Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Festival Fail

We tried to take the girls to a winter festival. Unfortunately Dahlia was less than impressed and Justin scratched an itch on his nose forgetting he had a scab there and managed to rip it off and bleed everywhere. We only stayed about 10 minutes.
In the short time we were there, however, T got to explore an igloo. She loved it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nothing says I love you like a stuffed mushroom

I want to be one of those families that sits down to a family meal every night. You know the ones you look back on and think "My mom was an amazing cook." I'd love to spend the time in the kitchen but with the smallest being so securely attached to mommy and in the middle of her separation anxiety phase, it's rare that I get time to focus on making a good meal. More often than not dinner is made by my husband. Don't get me wrong, he's a great cook, and he takes direction really well. But at the end of a long day at work he's not up for spending any longer in the kitchen or waiting for his meal than he has to.
Tonight I told my husband that I love him.
Via Stuffed Mushrooms.
I heard somewhere that "life is too short to stuff mushrooms" That's exactly why it's a special treat.
A stuffed mushroom says "I love you so much that I took the time to stuff these just for you while the baby tried to pull my pants down, tried to climb up my shirt and cried at me about what an awful human being I am."

But Damn were they delicious.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pardon me while I finish this book

Remember a couple weeks ago I mentioned
Well I've already completed 3 swaps.

I'm completely lost in another Dan Brown book - this time it's The Lost Symbol.
I've also got the Time Traveller's Wife and The Secret waiting for me.
PLUS the last book in a series I'm reading came out on Tuesday.

Last night I stayed up until 3am reading.
I forsee another late night tonight.

I'll be done my 6 books well before I turn 30. I'm almost tempted to make it 30 books before 30!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Everything I need to know to sell on Etsy, I learned in Kindergarten

When I started Kindergarten I was a little jerk. I was the oldest of three so I was used to being the king of the castle. Then I went to Kindergarten. I learned that I couldn't be the best at everything. No matter what I did there was always another kid who excelled differently than I did. It took time, but I learned that working with that person rather than against them was always going to be better than working against them.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

How to Make Friends
I had to learn to make friends. This is one of those life skills that will never fail me. There will never be a point where I'm like "Aww crap, I made friends again." Everything is better with friends. Friends on Etsy help boost your morale when you don't feel like you want to continue. They help promote your awesome new stuff. And when you're struggling for a last minute gift for someone they can help you find the perfect thing from a seller who will get it out to you superfast!
Friends do more than just make your experience more positive, they can increase your sales too. Over a third of my sales have gone to my Etsy friends. And they are buying because they genuinely want and enjoy my products. Plus when I send them my business cards, I know they'll pass them on for me!

How to be Part of a Team
In Kindergarten I learned about what it meant to be a team. Groups of kids playing together always have more fun than the lone kid in the sandbox. Turns out the same on Etsy. Joining a Team and getting involved with that team is one way to make friends. Different teams have different goals. Some teams promote member shops, some teams host local get togethers, some are just there for moral support. No matter what team you join, you'll find a network of other Etsians who in turn provide a vast network of resources you didn't know about.

How to Pay attention in Class
When I started on Etsy I wanted to learn how to make my shop the best I could. One of the resources I found to help me was the Virtual Labs: Just going to these labs I made a bunch of new friends. Paying attention in labs also gave me the opportunity to absorb a ton of info on how to improve my shop. Not all the tips and tricks work for everyone and every shop, but boy do they help!

How to Read
My reading skills have improved dramatically since kindergarten. Back then I never would have gotten through the entire Seller's Handbook ( Even now I don't know that I could get through the whole thing. Fortunately it's written as articles that are fantastic on their own. This means that if I feel like working on photography one day I can sit down and read all the articles on photographing my products better, take notes and then apply that to retaking my photos.

How to Count
There are a lot of ways to track your sales. Depending on your comfort level with technology and numbers you can track your sales any number of ways. If you want the easiest way to track what you're doing get a journal. Write down what you do that links to your etsy account - List, Relist, Renew, Attend a Virtual Lab, Tweet, Blog, share on facebook. Find patterns between your actions and your sales. The next step is to sign up for google analytics. Don't worry, you don't have to be able to interpret their reports. Once Google Analytics is working for you, you can import it into which can tell you how many views your shop has had. tracking views compared to actions is a great way to figure out what's bringing people into your shop.

How to be a Unique Individual
On Etsy, just like in Kindergarten, The Copying Game is the mark of an uncreative bully. My little brother used to follow me around copying everything I said "Stop copying me!" I would yell at him "Stop copying me!" He would yell back. "Mom he's COPYING me again" "Mom he's COPYING me again" It took me years to realize that this was a preschooler's way of showing he looked up to me and admired me. Despite the complement that it was, copycatting was lame. It showed that he couldn't even come up with a unique way to pester me. Copycatting on Etsy is just as lame. Poaching an idea and making the exact same thing without putting your own spin on it shows you lack originality and creativity yourself. I wasn't the first person to make my product, and I won't be the last, but I have a style all my own. You'll know my product as mine instantly when you see it.

These skills are the key skills I've used to get where I am with my shop.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Swapping

bookshelf spectrum, revisited
bookshelf spectrum, revisited by chotda, on Flickr

I love to read. I love books. I don't love clutter.
There's the obvious solution: go to the library.
I don't like having a deadline for my reading. Sure sometimes I finish a book in 24 hours or less. Usually though I have a few books on the go, plus life inevitably gets in the way.
I've been a member on Swap for a while now. I signed up ages ago when they were first getting started but there wasn't much that I wanted that was available. Now they've grown SO MUCH! I've got several trades pending. I'm excited to get books I want while at the same time getting rid of books I'm finished with.
Reusing through trade, what a great way to make friends and be green!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting to it

So recently I posted my 30 before 30 to do list.
On there was:

3. Read 6 NEW books. Not books I've previously read or part of a series.

My Mom got really excited knowing that I'm planning to read 6 books this year. She jumped up and grabbed 4 books she thought I'd like. A couple years ago I'd introduced her to the Davinci Code. Apparently she loved it so much that Dan Brown is now one of her favorite authors. I read The Davinci Code and Angels and Demons and gave up on him. I felt like the two books had basically the same plot.
One of the books Mom handed me was Deception Point.
I finished it in less than 24 hours. (Maybe I should up my to do list to include more books!) I enjoy the intrigue of books like this. And I especially like it when the twist is not one I predict myself. (I thought the "controller" was a certain person and it turned out to be someone else entirely)

What books do you like? What would you recommend for me to read?