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.

 

Approaching the end of 2012.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written.  And for that, I am sorry.  But sometimes it’s hard to find the right spark to get the thoughts flowing enough to have something to write down.

I was quite sick for about a week, and thankfully that is done and over with, and I’m recovered from it.  It was quite the nasty little stomach bug that was going around the area.  I basically had to just bully through it, which wasn’t easy.  Thankfully on my worst day out of all of them, the baby was ridiculously good and happy.  Though, I had to eventually call my husband back from work for a few hours in the evening to help me.  I had become so weak that I was having a hard time picking up the baby safely.  So a friend of ours that he works with took his place at work for a few hours so that he could come home and help me out through the evening routine and to get the baby to bed with me before heading back to work.

We’ve been thankful to get out of the house on a regular basis since then, it’s been needed.  The fresh air, the change in scenery, getting some energy out.  The Holidays are upon us, and thankfully I was well enough to be able to enjoy our little Thanksgiving feast.  And have gotten better every day since.  The stomach bug has in a way almost reset my system in terms of what I want to eat at the very least.  I’ve been kicked back into a fresher-food mode.  Not entirely, but it’s definitely getting better than the rut we were in for a while.  I’ve got my appetite back for the healthier things as well, and with the cold weather, thankfully I’ve gotten my cravings for soup back.

With the coming of the cravings for soup, came my renewed attempts at making homemade vegetable puree soups.  Having had them nearly every single day when we were in Ireland for two weeks for our Honeymoon, I fell in love with them.  Unfortunately the attempts I’ve made in the past were wholly unsuccessful.  But since then I’ve gained a better understanding of food and cooking (thanks to my incredibly talented husband) and now work a bit simpler, which seems to have made all the difference.  And it seems I’ll be only seeing the sky as the limit when it comes to the vegetable puree soups.  They are just so incredibly simple, and essentially the same method for anything.  Cook, season, puree.  I over-thought it entirely too much before, especially trying to get the kind of texture I’ve tasted before.  But that will come with time and experimentation.

I also plan on experimenting with adding the occasional bit of cream into the soups for a silkier taste.  I look forward to some of the potato soups, but also trying some minor alterations and substitutions.  I’ve come to learn that there are a couple of different things that are decent replacements for potatoes, healthier options.  One being cauliflower, and the other being white turnip.  We will have to see how they go.  I don’t plan on replacing the potato entirely, but perhaps half the amount, just to add some other vitamins and minerals in that potatoes don’t provide.

I hope that they will make good little meals for the wee one as well.  Though, I’m a bit hesitant to let her try the soup I made last night considering just how peppery it ended up.  🙂  We liked it though.  Super simple.  Not as smooth as I would have liked, but I’ll work on getting the textures I want.  At least I’m not so picky these days as I was when I was younger and a little chunk doesn’t bother me so much any more.

I’m even more excited about this because we’re admittedly horrible about getting vegetables into our diet on a regular basis.  And we’re both in need to really working them more into our daily life.  I think it will be a good supplement to the things we do cook on a regular basis, and will help us feel a bit better over time.

I’m quite happy to get this renewed vigor regarding cooking, and food, and really getting back to trying to form better habits, like we’ve been talking about for a while.  I hope that it also gives me more inspiration during the daytime hours as well to make better things for myself.  But then again, I don’t always have the time or space to do that with the baby.  I hope to try to get her visually involved though, and perhaps content more often in her high chair while I work so that I can do more cooking.  Though, that’s still a bit of a challenge.

During all this, my wee little cutie turned 8 months.  It’s incredible to think about, and looking back through her clothing it’s hard to believe that she was that small.  So soon.  So quick.  I love watching her grow, advance, learn new things, and listen to all her little noises.  But I do get pangs of wistfulness for the time when she was just so tiny.

She’s progressing so much, so quickly right now it’s hard to keep up.  Her crawling is getting better and quicker, she’s pulling herself up to stand, and soon after that she started learning to put herself back down on her butt from a standing position.  And immediately after that, she learned to start gliding along whatever she’s managed to pull herself up on.

She’s putting herself down for naps and sleep a lot better now as well.  I can put her to bed tired and she’ll put herself to sleep.  Well….most of the time.  She still fights sleep and naps from time to time.  But at least it isn’t a constant screaming session during bed time any more.  Though, she definitely has some really early mornings where she just won’t go back to sleep.  But sometimes that means a pretty decent nap mid-morning.  (And I’m learning to nap myself these days.  Definitely a necessity sometimes.)

I do believe she might have hit a small growth spurt recently as well.  But it’s hard to tell.  The week I was sick I am pretty sure she was sick herself, so we were both sleeping quite a bit.  But it seems like she might have gained a little bit of height, perhaps a little weight, and her teeny little feet are starting to grow out of some of her socks!  Hopefully this means that at some point relatively soon, she’ll grow enough to be able to wear shoes without them falling off because of her chunky little legs!  She has no ankles to really speak of to hold her shoes on.  Anything that looks like a knee sock is about all that will stay on at this point.

She has an interesting fascination with the cooler weather.  She seemed so content with it when she was tiny, shortly after birth, and she still seems to have a strange contentment with it now.  She loves the wind, she loves a little sprinkle of rain…she giggles and squeaks just being held while outside during this kind of weather.  She is so entertained by it, refreshed by it, seemingly energized by it.  (Which honestly is a nice thing from time to time, because it seems to wear her out a little too so that she’ll nap easier in the car while I’m running errands.)

I love my baby, but lord do I love her nap times.

Her dexterity with her hands is getting a lot better, she loves food that she can hold and feed to herself.  She prefers the more solid things than the squishy textures.  She mostly plays with the softer stuff, but actually eats the more solid things.  She is almost endlessly entertained by feeding herself.  Thankfully I’ve been able to get her to also still take stage 1-3 baby foods from a spoon.  She seems to really be liking the stage three with the little bitty chunks of food with the puree.  The only one we’ve tried at this point is a Pasta Primavera.  Which isn’t a surprise to her liking it, one of her favorite things right now is pasta pieces with a bit of sauce on them.  She hasn’t had any noticeable reactions to anything so far.  Very thankful for that.  She’s even tried some fresh fruits.  She loves strawberries and pineapple.  I try not to give her too much of those yet, but once in a while seems to be ok for a little treat.

She is still very much breast fed and seems to not be inclined to stop any time soon, which is ok with me.  A friend of mine whom I ran into the other day at the grocery store has a wee one about 5 months older than ours.  She weaned herself from breastfeeding around a year.  I’ve got another 3.5 months until that milestone, so we’ll see how things go with the whole transition thing.  At the very least I hope to keep pumping in order to give her milk in her sippy cup, whether or not she stays on the breast.  The benefits of the breastmilk are just too much for me to feel ok forcing her to wean from it entirely.  I would prefer to give her pumped milk over cow’s milk for as long as possible.  We’ll see.

As for co-sleeping, that’s almost an impossibility at this point.  She is so….attached to the breast that she will no longer feed and fall off and sleep.  She will not sleep.  She’ll be half-awake, but in almost constant motion and persistent fussing.  She gets upset if I turn or cover up, which leaves both of us awake no matter what time it is.  So, the process of having her sleep almost entirely in her crib has already started.  I get up to feed her then immediately put her back in her crib.  It’s gone well for the most part, but with learning so many new things so quickly she definitely has nights where she sleeps for a few hours then gets up, thinking it’s play time.  Those are by far, not my favorite nights.  And boy do they catch up with you.

I think that that is the meat of what has been going on lately, so I hope this catches those of you who read this on a regular basis.

Hopefully this puts me back on track for posting regularly again.  🙂