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

 

Choices and Challenges

Wow, October already?  I kind of feel like I blinked and September was gone.

I was much busier in September than I had originally planned to be.  I ended up vending at an event every weekend, and two of those events were in my top three sales events for this year.  Awesome!  But it’s a lot of work to set up every weekend, and as amazing as my husband is, dragging him out of the house early every Saturday isn’t quite fair to him.  So the first choice my title is referencing is that I have decided to take October off from live events.  This should give me some time to concentrate on organizing the studio and getting new things up online in my Etsy shop (finally!)

This leads me to choice #2: deciding what order to put things up in my shop.  I sort my jewelry into various themes for my displays at live events, but I’m redoing what I’ll be taking to indoor shows this winter, so I decided I’d just start with one theme and list everything in that display, then move on to the next.  I asked people to complete a poll for me, choosing their top three themes.  Looks like I’ll be starting with Toys, Games, Fantasy & Geekery.  There are a lot of ties for the other themes, so if you haven’t taken it yet, you can still do so here.  When I get done with the first theme, I’ll see what has the second most votes.

I’ve already decided to limit the events I’ll do this holiday season, and I’ll be getting my applications out over the next week or so.  Right now, it looks like I’ll be doing only one, maybe two shows each month in November, December, and January.  My next choice involves what exactly I’m going to take to indoor events.  I got my outdoor setup pretty well figured out by the end of the season (you can check out the pics of a couple of events on my Flickr) but indoors is a whole different ballgame.  For one, I’ve been used to having a 10×10 foot space, while the indoor events I’m planning offer 6×8 or 8×8 foot spaces.  I also won’t have my tent frame to hang stuff from, so I need to find new ways to display some of my items.  So I’ll be limiting my products to some specific categories, and pointing people to go online and check out my Etsy shop.

Now, I have some choices to make for my Etsy shop, too.  I’ve been renewing items after they expire, mostly because I haven’t been able to list new things.  I’ve been thinking about no longer renewing items and instead posting them in my online store, which totally needs some attention and products.  I noticed that a bunch of my Christmas-themed items end on December 14th, and it seems rather silly to me to renew those for another four months that close to Christmas, so as of December 15th, I will no longer be renewing expired listings on Etsy.

So that’s a look into the future, but what about October?  I’ve got a few things planned…

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen my Item of the Day posts.  For October, rather than just picking a random item to be featured, I’ve decided to go with a theme… or rather, three themes, so you’ll be getting three items each day.

  • Pink Item of the Day – By now, everyone is pretty well aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What you might not be aware of is that my own family, like so many others, has been touched by this disease.  We lost my Aunt Linda in 2002.  Her children started Play for the Cure Oregon in her honor.  This month, I will be showcasing one pink item every day, and I will donate 10% of sales from any item with pink in it to the Linda L. Vladyka Breast Wellness Foundation.
  • Rainbow Item of the Day – You also might not be aware that October is LBGT History Month, too.  I’ve been pretty vocal in my support of LGBT rights and marriage equality, and I look forward to every National Coming Out Day (October 11) as I tear up watching all the love and support for myself and so many of my friends.  So I’ll be showcasing one rainbow item every day, and I will donate 10% of sales from any rainbow item to the It Gets Better Project.
  • Halloween Item of the Day – My favorite holiday is Halloween, and it being the last day of October, it’s perfect (in my not so humble opinion) to celebrate it all month!  My Halloween Item of the Day will feature items that can be used for costumes as well as all the “scary” icons of Halloween: bats, spiders, skulls, and a little bit of Cthulhu thrown in.  I can’t think of any Halloween themed charities, but that leads me to another choice I recently made…

I have decided that any time my monthly product sales reaches $500, I will donate 10% to charity or an IndieGoGo campaign I feel deserves it.  And speaking of IndieGoGo campaigns, a friend of mine is doing one right now that only has a few days left, so if you could help him out, I’d greatly appreciate it!  They’re a long ways from their goal, and I’ve already donated all I could (though if I get a TON of sales in the next couple days, maybe I can do more).

And now, Challenges.  I’ve decided to use October to challenge myself.  Since it’s the tenth month and 10 is one of my favorite numbers, I’ve decided to work on “Ten Things” challenges.  Some of these will be accomplished in one day, some will take several.  Some are baby steps and others are more intensive.  My goal is to complete at least ten of them by the end of October.  They’ll be things like “Create Ten New Products” and “List Ten New Items” as well as “Organize Ten Areas” and “Read Ten Marketing Articles.”  I’ll be blogging about these as I get them completed, so that’s another challenge, “Blog About Ten ‘Ten Things’ Challenges.”

But the biggest challenge is going to be “Less Talk, More Action” so I better stop writing and get to doing, yes? 🙂

Monday Musings: Time Flies

How the heck did it get to be September already?  This year has just flown by, and all my plans have flown with it.  I keep trying to get a handle on my schedule, and it keeps slipping away from my grasp like a greased pig.  I’ve done fairly well with the “this is the one thing that I must get done today” but that one thing has generally been something time-sensitive like finishing up a paper to turn in before a midnight deadline.

My studio is still a disaster, though not quite as bad as it was, so there’s been some progress, just not as much as I’d like.  Last night, I finally fixed the tension on my sewing machine so I can use it again.  Now I just need to clear out the area around it…  I’m hoping that this week without classes will allow me to get some organizing done.

So this year has definitely not gone as planned, and I still feel like I’m digging myself out from the pile caused by being so ill earlier this year.  My health is doing a lot better since I’ve been able to go to the doctor and started taking the new meds.  My next step is an evaluation for Adult ADHD, but I’ve been too distracted (ha!) to get the paperwork done and turned in.  That’s on the list of “one things” for this week.

Last weekend was the one year anniversary of my wedding to my beloved Lorne.  Hard to believe it’s been a whole year, and that it’s only been a year.  It’s difficult to imagine my life without him, and I am eternally grateful for his love and support.  I thank him constantly for putting up with me, and my business as it spills into our bedroom for lack of space in the messy studio.  I could go on forever about how awesome my husband is, but I’ll spare your teeth and pancreas. 😉

It’s been two years since I moved to New Hampshire, and I still love it here.  I keep thinking I should go take some pictures of the scenery and history that surrounds me and blog about it here… but there’s that “time” thing again.  Still, some shots of one of the old cemeteries around here while the leaves are changing would be incredible, so I really should do my best to make that happen.

But now that it’s September, I really need to start thinking about the holidays and gearing up for the season ahead.  I need to figure out exactly which events I’m going to do (I don’t think I’m going to do quite as many as last year, but I’ll probably still do at least three or four).  And I definitely need to get more products up in my Etsy shop.  I also need to figure out what kinds of new products I should concentrate on, so I’ve put together a little survey.  It will probably take you about 5 minutes or so to complete it, so please help me out!  A little direction helps to minimize my distraction. 🙂

I do have something new for you guys, but I’m going to put that into a different post… stay tuned!

Time Flies comic by Something of That Ilk

Check out http://www.somethingofthatilk.com for more comics!

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!

Monday Musings: Of Fools, Failures, and Flames

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Sometimes I think I should adopt this as my own personal holiday, as I way too often end up feeling foolish.  Let’s start with the fact that I haven’t blogged here for an entire month!  March is kind of a blur to me.

My classes ended on Friday, so most of my March was spent frantically trying to get everything done and turned in.  I managed to do so for my Individualized Studies Seminar, which was extremely important since that class is what determines my entire degree program and what I need to do in order to earn my Bachelor’s degree.  But my other class, Research Methods, is where another incidence of feeling foolish comes in.  I did not realize when I registered that pretty much the entire point of the class is to come up with a research proposal that I can use for my degree.  And since I had not completely figured out my degree, that posed a bit of a problem.  Eventually, it was decided that I would use this research proposal as a marketing study for an Independent Learning Contract in the Fall term, but that decision was made so late in the term that getting my proposal done before the end of it was extremely problematic.  So I had to feel foolish once again, and beg my professor for an Incomplete and extra time to finish it.  She has been very kind in granting me an extension until May 5th.

So along with this foolishness, there comes a sense of failure.  Not only did I not get my project for school done in time, but my plans for my business came to a screeching halt during this first quarter of this year.  I had many plans at the beginning of the year, and very few accomplishments thus far.  I’ve let so many things fall by the wayside: my One Hit Wonder Project, my Five By Five/Fifty posts, my gratitude lists… it’s really easy to look at all the things I haven’t done and feel like I’ve failed.

But you know it’s not like me to dwell on the negative.  I truly believe the saying that you haven’t failed until you quit trying.  Then I found this blog post: How to Never Fail at Anything, Ever Again (John’s got some great stuff, so go read that and check out the rest of his blog).  Basically, the idea is to couch everything as an experiment.  “If your goal is to experiment and learn something, it’s pretty hard to fail.”  This is a rather powerful idea, and right up the alley of my wonderful brain that loves to mix creativity and logic.  If an experiment doesn’t work, I have still learned something.  If a plan I’ve made gets derailed, it hasn’t failed, it’s just been postponed or modified.

And we have learned that when I make plans, the universe likes to take the opportunity to laugh at me.  I guess I am the universe’s fool.  But I don’t like feeling like a failure, so I’m going to take steps to erase that word from my vocabulary.  First, I will make commitments to my overall projects, but not any particular schedule, because I’ve learned that things will happen to prevent me from keeping it.  I will experiment with doing things on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but I will give myself choices within that framework that range from quick and simple to much more complex, so I have a chance of completing something when I have less time and energy, and can concentrate on the “big stuff” when I have more time and energy.  For example, the One Hit Wonder Project is extremely complex, requiring multiple posts and page updates as well as research, while posting a few Simple Charm Necklaces is pretty easy.  I have several ideas for revamping my projects, but I’ll save those for another post.

I’ve talked about fools and failures, so you’re probably wondering where the flames comes in.  Well, I have been talking with my hair dresser about making my hair look like “dark flames” for awhile now, and yesterday was our first experiment with it.  The main color is called Mahogany Blonde, so I guess I’m a blonde now, though this is still obviously red.  She added red and orange streaks underneath, and added some layers to the back so they’d peek through.  The pictures taken inside don’t really do it justice, and we’ll likely be adding more streaks and layers in round two of the experiment, but I’m pretty please with the results.  The natural wave in my hair adds to the flame effect, as you can see in this first picture:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 1

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 1

This one shows some of the streaks better:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 2

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 2

But the pics taken outside in the sun REALLY show off the color better:

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 3

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 3

So I guess when the sun shines on my hair, it really bursts into flames!

Wondie's Flame Hair - Pic 4

Wondie’s Flame Hair – Pic 4

And those of you who follow my personal Facebook and believed I meant that I went “real” blonde, I guess you got your April Fool’s joke a day early. 😉

Reminiscing: It Wasn’t Just a Game

On Friday, November 30th, I did my final show for The Cape Radio in Paragon City.  It was tough, but I managed not to blubber my way through it.  I was amazed to peak at 93 listeners and even more amazed when I heard that our high listener count for the day was 341, blowing away our old record of 312.  I hope everyone will continue to listen to The Cape Radio as we play other games.  If you missed my show, you can get it here.

I’ve written before about the ending of City of Heroes, when I first heard about the plan to shut it down.  My grief back then is nothing compared to what I’m feeling now.  I knew it was going to hurt, but I feel like someone close to me has died.  I can’t stop crying, I can’t stop going through the various Facebook Groups dedicated to players of the game.  I’m adding friends as I put the character and global names together with their real life names, and others I might not have really known in game, but we’re sharing the same grief right now and that gives us a common bond.

I went to bed early on Friday night just so I could grab a few hours of sleep before getting up at 1:30am to log back into the game to be there for the final moments.  My global friends list was lit up like a Christmas tree, and the chat scroll was moving way too fast for me to keep up with.  So many names I hadn’t seen in years flew by.  My supergroup was gathering in the base for one last group photo, so I headed there and took my place for the picture.  Then I lost connection to the mapserver.  Frantically, I tried to get back in, but I just kept getting kicked back to the login screen.  Finally, I chose another server, and was able to get back in game.  But I wanted to be HOME.  It didn’t feel right to be on any other server but Virtue.  That’s where I’ve always played, where all my friends were.  But at least I was able to talk to them through the global channels.  It was something.

Then I heard one say they’d gotten back on Virtue!  I logged out and tried again.  Nothing.  Tried again.  Still nothing.  It took me about five tries before I, too, got back on Virtue.  I was in the Echo of Galaxy City, in Gemini Park, at the rock where I did my first Cape Radio show from.  I moved over to where the big group of people were, and sent out a “hugs everyone” emote.  So many people I remember from 8 years ago, when I first started playing this game, and the role-players would gather in Gemini Park.  I was always on the periphery of this group, not exactly a member, but they were always nice to me and included me when I tried.  I received hugs back and tells welcoming me.

I heard that many of my friends from The Cape Radio were gathering in the Pocket D, and I wanted to go there, but I was afraid if I tried to move to a new zone, I would mapserve again, like I did when I went to my supergroup’s base.  So I stayed put, and sent out tells and chatted in global.  I decided to send everyone in my global friends list a hug, and got many hugs back.  I was holding up pretty well until I sent Mercedes Lackey a hug, and thanked her for her efforts to try and save CoH.  She sent back “But it wasn’t enough” and sobbed on my virtual shoulder.  Her heartbreak was so clear to me, and mine just split in two at that moment and I completely lost it.

And then the worst happened.  At seven minutes until the scheduled shutdown, I mapserved again.  NO!  I frantically tried to log back in, but was getting kicked back to the login screen again and again.  Finally, I made it back in to the queue and looked at the time.  3:01am eastern.  What?  I was in the queue, and actually moving up it, but wasn’t the game supposed to close at midnight pacific time?  Amazed, I watched my character come back into Gemini Park, just for a second, and then I got the pop up “You have been forcibly disconnected. The servers are shutting down.”  We had been given an extra five minutes or so, but that was it.  It was over.

I went over on Facebook and posted “And that’s that. RIP City of Heroes, and thanks for all the memories.”  I cried as I saw similar posts, as so many on my friends list have played this game.  I was told Twitter was exploding as well, so I went over there.  My phone rang, and it was Detra.  I said hello, and immediately started crying again.  Detra and I share the experience that City of Heroes helped us find our true selves, so we both understand the devastation the other is feeling.  So much of who we are is tied up in this game, it feels like we’ve lost a body part.  Our hearts and souls have been ripped out, all because some company decided we no longer fit with their vision.

So what do we do now?  We do what I’ve always advocated: hold on tight to your dreams.

We fight to try to get NCSoft to sell the IP and another company to buy it and give us an awaken.  Check out Task Force Hail Mary on the Titan Network, headed by Mercedes Lackey.  They’re attempting to convince Disney to purchase City of Heroes, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll try the next company on their list.

We show NCSoft what real heroes are all about by donating to Real World Hero and blowing all their previous records out of the water.

We share our memories of the game and each other on Facebook, The Cape Radio Forums, The Titan Network Forums, our blogs, and anywhere else we find to post them.  Feel free to add your memories or links to them in the comments here.

As for me, I have a new mission.  I have always wanted to try to recreate some of the costume pieces available in City of Heroes.  I have cosplayed my own character, One Hit Wonder, a couple of times, but had just modified some existing pieces to be similar to her costume.  I was never 100% happy with the results and planned to eventually make the entire costume from scratch.  I’ve decided to not only put this plan into action, but to start making as many of the City of Heroes costume pieces “in real life” as I can.  My idea is to make the individual pieces, which can then be mixed and matched much like you would in the costume creator program.  But in order to to this, I will need some help.  First of all, I need screenshots of costumes from City of Heroes.  Please send them to rewondered@gmail.com and don’t worry about flooding my mailbox.  I have plenty of room there. 🙂

Secondly, I will need supplies.  So I am redirecting the focus of my IndieGoGo campaign toward this project and getting ready for Birka.  In the end, I hope to have a wide variety of costume pieces suitable for cosplay, SCA events, and even everyday wear.

So if you can toss even $5 in toward this project, it would be greatly appreciated.  For those wanting a memento of your character, this would be a great way to get a piece or two or even a whole costume, since you’ll get a free item and a gift certificate to spend in my Etsy shop, where I’ll have these pieces available.  Check out the campaign and my post on redeeming your rewards for more information.

I will be continuing to work on my Five X Fifty posts, and you will likely see some CoH and SCA stuff sneak in to those.  I have several items I need to get photographed and listed, but I need to unload my car from yesterday’s craft fair, and of course it’s started to rain.  Sigh.  I guess this just means I can get started on researching those City of Heroes costumes, huh?  🙂

Monday Musings: When Several Days Hit You At Once

You know that saying, “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days hit me at once.”  This weekend was very much like that.  I’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to get ready for craft fair season, and didn’t sleep at all Friday night as I frantically made sure everything was packaged and priced and ready to go.  I laid down for about an hour and a half, but I don’t think I got more than 20-30 minutes of sleep.  Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted.

Earlier last week, Lorne and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Him: Of course you’re tired, you’ve been working what, 12 hour days?

Me: No.

Him: 15?

Me: More like 16-18.

Him: I rest my case.

Early Saturday morning, we packed up the car and headed to the fair.  My space was in the back corner of the library, which really was a perfect spot for two bibliophiles with social anxiety issues.  It was SO tempting for us to start pulling books off the shelves to read, especially since we were in the Reference section, and I spied a whole shelf full of books on costuming.  I managed to grab some quick pictures of the display while there was a lull in the crowd.

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts & Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts and Crafts Market 2012

Rewondered Display at John Stark Arts and Crafts Market 2012

That’s my wonderful, supportive husband in the last pic, wearing the Wondiosyncra-Tee I made for him (it says “Random” – his nickname).  He is such a good sport with all of this and I am very lucky to have him!

I had the “Hero” Wondiosyncra-Tee and Comic Captions Straitjacket Hoodie that I donated to the Real World Hero charity auction on display and got several compliments on them and all my items, especially my Skirt Bags and Button Rings (need to get some of those up on Etsy).  Several people took my business card and fliers, and I was asked by the organizer of another local event in late August if I’d like to participate.  Of course I said yes and she took my contact information.

Unfortunately, sales were a bust, and I didn’t even come close to making back the fees I paid to participate.  I had hoped to make at least ten times what I did and be able to get some supplies to make more of the ideas I have for my 50 New Products in 50 Days.  So I’m going to make a special deal for anyone who contributes to my IndieGoGo campaign between now and midnight Eastern tomorrow, November 6th: get an extra 50% of your contribution on your Rewondered gift certificate.  So a $5 contribution will get one item and a gift certificate for $7.50 and a $50 contribution will get a gift certificate for $235.  This is a limited time offer, because I need funds now in order to get the supplies to complete items before my next craft fair on November 10th.  And don’t forget, if I reach double my goal, ALL rewards will double!

Double My IndieGoGo Goal and I'll Double the Rewards

*

After we got back from the craft fair, I was so exhausted, I went straight to bed and slept until about 9pm.  I went back to bed around 11:30pm and slept in until around 9am, but spent most of Sunday feeling rather brain dead.  I tried to get items listed and blogs posted, but words were completely failing me.  So I gave up and gave myself the day (mostly) off, and worked on a few creative projects instead, again going to bed fairly early and sleeping in this morning.  Apparently I am getting much too old to pull all-nighters!

The good news is that I have most of my inventory for the next show all ready to go.  I’ll just be adding in the new stuff I’m making this week, including the new products I’m working on.  I really want to work on more non-jewelery items and some stocking stuffers and holiday-specific products.  As much as I hate seeing Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving, it’s kind of necessary for these holiday-themed craft fairs.

Now, speaking of several days hitting at once, I am woefully behind on my daily Five By Five posts.  So I’ll be playing catch up and posting Days 3, 4 and 5 later today.  I’m going to change the name to “Five X Fifty” as I think that better describes this promotion, and gives me a little more leeway than a 5pm deadline that is sometimes difficult for me to achieve, depending on what other deadlines and commitments I have for the day.  I also was planning to do Snap Barrettes for the Day 5 product, but I didn’t get a chance to make what I wanted to list, so I will have to postpone that to another day and choose a different item for Day 5.

Also, Etsy now allows listings to have variations, so rather than post five separate items that are extremely similar, I will just post one listing with at least five variations to choose from for some of my new products.  I’ll post individual pictures of each variation here on the blog, so you’ll still get at least five items, but they’ll all link back to just one listing.  Kind of like my Basically Beaded Faceted Bead Necklace where I added it to the Five By Five for each color available: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, or Rainbow.  By the way, additional colors or combinations are available as a custom order. 🙂

So, I’ll be spending today working myself out from under this pile of days.  Luckily, I am feeling much better and much more coherent today.  But now I’m hungry, so I’m going to wander off and find myself some lunch.  Look honey, I’m remembering to eat today!  😛

Thursday Thoughts: NaNoWriMo and Creative Commitments

It’s probably not very surprising that I know a lot of creative people.  Among my friends and family are various other Etsy sellers, artists, scrapbookers, crocheters, knitters, seamstresses, quilters, woodworkers, and practitioners of just about any other craft you can think of.  Then there’s the people I met when I was a Theatre Arts major, the community theatre enthusiasts, and a plethora of actors and techies.  Most of my gaming friends are into role-playing and have developed elaborate stories for their characters.  Now add in all the writers and poets, computer programmers, graphic artists, interior designers… the list goes on.  So I really shouldn’t be shocked when I keep seeing one friend after another announce that they are participating in NaNoWriMo.

I’ve long thought about writing a book, or several.  I have characters begging me to tell their stories.  I’ve written a few scenes (this one belongs in a romance novel!) and backstories (this one is not for the faint of heart!) for some of my City of Heroes characters, and brainstormed ideas for a series based one or both of the Ashton twins, Jenny (my main character, One Hit Wonder) and Stacey.  I know I should take the “just sit down and write!” advice, but the way my writing process works, I don’t stop writing until the story is done, or at least that part of it.  And I just don’t have the time right now to spend hours, or heck, even minutes, writing anything that isn’t directly related to my business.

I am committed to three craft fairs in November, and am waiting for confirmation on a fourth one scheduled for December 1st.  November is not a month for me to write novels, or even short stories, it is a MUST MAKE ALL THE THINGS month.  I have literally thousands of items in various stages of completeness scattered all over my studio and spilling into the other rooms.  Thank goodness I have a supportive husband!

But I have been neglecting this blog, and my Etsy shop.  So I am going to make a type of writing commitment for November, and into December.  Let’s call it ReBloPoMo+ – Rewondered’s Blog Posting Month-Plus.  I am going to combine my “50 New Products In 50 Days” with my “Five by Five” blog posts.  So every day in November, and the first 20 days of December, there will be a post here and at least five new listings in my Etsy shop.  And I’m going to get my feet wet in the days leading up to November with a few themed “Five By Five” posts, starting with Halloween and gothic items.  It might be a bit late to order for Halloween, but I know there are others like me who think Halloween should be celebrated year-round, or are fans of “creepy” things, like skulls or Cthulhu.

Speaking of ordering, I am running a limited time special on two specific gift certificates.  The big deal is a Groupon-esque discount of over 76% off, where you can get $210 worth of my products (or custom orders) for only $50!  Click the picture below for details:

$210 worth of Rewondered products for only $50!

$210 worth of Rewondered products for only $50!

You can also get a half-price $20 Gift Certificate to Rewondered for $10.  Both of these offers are limited, so get them before they’re gone!  If you’re in New Hampshire, come spend your Rewondered Gift Certificate at my booth at one (or more) of the craft fairs I will be at:

I’ll have lots of items at the fairs that aren’t available online.  And with all the stuff I’ll be adding during ReBloPoMo+ (5 items x 50 days = 250 new listings!) there will be a lot more to choose from soon™.  Rewondered Gift Certificates never expire, you don’t have to use them all at once, and you can even refill them!  Get your holiday shopping done early, and let your friends pick out their favorite items, or get something custom made!

So what are you committed to this November?  Let me know in the comments below!  Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Don’t write, but love to read?  Then check out NaNoLoMo – National Novel Loving Month.  Have a creative goal you’ve been putting off?  Maybe November is the perfect month to make it happen!  Let’s do it!

Reaggregation: A Collection of Unorganized Thoughts – Part 1: Events

  • Aggregation– collection into an unorganized whole

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning and brainstorming lately, and asking myself a lot of questions.  I’ve been wanting to write about some of the conclusions I’ve drawn, questions I still have, and ideas I’m working on, but have been having trouble deciding how to present them.  Did I need to write separate posts for each one?  Do a poll?  Get things more concrete before writing anything?  Ooh, and what’s this new idea over here?  Shiny!

Yeah, so I’ve been going around and around in my head lately, and nothing’s been posted here in three and a half weeks.  Wow, three and a half weeks, really?  Where did September go?  I swear it was August just a minute ago… is that a squirrel?

Oh yes, that’s right, I was organizing my thoughts.  As you can see, it’s a bit of a process.  So forgive me if I get rambly…

Events

Let’s start with events.  I really want to have a table or booth at two or three events every month.  One of the things that took up a good chunk of my September days was an SCA event, where I teamed up with a friend of mine who sells Auntie Arwen’s Spices.  This led to me thinking about other products and more period pieces I could make, but I’ll come back to that.  Let’s stay focused on events here. (I know it’s hard, but really Wondie, you can do it!)

So yes, more SCA events.  They’re fun and appeal to my theatre geek side, plus I get to dress up!  Next on the list is Birka in January.  Mostly I’ll just continue to team up with my friend for these, as it gives us both an extra hand for set-up as well as someone to talk to during the slow times.  Plus I am a total newb to the SCA and my friend grew up in it, so she can help me avoid mis-steps.

But January is a long way away, and the holiday selling season is coming up, so that means craft fairs.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford some of the fees for some of the larger shows, and many of those are juried and I don’t have photos of the new products I want to make, since they’re not made yet (remember, more on inventory later).  Also, the deadlines for many have already past, or they’re already full of jewelry artists.  Speaking of deadlines, my funds are extremely limited until about October 15th (and only a little less limited after that), so I’m juggling when I can actually apply, and the longer I wait, the greater the possibility that I won’t be able to do the show due to it already being full.  I also want to stay in New Hampshire to avoid having to deal with out-of-state vendor issues.  I’m still looking, so if you know of any that you think I might want to look in to, let me know.  For the moment, I’m seriously considering these:

  1. Hudson PumpkinFest – October 12-14 – I’d only be able to afford to do one day, likely the 14th.  My major concerns for this show is that it is outdoors, which means I would need to have some kind of tent/canopy, and the only one I currently have access to is 10×20, which means I need to pay for extra space as well as fill it with inventory.  Also, the deadline is October 1st.  So this one is looking unlikely, as I just don’t have the funds for all the extras I’d need that quickly.
  2. Windham High School Craft Fair – October 27th – This benefits the school’s drama and band programs, so I definitely want to support that.  Just need to get some pictures and I can send my application in.
  3. John Stark Arts Market – November 3rd – This is in Weare, and benefits the school’s art department.  Another one I definitely want to support, and close-by.
  4. Great Bay Charter School Holiday Craft Fair – November 10th – This in Exeter.
  5. Merrimack High School Annual Craft Fair – November 17th.
  6. Holiday Keene Craft Show – November 24th – This is a bit on the expensive side, but I can pay a deposit now and the rest later.  This one only allows 10-15 jewelery artists and requires pictures and a description of all products and equipment I’ll be using, so I need to figure out my display before I fill out the application.  This is also over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend when I’ll be running specials in my Etsy shop, so inventory management is going to be tricky.
  7. 23rd Annual Beaver Meadow School PTO Gourmet Bake and Craft Fair – December 1st – That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

I’m having trouble finding any others in December that aren’t already full.  These would keep me busy every Saturday between October 27th and December 1st, though I’m open to other ones that are closer/cheaper/better if they are available.  There’s also Sundays and possible weekday events, as well.  Of course, while I’d love to do them all, the upfront costs are a bit out of my reach right now, so I’m going to have to pick and choose.  If you’d like to help me get to more shows, consider buying a gift certificate, which could of course be used when you come to any of the shows, or order online.  Stock up now and get your Christmas shopping done early! 🙂

Home Parties

Another idea I’ve been considering is home parties.  Ages ago, I used to be a Pampered Chef Consultant, and I really enjoyed the idea of getting a chance to explain and demonstrate the products to a small group of people, and help the host or hostess earn free stuff.  Why not apply that concept to my products?  Especially as we gear up for the holidays!  Wouldn’t it be awesome to go over to your friend’s house, have some wine and munchies, and get a bunch of awesome handmade gifts for your friends and family without having to make them yourself or brave the crowds at a craft fair?  It would also be a great way to do custom order consultations, and people could bring any jewelry that needs simple repairs.  And if I did these on Saturday nights, after the craft shows, or on Sundays, everything would already be packed up in my car. 😉

I’m still working out the details, but the person hosting the party would get a percentage of the total sales as credit toward their own purchases, and additional incentives if their friends book a party of their own.  This would work out to free gifts for yourself or your family and friends, just for inviting a few friends over and giving me a space to set up a display table.  So let me know if you’re interested in hosting!  Of course, you’d need to be somewhere that won’t take me more than a couple of hours to drive to (sorry Florida friends!) but perhaps I can do an online version of this too.  Need to get more items up online first, but it bears thinking about.  I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂

So with these ideas, I could be VERY busy between now and Christmas.  And I’m going to stop here and continue collecting my unorganized thoughts in future posts.  Stay tuned for Part 2: Inventory!

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