Cogs & Gears: Craziness!

Sometimes, in the midst of all the insanity, you have to find a moment of rest.

That’s what we’re up to this week, and it’s definitely time!


A few props from a recent item photo shoot. They looked so perfectly Autumnal that they deserved a picture of their own!


What with one thing and another, things have been really crazy around here – as evidenced by the fact that we keep forgetting to blog! It’s been something like this:

  • Finally found a way to increase visibility on Etsy – which is wonderful, except that it means spending a lot of time and attention.
  • The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and there are so many ideas that we want to make and put out there on our Etsy shops!
  • The dryer isn’t drying, which makes laundry days slow. And then –
  • The washer developed homicidal mania (apparently), which makes laundry days impossible!
  • And the oven door won’t close.
  • And I stepped on a thorn! (Ok, that one’s a personal complaint!)
  • November’s coming, which means NaNoWriMo! and also:
  • Craft Fairs!

So – with all of this craziness happening and requiring urgent attention and lots of work – we’ve decided to take a week off from Etsy!

Counter-intuitive? Yes! But it’s a good time to step back and get a bit of perspective on where we’re going, which projects actually require our attention, and where our emphasis should be.

It should be interesting: No Etsy work, or talk, or shop work, is allowed. Instead, Hannah and Sarah and I will work on sewing some personal Autumn and Winter clothes, and focus on planning the novels we’re writing in November.

Sometimes, you need to step away from it all and take a break!


Some of the very fall-like earrings that I have been feverishly listing!


(Of course, you can also use the coupon code “Halloween” for %15 off anything in my store, where I also have free shipping on Autumnal items. I’m really pleased with how my Autumn Ephemeral Earring line came out! Please feel free to take an inspiring look!)

And here is a slideshow of our recent excursions, for a bit of distance-recreation:

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Cogs and Gears: Rebellion

Have you ever had it up to THERE with something, and just can’t go on with it no matter how hard you make yourself? Maybe you have a task in hand that seemed interesting and full of promise once – but is now nothing but boring, tedious, irritating, and a total waste of time?! You’ve made yourself work past several problems, squeezed out solutions to a flock of difficulties, troubleshot lots of trouble – but there seems to be more and more issues coming up and you can’t get to them all and they’re little but insurmountable and you can’t get anything done and – !

Yeah, I’m pretty sure this happens to everyone.

And more often than not, that includes me! Etsy, of course, is included among those tasks and projects: Getting a shop started and then running efficiently is a complicated effort (and sometimes doesn’t seem to produce much); so every once in a while – especially after a big push to make new products or a list and promote them – it just seems like too much work. What was inspiring and exciting 3 weeks ago becomes almost loathsome!

With our “Cogs & Gears” feature, we invite you to see what goes on in the machinery of our Etsy shops – how we make stuff, new ideas, even business. How it all works. And – well, every once in a while it just doesn’t work. That’s what I call Rebellion!

At times of Rebellion, one takes a stand against the tyrannical forces of overwork – sometimes by doing fun stuff like making a random new costume. These things must be done!

It’s when my mind revolts from the thought of writing another listing, my heart sickens at the touch of a crochet hook, my hand refuses to reach for a camera, my mind will simply no longer apply itself to the intricacies of promotion! So, without meaning to, I rebel: I might do something else totally unrelated for a few days – like sew, or read, or get involved in a new form of social media, or (most dreadful and destructive of all!) do nothing but potter about.


The irony is that I find these times of Rebellion almost as frustrating as the fatigue that drives me to them: I’m not productive, though I feel like I should be, and often not even relaxed and refreshed as I might have been if I’d taken an intentional break.

And that’s probably why Sarah’s “Ladybug Week” is such a good idea. Maybe we should stop pushing ourselves so hard – making ourselves work, forcing ourselves to problem-solve. It might not be such a bad thing to take a little intentional time off to do other activities or simply relax – before we hit the fatigue!

I might try it. How about you?


Christmas Chaos

So – it’s 10 days till Christmas! Are you panickingdone shoppingstressed outfreaking out about how much you have to do still – I mean, are you filled with the joy and peace of this beautiful season? It’s so easy to get lost in endless to-do lists! As you can tell from our lack of new posts, we are getting sidetracked by the chaos of December as much as anyone. I wanted to share a cookie recipe with you on Saturday, but watched a movie instead. We meant to start a new series early in the month, and that somehow got lost. Ugh! Ok, enough complaining! Fun stuff:

It snowed! (Yay!)


A look at some of what I’m up to this week:

  • I will be putting a lot of new things up on my Etsy shop
    (hopefully today)! It’s a little late, so there’s no time to waste!

    A card that is already listed at my shop!
  • Shopping for wonderful gifts for my family and friends.

    I think Rudolf will let it go if you ask him nicely…
  • Sewing some new garments:

    Yes, there could be gifts included among my sewing projects (but don’t tell!)
  • Straightening up the house so we can host a Christmas Tea Party!


It’s been a weird month so far, partly because our Tech Guy (aka dad)

The sad last of the Great-Grandma Tallman’s Blackstrap Molasses Cookies (they’re worth the long name)

has been experiencing stressful and distracting tech problems, and partly because we somehow just started on the wrong holiday foot. Things have been a little off. I mean – we’ve only made one batch of Christmas cookies! Though that might not be such a bad thing… And there has been fudge and Turkish Delight…


But we’re refocusing, and in the next 3 weeks we will bring you lots of wonderful new posts!:

  • Christmas Traditions
  • Lots of delicious recipes! (though the cookies above might be a family secret recipe)
  • Christmas Favorites – movies, books, music, stories, memories…
  • More backwards reviews of Christmas classics (great idea,
  • A highlight of Christmas items in our shops, and how they came about

And, you know what? I discovered last month that writing consistently about Thanksgiving and gratitude made me appreciate all we do in celebration of that holiday. Christmas could very well be the same: Perhaps in sharing with you all of our Christmas wonder, we will experience it anew!



Bad Habits (and Good Aspirations!)

A picture of an autumn path in the mountains. Not bad, but not as sharp as I want
One thing I wanted to do was fix my camera’s ISO problem, and my PC’s refusal to save photo edits. Here’s a picture of an autumn path in the mountains. Not bad, but not as sharp as I want.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I outlined my “autumn ambitions,” so it’s probably time for an update! I kept it simple there, because you probably don’t want to read my strange and exhaustive to-do lists (which often say things like “make FK&C CD” or “sourdough” or “lunch/hunting”); the four things I mentioned actually cover about 50 small tasks that usually overwhelm me if I think about them too much.

But since all of that was stuff which I REALLY NEED to do, I’ve been busy tackling it in the last weeks. Of course, I’m not as far along as I want to be. There’s still a lot that I need to do. But that’s another post for another day! Actually, I’ve done several major things, utilizing the system of rewards and incentives that I outlined, and feel a sense of accomplishment that should carry me on into the next big effort.

My incentive! Haven’t seen the movie (and don’t want to), but the music is wonderful. I purchased it in the morning, with a strict no-listening proviso, and got a lot done that day. Interesting…

In the last couple of (really busy!) learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to keep moving forward:

  • I have formed way too many bad habits (like procrastination).
  • Don’t plan a lot for a week that I know is going to be crazy. Too much just adds to my stress, and guilt when I don’t get to it.
  • I work best when I have the house to myself.
  • I have to take “me” time – or it will take me!
  • A solid incentive, which is just out of reach, does help.
  • As my own boss, it’s ok to set goals. So a little bit of stress in trying to reach the goals is fine.
  • But it’s a bad boss that yells at an employee who has fallen behind.
  • Sometimes, it takes setting so many goals that I panic to make me get work done.
  • This is a bad habit.
  • Maybe do small jobs as they come up.
  • Letting such little things pile up is another bad habit.
  • That thing I’ve been putting off because it’s difficult or intimidating? Just do it. It’s not that bad!
  • Overcoming my issues with all this will be a long-term process – so many bad habits are involved!
  • So I can’t give up after only a couple of weeks of hard work.
With the help of my awesome tech guy (who doubles as my dad) and other friends, I can now edit! Here's the same pic with probably too many filters and tweaks. Success!
With the help of my awesome tech guy (who doubles as my dad) and Alexandra, a photographer friend, I can now edit! Here’s the same pic with probably too many filters and tweaks. Success!

This week is looking like another crazy-busy one, so I’ll try to keep all of this in mind as I tackle it. Big projects are coming up, so we’ll update. And probably stress, freak out, and panic. Some habits are hard to break!