Bury and Move Forward

I just got home from a cold long walk in my Moobury earmuffs, deep in thought and half the time not knowing where I was.  Luckily, it is really hard to get lost in the middle of Manhattan.  The problem with this time of year isn’t the cold weather, but how it stirs up deep reflection.  While there is hope for the new year, it comes with harsh criticism towards the one that just passed.

Not knowing what came over me this morning, I felt a sudden urge to count the number of earmuff frames I had left.  A year ago I learned that the retailer I bought my frames from had diminished in quality.  I tried buying from other sources online, but they were all flimsy and not up to my standards.  As life happened in 2017, heartbreaks, job changes, and family drama, I kind of let the issue slide.  I wasn’t even sure if I had it in me to keep Moobury going anymore.

Yet there I was counting, ‘2,4,6,8…20…20…’ 

I felt myself go numb, twenty frames is not enough to get me through another season, and definitely doesn’t leave me room to develop any new designs.   I had dedicated a whole day to work on Moobury, but instead I lost all desire for the day I had originally planned.  So I put on a personal favorite earmuffs, and just started roaming, texting, browsing online and reaching out for any consolation I could find on this whole frame situation.  And when that moment of trance started shifting to reality, I found myself in a coffee shop looking at old emails and blogs from 2014 when I was rallying the troupes to start Moobury

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‘I'm willing to do this, but this is a lot of money for this point in my life and I want to make sure everyone is committed to making Moobury happen…...I value everyone's time, efforts and connections above all else, so I have not, and will not ask for you guys to put in any money.  I'm also well aware that all of us have priorities in life larger than project Moobury, which is why all these things have been put off till this point (myself in particular at fault here)...BUT this is one of those now or never crunch moments.  TIme to find out if Moobury is going to live or become steak... >_<...So I'm going to thank everyone in advance for all the spare time Moobury is going to take, all the friends you're going to ask for help and for the lack of sleep you will be experiencing…- ug’ - 10/24/14

A little over 3 years ago there was nothing, but a project and an idea.  In 3 years we went from lost Burberry earmuffs and no sewing background to handmaking 150 earmuffs. Moobury went from a single listing Etsy shop to a full collection and website.  We went from selling them to friends and family to now selling them to customers that find me online. 

What I have done with Moobury has always seemed small to me because I dreamt of so much more. I forgot where it started, what I was going through in life, and what everyone else was going through while this hobby existed in the background. The people that pitched in back in the day were students or just starting out on their career journey, everyone has grown and moved onto bigger and better things.  Throughout the years we came together time and time again to talk about a made up brand that has now become our shared past.  That sentiment is bittersweet.  And as I watch my frame stash dwindle, I go back and forth on whether I am holding onto Moobury because of the past or is it something I truly love and made my own to grow?

I was an endodontic resident when this first started, neck deep in student loans and the poorest and most tired I’ve ever been in life.  Even then, I was so fearless and determined that I invested what was almost five times my rent to get things off the ground (~$3000). I knew nothing and had barely enough to get by, yet I didn’t care. Now I’m working and living comfortably in NYC, but finding myself stuck wondering if I should take the next step because I have to invest even more now for Moobury to continue.

In the end, I know what needs to be done, but admitting it outloud is the hard part.  Like many risks I’ve taken, it seems stupid but feels right, and often times the right actions are uncomfortable and bring on new pains.  I have no clue where this chapter of Moobury is going to take me or even if I have the resources to get it there, but I owe it to everyone who has supported me in the past and myself to log this new uncomfortable journey as I try.  Good or bad, every earmuff I make now will forever mean more.  In the beginning Moobury was made to bury my ruined Burberry earmuffs, and now it has become a constant reminder to bury my past pains and move forward.  It’s a process, a slow grind, and one a dedicated, hardworking cow is definitely built for.

Happy New Year to all! Whether we are in each other’s lives or not, I wish everyone happiness and success in burying past pains and moving forward. 

Season 3 Moobury is here!

Dear Moo-Friends,

The weather is getting cold again, and so begins Moobury Season 3!

I'm really proud of this collection because I poured all that I learned from making close to 100 earmuffs by hand over the last two winters into this season's designs.  From the very beginning my goal for Moobury was to replace the Burberry cashmere earmuffs I lost in the dry-cleaner mishap.

A look back on my birthday party 3 years ago, where everyone came to help me make earmuffs.

A look back on my birthday party 3 years ago, where everyone came to help me make earmuffs.

As much as I made that claim to others, I only half believed it myself.  I was perfectly content thinking I was going to recoup my losses by learning new things with my friends and building memories.  Little did I know that people would take my vocalized sadness on something that now looks so silly and small, so seriously.

This season I have outdone Burberry, and made cashmere earmuffs of my own! My revenge is complete.  I have bought higher quality/expensive material that I was scared to work with in the past, and focused in on the precision of my hand-sewing.

Thank you to all the moo-friends that helped me with sewing, photo-shoots, website design, selling, and social media.  Thank you to all the moo-friends that bought earmuffs and Moobowy totes to fund another season of Moobury.  And thank you to all the Etsy customers that read my story and reached out to me saying they too were trying to replace earmuffs they lost. 

This all has been a wonderful adventure and has provided me closure.  All of you have successfully buried that earmuff-shaped hole in my heart.  So without further ado please enjoy the fruits of your labor, here.

If you like what you see, please spread the word of Moobury, and invite them to follow us on facebook and instagram for updates.

<3 Eugenia

Etsy New York Blogger Debut

Just finished writing my first blog entry for the Etsy New York Team.  They asked me to write about travel and fashion, or more how they relate as I often stress that I'm inspired by my travels.

To check it out, love it, and comment --> go here!

p.s. - CLICK THE 'BAMBI' LINK!!

p.p.s. - The unicorn music box linked video is purty cool too.

2015: Eugenia

Miss the little guy so much! He's still my desktop background <3.

Miss the little guy so much! He's still my desktop background <3.

I started 2015 off with no home, no income, a failing thesis and a recent breakup.  I was a source of stress for my family, and a sad sight for my friends.  So to not cause trouble, my instincts were to go into hiding to sort out my broken life alone.

Despite my best efforts, I needed help.  My friends graciously opened up their homes, so I packed my necessary belongings into my tiny car and migrated from place to place for five months.  I lived with much uncertainty, and the furthest from settled I hope to ever be.  And because of this I was forced to give up my loving loyal companion, Gnocchi.  I couldn't make him suffer with me, and not all apartments I crashed at were pet-friendly.  Giving him up was the hardest sacrifice I had to make all year, but in the end I'm happy we found him a good home.

Eventually with the help of my director, caring faculty, staff and colleagues, my thesis began heading in the right direction and 7 months later I was finally able to complete my thesis and graduate from my residency.  During this time I traveled, moved to New Jersey, job searched, and reconnected with family.  To my family I appeared lost, and to my friends I appeared like I was having too much fun to focus on my research.  Only I knew that deep down I was soul searching.  The frustration and insecurities that accumulated when hitting such a low point was immense.  Towards the end of 2015, any resemblance of the life I knew was gone.  And so to not become completely lost I sat down and began writing/blogging to get reacquainted with myself.  I had many conversations with my inner self (and yes, I realize this is half crazy), but mini-ug and I had some great late night chats. 'Hi ug, you still there? what's going on? who are you now? who do you want to be? what went wrong?'  and as time went on, the chats became more and more empowering, 'Remember the time when you did __? You're still awesome, believe in yourself because somehow other people still believe in you. You're healthy, you're safe, you're loved.  You're still there, I'm still here. Now what can I do for us?'

I wrapped up 2015 with a warm apartment, a great job as a full-time endodontist at Encore Dental, a loving boyfriend, and more friends and family than I've ever known to appreciate in the past.  And with some clutch purchases by some friends, I managed to finally break even for Moobury!  Hurray!  I'm excited to see what the new year brings, starting off strong this year.  Rawr!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!  For those that are starting the year off steady, I wish for bigger better things.  And for those that are starting off on uneven footing, I have 100% faith that with hard work and persistence you'll be in a very different spot at the end of the year. Cheers! - ug

Portia

Portia!

Portia!

I’d like to dedicate this entry to Portia (aka Conx).  She’s one of the founders of Moobury, and has gotten little recognition for being such a big part of what it is today.  Without her there would be no Moobury earmuffs! *gasps* a world without moo-muffs?!

That’s right, Conx is my sewing mentor, she taught me how to sew and is the seamstress that figured out how to make the earmuffs by hand.  Without such a talented partner, I’d still be staring at pieces of fabric wishing for elves to appear and make my dreams come true.  Now I can be my own earmuff elf and fill Christmas orders for all the good boys and girls. ;)

 

Learning to make earmuffs took a lot of patience on my end, but teaching a novice to make earmuffs took a marathon’s worth of endurance and patience on Portia’s end.  After about 10 painstaking hours of trial, error and seam ripping, we got our first pair of earmuffs!  

And then another 10 more (100+ hours) for the earmuffs you see today. 

As I am reflecting back on the origins of Moobury, I would also like to take this time to thank all the friends that blindly ordered/invested in moo-muffs in the beginning.  Even when I didn’t even know how to sew you guys believed in me anyway. And I hope you all are proud to see how we’ve grown, couldn’t have done it without all the support. <3

Portia is a special earmuff on Moobury, it is the only one that is made and designed by Portia herself.  She hand embroidered the band on a beautiful stretch denim fabric.  This is a limited edition earmuff!! I cannot and will not make something so complicated; I leave it to the master.  So for anyone that is into one-of-a-kind craftsmanship, the Portia earmuff is for you!  (Her birthday is also coming up, so it would be awesome to tell her a design of hers sold…*still keeping my fingers crossed*)

 

These days Portia is working as a quantitative data analyst at Cogo Labs.  We haven’t been able to make earmuffs together since I moved to NJ, so she’s been doing her own hobby crafting.  She makes these super intricate silk habotoi and charmeuse scarves, hand painted, heat set and then hand washed.  Each scarf takes more than 30 hours to make, a true labor of love.  She’s available to be commissioned if anyone is interested in a particular design (ie. Moocow. lol), otherwise keep checking in the shop to see if any of Portia Considine's masterpieces start popping up. 

Thai Fisherman Pants DIY

Lately I’ve been finding this new sewing/crafting hobby quite useful.  I’ve been feeling much less restricted as I now have options I didn't have before.  I can actually create my ideas!  In the past I could only shop for what I wanted, and when I couldn't find what I was looking for, I would end up settling.  I buy the next closest thing out of necessity, but always feeling unsatisfied.  So if my pickiness with earmuffs led me to start Moobury, it was only a matter of time before this obsessiveness seeped into other aspects of my life.

In my spare time, I’ve been working on a series of at home projects that give me a good creative outlet.  Bit by bit I’m creating the world I want to have around me.

My most recent d.i.y project was a pair of thai fisherman pants.  It was a favor for a friend because he’s quite tall, and somehow all the pants available online are too short/one size fits all. #onesizedoesNOTfitall #tallpeopleproblems

Since I wasn’t able to find a good sewing pattern with detailed measurements online, they were either ugly or extremely vague, I ended up purchasing a cheap pair off Amazon.  They fit me perfectly, cool, nothing’s going to waste.  I proceeded to trace the outline of individual pieces onto kraft paper, and made my friend put on the pants (one size fits all right?).  From there I measured which areas were short, what needed to be added, and extended the lines on my pattern as needed.

You will need about 3 yards of choice fabric or 2 yards for the bottom and 1 yard for the top if you want two colors.  I used 2 yards of bottom weight wine red denim, and  1 yard black linen for the belt/wrap area. The benefit of custom making is being able to adjust the design to better suit your needs, in this case a more durable fabric (denim) was chosen and velcro pockets were added in.  My friend wanted something that he could wear for the colder New England weather, and be functional for everyday use.  Not bad for the first clothing item I've ever made.

Halloween DIY Raccoon Costume

Make-up tidbit: seriously follow the contours of your face when outlining the your mask....you're more raccoon than you think. ;)

Make-up tidbit: seriously follow the contours of your face when outlining the your mask....you're more raccoon than you think. ;)

This halloween was a special.  It was the first time I got to give out candy to kids, and also my first time making my own costume!  In the past I would either buy one, or piece together random stuff from my closet and give my outfit a name.

So what drove me to this?

1.) I'm poor -  gotta buckle down on unnecessary spending to pay back my student loans.

2.) I was given a costume challenge - the raccoon.

I googled raccoon costumes online, and the search results made me cringe.  I was either going to look very frumpy or very cheap (bleh, not my style!), all while spending $60+ for something that is one-time wear.  And lets be honest, we girls like to look good even when we're being ridiculous.  So somehow I had to transform petite asian me into a cute sexy raccoon.

I set out to design a costume with clothes I can easily reuse, and had an idea of a draped faux fur vest and a crop top with a sweetheart neckline.  I came across Coolirpa's tutorial for the sweetheart top, and made one quickly out of this stretchy black lyrca fabric that I retired from one of my earmuff designs.  This worked out perfectly: I recycled trash material, already channeling the spirit of the raccoon. Some call this method-acting.

Then I went shopping at Nordstrom, the vests were all in the $200 range, I took down notes at what they did for material, lining and pockets versus what I was looking for.  Then I went straight to the fabric warehouse and picked up the softest gray faux fur I could find($20/yd) and some black jersey knit($2/yd).  I traced the individual pieces of my favorite cardigan on the the back of the faux fur and jersey knit.  I picked that particular vintage Ralph Lauren cardigan because its big and drapey, but still shaped well to the outline of my body by cinching in all the right place.  I was not a fan of the boxy designs I saw at the stores.

Quick DIY summary:

  1. Cut and sew together faux fur pieces(3)
  2. Put on in-process vest and decide what's a comfortable pocket location. Pin it, reverse it and cut out pocket slits.
  3. Make pockets. (I simulated the pockets from a trench coat I got in Japan because the size and location of the pocket fit my arms better.)
  4. Hand sew on pocket. 
  5. Sew together lining piece with fur vest.  Make sure to hand sew armholes and bottom closure, the rest can be machine sewn.

I'm not an expert at DIY, but I'm happy with how this turned out.  And being able to combine my favorite elements of the clothes I already have, makes this the comfiest outerwear I have now.  Typically jersey knit is not what people use for clothing lining, but I chose it since I wanted to wear this out into the cold, and like to still have the comfy feel of my bedsheets hugging me everywhere I go. :P

For animal ear tutorial, please see here.

Tail wasn't anything fancy, use scrap faux fur(from the vest fabric) + polyfil, and wrapped the black fabric on.  For a more realistic effect I'd suggest looking into painting black stripes onto the fur instead.

Raccoon Out!

Raccoon Out!

The Irene Story

My Aunt Irene was a truly amazing person.  She battled lung cancer for many years, survived much longer than the prognosis the doctors gave, and eventually passed away 6 years ago.  Growing up my mom would feed me stories of how business savvy and successful Aunt Irene was to motivate me to be a strong independent woman.  She was a real fighter, kind, beautiful, intelligent and funny.  Because of this Aunt Irene was one of my heroes well before her battle with cancer ever occurred.

It still saddens me that we lost her so soon, but she will always be remembered, and so I naturally named an earmuff after her when I started this Moobury venture.  My famous Aunt Irene quote, and one i revisit often to get me through the hard times is 'Why not me?'

When Aunt Irene was battling cancer, she told us she was extremely upset when she was first diagnosed, 'oh god, why me? why do I have to go through this.'  And later when the anger subsided she realized 'Why not me? Who else would I wish this on? Who else is stronger to deal with this than I am.  Then yes, Why not me?'  

That my friends is what I consider real strength and love.  She was still so strong for all of us when she was going through so much.  And so when I go through a hard time in life, when my arthritis acts up and I'm in so much pain I cry myself to sleep, I think 'Why not me? who else would I wish this pain on?'  And the answer is always nobody else but me.  I may not hold myself up as gracefully as my Aunt Irene did, but I appreciate life, the fight I have to put in, and the times I can be free from my arthritis even more so because of her.

It just so happens that I have a new Irene in my life now.  She is my MooBowy partner, incredibly gifted in her craft, and the more I get to know her the more I'm learning how business savvy she is too.  We have been working hard to launch our new product.  I've learned so much from her, and am very happy that she has brought new hope and meaning to the earmuff Irene.

Each earmuff here has a story(big or small).  If you purchase one I hope the spirit, love and support of my family and friends towards me will transfer through and provide a little extra warmth for you and your loved ones this winter.

Thanks again for checking in, and following me on MooBlog.

- Eugenia