Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to compete with China?

A while back I found (a site that sells handmade + artsy+vintage stuff). I always wondered if something that you made will sell, and I found myself wanting to buy some of those things so I guess I am proof that that happens. Also, I had friends telling me why you don't try to sell stuff - to have my own etsy store, and although I have not reached that point (of actually trying) I had wondered how you can compete with the big boxes stores? specially when most of the stuff is made in China (and of course for very cheap).
Why I am thinking this? Well, because I went to Target a few days ago and saw an idea that I had in mind for a stuff animal that I had not seen before (well, similar idea). The cost of it? 15dls.
If I would do it myself after buying fabric, threads, etc... I would have to sell for 20-25 dls to make it worth it. So, we come back to this question. Will someone buy it? or just go to Target and buy it for less?
I know it will depend if someone had the money to spend it, if someone wanted something more unique, if someone wanted to help small entrepreneurs, but can you still compete with China? What do you think?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pablo's cookies

Hi Pablo and family, here is the package. We received it the same say that we were celebrating Ari's second birthday. What a timing!

Very good oatmeal raisin cookies. I made sure they lasted 2 days :) so we can enjoy them a little longer.

My daughter loves cookies. It is Mike's favorite cookie, and I just love all cookies. So, thank you. You have some cute little chefs in the making :)

I forgot to take a picture of the empty container. But, believe me it was empty! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 6 -Leaving

Some nice weeping willows trees to say goodbye to, and hopefully we will see you again! Our last stop before heading home was Crackle Barrel. I know there are some around the suburbs where we live, but for some reason the food here is bigger and tastier to me although if I get a chance I will go to eat to the ones by my house, still pretty good :) Maybe all the extra butter and sugar in the south makes the difference. Anyway, if you can go to one, try the Apple Streussel French Toast. It is so worth it the run in the treadmill for this tasty dish. Mike had the regular french toast and Ari ate quite a bit of a pancake.

Here we are done and ready to start the close to 10 hours ride back home.

Bye birdies! Bye houses! See you soon! (That was Ari's goodbye)

Oh, grandpa I took this picture just for you!

Crossing the line between Kentucky and Indiana.

A shot of the many factories in Indiana. I liked this one for some reason. And to answer Mike, no I just took one shot :)

Our one stop to stretch our legs and refuel our tummies (we only stopped 1-2 more for gas). Arianna was so happy and Mike picked this McDonalds because it had the play area for her to run a bit. What a wonderful daddy!

Love how the clouds look here.

Mike happy to be home after driving so much. In Gatlinburg, we went to a cigar shop, our first time in a shop like this, to buy a thank you gift for our neighbor that keeps an eye when we are not here and waters or puts back our garbage or whatever else we may need. So, he likes cigars so we got him 3. I did not know all the different choices and prices. The guy was very helpful and explained to us differences, smells, brands ,etc... Then, we picked 3. It was a nice experience.

Arianna's favorite gadget/toy from Gatlinburg was this long doggy (or snake according to her) that holds one of her favorite things -Crayons! She did not see it until we got home.

And that ends a very nice and relaxing vacation. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 5

Our last day of vacation started at The Little Pancake House (between light 1 and 2). We ordered the awesome french toast with Cinnamon butter. Arianna liked it and she ate half of one, and milk from a straw. Good girl :)

Then we went to the Parkway Foothills, it was a clear day and it was beautiful.

Our last stop was the Roaring Fork Tour. We stopped at the picnic area and I met this couple that was bird watching. I did not know this was a good spot for it, since we usually skipped it. But, we stopped for some lunch this time, and they lent me their binoculars and I saw one bird I did not know was there and has never seen before so it was very cool.

Arianna was hip-hop dancing? She was so happy to be out of her car seat. I can't blame her. But, she was a very good traveler.

Wild Animal turkeys, saw lots of them.

After a nice ride, we went home to relax and pack for the journey back.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 3 and 4

Day 3 started by going to take our picture at the entrance to the Park by Gatlinburg. It was a nice day as the previous two days and Mike had read in the Smokies newspaper that a quilt demonstration was running at the Cades Cove tour, right smack in the middle. So, he drove there so I could see it. I have to say that it was really nice of Mike to take us, the quilting was a bit of a let down (not much of a demonstration), but it was nice to go see Cades Cove again.

Cades Cove, Mike was going around with Ari while I was looking at the the quilts hanging by one house. I did manage to take a picture of one that I liked.

Leaving Cades Cove, we passed by Mingus Mill. We had not been there before. It was the best place so far. Beautiful trees, nice weather, the sound of water and birds, very peaceful, and very few people around. Just perfect.

Can't decide which one is better, what do you think?

Now, for this time, this is a great invention. Don't you think?

Mike and Ari all smiles as we are headed back into the house.

The second floor was closed to the public, but they opened it again. You can see the mechanics of the mill. Very interesting. It did say that if vandalism occured, they will go close the second floor again. Let's hope not, but it is a huge problem around some areas like the Ogle's place in the Roaring Fork tour. So many John loves Tiff or some other names, it makes you wonder are you even together now? Do you really need to destroy something? Anyway, hopefully people will get it one day. Respect what is not yours. The second floor was pretty cool.

View from the window upstairs.

Arianna pointing to the fact that there is no light or fan in the ceiling!

Our last stop was to the Greenbrier entrance to the Smokies Park. Mike wants to go through all possibles entrances that are near TN or NC. So, this is one more. It was beautiful and it is one of the less traveled, even though this is the entrance to the nicest falls (or tallest), Ramseys Cascades. We got to the beginning of the path, but we did not do it. It takes 4 miles to get there, with some difficulties. So, you need to go well prepared. Many hikers will enjoy this path. Maybe next time, if the grandparents go to sit Ari for us. The 8 mile round trip is too much with a 2 year old. But, you can hear the falls and has a nice area to picnic.

Then, we went to the outskirts of Gatlinburg to eat. Mike wanted to surprised me by going to eat to my favorite Cuban restaurant off light #3, but it was closed ! So, now we don't know if they went out of business or is closed for the season? It was Wednesday, so who knows. Then, we decided to try No Way's Jose Restaurant. I would just say this, don't waste your money. Only bad meal of the entire trip :(
Finally, after getting home, Mike wanted to shoot some pool, and Ari wanted to help. So,this is the way that daddy plays pool...

Now, I will show you MY way. Isn't it more effective?

Day four was the shopping day. A whole trip around the Arts and Crafts. I shopped mostly for fabric and quilt's materials. I would learn how to quilt. That is one goal I want to do soon. Some candies for Mike's co-workers, and we stopped to some stores we did not do before.

One of my favorite places of the tour is Cliff Dwells. It's just really pretty. They have the famous Marbles the cat. Every time I go, I play with him. They also have paintings about him :)
They have many artists in there. The second floor is a loft with at least 4-5 artists doing their thing and you can talk to them, etc. They have a painter (mostly landscapes). a bird lady- lots of bird paintings, someone that makes baskets, 100% dyed natural wool, dyed paper and now dyed fabric, to name some... Then, you go to the first floor and shop. They have their stuff there, plus many more that are not there. Some crochet, some homemade toys, some wood trucks and cars, jewelry, etc... too many to mention, but it is worth to have a look.

Nice flowers as you are coming down from the loft.

Arianna loved Marbles, and this stuff rabbit (not bunny). She would not let go, so in the car goes...

After the Crafts, Mike went to Cosby. For two reasons: 1. Biggest quilt shop for me (he was making up the fact that I missed my quilting class for this trip- but I think I already said that before- thanks honey.) and 2. Another entrance to the park. So, Cosby..check! (By the way, Cosby has an awesome Orchard called Carve's with a restaurant, but we were too full to eat. It was highly recommend it so another thing to go back for)

Picture taken specially for my grandpa!

Nice picnic area as well. Someone was having a BBQ pit going. Smelled sooooooo good.

Next, our tradition of eating at Howard's Steakhouse. Yummy. It did not disappoint it. It was very good. Sat next to the Creek, good waiter, great steaks, excellent dessert. Just perfect.

Family picture!

When she gets older and we have the good fortune to go back, we will do the lift. Good night!