Making Progress!

I have a moment to do something different right now – Saturday is our house-work-is-priority day – so I thought I would give you an update about the 3o Items In My Shop Before August goal!

It’s going ok! Not as well as I was hoping for – as in, I haven’t finished anything yet. But besides that, pretty much every day I’ve been working on something. That hat that I started in Finding Dory, which I blogged about here – well I had to undo it almost all the way. But that’s the way it goes – I make the pattern up for all of my hats, so a little bit of tweaking is to be expected. 🙂

But what I wanted to mention was something that I didn’t expect! I made a sale!

I post to my Facebook timeline every once in a while with my newest hats, and this time one of my friends talked about buying one! We met up yesterday and had the most enjoyable talk over a wonderful Panera lunch and then I sold her one of my hats and she commissioned another one! I was so happy and excited! I’m all excited to go find some dark thread and get going right away!

I sold her this hat.

But the problem is, now it’s not technically on my shop any more. I can make a new one – it’s a fairly common color to replace – but now it’s going to be less things in my shop!

And through another thing that happened today, I gave one of my hats to a friend of mine, so now I have even less in my shop!

For the first hat, I have left it up and said I will make it to order. But that still leaves me with 20 items in my shop! Hahaha! It’s kind of funny! I was hoping to put all of my 30 up on my shop, and then after that I can start making more sales. But we’ll have to see! I’ll just have to keep on being active! 😀

I do have few other items that I’m thinking of debuting on my shop… but I’ll leave them till another time! 😉 For now, I’ll just sign off and get to my housework stuff! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

~Hannah~

It’s been a while…

I have to confess… I procrastinate.

*sigh* Got that over with!

Actually, it’s perfectly obvious – I just put things off. Like this blog! I put it off until it’s a nice big pile of  demandingness (is that a word?) and then put it off again! Very silly!

Anyway, I wanted to give you an update for a few things that I’m doing. First off, I was planning on this week being the Big Etsy Making Craziness and Creativity Time, because I was doing a boutique/summer craft fair thing this Saturday. But then, after a few bumps in the road, it suddenly came to a stop.

But I don’t want it to completely bring me to a stop. So I’m going off after this to create. And do this study thing for something I’ve been putting off (procrastination again!). But I’m squeezing in more creativity, as much as I can, because I’m really in a creative mood. And an Etsy mood – which is nice, because, honestly, it can be a little exhausting trying to promote things.

And I want to get back to blogging, my dear readers! I like blogging, I really do. So I will try to keep blogging. They might not be very long posts, or very pithy, but I’m going to give it my best try anyway!

I just posted a picture (the one bellow) to my Instagram account, and wanted to show it to you. I’m going to try making compilation images like this one more in the future.

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Recently I’ve been taking this bag of my crochet stuff, one or two projects at a time, to random places. I can work on it in the car, or when I’m sitting, sipping my Starbucks iced coffee, or waiting for the movie to begin. I may not get very far, but I’ve been surprised that I have been getting through a few of my projects this way! 🙂 Oh, and Artiste, from Hobby Lobby, is totally my new favorite thread!

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And recently, I’ve had to get prescription glasses. Not so happy with that at the beginning. But now I’m not only getting used to them, but kind of enjoying using them!

WP_20160429_15_57_24_Pro.jpg Abigail made this beautiful pen for me, same style as her beautiful earrings, as a clip to put onto one of my headcoverings. I like how it looked on my pink scarf! 😉

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And one last picture. I love our hikes in the mountains – and one of my favorite hikes too! And here I am with my two beautiful sisters!

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And that’s all. For now – I promise I will be back. Maybe I’ll do a whole post about my twice-over shipment. But for now, I’ll sign off!

~Hannah

Cogs & Gears: Whatnot

Ever have one of those times when you get busy doing this and that, manage to accomplish a lot, get distracted a bit by new tech or a holiday – and then look up to discover that you’ve totally neglected something that was kind of important? That’s what my last couple of weeks has been like! (Has it really been two weeks since I posted anything?!)

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Anyway, here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to the last 10 days:

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One of our favorite place in the mountains. It’s called Capulin, and what it lacks in trails it makes up for in beauty

 

 

  • We went hiking Memorial Day! Hence all my beautiful pictures. Yes, recreation is relevant to crafting and running a business; it helps to get a little perspective and a bit of a challenge.
  • Sarah shipped one of her adorable mug cozies, to a happy customer!!! Hannah ran into a couple of problems with her shipment, but tackled them with strength and determination (and perplexity and outrage). Success all around!
  • Our wonderful smartphones got new operating systems, thereby generally causing trouble and upheaval to carefully arranged apps and stuff. Ah! technology!

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    A black dog learns quickly that shade is her friend!
  • I finished off some cards and earrings for my Etsy shop, and photographed them all! It took a while. I may have gotten carried away in the “Fairy Tale”-earring making…
  • And, the “Shopping Boutique (and Summer Fun)” that we were planning on participating in fell through. It’s a pity, because it seemed like just the opportunity that we needed to show off our shops and products and hopefully gain some more clients. But we’re praying that something else will open up instead.

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    Hannah! (I always forget to take pictures of people…)
  • Making an opportunity out of that disappointment, the next few weeks we will be focusing on polishing up our shops, making new items, and probably giving this blog a bit of an overhaul! It should be exciting. Sarah is making some patriotic cup-holders, Hannah is whipping out summery hats (like this one), and I am conjuring up some summery and playful earring designs (probably patriotic, too!).

And in the meantime, I’ve decided that I’ve

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New growth

reached frustration-point with Etsy shops and listings and products and promoting and…! One ought to forestall this by well-timed breaks: So, this week will be my Ladybug Week (so dubbed by Sarah – it’s a brilliant idea), and I will deliberately plan another down time seven weeks from now and start up a regular system of it.

I have two extremes in using down time: Either I meander and do nothing (unsatisfactory), or I fill the time with all the other things I could be

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Angle experimentation!

 

doing and end up busier than ever (exhausting). So for this Ladybug Week, I’ve decided to focus my time into one or two things only: Writing – I’m typing up my finished novel, and it needs some hardcore work! And, when I need a break from sitting around and fixing grammar, there’s some personal sewing to do. Let’s see… I need new walking shorts, a maxi-dress, that purse that I cut out, maybe a jeans skirt – No! Stop, Abigail! Limitations are good!

So – off to ignore crafting and business, and instead introduce the Shardovans and how they got into their recent dire straits!

-Abigail-

Friday Featured Favorites: Craft Fairs!

It was a busy, hectic, crazy, craft-filled first couple of weeks of November! We had tables at two different Craft Fairs (two!), and actually sold stuff at both (yay!!). It is also possible that we spent more than we made, but I think that’s an occupational hazard.

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And I suppose all of that makes up as good a reason as any to take a break from Etsy Shops for this Friday’s Featured Favorites, and instead highlight our Craft Fair experience (and adventures!).

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We have done craft fairs before, although it’s been a few years since the last one. And at that one, to be honest, I was bored. I made few sales and was discouraged enough to never, ever want to try a Craft Fair again.

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That was before we launched our Etsy shops. And this year, we allowed ourselves to be persuaded into participating again. It was for a few different reasons:

  1. Excellent incentive to make things. It’s always good to have items to stock, and always easy to be slack about production. Craft Fairs and Boutiques provide motivation to make as much as we can.
  2. Our friend Leslie is very persuasive!
  3. It’s been long enough to dull the discouraging memories.
  4. Challenges are good. And…
  5. We’ve learned a lot since that first Craft Fair.

This last point was especially important. Since joining Etsy, I’ve learned a

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Hannah and Sarah, crafting at a Craft Fair!

lot about marketing and interacting with people who could become costumers, showcasing products and making attractive displays. Etsy even has helpful articles on what to do in Craft Fairs: What to bring, how to set up your table or area, interacting with shoppers, the importance of good signage. While these articles are aimed more at sellers who might be at one of the big, important craft shows  (in places like New York or Seattle) rather than our tiny little church and school sponsored events, I still picked up a lot of important tips.

 

So I felt much more comfortable trying to do a Craft Fair again. And – guess what? We all had a lot of fun! We didn’t do a huge amount of business – that’s something we’re still going to have to work on! – but WIN_20151107_14_22_34_Prowe did manage to make the experience enjoyable. We wondered around other tables, talked with the vendors, compared techniques, shopped (a bit too much), hung out with old friends, made new friends. And of course we did! Crafters and artists are some of the fun -est people to be around.

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Sarah’s newest creations: Christmas Bags!

 

We also learned a lot about what draws the eye – what people are attracted to and what they will buy (not always the same thing!). We learned that what sells at one venue might not sell at another; and about pricing – that if something is just a little too expensive, people might lose interest. It was a great learning experience, and a fun new adventure.

And now I am glad that it’s over! Now I can focus on NaNoWriMo, and on my Etsy shop. Because online selling has a whole different set of rules!

-Abigail-

Frustrations

Ever had one of those weeks, when things just keep going wrong?

You know what I mean: Those times when what ought to go smoothly hits a rough patch – the most ordinary of tasks is complicated by interruptions – a new Something isn’t as easy and awesome as hoped – a relationship gets jumbled by moods – an immediate service is hit by a delay – the perfect weather is broken by a storm (or by sunshine, if you happen to like rain)…

Everybody has these times; the new, shiny, hard, red zits on the forehead of life. Even the most saintly people have doubtless encountered frustrations. Surely the most successful and efficient have trips where all the lights are red and there’s a traffic jam on the freeway!

Last week was like that for me. Frustration met frustration like kissing dominoes until I finally gave up and took a couple of Day Off. It was tremendously refreshing, but has left me where I was last Monday – with work to do and problems to solve that I still have no idea how to address.

Pre-last Monday, I had hoped to put all of the items I made for our Etsy Boutique up on my Etsy shop; in fact, I really wanted to do that before the Boutique, though I didn’t have time. But things kept coming up, one after another, until I finally just settled on Monday as The Etsy Day.

Then along came Microsoft 10!

10 has dominated my week. My laptop PC was older and still on 7, so it’s been a big change for it as for me. I have to fix this, I have to fix that…

And my laptop battery officially died. Now I can’t unplug it without it totally crashing, which means I can’t move from place to place, which kind of defeats the reason for laptops…

ITunes changed and experienced unexpected problems…

Hannah got a cold…

My loving family talked me out of the adorable, and discounted, orange and hot-pink swimwear set that I really wanted to buy – entirely for my own good, since I shouldn’t be buying frivolously and I don’t look good in orange…

I lost the $20 I was paid by putting it into a temporary Clever Place. Never trust Clever Places!…

Did I mention my camera? It was the worst on all! I have a good (though unremarkable) digital camera which takes quite serviceable pictures for Etsy etc.

A butterfly from our Botanical Gardens trip last weekend
An example of the gorgeous pictures I can get with my camera

But it and Windows 10 do not get along. 10 won’t download pictures from my camera; and when I burrow in and extract them by careful mining, it refuses to save any edits.

I didn’t edit this; the butterfly was just that beautiful – and upside-down by its own choice! I’m not sure what that look in its eyes means, though…

My resident tech guy (aka my wonderful dad) couldn’t figure out what was wrong anymore than I could – and had his own computer issues to deal with…

For the last reason, although I took pictures of my new items, I can’t yet put them up on my Etsy shop. Frustration after frustration! What I had hoped would be a quick appearance on Etsy to tie in with the Boutique, has turned into more than two weeks.

As I said above, eventually I just gave up. I’m learning that I need to actually relax and recreate occasionally.

Well, now that I’m a little rested, I can return to the fray and try to struggle out a few solutions. Maybe I’m pushing the wrong button to edit and save things? Maybe a little patience is needed to get Windows 10 to work right? Maybe I should buy a new battery? Maybe I should just get that silly bikini? Maybe that butterfly has it in for me?

But I found my $20, right before I wrote this post. So things might be looking up at last!

Gone to a Good Home

It’s been about a week and a half since we had our boutique. When you can step back from a thing – a party, or a meeting with friends or whatever it may be – you can see things a little clearer. About a week ago, Abigail, Sarah and I went to Starbucks (one of our favorite coffee places!) and had our Where is Our Boutique? meeting, post-boutique version. We talked about what went well, what we enjoyed, but mostly what ideas we have for future boutiques. The last part makes me all excited for our next off-line showing of the work of our hands.

One of the things, though, that came to mind when we talked was how I kind of missed having one of the hats that I made, and sold at the boutique. I called it my Willa Hat, after a character in the Finder, a TV show that had a short run on FOX a few years ago. While my family was going through a hard time this last year, we found the Finder a particularly fun show to watch (we watched it twice in only a few months, a rare occurrence for our family) and one of the characters was a young teenager, Willa Monday (played by Maddie Hasson), a character who struck me at first as really annoying and pretty full of herself. But actually she was kind of fun.

From Bing Searches
From Bing Images

Mostly, though, I loved her style – boho chic, plus a little casual. In the picture above, she’s even wearing one of her cute hats!

(Here’s a picture of my Willa hat, modeled by me this time… I like Sarah as a model better!)

My Willa Hat

But getting back to what I was saying about the boutique. I made a couple of sales, and one of them was my Willa Hat! My good friend bought it for her daughter, who loves that color of turquoise. It’s funny, because one of the main reasons we did the boutique was to sell some of our fairs, but once it came to it, I realized I kind of liked that hat and wouldn’t mind keeping it around.

I say this half in fun, because I don’t mind selling any of my hats – that is what I made them for, after all. (And to my friend, who might be reading this post, again I thank you for buying from my shop and I’m glad you could find something that you liked amongst the things I’ve made. In fact, I’m glad it’s “going to a good home”! ;D)

Now that I’ve sold that one – and I’ve realized I liked it so much – I will be making more Willa inspired hats, in turquoise, pale pinks, earthy greens and browns and maybe some gray, and in different sizes too! 🙂 So keep your eyes on my shop, all you Finder Fans!

A Look at Our Boutique

In two days it will be a week since our boutique. Right about now, last week, we were going crazy getting everything pulled together. Now, looking back on it, I know it was worth it. And now, I will finally get to doing a blog post about the event, with lots of pictures included!

A view of Haynes Park from just about where we set up. This was probably almost 8:00, so it was quite pleasant and cool
A view of Haynes Park from just about where we set up. This was probably almost 8:00, so it was quite pleasant and cool

We got the essentials into our car- ourselves, food, Etsy items, a table and a shelf plus various things including badminton equipment- and headed over to the park about half an hour late. Basically we were ready for the day, but several trips were necessary to get everything in order.

The cold coffee in the new container our sweet mother got especially for the occasion. It was ready to be enjoyed in- what else- small mason jars
The cold coffee in the new container our sweet mother got especially for the occasion. It was ready to be enjoyed in- what else- small mason jars

We got everything set up pretty quickly, and a tent was kindly provided by a friend who joined us for science in the park. We had lots of fun with water balloons, and exploding them with lemon juice, but unfortunately I didn’t think of taking pictures.

About nine o’clock we were completely ready, blueberry muffins, peanut butter honey milk balls and mini quiches ready, not to mention our Etsy items hung up and looking nice.

One of Hannah's heads for showing hats and scarves
One of Hannah’s heads for showing hats and scarves

There was last minute preparations, as Abigail finished some of her beautiful calligraphy letters that look like fairy tales and, sadly, I forgot to get pictures of while I was there, and final prices were decided on.

Before it got hotter, or the pleasant shade of a tree got too far from our spot, Hannah and I played some badminton, which is our favorite sport besides all the things we want to try. We did not play as long as I would have liked, because soon after we got started, we were rejoined by our mum, and setting up continued for another shelf and a table.

Two of Hannah's hats, both available on Etsy, before they were taken off to be tried on by our friends
Two of Hannah’s hats, both available on Etsy, before they were taken off to be tried on by our friends

We got a lot of people passing by who glanced our way, and maybe even thought about seeing what was under the tent, but they usually had dogs or else were in cars, so they couldn’t stop.

Pretty soon friends started coming by to see us. The food was uncovered- sense it was generally covered to be protected from the flies- and I felt that the boutique had officially started.

Pic 5 for Ribbons

We had everything there (well, actually some items were not easily accessible) from small to large, Christmas to Summer. There was a small Christmas section, where I included some Christmas gift bags- which I think have made an appearance in some recent pictures, but which I’m waiting to put on Etsy. Abigail made a couple of these wonderful ornaments for our Christmas tree- I personally love to decorate Christmas trees in the grand, memory-borne and unique, and these are some of the best for bringing some of the wild from whence the tree came into the home.

My Blue Pink Tote Bags, now on Etsy
My Blue Pink Tote Bags, now on Etsy

One thing I noticed upon preparing for the boutique was that my items are generally the largest. Among them were these bags I’ve just put up on Etsy (they made their debut appearance at the boutique) and here is a link for them: https://www.etsy.com/listing/242224830/blue-pink-tote-bag?ref=shop_home_active_1

As the days passed, we had other visitors, never in full mass, but coming in a trickle to enjoy seeing our things and getting some refreshing coffee. It was wonderful seeing them there- some of them friends who I have not seen recently.

Anniversary cards and Thank you cards, made by Abigail
Anniversary cards and Thank you cards, made by Abigail

These cards were made with great care, thoughtfulness and enjoyment. I believe they are available on Etsy.

Among these cards were several other cards, made both by Abigail and Hannah. I took a picture of several of them at once, but there was so much prettiness it was hard to take it all in.

About the time our last visitors came, it was quite warm and I was getting my third glass of mint green tea. I had already eaten most of the peanut butter honey milk balls.

One of Hannah's heads, wearing one of her hats, Thank you cards, which, I think, Hannah made, and a couple of Abigail's wonderful sachets. The goldenrod one is on Etsy
One of Hannah’s heads, wearing one of her hats, Thank you cards, which, I think, Hannah made, and a couple of Abigail’s wonderful sachets. The goldenrod one is on Etsy

We made several sales there, I sold three of my garden pockets- but it was just a pleasure to be able to talk with our friends.

For the last twenty minutes or so- before taking things down- we pulled up some chairs and talked in the warmth of the day and the shade of the tent. It was really the killer flies that drove us away (to Cold Stone ice cream)

Business is a lot of things. Obviously a part of it is selling your items, but some of it is just making sure there is a business. And what makes up a business is having things to fill it out, having a way to give it to people, having a reason to give it to people and, in the meantime, having something to help pay for those cold stone trips. And basically that’s exactly what I found the boutique to be. I got to hang out with friends and family, to show them what we have in our Etsy shops, and I pray my things bless people. God has bless us so far.

Here are links to our Etsy shops, if you want to see everything that was there on Friday

The Raisin Fairy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRaisinFairy

Annvania: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Annavania

and SallySewing: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SallySewing