Well folks, it's that time of year again, when we add up receipts and figure costs of manufacturing something, and discover that when we weren't looking, prices went up!

This year, I had noticed that once I added more sizes of microbead forms, particularly larger ones, and more customizations that could be added so that people with single side mastectomy or implant problems could also be served, suddenly I was ordering a LOT more microbeads than usual.  In the medium range sizes, I can make several from a bag, but in the larger sizes, I can only make one or two orders sometimes, so... that also meant that fabric didn't go as far, so I was ordering up to 50% more, and..well... way it goes. 

When making these starts cutting into my own budget, I have to make some changes, so this time, it's $4 per pair for the increase.  It should have gone into effect on January 1st, but I've been running behind with everything while being stuck either in bed or a wheelchair while recovering from some ankle injuries.  Keeping up with sewing microbead forms for people took every possible moment, since it took longer to do all the steps when trying to sew on a bedside table, using my elbow on the foot pedal.  Seriously, you'd have fallen over laughing to watch me sometimes, lol...but where there's a will, there's a way!  Propped my feet up and went right on sewing.  :^)

Are you wondering why a few microbeads more or less make a difference?  Well, it doesn't actually START there.  It starts with now having to keep 3 sizes of shipping bags in stock to accommodate the increase in available pattern sizes, plus triple the bubble wrap, plus a LOT of printer ink for the shipping labels and a new printer to keep up with the postal requirements for those bar codes to be readable, higher internet costs this past year and two sewing machine repair/upgrades, finding a better thread that costs 60% more but doesn't jam the machines, having to buy extra fabric for the additional layers in the customizations for the stretchy-back forms, keeping stocked with the really GOOD fabric that dosn't wear out for years, switching to another more expensive type of lining, having more website readers from other countries so that now I have to add in trips to an actual post office for international shipments instead of just buying labels online for local, paying for upgrading the website to make it easier to read for all the thousands of mobile users that are now logging on (sometimes reading on their phones while having chemo...), the costs of using PayPal to process credit payments and...then... there's the microbeads that went up in price and don't go on sale as often.  To top it all offf, many who uses UPS to ship to me, increased their shipping to cover their increased costs.  So...yeah... is it any wonder that I don't realize how great the cost of doing this is until once a year after all the receipts are tallied?  lol... Yep, knew you'd understand.  :^)

Normally, I try to absorb the extra costs for as long as possible, but this past fall, we had a little money problem ourselves.  Wait'll you hear THIS craziness!  After getting insurance to help with putting a new roof, as well as some help from family, we went to a local company we trusted to ask for recommendations for roofers.  To make a long story short, the counter-guy was part of a team of 'less than talented or honest roofers', who proceeded to take us for almost $8,000, and left us a roof that was barely attached.  It was a metal roof, with very few screws, NO mastic sealing anywhere, no vapor barrier, and on the back half of the house, they didn't even put on the insulation we'd been charged for, they just tacked on little strips around the edges so we'd THINK it was up there, so... rain sounded like a steel drum, sigh... They didn't even use the right kind of screw guns, so they put the screws in either crooked or totally missing the strips they were screwing to, or put them in so tightly that they broke the washers, so they leaked.  It was AWFUL, leaky, unsafe, not to even begin to describe how terrible it looked from the ground.  We had to remove it within days,or risk the entire thing blowing off and harming someone.  Thank God we did, because when we went to lift off the boards they'd nailed down to screw the roofing panels to, we found they lifted off easily by hand because because of the wrong type nails being used.  One hard wind, and our roof would have been lifted completely off, landing on who knows who in our neighborhood.

We had to start over and  buy all new materials since they'd damaged the previous ones so badly.  Essentially, we had to put on two complete roofs within weeks.  Thankfully, a nephew experienced in roofing had mercy on us and painstakingly removed and repaired the damage the bogus roofers did, then installed a BEAUTIFUL strong roof that should last 75 years.  He did it alone, single handed, in between his own life and work, having to take a couple months to repair the damage the four or five bad guys did in a week and totally put on a new beautiful long lasting roof. 

Though it was the most expensive few months of our lives, and we'll never financially recover from it, we still tried to see the good that came from it.  We ended up with a far better and more beautiful roof than we ever could have had if we'd hired even a good local company to repair and replace it all, because our nephew wanted us to have something extra good to help us get over having such a horrible thing happen, and we got to know him a lot better as he frequently stayed with us for a week or two at a time to get the work finished before winter rains could come.  My husband and I grew to totally adore that young man and we miss him when he's not here...trying our best to convince he and his wonderful family to move here permanently, and we look forward to every visit.

The bad part is that now, after having to replace the roof twice like that, we can't afford to completely repair the interior ceiling areas damaged and can't afford to replace the flooring.  We'd planned to take up the carpet and put down hard flooring in case we got to the point of needing wheelchairs again.  And...wait for it...DURING all this with the roof?  I acquired wounds to both ankles from crawling through my best friend's window when she locked herself out of the house, and they wouldn't heal unless I stayed in bed and used the wheelchair when getting around.  You can't make this stuff up, folks, lol... when life happens, it HAPPENS!  Sure could have used those hard floors while in the wheelchair.  I'm hoping to be out of this wheelchair for good soon, as I'm considerably improved and can maybe see the end of weekly visits to the wound center within another month or two.

We'll repair the ceilings a little at a time, maybe replace the carpets with hard flooring a room at a time as we can afford it, and eventually things will get done, but...well... going to have to use all our own money toward that from month to month as we're living on a fixed income.  That keeps me from having extra money to take up the slack when making microbead forms for my non-sewing website readers, no matter how much I love doing it.  And all that, my dear readers, is why I've increased the cost of making the microbead breast forms for you by four dollars a pair.    Kinda seems cheap, now, doesn't it?  lol... I guess it's all in knowing 'the rest of the story'.  :^)