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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Pretty, Shiny Things!

When I take breaks from yarn, I sometimes make pretty, shiny things!

Check them out in my shop!

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Oh!  And I finally set up my adjustable dress form!  Isn’t it awesome?

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Craft-tastic New Friends!

A friend of mine from the last time we were stationed here in South Carolina (who is now out in California) also does crochet.  She’s been doing it a heck of a lot longer than I have and she can seriously blast out some stuff in short order!  I can’t wait until I’m that quick!

We both have shops through Etsy.com and she’s been helping me get a bit more acquainted with the recent changes in the website and trying to amp up my traffic to my shop.  Through this, I’ve started to meet some really awesome people.  Extremely talented and very much devoted and involved in helping other artisans on Etsy.com.

I’m excited by this, and have been finding my footing with it for a while now, but some new things just the past couple days have me pretty motivated.  Seeing as crochet and crafting has been such a big part of my life in the last 10 years, I want to spent a bit more time on here talking about it as well as the rest of the things going on in our lives.

Not just about my own things, but also about these wonderful people and their own talents.  To try to give back even just a little bit.

Here are a few links to a couple of awesome products!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/214596350/vintage-scissors-with-swarovski-crystals?ref=teams_post  (PICTURE FEATURED ON THIS POST ABOVE)

https://www.etsy.com/listing/96207087/black-lace-on-small-clutch-purse-with?ref=teams_post

Crafty Baby!

I usually have a ton of crafty ideas rattling around in my head, and I feel like I should probably start writing things down.  I’ve been thinking about ways to use some of the stuff you get that you may not necessarily want to keep as is around for the next kid, which may not even work for the next kid.

1.  Sew receiving blankets together to make a quilt, or a toy hammock to hang up in a corner of the room, or use to cover a cork trivet (or cork anything) to use as wall art or places to put pictures, or turn into pillows, or turn into security blankets by turning the center into a stuffed animal with felt/yarn details.

2.  Use clothing to make stuffed dolls, or cut out the main parts of the clothing to make quilts, or to also use over cork to make wall art.  Got clothing you’ve gotten clean but are stained beyond fixing?  Use as filler for rag dolls, or pillows.

3.  Left over plastic baby food containers?  Great for storing clean binkies/pacifiers in pairs.  Great to grab and go!  Moving from puree to solids?  Use the containers to portion finger foods in the fridge, also great to grab and go!  For safe keeping, use mini rubber bands to make sure they stay closed when in the diaper bag.  You can use non-toxic kid’s paint to label the containers for specific things, either with words or pictures of what goes in each container.

4.  Make accessories for your toddler out of any bits and pieces of clothing or other fabric items.  Bows for hair, bows to put on headbands, spruce up a sweater with a set of rosettes or a bow, make a “grass skirt” for dress up, can use any kids clothing, or even your own old clothing.  Great for washing, since you know it can be!

5.  Make patchwork pieces to cover sturdy boxes for toy storage, to use as “baskets” on shelves for organizing things.  Use really see-through fabric bits and glue or modge podge little glass candle holders (use battery operated lights around kids) for a pretty little accent.  Great for impromptu/temporary night lights.

6.  Got older toddlers/kids?  Teaching them how to braid or tie shoes?  Cut long strips of cloth and sew the ends together for braiding, with a loop  on the end you can hook to something for stability (or hold  while they practice), tie two strips to two adjacent points and have them tie a bow in the middle for shoe tying practice.  The bigger the pieces in the beginning, the better they can hold, and really see what they are doing.  Progressively get smaller until they can do the real thing!

7.  Leftover sheets?  Cover a 1×8 board, and decorate with other pieces of cloth or felt to make a giant ruler to record heights on one side, and practice numbers on the other, hang securely on a wall, and you can take with you if you move!

8.  Kid have a favorite character?  Disney Princesses, Cars etc?  Cut the sides out of birthday gift bags and “frame” them with thin strips of craft board and hang as cheap, temporary art instead of spending a ton on posters!  Sturdier than posters, don’t have to spend monkey on actually framing them to protect them and don’t feel bad if they get damaged or tossed because of kids changing their interests!

9.  Have old favorite books, or able to get some from a swap meet or Goodwill?  Modge Podge  the top of a kid’s table for a personal touch and a cleanable top!  Can also do to the seats that go with the table, or any other parts of the set.  Have an older set you want to spruce up?  Don’t want to spend the money on a new set?  Want to spruce up a furniture set?  (Heck, you can do it with poetry or maps or whatever else you find cool looking.)

Don’t worry, I’ll post more entries like this as I come across or figure out more crafty ideas!  (Heck, I need it for my reference, let alone anyone else’s!)