January 28, 2010

Small Business Loan Purgatory

The Pig Banker If' you’ve been peeking over my shoulder on Twitter at all then you probably know that I regularly complain that I really need a clay pugger. What’s a pugger, you ask? A pugger (or as my friend Liz calls it, a plugger), is a clay processing machine which automates the reclaiming of unusable clay and will not only convert it into reusable clay but, if I get the right model, will also wedge it into air bubble free clay.

A lot of people are shocked to find out how labor intensive handmade pottery is. The lifecycle of a piece from start to finish is at best 2-3 weeks, and that assumes that all of the planets align. Usually 4-5 weeks is a more accurate estimate. I’ve had to turn down many a custom order request because the buyer didn’t expect such a long wait. But never mind that, I was really just interested in talking about the pugger.

Without a pugger, I’ve been hand wedging clay. Hand wedging is very strenuous, tedious, and time consuming work. To wedge an amount of clay that would last me an hour at the pottery wheel can take me upwards of 30 minutes. The only good thing about hand wedging is that it keeps my biceps in killer (!) shape.

So I need a pugger, that much is clear. Next came the decision about how to pay for it.

I mulled it over, checked prices, made phone calls, balanced the checkbook, and discussed it with my financial advisor (the husband).* In the end, I decided to apply for a loan through my bank. Well, it had been my bank until it was recently swallowed up by Chase Manhattan. Now with the fancy lobby and all of that bulletproof glass, I hardly recognize it anymore.

Here’s the synopsis of my experience, diary-style. Read it and weep (and then leave a comment to commiserate).

December 20– Called bank to inquire. “Come on in! We can help you with all of your financial needs!”

December 22 – Sat down to discuss options with loan officer. Got the gist and brought home the three page application.

December 23 – Delivered completed application to the bank.

December 28 – As per their request, brought in the husband to cosign app.

January 4 – Back to the bank to discuss and provide website link. Nearly went ahead with the home equity line of credit (the easier route) until it became clear that the $100 fee wouldn’t be waived. Decided to pursue the business loan version instead.

January 13 – Called loan officer to inquire about status. Was told they’ve decided to convert the app to an SBA sponsored loan. They’ll need more documentation including detailed specs for the pugger and a copy of my ‘08 tax returns.

January 21 – No word back yet. Called to inquire. Still awaiting a response from corporate. Waiting patiently, but getting angrier and meanwhile reading articles praising recent SBA loan incentives for small businesses.

January 28 – Rep called requesting ‘09 tax returns if I have them completed already (don’t) and all glazedOver sales data from ‘08.

So that’s where it stands right now.

No…wait! Hold the phone….

The postman just delivered a letter from Chase. They want me to fax over a recent paystub. glazedOver is an online pottery shop. No paystubs.

If this isn’t an exercise in futility and frustration, I don’t know what is. It seems I’ve been kept busy producing tons of paperwork so that the bankers can be kept busy. I think I’m fully cooked at this point.

You know what, Chase. I’ll just pay for the pugger myself.

*The husband is not licensed to provide legal or financial advice in the state of New York.

January 13, 2010

Giveaway – Greenpost – Plantable Mixed Bag Gift Tags (Set of 12) - CLOSED

Greenpost plantagle tags Greenpost tags  
And the winner is…..(chosen by random.org)
Min:1 / Max:174
Result: 9 = StayTuned! That’s Laura of creativelytangled and lauraslocumpainted

Congratulations, Laura, and thank you to everyone who entered.
Don’t forget to check back for the next giveaway!

How many times have I stared at my pile of accumulated junk mail in despair and lamented over the useless waste of it all? I’ve often wondered why they even send us these things anyway. Now I have my answer. They send it for Kendra.

The multi-talented and environmentally committed artist Kendra Zvonik of GreenPost and teamzvonik  has figured out how to successfully make a beautiful thing out of junk mail.  She transforms it into these charming plantable gift tags which she has generously donated to our giveaway. So you attach it to your gift, your recipient marvels at it’s charm and then she can plant it in her garden and wildflowers will always remind her of your generosity. How’s that for sustainability?

Be sure to also check out Kendra’s teamzvonik shop where she sells moody, hypnotic abstract collage paintings that she upcycles from scraps that her boat canvasser husband brings home to her (how sweet is that?). 


Twelve plantable tags:
(2) Cerise/Overcast Hearts
(2) Hayfield/Wasabi Hearts
(2) Spike/Overcast Hearts
(2) Wasabi/Overcast Stars
(2) Marine/Overcast Stars
(2) Blossom/Overcast Stars


Visit the GreenPost or teamzvonik  and comment here below letting us know which item is your favorite.


(1) Tweet this post
(2) Blog about this contest with a link back to this post
(3) Follow my blog
(4) Follow Kendra’s blog

In your comments here below, let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

Midnight on January 24th

Bon chance!

January 06, 2010

glazedOver Pottery in the Works

Here is some pottery I am working on right now. These are at various stages of air drying. I’m hoping that everything will be sufficiently “bone dry” and ready for the bisque kiln firing before the end of the week.

topview glazedOver ceramic sugar and creamer set glazedOver ceramic sugar and creamer
This is my creamer and sugar set. I recently finished a custom order for these. When this one is complete, I’m planning to list on my shop.

glazedOver pottery sugar and creamer set[1] glazedOver pottery sugar and creamer set[1]
Here is how the custom order came out. I’m very pleased with what the glaze did.

glazedOver tea bag bowls in progressglazedOver ceramics in progress 
Some more tiny tea bag bowls in the works plus some square trays (drying upside down), some buttons, and one bowl I’m making for an experiment with mixed media.

January 03, 2010

Internet Brides, circa 1907

Internet Brides
On September 29, 1907, a steamship called “The Baltic” docked at a New York harbor and let 1,002 would-be brides from Europe disembark in search of husbands. Apparently, the women on board were as excited as the hopeful men waiting at the docks.

 Internet Brides 2
Photographers snapped pictures, bachelors ogled and a brass band played “Cupid’s Garden.”

“I like tall men and blondes,” said Susan Thompson frankly, and then her companions all screamed and Susan laughed until she could hardly speak. “I have read much about Americans making good husbands.”

Miss Agnes McGirr’s home is in Edinburgh. “I want a man with dark hair,” she chirped. “A city man? No, a farmer. A man who is making $1000 a year will do. That isn’t too much to ask in this country is it? How old? Thirty. He has some sense then.”

“They tell me,” remarked Nellie O’Brien from Loch Crae, Tipperary, “that there are no men in Pittsburgh but millionaires. I’m going there, and it’s soon I’ll be riding in my own carriage, I suppose.”
(excerpt from New York World newspaper)

It is fascinating that the world has changed so much in just one hundred years. Just as amazing is that in many ways, it has remained quite the same.