I had such a wonderful Christmas. The boys are both old enough to get very excited about seeing Santa, looking at lights and getting gifts. We put out treats for Santa this year and told the boys about how he comes down the chimney and brings toys. Our oldest, who is 3.5, was a little creeped out by the thought of a large, bearded man entering our home while he was sleeping, but got over it when we focused more on the toys part!
Santa was very, very good to me and brought me, try not to be jealous all you scrappers and crafters, a QuicKutz Silhouette die cutter. For those of you who are not yet jealous, this is a fantastic machine, about the size of a printer, that hooks up to the computer and will cut out any font or shape in any size without needing to buy cartridges at $60+ a pop. I've been drooling over this bad boy for a year or so and my fantastic hubby got all our family and some friends to pitch in. He definitely scored some major brownie points. I also got a postal scale from my parents, yippeee! Now I can stop cheating myself by charging too low on shipping. Now lets hope the post Christmas sales are as good as pre-Christmas.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoys many blessings in the new year!
There are these things on etsy called treasuries that you can access from the etsy homepage. They are like miniature museums curated by etsians. The person chooses a theme for their treasury and then selects items from shops, not their own, to be featured. I have my first spot in a treasury, or I should say my Jesus Saves cards have a spot. The treasury is called "don't forget the birthday boy" and will be up for 2 days. The curator is marieflyfly.etsy.com stop by and check out her beautiful beaded jewelry!
I have a little confession to make, I LOVE, love, love the post office! I know it's crazy, some people put it right up there with visiting the revenue office, but I can't help myself! I love it that people who seem perfectly happy getting out of their cars in the parking lot are suddenly transformed into an angry mob as soon as they step foot through the doors.
I love the bizarre people and the bizarre lines. It seems it always takes forever to get in and out. The line can be miles long or you can walk in to find only one person in front of you but it's some strange old man with a giant, black garbage bag full of tiny, identical packages that all need some kind of special delivery.
I love listening to everyone grumbling about the post office and yet they're there. I love the fact that the postal workers are unfazed by the grumpiness and are always polite and jolly. I always think they are the kind of people that I could be friends with, they seem strange and interesting and hysterical. When I ask for my package to be stamped "fragile" they pull out an ancient, battered, laminated comic that's been cut from a newspaper. It has an illustration of a package marked fragile that has been mutilated by the post office. I laugh everytime because they think it's brilliant everytime, and so do I! They stamp "spoiled" on my boys hands and laugh "now you can say they've been spoiled by the post office!" I love it when I get to go in by myself and I love it when I have to load my fussy 2 year old into the flimsy umbrella stroller and listen to "Out! Out! Finshed!" and constantly grab his 3 year old brother by the hood of his coat to keep him from socializing his way through the line of customers until he's lost in the crowd. Now that's true love.
...or send me a housekeeper, I'm drowning in my etsy induced mess of a house. I was actually getting into the swing of things with having 2 young boys and keeping up with the housework, then I had to discover etsy. Now I'm a full blown etsy addict. I'm on it every free moment I have, checking to see if I have a sale, posting new items. seeing if someone new hearts my store, reading the forums, looking at everyone else's super cool stuff. It's sad to say, but I'm pretty sure I spend more time piddling around on etsy than I do making stuff to sell! And, you can see by the photo, I have not yet gotten into the swing of 2 young boys, housework and etsy.
Ummm, Ok, it's now 12:30am and I've tried unsuccessfully several times, with my dialup connection to load a silly picture of how crappy my house looks. I'm tired and I no longer care. Just picture a kitchen counter covered like a mountain in crafting supplies, paper, shipping materials, boxes and looking like the slightest breath could cause an avalanche and you are picturing my house. My whole house. We have a small house so my "crafting area" is really right smack dab in the middle of the house and uses up the kitchen counter and often dinning table, but even aside from the craft stuff, everywhere you look in the house looks like an avalanche in the making. Now I'm off to dream land and maybe someday I'll get some pics to load without a hassle!
I have had two sales this week, and the weeks not over yet kids! Of course record sales is a tongue in cheek title since I have a grand total of 3 sales. I'm excited though, they are all from people I don't know and they are all the stuff that I think is cool, not the stuff that I'm making because I think it will appeal to the massess. Maybe I can making a buck doing something I love, probably just one buck though. The approaching Christmas season can't hurt. I've been making some rocking Christmas cards and ornaments if I do say so myself.
Selling is alot of fun! Not just the money, especially since at this point I am not making much. I get all giddy and hyper and happy when I see that I've sold something. Maybe it's what people feel like when they jump out of airplanes, win a bid or hit it at the slots. I never knew I was an adrenaline junky! It's so much fun to see where my little treasures are heading off to live: California, Vermont and Louisianna so far and to think maybe they're gifts these people bought for others and they'll touch others' hands. It's just really intriguing to me that, in the matter of only a month or so, something I made with my own hands is now residing in every corner of the country with people I've never met!
Learning this new etsy business and all the details that go along with it feels a little like I'm learning to write with my left hand. I'm clumsy and slow and it's just going to take getting out there and learning by doing. This is not something that comes naturally for me. I like to know every tiny little detail of who, what, when, where and why in everything I do. Spontaneity and new experiences make me so tense I feel like my shoulders might tighten enough for my head to pop right off my neck. I have been working very hard to get over this and having kids is a big inspiration for self improvement. I already look at my 3.5 year old having trouble transitioning from one activity to another and getting peeved anytime something new messes up his little routine and I think "My baby is already uptight and stressed and it's all my fault!" So I'm doing my best to ditch the over researching and just jump in and learn from experience.
Now that I've sold an item I'm realizing that there are so many things to consider. I spent most of the day Tuesday trying to get set up on Paypal, something I thought happened automatically when I set up shop on etsy, and running back and forth from Walmart, the UPS store, Hobby Lobby, Walmart again, and back to Hobby Lobby (with a side trip to the grocery store for diapers and milk) just trying to figure out who had the best boxes at the best prices to fit each of my differently sized items and how I could make sure these items survive the US Postal Service without being bent, warped and drenched with rain but still be appealing to the buyer.
Bit by tiny bit throughout the day I reluctantly went through the painful process of letting go of my earth conscious (translation, overly frugal, ok, down right cheap) idea of putting the items in a ziplock bag from the grocery dept (to protect from water damage), shredding up old junk mail and bills for packing material and shipping in the boxes our boys' diapers came in and traded it out for the more business conscious idea of wrapping the items in the nice cellophane used to wrap gift baskets, shredding up nice, new, crispy white craft paper for the packing material and shipping in --gasp!-- brand spankin' new boxes. I have to admit, the revised plan was so much better. I kept stealing glances at this beautiful package, so tidy and clean, thinking this was worth the work. This will make the buyer feel like they're opening a gift to themselves instead of feeling like they found a pretty cool thing in the dumpster that you can't believe someone would throw out because, with some work, it could be really nice.
How long does it take a gal to figure out how to insert some pictures into her blog post?! Apparently two evenings! I'm even more blog impared than I first suspected, someone call for help. But I am learning and my blog is looking a little better and a little more like me, though many things are still off kilter. I suppose that's a little like me as well. My new item of the day (drum roll)...some more clothespin magnets! Christmas themed this time. I'm getting the feeling it won't take me much longer with these beloved things to start choking on them, as adorable as they are. It's like I have crafting ADD. I have so many different ideas I can't stick to one thing for long. Merry Christmas! I know, it's early, but I do loves me some Christmas. Click on a pic to go to the etsy.com listing.
Alright, I'm perking back up a bit about my ambitious endeavor of making and selling paper crafts. Still not so sure about this whole blogging thing and, in spite of being a trained graphic designer, I can't for the life of me figure out how to change anything about the look of my blog (which at the moment is asthetically repulsive to me). I think I was feeling down at my last posting because it has been ALOT more difficult to find time to make things and photograph them and touch up/resize the photos and post each product (which includes writting a description of the item, naming and pricing and uploading product pics using dial up) and promoting in the forums. Oh, and did I mention I'm a full time mamma of 2 boys, a 3.5 year old and a soon to be two year old! I did make a new item that made me happy, I think they're cute. They are embellished clothespin magnets. So far I have 2 sets posted but I've made about 5 more. You can view my Bright Flower and Turkeys magnet sets on thebeehive.etsy.com I'm coveting them. Is it odd to covet your own stuff? I guess it's because they aren't really mine, I have to make them and then hide them away to make sure they are safe, just in case someone actually purchases them.
Alright, I'm feeling pretty silly blogging, which is the reason I haven't done much. I feel like someone who is talking to themselves but thinks that someone is standing there listening. The point of my blog was to help promote my etsy store but I would think you would have to have a successful blog FIRST to be able to get sales from it. At this point I am without sales and even though it's only been a few weeks my enthusiasm is already waining. I'm making all this stuff for noone, it's piling high on the kitchen counter. It takes me so long to make something it's hardly worth the price I would get for it. I'm used to making freelance graphic designer kindof money, where I'm getting paid healthily for my time and my skills/talent, not selling your crafts money which covers your material plus a paltry compensation for your time. If I was running a small assembly line it might be worth it but right now I don't know if I'm going to sell one of anything, let alone enough to run and assembly line! All the etsy forums say the past few weeks have been slow on sales even for the seasoned etsians so I'm trudging on. Also, my parents have decided to fund my little endeavor so why not!
On etsy.com other sellers and buyers can "heart" your whole store or one item. I now have my first three hearts! I got one for my store one for my "One Rockin Album" scrapbook and one for my "Little Princess" scrapbook. I'm so excited! They heart me, they really heart me!
They say "never say never" but I can't seem to learn that sage piece of advice. With my kids I'm constantly doing those things that, before having kids, I said I would never do, and now I'm at it again. I've always said "I will never have a blog!" Well, now I've opened an online store and I'm wanting to help promote it. I also thought it would be fun to keep track of the trials and tribs of starting a new business. For years I've daydreamed about being able to sell the things I make and now I've finally gotten brave enough to take the plunge! Hopefully a year from now I will be looking back on the beginning from a successful little shop. I'm also planning on showing off the work of other artists and crafty people from the etsy community.
So, what am I making and selling you ask? I am making premade scrapbooks and Memory Catchers for all those busy people in the world who want to preserve their memories but just don't have the time to do it themselves. My scrapbooks are full of great papers and embellishments and my Memory Catcher sets allow you to jot down notes of important memories and collect special items without the time and effort it takes to make a scrapbook. I'll also be making other paper crafts, like greeting cards. You can check out my store at thebeehive.etsy.com and if you like what you see, please, spread the word! I'm hoping to be adding new items to my shop every few days so keep checking back.