March 31, 2012

March 30, 2012

I've had such an exhausting month. I hope it was all worth it. Of course it wasn't all the work that made it exhausting, it was a lot of the extraneous things (life) that did it too. Family health issues, birthdays, the woman next door locking herself out at one in the morning after I worked for 14 hours straight and pounding on the door and screaming for a half hour before someone finally let her in. And no, she's not a drunk, just a little altered from her med cocktail.

I had a semi relaxing day. I haven't sold much this week so after watching my granddaughter most of the day, I cut out the few things I sold, did the dishes and some laundry. It was nice after all the work I did.

I had bought some colored pencils on line, and was expecting them at the Post Office. I guess the people at the Post Office didn't notice them, because my daughter didn't pick them up. What she did get, however, was my new post cards. Now, I just ordered these Monday from Vistaprint and I've NEVER received anything that quickly from them. They were horrible. Cropped wrong, wrong color, just horrible. I was so disappointed. I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish working so quickly, but it didn't impress me. Now I either have to contact them and get a refund and look somewhere else or trust they will send me a new set with correct images.

This really sets me back on my brochure, but I do have time to get better prints. The cards I got were blown up and cropped off center and kind of pinkish brown instead of the nice pewter. Not terrible, but they don't match the business card I got PRINTED AT VISTAPRINT!!!! How can I send out something to potential clients that don't match? This has just been a cursed month and I suppose that because of it, none of my product designs will sell to the huge retailers that were presented with them.

One thing about all this work I've done the past three months is that I really love designing product. I like crafting, but I love designing. And I'm good at it too. I'll share my website when I'm finished, and you can see.

March 30, 2012

March 29, 2012

Today was one of those crazy days again. It was really all about designs today. I had a few flowers that I had to make for someone. So I finished a few of my new flowers at the same time.

Yesterday I receive my new yellow centers in the mail and they were so perfect. If I sell too many flowers I will be out of them, but I bought 2000 so I'm not sure how quickly I will run out. The beads are yellow painted wood rondeles taken from strings of never worn vintage jewelry. I love the fact that I have bulk new reclaimed beads. I have to try to do that again. I'm using these on my Shasta Daisies and maybe a few other daisy centers too.

As for the rest of the day, I spent it finishing up designs for a client. I got the request at the end of last week, but I was finishing up the last of their drawings from the last request over the weekend. I didn't get all the specs for this project until Monday. I worked all Tuesday on my own items, sewing and flowers, so I didn't get to even think about their project until Wednesday.

I did some sketches on Wednesday, because it's hard to draw designs if you have no idea of what you're making. I sketched up five different concepts, most of which would have two to four different variations. They were easy to do, because they were based on plants, and all I had to do was sit on the porch on a beautiful sunny day and look around me. Late in the evening I started working on them a bit.

Today I spent most of the day finishing the drawings. And rendering them. I got the project done at 11pm. These late nights are killing me, but I think that these projects will come in clusters. Mostly, only this time of year. The nice thing is that for my other business, this is the slowest time of year (next to the dead of summer).
Last year at this time I was eating the spring grape leaves and visiting the local food pantry. Foraging is not bad you know. It can be healthy, but we don't have a lot to forage for here.

I wish I could show you my designs. But I will when they get into your local stores. For now they are proprietary.

March 28, 2012

Posting this a Day late. Crazy Life.

Things are going too well I think. Still not selling a lot of jewelry, but getting friends on the bandwagon at least. I really have to try to do something to get my ranking up on my website. I tried a giveaway to get people to drop by, but that didn't work so well. Maybe I need to post it on my recipe page, on the Turkey recipe I get so many hits on.

I know I can link a blog to my website, but I'm not sure that blog is appropriate. Maybe I need to make a Wedding and Garden blog to link too. I suppose a Gardening one would work. I love flowers and know about a lot of them. Ha, maybe I should find a really popular, well read blog and link that to my website. Heck with mine.

I've also decided to put a page of just my different flower types on my website. Still working on how to pull that one together. I want the site to be clean, but I think adding a page will not harm it any. I think that as for the store, it will all be bulk items and on a hidden page. For single items I will refer to my Artfire shop. It will make life a lot easier for the buyer and myself. I don't really expect to sell much off the website at this point. I think most customers will contact me directly and request an invoice.

I'm hoping for the best.

March 28, 2012

March 27, 2012

It's getting so close to the end of my four months. I'm finding that I've given myself too many tasks to do. The reason I am not accomplishing my goals though, is that my workload has increased so much that I can't finish everything. I wish I could have just focused on getting it all done, but I had too many sales and unexpected design clients.

Last year at this time, things were so slow, that I had to sell a lot of my jewelry to make ends meet. Oh well, next year at this time when I have loads of money, I can buy new jewelry, right?

The thing I regret the most is that I didn't have the free time to learn the new CAD program. I can do a bit on it, and I can take what I've done into Photoshop and alter, but most of my drawing has been on Photoshop.

I also wish I had finished my design website. I plan to contact some more people soon and want to have it up and running smoothly. Wish I could put on some of these new designs. I guess I can put some of the rejected ones. As soon as I'm finished with the new client designs I need to finish that site. I can make a decent living just off the drawings, not even including commission from the sales of product.

When I look at my old designs, compared to now, I have grown so much. It's a lot due to the freelance work, and partly due to my time on Etsy and Artfire. I've been exposed to so many techniques and styles by working there and seeing so much, that my work has improved greatly. It has only served to improve my product design and still influences future designs and trends.

March 27, 2012

March 26, 2012

It's been a very dry week for business. Life has been crazy though, so I guess that makes up for it.

I was thinking about writing again just now. I had a writing teacher that said you should never use cliches, that all of your writing should be fresh and new. He said how horrible Soap Operas were, because they are 90% cliche. At the time I thought, that's what they were supposed to be. So because of that, when I put in any cliche phrase into my writing, I think it's bad. I'm starting to rethink that one. I think it's OK to put a tiny bit of cliche into your writing. It might just be a comfortable familiar thing to the reader. Or maybe it brings the writer to the level of the reader in the reader's eye. And after all, how can you avoid a string of words in all situations.

OK enough of the writing over thinking.

I was so behind in my work, that I had to do quite a lot today (and will tomorrow too). So I planned to cut and sew and cut and shape flowers and finish my designs and send them off. I woke up in the morning to a new Vistaprint add for postcards half off. I wanted to make the cover of my mini brochure out of a small post card, so.... on top of my huge todo list, I added finishing my brochure cover. I had one almost finished so I finished it and uploaded it. It was the wrong size. I have no idea how I got the wrong template, but I did. I had to redo the whole thing. I think I might have been planning to use the bigger size, but I thought the smaller will be better now. And it will cost less.

The nice thing about the post card, is that I can also sent them as a post card. So I ordered 100 for now. They match my website and I have a binding machine, and paper cutter, so I can whip up 4 page little brochures. I'm very excited about them. I guess I'd better hurry and make my packaging, so I can take pictures and get it in my brochure and on the website. I'll have two options for wholesalers, recycled kraft box or hanging clear pillow boxes.

I've definitely taken too much time off of my project and it's time I got it in gear again.

March 26, 2012

March 25, 2012

Nearly another birthday. You would think at my age, I'd have it all figured out. After all, I am seriously close to retirement age, or the other place. Maybe I'll live longer because I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately, It's quite a skill. I like to write and review and rewrite, but this blog doesn't leave me that option. I was talking to my cousins about certain cartoons that seem to be written for children, but really have a lot of adult content. That's quite a writing skill. I think to be able to write wonderfully, enticing ad copy is a great skill too.

I tell this great story about an incident with my ex-husband. I've had kids ask me to tell it again and again. But without the body language and expressive tones, it might be oh so boring. It would be a great skill to relay the motions and expressive voice in word alone.

I'm getting ready to write my brochure, and want my feelings to be properly expressed. I want my product to be properly represented. I need this help on my design website too. Then I can knock a few more things off my to so list.

March 25, 2012

March 24, 2012

Ack! I think the whole point of this diary was to DECIDE between my flower jewelry and my lighting design work. Well I failed miserably at two things so far. I haven't been tracking my goals and I really haven't lost weight. Considering I was pretty sick for almost two months of this thing, I did pretty well.

I was dressing to go out to a family dinner tonight and the bulging gut was very disappointing. I've decided that I really have to get rid of the heart attack fat, if nothing else. I've been walking more, but not as much. I plan on getting that fishing license and walking to the park across the street to fish. maybe I'll take some of my money and buy a bike, that will be good too. If I get any good at it, I can even bike to the Post Office, but I'd have to be really good, because we have a LOT of packages to take in. Our Post office will not pick up packages where we live.

I checked my spreadsheet of things I needed to accomplish and the dates. I did NOT do a good job. I am very behind. I should have my design website finished and my brochures made by now. The logo is holding me up. I really need to either get it or do without. I have to decide. I may do without and use the logo on my images only if I ever get it. I think I have to decide on that one this week, I need my covers printed.

I have a lot to do this week, good I'm healthy again. I'll post my progress, as usual.

March 24, 2012

March 23, 2012

I've been so crazy busy with work and life, I completely forgot I wanted to start making some art again. I think I'll start small, like ACEO (postcard) size works. Flowers I think. Just to get back into it. I think I'll buy some pencils. They seem to be reasonable on eBay, just hope they don't get fractured. I need some decent paper too. Maybe someone has some pre-cut ACEO for pencil on Etsy. I like a nice smooth hot press for colored pencil. I need something that I can do in about 20 - 30 minutes while I'm taking a break out in the sun. I can't use my computer there. It will be fun.

I spent almost the whole day dedicated to my design drawings. I started with invoices. My daughter keeps asking shy I haven't sent them yet. It's not that easy, you have to have an invoice in the first place, to fill in.
I had designed an invoice for my consulting work, on MS Excel, but that was not quite right. So two hours later I had finished the form and put in the items for payment. They will be much easier to do now, but still will take a little time. It really doesn't matter what you are invoicing for or who you are invoicing, even a standard form really has to be modified to fit the circumstances. And apparently I was a bit rusty and the Excel part.

The rest of the day I had peace and quiet, because the whole family was out for the day. I spent the quiet time getting my drawings finished. Then at the end of the day, I realized that the sewing machine was sitting untouched and I should have done my sewing. That was really dumb. Oh well. Now I have to fight with my daughter for time on the machines. I really don't have much to do, and she has to go out Sunday again to take her boy to see a Dr.

It's almost April. I have one month to finish my brochure and my design website. Very hard to do when your workload has doubled and near disaster hits every day. But I'm going to try my best. I guess I should finish my taxes and send that in too. Do I really need to sleep?

March 23, 2012

March 22, 2012

Life gets in the way part 365. Yes, that's the days in a year. I suppose I should say 366, because this is a leap year. How lucky we are to have an extra day to screw up things with. If you didn't get that sarcasm, it was.

I started the day cutting flowers in the sun. It was beautiful and peaceful. But my daughter needed me to watch the baby so I had to help. So much for flowers. Then I finally got the baby to rest and sleep. Next to me, because she relaxes better and sleeps sounder that way. I actually sang her to sleep. First time, I was shocked.

I was able to crochet a couple of denim blue headbands while she was sleeping. Good progress. Not exactly sure what to do with the white. I want something really lacy so I have to design that. Maybe with a lacy peak that falls down to the hairline.

I planned to work on more flowers and at night when the family was asleep, working on finishing my lighting drawings. My daughter took the baby and her eight year old down to the beach. He was playing with a friend.  He was trying to tow her on a boogie board, by the cord. We told him that she was too heavy and to stop because the cord might pull out. Right then and there it did and the plastic T that holds the cord to the board snapped forward right into his left eye.

That was the end of that evening of progress. His parents scooped him up in hes soaking wet T-shirt and bathing suit, grabbed the baby car seat, diaper bag and took him to the emergency room. They almost released him and then saw blood pooling in his iris. Parents had to take him to Cleveland to a better emergency room where they had to wait for several hours to see a Doctor and a few to be released. The accident was at 4pm, they got home at 1am.

While they were gone I had very little word. I couldn't think to design, I was pacing, and then decided to put my energy into mindless cleaning. I got more work done around the house than I had done in a very long time.  I was very far behind because of the cold and flue of the past months. I guess that all worked out, but I was already behind on designs, and they asked me to do more.

All things considering, it was a fairly productive day.

March 22, 2012

March 21, 2012

Today was my daughter's birthday. She was gone shopping, so I was home alone. But the past few day's had been so hectic that I could barely move.

I did a little work on designs and a little blogging. I will be working on some new flowers and headbands tomorrow, too. My deadline is almost here.

I must say that other than loosing weight, which I have lost a tiny bit, I've really done well at meeting my goals. I guess I really should pull out that goal sheet before I say that though. I guess that's another thing on my list.

I did set up a tentative date for more photography. I have such pretty things and the weather is getting so nice. Can't wait to shoot more. I also better get making those samples to ship to shops. I think I'll send actual samples to shops I really want and just sheets or booklets to other stores and if they are interested I will send samples. So many things to think about.

March 21, 2012

March 20, 2012

I've been avoiding Pinterest for a few weeks. Still not sure about the whole legality of it all. Personally I think that if you have something posted on the web, you intend for an audience. I suppose that leaves your work open to theft, and I suppose in the case of photography, that is the bad aspect of it all.

I plan to set up a design portfolio, but will have locked pages that you will need a code to view. I will also only have the code available for 24 to 48 hours. I can't have just anyone looking at and stealing my designs. I can really only show designs that have been produced. I certainly can't risk having my unpurchased designs posted at Pinterest.

I really love Pinterest, and I guess I've been avoiding it the same way people avoid talking to their relatives about the illness they have. It makes me sad that I can't think about it the same way I did. I don't even feel like browsing, let alone repinning. I'm going to go back, I'm just going to be very cautious about what I pin and repin. And I might clear a few things off my boards. For instance, I'll use photography from travel websites, rather than from an individual's blog or site. I'll also pin from seller sites, to help boost sales for friends. You know, the people who want to be pinned. And if I see something I really want to pin, I'll get the originator's permission first.

I really don't have time to think about all of this, but I do need to get back to it, because it was so inspiring. My last designs, that I did very well on, were inspired by Pinterest. They were original designs, not at all stolen, but inspired by party and garden images that are popular themes. Popular colors, and trendy taste, Pinterest is a great way to find out what people really like, and what they are dreaming of. Who needs to make their own design trend board, when you can just go browse Pinterest.

March 20, 2012

March 19, 2012

I was reminded today about the whole Cinderella thing. I think I may have mentioned why the name Cinders. It has to do with being called Cinderella as a young child in the hospital. Endearing terms for an ailing child, by interns and nurses. I was a pretty sickly little kid. I spent so much time in the hospital, that when I was finally healthy, I really missed it.

I began to think of myself in terms of Cinderella and her life, even getting a stepmother and 2 step sisters. I thought that when I grew up, Prince Charming would come and rescue me (never gonna happen). I loved the birds and the little mice too.

Cinders is a combination of Cinderella and Cindy and also my favorite Hans Christian Anderson tale, the Tinderbox. And it also represents recycling to me. From the cinders (or ashes) I can make something beautiful.

I didn't finish this post last night, so some people might have gotten my post emailed without the balance of my thoughts. Not that anyone is reading this one anyhow. My life has been so hectic lately that I'm leaving out steps all over the place. I just remembered that I forgot to cancel my car insurance 2 weeks ago. No car, no need for insurance. I have quite a few more important things too, before I get to that.

I spent the day sewing and then spending time with my cousins. I didn't even have a chance to draw or work on my brochure. But at least I got all of my sewing done. Hopefully I get more finished Tuesday, but it's not looking good. My daughter's birthday is tomorrow, I have to watch her baby while she works, package my sewing, grocery shop, and make her favorite cake.

March 19, 2012

March 18, 2012

Today was a crafting day. I also worked a bit on my next design project. I have to get them in by the end of the week. A few phone calls, one from the person I am designing for to discuss the project, and one from my cousin to arrange visiting my sick cousin. I understand he has a terminal illness, but is feeling very well considering. Terminal doesn't mean the same thing it used to. Many people with terminal illness can live longer than those without. As I've said before, my son who we were told would not live to adulthood, has outlived many of his friends.

I was reading this wonderful post on Handmadeology about Offline Marketing for Online Businesses. I can't even begin to tell you how much Handmadeology has helped me put together my approach to promoting my business. It's almost as if they are reading my mind and know the next stem in my progress. Are you watching me Tim?

Speaking of watching me. I've noticed that certain places like Groupon, Facebook, Vitacost and of course eBay and Amazon, seem to know what I'm browsing and coincidentally send me ads in key places. I even get ads on Google or AOL that relate to emails I get. I'm not sure I really like being spied on like that.  I suppose one day I'll have to invest in software that block spying, because my freeware doesn't seem to be doing the trick.

Back to Handmadeology. The post is about cross promotion and using shops or other venues to get your product seen. I hadn't considered this before. It's about not just taking your wares to a shop and dropping it off to sell, but also offering a service to your shop. For instance, I have a fairly large following on Twitter. I suppose I should grow that following locally too. But I could promote the business that I might sell at too. I could promote myself to local papers and say that my product is available at .... cross promoting them as well.  It's just brilliant.

I know you would like to think that your product alone is what would sell you, but we live in the real world.  Remember that Our past president couldn't pronounce the simplest of words and got all D's in school. It's not all about the product, a lot of it is the packaging.

I also think that I need to be using this information in my everyday life. Even in my design business. I need to sell myself. I've been working on my design portfolio website, and haven't even made a front page yet. I finally  realized what it is I need to do to promote myself. High End design at Low manufacturing cost.  Brilliant epiphany.

March 18, 2012

March 17, 2012

Today I was asked to do another rendering of a light design I had done freelance. This means that the Store I had designed for has chosen 6 of my designs to sample. It does not mean that they will buy them, but if the company I make them for can make nice samples at a good cost, it might mean that in 2013 they will be in the retail store and I will make commission.

I find that I definitely like designing product much better than sewing. There is a toss up between making jewelry and design though. Right now my income has doubled what I was making last year because of the design work, but the majority of design work is just this time of year.

I will be having a lot of work this time of year which will let me focus on getting my jewelry to shops at the end of April as I had planned. I need to focus more on my website to get the rankings up. I planned on having a giveaway in March, but I've been too busy. It think I need to do it anyhow. I'll do a quick giveaway of the Pick your own mini bouquet brooches. They will get them in time for Easter/Spring holidays. I'm hoping that I will bring traffic to my site and also have people recommend my flowers. I'll plan for Wednesday.

March 17, 2012

March 16, 2012

No matter what you do, or what your plans, something will happen that will make a change in your life. It might be a good thing, or it might be a bad thing. You never know. Something bad might become something good in the end. I used to have a job and a nice house in New York State. I lost my job and eventually lost my house. The job market was terrible there, and I had a choice of moving, or freelance work. I chose freelance to keep my family there. I was so tired of moving.

When the economy crashed, things got much worse. Eventually we had to abandon our home and move back to our hometown, where relatives had a cheap rental we could live it. They had it because it was a mess. It actually rained in the living room when we moved in. The floors were mush from all the water, and there was mold everywhere. I had to staple up a plastic dropcloth with a hole positioned in just the right place to funnel the water into a trash can, that we had to empty regularly.

The bathroom was a horrid mess. The tub so bad that we would only shower with our eyes closed. It had been painted and peeled and stained rust with the iron in the water. I tried to remove the paint, but underneath was a pink, iron stained tub.

Eventually the relative put on a new roof, no ceiling for a year, but a roof. We eventually got a ceiling too. And we remodeled the bathroom ourselves, a display tub and relatively new sink and cabinets from a friend who remodeled their new home. It was so nice to take a bath again.

About the same time we lost our house, my cousin and her fiance lost their house too. Her father lived with her, and they all moved back to Cleveland. Her fiance got cancer and eventually passed away. But they were in town with his son and all of her family. It was a good thing that they lost their house.

Now her father, my cousin has cancer. It's not good. He may last a while, but it's not good. I just found out today, and have spent much of the day crying on and off. He and his brother are more like my brothers than my own brothers. I wasn't raised with my brothers, but I was raised with my cousins. I love them dearly.

This morning while I was waking up, I realized just how lucky that we all were to have lost our houses out of state. I haven't seen my cousin much, even though he lives close, but I've seen him a few times a year. I'm even glad I didn't have a car, because he drove me to family gatherings, and we spent even more time together. I'm even glad he got lost that one time and we were a half hour late to dinner, because that was more time to spend together.

You never know what can happen and you never know how a bad thing will be a positive. That's why when bad things happen, I usually don't complain or cry (except this time) because I know that sometimes it changes things for the better.

The recent events have put a damper on my sleep though. I barely have enough time as it is to accomplish all of my goals. Now I have to work till late in the evening to get work done. I'll be spending a bit more time with family so I'll be having less time at home. I'm sure though that something wonderful will come of it all though.

March 16, 2012

March 15, 2012

So much for crocheting my new headbands today. I really want to make and list the Wedding headbands, I think they would be so lovely for brides who want something a little non traditional. I want to design something with a lacy triangle that peaks over the forehead.

I didn't get a chance to work on them because in the morning I was finishing my solar light designs and in the evening I worked on my daughters taxes. Seems I didn't add up all her expenses like I thought I did and I had to spend the whole night going through her statements and PayPal receipts. Took about 3 hours I wasn't expecting to loose.

Although I must admit I did take a break between both tasks, by drinking a couple of beers and watching some video. I really needed a break. I even took a tiny 10 minute nap. I never do that midday. I've been so exhausted. I don't have much time left to get my product ready to place in shops. I need to finish my catalog and samples to send out.

I could really use a nice vacation.

March 15, 2012

March 14, 2012

I haven't been able to sleep much lately. Maybe I have too much on my mind. I'm not sure that's the problem, because I always have a lot on my mind.

I contacted an old work associate today. I feel like I'm being dragged away from what I have invested the past four year in. Of course I invested many years into product design too. There were things I didn't like about my jobs though. But I guess there were some pretty wonderful things about it too.

I also received some pretty bad complaints about my jewelry today. Really horrible. I've been making it for several years now, and no one has complained like this. I did have a complaint once, that a buyer lost a bracelet while she was wearing it, but I think she just didn't have the toggle clasp closed right. She didn't know, but blamed it on me.

I know there are people out there who are just trying to play you. I guess there are good and bad people in every walk of life. There's the dishonest seller, who steals ideas, and there's the ones who will give you the shirt off their back. I've gotten help from people I barely know that I'm just amazed at. There are wonderful buyers who keep coming back, just to show support, and there are the ones who complain just to get something for free.

It's the same way at a job. Some bosses send you home crying and others will bend over backwards to promote and support you. I just seem to attract (or be attracted to) the bad ones. I might be able to return to work with a good boss. I might be able to marry again with a good man.

March 14, 2012

March 13, 2012

Must be that conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the sky, but life has just gotten too busy the past few weeks. I'm so darn busy that I can't even find the time to finish my daughters taxes so she can get money, or sent my client an invoice so I can get money. Maybe we'll have enough to fix our car, or buy another. That would be nice.

I've been working on design drawings for a client, but I keep thinking about the new headbands I'm going to make, because I have new yarn. I sure hope I find the time to make them. Not that I can get to a model to photograph them. I wonder if I can set up a photo shoot in the park across the street with some hungry models. I can walk or ride a bike there. It's a bit of a walk into the park, but not too bad.

The weather has been so nice here too and I'm working all day and night and can't seem to get out and enjoy it much. I'm thinking retirement is looking better every day. I should have invested wisely. Oh well.

March 13, 2012

March 12, 2012

I was a Girl Scout leader for many years. I was involved in my troop and my unit. I actually received honors as an outstanding leader and volunteer. I had to pay those girls a lot of money to nominate me. (enter snicker) I'm proud of the work I did with the girls. They are all grown now and wonderful strong women. It's almost like my co leaders and I made a difference or something. Well at least I know Scouting did. It made a difference to me too.

Today I did some lighting designs again. I'm having to learn/relearn a lot of things. My server bounces emails from their server so I have to use gmail. I'm not fond of it at this point because I don't get everything there. I use it as an alternate address and have mail forwarded to my other account. Another skill I must learn.

Then there is this darn CAD program I have. It's kind of like Autodesk, but not. Every time I try something I learn something new. I can almost draw on it now. I can at least add dimensions now, but I still can't figure out how to draw things the size I want in the first place. I find the tools, but don't know how to use them. It's really annoying. And I really need to learn it if I'm going to do work for people. Or I could just shell out $500 for an old used Autodesk program. Not likely to happen.

I remembered a friend suggested another program, just looked up the price $1200, better than Autodesk $2600, but if I had either of that, I'd have working car. Oh well, I'll just struggle with the program I have and someday, I'll be a better person for it. After all, I was one of the first designers, at least in lighting to use CAD to design at all. I've talked many a designer into using it too.

At least I can use the program right now to alter my old drawings to make new ones. That's better than nothing.

March 12, 2012

March 11, 2012

Life is funny. It's like recycling. No really. Some people can make beauty out if the dregs, while others just spend thoughtlessly and fill junkyards with their waste. Some people see the future, and some don't invest in their world.

I've been distressed because I (we) am struggling to survive. But in doing so I've learned something I forgot. I learned that homemade bread is cheaper and healthier, that you can stretch a $10 pork roast into 6 meals, and that you can make bracelets out of soda bottles. I've learned that simple is better, that a big house full of stuff serves no purpose, and that when things get tough, there are kind people who lend a hand, and Ive learned to say thank you, instead of no thank you.

Made my first batch of flower pins. Took me longer than estimated, but time will improve as I have learned a better faster way in the making. I also have some waste when I cut flowers. I found a way to use a lot of that waste on the pin backs. That makes me happy. Even though I use recycled materials and have little waste, I hate to throw any out.  

March 11, 2012

March 10, 2012

I know I should be saving my new found money to fix the car, but it's been so long that I've had a bit extra, that I'm spending it. Not on frivolous things, mind you. I'm spending it mostly on supplies and one extra little thing.

I bought a glass cutter that I've been eying for a long time. I want to cut my beer and wine bottles and make glasses, vases and rings for wind chimes out of them. I even have a microwave kiln that I might try to melt the rings with. I think I need to get some kiln paper though. I'm very excited about this whole recycling my bottles thing. I know it will take a while to do them perfectly, but I can always put the bad pieces in recycling.

I also bought some supplies for the future of my business. New business cards, beads for flowers, and I think I'll make my design website legitimate. It' will only cost $10 a year. Can't believe I couldn't afford even that.

Now on to finishing my design website and renewing old contacts.

March 10, 2012

March 9, 2012

What will the Spring bring this year? It's so pretty already. I feel hope in the air. Sales are much better than last year, yet not enough to live on. Not even as much as the year before. My sales were down $3000 last year. But at least I made a profit. Many sellers operate at a loss.

Last year at this time, my sales were so low that I had to sell off a lot of gold jewelry to pay the bills. They were mostly things I inherited, which makes it kind of sad, but I still have some things. A few years ago I sold almost my entire crystal collection to pay bills with. I did save a few pieces for me.

I have a confession (yes, another one). At one time I was earning close to 100K a year as a Design Director. I really wanted to teach, but was afraid I couldn't live on 40K a year. Silly, we live on much less than that now. I guess my fear was the nearly $600 a month in student loans. As I've said here before, I have already paid off my original debt and still owe more than my original loan. Now they expect payment of $1000 a month. I am in forbearance now, but once I get decent income there are repayment programs available. I'd just like a decent interest rate, not the 9% that I got locked into 17 years ago.

I would really love to have a decent car. Actually that means I would love to have a car that functions. Decent to me means it runs and it stops. We have one that doesn't run and one that doesn't stop. We're filling the parkings lot with junkers. Still debating scrapping them and going for another try with the proceeds.

Here's to the hopes that this spring sprouts enough green to give us some wheels so we can fly. I hate relying totally on the kindness of others. I wouldn't mind taking a bus if we had one to take. Country living is wonderful but the transportation stinks.

March 9, 2012

March 8, 2012

I have a plan, I work hard at it, and it works. Now that's a rare thing. I am a fairly organized person. I make spreadsheets of everything. Well not everything, but if I have comparisons to make I do. I'll make cost spreadsheets, accounting spreadsheets, product dimension spreadsheets, etc. I have a spreadsheet on all of my flowers and their cut sizes so I make them all pretty similar. So a 3 flower necklace has the chain type, and each flower size and color.

I recently made spreadsheets on the new product with time and cost so I could analyze the dollar per hour of each. I did that to see if wholesaling was a viable option and it was. Nice to know. I know most crafters don't really do that. Most just see the money coming in and don't realize what is going on until they do taxes at the end of the year. I know a lot are loosing money instead of making a profit. If they took the time to do a cost analysis, they could see which items make more and focus on those. Of course you have to sell them too.

So the plan is working, really. So far this month I had a bulk sale in my flower shop (the first at this shop) and I sold 7 product designs. This month I increased my income by just under $400, and the designs have the potential of making much more money in the future, with commission. I am so very pleased. And that is for March alone. The month isn't even half over. I have more design commissions in March that will bring income in April.

I was hoping that my plan would work, but it's really amazing how well it has. I have blogged more, designed a nice website, redesigned my blog, made updates on linked in, and made more Facebook and Twitter posts. I've also posted a few items on Pinterest, but not sure I really want to go there. I might be removing most of my boards and only posting things I am sure people want reposted. I love Pinterest, but the thought of getting sued scares me.  

March 8, 2012

March 7, 2012

Sometimes I think I am so dysfunctional. I know a lot of you out there think you are too. Am I really? Or is it just that when I am strong and self reliant, or opinionated and aggressive, I must be a bitch. Or at least that's how society looks at it.

Once at a bar, the bartender made me a foamy drink to play a stupid game with. I was supposed to end up with the foam all over me to look like I had performed some sex act. So funny right? It was in a plastic cup. I told the guy I wouldn't play and I was going to make a mess of it. I warned him and said “OK I'm going to do this now” holding my clenched fist over the glass. He smiled and said “OK”. Women aren't the only dumb blonds.

I smashed my fist down on the glass, with a huge smile on my face, and at such an angle that the foam splashed more the bartender's direction. He was furious. I was such a bitch. I reminded him that I told him I wasn't going to play his demeaning game and that I warned him before I did it. He just kept cursing while he cleaned up the mess. I doubt to this day, that he completely understood what happened. He just thinks I'm a crazy bitch and he was a cool dude.

So the question is, am I dysfunctional, or has society made me think I am? Every time I get a great job, I end up butting heads with an arrogant male who is sure they know more about everything than I do. Not that they are all that way, but many of the team or company leaders are. I have worked with some pretty wonderful men who have had my back, because they were raised to think women CAN know a thing or two.

OK so I still think I'm dysfunctional. At least a bit, because I do not have the ability to kiss ass or take abuse without fighting back.

I also remember when I first learned CAD drawings. My whole design team, drew by hand and then engineers redrew what we did on CAD to send to factories. I asked my boss if I could take a little time on a free computer to try to do a simple project. For the next few months I went from computer, to computer, where the engineers were out of the office and taught myself CAD, or learned from some of the guys.

Because I did such great work, I was given a computer of my own to design on. No one in the Design Department had computers. Well, it was after all the end of the 20th Century. We didn't email our communications with China factories, we faxed them.

I didn't think it was fair, and one of the other designers actually knew CAD. I tried to get computers for everyone but it wasn't happening. We were actually the only department that didn't have computers. Well, the director did and the assistant did too.

I decided, to send an email from my computer to all the heads of the company, including the owner and my boss as to the benefits and cost savings to the company if the whole department had computers to work with. You would think I sent bomb threats to everyone. I could not believe the reaction. It was like I committed the biggest sin. How dare I stand up for my fellow designers, after all, there was no money in the budget for the largest company of this particular product to get computers for designers. And what no one could understand, was why I would ask for them when I already had one.

It really did cause a lot of problems, but the department eventually all got computers, and most of the designers learned CAD and used the computers to design with. We also got interns that I eventually supervised and all in all. I saved the company a lot of time and money. MEN!!!

March 7, 2012

March 6, 2012

Today I spent much of the day drawing and editing. I also had to finish orders. What a crazy week it's been. Not a lot of time to promote my own work, when I was doing so well. Not that the designs aren't my work, just not by my hand.

My new assignment is not my forte. Cute and kitschy are not my thing, do having a very hard time designing in basically one day. I need more time for that. I haven't heard back from the company yet so I think I might have missed the mark.

On the positive side, I really only have to design my packaging for the Flower jewelry wholesaling. I pretty much have it in my head. Just need to put it to paper and see what happens. Oh and I really need shots of my new headbands. I can have a promo for those. Profit percentage is pretty good.  

March 6, 2012

March 5, 2012

My horoscope this month suggested that I visualize where I want to go. That the time is ripe for my life to change and my goals to be met. I really believe in visualization. I believe it can lead to clarity, focus, and the ability to meet goals. I closed my eyes and tried to see myself happy and working hard and comfortably successful. Nothing specific came to mind. I still can't decide what I want to do.

I know that I don't enjoy sewing. I know that I enjoy doing computer graphics, and design. I know that I enjoy the therapy of handcrafting jewelry and even crocheting. I wanted to teach. I really wanted to teach, but I think that ship has sailed. I'm getting very close to retirement age. Maybe I can teach crafts at my retirement home in a few years.

I had quite a lot of things to complete for my flower jewelry business. One was a new business card that reflects my new product and my new website. I also wanted the address on the card to be my new website, which is linked to my Artfire shop. I really needed some, because I was almost out of cards.

When I woke up this morning I read my email and found a deal I could not pass up, so I had to throw together a card quickly. I was waiting for my new logo, but realized that it wasn't really suited for the business card. It will be on my website and brochure though. I decided to make the card reflect my website and the brochure I'm working on.

I'm very pleased with it and only hope that it turns out nice. I'm not sure how the photographic image will turn out, but the altered photo worked well on my last card.

Another thing checked off my list of things to accomplish in four months.  

March 5, 2012

March 4, 2012

My head is really spinning with all the work I'm doing. I had to spend the whole day today at a friends baby shower, but all the time I'm thinking of what I have to design and what I need to do for my flower business.

As soon as I'm done with the designs and can take a breather, I'm going to review everything I need to get ready, and look at all I've done. I'm hoping I'm pretty close to completion for my flower jewelry wholesaling. I know I have packing to complete and my brochures and of course samples. But I'm doing pretty well so far. I also need to look at blogs and websites that I can contact for promotion.

I really need to spend a bit of time on my design portfolio. I've been fairly successful with that, so I think I need to make some more contacts. I just need more hours in the day.  

March 4, 2012

March 3, 2012

I'm not sure what's going on with the world. Something. I think the economy must be getting better. I was going to insert politics here, but I think I won't. Let's just say I'm probably about as far off to the right as you can possibly be.

Point being, I have sold much more this February than last February and people are coming to me for freelance work. OK, maybe a full time job offer might really be a sign of changing times, but I think that things are really coming around. Not sure if it's politics, or just the natural order of things. You know, like the melting ice caps, because we are living in an ice age and they were supposed to melt anyways. As a matter of fact, the ice is not the natural state of the Earth, the water and tropical climes are. Maybe the Earth needs to purge itself of these little lice like creatures that screw it up so bad. You know, I'm talking about humankind.

The thing is that I'm so busy with product designs and with filling orders, that I haven't had any time to work on my flower website, or even finish listing the new things I've made for the shop. I have about 20 new things to list that I haven't gotten to yet. I do have some better photography coming soon, and I really wish I had a car so I could get even more. I only have about a month and a half to get my brochure ready to sent out to shops.

I know I shouldn't complain about making money. I'm not really, it's just that I was walking down this path and all of a sudden I was lifted up and thrown to a land I didn't even know existed. Kinda got the feeling that I'm not in Kansas anymore.  

March 3, 2012

March 2, 2012

I really can't believe it's March already. Hell I can't believe it's 2012. I only have 2 months left to write this diary. I'll be glad it's over, but I think I'll miss it.

I was just reading a blog post about consignment, as opposed to wholesale. I guess the thought is that on consignment, the shop hasn't made any investment in your product, and has no incentive to sell. Makes a lot of sense to me. I really hadn't even considered consignment. I've done it in the past, and although I did make some money, what I usually got was trade. Not that that's bad. I got one of my favorite shirts ever in a trade. I wore it until it fell to shreds.

But the person who wrote the post has a point. I don't think I will sell on consignment unless it is a trial, and I will make sure to get a consignment agreement.

I made nine new product designs in the past two days. Two were variations, so not as much work, but still, a lot of work in 2 days. Five of the designs were chosen to sample. If just one of them sell, it could be fantastic for me and the company I work for.

The product design is interfering with my plans for wholesaling. If this becomes a regular thing, I might have to give up on the jewelry altogether. Well, not really. At the rate I sell, I can certainly keep my shops open on Artfire. But wholesaling could be out of the picture. I might even be able to do a show or two, or a local shop or two. But not a national program.

On top of all the work, I caught a cold, and I was never really over the flu and sinus infection. I think I really need a tropical vacation.

March 2, 2012

March 1, 2012 - March Comes in Like a Lion

You're starting to know so much more about me than anyone else does, I might as well let you in on a little secret. I promised myself if anything happened, that I had some free time on my hands, I would write a book. Well, for the past four years, I've had lots of time on my hands, but no book. The main reason I'm writing all this down, is just to prove to myself that I can write, four months every day.

It's March, that means I've written for two of the four months everyday. Go me! That in itself is quite an accomplishment. But have I accomplished my goals?

Here's a wrap, this week has been heartbreaking and amazing. There were so many ups and down this week. I haven't had such a roller coaster ride in a long time.

The downs were that our car died, after we put so much money into it. Money we didn't really have to spare. $2000 for a car that only lasted three months and barely that is not good. And then there was the shooting in Chardon. The community we spend so much time in. The school that my daughter's brother in law went to. The school she was considering sending her son to, because his school doesn't have the best programs for him.

First positive was that on the weekend I found I got my Power Seller status on eBay and then Top Seller and later this week I rolled over 1900 feedback with a 99.4% positive rating. Darn that .6% of people who just have to be negative.

And then there were the sales. This week was amazing. I can't believe how many sales I had on all my shops, and at the end of the month. The nice thing is that most of my sales were on Artfire which means I don't have to pay those ridiculous fees on eBay.

Lastly, I got a design commission. I guess updating my profile on linked in payed off. I'll give you a little tip, even if you are a handmade artisan. Join linked in and make as many contacts as you can. Updating your profile sends out notification to your contacts. This reminds people who you are and what you do.

It's been quite a week and I can't wait to see what else March has in store for me.  

March 1, 2012

February 29, 2012

Funny how things just happen to you. One day your struggling to survive, the next you have so much work you don't know what to do with it all.

I've been in a veil of foggy thoughts and bad luck for about 5 years now. And yes, the economy was going sour before we elected out newest President. We can blame him, but it was the bank abusing us that did it. And I do not care what you think, if the government doesn't put restrictions on what certain institutions do, we will continue to be abused. It also had to do with China who had their money tied to the US dollar, untethered theirs, so that theirs rose and fell with ours. It's complicated, but it made everything we buy here in the US from china, cost us more, and we buy just about everything we own from China. It made a lot of companies crash and a lot more people in the US loose jobs.

Yes, by not affording to buy things from China, we lost jobs. Remember there are people in the US who take product in, package, ship, receive in stores, and sell. A lot of US jobs are supported by China product.

Seems my mind has been made up for me. I will continue with my jewelry and Aprons as long as I can and I will also be designing lighting for at least one company. I will send out feelers for others too. I started doing some designs today, and other than the fact that I do not know how to use the CAD program I have (I'll get it eventually) I'm having a lot of fun. I can do drawings the old fashioned way for now, but it will be easier when I understand how to use my program. I think it's all in the settings, but I don't know how to change them to the way I work.