Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Local Work--Finally!!

This has been a busy three days for me. For three years I've been trying to get my little handmade business noticed locally. It's extremely hard to do if you don't have the funds or means to open an actual brick and mortar store, which I don't. So I've passed out cards, brochures, pinned them on every bulletin board in town--everything I could think of. Unfortunately I've only had a couple decent jobs from this: dog coats. I made over 50 of them for two businesses. But that was last year. 

This year I did the annual Kids Day event but only made $27. Needless to say, I was getting a bit depressed and began to think I would NEVER get noticed locally--or get any more local business. Until this weekend.

On Saturday, a local embroidery shop called asking if I would be interested in a sewing job. I had gone to this shop a couple of months ago and left my card in case they were looking for any help in the future. She had 60 lab coats that she needed the sleeves hemmed on. She was willing to pay me $3.50 per coat. Well that adds up to a nice little chunk of change. Only drawback was she wanted me to come in there and do them. So I told her I would stop in Monday and take a look at her setup and talk it over.

On Sunday, Mike came home with 13 smocks for a friend of ours' beauty shop she needed embroidered. After 30 yrs, she's decided to redo her signage so she wanted her smock design to match. So that was another local business order! 

My only dilemma was: how was I going to get these smocks embroidered AND sew those lab coats in a timely manner when I couldn't bring the lab coats home. To my surprise, I got both orders done in three days. I started the smocks on Monday afternoon and managed to get all but three stitched out. So, Tuesday morning I finished the last three then went to the embroidery shop to work on coats. I got half of those done in 4 1/2 hrs (pretty good I thought). I came home, got the smocks and took them out to the beauty shop (got paid--most important). This morning I went back in to the embroidery shop and finished the rest of the lab coats in three hours. 

So, needless to say, I'm quite impressed with myself! Best part is: Artie (who owns the beauty shop) was so thrilled that her smocks turned out great and that I got them done so quickly that she'll probably be recommending me if anyone ever needs embroidery work done (she knows a lot of the local business owners). So I'm crossing my fingers that this little job is an in for me finally locally! 

Oh, and the lady that owns the embroidery shop also said she'd call me if she ever has any more work--another plus.

Just in case you're curious--here is one of the smocks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomato & Chicken Pasta

Tonight I decided to do something with the chicken breasts I had taken out for dinner. I really wanted a baked pasta dish but didn't have any mozarella cheese (which most call for) so I had to come up with something else. I am always throwing things together and sometimes I come up with some pretty decent dishes. Mark this as one of them. It was so easy and took ingredients I usually have in the pantry.

Tomato and Chicken Pasta 
3 chicken breasts
Italian dressing
2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves if using fresh)
2 tsp oregano
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1/2 cup vegetable broth (chicken broth would also work)
1 cup half and half (do use this and not milk)
Peppers (I used green and red) chopped
Mushrooms (chopped)
Salt to taste
Pasta of your choosing (I used ziti)

Cut chicken into chunks and marinate in dressing for at least 30 minutes.
Put about 2 tsp olive oil on a pan and add chicken and dressing.
Cook chicken until done.
Add all other ingredients (except pasta)
While chicken and sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to directions
When pasta is done, add to sauce mixture, let simmer about five minutes.
Serve with parmesan cheese and bread if desired.

*Note* I like my sauce on the thicker side, so if it's a bit too runny for you, before you add the pasta you can mix a small amount of cornstarch with a bit of water and put that in the sauce to thicken it a bit.