Sew Many Passions!
You can't have too many cats or too much fabric!

PASSION: I love to share product reviews! After taking a break I am back to help others find great products! I love doing DIY home projects! WORK: I'm an office manager for three businesses under one roof. The bulk of my work is in logistics and freight. COMMITMENT: CATS... I've become a Professional Cat Wrangler! DREAMS: As I near retirement, I have enough machines and fabric to start my own sewing business!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Business Books I ordered today.
I'm psyched!

I had one of my moments for ordering books again today. I was in a sewing website and they recommended a business book. That got me on an hour search for similar books and below are the three I chose.

I have chosen some reviews (or excerpts of) to highlight here. These are the reviews that really caught my attention. And besides, not everyone will read pages and pages of reviews like I do, so I have saved you some time! Just be patient reading through all the text here, and I think you will be as inspired as I have been!

{All books will be linked at the end of this post.}

Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's Go-For-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business
by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

This book has 50 reviews: one 4 star and forty-nine 5 stars!
I'm big on Amazon Reviews, so after reading quite a few of them it quickly went into my cart!

Even though this book is geared toward women, many reviews claim it is also invaluable to men.

The Booklist states:
The ability to understand and manage emotions is, most probably, the best way to describe Abarbanel and Freeman’s book. They identify four stages of birthing a business: starting your start-up; running your own show; achieving breakthrough; and finding your business rhythm. Yet what they concentrate on is each stage’s feelings and coping strategies. The authors are bluntly honest: expect self-doubt, performance anxiety, and a lack of a life outside of eating-working-sleeping. At the same time, emerging entrepreneurs will find advice that’s worth the price of the book alone, from relying on mentors to nurturing your private life. Identifying and avoiding pitfalls, such as romanticizing being your own boss and not trusting your gut, enable women to sidestep potential issues. --Barbara Jacobs

Three Amazon Reviews that are different from the others:
"I read Bruce's weekly ask a small business professor article. I must say, each week Bruce offers fantastic information on how to successfully run and manage a small business. Naturally, when I saw his name on the book I felt inclined to read it from being a fan of his syndicated article. Boy was I happy I did. In the book Bruce does a fantastic job of encouraging women and men on how to start up a small business and successfully operate it. Keep up the good work Bruce."

"From reading Bruce Freeman's syndicated articles on, it is easy to see this man has plenty of knowledge about business in general. This book will undoubtedly help any woman trying to make it in the business world. It is a necessary read particularly for those women who are starting their own business, not only because of the clear steps the reader is taken through, but the real examples used to illustrate these steps. If you are deciding whether or not to start your own business, this book is all the support you need!"

"I read a stack of books when starting my retail business, but there is something different (and more helpful) about Birthing the Elephant. BTE reflected exactly not only what I was going through but MY FEELINGS BEHIND IT ALL! I was on an emotional roller coaster getting my business off the ground (still am :o), and at times I felt this made me unqualified at attempting to do what I was doing. But BTE helped me see that I was not alone, and actually, I was very normal. No other book talks about this other side of self-businesshood, which in a way is a lot like parenthood. It's ok to be emotional in business, we are human after all. BTE is a wonderful guide to help you navigate through it."

The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business
by Emira Mears & Lauren Bacon

The Booklist states:
Web design partners and strategists and now coauthors Mears and Bacon make sure that the rational side is well-prepared before venturing into a new business, with lots of straightforward talk. Take finances: there’s not only a laundry list of all the money angles to consider but also a sample budget to help a wannabe manufacturer figure out the cost of goods sold. They’ll walk you through a naming session, complete with defining mission, personality, and target audience. And possibly overwhelm you with marketing and business-building ideas, including PR, advertising, collateral, and networking. Sidebars expand in a lively fashion on some of the hottest trends, like blogging and business coaches. Then, there’s the quieter and realistic side, handling “the ease with which we find ourselves sacrificing our own basic needs in the quest to succeed.” --Barbara Jacobs

Short and to the point Amazon Review:
"This book was recommended to me and I will recommend it to any serious entrepreneur. In order to get the most out of this book you have to take the exercises seriously. The book helped me realize I needed to be more focused with my business ideas. I'm glad I learned that before I started. It is a good business preparation book."

Amazon Review by a "health counselor & Life coach":
"The title is exactly what you get in this book. It truly does have everything you need to know to start, run and keep your business going. The chapters are very organized and the writing is engaging meaning the authors have this certain flair that captivates your attention where you can't help but keep on reading. I've read other books on the subject and by fair this is the most fun and most comprehensive book there is, especially for women. The authors really empower women to follow their dreams and you can't help but feel excited to get out there...I did!"

And here is part of a longer Amazon Reivew;
"I started my own publishing business in 2006 and am wanting to recreate it. I came across this book at the library and have been amazed by the way it has opened up my relationship to my business. The authors avoid business jargon (actually, they pleasantly mock it) and present their information and exercises in simple language. I believe that has been the key, for me, in reveling in this book."

The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels
by Elizabeth Gordon & Leanna Adams

Out of 20 reviews: One 2 star and nineteen 5 star!
{Personally I thought the 2 star review was too sensitive and stuffy.}

Product Description
Learn how to take your business from flats to stilettos in this intelligently written, highly practical, and entertaining read. The Chic Entrepreneur teaches women business owners how to get out of the trenches and take their business to new heights by mastering the 9 dimensions of a flourishing business. Elizabeth Gordon, President of Flourishing Business®, a consulting firm that helps stagnant businesses jump start their growth, shows how to build a business right. Gordon explains how to build an asset of inherent value instead of just a bigger job and points out common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Packed with Chic Tips that businesses can inexpensively implement for an immediate return, this book is ideal for jump-starting a stalled business, and putting it into overdrive. This simple yet timeless formula for achieving chic success in the business world is cleverly interwoven with critical analysis of real businesses and delightful tales that show what and what not to do.

Amazon Reviews that stood out to me:
"The book is designed in a user friendly, eye appealing, format which helps the reader assimilate and apply principles present in case studies and illustrations which detail the processes for setting up a new company.
      These case studies feature parallel start up approaches using people like Don and Donna as examples of the right and wrong approach. Elizabeth also features forceful assessments of well known successful businesses like Google, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods.
      I especially appreciated the thought provoking questions and exercises for determining action steps which accompany each chapter. The tips provided in side bars throughout the chapters reinforce the valuable business techniques and success traits necessary for building a fast growing profitable business."

I think this Amazon Review packs a powerful punch!
I work with a lot of women business owners. And it's apparent to me that Elizabeth Gordon does as well. She's seeing the same issues that I am.
      I found the book very accessible. Another reviewer has stated that some of the comparisons are a bit outrageous. Well, they are. But the point is to have you sit up and take notice. Gordon does well at taking what is new (business knowledge) and marrying it to the world that most women understand -- relationships.
      Start with the last chapter. Give yourself the entrepreneurship test -- are you really ready to commit? Gordon says: "Women tend to be eager to commit to relationships, to marriage, to their families, and even to their best friends, but when it comes to committing to business, ironically, women are the ones who can't commit."
      Ouch! Yes, it sounds harsh. But I see it again and again. Given a choice between a $300 business education course and a $300 purse, far too many women choose the purse. Owning a business is work, and yet, at the same time it is the most exhilarating thing that you can do with your life, other than raising a family. Both have their own joys and pitfalls -- even more so if you are doing both.
      When you first learned to make your way in the world, you did some trial and error. (Try to walk, fall down, get up, try to walk, fall down...) But you also had someone there to hold your hand and help you get the concepts.
      Elizabeth Gordon has given you the concepts in manageable language and format. I recommend this book to any women thinking of starting a business, just started a business or hopelessly lost in business. Even if you don't fall into any of those categories, the book is a good read. You will probably pick up something that will lead you to explode your business in the next 12 months."

And last but not least, an Amazon Review by Janet W. Christy - another woman entrepreneur author:
Most of the time the word "Chic" refers to the appearance of a person or thing. I have always thought of Chic as something superficial. Well "Chic Entrepreneur" goes against the norm. This book provides information on more than the appearance of a business and the advice in it is not superficial, but very substantial.
      As a consultant to and trainer of woman owned businesses I often see women think small, underestimate the effort it takes to run a business and fail to identify their true customers/clients. If they read "Chic Entrepreneur" and keep it on their desk they will avoid making these mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes I see women business owners make is that they do not collaborate; they miss a lot of opportunities because they do not attempt, or often even consider, partnering, teaming, and subcontracting. I applaud the authors for realistically addressing some of this in Chapter 8 "Arm's Length or In Bed Together: Strategically Aligning Yourself".
      Any entrepreneur can benefit from this book. It's a book that you will want to keep around so you can re-read Chapters as they apply to your phase or situation. I know I will be suggesting it as a companion book to the purchasers of my book "Capitalizing On Being Woman Owned".
      This book is great in a general way for all entrepreneurs. Hopefully it will provide the information and stimulus that will cause existing and would-be entrepreneurs to do the in depth research specific to their business that will help them be successful in a Super Chic way."

So, are you inspired by these reviews? I know I am! I have so many questions about starting my own business. The emotional roller-coaster of "what if I cannot make enough money to cover my bills each month in the first year?"

I have no doubt that if I am diligent in reading these books, my confidence will climb and my determination will grow stronger.

Please let me know in the comments if you purchased a book, then come back to give an update when you have finished.

Helpful Tip:
Right click the photo of the books below then click on 'Open link in New Tab'. Then you can toggle between this page and the book page on Amazon. I'm a tab fanatic.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Double Cash Back using eBillMe at!

Here is a great deal to get in on if you are in the market to buy any kind of shoes!

Great news – for a limited time only, you can earn double cash back every Thursday when you check out using eBillme and pay using your bank’s online bill pay!

Promotion: Earn double cash back when you checkout using eBillme and pay using your bank’s online bill pay

End Date: March 31, 2011

Terms and Conditions:
* This is a limited time offer, available at selected eBillme merchants.
* Order must be paid in full to earn your cash back.
* To collect your cash back earnings, you must sign up after you’ve paid for your bill.
* You may earn up to $20.00 Cash Back per order.
* Not applicable to returned products.
* Not applicable to refunded orders due to out of stock inventory.
* eBilme reserves the right to change or terminate this offer at any time.
* Applies to participating brands only.
* Free Shipping offer does not apply on shipments outside of the United States.
* Cannot be combined with any other offer.
* Cannot be applied to purchase or redemption of gift certificates.
* Offer provided by eBillme.
* For additional information, visit eBillme's FAQ at

Choose one of these text links to save even more!
$5 off any Purchase of $40 or more at plus Free Shipping. Enter 'CJHOLIDAY' to redeem at checkout.
Register and Save 10% on Your First Purchase at Shoebuy

Free Shipping @!

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metrostyle New Arrivals just in time for spring!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Amazon Finds for Crafting and Sewing!

I have to travel to get anything I need for sewing and crafting - at least an hour to have several choices to shop. Ordering from Amazon is much cheaper for me, even if I have to pay shipping. Right now I have Free Amazon Prime so I have been enjoying Free Shipping on most items!

I ordered two 5 lb. boxes of the
Morning Glory 5-Pound Premium Fiberfill

For $14.99 for 5 pounds vs $10.82 for a 20 oz bag, you can't beat that!
These come inside a little larger box, so you get a great storage box to re-use as well. They would be perfect to store larger Christmas decorations or cupcake trees!

I've been reading post from women that love the Morning Glory 16-Ounce Cluster Stuff

They claim it is great for stuffing small areas and keeping a nice shape. It cost $15.20 for a 16 ounce bag. Marshall Dry Goods does not sell this online, but they will accept phone orders. Call for price: 888.744.8277. They are in Batesville, AR.

If anyone uses this product, please leave a comment at the end of this post to give a review and what you use it for.

I have never used a Self Healing Mat or Rotary Cutter, but with the new Upcoming Sewing Business I will be starting, I think it is high time I purchase several sizes. I definitely want a 36x48 and a smaller one to keep at my day job for my smaller projects that I don't have to sew.

Self Healing Green Cutting Mat 8.5 x 12 inches
Price: $9.76 & eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime

Amazon Mom: Purchase this and other Baby items to extend your Amazon Prime FREE Shipping Benefits.

OLFA 9881 RM-SG 18
List Price: $27.99
Price: $18.48
You Save: $9.51 (34%)

There is a drop down menu to get the larger size in this at a good price too. 7 out of 7 people gave this a 5 star rating.
This has a Special Offer: Save $5.00 when you purchase 5 or more Qualifying Items offered by Stuff 4 Scrapbooking. Enter code JCF48MHE at checkout.

Fiskars 95217097 45 mm Rotary Cutter
List Price: $17.00
Price: $12.98 & Free Shipping
You Save: $4.02 (24%)

This has a better average rating than the Fiskars brand but does cost more.
Gingher 12-19707097 Rotary Cutter, 45mm
List Price: $70.00
Price: $42.29 & eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime
You Save: $27.71 (40%)

I checked on the mark downs on sewing machines and came up with this list (Great ratings):
Brother PC-420 PRW Limited Edition Project Runway Sewing Machine
List Price: $649.00
Price: $419.99 & eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime!
You Save: $229.01 (35%)

Janome 7330 Magnolia Computerized Sewing Machine with 30 Built-In Stitches
List Price: $499.00
Price: $399.00
You Save: $100.00 (20%)

Brother CP-7500 Computerized Sewing Machine
List Price: $379.00
Price: $169.99 & eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime
You Save: $209.01 (55%)

Brother PQ1500S High-Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine - Sews 1500 Stitches Per Minute - Comes with Large Extension Table + Walking Foot + 1/4
List Price: $899.00
Price: $599.99
You Save: $299.01 (33%)
Amazon Mom: Purchase this and other Baby items to extend your Amazon Prime FREE Shipping Benefits!

WOW! Check out the Mark Downs on these Sergers with High Reviews!

JUKI MO654DE Portable Serger
List Price: $1,320.00
Price: $499.00 & eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime
You Save: $821.00 (62%)

I cannot see the image any bigger, but I think the writing on this is in Japanese? It is capable of 1500 Stitches Per Minute. Read the Product Desctiption on this little jewel!

Juki 2-Needle, 2/3/4/5-Thread Overlock Machine MO-735
List Price: $1,993.00
Price: $939.00
You Save: $1,054.00 (53%)

I have recently been having problems with my Front Load HE washing machine smelly very musty. The kids constantly leave clothes in it and they also forget to leave the door open to air out. I've been concerned about starting to launder (pre-shrink) fabric for the upcoming sewing business.

I have been reading reviews on Smelly Washer Washer Cleaner, 12-Ounce and think I will give it a try. It claims the 12 use treatment is cheaper than the 1 - 3 use Cleansers that are put out by Tide and other companies. Reviews claim that Smelly Washer works Much Better too.

Also, I read interesting reviews about Mule Team Borax Laundry Pretreater (buy it at WalMart - much cheaper!) Borax is great for multi-purpose cleaning and all pest control. Read the reviews to find helpful tips.

Another interesting review read is for Charley's Soap. You only use 1 TBS per load and it is safe for HE machines. Read This Reivew about a husband who is a garbage collector. I'm pretty sold on the REVIEWS that I have read so far.

I also read that for Front Loading HE machines, use ERA HE rather than Tide. It supposedly does not cause the odor to build up again like other detergents.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

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