Thursday, March 26, 2015

26 MAR 2015 :: New blog day

Here I am again... another Thursday... and the decision to change is pretty final.  I will be limiting my blog activities to Monday through Thursday, but I don't know which day the Crafts blog will appear... it may have more than one entry a week if I find something inspiring to share.  :-)

I will probably connect all these blogs through the main blog I do for Working Together ( by putting links to the new ones there.  I'm still working out the details.

I wish I had my photos done... I am working on creating new ones for listings that are getting done. It will have to wait. 

Having a more flexible schedule will help me deal with health issues I have. 

My big goal right now is creating artworks and putting them into frames I have from thrift stores and other places.  I am working on getting them into better shape, figuring out how to paint and seal and make them look new.  I will eventually create something of my own... but I like the recycled versions for now.  I hope to make both new and used framing options, as well as just matted for lighter mailing costs.

I think today is not a good blog day for crafts.  I hope you don't mind.
I am working on a lot of different parts of the process, and haven't got them organized yet. I will share them with you as soon as I can.

Thank you for your patience... enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

for 20 MAR 2015 :: Ongoing developments

I am writing this on Thursday because I want to make sure an entry gets posted.  I have felt good and don't know what the day will bring.


In the effort to develop my online income, I have been busy.  My goals are becoming more and more defined and organized, my supplies are getting built up, and my product options are beginning to find a path to the sales listing.

Most of my focus is on my Etsy shop, but my Fiverr gigs and eBay auctions are always on my mind as I learn new options for Etsy.  These are the three selling venues I have chosen for now.  I am also learning about social media and online marketing throughout this effort.  You have to remember I haven't been at this very long.  My previous efforts to sell online were PayPal links at my Working Together website -- and those need to be re-established, too.

My 25 listings a month goal is progressing.  :-)  I have been creating listings at Etsy that aren't actually NEW items, but they are separate listings that didn't exist before.  I am breaking my "conglomerate" listings into smaller parts, revising to improve other listings, renewing the ones that are expiring, and finding ways to present them better.  I am also making duplicates under different categories in my shop to see if it makes a difference.  I read about doing this in an Etsy forum, blog, or a team post. It's hard to remember when you read a lot of materials. I'm experimenting with what I am told are SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.  I'm not sure how that affects your search inclusion, but I will give it some time and then decide.

I guess the best example of what I am doing is my previous ACEO listing. It is/was for any option you might want, with different pricings.  I have already created separate listings for framed 5x7 and 8x10 artworks, and I will be developing new listings for mailing these works as art only or as a matted presentation.  Currently I have been using the same main photo with all of these related listings.  I may keep it that way, or replace these photos as I create new art and begin to photograph it for my listings.  I have two ways to present the ACEO, so I will make separate listings for each of them.  I am hoping this separating will show the variety of choices better, and also separate the prices so potential customers will know what each one costs.  After a time, I may combine them back up again, I'm not sure.

I found some really great craft supplies at the Salvation Army Thrift Store's 50% Sale Day yesterday. Plus, I was able to reach the local recycling organization's store and found great things there, too.  I have been cleaning it all up today.  I guess the best item at the Salvation Army was a silicone baking sheet, and the best thing I found at the recycling store was a stamp that is a pattern for making photo corners.  :-)   I found a lot more (that matters to me), but I wanted to share the two best things I found at really low prices.  I am happy.  The lower prices allow me to experiment with ideas at a reduced cost.  It may be that my experiments will produce something worthy of selling, but if they don't I am not losing too much money.

The search for a decent space to work in is getting better.  I still haven't reached that goal, but I am closer to it.  I need to take a lot of photos to post, so that will be a space that has to be figured out. I get encouraged when I see the spaces other people work in... I just need to make my small space work for me.

I looked at new cameras this week while I was out shopping.  The bigger, nicer ones are pretty expensive.  At least I have a price range for that goal... not to work out the details and try to figure out how long it will take to get on.  I guess a seller has to make their plans without counting on sales, because there is no guarantee you will sell anything.  If I do find a way to selling more, I will be able to reach my other goals sooner.  That would be really nice.

The comments on this site are active. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I will check on them and see if they might work for me, and then share them again in the future.

I wanted to share that I may change the day for this blog...  I will let you know.

Friday, March 13, 2015

13 MAR 2015 :: What is happening now?

I suppose I have already told you, but I write other blogs through the week and I am trying to develop a topic process and improve my outside information.  :-)   I am working on it... it is beginning to get sorted out.  Just hang in with me and we'll find out a lot of things together.  :-)

I was just at my Facebook page(s) and discovered a post about leadership quotes.  In an Entrepreneur Magazine online site, there is an article with 50 quotes on leadership.  I was inspired to share it today, since it is my CRAFTS Explored day... and we are all developing our crafts businesses.
50 Quotes on Leadership Every Entrepreneur Should Follow
Contributed by JOHN RAMPTON
published on 13 MARCH 2015
It is suggested it is an 8-minute read.
I was led to the article by the Max Lucado quote on the post I saw... about an orchestra leader having to turn his (or her) back on the crowd in order to lead the orchestra.  :-)   I saved a copy of the article for future reference.  Some of them may appear here in the future.

This week has actually been productive... well, it FELT more productive.  I get things done all the time, they just don't feel directly related to gathering cash to live on.  This week I finally went through a few of my listings and worked out the revisions I have been thinking about.  Then I copied one, revised it for a new photo and item, and then added it to my list.  I officially have ONE more listing, but I really have more, because my revisions changed the original offers into new offers.

I haven't figured out all the details within the Etsy process, but two of my listings had to be renewed. The one I revised (edited) didn't need to be renewed so the end date stayed the same.  Once I get the listings to a permanent content, I will only renew them when they end.  That's 60 cents a year to make the effort to sell something that matters to me.  It is one of the reasons I decided to try an Etsy shop.  I know that listing doesn't mean a sale, but the 4 month timeframe and the 60 cents a year make trying a reasonable cause.

Another thing I accomplished this week was updating my Treasuries.  I had looked at one awhile back and discovered items were missing.  I don't know how they disappear, but I assume it is because the listing goes away.  Sold items will still show up in my Favorites section, but they can't be used in a Treasury.  I really love some of the things I favorite for one reason or another. I like to still have a picture of them to remind me I once knew them.

I am trying to find a new place to share my Craft Cult widget for treasuries since I removed it from the blog space.  I liked sharing all the great products I find on Etsy.  I'm not sure where I can do that.  If I can find a way to place it in my posts, maybe I can add it at the end.  I will let you know when I find out about that.

I have a son in prison right now, and I have been trying to encourage him to use the time there wisely, planning for the future, creating art or something to sell when he is released, and other things.  I have two pages I created some time ago about making goals for yourself.  I made new copies and sent them to him.  Prison is such a waste of time... I am hoping he will find a way to make it count in his life, to help him create a better future when he is released.  Having REAL goals, well-planned, well thought out, may help him.  Unrealistic goals just discourage us and make us give up.  Most of us don't realize how much work goes into achieving a goal... and that it can take many years.

The information I shared with my son was gathered from several sources, but it was mostly from Brian Tracy because I was experimenting with his suggestions at that time.  I followed his 10 Goals a Day for 30 Days suggestion and it showed me how to sort through all the different goals you have and find the ones that mean the most.  It also showed me how goals change.  What something like this does is help you keep focused on your goals. It is so easy to lose track of them.

I have been developing a weekly approach for myself.  It helps me keep focused at a different pace.  I have been developing my own forms to help me keep track of the information I need to make decisions.

Etsy has a great PDF I came across in one of their blogs ( ).  You can go directly to the PDF at this web link ::
I have printed many of them in my quest to create actual SMART Goals.  :-)    See if you can do better than I did with your goals.

The US Government has lots of information about goals, too.  I went to really quick and found this page.  You can use it to compare with the Etsy worksheet.

I hope to have more information on developing your shop next week.  See you then.

Friday, March 06, 2015

6 MAR 2015 :: Getting a Deal on Supplies

I don't know where the time goes, but it sure flies away! 

I am close to the point of doing my blogging in the morning so I can get it out of the way  :-)   and not have to worry about it.... that would give me more time to figure out the photo problems, too.

I am fond of going to the Salvation Army Thrift Stores for their Wednesday 50% off everything in the store sale.  I use to try to go on other days, but I would always find something I really wanted that wasn't on sale... that would mess up my budget and reduce my pile of treasures.  Now I only go on the sale day so I won't have to deal with that frustration.

I found some great deals this week.  I always do.  I search for hours and try to spread my budget around the various things I need, or the sections of the store.  I didn't get near the clothes -- that will take hours just by itself. It was my first real shopping day in a long time... I wanted to search as much as possible.

I tend to grab anything I might want and then decide what to actually keep (pay for) when I am ready to go.  I always lament the things I can't purchase... sometimes for a long time.  It's a thrift store, and the items are at a discount price, but the dollars add up fast... I tend to go over my planned budget every time.  I look for craft item, kitchen items, books, VHS tapes, and whatever else they have in that part of the store. 

Since I am doing art now, I am trying to build up my picture frame collection. I only bought the ones I liked for 44cents this week, but I am looking at the larger ones and trying to figure out how to get them in the budget.  I limited myself to 4 picture frames, with one that I can use as a pattern to create my own later.  I haven't decided which is better for refurbishing yet, but wood can always be painted.  After you get done, it's like new.  Smaller ones don't cost as much to mail, and will fit into the small USPS Priority Flat-rate box.  Flat-rate shipping is good because it is reasonably priced and includes tracking.  I am trying to create items that will be low on shipping costs and still be flexible for the sizes I want to make.  It's a plan that I am working on still.

I am also working out food products to the kitchen aisles are a great place to explore.  I found a second heavy sauce pan this week.  I hope to try it out next week.  I also found some Tupperware that will work for either food or craft supply storage for me.  I love Tupperware!  Tried to sell it a couple times in my life...and hope to include it in my WT projects.

In the book section, which includes audio tapes and VHS tapes for my search, I only look at the soft cover books because they become 50 cents each on the sale day.  I discovered a Barron's Business Review Book on Accounting. It was published in 2000, but I took beginning accounting classes when I first was able to go to college in 1983, and math is math... I wanted to review the process, so this should be a great reference tool. I think it is wise to have a basic idea what is going on with the software programs you use for accounting, and I like to use Excel for my budgets.  I hope it will give me some of the formulas I need to use.  Barron's produce excellent books...if it was a name I didn't know, I doubt I would get it. 

Another book I decided on was a recipe book for people with diabetes.  I know the recipes will be healthy and I am working on my menus... looking for better recipes that I might like. Hope it works out to be a great find. 

Finally, I decided to take a little product recipe booklet by French's on mustard options.  There was a peanut sauce recipe, and a couple others that looked interesting, so I decided I would pay the 50 cents for it.  :-)   I usually have a $1 book budget.

One item I really had to debate myself about is an audio book package I found by Covey (author of the 7 Habits series).  It was missing one tape, but I thought it would be good for my collection on sales and success.  I have things from Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and other people I tried out because they were at a sale price.  I have always loved Zig Ziglar...  Brian Tracy is new to me.  Before Zig Ziglar I use to listen to a lot of the Nightengale-Conant materials.  I could really get going about how great some of these materials are, but I can't right now.  I will make it a topic for future blogs.  I finally decided to get it... it was $1 on sale.

I guess the great thing is the reduced price for things that will be valuable to your work, your growth, your plans.  Once you use something, it's no longer new.  It doesn't really matter if something is used as long as it is in good shape and will meet your need.

Now that I have a little income with my Social Security Retirement payments, I will be going to the Salvation Army sale at least one week a month.  When I get my crafts done, and start selling them, I hope to have enough money to go more often.

Let me know how you save money on supplies... share that in the comments section.  I would love to find any way to save that I can...  In my really hard days I made up a saying about saving money ::

          The more you save,
               the more you have to spend.

It's kind of like the "penny saved, penny earned" saying we all know... which was the inspiration for my own application of it.  :-)

Craft supplies can be harder to find...but kitchen storage can work more than one job.  I found a great little wooden roller for my clay work.  I also found a great silicone baking sheet with doxen shapes.  I thought about sending it to someone that is very fond of doxens, but later decided to see what I can make for Etsy buyers with it.  I am trying to decide which direction to go with it.

I don't remember everything I bought there -- it was a heavy shopping day.  I spent more than my $10 planned budget, but less than $15.  It was a great day for finding treasures.  :-)

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Late post for Friday, 27 FEB 2015 :: Developing your craft business.

I am so sorry that this post is late, but it was the best thing for me to do in my situation... I haven't gotten to the point of pre-writing and scheduling blog posts, but I am heading in that direction for some topics.  So, I write on the day it appears, or as close to it as I can.  Last Friday I went out for some craft supplies and pricing, but it was too much for my body and made me ill... until pretty late in the evening...and I didn't think it would hurt anyone at this point in my blogging if I waited to write it later. 

Friday night and Saturday daytime is what I try to honor as the Sabbath. It is hard not to do anything, and I don't agree with some of the regulations I have heard about in the Jewish community, so I have been trying to find my way through the Sabbath questions on my own.  I decided to wait until the Sabbath was over before I even thought of blogging. 

As it turned out, I was preoccupied until now...about 10 pm on Sunday night... my planned curfew! 

I will get my schedule figured out... it is taking time and making me find the best use of my energies and resources as I search. In fact, that is part of what I was doing this weekend (Sunday)... going over my goals, organizing my records, trying to decide on the best options for selling.

I think I told you about the videos I watched from (Alyson B Stanfield) -- one was about establishing regular "studio hours" for making the things you want to sell.  I have a four hour goal for studio time.  I tried to get settled into a morning routine (8am to noon), but that didn't work well...once I get on the computer to check things, it's a lost cause. 

Today I decided to try an afternoon time - noon to 4pm.  My main workdays are Monday to Thursday, so that is the extent of my studio time commitment.  It should help with my challenge, but deciding what is considered studio activity has become another issue.  I do a lot of prep work, have a lot of different projects I want to do (besides art), so is that part of my studio commitment or does it have to lead to an item to sell?  I haven't decided yet.  I have to make my definition of studio time as I go along.

Deciding what to make and sell is also a challenge to selling online.  I have been creating a list of "price points" I want to build my inventory around so I can reach a lot of different customers with my products.  Mine currently go from "0 to $10" to "Over $500" -- I hope to sell art and jewelry in the upper levels when I can.

Pricing things is a BIG problem for me. I have been trying to find out the best way to do that as I wander around Etsy and other sales sites.  When I have a greater variety to offer, my sales will (I hope!) rise. After I make them, I will need to work on a marketing strategy.  Facebook and Twitter aren't all there is.  :-)

I do thank you for taking the time to visit and read.  I hope you will continue to follow my efforts here.  I am thinking of more and more topics to share as I go through the weeks.  In working on my own goals, I thought it was time to talk on some of the subject associated with running a craft business, with trying to sell online.

Until next time... May GOD help you find the way to your income goals.

In Christ, Deb