Challenges and Updates

Challenges from Do Weekly Podcast

Several of my friends are small business owners. A few of them are even full-time small business owners. One of my friends is a co-host for a podcast that presents challenges for small business owners. Check out the Do Weekly Podcast, where you’ll get an entertaining discussion of the latest challenge and how the hosts have done on their own progress for the same challenges.

Having found the podcast after they were already nearly 30 episodes in means that of course I’m starting from the beginning, and not from the most recent episode. Also, I’m not a full-time entrepreneur. I have a day job, full-time, regular business hours (with a commute in Los Angeles traffic!) plus I support the freelance work of my partner. Also, I have my dance instruction part-time and my crafty pursuits at home. But since there’s not a support group just for posting about the Do Weekly Podcast, I decided I should start a few blog posts when I work through the challenges.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Episode 001: Update your about page

I definitely have several challenges that compound the efforts it will take to complete this task. Just one “About Page,” really? Nope, this is going to require that I look over ALL my websites and the ones that I support to ensure I haven’t let things just get old and dusty.

I used to have a weekly task so that I would make certain all the sites I work on had their themes and plugins up-to-date on WordPress. That’s a technical and administrative task that just requires I check the sites, click “Update” where needed, and make sure everything’s working. And while it could be automated in some ways, it also cost me money once when I tried automating the task. So instead, I just do the work manually. I’d fallen behind on doing this weekly, and I got caught up today over lunch. Time to put a task on my calendar so that I don’t forget to do this weekly at a minimum.

Next, in order to work on the About Page challenge, I should probably prioritize the business-related sites first and then look over the vanity sites second. I did manage one major update to a biography that I wrote in 2010 and left untouched ever since. Now it’s updated to 2018 and had several fixes applied. The list isn’t complete yet, but that’s the challenge I’m going to work through until it’s done.

Various States of Things

Beyond these fun things like challenging myself to improve my websites and my various “businesses” (both literally businesses and more figuratively so), things are going pretty well lately.

  • Since my last update, Sweetie conducted two more weddings, both for family friends. I made a reversible stole for his wedding outfits which I’m quite proud of (photos below).
  • I started a large silk spinning project during July’s “Tour de Fleece,” photos of which seem to resemble heads of cabbage (see the full photo album) when you’re scrolling quickly through social media posts. I also launched into some cotton processing by hand (which will take quite some time to work through).
  • Sweetie performed for a week at the largest Scandinavian festival in the US. I managed to make two pairs of pants, two tunics, and hand-woven trim for both tunics for his viking closet (see full photo album).
  • We did a large photo shoot to update his Santa photos, presenting me another major opportunity for website updates to queue for my days off.
  • I had the fun of being a guest on a podcast with a friend of mine in September. I’m just so impressed with my various friends who are producing podcasts. Los Angeles traffic is only endurable because there’s so much for me to listen to as I drive. You can check out and to listen to those.
  • Teaching dance continues to go well. I have a handful of regular students at two locations, with both supporting a Level One and Level Two class.
  • My old injured knee still gives me trouble, but my new massage therapist is a miracle worker and I’m seeing improvement weekly.

Various Photos

Just a few highlights.

New reversible stole for “Ceremonies by True”

New reversible stole for “Ceremonies by True”

Silk lap pulled apart to spin–and be mistaken for heads of cabbage

One of the new viking era tunics, with hand-woven custom designed trim


Little Crafts Here and There

Part of my experience for 2012 included selecting a “theme word” to motivate and excite me for the year. It replaced the notion of a New Year’s Resolution, and yet it still had some of the impact that Resolutions often do. In 2012, I selected DANCE as my theme word, and it was a very successful theme. I started my advanced classes in January 2012, and ramped up my skills and techniques through my regular dance schedule and “Summer Camp” for 10-Saturdays over the summer.

This year, the word FOCUS has become my major theme: Focusing on what matters most; focusing on primary passions and pursuits; reducing clutter to focus my possessions; hand-selecting which crafts I should truly focus on over the year.

Now, most evenings I jot down some quick notes on how I had some success with my primary focus activities. I’ve narrowed the categories in my life to Family, Dance/Fitness, and Crafts, with some subcategories that relate to these three major pursuits. Last week, in an effort to do something crafty and yet support pursuits in fitness, I sewed a little bag quickly one evening.

Little Bag

The fabric was scrap material left over from sewing part of the Boyo’s Halloween costume, a nice linen/rayon blend. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the button is a perlescent green that I found in my spare buttons basket.

Three stretch bands, to remind myself to keep limber and gain strength
Total time to complete bag: approximately 45 minutes

My exercise stretch-bands live in this bag now, and the bag lives in my laptop backpack where I keep the power cord. This reminds me to stretch and work my arms and shoulders, every time I setup and put away my laptop. For someone who works on computers all day, this is quite important!

My crafty to-do list is quite long, but it pleases me greatly to sometimes do the small, simple crafts to make me feel successful and inspired.

Do you have little tasks you could be working on? Something quick to complete and add to the “Finished Objects” list?

Sunday Hand-Stitching

This weekend I packed up my “current projects” sewing basket, a box full of linen, and some handbags of sewing notions and hauled them out for sorting, labeling, and prioritizing. My sewing corner is now dusted and ready for work with stacks of projects waiting for me.

Prioritizing had the most effect on me: What I wanted to work on was not necessarily what I needed to work on first. The oldest “need now” projects were actually my finger cymbals (called “zills”). I would never have guessed that, but in honest reflection, they’d been on hold the longest.

(click a photo to enlarge)

Two of the three sets, ready again for class

The zills you see in the center of the photo are the oldest set in my kit. I’ve been using these since my college days, some well loved Turkish Saroyan cymbals.They’ve been good to me, but the elastic was at least two years old and getting worn. The orange crocheted mufflers, “zuffs,” were also getting a little bit worn. So I replaced the elastic and reinforced the zuffs. I also stitched some contrasting thread on the elastics to identify Right versus Left, Thumb versus Finger. You can just barely see some orange stitching on the Right zills and burgundy stitching on the Left zills. The finger zills have a spot of color on the top of the elastic, and the thumbs have a “T” stitched on the underside center.

The new SHINY set in the foreground of my Turquoise International, size B Turkish, 2 1/2″ cymbals. New, new, new! *grin* These needed their first set of elastics so I marked them the same way I marked my old Turkish zills, and I reinforced the zuffs before even using them.

We use the zuffs when we need to practice zilling without making a lot of noise. Some of our housemates work at 5 am so, to get out the door by 4 am, they need to go to sleep by 8 pm. Our advanced class runs from 8-9:30 pm, so we need to muffle our zills in the evening. It’s also really helpful to muffle them when practicing at home, out and about, wherever you need to save the sanity of other people but still practice all the technical work of zilling while dancing. My roomie’s mom lives next door (convenient!) and she makes these zuffs and the zill bags for sale, in a wide plethora of colors. You can see my color preference. *grin*

Finally, I had a Twisted Gypsy patch for ages and no idea what I wanted to sew it on. So I decided to add the patch to one of my zill bags. The other zill bag features a rough embroidered attempt at the Gypsy Sisters logo, since we don’t have patches yet. Now I have a new heavy set for my performances and my old set to loan to my fellow dancers in classes when they forget theirs or maybe they don’t have zuffs. Later, I need to add the elastics to my smaller Turquoise cymbals (they might be size A), which I’ll sew for tiny fingers. I have much larger fingers than some of my fellow dancers, so I cannot loan them my normal cymbals in class. I have a smaller set just for loaning to someone with tiny fingers. But that set of cymbals did not make the priority list… I’ll work on those later.

And just for fun, here’s a great image of Sydney and I (as Gypsy Sisters) dancing at the Secret Garden (Moorpark) at the Into It Tribal Nights August 30 showcase.

Photo by Roger Hendrix (Depictions by Roger)

P.S. You can buy your own got zills? bumper sticker from Faizeh on Cafepress.

The Tassel Belt in Action

Remember when I made a tassel belt in less than 48 hours for Nat?

Here’s the performance and the belt in action:

If the embedded video doesn’t play for you, go to YouTube: – Jennalah’s Dance Party “Cashbah Belly” at Skinnys Restaurant January 2011: Twisted Gypsy

You’ll also see why I’ve purchased shiny embroidery threads and shisha mirrors ( to further decorate the belt. Hers looks too plain on stage in comparision to all the other belts.
Friday I’ll also be working on floral hair clips with my friend Adrienne. I’ll start with some pieces I can wear myself, and see if I want to make any for my friends. Primarily I want to figure out how to make “dreads” on hair clips for dancers, but I only own 2 flower clips right now. And there’s nothing like coming up with new costume accessories.

If you didn’t know, I’m studying dance AND drum with all these folks. This is the dance style and the drumming that I’ve been working on since June 2011. I’m completely addicted. The only downside? Figuring out when I will drum versus when I will dance! *grin*