Check-In 2017: Doin’ real good so far.

So far so great on the getting back on track for the new year. I had every intention of writing a post yesterday to get back in the habit of posting weekly. I didn’t even realized I’d missed my self-imposed deadline until this morning. Whoops.

So let’s give this another shot.

What I’m working on: It took a few hours spread over a couple days, but I finally got my design elements collection mostly sorted out. I have tons of texture images, clip art, brushes and fonts that needed labeling and put somewhere that I could actually find them and use them. It was some extensive digital organization. (And one of the few times I miss having a Mac at home. I feel so much more comfortable with the way OSX’s file trees work. Oh well.) I haven’t started on Valentine’s stuff yet. I’m hoping to do that this weekend (even though we’ve got a lot going on). I’m almost wondering if I should just skip ahead to St. Patrick’s Day, springtime and Easter. But I guarantee I’ll be in the same boat this time next year, Re: Valentine’s Day.

I’m considering setting up a Google calendar with my shop email address so I can set alerts for things months in advance. My current bullet journal setup is good for a month at a time, but not for months and months ahead of time. I’m also thinking of switching from bullet journalling to a more traditional planner set up once I fill up my current notebook. Which might be this coming December, so hey. That’s convenient.

What I’m playing: Here’s why I forgot to do anything productive last night — after spending a week watching the husband person play, I finally started my own game of Final Fantasy XV. I haven’t gotten very far, mostly just the tutorials and the opening story stuff. But I’m very much looking forward to it. Hopefully that Florence + The Machine cover of “Stand By Me” makes another appearance. (It probably will. And I’ll cry harder than I did at at the end of FFX.)

What I’m reading: I went to the library and picked up The Dressmaker, our new book club book and the second volume of The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home. Chi is set to become my favorite character in anything ever.

And that’s that. Here’s hoping I’m more on the ball next week.

 

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.

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.

Continue reading

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.)

Check-In: September 1

What I’m working on: I actually took this week off from the day job. We didn’t go anywhere because the husband person is still working. But, I had the vacation time and needed a break. Breaks are good for your brain. I’ve deep cleaned the house, got a lot of Konmari-ing done (more on that later) and finished a bunch of random household projects.

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I upgraded to a bigger sewing box — thanks to a hand-me-down from my mom (and some help from my lovely assistant). That little white box was basically just filled with loose needles. And I don’t even do much sewing beyond mending clothes and hemming my pants.

I don’t go back to work until Tuesday, so I’ve got a little more time to work on some stuff for the shop, do some craftiness and maybe just soak my feet and relax a little bit.

What I’m watching: I’m actually watching — at this very moment — The Chris Gethard Show. My brother-in-law got me watching. It’s loosely controlled chaos and so many good comedy people are on it.

What I’m reading: I’m just about done with How to Build a Girl. It’s pretty good. I really identify with a teenage girl trying to reinvent herself into someone cooler and smarter and much more interesting. (I imagine everyone who’s ever been a teenage girl can identify with that.)

Check-In: August 25

What I’m working on: Finally! Finally I can make this big announcement that I’ve been keeping a secret for absolutely no reason! For the past few weeks, I’ve actually been working on a whole new category of offerings for my store:

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Printable invitations and note cards! Yay! I’ve got three listings up now, and I’ll be posting some thank you note cards very soon. I’m starting off slow to kind of refine processes and test the market, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

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I’m also excited to get to do a different kind of design. I’m still very much exploring pattern design, but this kind of thing is actually more what I’m used to. So we’ll see where I wander to in both areas.

What I’m reading: I just started Cailin Moran’s How to Build a Girl. I’m only a couple chapters in, but it’s a delightful change of pace from the absolute downer that was Valley of the Dolls. I enjoy that the main character has the same daydreams I do about being friends with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

What I’m watching: I’m actually typing this entry up on Wednesday night and scheduling it to go live on Thursday, because this time tomorrow I’ll be watching the premier of RuPauls’ Drag Race All Stars Season 2!! and I will be completely unreachable. Just leave a message and I’ll get back to you after Untucked.

I’m 100% #teamkatya but also #stilldelightedifalaskawins and #justhappytoseemoreofalyssaandphihi.