Wednesday, August 31, 2005

made in asia...

... since i worked in supply chain for a bit, i wanted to share a little with you all about the logisitics involved in shipping products from overseas here...i have had an interesting look at a phenom in the scrapbooking industry - why is it that 90% of rub-ons are made in the US as well as papers and stickers but the majority of embellishments overseas? it is very interesting to me. i don' t know the complete answer to this. the thing i can think of is that paper probably wouldn't fare well in a big old ocean going container from asia and the price to ship 80 lb weight paper isn't cheap.

... shipments that come in boxes are typically made in 40' or 20' containers. and the weight limit for containers is about 38,000-42,000 lbs (this includes everything including the pallets, boxes, stretch wrap - everything) . and if you ship a container from overseas, it doesn't matter if you have 1 roll or ribbon in it or 10,000 rolls of ribbon in it - the cost is almost the same. the cost is per container, not per weight.

so for manufacturers like us, we try to help keep costs down by making sure we optimize what is in our container. so if the plant only has 1 box of ribbons ready, we don't order a container to ship things - we wait til we have a shippable amount to make sure we can keep our prices reasonable. air freight costs are crazy - it is here fast but not at a cost we can bear, the retailers can bear nor the end consumer.

beyond that, on a boat, there are hundreds of containers. we could be the first container on the boat or the last. luck of the draw. and then the boat sails - sailing times are about 3-4 weeks from asia to a port somewhere on the west coast. again, our container could be the first or the last one on (assuming it has survived 1000s of miles on a journey). and it still needs to clear customs and duties need to be levied. after that, we have to have arrangements to have it shipped to our W/H before it is counted, sorted and sent onto you.

people often get excited after a show and want things right then. but if you look at the time it takes to go from concept to actually getting a product in our hands, it is over 12-16 weeks (including time to produce, pack, sail, truck, unpack, repack).

i hope this gives everyone an idea of how this process works and why it takes so long.

Monday, August 29, 2005


if you are using chinese characters or japanese kanji in a layout, please please please, make sure the characters are facing the right way. sorry a pet peeve of mine as i have seen a couple of projects with them on backwards, inside out, upside down and what not in the last year.

being sexy...

i participated this week in a dare/challenge on "what is sexy?" on one of the boards this week. this was not an easy LO for me as i have always been very self-conscious of my physical attributes. oh, maybe it was the time someone in HS called me "ugly" or a close relative told me that "i would never be as pretty as someone who was white b/c i would always be plain" (side note, why does all of the bad stuff seem to stick to you longer than the good stuff).

even now, i don't smile in lots of pictures b/c i don't like the way the camera captures my smile or i have my fake smile (but i do real smiles more than i used to).

so i was stumped when i first saw this dare. i have come a long way but how do i convey that sexy is more about attitude and strength than a physical fleeting beauty? i thought back to this picture of my surf lesson in hawaii from last year. i felt so strong that day (those surf boards are HEAVY). i was so happy and i think it reflects in all of the pictures from that day. i felt sexy even.

so i decided to list all the words that together equal sexy. i mean who doesn't love a nerdy, daredevil, lover, athletic artist?

1/2 a century

well, we DID IT! my DH and i managed to do the 50 mile bike ride to spite getting up at 4 am, getting lost, a run in with the dude parked in front of us and having to sit on a bike for 3+ hours.

but it was a super nice day and the hotter n' hell wasn't really hotter n' hell! it was funny to watch 10,000 bikers of all shapes and sizes at the start. it took us about 30 mins to even get to the start line. ppl where there with $10,000 bikes, with $200 bikes. there were ppl that were 70 and even some as young as 7. there were seasoned riders and weekend warriors.

it was nice. i didn't lose my DH during the ride. my butt hurts still but it is that sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing something. i'd do it again in a heart beat but my next conquest will be the dallas half marathon in nov i think...

...some other addictions i have started picking up include photoshop. dang it if i don't now find myself going to B&N to read some scrapping magz i don't have and pick up some PS books/magz too! this hobby has a hold on me. i don't think i will ever become a digital scrapper but i love learning about the tool b/c i was tired of looking at it sit on my desktop laughing at me. it was time for me to laugh back. i think i have graduated from PS toddler to PS pre-schooler! look out world!

Friday, August 26, 2005

website update and a surprise!

well as you know murphy's law, NOTHING ever goes as planned with technology. our website has been delayed but i am offering all you blog-stalkers a chance to check out what we have. this isn't live yet but you can take a look around to see all of our new stuff. so check it out here:

so check it out - it is 90% done!

have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

new perspective

recognize this perspective? probably not but it is me - a top view of of my lower half. i like to scrap random things.

life is about seeing things in different perspectives and about learning. it doesn't matter if it is as complicated as differential equations or as simple as a new recipe. try something new, don't be afraid to try out something new in life. after turning 30 and leaving my corporate job, i have felt a sense of freedom to try new things. i still worry but my attitude towards life is different.

my DH and i have this dream of one day just deciding that we want to move somewhere - maui or new york city - a change of pace - a change of perspective but it is hard even for us b/c we are planners but i haven't let go of that dream yet. i think one day we might do it. it would be no harder than starting MR (although running it from either place would be difficult LOL but i will worry about that later).

for now, we are finalizing our plans to still do that 50 miler on saturday and being the charmer i am, i think my DH might do it also. but we have laid down some ground rules b/c the last time we rode the 150 mile ride, he and i about broke up b/c i bike a lot faster than him and lost him in the first 3 miles when he ate my dust. he was pissed. i argued that it was not my job to babysit him. i have grown a bit more compassionate in my old age - i told him i would wait for him but i would be pushing him 110%...

so we will see...something new - another new perspective...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

insane in the membrane...

Well, i have been toying with the idea of riding this bike ride called "Hotter 'N Hell"{} - it is a century ride (100 miles) here near Dallas but i was going to do the mini ride of 50 miles except:

1. I haven't sat on my bike in about a year.
2. I haven't trained.
3. It is going to be over 100F.

But I still think I might do it if I can convince my DH to leave the house at 4 am to do the drive up there. It's only 50 miles (listen to me as i try to convince myself that 50 miles isn't that much).

I can still remember my first 150 mile bike ride from 7 years ago. In fact, I still have scars to remind me! During day 2 of the ride at mile freakin' 148, I was so tired, I flipped my bike handle and hence flipped my bike on myself. I knocked myself on the concrete with my helmet on though. I had a 6" bruise on my thigh and a nasty road rash on my arm. Oh yeah, did I fail to also mention I went blind for about 5 mins (that was scary - the whole world was white and i was blind but luckily 5 mins later my sight came back). My bike also wouldn't shift anymore but I refused to get a ride to the end. By golly if I had made it 148 miles, even if my bike had to ride me, I was going with it to the END!

I really should scrap those pictures - just need to go find them!

Monday, August 22, 2005

so this is how it was in the olden days

our A/C went putz on saturday. my DH and i decided to brave it out until today. that wasn't very smart in the summer in texas. our house was a balmy 95. 6 F on sunday. some rooms were a cool breezy 93.4 F and i think i took 5 showers yesterday. my face is also breaking out today. this picture was from the break we took around dinner time - we ate out - see the smile on my face from the joy of A/C??? how do ppl in the north live without A/C when it gets hot??? i have so gotten soft since moving to the south...

luckily, everything is back to normal now. the A/C is humming and i am cool as a i guess that means i have to get back to work huh?

i am awaiting my order with my two CDs - michael buble " it's time" { side note<-- this was the dude i saw in a starbucks commercial and i didn't know if he was really a singer so i looked him up - and yup he is a smooth jazzy crooner} and sarah valenzuela's "lado este( this side)" { side note - i heard of her on NPR and was mesmerized by her voice - like a latin sarah mclaclan} CDs - hopefully soon. i am sure that my order right now is some where in amazon's big warehouse (or warehouses) and they are pulling my order to shoot me into the supply chain pool...

speaking of supply chain/ product design, here is a glimpse of how a Maya Road product goes from concept to actual items you can hold. the concept is simple:

1. come up with an idea
2. make a prototype
3. make refinements
4. do a trial production
5. make a whole bunch of it

BUT... the beast is in the details. in my former life in the corporate world, we worked on something called a stage gate process for developing new ideas to actual product. it is similar - a series of checkpoints before you get to the final product. what we do for MR is no different. but on a smaller scale. if you take the 5 steps above, it really breaks down even further into a complex web of other steps like this:

1. deb and caroline come up with a set of ideas
2. discuss, rediscuss- pros/cons/growth potential/feasibility
3. discuss the idea with our factory - can we do this? is it cost prohibitive?
4. repeat step 2 with answer from step 3 - decide colors/ design line
5. repeat discussion with factory- decide on prototype made
6. repeat step 5 until satisfied with product (this can be hard at times b/c you are trying to convey to someone your idea for a product and they have to understand enough to translate what you want into a product you want)
7. decide on packaging (how? /number?/style?/name (this one always gets us!)?/ product label design)
8. arrange logistics (this is a whole other discussion) - be it from asia or US, this is a whole long process
9. repeat for each product and repeat 2-3x a year for any new releases

alright with that, need to get back to work!

Friday, August 19, 2005

thinking on your feet...

someone had posted an 8 minute challenge on one of the big boards this week and last night i decided to take it! wow, 8 minutes is not a lot of time. so i picked my picture and looked around my scrap table and started the timer! at least i made some semblance of a layout in 8 minutes! i think that this is one of the most interesting aspects of scrapbooking - creating new things with new ideas and doing it FAST (i am all about instant gratification which is probably why i sucked at cross-stitching and sewing clothing).

... unfortunately working out the bugs of the website is not easy. i have spent 3 hours a day the last two days testing our website and trying to work out the bugs. i know deb has done this at least 20 times. but we can SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. and it is sweet bliss. our website will have a lot more functions for both us and our retailers and consumers. i plan on sending out newletters with random techniques and probably some special contests for consumers who use our stuff.

speaking of our stuff, ok, fess up - which one of you has been raving about us to your LSS? b/c we are getting inundated with inquiries and i want to THANK YOU! so here is a shout out to all of you. if you fess up to me and your LSS mentions you got them to stock us, we will send you some Maya Road goodies (subject to what we want and this offer can change at any time). so start talking about us if you believe in us.

over and out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

the learning process...

... can you BELIEVE i actually made these fine looking pieces of sushi??? my friend and i had signed up for a class and on monday night, we went and learned how to make 3 different kinds of sushi. making sushi has been something i had been interested in for a long time. i had experimented some about 6 years ago making sushi (just some simple california rolls) and well they didn't seem to please the crowd much. but that could have been b/c i was living in a west texas town that was in cattle country and besides myself only 2 other people dared try it.

but this time i learned some new techniques and i must say my sushi doesn't look half bad! (a side note, all the times i have eaten sushi, i have never seen a female sushi chef - have you?). but i love to try new things - i have done things like eaten ant eggs in mexico, backpacked for 3 weeks through europe and even lived in belgium by myself one semester in college (without speaking a lick of french or flemish).

learning excites me. the thrill of the new, the thrill of the just in time problem solving with the resources you have gives me a natural high. but i guess that is some of what you need to run your own business.

deb and i are working hard on the website (and let me tell you it is SWEET!) and working through all of the bugs. we also have FAB new products for Memory Trends and we have some plans for making our company grow in the works. it isn't easy. and i will tell you it is not glamourous. we don't have a million dollar venture capitalist or corporation backing us up as we plan, design, schedule, pay for things. we don't have the luxury of just coming up with prototypes and having someone handle it all for us and sit back and just promote our stuff. we are there in asia looking at the quality. we are there to meet our plants. deb is the one on the phone at midnight talking to suppliers. that is the reality of the beast.

the two of us are do-ers not sit back and watch-ers - which is both a blessing and a curse. and sometimes, just sometimes, we forget to take a break and we have to remind ourselves to do so.

so with that, i am off to create some new projects. i leave you with this one - a bottle cap album from our new mega bottlecaps. enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2005

did you know?

i read a lot so i have a lot of random information stored in my head such as did you know:

1. The average american eats 1 lb of french fries a week (who is eating mine?)
2. About 1/3 of the population has never experienced deja vu before?
3. Hong Kong has the most rolls royce's per capita?
4. You can divide a number evenly by 3 if you add up all the digits and that number is divisable by 3 (like 144 would be 1+4+4=9 which is divisible by 3 so 144 is too).
5. You should change running shoes every 300-400 miles even if they look nice and pristine?
6. The sentence "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy brown dog" has every letter of the alphabet in it?
7. Both toonies and loonies are canadian coins (thanks to my canadian friends for verifying this).

... those are just the random ones off of the top of my head. my point is people have asked when we started maya road how we could just create items / things - a lot of it is due to the fact that deb and i love to absorb knowledge and learn. the more you learn, the more you discover, the more you develop ideas and fluid thoughts by mixing all of those things up! i can still remember how to make a pac-man puppet from 3rd grade with 3 pieces of paper - 1 piece for the pac-mac face, 2 pieces for the neck/tube and a piece of string so his mouth can move. but even that experiences influences my art of creation. and I know that is the same for deb.

don't be afraid to learn, to take things in and surprise yourself with what you come up with.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

eye on the prize

this is what i will give away in a random drawing when we get the new website up and participants answer 15 questions. i have hand selected a dozen different 1 yard lengths of our ribbons, some foam stamps, some acrylic frames and some bottlecaps! we hope to have everything up and running by sunday so check back for the quiz next week.

speaking of small businesses, a word to those of you who are wanting to start one. it isn't easy and it ain't cheap and be ready to spend a lot of time on it. things you have to do/contract out/ figure out/pay for include:

1. website hosting
2. website design
3. catalog design
4. catalog printing
5. product design
6. product prototyping
7. supplier visits (going to asia to work with suppliers)
8. trade shows
9. elements for the trade shows (furniture, projects, food, hotel, etc)
10. designers
11. telephone
12. fax
13. warehousing
14. DSL
15. business cards
16. accounting stuff
17. packing supplies
18. advertising (actual ads, TV show stuff, products in the hands of magazines)
19. labels , stickers for everything
20. giveaways
21. make and take sponsorships
22. QC issues

those are just the ones i can think of on the top of my head. so when it all comes down to it. you have to love what you do to even fathom and think about competing with the big boys and girls. but we enjoy it - seriously though think about all these things before jumping in otherwise you might unpleasantly surprise yourself!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


i am feeling froggy today... ok maybe groggy - gotta go get my runner endorphin high soon...but i have a confession - i suck at computer generated anything. that is something else i need to work on. i am going to learn adobe photoshop and illustrator so i can design things. the only thing i can design right now are those froggies up top - wanna know how i did them - in good old word! i have designed an entire chemical engineering plant schematic in word using the drawing tools but i am technologically getting left behind. and i can't stand it. so that is on my list of things to do.

otherwise though, i think my froggies are pretty cute. i might have to make some paper from that!

PS. i took some pics of the prize package for those who will particapate in the MR new website quiz so stay on the lookout for that pic tonight....

our website...

you know what they say about murphy's law - it is TRUE! we were all set to have everything turned on the new site this last week but our developer got sick and then his computer crashed. but the best thing is to go with the flow! so the latest is that we plan on having our new site up this weekend! with that said, i am going to start planning the quiz and tomorrow will post the prize giveaway! you blog-stalkers don't miss out. i have picked out some fab ribbons, new bottlecaps, a stamp or two and some other goodies to round out the bunch for the giveaway. all you need to do is answer the question.

and to start you off, here is the first one - who is older - Deb or me? *wink* don't think who looks, acts or seems older, just pick the one who is (LOL!)

sorry i have been quite the last couple of days- things are HECTIC in my neck of the woods. i have been however VERY productive scrapbooking wise. i am almost done with my pictures from chicago - today i even made a very cool clipboard that is mini (like 6" x9") which i found at office depot - i turned it into a cute gift that is a standing clipboard (altered of course) and you aren't going to believe this but the easel / stand part i made with a pair of panda express chopsticks and a MM hinge (where do i come up with these wacky things?) the glue is drying now so i hope it works out. i KNEW there was a reason i was a pack rat and those brand spankin' new panda express stix would come in handy!

speaking of food, i am off to a sushi making class on monday with my friend kim. i can't wait! i have made sushi before with the japanese rice, vinegar, seaweed, etc but perhaps i will learn some new techniques here. i then can impress all my friends by whippping out the old bamboo mat to create some fab sushi-tizers! will have to show pics of that!

the LO above is from my 5 year anniversary album. notice how quickly we ate the molten chocolate cake and ice cream! i found the recipe for that too! in a former life, i was quite the baker/cook. i made my own bagels (from yeast to rise to boil to bake). i made my own sorbets. i made my own sushi. but now it is consumed by maya road and thoughts of guitar lessons...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

new hobby

well after seeing some amazing guitar playing this weekend, i have decided i want this to be my new hobby- i am going to start playing the guitar! this shouldn't be too hard as we already have one collecting lots and lots of dust jackalopes (the bigger form of dusy bunnies) in our house. we also have the "guitar for dummies" book.

i also took the extra step of looking up guitar teachers in my area and i found one. so now all i need to do is execute!

i used to be musically inclined- for a while i even had a decent voice in 5th grade chorus - i got to sing some solos at those yearly "sing-at-the-mall" type events. but then my voice cracked and started to change and my singing was never the same way again. sigh. i also played the piano for about 10 years. i think i got ripped off in the whole deal in the beginning. i can remember being in the second grade and my mom and dad telling me i had piano lessons. i "thought" i heard them say it was for 6 weeks. no big deal - 6 weeks. but i must have misunderstood b/c then it was 6 years. then it was 10 years. at some point, i think i started enjoying it. i even played the keyboard in jazz band in high school. but it has been a LONG time since my fingers have consistently touched a piano. it has been a long time since someone had chided me for not cutting my nails so i wouldn't "tap, tap, tap" on the keys. i miss that musical part of my life. but i need something more "portable".

i don't need another hobby but i need to keep continuing to grow and to learn. i need to stop letting dust jackalopes live in my house!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

this is what 5 looks like

well, we did it, we made it 5 years - some days it feels like 15 and some days it feels like 2. but i wouldn't trade it for the world. not much to say today but just that love is something you have to work at - not something that comes easily and stays easily and ppl need to realize that. we all have our faults and well being together for 5 years is both comfortable and surprising at the same time.

DH has to learn to love and respect a risk taker like me and I have to learn to love and respect DH for whom risks are hard. life, love and marriage aren't easy but with this milestone, we hope to embark on a new journey in our lives...

good night!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

good things...

some simple good things about life!
1. 5th anniversary tomorrow (i planned a secret dinner at a hawaiian restaurant) heehee.
2. finding a $3.97 skirt at old navy (wearing it now)
3. old law and order episodes.
4. going to the gym *yay- went today*
5. eating chocolate.
6. getting a handwritten letter from an old friend in the mail.
7. rain
8. my LO about hello kitty and my haiku to her!
9. being blessed with a supportive family.
10. thoughts about actually starting a family of 3 instead of just the 2 of us...

oh yeah... a bonus one:

11. WEBSITE hopefully being done by this weekend (developer was out sick). so YAY!

good night!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

doing what you love...

or at least loving what you do - hey who sings that country song " if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" know i was reading a discussion the other day where people were naming off design teams of companies they would love to work with (or be on the design teams of) . all of the biggies were there as well as what i like to think of the {hot} list of scrapbooking. which i think is great but at the same time discouraging for me b/c i remember maya road showing up only once BUT i can tell you i remember exactly who said that.

my point is don't forget us little people. once day we could become the big people. i could be very discouraged that we aren't on the fast pace to superstardom in the scrapbooking crafting industry in fact, some have said we are probably the most analytical. before we enter anything with anyone, we do a complete 2 engineer analysis - from logistics to sales to benefits and how things could affect the end consumer. i know that frustrates some but better to know who you are partnering with and understands your needs than to part ways unhappily later. and for those of you looking to be on a DT- i encourage you to do the same- ASK QUESTIONS.

and for those of you that do submit your designer information, though we don't reply to all the inquiries, we do read and file them all. so when your name pops up, i recognize it. just some food for thought!

good night!

on a roll...

don't you LOVE it when you are on a roll (art/life/exercise)-wise? well i am on a design roll and i am going to ride this thing as long as i can before i putz out! with the flow i know the ebb is just coming around the corner. it's all good. then i can get back onto my exercise roll. i wonder if i will run out of steam when my chicago pictures are done with. perhaps.

i wanted to introduce you to another one of our DT members- cindy. she was also one of our first we added - really talented with clean/crisp ideas.

here is her blog: so be sure to check her out!

alright i gotta get back to work but one more thought before i go - is it "selling out" or "buying in" when you take your company big? i am conflicted on this one.

getting back to business is the honest truth - deb and i can sometimes be yellers... with both of our strong personalities, when it comes to business, we hash through the details in sometimes heated arguments. our DHs cringe at this many times but a lot of times, this is how we get the breakthrough to the next level....
... but it always happens - even when we don't see eye to eye in the beginning but it all works out... i have no doubt of it. but it is the two of us with some support of our DH. we have to make this work - to make it grow - to make it possible for us to live out our dreams. that is a heavy burden yet also an empowering thought.

Monday, August 01, 2005

out of the comfort ZONE...

when i look at these two LOs i have made in the last couple of days - it is like i hardly recognize myself or style. could i have really made these? it makes me think about how i am changing, how my style is changing.

kind of on a related topic, i was at the hollister store a couple of months ago - i thought they had some cute surfer-ish clothes and i started to look around at the people shopping there. i suddenly realized that i could be some of these kiddos' parent! so i put away what i had in my hand and i haven't bought anything from there since.

but changing - it is all good. i have to embrace it. it is so easy to cling to the status quo. but that is how you get left behind (or you leave yourself behind). change is never easy. it is uncomfortable. it is what keeps you up at nights or wakes you up early or forces you to take a nap. but it is ALL good.

i definitely don't think that every LO i make will be the best ever but i see them is part of a path i can trace to show how far i have come.

i wonder what is next...