Take a pause

 

I’ve not posted a lot, I know. I was working on some projects, work has been insane, and well, the shipping fun. More important than that is that I started to question how much I wanted to do this business.

I suppose everyone who starts a business has that feeling at one time or another, especially near the beginning. It gets frustrating. Things aren’t selling like you were sure they would. Customers have complaints or ‘suggestions’ with no regard to the fact that you look at your crafts as art, not  just ‘stuff’ you make. It sucks the wind right out of you. Trust me.

Time to pause

I decided to take some time and really give this some thought. Was it worth it to me to feel the stress I’d been feeling? Was I putting the stress on myself? Yes, I believe it’s worth it, with some change in my perspective. Yes, I’m putting some of the stress on myself.

forest-for-the-trees

I think most of my crafts from here on out probably won’t be ‘custom’ and if they are, there will be very little that can be customized. I want to create and if people like it and buy it, then that’s awesome!

Sometimes  you just have to make the decision to make your business the way it makes YOU happy. I’m not doing this for a living. Just for fun! I need to keep it that way.

Thanks for visiting with me today! I’ll have a few more things up on the shop soon!

Have a great week!

~Nancy

Advertisements

Shipping Snafu

Or….best laid plans of mice and men. I’m not sure which is a better title. Hold on for a story of frustration and ridiculousness!

As I mentioned before, I’m in the process of making t-shirts for my great nephew’s team for a JDRF walk that happens to be this Sunday. (The shirts are for sale in my shop if you’re interested. 50% of the proceeds from that shirt will always go to JDRF.) The closeness of the date of the walk is a very important part of this story. On September 6 my niece placed the order for the shirts for her family. I placed the order with the blank t-shirt distributor the following day. I got the confirmation of the order and the next day I got 3 shipping notices.

One shipping notice was for 2 XL shirts and the walker of honor’s (great nephew) shirt. Another was for all of the medium and large shirts. The last notice was for my adorable 3 year old great-niece’s shirt. Shipped all by itself. The latest ‘deliver by’ date was the 15th. That was for the XL shirts and the youth shirt. Little A’s shirt had an expected delivery by the 13th.

A day or two later I ordered the shirts for others that had ordered and all were expected to arrive by the 16th. I planned to get all of them done and delivered to my brother and sister-in-law’s house by the 18th. All of the shirts arrived ahead of schedule. Except one.

This is where the story turns ridiculous. I called UPS (and was, of course, connected with who knows where) and told them that the shirt had shipped and was 5 days late. Granted, I probably shouldn’t have waited that long but it’s status was “we’ll be in your area so we will deliver to you instead of transferring to the USPS.” It was sent UPS Sure Post. So, the young lady on the phone was very nice and took my complaint. She told me to contact the seller as well, blah, blah, blah, but they’ve opened an investigation.

My plan became ‘run to Hobby Lobby after work on Monday and get a gray shirt’. Much to my surprise and delight, while I was eating lunch on Monday, the UPS man delivered a package! Yay! I won’t have to go buy another one! Wrong again.

The package was a box, which seemed odd since all of the other shirts came in shipping envelopes. It also made a ‘clunk’ sound if I shook it. On the outside of the little suspicious box was what was obviously the original label from the shipping envelope-and pieces of the envelope itself,  complete with the correct tracking number. Inside the box, however, was a 60 yard roll of industrial grade duct tape. Yep, duct tape. Oh, and the packing list that said ‘XS youth t-shirt, Charcoal gray’.  Now, to the credit of whoever did that (obviously someone at UPS), the tape is gray. That’s the only similarity.

Needless to say I called UPS right away. They returned my call about 3 hours later and I’m waiting for them to ‘make this right’. She said she was going to call the shirt company and have a new one sent out. So, I wait. We’re down to the wire and 2 days past the date I planned to deliver the shirts. I did get a shirt at Hobby Lobby, but it’s a lighter gray.

Anyway, the point of this story is….yeah…you can’t make this stuff up.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget, sign up for the newsletter and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

~Nancy

t-shirt-tape

Labor Day

This weekend is Labor Day weekend and I’ve mostly been taking it easy. How about you? I had lunch today with my kids and then went swimming at my brother’s house. Lots of fun! Tomorrow it’s back to work.

Aside from taking it easy, I’ve been working on my next little endeavor. I’m going to start making t-shirts. Some of them will be for charity. The first one I have on my shop is for the JDRF One Walk. 50% of the proceeds will go to JDRF. My great-nephew has Type 1 and they do this walk every year. I’m doing the shirts for them this year! I’m so excited about it, plus, I had been considering getting into making t-shirts to sell as well. We’ll see how it goes!

My sister, and I are trying to come up with something to put on a shirt to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Our mother had early onset Alzheimer’s and passed away when I was 21. Obviously, that’s a cause close to our hearts. Another one on my list is the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

Anyway, the heat press is on order, the space is ready for it. I’ll place the order for the shirts and vinyl as soon as they place their orders on Etsy. This is the ‘small business’ lesson for this post. Always get money up front. Even if it’s family that you’re doing the work for. Not to be mean, of course, but when you’re in business for yourself, you can’t take a risk by putting out money ahead of time. When I get to the point where I have money in the bank from the business, then I’ll keep some inventory of shirts and vinyl on hand. I’m not there yet.

Well, this is a short post, I know, but it’s been a busy weekend, for sure! I’ll be back in the swing of things tomorrow and hopefully posting in the next day or so!

Have a great week! I hope it’s a short week for you, too!

~Nancy20160607_143753656_iOS

 

To the Family Go the Prototypes

Hi guys! This afternoon I started working on some Christmas ornaments. I have them all designed in my head so it was time to build ‘prototypes’. I’m not going to sell anything on my shop that I am not comfortable making. I want everyone to get a good product. As close to perfect as possible.

So, to that end, it was time to break out the Christmas ornaments and get started! Ornaments, check. Glue, check. Glitter, check. Paint, check. Headache…on order.

First of all, let me tell you that glitter and I have a love hate relationship. I love the look of it. Especially at Christmas! It’s perfect! The more glittery the better. I have green, red, white, silver, gold. I’m ready. I could look at it all day. It’s beautiful! I love it as much as my grandson does! G loves a good glitter project! But then…

There’s the hate part. Glitter is insideous. That may be strong language but it’s kinda true. It starts out pretty and innocent. It sticks right where you want it to (glue needed). How beautiful! But then….(again)…

You move. There’s glitter. You move again. How’d it get THERE? Look down at the cat. How did he get glitter on his nose? He wasn’t even in the room! Oh my gosh, there’s glitter on Spiderman! It must have jumped off the table-or did it get caught in his web? Anyway, suffice it to say we may have some sparkly dinners coming up. Maybe I should call them ‘glamourous’. Yeah, that works.

Then the glue. I used spray craft glue and sprayed it inside the ornament. First off, that stuff has FUMES. I had forgotten that. Anyway, it seemed to be a great idea until it puddled in the bottom of the ornament. It got all over inside but there was that puddle. I swirled it around for a few minutes and thought I had it spred well, so I poured in the glitter. Guess what. There’s a clump of green glitter in the bottom. The puddle came back.

Next up, pink paint for a ‘baby’s first Christmas ornament’. This didn’t go too badly. I squirted paint in and swirled and swirled and shook and shook. It covered halfway decent. Then I tried a brush. That worked great for the bottom of the ornament but I still had some pretty big spots to cover. I squirted in more paint and swirled some more. I still ended up with a couple empty spots. See the pictures.

What I learned from this is…with the glue, swirl a little more and let it dry a little more before using glitter. I may also try liquid glue. With the paint…I think a little bit of water will thin it enough to spread easier.

The title of this blog? Well, what do I do with these prototypes? Use vinyl or embellishments to cover this clump or that empty spot and give them to family and close friends! They love me no matter what! Buyers might not!

Don’t forget to visit and favorite my shop so you can see all the new items over the next several weeks and months! Follow me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest and sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch!

 

~Nancy

20160828_192454490_iOS20160828_194008996_iOS

Organizing the craft room

Hi there! I’ve had a little time this week to get my craft area set up a little more. Organize it, I should say. It’s not there yet but it’s much better. Yesterday I bought a white 5 shelf bookcase with 4 cubbies in the bottom. That took me about 2 hours to put together. No big mistakes and no cuss words, so I’d say that went well!

I moved toys from a ‘toybox’ (storage bin) to a cabinet all their own; put the items I have finished and listed on Etsy up on the top shelf of the new bookcase; found new homes for some tools and various other things as well. I still have ‘blanks’ to put away. Good times!

I also designed the shirt for G to have his picture taken in each year. It has Class of 2029 (oy vey) on the front, and his name and room for handprints for each year on the back. I need to pick up heat transfer vinyl for that tomorrow. I was at the craft store today and it didn’t cross my mind. Until I was almost home. Isn’t that always the way?

So, organizing. I love to organize things.I have to say that the disarray in my dining / toy / craft area has been a bee in my bonnet for a while! I’m feeling much better about it. Like I said, it’s not there yet, but one step at a time. I’m trying to keep my teeny, but alive and slowly growing, business organized, too. And it is growing. I’ve had a LOT more views on here and especially on my Etsy site lately. I’m thrilled about that! It’s not stagnant, so that means it’s growing! Yay! I signed up for the free trial on crafybase.com to see how that goes. It’s basically an inventory and financials tracking system for craft businesses. I’ll let you know how that works out. As I have mentined in the past, I schedule my pins for Pinterest through Tailwind and that has helped me so much! I can sit here and watch TV and find pins I like or whatever and schedule them and not have to think about them again. I love it! I need to start scheduling Facebook as well. Honestly, I have no excuse there. I can schedule as I write! It’s right there! Oh well. I always plan to write 2 or 3 blogs ahead as well, but I’m not to that yet either! I’ll get there, too!

I guess I still have some work to do! To that end, I’m going to go take pictures of my new listings! I hope to have them online tonight!

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to follow, pin, like, etc! I’ll be looking for you! Oh! And sign up for my newsletter! I’ll send you a coupon for 10% off anything in my shop and the newsletter will have lots of valuable blog and Etsy tips!

Catch you later!

~Nancy20160703_233934203_iOS

Time flies when you’re having the time of your life!

Warning…sappy post ahead…

As I said in my last post, I’m on vacation from my ‘day job’ this week. It’s only Tuesday and I have my whole house cleaned and 4 new products to list on the shop! Tomorrow is my day with my grandson so I doubt I’ll get a lot else done. He’s 5. He takes all of my attention.

He’s growing too fast

My boy starts kindergarten next week and I swear it seems like he was just born. I know, that was nearly 6 years ago, grandma. It’s like I blinked and he’s off to school. I have to say, I’m the luckiest grandma on earth. Seriously. His parents have always made a point to include us grandparents in every aspect of his life. I’ve seen him at least once a week, if not more, ever since he was born, unless they were on vacation. But they always made it up to me with a sleepover or an extra day if I miss a day with him.

G and I are very close. I hope and pray we always are. I’ve always had so much fun with him! In the past 5 years I’ve been a Power Ranger, a Superhero, a Paw Patrol pup, Super Why, a princess, a villian, an innocent victim in Joker’s evil schemes, a construction worker with Bob the Builder, etc. You get the idea! I’ve watched TV shows that I watched when his dad and uncle Alex were little. Great memories to share with him!

He loves to do crafts with me. We’re going to a craft store tomorrow and I told his mommy to remind me to get glitter. She warned he’d want to help. I advised her we’d do the glitter clear out in the back of my back yard. I’m not sure that’ll work tomorrow though. The yard is pretty wet right now. Oh well, a little glitter in the living room. I’m ok with that. More memories for grandma.

Cherishing every second

I know he’s not going off to college. He’s just starting kindergarten for heaven’s sake. But this is the first part of going off on his own. Know what I mean? I’m tearing up typing this. It just seems to go quickly.

I’ve always cherished every second I have with him. I really have. I’m grandma so I know how fast kids grow up. I know what an incredible gift it is to get to be a grandma who lives nearby and is a part of his life.

While I told you guys some of the fun games we play, role playing and such, he also is really into video games. No surprise. Most kids his age are! My boys both were from the time they were little. He likes to play a fairly new game I got for him, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of course he likes me to play with him. It’s fun to have him telling me what to do next. I think I laugh more than anything!

Of all those things we love to do, do you want to know what might be my favorite? He plays on the iPad and I mess around on the computer or my phone while we lay on my bed and talk. Yep. Just hanging out with him. Just talking. Being together.

I know the games and role playing will fade as he ages. The crafts will, too. But I sure hope he knows he can always come to Mucka’s house and just hang out and talk. I’m always here!

Thanks for walking with me today!

Nancy

20160311_235422739_iOS

 

Blogging, planning…oh, and crafting

Sunday was such a fun day! I was busy all day long. I worked on the blog, I spent hours on Pinterest, I signed up for Mail Chimp (I’m sure you saw that…please subscribe! There are benefits!) and planned out the week. I did a lot to help my business grow. It was a day well spent.

Monday I worked at my full time job then added a coupon code to my Etsy shop. From there I set up an email campaign with Mail Chimp. Subscribers now get the coupon code. I did some research and some reading. I read about ways to grow my blog, get traffic to my shop, get more followers on Pinterest, how to make money on Twitter. I even scheduled pins with Tailwind. I was putting in some time to be sure my new little business was going to succeed! I was tired when I went to bed last night. Then it hit me.

I was doing all of these things. All good things. All necessary to grow the business. But I hadn’t created anything in days! I had lost sight of why I was doing all of this! Yes, I want to blog. I love blogging. I love doing all the business stuff. But, a couple of months ago my 5 year old grandson asked me what my dream was. What I really wanted to do. “Sell my crafts on Etsy. That’s what I’d like to do” is how I answered him. He said “Then do it, Mucka! You can do it! All you need is confidence!” Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Today after work I went to the grocery and came home and sat at my computer designing some stencils. I took those stencils and etched some vases. You’ll see those on my Etsy shop in the next couple days!

I feel so much better. I learned that I need to stay focused on my main goal. All the other things were created to support the first. If I don’t do the thing I love, “make pretty things” then there will be nothing to sell on Etsy, will there??

So, added to my calendar each week will be big blocks of crafting time. It’s all about focus and balance. Make sure when you’re working on your blog, or shop, or whatever it may be, that you take time to do what got you into that in the first place! Keep a firm grasp on the roots. You have to have those to grow your business, too!

Happily crafty,

Nancy

Focus