current shop and making it look a bit too ‘doggy’. Of course, this will not be a profitable shop because I am doing it mainly to help out the Dog Rescue but I can’t tell you what fun I’m having picking out the designs and trying to persuade my sewing machine that it really doesn’t mind stitching through multi layers of webbing and grosgrain.
I know there are lots of people making dog collars out there but I can’t take any more dogs on – I already have three plus four cats – and I’m a bit far from the Rescue Centre to help with walking the dogs on a regular basis so I wanted to do something else to help.
So I’ve set up ‘Ouaf Ouaf’ (or Ouaf for short) which is what French dogs say instead of ‘Woof’ and will gradually put them on there, along with the bandanas I was making before, as and when I can make them, as well as touting them around friends with dogs (and some without!) and local fund raising events.
I’m having fun taking the photos too as you can see although this dog looks rather more like a hippo which I’m sure don’t cock their legs up to wee but you get the idea.
My favourite cartoon dog of all time. I was chuffed when I found Muttley from Wacky Races on a ribbon.
These collars have caused a bit of a commotion in the house as, every time I finish one and brandish it, chrome D ring clinking, as I like to do, the resident dogs think it’s a sign they are about to be taken out on another walk. I’ve found it easier, in most cases, to take photographs of the collars off the dogs’ necks rather than on but a few modelling assignments have been handed out.
Sometimes, there is just curiosity and my photo shoots attract unwanted attention.
I tried making a sort of double fold bias tape from some Liberty fabric I had in my stash for this one which worked well and might end up being more cost effective than ribbon (especially if I don’t use Liberty tana lawn!!).
No blog post about dog rescue or dog collars is complete without a basket full of puppies of course. Just look at those little faces. Of course, being puppies these little girlies will probably soon find homes but the underlying problem is too many people – and it is a big problem in France – just can’t or won’t sterilize their dogs. Then they let them out to wander around unsupervised and this is the result. You can read their story here but, basically, the mother was rehomed by the Société Protéctrice des Animaux before they introduced a policy to sterilize all female dogs before rehoming and the new owner didn’t bother and this is the second litter of puppies that have had to be rescued from her as a result – the first litter and another three from this one she gave (or sold) to who knows who?
Anyway, I am off to do some vacuuming before Mr. T. gets home from the U.K. and thinks I’ve been doing nothing all week except mess with ribbon and webbing, set up amateur photo shoots and read up about what is good for bruising – arnica cream?? Then I’m going to make a bag – just for a change.
As I have said recently, much as I love making patchwork quilts, tragically my quilting skills are not up to much.
So, in an attempt to disguise any imperfections, I’ve decided to avoid using plain backings as they are too unforgiving.
Of course, trying to find extra wide fabric for quilt backs when you want to avoid a join is not easy. Patterns are limited and the majority are to be found in the U.S. which usually mean the shipping costs more than the fabric.
This, in miniature (as I’ve only completed one braid so far), will be my next quilt
I searched for some suitable backing and have actually ordered a chevron design from the U.S. at a bargain price and, even with the shipping, it is still cheaper than I would get it here or the U.K.
This is from Riley Blake and, as well as going quite well with the front, I thought the chevrons, which are two inches apart point to point, might give me some guidelines for quilting. This should be winging it’s way to me across the pond as we speak.
However, on Friday, I went charity shop rummaging and came out with ten vintage sheets. As you do. I think they will be good for a number of things. Cutting up and making a quilt top from fabric that is already nice and soft and worn giving the resulting quilt a nice vintage look. Making a dress or blouse. Using as sheets (there’s an idea!) Or – using as backing for quilts.
So, spot the green and white check one on the bottom. What do you think about using that for the Friendship Braid quilt backing? Too much?
All comments invited and welcome but not necessarily taken any notice of :)
I know I said that, after my two ‘shades of grey’ quilts, I would be moving on to something more colourful but I’ll just get this out of the way first.
Also, I know I said I had sworn off making dresses for a while but I went upstairs to my workroom yesterday, couldn’t remember why and, before I knew it, decided to make a dress. As I’m sure happens to all of you from time to time. A Lady Skater dress to be precise, several of which I have made before because it is such a good, easy pattern and because I like the style and fit on me and because I had put the radiator on in my workroom for the reason I couldn’t remember and didn’t want to waste the electricity.
I apologise for the headless shot but there are three reasons for this
1) I meant to use a mannequin but, at the last minute (see next reason), I couldn’t and hadn’t done anything with my face or hair since getting out of bed
2) I couldn’t get the dress on the mannequin
3) I don’t like having my photograph taken anyway.
Before I tell you why I couldn’t get the dress on the mannequin, I wanted to point out the good things like the neck laying nice and flat and the really nice fabric so that you don’t think I’m quite such a numpty when I ‘fess up.
As I said, I’ve made this dress several times before for me and for both my Madamoiselles. I meant to make notes but didn’t. This time I have. I must have a shorter waist than this pattern is designed for because the seam at the waist is one or even two inches lower than mine. No matter, I call it a ‘dropped waist’ dress and feel it makes my torso look slightly longer than it is – however, I will remember to adapt the pattern next time so I don’t have to make those excuses! It is quite a short dress and, in order to avoid having to take up a fiddly miniscule hem next time I need to remember to add some length before cutting so as to avoid flashing too much knee on a breezy day.
However, the really stupid thing I did – and it really was stupid – was to put twill tape around the bottom of the bodice pieces instead of clear elastic. Oops! I hate clear elastic and so does my overlocker which is what I used to put this dress together apart from doing the top stitching which I do on my ordinary machine with a double needle. So I used twill tape to stabilise the shoulders which is fine but they don’t need to stretch. Whereas, having no zips, the rest of the dress does. I have to perform wriggles and squiggles and all sorts of contortions my yoga teacher would be proud of in order to get the static waist over ‘the girls’ and down to where it should be. None of my mannequins were able to oblige. So, you got me.
…or most of me anyway.
You can find the Pattern here
The fabric was from this seller who has loads of lovely stretch and knit fabrics.
My husband thinks I have too many handbags. I haven’t of course but that seems to be his perception. Bless him, he once bought me a very expensive handbag for Christmas and actually thought that I would never need to buy another. It doesn’t work like that though does it? Actually I have many, many more shoes than handbags and what with my lifestyle these days, wear hardly any of them, certainly not on a regular basis, as the ones I prefer have heels and, for practical purposes, I wear flats, boots and wellies more than anything else.
A quilt with a handbag design seemed appropriate and I finally finished hand quilting this one the other day, found a suitable binding locally and, voila.
This is a design from a book called More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott which aims to help you use the pre-cut fabric packs that look so tempting but you are not quite sure what to do with after buying. Or is that just me? This quilt is made using a Layer Cake which consists of 42 x 10 inch squares of fabric. The pack I used here is from Basic Grey for Moda and the design is ‘Little Black Dress’. Here is a single block and it consists of four pieces of fabric cut to different sizes plus an appliquéd bag ‘handle’ to complete the handbag shape.
I used ‘big stitch’ quilting for this as it seemed to suit the design and, if I’m honest, all my hand quilting appears to come out as a big stitch anyway :) I echo quilted the inner seams of each bag and around the handle. It works on the front but not so well on the back as I’ve used a plain fabric and all my stitches are very obvious which is not necessarily a good thing. Hence the lack of rear view photography. Also, it probably isn’t quilted heavily enough but it will only be used as a throw, or even a wall hanging in my workroom, so it won’t get enough rough treatment to shift the batting. Unless the dogs take a fancy to it of course. I used a variegated perle cotton for the quilting which is why, if you zoomed in and wondered, the colour of the stitches varies between white, grey and black.
Here it is , in its entirety with, not a plain black border – that’s just the dark wood of the cupboard I’ve hung it up against – but a black and off- white binding with musical notes on it. It was the only fabric I could find locally which would do for the binding but, even though there is nothing to do with music anywhere else on the quilt, I think it works anyway.
Here’s the obligatory ‘sofa shot’ and, this time, I waited until the dogs were out in the garden although, actually, Flo would have coordinated with this very well being black and white.
Having made two ‘greyish’ quilts my next project is much brighter. It is from the same book and is called ‘Friendship Braids’. I’m using a Moda Jelly Roll this time in a design called ‘Gypsy Girl’. Again, I will be going great guns until I get to the quilting part and then I will be in a quandary again. Still, that won’t be quite yet.
to be continued…………
Much as I love this dog, I don’t really make quilts, especially not quilts made from Liberty tana lawn, for the benefit of my pets. Instead, I go to the local charity shop once every few months and buy up some used blankets which I put in their beds and, once they have been chewed, ripped to shreds or made ‘dog smelly’, I dispose of them and go back to the charity shop. However, Flo had other ideas and took advantage of the fact that I was doing some artistic ‘draping’ for purposes of photography to dive on top.
Although I used the fence around the chicken hut to lay the quilt over, the chickens don’t seem to feel the need to lay on soft blankets so the quilt was safe for the outside shots.
As a point of interest and not really relevant to this blog post, one of the words I have soooo much trouble with in French is ‘poulailler’. Now, most people could probably survive without ever having to say it but, as I keep chickens, and as it means ‘henhouse’, it is a word that I sometimes need to say, much to the amusement of anybody French that is listening at the time. The other word I have difficulty with, which also contains lots of the letter L, is ‘rouille’ as this also necessitates rolling the ‘r’ in front before twisting your tongue around the ‘ou’ sound and that double ‘L’. As ‘rouille’ means ‘rust’ it is a word that, for various reasons, I do find myself using quite frequently.
Anyway, I digress. As suggested by several of you when I asked for advice on this particular project, I quilted it using wavy lines which I think works well. Somebody said they would look ‘organic’ but, as I didn’t mark anything out apart from the distance between the lines and really just followed my (wonky) eye down the quilt, vaguely trying to echo the line before, I think that might be quite a flattering word for it. I’m going to stick with it anyway.
It appears that one of the advantages of using bands of fabric the width of the quilt means that, when folded lengthwise and placed on a sofa or chair or wherever, you are able to see the full range of fabrics used which is not always the case with more complicated designs.
Persuaded by a friend of mine to start a new quilt together, I have resolved to finish the last bit of hand quilting and add the binding to one I had almost completed but, as I had draped it over a chair in my workroom, it became to look like part of the furniture so I sort of considered it finished. It wasn’t!
So this weekend should see the ‘handbag quilt’, first blogged about an embarrassingly long time ago, completed and then I won’t feel guilty about starting a new one.
Meanwhile, I must remove a dog from a quilt.
No use pretending to be asleep.