Thursday, December 27, 2007

A homemade Christmas - the results

I got tons of compliments and good feedback on all that I had made for Christmas. :)

My sil even asked me how much I would charge for the crayon roll that I made for her DD! So, I guess she must have really liked it. It was actually the first one I made and was super easy - too bad that I forgot (duh!) to take pictures of the last few things that I made before wrapping them up.

If I ask my other sil, I'm sure she'd take a picture of the reversible placemats that I made for her - they reverse from snowmen to fall leaves.

I can't wait to make up a few more placemats for my house. Also on my list is a nice apron for me, one for my sister. And of course, a crayon roll for DD. Oh, and a poncho for her so that she can wear it while in her car seat, unlike a coat. :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Horrible customer service - don't buy from Sears

My sister and I went in on a joint gift for my mom - a sewing machine! We debated purchasing it at various locations, but ultimately, decided to purchase from Sears because they carried the Kenmore brand. I have a great Kenmore sewing machine, so I know they're nice and reliable. Alternatively, we could have easily purchased a Brother machine from About the same price, still free shipping and pretty much the same features as the Kenmore machine.

So, I called my mom today to see if she got her gift yesterday. She hadn't. Confused, I went back to my email to see if I was not right in thinking they had told me the delivery date was to be 12/20. I was right. Hmmm, hoping things hadn't fallen through the cracks, I went online to see what I could find on the website.

This was the first thing that caused me grief today - logging into the Sears system, I couldn't remember my password. No matter, I'd hit the lost password button to try and get it. So, I do that. Nothing appears, so a few minutes later I rehit that button. Finally something arrives in my email. I put in my email address and then the temporary password. It prompts me to change my password. Only, apparently, I don't pick a good enough password, so it does not accept it, instead, it tells me that I should read the password policy. Only, I'm locked into that screen and can go no where else on your site. I finally had to clear all my cookies (that was fun, retyping all my passwords for every website I visit) in order to go through the whole process again. I finally picked a good enough password.

Now, where my true frustration has come from. I look at the tracking information for the order that I placed on Saturday. It tells me it's in transit. So, I call the 800 number provided for I speak with an associate (I didn't catch her name). She was perfectly nice and all, but she couldn't answer my question as to why I was told it would be arriving in Belgrade MT on 12/20, but why she just told me that it was shipped on 12/20 so I asked to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor that finally came on the line was a Christina (operator 64803). I can not believe that someone so rude could work in customer service, let alone be a supervisor. All she could do was talk over me and continually tell me that my item should arrive by 12/24. I started to explain that I wanted to know WHY this had happened (12/20 arrival vs shipping it on 12/20) and she proclaimed that I was not listening to her. Um, hello - you're supposed to be listening to me! I finally asked her to speak with her supervisor. She told me that she didn't have a supervisor.

When I questioned the fact that she had no supervisor, she finally admitted that she did have someone above her but that none of those people were there at the moment. So, I asked how I could talk to someone above her to complain about her rudeness. She said I'd have to talk to corporate. I asked for a phone number. She told me that they didn't have a phone number, only an address. I questioned how a corporate office could not have a phone number. She back pedaled and said they did have a number, but that they never answer their phone. I asked for the number and was finally given it. First call = 19 minutes, 41 seconds.

I called the corporate number given (1-847-286-2500). Surprisingly (since I was told they don't answer) the phone was picked up on the first ring. I was transfered to a Sandra. Upon explaining the situation to Sandra, I was told that she was going to transfer me to someone who could help me. Great, I thought. She transfered me to an Amber. Although Amber was nice, she was very soft spoken and generally hard to hear despite having my phone cranked all the way up. So, I explain my situation to Amber. She then tells me that my package shipped on 12/18, not 12/20. She also tells me that the email that says it will be there in five days is wrong, they know it's wrong and have asked for it to be changed. Finally, after running around and around, I realize that Amber is probably not the person I need to speak with (not that she wasn't nice, just wasn't able to help me, much like the first woman that I talked with). I asked Amber if she was at the corporate office or if I was transfered back to the general call center at I was. I told her that I needed to speak to whoever was Christina's supervisor. She explained that she wasn't able to escalate that, but she could get her supervisor, who could get his supervisor. I said fine, please do that. I finally get Neil on the phone and he wants to help, only at this point, I want to speak with someone above Christina - someone needs to realize how rude this woman is. He tells me that it would be at least 20 minutes on hold. I tell him that this is my second call and I'm already at 30 minutes, I might as well wait another 20. I wait around some more, start this letter and am shoved into a voice mail box.

So, now I've left a voice mail and never expect to hear back on that, since it seems like all that happens at is to be shoved from one person to the next that just wants to create excuses for the other person and to never escalate things beyond the initial supervisor. I've also sent an email to the customer service email address on the Sears website.

So, a huge vent and a huge PSA - don't do business with!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another bag!

This one is the one I've dubbed "meet the seam ripper". I don't know why so many things went wrong, but they did.

The flap is a new idea. There will be a button (you might notice the hole already that does look fine IRL) that is pink.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another bag/purse

I'm loving this one. In fact, I think I might just keep it for myself. :)

I've been busy! I finished sils diaper bag, but decided that it needs to be seam ripped open and I need to add some interfacing to the lining to give it some more stiffness. That shouldn't take too long - I hope! I also need to run back and buy some more of the lining fabric so that I can make a changing pad to go with it.

I'm definitely seeing the end in sight though! I have just a few more gifts that I need to make. And good thing, too, since Christmas Eve (when we swap with DHs family) is a week away!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The reversible Apron

This is for my mom for Christmas. It was more challenging than I thought it was going to be - getting the corners turned (especially on the straps) proved very challenging for me today.

I really think it would have gone quicker if I had a nice sized table set up just for cutting, but since I don't, I make due with a small desk. My husband has promised to build me a table, but for now, I haven't seen it!

Mom's kitchen is done in blues and greens - I hope she likes it. :) It's important to note that my mom is just a hair shy of six feet tall, while I'm five inches shorter than that - so if it looks a bit wonky that's why.

Without further ado, here is the reversible apron.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A new bag

I don't know why, but I've been afraid to make a bag. I tried once and it didn't go too well. This time, I thought it out. Then, I started cutting fabric. In a little under two hours, I cut, pondered (is this really going to work the way that I think it will) and sewed this little number:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

picture coasters

I'm making sets of these for each set of Grandparents (three - since I have step parents). They're a very, very simple craft to make and are super cheap to make as well.

The coasters can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe's or your favorite home improvement store. They're actually white tiles and are about 16 cents each. Luckily, I had an entire box of them just sitting in the garage. After buying some mod podge, I went in search of some pictures! I already had developed a number of pictures from our cruise, so these will make great gifts for mil/fil. So, I found a paint brush (we have these in abundance around our house) and a few paper bags (I have no idea why I had these, but I was thankful to find them when I was looking for paint brushes. I'm fortunate to have a paper cutter, so it was really easy to cut a straight line, but if you don't have one don't worry, scissors will work just fine. :)

So, I set myself some room on the dining room table and set to work. You can see my set up here:

Each coat takes about 15 minutes to dry, so I did them one at a time. I'd cut a picture and then glue it on the tile. Then, I'd cut another picture and glue it. After a few of these, I was ready to start my first coat. So, I just cycled through like this. All told, I spent less than an hour on 11 of them (I ran out of room on my paper bags!). After they finish drying, I'll glue some felt to the bottom so that they don't scratch the surface of anything that they set on. You can buy felt at any fabric store for fairly cheap, but I recommend looking in the remnant bins at JoAnn's as anything less than a yard is half price (at least at my local store). Because I won't be using a ton, this is a good solution.

Don't think I thought this up myself, I found this on a message board - ( ). A woman there had made them - she didn't give a ton of details, but the mod podge, felt and small tiles was enough information for me. :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas - Sewing projects

I've been itching to make something new - and to sew - for a few weeks now. I've set up a decent little (but very cold) area in the basement for all my sewing. So, tonight, I went to JoAnn Fabric and bought some cool fabric and some bias tape to make some pot holders.

I started out okay, but when it was time to attach the plain reddish bias tape, I realized that I didn't buy the bigger bias tape, which I really needed. Sucky. So, I decided I'd just make my own out of the fabric that I was using anyways. This would have worked out okay, except for the fact that I couldn't find my iron. So, alas, it looks a bit wonky. I love, love, love the fabrics though. And, I've got plenty more of each fabric to make more. I'll likely give someone a set for Christmas and keep the rest for me. :) And, I'll keep the wonky one, despite my hubby urging me to give that one away. ;)