Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thumbs Up For Quick Shade Canopies!

The canopy went up in only 24 minutes!! Woo hoo!! Not bad for our first attempt. I love it. It looks so nice. Irv is outside right now making the dowel rod/rope/hanger set up I will be using to hang my pillows.

We started at 7:20 7:37 a.m. we were having an "UGH" moment, but by 7:44 a.m. it was up. We actually pulled it open too far before raising the legs, but we'll do better next time. As you can see in the photos, we also had a little trouble with the vents on the top, but now we know how to do it, so next time it won't look quite so much like a lop-sided Chinese Pagoda! Irv became quite obsessed with the little vents...I thought he was going to have a vent induced melt down...but we figured it all out and he's okay now.

The white bookshelf use to be in the very back corner of our garage. It had a hole in the back and was beat to crap. We used it to keep all of our flowers pots and things on during the winter. You should have seen Mr. Irv's face when I told him I wanted to use it for the craft show! Now thanks to Mr. Handy Dandy Irv, it will used to display my cake stands at the craft show! Woo Hoo for Irv!

(Irvie is a wee bit agitated today because it is awesome outside and he is working on displays and things for the craft show and he would rather be planting his flowers and veggies. Poor Irvie)

Well, I have a ton to do today. Have a really super duper day and I'll chat with you all tomorrow!

Ta dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Less Promoting=More Sales??

Since getting accepted into the craft show....I have been SO neglecting my etsy shops, FourDogDay and MyOtherShop. I have really been feeling kind of guilty. I haven't been listing any new things, not so much because I want everything for the show, but because I just don't have time to photograph everything and list it. I've been renewing photos and cards in FourDogDay so they don't expire, but that's it.

I pop into the forums in the morning to say hello to my morning friends and never return. I have stopped twittering completely. I pop into Facebook in the morning and in the evening and don't talk about etsy at all, but get this....I normally am lucky if I have 4 or 5 sales per month total...and the past 2 weeks, I have had 7! Woo Hoo!

So, to what can I attribute that to? I am pretty much buried in the etsy search. I can't even venture to guess what page I might be found on...I just haven't had the time to worry about it. One of the orders was someone that works with Irv...the others are people I don't know. They have to be finding me through the search and that is pretty sweet!

The other funny thing is that I've sold photos, a journal, coasters, light switch covers and some wood and paper decor....some of almost everything.

My focus hasn't been on my shops or on selling or on's all been on making the things I love to make for a craft show. That's it! I'm not saying I intend to quit promoting my shops, but perhaps it has more to do with where my focus is. Instead of thinking, "I have to make this work, I have to make this work, I have to make this work," I have been thinking, "I am having so much fun making all this stuff." Perhaps that is the difference. Maybe I need to change my entire thought process where all of this is concerned.

Do you find your sales are best when you work hard at marketing or when you do what you love and don't worry about marketing as much? Just curious.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

17 Days and Counting

Yesterday I talked about living without a clock, and even though I think I would love that, right now I am obsessed with clock and calendar watching. My very first craft show is now 17 days away and I still have a lot to get done. I don't waste a minute either! I'm not laying in bed in the morning for that extra five or ten minutes because I can use that time to put labels or prices tags on completed items or I can band coasters into sets, or glue the backs on light switch covers. No amount of matter how small...goes to waste!

Crazy? Yep, but it's necessary. It is such a good thing that I love this stuff and that I am so excited about the craft show or I would be a mess. My workshop is a disaster and that does bother me a bit, but I am working on so many different things. Some of the things I make require drying time and some don't, so I'm constantly jumping back and forth between things. I have boxes of finished things and stacks of things that still need to do be done! It's really pretty funny to be honest with you.

The next time I do a show, I will be better prepared. I just heard about this one late, ended up on the waiting list, had no idea if I would be accepted and didn't start working on things until I was. If I'm going to continually do shows, I will always be working on increasing my inventory. I now have cute labels designed, nice business cards, a canopy and display pieces. That will save a tremendous amount of time!

So, yep...I am busy. Am I stressed? Nope. I'm as calm as can be, and I mean that. Will I get everything done? I really have no idea, but I will have plenty of awesome things to fill my little 10 by 10 space. If I don't get it all done is it the end of the world? Nope. It will all work out just always does.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tick Tock...Tick Tock....


Have you ever wondered what life might be like without clocks? What if your body clock was the only clock you had to get you through your day and through your life?

Could you do it?

What if no one had clocks and you could just eat, sleep and work when you felt the time was right?

Would you freak out?

You would wake up when your body told you to wake up, eat your meals when your body told you that you were hungry, work when your brain was functioning at 100% and felt like working and go to bed when your body told you it was tired.

I kind of visualize retirement being a bit like that...although I know a lot of retired people that lead very structured lives.

I also know a lot of older people that live each day exactly like they lived the day before and any change to their routine causes tremendous frustration.

I am a very structured person with a lot of routines, but I think it's because I have to be. During the week, I have a full time job and my two etsy shops to manage, and on the weekends, I have all of those other things like cleaning the house, doing the laundry and shopping to contend with.

If I didn't have my full time job....would I unconsciously develop other routines and create schedules without realizing I was doing it...out of habit or need for consistency, or would I be able to just "live"? I really enjoy life and try to live it to the fullest. I think in my heart I am a free spirit that could live day by day without a schedule or plans. How about you? Could you? Would you? Do you?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Special Gift

Irv started the yardwork this year as soon as the last bit of snow melted. He's been working in the back yard since that is where he spends most of his time. I'm usually in my workshop...inside! He even started planting some of the flowers he grew from seed into pots and planters. I usually do that part, but with the show in a few weeks...not this year!

We were backing out of the driveway over the weekend and as I scanned the bushes in the front of the house, my eyes caught glimpse of....a tulip...a pretty little red tulip.

Now that isn't strange in northern Illinois in April, there are tulips blooming everywhere. What makes it a strange site is that we haven't had tulips in front of our house in at least 15 years! There was a time way back when we had some tulips up there, but they never did real well so we removed them.

Is it a sign of some kind or did a happy little squirrel plant me a gift from a neighbor's yard?

However it got there, it is a welcome site and totally reinforces my new life of living in "the Now".

So, for now...I will enjoy my little gift!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Canopy Caper

When I was a little girl, canopy beds were very popular. I remember sitting and looking through the big fat Sears catalog at all of the pretty canopy beds with their lacy tops. Whenever I asked my parents if I could get dad who had quite the sense of humor at times would say...get me a can and I'll give you a can-o-pee! HAHA!

Speaking of canopies....this was the weekend that Irv and I were going to take my wonderful Quick Shade C-100 Commercial Grade Canopy out of the box and try setting it up. The box says "Quick and Easy" we figured a couple of hours for first time set up!

My plan was to photograph the whole process as we moaned and groaned and swore at Quick Shade while we attempted to set it up. It was supposed to be a fun day, but Mother Nature didn't even give us the chance to put our assembly talents to the test! It was a very rainy and very windy weekend here in northern Illinois!

Rather than wait until a better day, with the show only three weeks away, we decided to just pull it out of the box and it's cute little wheely canvas bag and take a peek at it and peruse the directions so when we did try to set it up, it would be "Quick and Easy"!

Well, we got it out of the box and out of the cute little wheely bag and started searching for the instructions....and searching and searching and searching....NO INSTRUCTIONS! UGH! Of course, there are these pictures on the side of the box that show you how "easy" it is to set up, but we were looking for something with a bit more detail. No such luck.

I e-mailed the company it was shipped from to see who would be responsible for getting those to us...them, or the canopy manufacturer or Dick's Sporting Goods online store where we ordered it from. Then I decided to call Dicks instead. A nice lady e-mailed the company that shipped it, told them our dilemma and one way or another we will have our instructions "soon".

So, for now the canopy is sitting in my kitchen, out of the box and it's cute little wheely canvas bag....unassembled. To be continued......

Sunday, April 26, 2009


What a day! We made the drive into the city this morning to meet Casey the kitten. What a cutie she is. We really enjoyed sitting and watching her run around Tresa and Chris's living room and kitchen. I knew it would make me want to get a kitten, but I plan to refrain. I just don't have the time for a kitten right now nor do I have the it's an easy decision at this moment. After we played with the kitty for a while we went and had an awesome breakfast at a small cafe in the city. I had polenta hash! Why is that I can't make things like that...and even it I could, it wouldn't taste like it did today. It was just polenta, veggies and two poached eggs. Guess I'll just have to go into the city now and then and have breakfast!

I am still building my inventory for the craft show which is only three weeks away. My goal is to have all of the things done within the next two weeks, so the last week I can concentrate on the labels, price tags and signage. Irv has been such a help preparing materials for me. I would never be able to do it without him. Thanks Hon!

Enjoy the kitty pictures and video...I am off to head outside for a much needed break. The video is about 2 minutes and you just can't help but smile when you watch a kitten play!

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