Remember to Breathe

Remember to Breathe

*This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you choose to click on them and/or make a purchase*

Breathing is definitely NOT overrated.  I lost most of November to a sinus infection, and while sinus infections are nothing new to me, this one added a new twist: asthma exacerbation.  My “mild” asthma became much less so, and pretty much any type of exertion left me breathless.  This was especially annoying considering I live on the third floor, so just taking the stairs was an adventure.  Add some truly excruciating joint pain to the mix and you may begin to understand why I haven’t been a very happy camper.  Writing and typing are difficult when you have shooting pains in your elbow and your fingers are too stiff and sore to hold a pen.  I have a speech-to-text program that I like to use for “writing” down my thoughts, but even talking was too much exertion for my poor lungs.  So I haven’t been able to get much work done on my book, let alone anything else.

*BreatheAir Purifiers for AsthmaBreathe*

It’s extremely frustrating for me to not be able to do the things I want to do.  I don’t like being told I can’t do something, and my body has been telling me “nope” for several weeks now.  (Yes, I’ve seen a doctor.  Yes, I’m much better, thus why I’m actually able to write this now.)  I’ve been forced to slow down, take it easy, relax… and I hate it.  Patience is not one of my virtues.  But it’s given me a lot of time to think.

*The Power of Breath: The Art of Breathing Well for Harmony, Happiness, and HealthBreathe Better Feel BetterBreathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society*

Obviously, the book I’m writing is much on my mind.  Make that books.  As I do my research and go over my notes, I realize this is a much more ambitious project than I originally thought.  The good thing is that just makes me more excited about it.  The bad thing is that excitement makes the frustration of not being able to work on it worse.  I’ve had to constantly remind myself to just take a deep breath and let it go.

*“Take a Deep Breath” by V Sharp Multon*
from: Imagekind-Artwork from independent artists

Since writing wasn’t working, I ended up doing a lot of reading and listening to audiobooks.  I must admit, I love self-help books.  I love how they can make me think about my life, hopes, and dreams, and get me enthused about them all over again.  One that I recently finished and highly recommend is Jen Sincero’s *You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life*.  I have the audiobook version, which she reads herself.  I really like her style, though it’s quite different from the usual fare.  She can be crass and vulgar (she was in a band called Crotch, that should really explain a lot right there) but to me anyway, that makes her seem more real and approachable.  I’m seriously considering investing in one of her coaching programs.

You can check out some of the quotes from You Are a Badass on Goodreads, but there were two that I want to share in this post:

“Life often turns to shit before it turns to shinola.”

“Birthing your dreams is like… giving birth.  Conceiving the idea is the fun part (hopefully), then you go through insane amounts of fear and excitement and dreaming and planning and vomiting and growing and thinking you’re crazy and thinking you’re awesome and stretching and shape shifting until you’re practically unrecognizable to everyone, even your own self.”

Following your dreams is not an easy path.  As the saying goes, if it was easy everyone would do it.  I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve been around enough pregnant women to recognize the truth of the second quote.  I know that following my dreams has changed me considerably from the person I was a decade ago.  It’s been a pretty wild ride, but I’m not about to get off the roller coaster.

What I found incredibly interesting and enlightening was the chapter containing the first quote.  By really going for your dreams, you are basically trying to completely change your reality, but your reality doesn’t want to change, so it throws a tantrum like a threenager.  It’s like Murphy’s Law on steroids and crack.  But it also means you’re on the right track.  So the sinus infection, my asthma now requiring a daily inhaler, the joint pain I’ll be seeing a Rheumatologist about in January, all but one of the headlights on my car going out, the flash drive with all my notes and references for the book getting corrupted (talk about leaving me breathless!), my laptop BSODing, my credit score tanking because I couldn’t pay my bills and my creditors were breathing down my neck, and what seems like a million other little setbacks are all because I’m finally on my way to making my dreams my new reality.  I’m going to believe that anyway, it helps me to breathe easier. 🙂

Now, back to MY book.  I think strategic planning is extremely important for any business, but it’s also extremely different for a one-person business than it is for a corporation.  First of all, you ARE your business.  You eat, sleep, and yes, breathe it.  It’s very difficult for an artist to detach themselves from their art, as we pour our hearts and souls into each piece we make.  So you’re not just planning for your business, you’re planning for your LIFE.  Because of that, I will be incorporating not only the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my studies on corporate strategic planning, but also from the variety of self-development and life coaching books I’ve read.  I’ll try to keep my rah-rah cheerleader tendencies to a minimum, and because I always put “none of the above” for my religious affiliation, you won’t be seeing any mentions of a specific religion.  This book is about you, your business, and your dreams.

*Breathing Freely: Celebrating the Imperfect LifeTake Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers*

I’m also using the material I’m creating to take a good hard look at my own business.  These last few weeks have given me a lot of time to think and dream and figure out what it is I really want.  I’ll be doing a post about my BIG dream later, but there are three things that I want my business to be about: freedom, creativity, and passion, not only for myself, but for every small creative business.  Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business will be all about discovering the passion behind your business and creating the freedom you want in your life.

*Breathing on Your OwnA Deep Breath of Life: Daily Inspiration for Heart-Centered LivingBreathing In, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook *

For me, part of the freedom I want to create for myself and my business is the freedom from worry about money.  Besides the sickness and pain, another thing keeping me from writing is the necessity to try and find ways to make enough money to pay the bills.  Time spent listing items on eBay and Etsy or researching events I can vend at is time spent away from working on my book.  This is one reason I created the Indiegogo campaign, to raise funds so I could work on the book without financial distractions.  The campaign ends today (December 18), and I am nowhere near reaching the goal for the first book, let alone all ten.  So I’ve been looking at other ways to make some passive income, and that’s why I’ve signed up to be an affiliate for some of my favorite companies and websites, like *eBay*, *Amazon*, *Groupon*, *Better World Books*, and *Jo-Ann.com*.  Then I went a little nuts…

*Asthma FreeDarth Vader Breathing Device*

*Asthma For DummiesThe Art of Breathing: Thirty Simple Exercises for Improving Your Performance and Well-BeingThe Breathing BookLet Your Spirit Breathe: Living a Peace-Filled Life*

*Take a Deep BreathWhy Is It So Hard to Breathe?: A First Look at AsthmaBreathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman*

Yeah, I went a little overboard.  You can see them all on the Referrals and Recommendations page (still a work in progress, but let me know if you have issues with any of the links or you can’t find what you’re looking for).  As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am putting an asterisk on either side of any affiliate link.  This ensures that it’s completely obvious that it’s an affiliate link, and also helps me to find them when I’m done writing a post if I don’t put the links in as I go.  And links without the asterisks are non-affiliated.  Anyway, I’ll be seeing how these do and likely will pare them down in the coming months.  I’ll also be doing some specific posts giving more details and reviews of certain products and services, and using some to illustrate some of the other posts I have planned.  Speaking of which, you can get a sneak preview of possible themes by checking out my Pinterest boards.  I’ve been adding products I find on Etsy for each of these “vision boards” in hopes of giving those sellers a bit of extra exposure, plus I may use some of them for illustrative purposes like I did in my last post.  Note that I have no affiliation with these Etsy shops and am not receiving any compensation for sharing their products.  I just think they’re neat and I want to help other artists and small businesses like myself.  Of course, I will add my own products to these boards as I make them, as there are dozens of inspirations running through my head thanks to this process.  “Vision boards” indeed.

*AFI Breathe Spiral Notebook *

I’ve also been looking at other ways to express my creativity and passion.  Several years ago, I set up a Zazzle store that I called Badly Drawn Designs, a play on the Jessica Rabbit quote I play at the beginning of my shows for The Cape Radio and the fact that all my designs are text-based.  I haven’t added anything to it in years, but it’s still generating a little bit of income for me.  I have an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of other ideas, so I really want to start creating these again, especially now that I have PhotoShop.  Here is my most popular product of all time (42 sold so far!):

*See more Badly Drawn Designs*
*Make your own t-shirts online at zazzle.com*

I’m also using PhotoShop to create images like the one at the top of this post.  The background image is from Pixabay, a site of royalty free, public domain images that can be used for commercial purposes.  I add the word art, using fonts from dafont.com which are also free for commercial use (not all of them are, so make sure you look for ones that are public domain or 100% free).  I really do enjoy playing around with fonts and words, and I’m thinking of creating word art images for sale in my Etsy shop.  These would be digital downloads, so another great source of put-it-up-and-forget-it income.  What do you think of this one?

JustKeepBreathing

You’re probably wondering how this all fits with the rest of my business.  Remember those three words I mentioned earlier?  Freedom, creativity, and passion.  The affiliate links offer me the freedom to work on other things while still potentially generating income, and the companies and websites I choose are ones I am passionate about, related to creativity, or speak to one of my other passions, like helping small business owners and saving the world (even if it’s just *feeding animals at a shelter*… it all adds up to a better world eventually).  Badly Drawn Designs gives me the freedom to create something without having to reproduce or ship it myself.  I’ve always had a passion for words, and playing with fonts and images provides a creative outlet.  I love making jewelry and sewing, but it’s not always possible for me to do so.  And of course, writing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business gives me the freedom to creatively share one of my passions: reworking big business concepts for one-person businesses.

So much of the literature available to us “little guys” seems to be based on our desire to either become one of the big guys or sell our business to them.  But what if that’s not our goal?  A lot of small, creative business people just want to keep their business something they can handle on their own, maybe with a little bit of help now and then, but they don’t have any desire to deal with employees or investors or IPOs.  I am designing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business for the individual artist and crafter who wants to define success on their own terms.  Strategic planning can help you whether you want to make a million dollars a year or just want to help put food on the table.  In fact, I would say that strategic planning is vital to the success of your business, however you define success.  And it doesn’t have to be hard, or confusing, or frustrating.  It can be an extremely fun process!  Plus, you can pre-order today for as little as $5, so what do you have to lose?  Take a deep breath and click that Contribute Now button. 😉

*Breathe for Life: How to Reduce Stress & Enhance Your FitnessBreathe In, Breathe Out: Inhale Energy and Exhale Stress by Guiding and Controlling Your Breathing*

I couldn’t resist adding one last thing… who knew bad breath could be so cute??  🙂

Giant Microbes Bad Breath Microbe

*Giant Microbes Bad Breath Microbe*
from: StuffedAnimals.com























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Reintroductions: Blowing the Dust Off

*cough-cough-cough*

Wow, it’s been nearly a year since I last used this blog.  Those who’ve read my posts in the past will recognize my “I’ve been busy” mantra and the “health issues” excuse.  To say it’s been an interesting year might be a slight understatement, and I apologize in advance that this might be a rather long post, as there’s quite a lot I’d like to catch up on.  I’m also currently fighting off an anxiety attack, so I’m hoping that getting some of my thoughts down on virtual paper will help ease the demons in my head.

You’re probably wondering why I’m jumping back into blogging again, and how long I’ll stick with it this time.  The short answer is because it’s a class requirement, so I’ll be posting at least biweekly for the next four months or so.  I am starting a Master of Library and Information Science degree through San Jose State University and will be tagging these posts with MLIS so those who only want to see what I’m doing for my classes can click on the MLIS tag in the cloud on the right, bookmark this link: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/mlis or follow this RSS feed: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/mlis/feed/.  Of course, I also hope to use this blog more often for my business and other topics I am interested in, but more on that later.

Let’s start off with the reintroduction, as there will be those who are required to read this for our class who know nothing about me, and perhaps some of my old readers are getting a new notification from this blog but don’t remember why they subscribed to it.  My name is Heather, but I also go by Wondie.  Wondie is a nickname I received from a character I created in City of Heroes named One Hit Wonder.  I began using this character as my DJ persona for The Cape Radio in 2004 and the name was shortened by my listeners to Wondie.  My business name, Rewondered, is also based off of the One Hit Wonder name, so I tend to use Wondie as my business persona as well.  You may call me either Heather or Wondie, I will answer to both.

Wondie

 

Through Rewondered, I design and create jewelry and accessories using found objects and leftover supplies, “rewondering” them into new wearable art.  I sell my designs on Etsy and at local events or craft fairs, mainly in New Hampshire.  I will be at Antrim’s Home and Harvest Festival on September 13th and Hillsborough’s Schnitzelfest on September 27th.  I have also been a merchant at several SCA events, and plan to return to Birka for the third year in January.

Part of my set up at Birka in 2014

Part of my set up at Birka in 2014

 

So what’s been going on this past year?  My last post was in October, which isn’t too surprising considering October through January are my busiest months of the year.  January through March I was working on my last regular classes for my Bachelor’s degree, one that was an accelerated version and one that I had designed myself and was probably a little bit more ambitious than it should have been.  April through June I was working on my Capstone with another likely-too-ambitious project.  There was a great deal of stress, but I survived, got my Bachelor’s degree, and was accepted into the MLIS program, which started this week.

School wasn’t the only thing going on, either.  I’ve continued to have some health issues, but I am doing much better than I did in 2013.  The big news on the health front is in March, I finally got my diagnosis of ADHD.  I’ve been reading books and articles to learn more about the disorder and how to best cope with it, and realizing just how much it has impacted my entire life.  I’ve tried so hard, but I’ve never lived up to my potential, I have always had some serious time-management issues, and I can’t stop chasing new ideas long enough to finish the old ones.  I’m working on it, but it’s a slow process.  I want to make sure that the changes I’m making are going to stick, that the ideas I’m trying are going to work for me.  In the past I’ve always jumped into a big project to get reorganized and ended up completely overwhelmed, so I abandon it before I can get any use out of it.  This time I’m taking it slow, using suggestions specifically for people with ADHD, and really examining all sides of my “great organization idea” before committing to it.  I’m not giving myself any specific deadline it needs to be done by, so I don’t rush it and make it all fall apart, but I’m trying to get at least a little bit done on it each day.  So far, so good.  I’d share before and after pics, but I’m really just too embarrassed about the before state.  Instead, I’ll share some pics when I’m done, and a bit about my process to get there.  I’ll also share some of my experiences and suggestions for running a business and/or being a graduate student with ADHD, as I figure out what is working and what is not, now and in the future.  Those posts will be tagged ADHD, so look for that in the tag cloud on the right, bookmark this link: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/adhd, or follow this RSS feed: https://rewondered.wordpress.com/tag/adhd/feed/.

My husband has also been having some health issues, and has spent most of the summer fighting off almost-daily migraines.  The good news is there doesn’t appear to be anything we need to be particularly concerned about (i.e. it’s not a tumor!) but the bad news is no one is really sure why he’s having them so often.  The other bit of “good” news is his average pain lately has been a 5 or 6, rather than a 7 or 8, and the incidents of being actively mauled by a bear are decreasing in frequency (special thanks to Hyperbole and a Half for the pain scale reference).  We’ve been taking one day at a time, and I’ve been doing most of the driving whenever we’ve had to go anywhere.  This week has been better, and on Monday we celebrated our two year anniversary by going to see Guardians of the Galaxyfitting since we met because of superheroes (he’s also a DJ for The Cape Radio, but we are both on hiatus at the moment).  I admit that I have never read any of the comics, but I enjoyed the movie and would love to pick them up.

One of my favorite pictures of me and my husband, even though his eyes are closed.  His shirt says "Super Genius" and mine says "All this and nerdy too" - it's like we were made for each other or something. :)

One of my favorite pictures of me and my husband, even though his eyes are closed. He’s wearing a shirt that says “Super Genius” and mine says “All this and nerdy too” – it’s like we were made for each other or something. 🙂

 

Speaking of The Cape Radio, I am leaving in the morning to attend CapeCon.  This started out as a meet and greet for DJs and listeners of the station and other players of City of Heroes, first held in Chicago in 2008.  I went every year through 2011, which was the first year my husband was able to go, and thus the first time we met in person.  We were married a little over a year later.  We were unable to go back in 2012 or 2013, and with his current health issues, he doesn’t want to risk getting a migraine on a plane or spending the entire weekend holed up in a blanket fort in a hotel room, so I am going by myself.  This is part of where my anxiety issues are rearing their ugly heads.  I don’t like the process of traveling by plane (the flying itself is fine, but I don’t do well in large crowds and I don’t like strangers touching me, just to name a couple of my anxiety triggers) and knowing my husband will not be there to hold my hand and remind me that everything is okay is a bit unsettling.  CapeCon is being held in a different place this year, San Antonio, so even though I’ve been there several times in the past, this still has an element of the unfamiliar.  Luckily, several of my close friends will be there, and I have been promised drinks, so I am sure once I get past this initial anxiety, I’ll have a good time.  I am glad I will only be gone for three days, though.

FeedingBaron

Me and another of The Cape Radio’s DJs at the first CapeCon/Meet & Greet

 

So what’s next for me, Rewondered, and this blog?  There’s quite a bit of reorganization in the works, everything from my studio to my website, but this process may take a couple of years.  It will also take a few years for me to get my MLIS.  I chose to pursue this particular Master’s degree because I’ve always had a fascination with books and libraries.  My first “real” job was actually working in a library.  One of the projects I was helping with was converting the card catalog to a computer system.  Which probably gives you a hint about my age!  I’m fascinated by the way technology has increased access to information exponentially.  I’m also seeing some ways that creative solopreneurs can incorporate information science into their businesses to help them operate more efficiently, so this will likely be a major focus of my future studies.  I would really like to use what I’ve learned and will learn in future classes to help other one-person creative business owners like myself, particularly Etsy Sellers and those with ADHD.

After completing my Capstone, I began plans to write a book, possibly even a series of books or reports, specifically geared toward those who want to keep their business small enough that they can handle it on their own, but successful enough that they can make a real living.  I’ve been getting several nudges from the universe that I need to start writing and sharing my knowledge, so the first step will be getting this blog going again.

And I’m going to be continuing to figure out how my brain really works, and how to make it work for me.

HeathersBrain

 

Monday Musings: HALF!

It’s been way too long since I posted anything here, and for that, I apologize.  Those that follow my personal Facebook know that this first half of 2013 has not been very kind to me.  My husband and I have both spent at least half of the time sick.  His car has needed some work, each time blowing all the money we had hoped to spend on other things.  I’ve been struggling with school and feeling overwhelmed as I try desperately to get caught up.  My studio is a complete disaster area and has absolutely no workable space.  I haven’t created anything new in months.

All the plans I had to post more products and introduce new product lines have fallen at the wayside.  Weekly themed posts for this blog have not been written.  I haven’t even been able to squeeze in the time to post my daily gratitude lists, even though most days it seemed like my list consisted of 1. We’re still alive. 2. We still have each other. 3. We still have our friends.

Even that last one was besmirched a couple weeks ago when I heard that my friend, Tre Chipman, had died.  I’m planning on a memorial post here but it’s been difficult to write.  Soon™.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.  I have health insurance now, and drugs that, maybe for the first time in my life, allow me to BREATHE.  It’s kind of amazing to not constantly feel like one of those alien face-huggers is getting friendly with my nose.  I have a CT scan scheduled for next week where they’re going to see if anything else is going on in my sinuses and what they can do to fix them.  Isn’t modern science wonderful?

Speaking of modern science, my husband got sick soon after my friend’s death, which led me to no end of worry.  Especially when the doctor sent us to the ER because she didn’t know what was wrong with him!  They threw around scary words and did a CT scan where he frightened us all by having a bad reaction to the contrast they used.  But thanks to the miracles of modern science and drugs, they had him back to normal (well as normal for him + being sick is anyway) and figured out the problem, which they never would have guessed without those scans: pneumonia.  Who the hell gets pneumonia in June?  My husband, Mr. Special Pants, that’s who!  😛

So we’re both finishing up our antibiotics, him for the pneumonia and me for the CT scan they want to make sure doesn’t show any infections, just chronic problems.  We’re both feeling better and on the road to recovery, and hoping that we’ve met our quota for the year and don’t have to get sick anymore.

I’m done with Spring Term and classes for Summer Term don’t start for another week.  My grades aren’t the best, but they’re not the worst either.  I’m still on track to graduate at the end of next Summer.  Just one more year!  Then I’ll be entering the MLIS program at San Jose State.

I’ve been pretty worried about my business, since I haven’t been able to add new things or implement any of my plans, but things have been going okay.  I’ve done three live events so far this year, and put in my application for one this month.  I’ve been getting a few orders here and there from my Etsy shop.  I’ve been selling my duplicate and unneeded sewing patterns on eBay.  The money has been trickling in while the business has basically been on autopilot.  I’m taking that as a good sign.

But what’s really a good sign is if you compare the numbers from my first six months of business last year, to these six months, just one year later.  I’ve been keeping track of my Etsy numbers, so this data is only from Etsy, but as that’s my primary selling outlet, I think it’s a good litmus test for the entire business.  My total amount of views is up 177%, while my total amount of favorites is up 125%.  Nice, but look at this one: my total amount of sales is up 518%!  Holy cow!  What’s even more interesting though is that I’ve already made more than I did in all of 2012 not including December, which had about 60% of my total sales for the year.  In fact, I’d hit that point before May was over.  So if that’s how my business runs on autopilot, just imagine what will happen when I get the chance to really take the wheel again!

I think this calls for a celebration!  And since I still can’t drink because of the antibiotics, I’ll just have to do it by offering a discount in my Etsy shop.  If you’ve been eying something there for a while, now’s your chance to snap it up at HALF OFF!  Just use the coupon code CELEBRATE when you check out.  I’ll be running this special through Independence Day, as this business is a celebration of my own independence.

This week I’m tying up some loose ends and working on getting my studio back in order.  Then I can really jump into the business again.  I really need to start making things again, it’s been way too long since I let my creativity out of the box.

I’m getting there, slowly but surely.   If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that I don’t give up easily.  Okay, okay. they call it “stubborn” but really, it’s the same thing!

Want To Be Featured On This Blog? Here’s Some Interview Questions

For an assignment in one of my college classes, I was asked to interview people in the field I’m majoring in: e-Commerce and Internet Marketing.  I thought this might be a good thing to use for my Featured Friend Friday series as well, so if you have an online business or offer internet marketing services, I’d love to hear from you and feature you on this blog.  Here are the questions, just send your answers to rewondered@gmail.com and I’ll let you know when I’ll be posting them!

 

Background

1. Please introduce yourself and your business.

2. How did you get started in your business?

3. What was your education? What educational background or related experience do you think would be most helpful to someone wanting to start their own online business?

 

Work Environment

4. Describe your work environment. (Attach pictures of your studio/office if you want!)

5. What is your typical work schedule? (Daily/Weekly/Monthly)

6. Describe your typical day.

7. What skills/abilities do you use to operate your business?

8. What websites/venues do you use to operate/market your business? (Please provide links!)

9. What other tools do you use to operate/market your business?

 

Lifestyle

10. What obligation does your business put on you outside of the work week?

11. How much flexibility do you have in terms of work hours and vacations?

12. How do you balance your work with your life?

 

Problems

13. What are the toughest problems you deal with in your business?

14. How do you overcome these problems?

15. What problems does the industry as a whole have?

16. What is being done to solve these problems? What do you think can/should be done to solve them?

 

Rewards

17. What do you find most rewarding about your work?

18. Are you able to pay yourself a salary? If so, how long were you in business before you could pay yourself? How do you determine your salary?

 

Potential

19. Where do you see yourself going in the next few years?

20. What are our long term goals?

 

The Industry

21. What trends do you see for this industry in the next 3 to 5 years?

 

Advice

22. What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own online business?

23. What resources would you recommend (blogs, websites, professional organizations, trade publications, books, software, tools, other people, etc.)?

24. Any other advice?

 

Permissions

25. Do I have your permission to share your answers to these questions on my blog? If so, are there any answers you do NOT want shared?

Resolutions: The End of the Campaign and What’s Up For the New Year

My IndieGoGo campaign ends tonight at 11:59pm Pacific time, or 2:59am in my own Eastern time zone.  As I write this, I am $60 away from reaching my goal.  So I only need 12 people to each toss in $5 and we’re there!  This is exciting, and I’m biting my nails as the hours tick by, wondering if it’s actually going to happen.  Or you all can really shock and amaze me and double my goal, so I can double all the rewards!

This campaign has been such an amazing show of support for me and my business.  I am eternally grateful to everyone who has made a contribution, shared my links over and over again, and cheered me on.  The last few months have been a bit of a rough road for me, but you have kept me motivated and reaffirmed that I am on the right path.  I’m thinking of making a sign for my studio that lists all the contributors and says “These people believe in you, don’t let them down!”  Whenever I get discouraged, I can look at it and remind myself why I need to just keep going. 🙂

So I guess if you want your name up on my wall, you’ve got a few hours left to make a contribution. 😉  Don’t forget that every $5 contributed = one entry into my drawing for your choice of a full costume (City of Heroes, SCA, or other cosplay), a Rewondered wedding dress, or a $500 gift certificate for my Etsy shop (more details here).  I can’t do the drawing unless I reach my goal, but we are so close… I am confident that we can make it happen!

Now you’re probably wondering what I’m going to do after the campaign ends and what I’m going to do with the money.  I have been spending it as the campaign has progressed, buying supplies to make the items for my Five X Fifty promotion, to have products available for sale at Birka, and to create the City of Heroes inspired costume pieces.  I’ve taken advantage of some great sales to make the money stretch as far as possible, and my studio is a total disaster with piles of fabric, supplies, and finished (or half-finished) pieces obliterating any glimpse of the rug underneath.  So first up on the agenda is cleaning up and reorganizing!

I will also be finishing up my Five X Fifty promotion in the coming weeks and apologize that I fell so far behind on it.  I’ve been creating as the whim carries me, when I wasn’t working on orders, and I have several completed pieces but not necessarily five of any one type of thing so I can do a Five X Fifty post.  So part of my reorganizing will be seeing what I have done and what I still need to make to complete the five.

Birka is January 25th and 26th, so the majority of my time this next month will be spent creating products for sale there (and some of these will likely slip into the Five X Fifty).  I also need to finish photographing my patterns and get them posted in the photo album on my Facebook page so people have some idea of what I am able to make for custom orders.

I’m hoping to have the first of my own City of Heroes costumes done by my birthday (February 10th).  Once the current Five X Fifty is done, I’m going to start a new one featuring items inspired by CoH.  So one might be Belts, another might be Gunslinger pieces, another might be the five pieces that make up an entire costume.  I know I won’t get it done in 50 days, but definitely by the end of the year there will be 250 City of Heroes inspired pieces available in my Etsy shop!

My other long-term goals include getting at least 1000 items up in my Etsy shop, revamping my website once again, and finding at least one “live” event each month to set up a booth at and sell my items in person.  If you know of any events, shows, fairs, festivals, conventions, etc. that you think I should sell at, let me know in the comments or email me.

My short-term goal is to find some lunch.  😛  Today’s agenda is mostly getting things set up for tomorrow night, as I will be sleeping as much of the day tomorrow as possible so I can stay up for my 24-hour New Year’s Eve Marathon on The Cape Radio.  It begins at 7pm Eastern time on December 31st and goes until I fall over or DJ Logos takes over at 7pm Eastern time on January 1st.  This is the fifth year I’ve attempted to broadcast live for as many hours as possible over New Year’s Eve and Day, and I’m planning to break last year’s record of 21 hours.  So today I’m setting things up to work on to keep me awake, clearing space so my husband has a place to hang out with me, and otherwise getting ready for an all-nighter.  I’m considering doing something for each hour I’m on the air, like listing new items in my Etsy shop or posting pictures of what I made the previous hour on my Facebook page.  Tune in to find out what I decide on!

And if I do reach my goal for my IndieGoGo campaign tonight, I’ll hold the drawing for the costume/dress/gift certificate live on the air… let’s say during my midnight Eastern time talk break? 🙂

So here are my resolutions for the new year:

  • List at least 15 new items each week in my Etsy shop
  • Sell at one “live” event every month
  • Complete my current Five X Fifty and another City of Heroes inspired one
  • Double (at least) 2012’s sales
  • Create something new every single day

2012 has been a pretty good year for me, and I’m looking forward to making 2013 even better!  What are you planning to do to make your 2013 your best year ever?

Reaggregation: A Collection of Unorganized Thoughts – Part 2: Inventory

  • Aggregation – collection into an unorganized whole

On Friday I rambled about Events, and today I’m moving on to product ideas and inventory.

Inventory for Shows

Now I need to figure out what to actually take to sell at the shows.  I’ve mostly been taking only jewelry to the events I’ve done so far this year, because I’ve been dealing with one 6-foot table as my space and I don’t really have enough inventory of my other items yet.  Going to a 10×10 layout will definitely allow me to take more than just jewelry, though.  So what do I make?

One thing I’ve decided is that I’m no longer going to list my one-of-a-kind items in my Etsy shop, at least until after the holidays.  These are items I’ll be taking to the shows and home parties.  This will help me with inventory control, as I won’t have to worry about selling something in person and online at the same time, or deactivating online listings when I go to a show, or searching through my show inventory to find something I sold online.  To save space for one-of-a-kind items in my show display, I can leave out the items I have up online and just have a book of photos of them, directing people to go online to make those purchases.  This is one of the reasons I’m looking for photo albums, as I want to print out photos of my items for that, as well as photos of the custom orders I’ve done, and have those available for people to look through to get ideas for their own custom orders (more on items I’m looking for later).

As I mentioned before, I’m planning to do more “period” pieces and have a selection of inventory that’s geared toward SCA events.  I’ve been collecting Medieval and Renaissance portraits and artwork on a Pinterest board for inspiration.  I’m also looking at garb, such as some simple T-tunics made from “upcycled” fabric to keep costs down.  While maybe not strictly period, my aim is more toward “the look for less” so those who don’t sew and can’t afford something more elaborate can still fit in.  With that in mind, I’m also thinking of taking some modern clothing and “rewondering” it to look more period.  Another idea is to create some mix and match modular designs, such as sleeves that tie on, tabards and aprons, and various accessories that can completely change the look of a basic piece.  I’ll need to do some more research, but I’ve found a few patterns to start playing with.

Speaking of patterns, I took pictures of all the patterns I currently have and posted them in an album on my Facebook page.  I view patterns like I do recipes, as a basic guideline that I can spice up or make substitutions to as I see fit.  I like to take elements of various patterns and mix them together to create something unique.  I love doing custom orders, so email me at rewondered@gmail.com if you have an idea of something special I can make for you.

I also want to expand on the 50 products I made for my IndieGoGo campaign, increase my inventory of those types of items, and create more of the ideas I haven’t made up yet.  I’ve been considering trying another IndieGoGo campaign with another 50 new products in 50 days, but I’m not sure if doing that going into the holiday season is a good idea or not.  My focus will probably be on replenishing stock for the shows, rather than making new items.  However, some of the items I’m planning to do for the shows are new designs, so with some coordination and organization, I might be able to pull it off.

Speaking of holidays, I’d also like to get some Halloween and costume designs done and up, and time is running short for those.  And I should be already thinking about Christmas designs.  I have a few up in my Etsy shop, but should probably get a few more done.

New Designs

So here are some of the new items I’m working on:

  • Period “Replica” Jewelry – Designs based on portraits and artwork from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • Basic garb – T-tunics, chemises, simple dresses, etc.
  • “Upcycled” garb – Modern clothing “rewondered” to look more period.
  • Garb “Accessories” – Sleeves that tie on, aprons, tabards, headdresses, hats, belts and sashes, pouches, corsets, etc.
  • Steampunk “Accessories” – Bustles and overskirts, corset tops, top hats, bags and purses, belts and harnesses, spats, cuffs, etc.
  • Costume and cosplay pieces – I’d love to try some recreations of costume pieces that are available in City of Heroes, and I have several other costume patterns I need to play with.
  • Hair accessories – Barrettes, headbands, hair sticks, elastics, and various headpieces.
  • More bags – I have a bunch of different patterns and a few other ideas floating around in my head.
  • Skirts – I’m working on a few of my own design, and I have several patterns.
  • Wondiosyncra-Tees – Upcycled t-shirts featuring descriptive words.
  • “Feminized” t-shirts – I’ve seen several nifty ideas for taking a regular t-shirt and making it more fitted and more feminine.
  • More “rewondered” clothing and costume pieces
  • More embellished hoodies
  • More pillows
  • More wall art – Word art designs using quotes, collages and mixed media, signs, etc.
  • Adding matching earrings and/or bracelets to some of my current designs

Hmm… maybe another 50 new items in 50 days wouldn’t be so hard to do after all.  Do you have any ideas for things you’d like me to try my hand at?  I’m always open to suggestions!  And boy, do I need to get busy!  So I’ll bring this post to a close, and we’ll have a part 3 soon™.

Remotivation: If I Can Do It, So Can You

Now that I’ve explained my anxiety issues, I must say that the sunshine and optimism I normally display is just as much a part of who I am.  The skies might get cloudy, the storms might roll in, but I have way more sunny days than rainy ones.  So I want to remind you of something: if I can get past my paralyzing fear to get what I want (however long that might take), what’s stopping you from realizing your dreams?

I hear a lot of “if” and “when” statements from people when they talk about their dreams.  “If I won the lottery…” or “When I can afford it…” are probably the most common.  I’ve said them myself, numerous times.  Yes, I realize it takes money to make your dreams come true, but have you really looked into what it would cost?  Have you figured out what you CAN do with the money you have now?  Can you cut out some expense and reallocate those funds toward your dream?

I grew up very poor, so not having money is nothing new to me.  My family was one of the recipients of those canned goods you put in the donation box every Christmas (for goodness sakes, stop putting canned beets in those!) and I never could afford anything that the “cool” kids had.  We shopped at thrift stores and had things handed down to us.  I got pretty good at reinventing things and adapting them to my own style, a skill I use now as the basis of Rewondered.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and being poor taught me to get creative and to adapt.  To hold on to the things that are really important, like family and friends, and to not put too much stock in material goods that might not be there tomorrow.  To be grateful for what I do have, and not whine about what I can’t afford.

So let’s start with that… what do you have now that’s most important, that you’re grateful for?  Number one on my list is Lorne (go ahead, say “d’awww” or gag on the sweetness, your choice 😛 ).  I am eternally grateful to have found someone who gets me, who loves me exactly as I am, who supports and encourages my dreams, who makes me smile and laugh every day, and who is just an amazing human being that I want to be around for the rest of my life.  The wedding is three weeks away now and I’m excited (and flailing about getting everything done in time, but that’s another story).

I’m grateful for my family and friends, and for the technology that keeps us in touch, as most of my family is on the opposite site of the country and most of my friends are scattered across it.

I’m grateful for my creativity, my adaptability, my resourcefulness, my crafting and sewing skills, my organizational skills, my determination, and my optimism.

I’m grateful that I can use all of the above on a daily basis to at least try and support myself.  I’m grateful that my creations are gaining more exposure and more popularity.  I was checking out my stats on Etsy and in all of 2011 my shop and listings were “favorited” 48 times.  As of this writing, in 2012 my shop and listings have been favorited 247 times!  And there are still five months left in the year!  Sure, these numbers aren’t huge, but they do show me that this business has potential.

I could go on forever about the things I’m grateful for (and I really should get back to posting my daily gratitude lists).  But let’s get back to the dreams, and my assertion that if I can live mine, you can live yours.

Of course, my dreams still have a long way to go.  My business isn’t supporting me yet, but I have faith that it will.  The point is that I do something every day to work toward that.  Now, I’m not telling you to stop everything you’re doing, quit your job and go chasing after your dreams (unless that’s what you really want to do and don’t mind the risks involved).  But tell me, what have you done lately for your dreams?

  • I went to Ohio to collect more supplies for my creations, and items to help me organize my studio, as well as things I can use for the wedding.
  • I am organizing all my finished jewelry and supplies, figuring out an exact inventory so that I can use those numbers in my business plan, which I will take to my local Small Business Development Center and see if there are any programs I qualify for that could get me some funding.
  • I put out an offer on loan terms, where I will make payments of 1% of my sales for every $100 loaned to me, until I’ve repaid $110.  I may not be able to repay it fast, but I will repay it. (This offer is open until I raise $5000, contact me if you’re interested).
  • I got up early and set up my jewelry at the Farmer’s Market my town puts on every Saturday during the summer.  I only sold a couple of things, but that’s more sales than I had when I woke up, right?
  • I gave some thought to the Gypsy Faire idea.  Who else might be interested in it, what it would entail, if we could have it actually travel around… perhaps pick one weekend each month and host it in a different state?  I know people in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, at least, who would be interested in this type of thing.  Still mostly just in the pondering stages, but I’m really liking the idea.
  • And though it’s not related to my business dream, I made a decision on my educational dream.  Starting next month, I’ll be working on a Bachelor’s degree in Independent Studies.  After that, I’m going to get the Master’s degree I always wanted, in Library Science.

Have my dreams come true?  Not fully, no, but in some ways at least, yes.  Am I living my dreams?  Yes, every day.  I don’t spend my time wishing I could have my dreams, I spend it working on having my dreams.  And if I can do it, so can you.  Go out there and do something, anything, that works toward making your dream come true.  Then come back here and tell me about it in the comments. 🙂

Yellow, Is It Five By Five You’re Looking For?

Then you’ve found it!  Special thanks to Katie from Wild Birds Unlimited for her help with today’s title. 🙂

Also, thanks to everyone who voted for my Embrace Your Geekness Marvel Comics Straitjacket Hoodie in yesterday’s Etsy Contest.  I ended up in 11th place!  Not bad for my first time!  Hopefully I’ll be included in more future contests.  I have to wait three days before I’m eligible again, but I’ll keep you posted if another of my items gets picked.

I’ve had today’s yellow items up in my Etsy shop for a couple of hours already, but I got distracted by Facebook.  One of my friends posted an out of context quote from a speech made by President Obama, “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” with the response “Dear Mr. President, We DID build our businesses on our own.  Thanks for the support.  Sincerely, Small Business Owners.”  Now, I didn’t know the context of the quote, but the response is SO VERY WRONG!  Here’s what I said on my personal Facebook:

As a small business owner myself, I have to disagree with this statement. Yes, I’ve worked my ass off to get my business going but without customers, I wouldn’t have a business at all. No one gets anywhere on their own, someone helped, whether it was buying your product or service or other financial support, moral support and cheering you on reminding you that you can do it, or even telling you there’s no way it’s going to happen and you set out to prove them wrong. We have people who gave birth to us, people who raised us, people who taught us, people who led by example whether good or bad. We have people who gave us a hand or kicked us while we were down, reinforcing our will to make this happen. I can build all I want, post my products all over the internet, but unless someone buys, I don’t have a business. Someone else has to make that happen for me.

Turns out, the President was talking about roads and bridges and the infrastructure that society has built to make our economy and commerce possible.  But as another of my friends commented, “If you think you can do it completely on your own, you are welcome to go to the moon and prove it.”

Anyway, I don’t want to get into a political debate, but I do want to take a moment to thank each and every one of the people who have made this all possible for me.  It would take me all week to list each name, so this is just going to have to be a big collective THANK YOU!!! 🙂

Now, without further ado, let me present the yellow items!

Of course, we have to start things off with the Yellow Basically Beaded Faceted Bead Necklace in the set of seven:

Yellow Basically Beaded Faceted Bead Necklace Handmade by Rewondered

Yellow Basically Beaded Faceted Bead Necklace Handmade by Rewondered

Next, a big mushroom!

 Large Yellow Cutout Mushroom Simple Charm Necklace by Rewondered

Large Yellow Cutout Mushroom Simple Charm Necklace by Rewondered

Yellow gives us a bit of an outdoors/garden/springtime theme, it seems.  So how about a daisy?

Yellow and Copper Daisy Flower Necklace Handmade by Rewondered

Yellow and Copper Daisy Flower Necklace Handmade by Rewondered

The daisy is also available as a simple charm necklace.  Similar to this, I have another with a different shade of yellow beads and an adorable yellow and red snail:

Yellow and Silver Large Bead Necklace with Red and Yellow Snail Charm Handmade by Rewondered

Yellow and Silver Large Bead Necklace with Red and Yellow Snail Charm Handmade by Rewondered

Using a different bead cap changes the whole look of the design, doesn’t it?  The snail is also available as a simple charm necklace.

And finally, let’s have some bees to go with our flower and snail.

Yellow and Black Beaded Necklace with Silver Bumble Bee Charms Handmade By Rewondered

Yellow and Black Beaded Necklace with Silver Bumble Bee Charms Handmade By Rewondered

Thank you for taking the time to check out my new products.  Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Thank you so much for your support and for HELPING ME BUILD MY BUSINESS.  I can’t do it without you! 🙂

Stay tuned tomorrow for the green products I’ll be posting!

P.S.  While I was posting that little “rant” on Facebook, I sold two necklaces in my Etsy Shop. 😀

The Final Countdown – 8…

Eight days left in my IndieGoGo campaign and today I bring you a version of “The Final Countdown” played on a Kazookeylele – part kazoo, part ukulele, and part toy piano.  I think it’s an epic example of rewondering and was made by Stuart Crouts.  Check out his youtube page for more awesome songs played on this instrument and others!

 

Thankfully, eight stands for 80’s today, regarding the temperature outside.  We have a forecasted high of 87 with thunderstorms rolling in this afternoon, so I might be able to get back into the studio later today.  I love the sound of the rain on the roof while I’m working!  The rain will also wash away some of this pollen that’s been kicking my ass.  The foliage in the area loved all the sunshine we’ve been getting.  It’s pretty to look at, but it’s out to kill me, I swear.  Thank goodness for allergy medications!  And thank goodness for Throat Coat tea.  Hot tea when it’s in the 90’s may not sound like a great idea, but my throat is very grateful for it.

The rest of the forecast over the next 8 days looks much more bearable, and we should only need the A/C for another day or two.  I’ll be playing catch up this weekend and working very hard all next week to get more new products made and posted.  I’ve been updating the quantity available for each of the items up in my Etsy shop.  I have more necklaces to list, but not the full array of pictures I usually post.  I may just start posting them with what I do have and go back and add in the additional pictures later.  Several of the ones not on Etsy yet can be seen in the gallery.

I’m up to 20 votes at http://www.missionsmallbusiness.com and need 230 more in order for my application to be considered, so if you have a Facebook account, please click that link, log in, search for Rewondered, and click the vote button.  You only have to do it once but I need the votes by June 30th.

And of course, please continue to help get my IndieGoGo campaign noticed.  Instructions are laid out in my Day 10 post.  Or just go to http://www.indiegogo.com/rewondered1 and make a contribution!  You can use PayPal or any major credit or debit card.  Even $5 would be a major help, as every little bit counts.  Thank you for your support!

The Final Countdown – 10…

We’re down to ten days left in my IndieGoGo campaign, and I couldn’t resist posting this video:

 

Okay, now that I have that out of my system…

I started this campaign on IndieGoGo because I really don’t have a lot of other choices.  I am a college student trying to survive on student loans, and all the hundreds (yes, hundreds) of resumes and applications I’ve sent out over the past year to get a “real” job have met with next to zero response.  Next week I’ll “celebrate” three years since I got laid off my last full-time job, and since then I’ve worked one temporary, part-time job which lasted about two months, and I’ve had three interviews with companies I’ve never heard from again.  My amazing fiance and roommates keep a roof over my head and food on the table, but I hate feeling like I’m not contributing to the household.  I need my business to be successful enough to cover my personal bills and help out where I can.  I don’t have the credit or collateral to get a business loan and I’ve maxed out my credit cards.  I don’t have any rich relatives or friends to borrow money from and I’m not running the type of business that angel investors even consider.

I’m not telling you this as a sob story, just explaining why I’m trying the crowdfunding route.  I’ve been fairly consistently selling a few things over the last few months, but it’s just been enough to cover my costs of selling, such as all the various fees, shipping costs, and keeping my websites up.  I need to sell more items, but that involves more fees, specific equipment to sell at events such as a canopy and displays, advertising, more supplies to make more items, etc.  I just don’t have the money for that.  I have tons of supplies sitting in storage that I can’t access because they’re 750 miles away from where I live.  I know I can make this business work, but it’s all too true that it takes money to make money.

So I turned to IndieGoGo.  I have ten days left to get the $430 I still need to reach my initial $500 goal.  I still have hope that it can happen, but I’ll need help getting the word out, as I’m still not showing up anywhere on IndieGoGo’s site.  Those of you who have followed the instructions laid out in my No News and Good News post managed to get the majority of my stats tripled in just one week.  Thank you!  But it’s not over until it’s over, so I’ll repost the ways y’all can help here:

  • Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/rewondered1. Each view counts toward my “Gogofactor” so go take a look!
  • Under my video there is a box that says “Share this campaign.” Do any or all of the following:
    • Click on the heart to add my campaign to your favorites. You may need to create an account on IndieGoGo to do this, I’m not sure.
    • If you have Facebook, click on the “Like” button. It will ask you if you want to post it on your Facebook and you don’t have to, but it would be awesome if you did!
    • If you have Twitter, click on the “Tweet” button. It will pop up with a pre-filled message and link to the campaign, so you can just send it as is or change up the message. “Wondie said I had to tweet this” is fine. 😛
    • If you have Google+, click on the “g+” button. Again, you don’t have to actually post it on your Google+ but it would be awesome if you did!
    • If you have a website or blog and wouldn’t mind posting the nifty little widget you see at top right of this one, click the “Embed” button for the iframe code to use.
    • If you use Outlook and want to email this to some friends, click the “email” button and Outlook will pop up with a pre-filled message, you just have to add in email address to the “To” section. Of course, you can change the message to make it more personal to whoever you are sending it to.
  • Above the video are several tabs. Click on the “Comment” tab and write something nice like “Good luck!” or “Wondie is awesome!” Whatever you want, just keep it clean, okay? 😉
  • Make a contribution, even if it’s only $5. See my post on how to make a contribution if you have any questions, and my post on how and when you’ll get your perks.
  • Go to my Facebook page, my Twitter, and my website and click the link to the campaign there. Views from other social sites count, so ask people to click on any links you post, too.

Yesterday, I added a ton of pictures to the gallery of necklaces and bracelets that you can choose from for the $20 Recreate perk, instead of a custom made one.  Any of these can also be altered (add or change charms, for example) or I can make something similar in different colors.  These are available on a first come, first served basis, as many are one of a kind or limited editions.  You can also choose any of the bags or pillows shown in the gallery, and I’ll be adding pictures of more of those later.

I’m also considering adding up to three more perks (the maximum allowed is twelve and I have nine up there now).  I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m open to suggestions if you have any.

Now, I’m going to ask for your help for one more thing that has nothing to do with my IndieGoGo campaign.  As I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post, I’m looking at applying for a grant that requires 250 people to log in using their Facebook accounts and “like” my business before they’ll even consider my application.  I found out I can start collecting those likes before I finish my application, and right now I’m up to 12 votes.  Here’s how it works:

  • You must have a Facebook account
  • Go to http://www.missionsmallbusiness.com
  • Click the “Log In & Support” button and log in using your Facebook account
  • Search for Rewondered and click the “Vote” button
  • That’s it, you’re done!  You only need to vote once!

I’m hoping to get more new products up later today, but it’s going to be a scorcher here and my third floor studio doesn’t have air conditioning, so I might not be able to work in here too long today or tomorrow.  We shall see how it goes!

Once again, I thank you all for your support and help getting my IndieGoGo campaign noticed.  Yes, there will be 9 more posts over the next 9 days.  Shall I find a fun “Final Countdown” video for each one? 😛

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