I Did It My Way…. ‘Cept I didn’t.

Ok, who doesn’t love a little  Ol Blue Eyes?  Mm.

Oh, sorry, started singing in my head and got distracted. 🙂

I’ve been sitting on this post for a handful of days so far.  It might end up taking a few more days to end up finishing as well.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have been bending to the things other people want a lot more than I was willing to realize.  I can’t believe I managed to convince myself otherwise just because I basically refused to do baby stuff (besides gifts).  I also wouldn’t want to directly compete with a friend.

I have realized that things just aren’t selling.  I do not have the money to put into doing craft shows, and on top of that, I don’t have a local business license.  I’ve looked into it, but feel like with how painfully sad my sales have been for well over a year, it’s not worth bothering to get one.  I really wish I didn’t live in a place where the craft shows require it.  If I could do just one show, just to see how well I might be able to do (I know just one show shouldn’t be a good indicator, but hey…) I would then far more seriously look at getting a business license.

I don’t know if that makes any kind of real sense, but that’s just how my brain is working at this point.

I started this with next to nothing, and pretty much everything I have made has gone right back into it, little bit by little bit, and some craft shows are quite expensive to get into as a vendor.  Some aren’t, but some are up to multiple hundreds of dollars.  Though I have a few possibilities, I’m barred by the fact that I do not have a business license.

And before I do get one, I feel like I might need to take a danged class on the taxes and bookkeeping necessary to pay taxes before I even GET one.  I’m a bit petrified of that, despite knowing it’s an eventual necessity if I do continue with this little venture.  I would like to find some form of proper bookkeeping that doesn’t overwhelm me entirely, but will provide me with the accurate figures necessary to report income for taxes.  Thankfully, I have a husband and a good friend that are both rather educated in the tax area, if not the bookkeeping portion.  So, there’s that.

But even before any of that, I have to get things organized, in order, and honestly… until Zoe is in school regularly, I feel like that’s an almost impossible task.  I make progress, then things fall apart again.  Excuses, I know.  Some people are just ridiculously better at all of this than I am.  They have the more A-type personalities necessary for things like this.  I’m trying, but with my emotional health and my hormones, it can be rather daunting.

Anyway, enough with that boring, depressing stuff.

I’ve indeed been trying to please everyone, and I’ve found myself not as inspired as I once felt.

I’ve decided to take a look at a few things that I love.  All things coffee/tea, wine and books.

SO!

An idea I’ve been tossing around for a while, considering the name of my shop is finally going to start coming to fruition.

  1. Bookmarks and possibly other book related items.
  2. Wine glass charms.
  3. Wine Bottle Cozies/gift bags.
  4. Coffee Cozies/Mug/Cup Cozies.
  5. Small to large charms on clasps to be easily added to any existing jewelry, wine cozy or mug cozy.

This is perhaps going to give me a bit more focus, and my shop a bit more focus.  More ready-made items to ship out immediately instead of having things made to order every single time.  Smaller items I can more quickly produce, so turn over time is cut down greatly.  Still using supplies from both my jewelry ventures, and my more current yarn ventures.  It’s a change, but not a complete overhaul, so hopefully I will not end up going completely in the hole in the process.

I feel like these things really are close to home for me personally, and I will have a bit more joy out of making them, and hopefully that joy will be shared with others.

 

 

 

 

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I guess you can call it spring cleaning…

I have put some thought into things, and after a rather long stint of a particularly woeful amount of sales, I’m doing some spring cleaning in my shop.

Anything that doesn’t end up selling due to this sale, I’ll either gift out, or donate.  So, friends, family, or even just people who read this, if you want something, snap it up while you can.  I might be adding more to the sale section over the coming weeks, but this is only going to run for a month.

Anyway, enough with the shameless self-promotion. 🙂

I am planning on backing away from a good portion of the crochet things that I’ve been doing, especially the larger pieces.  I’m going to be refocusing my shop on a few things, and hopefully that will mean better things to come for my shop.

I am also planning on getting back to my roots, the reason why I originally started my Etsy shop.  I had originally focused on jewelry and other similar accessories, so there will be a shift back to that, with some small crochet items tossed into the mix.

I am still in the process of deciding just what I want to take away and what I want to add, but I have a pretty good idea.  And while I do love each of the things I make, if I want this to be more successful, I have to realize when something isn’t working, and it hasn’t been working for a very, very long time.

There are also other things that I do love, so I’m going to take a cue from those things and put the love for those things into my shop instead.  I’ve talked to a few other small business/Etsy shop owners, and others have also had to do the same thing, some have done it more than once, some do it somewhat regularly in order to stay more relevant and more competitive.  I feel that perhaps it is the best course for me at this time since all the promoting that I have been able to put the time into, and what minuscule resources I have has done next to nothing to actually help increase sales of anything that I have at this time.

It’s frustrating, it’s tiresome, it’s a bit humiliating, and certainly very humbling.  Which sometimes is a very, very hard set of emotions to deal with.

While I am certainly my own worst critic most of the time, I really felt like I was doing well, progressing, my skills with crochet were getting better, my photography and staging skills, getting a better handle on search engine optimization, promoting tastefully (I hope) across as many social media sources as possible without looking desperate… I was gaining some amount of confidence, to what feels like no avail.

I realize that this might sound rather Debbie Downer, and I don’t intend it as such and I certainly am not looking for pity, a pat on the back, or guilt-driven purchases.  I just want to be able to be honest about how I’ve been feeling about all of this.

I want to be able to turn this into the drive and motivation to make some big changes, and hold onto the hope that it turns things around for me.

 

The Struggle Between Motivation and Giving Up

Lately I have had a bit more motivation, and ideas are flowing, and lots of things I look forward to doing.  I have even been in a good mood for the most part, excited and energized.

However, there has been a looming shadow in my thoughts.  I’m frustrated, and feeling rather disheartened with how much legwork I’ve been putting into trying to drive traffic to my shops (there are three now, as I thought having more platforms would yield perhaps a couple more sales, some is better than none, right?), and seeing nothing really come of it.

Now, I know that some that have a more positive outlook, and perhaps more business savvy than I have can see the benefits of what little traffic I do get as part of the longer term.  But I’m having a really hard time believing it.  I want to.  Believe me, I want to.

I understand that most, if not everyone who tries to start a business from the ground up, whether or not it started as a hobby at one point, feel keenly the struggle of learning, of growing, of trying and failing, and trying again.

And perhaps that’s all this feeling is.  I hope that is all it is.  Dealing with my depression and anxiety has put an extra layer of clouds on things at times, and I know it has certainly had a negative impact on what I’m trying to do.  But, I also realize that I need to tend to myself in order to continue moving forward, and not completely string myself out trying to fight it.  I almost feel like I’m walking on eggshells in my own head, around my own self at times.  It’s a weird feeling.

I do not want to give in.  I do not want to give up.

But perhaps the odd need to cry is something I should just do, be done with it and move on.  The clouds need to rain to lighten their load, after all.

 

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Overwhelm, my old friend.

I have realized (once again) it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything.  I think many of you have grown accustomed to that at this point.  Even so, my apologies.

While things have certainly gotten better in general, I’m no longer on anti-depressants, and my body is shifting back to it’s own version of “normal”, I’ve been dealing with figuring out just how I want to continue dealing with all of this.

I have started Saw Palmetto, and at the very least it’s helped tame some of the androgen that my body apparently over-produces when I’m not on birth control (which the birth controls I’ve been on happen to target).  I still have some intense mood swings, and the occasional intense pain from my cycle, but at least my skin isn’t as oily, my mustache is going away, and my skin is clearing up.  (Seriously, I started feeling like a teenager.)

Though, the rest of my skin clearing can be attributed to going back on Proactiv.  No, I’m not plugging it, but it’s really the only thing that has ever worked for my couple of stubborn spots.

My weight has fluctuated about 10 pounds, and I’m trying to work on that as gradually as possible.  There’s still some changes to make, and I’m working on those.  We’ve make a concerted effort to changing our evening dining habits, and we’re now in the third week.  We’re also trying to get up and out a little more often, which has been nice.

While a lot has gotten better, I’m still dealing greatly with an over-sensitivity to feeling overwhelmed, and it’s frustrating because I feel like it’s happening for no reason.  So, yeah.  Lots of cyclical emotional garbage, which is nothing new.

The periods seem to come and go quicker, though, which is both good, and a little frustrating.  When things are good, I am pretty productive, but then then I hit the wall pretty hard and it just knocks me so far back.  Trying to power through it as much as possible, though.

But having made a couple new friends and having an amazing friend move to the area has been a big boost for me.

So, here’s to grabbing the sunshine whenever possible and forcing myself to like it.

 

 

The Boys Will Play… Meat, meat, and more meat.

So, as some of you know, James and Kirk started a “stalker blog” as Kirk calls it.  We’ve (mostly they) have been cooking out of the Heritage Cookbook from Sean Brock and his current tenure with Husk here in Charleston, SC., and out in Nashville, TN.

Over time, the plan is to try cooking every single recipe in the book, and blog about each one.  I’m not entirely sure just exactly how many we’ve done.  You can check out their blog here:  Ox and Brock.

Last Friday was the Low Country Boil, which was also the start of preparations for this upcoming Saturday, which will be Heritage’s whole pig roast.  We requested that attendees brought some tidbits.  The big thing was for people to being cinder blocks for the building of a place to roast the pig.  It’s still in the building stage, but it’s certainly progressing.

Of course, I had completely stressed myself out with not just my normal every day stuff, but deep cleaning the majority of our house, decorating for Halloween, and also tending to my Etsy shop.  The idea of that many people being here was certainly not something I was looking forward to because of my anxiety, and thankfully James, Kirk, Kari and those closest to us here were pretty darned understanding and very supportive in getting me through.

DSCF3641

Looks good, doesn’t it?  It was.  It was so, so good.  And the first three batches were completely demolished in no time flat.  Quite a bit of the last batch was leftover, which I’m in the process of turning into (sans all prawn and shrimp) a smooth potato soup with corn and sausage.

Now, it is Wednesday, I’m calmer than I was last week, despite the looming whole pig roast on Saturday.  I’m honestly a bit worried about the weather, it’s been cloudy and rainy every day since Sunday, at least.  And the projections for the weekend haven’t looked good the last handful of days, but it’s starting to look a little better.  For their sake, at least.  And…my yard. It already retains quite a bit of water regularly, despite being a bit elevated from the yard behind our property.  Hopefully things won’t get too torn up.

I’m definitely thinking this time around we’re going to possibly also ask people to bring any tent-like things just in case.  We only have the one, and even if it’s sunny, it’ll be nice to have some extra shade.

Rain or shine, though, this this is happening.  I’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens!

Rain, Flooding, Broken Things and Pretty Stuff

The last month or so has certainly been interesting.

A few weeks ago, Hurricane Joaquin battered the Bahamas, and sent a rather troubling amount of rain to quite a bit of the east coast.  Thankfully we have not had too much of an issue because of it, but different areas in our state have been hit quite hard.  We’ve also had a few things to get repaired at our rental a couple towns over, but nothing too extreme, thankfully.

We’ve made new friends, had some good times out and about with new friends and old friends.

The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better in so many ways.  We’ve had quite a bit of clear skies since the storm passed.  It occasionally slips back up into the 80’s, but at least it’s not humid to go with it.  We’ve had dips down into the 60’s during the day and 40’s over night, which has also been quite nice.  We’ve turned the A/C off and had the windows open for a couple weeks now.

We’ve also been planning a couple of outdoor cooking shindigs, which I am certainly looking forward to.

I’m still battling the occasional fall back into the fog that comes from my depression and moving off of my anti-depressants.  But overall things are getting better, slowly.

I have had a few good days this week, though.  Quite productive in comparison to my foggy days.  But, even my foggy days aren’t my worst days, which I am thankful for.  I’ve been able to get 10 new things listed in my shop, some of which were waiting to be photographed and listed, the others were made in the last few days.

I’ve done a bit more work in organizing my yarn and completed projects, cleaned up my work space a bit and cleared out the growing mound of works-in-progress and random balls of yarn from my usual place in the living room.  It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a big improvement!

Due to the rains, we’ve had a bit of an issue in the back yard with some ant colonies making their way up to the surface.  We’re hoping that subsides soon.  James has also replaced one of the plum trees that didn’t take from the last owner of this house, and two peach trees, they’re now planted in the back yard.

We’ve changed up some of our plans for the vegetables and herbs.  Some of which are still potted, we’ve placed them in the edging by the fence where our “garden” is.  The start of which was made by the previous owners. They really did an amazing job, but with some of the spaces there are, we’ve planted strawberries, among other things, and they’re doing well.  I will probably transplant a couple things as they start to outgrow their pots, but so far the ones we’ve got potted are doing great as they are, so are placed in the spaces in their pots. They’re rooting down through the bottom of the pot.

Now to eventually address the patio situation.  Not sure when we’re going to do it, but I think we’ve settled on using composite material “wood” for a larger, wider entertaining space out back.

Here’s a few pictures of the things I’ve done lately!

Lav Hankie5Fluff Cowl3Mustard5Moustache1Infinity3Hanger1Green Leaves2Black Fluffy5Fall Leaves2