Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mix It Up

We had an expensive bowl of popcorn the other day.  I thought popcorn might be a good afternoon snack for the kids, so I got the popcorn maker out from over the fridge where it sits behind my hand mixer.  I then opened the freezer to get out the popcorn (does everyone keep theirs in there?), forgetting that I had moved the mixer just out of the cupboard, onto the 4 inches of exposed fridge... half of which was the freezer door.  And of course it fell.

Honestly, I'm pretty sure I've done the same thing before.  This time however, when I turned it on, the motor sounded a little funny.

I mentioned it to the resident fix-it guy that night, and yesterday he took it to work with him to see if he could fix it.  In a text that morning, he said it was done for.  Oops.  So then I got to thinking that maybe I should think about whether or not I wanted a stand mixer... I was aware that I kept noticing them in multiple flyers this year, and even thought I've never felt the need for one in the past, I was maybe thinking that maybe I would like one after all...

So while N was napping, I looked through all the flyers to check prices.  While I was doing that?  Sean went out on his lunch hour and bought me one.

Looks pretty good there, I think!  Now to find some time to bake...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Etsy Update

December 10 marked two months of having my Etsy shop up and running.  I wanted to take some time to look back, figure out the stats and think about what I've learned. 

My first two sales were to people I knew, but the third and fourth were to strangers - that felt like success!  (Five of the 12 total orders so far have been to people I know.)  The first sale was 11 days after opening.  The first month had three orders. 

Some orders were for multiple items; this is the summary of what I've sold through Etsy in these past two months:

Wheat Bags - 11
Zip Pouches - 3
Coffee Cozies - 2
Camera Strap Covers - 1
Handwarmers - 7 sets
Bean Bags -  1 set
It's encouraging to see that I've sold at least one of everything I offer... it also shows that the wheat bags and handwarmers are the best sellers!  I've got 13 more pairs beside me in the works as I type.

To compare, these are the sales for the same amount of time that were not through Etsy.  These numbers include:
  • my only craft sale of the year - a table at a women's event in Winnipeg that I wasn't even at!
  • an order for 60 coffee cozies to a local coffee boutique
  • three orders through Used Regina / Kijiji
  • many were because people were made aware of what I sell when I began promoting it
Wheat Bags -29
Zip Pouches -3
Coffee Cozies - 72
Camera Strap Covers -2
Handwarmers - 4 sets
Bean Bags - 2 sets

So 25 items sold through Etsy out of 137 total...  Still, it's been a great opportunity to brand my little sewing habit and have an excuse to sew different items.  I've been thrilled with this experience and have a couple ideas for new products to add after the holidays.  I'll be sure to give you the first peek here!

The Etsy shop also provides a good upsell to orders from Used Regina or Kijiji - I only list my wheat bags on those sites, but when someone sends me a message asking about them, I can direct them to my shop in case they see something else they'd like to pick up at the same time.  The last girl that came wanted 4 bags, and left with two sets of handwarmers, too.

I am figuring out the whole shipping thing, estimating and adjusting, ordering packaging materials and making friends with the post office ladies.  *Rookie tip: go to the same post office all the time so the workers get to know you.  Oh, and I got a small business card that saves me 5% on shipping with Canada Post - my first piece of plastic with Alice&Victor on it!!  So exciting.

People can make treasuries or collections on Etsy - I was featured in one made by another Regina Etsian.  That was kind of exciting... Etsy is like many other online worlds in that some people are slightly addicted.  You can follow people and shops and see what they are liking and making, and some people you see on there lots.  Obviously more activity and interaction in the forums gets you noticed, but moderation is key.

So there are a few bits about my first two months - I think beginning just before Christmas was a winner time, but here's hoping the new year is just as fun & profitable!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Recommended Reads - November

Here are a few books you might enjoy.  Not all are lighthearted Christmas holiday reads, though...

Left Neglected by Lisa Genoa.  I read her book love anthony last month, and this was another good one, about a career wife & mother who has an accident and ends up with a brain injury.  Really interesting to read of a disability where the person is unaware of the disability...

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.  It's on the Regina Public Library's 100th Anniversary, 100 Favorite All Time Books list that I have been checking for recommendations for years, so I was glad when it was a book club pick for this year.  Character driven rather than plot driven, this one is set in India around the time I was born.  Fascinating to read of a world so far away in space and culture, yet so close in time.  A real everything goes wrong tale, but with touches of hope and joy.

What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George.  I read this right after A Fine Balance, eager to read something more entertaining, and less tragic... bad pick for that.  It was compelling, but a sad story of how a good kid gets into a bad situation through circumstances outside his control.  An Inspector Lynley novel - sort of - it's the back story of how and why his wife was shot, and the usual characters make minimal appearances.  It's also on the same 100 Books list.

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Boy and His Bed

As promised:


We will take down the crib this weekend and move things around... and have a little boy's room.  Crazy.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Tree & The Lights & The Boy

Our Nolan is wonder-filled at 'Mis-mas' as he calls it - the trees, the houses with lights on... It's been awesome to watch him take in the decorations of the season, and to explain all brand new what it's all about.  Here are a bunch of photos so you can enjoy, too.

This one was when Sean was getting the outside lights ready to put up.  (That was in October, but they didn't get turned on until this past weekend.)

Sean and I set up the tree Sunday night after the kids were in bed.  We wanted to do it all together Sunday, but with nap time and a friend's Christmas party, it didn't happen.  These are from Monday morning when Nolan first saw it.

And Monday morning we ran out to get a second strand of new blue and white lights, so this is Nolan enjoying the lights on the tree after his nap.  (And meet Rabbit, Brownie, and Blankie - he's not attached like some kids I know, but they are his bedtime friends and help him move from Mom to bed!)

Wednesday night was the next chance we had to be home all together - basketball and soccer take up lots of Madeline's time!  So the boxes got brought up and the tree got decorated.  Not many 'in-process' photos, but a few posed ones will do.  You'll notice Nolan was all dressed for a photo shoot...

And this morning...

In this first week of Advent we think about Hope (Madeline and I did the reading at church this past Sunday); may you be filled with hope as you head into this Christmas season, and may you, like Nolan, experience just a touch of the wonder of it all.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Thoughts on a milestone.

December 3, 2013.

I wondered what I would do to mark the milestone of yesterday - ten years since we said goodbye to Neil.

His brother put a notice in the paper, his other brother and sister both shared links to it on Facebook. It's so nicely done and here, if you want to have a look.  (Those links all have comments, too, if you'd like to read other people's memories of him.)  We received notes from a few friends who also keep this date in mind each year.

I wanted to do something, to write something, to find the words to honor his life again, but for some reason, words escape me.  I feel simply a quiet acceptance.  He was an important part of my life for a long time and will never be forgotten.  I believe that he would be pleased by the way we have carried on living and loving.

It is important to remember.  It is a good thing to honor loved ones who are gone.  He was loved by many, and I know many are remembering and honoring him now.  I believe we all will continue to live our lives changed because we knew him.