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 **.  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*

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 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?


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*

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: 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. 😉

Monday Musings: Rebooting

Craft Fair Season is finally over and I can finally get back to concentrating on my online business.  I’ve learned a lot about craft fairs though, and will continue to do them in the future, applying what I’ve learned.  But that’s for another post, today is about rebooting my business and my brain for “online” versus “in person” sales.

First on my agenda is processing the orders I received last week and getting them out in the mail today.  Interestingly enough, I have had more sales in my Etsy shop in the first nine days of December than I did at all five craft fairs combined.  So I have several orders that need to go out.  I keep most of my items in “kits” and don’t actually put them together until I make a sale.  This allows me to spend more time creating new products, rather than making a bunch of one thing that is going to sit around gathering dust until someone buys it.  So that’s why my products generally take 1-5 business days to be shipped out.

Next, I need to reorganize my inventory and get photographs taken so I can get more items listed in my Etsy shop.  This includes items for my Five X Fifty posts.  You’ll be seeing several of those this week, as I hope to get at least 2 or 3 posted each day.  I’m also going to start a “Tuesday Top Ten” weekly post featuring the ten items most favorited in my shop over the previous week.  I’ll kick that off tomorrow with my Top Ten all time most favorited items.  Any guesses which ones those are?  What are your favorites?  Feel free to post a link to them in the comments. 🙂

I also have several custom orders to work on, and I’m talking to a few other people about their ideas, so I’ll be making myself available on IMs later this evening.  I plan to have those that I’ve already received payment for out by the end of the week.  There’s still plenty of room in my schedule to get more custom orders out before Christmas, so let me know what you have in mind!

Speaking of Christmas, I posted an FAQ about holiday shopping on my Facebook page last night.  I will copy it here, in case you missed it there:

  1. Most items in my Etsy shop can be ordered through the 18th.
  2. All orders will ship by the 20th, the date USPS gives as the last date for Christmas delivery of First Class Mail. If you want an upgrade to Priority Mail, I can ship that way through the 21st, but an additional fee will apply so please contact me to arrange payment.
  3. Custom orders should be finalized by the 15th. Remember, I cannot start work on a custom order until payment is received and I’ll need time to gather any supplies I don’t already have on hand, plus have time to actually make everything. If your custom order idea is particularly large or complicated, please contact me with details ASAP so I can let you know if a Christmas delivery date is possible.
  4. If a Christmas delivery date is not possible, but you still want to give my items as a gift, I will make a card to give your gift recipient, letting them know what is being made and when to expect it.
  5. Items can be shipped directly to your gift recipient, and I will gift wrap for no additional charge if you let me know it’s a gift.
  6. I will be putting more items up this week. If you have any suggestions or requests for particular types of items or themes, please leave them in the comments here and I’ll see what I can do! I have tons of charms that can be made into Simple Charm Necklaces or Earrings, so if you are looking for a gift for someone who likes ask me if I have any related charms.
  7. I recommend going to first and making a contribution there, as you’ll be able to choose one item for free and get a gift certificate for the amount of your contribution. There are extra steps involved than just ordering from my Etsy shop directly, but you’ll get more for your money! Information about redeeming your rewards is here:
  8. If you haven’t yet received your gift certificate from your IndieGoGo contribution, just choose “other” for payment method when you place your order on Etsy and leave a note in the comments section. I’ll verify your contribution and send you an invoice for any balance due.
  9. I will be on vacation from December 22nd through 25th.
  10. If you have any other questions, please email me at or post a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Speaking of Facebook, Intuit is running a “Small Business, Big Wishes” promotion where I could win $5000 to expand my business, and I’d really appreciate a vote for me, as they look at the ones with the most votes to decide who will win.

So that’s my Massive To Do List™ for this week: concentrate on getting more items up in my Etsy shop and putting together orders for the holidays.  And avoid catching the plague that my housemate has… there will be lots of orange juice, tea, and vitamins imbibed this week!  I’m going to be a very busy girl, and I don’t have time to get sick.  You hear that germs?  Back! Back, I say!!  😛

And speaking of back, back to work for me!  Stay tuned for more Five X Fifty posts later today!

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 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?  🙂

Five X Fifty: Wondiosyncra-Tees

You’ve already had a preview of this item, since I donated one to the Real World Hero charity auction (and you’ll see that one again below).  I call these “Wondiosyncra-Tees: Upcycled T-shirts celebrating the characteristics that make you wonderful.”  You choose the word or phrase (ten letters or less) that best describes you, and I cut those letters out of old t-shirts and create a frankentee with a ransom letter style.  I think they’re a lot of fun!

This is another custom made item, so all the links go to one listing in my Etsy shop.  But of course I have five examples for you, two of which someone can snap up as is instead of waiting for a custom made one.  First come, first served, though I can always create another one with the same word or phrase.  It will just look different, since no two of these shirts will ever be alike.

But first, the three you can’t have. 😛

I made one of these for myself to wear to craft fairs and events, so of course it says “Rewondered” on it.  I’m usually wearing a hoodie over it though, so you can only actually see the “wonder” part. 😛

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt - Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size - $20 - Example: Rewondered

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt – Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size – $20 – Example: Rewondered


I made one for my husband to wear to the shows he helps me with, too.  His nickname is “Random” and this style is perfect with it’s mish-mash of letters and colors.

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt - Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size - $20 - Example: Random

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt – Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size – $20 – Example: Random


And of course, there’s the one I made for the Real World Hero charity auction, which says “Hero” on it. Congratulations to the winner! I mailed it out this morning. 🙂

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt - Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size - $20 - Example: Hero

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt – Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size – $20 – Example: Hero


I wanted to add another color into the mix, so I made up this “Red Hot” one. It’s a size XL, and available to the first person who orders and claims it!

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt - Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size - $20 - Example: Red Hot

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt – Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size – $20 – Example: Red Hot


And finally, you know I had to make a “Geeky” one! This one is a 2XL, and also available to the first person who orders and claims it.

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt - Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size - $20 - Example: Geeky

Custom Made To Order Wondiosyncra-Tees T-shirt – Your Choice of Word, Color, and Size – $20 – Example: Geeky


I meant to have more items up today, but I decided that the contributions I’ve received to my IndieGoGo campaign so far should be put to good use and I should take advantage of the really awesome sale that JoAnn Fabrics was having today. I picked up a ton of stuff on clearance, too! I was showing my husband my “loot” and telling him the ideas I was going to make with my purchases, and he mostly just smiled indulgently at me and nodded, with an occasional “ooh nifty!” I have him well-trained! 😛

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take advantage of any Black Friday or weekend sales, since I’ll be at the Cornucopia Craft Fair selling my own stuff.  Though if sales/contributions and time allows, I may try and sneak in on Saturday and get the Dritz Dressform that will be on sale for $99.99, which would be immensely helpful for creating custom clothing.  We shall see.

For now, I am going to continue to be in MAKE ALL THE THINGS mode until Thanksgiving, and I’m seriously contemplating not taking the holiday off and spending it sewing instead.  I know, I know, all work and no play and all that.  But I’m 3000 miles away from my family, and my husband’s family is 1500 miles away.  We’ve been invited to dinner with our housemate’s family, but being away from my studio all day, knowing I have to be up at 5 or 6am the next day for a 3-day show that anticipates 5000 people coming through… eep!  Again, we shall see.  I suppose it really depends on what all I get done by Wednesday.  So I better get back to it, methinks! 🙂

Five X Fifty: Day 3 – Pins

I know, I know, I am woefully behind on my daily new products.  Take the brain-deadness after the craft fair last Saturday, add in issues getting any kind of a clear picture of my products, and then the rather sudden onset of winter and the cold chasing me from my freezing studio, and here we are with nearly a week since my last new product post.  Sigh.

But I’ve still been making things!  And I have the pictures for days three, four and five done, so it’s just a matter of getting the listings up on Etsy and making the posts here.  Days six and seven are awaiting their chance in front of the camera, and day eight (which should be today) is sitting by the sewing machine, upset with me that I ran off to run errands this morning rather than finish it.  Or I have a couple other ideas that I might be able to finish up by tomorrow for days eight, nine, and maybe even ten and eleven.  I have no shortage of ideas, but that pesky time thing keeps getting away from me!

So anyway, without further ado, let me get to Day 3, and the new Pins I have made and listed on Etsy.  I actually have six pins I just listed, so you get a bonus one!

I decided to go ahead and put up the backlog of the Halloween themed pins I had, because Halloween should totally be celebrated year around, and these spider and bat pins are just too adorable!

Cute Black Spider Pin by Rewondered D225P-00003 - $5.95

Cute Black Spider Pin by Rewondered D225P-00003 – $5.95

Cute Black Bat Pin by Rewondered D225P-00004 - $5.95

Cute Black Bat Pin by Rewondered D225P-00004 – $5.95

Cute Black Vampire Bat Pin by Rewondered D225P-00005 - $5.95

Cute Black Vampire Bat Pin by Rewondered D225P-00005 – $5.95

Yay!  I love Halloween.  But alas, as much as it pains me to do so before Thanksgiving is over, I must start thinking about Christmas.  These little snow-covered birdhouse pins are kind of Christmasy…

Green Birdhouse with Yellow Star, Red Trim and Snow Pin by Rewondered D225P-00007 - $4.95

Green Birdhouse with Yellow Star, Red Trim and Snow Pin by Rewondered D225P-00007 – $4.95

 Green and Red Checkerboard Birdhouse Covered In Snow Pin by Rewondered D225P-00008 - $4.95

Green and Red Checkerboard Birdhouse Covered In Snow Pin by Rewondered D225P-00008 – $4.95

And last but certainly not least, my favorite, this Silver Master Key… wish I could get more of these charms to make more of these pins, but six is all I have.

Fancy Silver Master Key Pin by Rewondered D225P-00006 - $8.95

Fancy Silver Master Key Pin by Rewondered D225P-00006 – $8.95

I have a bunch more pins available at the craft fairs (and of the two items I sold at the last one, one was a pin).  I’ve been working on a few “make as you wait” items and some display items for custom orders, so hopefully those will help me get a few more sales at the next fair.  I think I also need to talk up my IndieGoGo campaign a bit more.  My gogofactor was up this week, and I thank all of you who have helped to spread the word, and ask that you keep sharing it with as many people as you can.  I’ve moved up to page three of the Fashion campaigns, that’s pretty cool!

Also, don’t forget that the Real World Hero auction ends this Saturday, November 10th, so get over there and bid on the Comic Captions Straitjacket Hoodie and HERO T-shirt that I made especially for Real World Hero!
Join the Donation Drive!


I’ll keep working on the backlog of new product listings and posts, but it will probably be next week before I get caught up.  You can see a sneak preview though by checking out the Gallery on my IndieGoGo campaign. 🙂

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!  😛

Five By Five: Post Back Earrings – Day 2 of 50 New Products In 50 Days

It’s Day 2 of my 50 New Products in 50 Days for ReBloPoMo+ and today’s item is Post Back Earrings.

As a Punk/Rock Fairy Princess, I have an affinity for anything with skulls, and silver is one of my favorite colors (but you might have figured that out based on the colors I chose for my business), so when I found these skull charms, I had to get them and make them into some awesome chunky post back earrings.

Silver Skull Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55504 - $8.95

Silver Skull Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55504 – $8.95


Next up are some adorable little brown flower earrings.

Small Brown Flower Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55505 - $4.95

Small Brown Flower Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55505 – $4.95


Continuing with the mini-flowers mini-theme, these tiny red roses are so pretty!

Small Red Rose Flower Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55506 - $4.95

Small Red Rose Flower Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55506 – $4.95


But enough of the flowers, I’m hungry!  How about some pizza?  But don’t actually eat these, they wouldn’t be very tasty. 😛

Pepperoni Pizza Slice Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55507 - $8.95

Pepperoni Pizza Slice Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55507 – $8.95


Would you like fries with that?  (I hope that’s the only time I have to say that phrase…)

French Fries Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55508 - $8.95

French Fries Post Back Earrings by Rewondered D225E-55508 – $8.95


Yay!  Day 2 complete, and well before the 5pm deadline!  Now if I can just get all the other stuff done that I need to do to get ready for the craft fair tomorrow.  If you’re anywhere near Weare, New Hampshire and looking for some fun holiday gifts, come check out Rewondered at the John Stark Regional High School 5th Annual Arts and Crafts Market.

In other news, I’m up to $100 in contributions for my IndieGoGo campaign!  That means I’m eligible for the drawing IndieGoGo will be doing, and I could be one of five lucky campaigns to get $500 in matching funds.  Cross your fingers for me!  And don’t forget to go make your own contribution.  I’ll be sending out gift certificates to those who have contributed starting on Monday, but if you’re going to come to Weare, let me know and I’ll have it ready for you to spend at the show if you want.  If you see something in my Etsy shop that you want to claim for your free item, let me know and I’ll set it aside for you.

Also, the items for the Real World Hero auction are up!  I donated two items this year: a custom straitjacket hoodie and a custom t-shirt.  You can go over to to bid, but I’ll share a few pics here too.

The Straitjacket Hoodie is black with comic book style captions like “Super!” and “Pow!!”

Custom Made Superhero Straitjacket Hoodie for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made Superhero Straitjacket Hoodie for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made Superhero Straitjacket Hoodie for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made Superhero Straitjacket Hoodie for Real World Hero Auction at

The t-shirt is an example of my new line of Wondiosyncra-Tees: upcycled t-shirts celebrating your wonderful characteristics.  These are made from the letters off old t-shirts and patched together to form descriptive words, and I am happy to do custom orders with any word up to 10 letters.  Look for more of these in an upcoming Five By Five.  For the Real World Hero auction, I decided to make on that says “HERO” on it.

Custom Made "HERO" Wondiosyncra-Tee T-Shirt for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made “HERO” Wondiosyncra-Tee T-Shirt for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made "HERO" Wondiosycra-Tee T-Shirt for Real World Hero Auction at

Custom Made “HERO” Wondiosycra-Tee T-Shirt for Real World Hero Auction at

The auction ends at midnight Eastern/9pm Pacific on November 10th, so go bid on any of the awesome things they have up!  The charity drive runs through December 15th and you can donate to Child’s Play,, Operation Gratitude, or Heifer International.
Join the Donation Drive!


Okay, time for me to get back to work.  Tomorrow’s Five By Five will feature Pins, but may be either very early or very late, since I’ll be preoccupied with the craft fair from at least 6am (getting ready) to 4pm (it ends at 2pm but then I have to pack up, get home, unload my car, have a drink…) or later.  I’m hoping to get it set up tonight but you might just end up getting two posts on Sunday!

%d bloggers like this: