The Battle of the Platforms Part 1

I’m sure we have all been swirled in the mixing pot of updates and platforms it can be frustrating and confusing. I created my website around 10 years ago with my goal of doing reviews and self expression. I have always highly encouraged people to own their own websites then push it out to as many social media platforms as possible. Unfortunately, over time we got it backwards. I see more and more social media platforms take precedents over our voices. I see more and more users silenced and encouraged to become puppets and the social media platforms hold the strings. Giving up your data to apps is kind of like paying the piper with no real return. Through the years of observation I would guess that 90% of people don’t actually read the Terms and Conditions of their soon to be downloaded apps because most users are so excited to get the latest and greatest apps. I’ve watched people of all ages make themselves physically sick with worry about what they wrote, what others wrote and more and more I see good people crumble within themselves.

I’ve watched the steady decline of every “big” app and I experienced the rise and fall of the latest and greatest. I’ve produced and promoted my own shows and content which is, in itself, tough work. The best part is that I have the freedom to push my content to specific platforms. These platforms are designed to make money. They make money from paid promotions, audience size and use your data to justify their rankings in the stock market. Too much truth right? Let’s continue…

Let’s start with Facebook…

Ah yes the all powerful Facebook was designed with specific AI (Arificial Intelligence) from the time it was launched. I come from the background before internet, there were bulky monitors, green texts and symbols. We used our computers to look up products and place orders. I worked in an IT firm where we sold Microsoft licenses, hardware, software, dongles, Nikon cameras and more. We sourced for huge companies and I made really incredible contacts. Dial up Internet was the rage and Nokia cellphones were the main phone you could drop it you could easily replace its broken casing. Y2K was the biggest fear to companies but as IT specialists, we knew way in advance and it was a simple code to move our systems from 1999 to 2000. Crazy right? This was also a moment in time where Apple was not even a key player in business, we referred to Apple products as toys for kids, like a cute video game. Apple products didn’t fit in a Microsoft world of business. Moving forward, with our plastic Nokias and the business version, that you could only buy for business, was the Blackberry. I’ll get into phones in another post.

Back then, technology was getting faster and more advanced. The dial up was now in almost every household. We were getting more tech-savvy and we wanted a way to stay in touch because texting was still pricey per text. Gone were the days of ICQ and other online chats where we met people and yes people would troll each other in those rooms too. Think of these chat rooms like a bunch of mini apps where the administrators create the room and monitor them online dial up. Facebook was born and offered a way to keep in touch and share photos and such. It was an exciting way to catch up and communicate. It was especially important to families who were spread out around the world. We wrote posts updating our lives and main life events. Eventually, businesses were added and the rest is what you see today. Facebook became an obsession and a platform for adult and children bullying. Chain letter forwarding through private messages breeds more stealing of identity, unsatisfied customers making horrid reviews destroying businesses. What I see on Facebook now is so far from what it was meant to do it is sad. When Mark Zuckerburg got himself into some hot water over the AI and gathering of information he unknowingly unleashed a “beast” that is now impossible to undo. Facebook itself has a questionable future despite these so called ratings that favour Facebook by users alone. I’m watching Facebook crumble and despite these Facebook loyalists, I’ve been in the tech biz long enough to see the signs. My personal opinion is not in favour of the Facebook platform for my mentioned reasons and so much more. The AI and information gathering has transformed itself into an intrusive way for others to know about intimate details of your lives. This “safe space” has developed TV shows like Catfish and movies like Unfriended. It saddens me that a seemingly innocent app started off with such promise has now turned into a mixed bag of good and crazy.

Let’s move on to Twitter…

Twitter has been my go-to social media spot but I have observed their huge decline over the years as well. Twitter is like a huge chat room. Nothing like Facebook. I found Twitter to be filled with amazing writers, poets, comedians, business partners everything I love. There really isn’t anything to “get” about this platform. You basically write words, let off some steam, make people laugh and even make business connections which are an excellent way to network. It was freeing to be able to express myself and not be judged. You receive real time news and information which is excellent. Over the last few years I see where Twitter has been failing. It’s turning into a bad generic form of itself. Censorship is starting to run rampant as more and more people leave the platform. What was once a playground of expression is now turning into a long list of rules that don’t apply to anyone. For business and promotion it’s been growing it’s commerce flooding timelines with ads which is great but if Twitter keeps banning tweets reprimanding paying business accounts, they won’t have any users and business partners left to send these ads to.

In short, my stance is still “Find your voice and own your space online”. Getting wrapped up with follower numbers and complaining to tech support is not going to get you far in your online adventure. Social media is an extension to bring people to your content. I often ask people who talk about their follower count, where are you taking your followers to? 98% of people cannot answer this simple question. I’m a strong believer in self empowerment and I believe that users need to understand that no app is forever. All content you upload belongs to that platform. Let me repeat every picture, every word, every account belongs to your favourite app. You’re a number and if you bring more people to their app you can fill their pockets and potentially lose your “followers” should they choose.

The Battle of the Platforms will be an ongoing battle as apps come and go, users come and go.

My questions to you is..

Who are you? What do you do? Where can people meet you? Why do you want to be online? How will your voice be heard?

Battle of the Platforms continue to Part 2..

An Afternoon

It feels like it’s been a million days into quarantine and keeping the kids’ spirits up is a job in itself. So.. I’ve been baking and self teaching how to make dishes from scratch. If you check out my Pinterest I’ve created a Recipe board of dishes I’ve tried and going to try.

An afternoon snack, good ol’ cookies and milk

The above is a recipe I’ve sworn by because it quickly puts smiles on the faces of my family. I’ve also made variations of these recipes which I will share over the next couple of weeks. I’m adjusting ingredients and adding fresh ingredients.

I think it’s important to get back to our roots and learn and teach the basics of cooking and baking in such a questionable time. Our kids may not have a traditional school but I opted to keep teaching them what I feel they need to know to live freely.

Batches of baked treats!

Stay safe and practice social distancing. People can be selfish, which is in itself a dangerous mindset to practice. Regardless of facts, or just plain ignorance you cannot change them. Misery loves company so steer clear. This “It’s not real, it’s a conspiracy..” is irresponsible and misleading. Educate yourself, is it better to be overly safe or close to death.

Choose happiness my friends, it’s just a belief away.

Real Talk..

Ok rather than answer separate messages and email I will open it up on here.

As an online personality, radio host and mother I want to make this shit clear. I have a sassmouth, I express myself online and on the airwaves with other co-hosts I will not edit myself and we all like me that way.

Just by watching you all over the past 6 months, I can see how suspicious and scared you are about new people and things out of the norm. I get it. What you see is what you get when it comes to me. I’ve been bullied all my life and I’m not about to feel that way ever again especially when none of you know me. I have great ideas, they don’t all work out, obviously, but the intentions are always good. I wanted to present our own Canadian show because we deserve one. I don’t know and don’t care about the drama or history in your community that is for you to hash out. It’s not my focus. My focus is to provide a space where new artists and vendors can sell their dolls and accessories to serious doll collectors. I took a leap wth investors, friends and most of you who supported it. Overall, it happened and I learned a lot.

For example, y’all cycles synched up so 4 days is too many days. Meals are too expensive so that won’t happen again. I welcome proper feedback here. Smart ass comments will be deleted and you will be banned from my site.

From the feedback I’ve received via email and private messaging in the last 24 hours most of you actually want to help make it better for next year.

This is the only reason I will even consider another show.

Instead of bashing something we cannot change I welcome feedback here and here only. If you want to show everyone how good the community is then prove it. I introduced people, who have been following me for years, to my doll making passion and they are all very intrigued.

I want a new community with more support than hate.

Your choice.

Dolls have no feelings

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010 with all the therapy I went through I was at the lowest of my life. Like most of us during that time, I loved watching YouTube videos of crafts and craft ideas. I made stuffed animals, blankets and costumes for my children but I mostly loved making dolls for my daughter. Then, I found reborn baby dolls. I bought all my supplies and doll kits and away I went. I couldn’t afford those fancy ovens so I used a toaster oven and had to somehow Tetris the doll limbs to fit. In short, making these dolls were not only my therapy but they brought out a confidence in me that I could do something on my own since my diagnosis.

Fast forward to 2019.

I spent 2 years planning an international doll event, the first one in Canada. My intentions were to have a show space for new artists and Canadians who couldn’t get to the larger shows.

My family and investors contributed thousands of dollars, man hours because we believed this would be a good start to Canada. That’s what we thought.

I didn’t know anyone in the doll world. I was warned how nasty the community could be but I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe in a world full of therapy and happiness they would have the teeth as sharp and evil as the Devil.

The show had good and bad. Vendors who flaked and those who stayed until the end. I’ve heard praise during and at the end from people who appreciated our efforts with encouragement that no matter what happens, to hold another show. I was horribly surprised that mothers and fellow artists could be so cruel. The authorities are involved now because a choice few have taken it to a whole new and dangerous level. I can’t understand how women could preach anti bullying with their children yet perpetuate it online towards other people. Targeted harassment, slander and defamation is the name of the game and it’s a sad day that I am witnessing it all in 2019.

The witch-hunt for proof of “scamming” and fraud has not and will not result in any wrong doing. Perhaps people don’t believe that something and some people are simply just good with good intentions.

I can preach through as many blogs, vlogs, podcasts as I can but the damage that has been done to innocent people is unforgivable and illegal. With their pitchforks and gnashing teeth ready to pounce on the kind and innocence of good people has left me disgusted and my eyes are now wide opened to reasons why social media has policies in place and why I’ve been warned so many times. This is no different from any other proverbial witch-hunt the only difference is the year. I never expected to be accepted in the doll world because I don’t follow their rules. I don’t blindly follow the crowd..

My family and friends have been hurt from all of this. The only thing they wanted was for me to see my dream come true before I had to take a life threatening treatment for my MS. If it was the last thing I’d see, they wanted it to succeed and they did everything to make it happen. I am so happy I got to share my dream with these beautiful people in my life, they sacrificed time, effort, money they all laughed with me, cried with me they refused to let me quit… because of their love for me, they didn’t want to tell me about how horribly they were being treated. They wanted me to heal and for 2 weeks they shouldered all the negativity, lies and bullying for me. Those are the people who matter to me right now.

Dolls have no feelings, people do.

A word of warning..

This post is about a hard lesson I had to learn. Friendship and business will not work if one of the parties has suspect motives.

I started an event with someone I thought I could trust.

In November 2017, we discussed our plans and I signed a contract for the show venue with a deposit. We both paid the deposit. She then suggested that I change my website to American money and she would have her IT person to run it. It was HORRIBLE and the IT didn’t return my calls nor give a simple email. And so… the sabotage began…

The whole point of starting a Doll show in Canada is because my fellow Canadian artists were struggling to attend American shows with our Canadian dollar so weak. Because she is a stubborn ass, she didn’t like the way my show was planned, she wanted all the attention on her booth space and that was not fair to my other vendors. I also didn’t agree with the website being priced in US dollars for a Canadian show! So I took my website back. She was not happy. She then asked me to use this joke of a planner who wanted to stick signs in the ground for a college that was in the worst part of my city. I should’ve known when she left a family emergency to have a meeting with me and this other planner! Who would choose a meeting over family?! Also not my style.

I should’ve known that when someone talks about every single artist’s love life and personal struggle they probably don’t have much of a life and they are not a trustworthy person. She would tell me all kinds of space cadet things about how wonderful her life was and how “nice” she was however her own family member warned me about her. In reality, she is a struggling business woman with very shady business practices.

I allowed my dolls to be in her store to show my work. She did not purchase them. I never accepted a discount for any supplies that I purchased that is not my style to do, I’m an artist investing in myself. Her paint was dry and it ruined some of my dolls I was preparing for the show. I was devastated and didn’t think I could fix them in time, but I didn’t give up and fixed them!

4 months before the show, I was to have my first medical infusion instead of showing support she told me she was backing out because she didn’t understand why I was compensating the teachers with a booth, travel and hotel accommodations. It seemed pretty straightforward but I guess in all her years she lost her common sense.

After over a year of planning and 4 months before the show and medical recovery, my husband would not let me cancel the show. With the risk of death looming and I was losing my vision, I asked him to make sure my children understood that I wanted to do something good for the artwork that saved my mental and physical state over 10 years ago. Our backer was now sabotaging me and our plans. It was sad and pathetic.

My family begged me not to cancel the show, my son was preparing speeches, my family was preparing to travel from all over the world.. vendors were preparing, participants were emailing me how excited they were.. I had to either cancel or keep going.

Out from nowhere, another friend came to the rescue. She would not let me quit and did everything she could to make sure I was recovering and as stress free as possible. We whipped up whatever we could and continued on with plans. Of course there were hiccups and confusion, overall I’m extremely proud of what my team of family and friends accomplished.

In order to have peace of mind and to close this chapter I decided to write the following personal letter and I would love your opinions:

Over much deliberation I’ve decided to continually support all my Canadian entrepreneurs with those who have proper business practices. I will not deal with thieves and those that extort money from artists.

I still haven’t received my money for my Liam doll that was sold for $750 October 2018 and while I was recovering from a serious infusion my husband and my friend had to pay $900 to get my dolls back. Luckily, my artwork was brought back to me and I was able to put them in my booth!

Lol when I received a pile of unorganized hand written invoices with no back up documentation and what I allegedly “owed” I was told that the amount was in American but purchased from a Canadian store that is so weird! So I converted it and uh.. it turned out I would’ve owed only $300 but wait I also sold a doll for $450 and still nothing in my hand. I’ve been in business for many years and this kind of practice is just so strange. I may not be a famous artist but I do know that someone that preys on an artist’s hard work through “friendship” is really someone I will never want to deal with in any fashion. All is not lost I will buy my kits directly from the sculptors I love because I want every penny to go to them, I know what the actual definition of integrity is. Do you know?

Leave a comment and let me know if I should send it.

The End of Probibition – Canada 10/17/2018

*CLICK FOR PODCAST* The End of Prohibition

Today was an interesting one it is now officially legal to consume cannabis and it marks the beginning of so many more opportunities. I discuss them in my latest podcast episode below. Enjoy and share your thoughts!

Much love

SS ❤️

Check out my episode “Episode 8 The End of Prohibition – Canada 10/17/18” from Stiletto Moments on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/stilettosupermom/episodes/Episode-8-The-End-of-Prohibition—Canada-101718-e2ava0

A Little Retro

*CLICK FOR VIDEO* Make it with Me! A Retro Apron Story

Summer is slowly starting to say its final goodbyes. I still have the windows open and it’s almost October! It’s inevitable the snow is on its way and I will soon have to do my traditional “hibernation”.

Last week, I had a lovely meeting with my colleague and was feeling so good about it I literally got inspired. If you’re anything like me, you will know that fabric stores, crafts, handmade artwork are my weaknesses. Knitting, crocheting, sewing and more recently felting have been great outlets for me to express myself. So, after my meeting I popped over to Fabricland and I wandered throughout the store touching fabric and looking in all the tiny corners for hidden gems. As you are aware, I am an art doll maker so of course my whole intention was to possibly sew a baby quilt or something. Then I found this amazing fabric and I knew exactly what I had to do with it.

I found it on the bottom shelf tucked in behind some other unrelated fabric. Not only is this my favourite I Love Lucy episode, the colours are gorgeous retro shades. I immediately thought about making an apron for my doll painting and other crafts. I gathered my focal fabric and some cute complimentary and contrast fabrics to give it a modern day/vintage look.

I found this chocolate brown fabric with delicate fine lines and flowers for the main apron, a dusty rose and white polka dotted fabric to compliment the main colour, then I added 1 full panel pocket and 2 smaller pockets on the front. I made sure I had room to carry my cellphone, pens, scissors and other notions.

I made my own pattern by copying the shape of my rooting apron. I started with the centre pocket with the base of 4 blocks of the focal fabric measuring 14 x 14 inches. I cut out 2 blocks of the focal fabric and put them over the bottom 2 blocks of the square piece. I finished the top edges of the pockets with white bias tape, I stitched between the 2 blocks to separate them into 2 smaller pockets. After cutting out the shape of the apron I attached the middle pockets. I kept the pocket looking like it was thrown together for that vintage homemade feel. For the straps, I took the dusty rose and white polka dot fabric and cut 4 x 3 inch strips, folded and sewed them right sides together lengthwise, turned the 4 pieces inside out, pressed and attached 2 pieces at the top of the apron for the neck tie and 2 pieces on either side of the waist of the apron. I also made the straps longer so I could wrap them around my waist and tie a bow at the front under the pocket. I finished all the edges around the apron, pressed the seams and taa daa! A fresh apron ready to get dirty!

I may do a video tutorial in the future for those that are interested in this quick little project. More sewing projects coming up soon!

Hope you all had a fantastic day!

SS

Movie Review: The Founder

This is a great rags-to-riches story. A lot of people don’t know that the McDonalds corporation is actually based on realty deals and land purchases. The movie takes you on a journey through the ups and downs of growing a business.

There are twists and turns that organically develop emotionally with family and friendships. Ruthless business decisions are aggressively made showing the destruction of a lot of relationships. I love business development it’s exciting and fun yet filled with some hard decisions.

They say business is like swimming with sharks, it could be true in many cases, however in my years of diving in and out of corporate life things always even itself out.

Everything that crumbles will be rebuilt. Everything wrong will be made right. Things may seem bleak and even cutthroat but maybe we have to be challenged in order to push ourselves passed the tough times.

Watch it on Netflix

SS

What a great weekend!

The past weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a long time!

I went to a summer resort and I had so much fun. It was a surprise that it even existed in Ontario. Being there reminded me how beautiful the area around me is. I hope to find more hidden gems before summer is over.

We decided to postpone my upcoming event. We didn’t realize how many people wanted to be a part of it. It’s great though it’ll give me more time to get everything as close to my vision as I can.

I’m still excited and am getting estimates for a ton of things I need.

For now, to make a few more dolls lol

Take care guys!

SS

Over already?!

It's the Civic Holiday weekend and it feels like the summer months passed by so fast! I blame most of this on the weirdest weather I've seen in years! It would rain so hard it sounded like hail against my windows, thunderstorms at least once a week followed by extreme heat where I could hardly breathe. Although, I'd rather have this weather than the upcoming winter months.

The back-to-school supplies and clothing are in all the stores, I can almost hear my bank account cry for my school shopping days that are just around the corner. It will be an emotional school year for me as my last little pterodactyl will be leaving the nest to go to school. So far, he knows his numbers up to 10 and backwards, but he refuses to sing the alphabet song lol. Thanks to the iPad he does know what the letters are, but he just doesn't like the song. I'm guessing that he thinks the song is dumb, he rolls his eyes every time I ask him to sing it.

Lately, my days are filled with doll orders and event planning. It's a truly exciting time for me. I have found what I love in all aspects of my life from the kids, social life and now my artistry. They often say that when your personal life is good everything else around is chaos. I am living proof that the saying is NOT true. We all need to find the balance in our own lives or things get harder and harder to do. It's like the universe makes some things in our lives difficult in order to accept something better in our lives. "Out with the old, in with the new" has a deeper meaning than we think. This whole year has unraveled many important life choices for me. My family relationships have been stronger now than ever, financial security is finally here, reuniting with my childhood best friend, maintaining deeper relationships with my friends from all over my online world and forming new amazing friendships who have cleared my mind and settled my soul.

Yes, you can have it all, yes abundance is attainable. If you want these things, you have to release everything that you know is holding you back. It will seem so difficult to let go, but it will be worth it and those difficult moments you are experiencing right now, will be in your distant past. Right when you're about to give up hope is when you have to gather up as much strength as you have to get through the rough moments. You will see your end goals, not when YOU want to see it, but when you're ready to accept it.

SS