A New Year’s Check-In

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WordPress was kind enough to let me know that I’ve had my blog for a year. It was supposed to be part of my New Year’s resolutions. I kind of dropped the ball these past few months, though. Work, life and the holidays got the better of me. But my Christmas vacation is winding down and I’ll be back to the real world soon. That also means getting back to work on the blog.

What I’m (going to be) working on: My first priority is going to be getting some Valentine’s Day stuff up in the shop. I should already have some up there, but I’m going to try and get started on that this first week of the month. Then I’m going to focus on some more blog stuff. I got so lazy that there’s things I have photos for that I never wrote about. I think I’m finally going to get to my cooking feature and maybe some more day-to-day stuff. You’ll notice my KonMari posts kind of petered out, but I did mostly finish up that project. I think I just wasn’t interested enough to blog about it. (But hey, decluttering is nice and I recommend it. Even if it doesn’t make for riveting reading.)

End of the year reading recommendations: I got a lot of nothing done this past month, but I did do more reading than I have in a while. I finished up Shadow and Bone for book club, and really enjoyed it. I’ll probably read the rest of the series early this year. I also read Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman and also loved it. I really wish I’d had this book about 15 years ago. I love Lindy West and I absolutely recommend this book for women of all ages and shapes. And finally, I got Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1 as a present and I love it so much. It’s the sweetest little manga about a kitten and her adoptive family. They’re short and adorable and excellent feel-good stuff. Heartily recommended for when you’re feeling stressed out by the world. Next up for me will be finishing the last two Neopolitan Novels, finally.

Games of the year: I don’t know that I’ve played that many games this year, so I’m not really going to be able to give a good overview of everything that came out. But, go play Stardew Valley. For real. It’s topped almost every list and it really is great. I’m probably going to play some when I get this entry posted. I’m still working on Pokemon Sun, but I’m enjoying it. I’m just a super slow Pokemon player. The husband person got Final Fantasy XV for Christmas, and I’ve been watching him play a lot of that all week. (Quality couch time.) I’m going to start it myself when he’s back to teaching evening classes and I have the PS4 to myself. But from just watching it, I kind of love it. It’s kind of like one of those Japanese dating sims, but with more swords and you don’t actually get to date one of the boys. (Although I have to admit that Gladiolus is kind of my video game boyfriend. For right now.)

She’s crafty: I’m hoping to get more crafting done this year. I’d like to do more paper crafting, finish up the five embroidery and cross-stitch projects I have going and teach myself to knit socks.

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But first, I have to finish putting this quilt back together. It’s my great-grandma quilt that’s made an appearance before. This time it’s getting a complete overhaul. I took it completely apart, cleaned and patched it up and then my mom showed me how to put it back together. I’m still in the process of sewing the three layers together with little bits of yarn and then I’ve got to redo the binding. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it.

That’s it! A little bit of it, anyway. Big plans for the new year, but we’ll see what happens. A little bit at a time.

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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.

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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April Instagram Challenge

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Time for a new Instagram challenge from Lazy Lady. I did okay on the last one. I think I missed two days because I had a hard time coming up with something good and I waited til the last minute and I just pooped out altogether. So let’s start fresh.

In other news, it’s my birthday and I took the day off work and I’m trying to decide if I want to clean house, or bingewatch Netflix and start on Konmari Step 2. It’s also raining, so going back to bed is a strong possibility.

Check-In: March 31

What I’m working on – I’ve gotten some more basics up at the shop. I’ve been plugging away at these listings that are all pretty similar, just varied in color and it’s been a good way to flesh out the shop. Having basics are important. I think I might work on something a little more complex next. Just to keep things interesting. And the timing is good because…

What I’m reading  My brother-in-law got me Khristian Howell’s book “Color +Pattern” for my birthday. (My birthday is tomorrow, happy year 34 to me.)

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I’m excited. It’s a really good lookin’ book with a lot of good exercises in it for building those pattern design muscles. I’ll probably share some of my homework here.

How I’m feeling – My back continues to improve. It’s been two steps forward, one step back the whole way. Right now I’m just trying to get to where I can move without overwhelming pain. Then I can get back to exercising. Which will keep my back from getting in this state to begin with. And to that end…

What I’m watching – Spending my entire waking life at a computer is what’s got my back and neck and shoulders in such terrible shape to begin with. So.. I’m trying to avoid the computer as much as possible while I recuperate. So, I started rewatching Kimmy Schmidt in anticipation of season 2 coming out this month. I’m sure my husband can’t wait for me to sing Pinot Noir at him again.

 

KonMari Step 1: Take my sock drawer… please!

So, you’ve read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and you’re ready to start working some life-changing magic in your own home. Here’s some quick and easy steps to get you started.

  1. Make your bed so that when you empty your closet and start piling stuff on it, it will look nice for the photos you take for your blog.
  2. Realize that you don’t have ANY trash bags in the house. Run to the store.
  3. Get back and realize it’s basically lunch time and take an hour long break.
  4. Start three hours later than you originally intended.

Despite a a few hiccups at the beginng, I managed to get all my clothes KonMari-ed this past Sunday.

My walk-in closet before the KonMari method.
The closet… before!

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Putting it all together

Productivity update! So, as I said before, my goal this year is to be more productive. Part of that is getting organized. I’m one of those people whose mind reflects their environment. I find clutter and disarray so distracting I can’t get anything done. But, rather than dig in and get things organized, I sometimes get paralyzed and don’t know where to start. So, I’m taking things in bite-sized chunks this time.

First up, this pile of stuff:

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This is actually only half of the mess. That’s about five years worth of recipes clipped from magazines. Five years ago, I started putting them in binders so I could actually use them. Then I got distracted. And the pile grew. For five. years. 

So, when I took stock of all of our clutter, I zeroed in on that pile that’s been sitting next to my desk, my main work space, for (again) five years. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve spread my pile out on the living room floor, turned on the X-Files on Netflix, arranged all of my bits of paper by category and started gluing them to copy paper and stuffing them in sheet protectors. So many sheet protectors.

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This is Sid, my personal assistant, holding down the “dessert bars” section until I get to it. He’s been a real help.

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I’m currently about 80% done. It’s taken a surprising amount of time. But, the pile is growing smaller and smaller, and that’s encouraging.

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I’ve also discovered washi tape. Can you tell?

Next up: Finding a place for my two giant binders, followed by actually cooking some of this stuff.