Check-In: September 29

What I’m working on: I haven’t got much going on this week. I’ve been working on a pretty big custom order, so that’s nice… but not exciting. I did make a new banner image for my shop and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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Yay! I need to start working on more note cards and invitations next.

What I’m reading: I got Where’d You Go, Bernadette from the library… but I haven’t even opened it. I’ve gotten so bad at reading lately. I’m the wooooorst.

What I’m watching: Here’s a problem I rarely have — I’ve got too much to watch. Season 6 of Portlandia is out on Netflix, and I’ve almost finished it. I’ve got 150 more episodes of The Chris Gethard Show to catch up on. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 2 is happening right now and it’s everything. I’ve also for some reason decided it’s high time I watched Twin Peaks.

And now Lyn has me hooked on Eat Your Sushi (formerly Eat Your Kimchi). It’s a YouTube channel presented by Simon and Martina, a Canadian  couple who moved to Japan this year after several years in Korea. I have to admit, I was a little bit put off at first because the initial impression is that they’re a little overly otaku-y. But, they really grew on me and I kind of feel bad for the knee-jerk reaction. (Especially considering what a weeb I used to be.) And I’m kind of supremely jealous that they’re living in Japan and being internet stars.

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Sometimes they find a lady walking a rabbit on the street in Tokyo and react very much like I would (i.e. freaking the eff out).

What really hooked me though is the look into their every day life in Japan. I love travel shows and I love food shows and I love Anthony Bourdain waxing poetic about global issues while eating pho. But what I find endlessly fascinating is how normal people live in other countries. Beyond the famous sights and cultural treasures… I want to know what houses and schools and grocery stores look like in the rest of the world. Watching a video blog by a couple of ex-pats is good for that. They’re figuring out how to live in a new country, not just visit it. Anyway, if you’re at all interested in every day life in Japan (or what to see all the crazy snacks they find over there), I recommend it.

Where I’m going: I’ll be MIA next week, because the husband person and I are going to Chattanooga, Tennessee at the end of next week. Hopefully we’ll get to experience a little bit of real life fall. Something we don’t get much of here in the subtropical Deep South. I’ll be back the week after with pictures!

Check-In: September 22

What I’m working on: Well. It’s the first day of fall. So, of course I’m working on Christmas stuff that I should have actually started a month ago. Also, it’s still 90+ degrees outside. I’m not anywhere near feeling holly-jolly yet. But, I’m giving it the old college try!

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What I’m playing: The husband person and I had our first Pokemon battles. I was soundly beaten. But, I caught a super-awesome Skitty and I named her Pancakes and we’re going to be best friends and then he’ll be in trouble.

What I’m listening to: On the heels of that podcast series about Charles Manson, I’ve started listening to My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark and I DON’T KNOW WHY. I don’t really watch any true crime TV. But It’s always a subject I’ve tended to fall into a Wiki-spiral with. I like the podcast because they actual do the Wiki-spiral for me and there’s no chance of me accidentally seeing a crime scene photo. I do not do not do not do not like crime scene photos. But audio descriptions are fine.

True crime is one of those weird subjects. I know so many people (most, if not all, are women) who are super-fascinated by it. And they’re all really compassionate, smart, friendly, non-psychopaths. Karen and Georgia hypothesize that people who find true crime fascinating are the people who have the most anxiety about it. Which probably explains why so many of those people are women. I absolutely have anxiety about gettin’ got. (Among other things.) Maybe subconsciously, knowing all the stories is a way of preparing. If I know how SHE died, then I can avoid it.

(Hey, there’s a fun note to abruptly end this blog post on.)

Check-In: September 18

What I’m working on: I got another pretty basic pattern pack out. These guys get done quickly, but they also seem to be my most popular. I really need to work on expanding my repertoire of patterns so I can have a little more variety in my basics.

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I think I’m going to do some packs of Christmas colors. Then… I might be out of ideas. I’ll need to do some market research and see what color combinations people need.

What I’ve been playing: Here’s the good stuff. Cause I’ve been doing nothing but playing this weekend. I got the sudden urge to play an old game — The Movies. I don’t know how popular it was back in the day, but it’s one of those simulation/”Tycoon” games. You basically start in 1920 and build a movie studio up through the years. It’s not… great. But It’s fun to take for a spin once in a while. The husband person found his old copy and we managed to make it work in Windows 10.

And speaking of the husband person, he’s been saving money he makes doing odd jobs at his mom’s church and he bought me my very own 2DS. He tried to talk me into a 3DS XL, but the 2DS plays the same games and is $120 cheaper. I’m very happy with what we got. (Except maybe I kind of wish the pink Princess Peach edition was available.

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I’ve been playing Tomodachi Life and he and I started new games in Pokemon Y and X respectively, so we’ve been playing together so we can trade and battle. The family that pokemans together, stays together. ❤

What I feel like I need to be doing: I think I’m struggling tonight with feeling like I need to be more productive. But also I’m really, really enjoying just hanging out with my husband and playing games together. So this coming week I’ll be going to the library to get my next book, I’ll be putting up some new basic pattern packs and I’ll try and put together a new blog post.

Put a Pin in It

Want to collect some art but you’re short on space and money? Enamel pins are where it’s at. They seem to be a big thing these days, and I’ve seen so many great designs!

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  1. This astronaut cat from Compoco Pop is everything I love in life compressed into a tiny package.
  2. I love the stained glass look of this vintage 1970s Russian oriole pin from Born in the Soviet.
  3. This super cute sugar skull lady from Lady Kerry is on sale for a limited time! Hurry!
  4. This vintage teepee pin from Coupland’s is a fun little design, whether you’re actually a member of The Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland or not.
  5. Do you have a denim jacket and want to show everyone how dangerous you are? Get this sweet cobra pin from Stuff My Dad Had.
  6. Are you dangerous, but still love an adorable strawberry design? You’re multifaceted, comfortable in your self-expression and I like you. Shiny Apple Studio has what you need.
  7. Remember when I said the astronaut cat was everything I love in life? I forgot about otters. Luckily, boygirlparty has the otter thing covered.

What I’ve Learned in 1 Year on Etsy

This is by no means an the end-all-be-all in Etsy how-to guides. This is just my personal experience in my first year. And it is JUST my first year, so I’m by no means an expert. But, as someone who jumped into selling on Etsy with no real idea what I was doing — these are the things that I’d wished I’d known on day one.

(Keep in mind, as a digital download seller, my experiences are limited to that sphere. I don’t have to deal with physical inventory and shipping and all that. My hat’s off to you that do. To those about to go to the post office, we salute you.)

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Look to the people who have been here for years. Once you’ve taken in my little nuggets of year-old wisdom, check out the pros who’ve been at it for a decade. Look at their blogs, social media and read the forums. I learned so much on the forums at Etsy. They’re a gold mine if you pay attention. Find active Etsy Teams that are specific to your type of shop. Also helpful? The Etsy subreddit.

If you build it (it being a strong SEO strategy), they will come. Search Engine Optimization is so, so important. The most important at the very beginning. Until you can spend thousands on a wide-reaching digital advertising campaign, your customers are going to find you through search — specifically Etsy and Google. I get a decent amount of traffic from social media, but the vast majority of my views come from search results.

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Check-In: September 8

What I’ve been working on: Guys! My shop’s been open for a year now! Here’s some (digital) cupcakes to celebrate!

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I’m not exactly an e-commerce powerhouse, but I’m happy with the growth I’ve seen in the past year. There was (and still are) a lot of lessons to be learned, but I’m optimistic. I started this endeavor as an experiment and went into it fully prepared to fail. But… I didn’t! Not yet, anyway. Hooray!

I’m planning on doing a whole separate post on what I’ve learned in my first year, so stay tuned for that. Until then, happy birthday!

What I’m listening to: I just started listening to You Must Remember This, a podcast about “the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century.” I listened to the series on Joan Crawford (which is still ongoing) and really enjoyed it* and right now I’m listening to her series on “Charles Manson’s Hollywood.” (Which, sitting here alone in the house waiting for my husband to get home from work, I realize now might be a bad idea.) Nightmares notwithstanding, it’s also a very good story. They’re all thoroughly researched and contain SO much detail. I love so much detail.

*Despite the narrator’s tendency to read Crawford’s quotes with a not-great Transatlantic accent that was accurately described by a friend as sounding like Janet Snakehole. You’ve been warned.

What I’m watching: I just finished up the new season of Difficult People. Such a fun show. I’m also devoting a significant amount of my time to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2, of course. This whole thing where the top two have to choose one of the bottom three to eliminate is rough. All (most. shade.) of the queens on this season are SO GOOD. How can you choose a bottom three much less send someone home? I can’t even. I’m sure my favorite, Katya is going to go far. I’m worried about my other favorite, Phi Phi O’Hara, because they seem determined to give her the villain edit again. (Look. I love Alyssa Edwards. You love Alyssa Edwards. But Phi Phi ain’t wrong when she says that if you’re trapped in a room with her, a little Alyssa goes a looooong way.)