Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas, Uncategorized

The Great Etsy Shop

So HandiCraftDesigners finally has an Etsy Shop! I know, right? It’s scary and exciting all at the same time! It has taken years to get up the nerve and put my original cross stitch patterns on there. But I finally did it! I opened it with 1 pattern at the time. I was able to upload a new one every day for 5 days. I have now started working on a more complicated one and hope to have it uploaded in the next day or two.

It was really quite simple once I figured out what all I needed to have to create the first post.

I was even able to go in and edit the posts as I thought of things that should be in the description or found photos that needed to be added. It could not be any simpler.

As I get better and better at it, I suspect, it will only take a few seconds to get a product up and on the market!

My advice to anyone thinking about it…. GO FOR IT!

Things I have learned over the years that I took to market with me:

  1. There is no such thing as 1 size fits all…. It means that my patterns are good fits for some and not for others. I will stay true to the audience I am creating for and worry about others when I am creating patterns for them.
  2. Give more than is expected… As I created the booklets that contain each pattern, I decided to not only insert the pattern in the book, but to break it up into smaller sections with much larger print that is easier to read. I also offered free electronic copies of the patterns with proof of purchase.
  3. Everyone’s a critic… There are going to be haters! There is nothing I can do about haters. If someone has constructive criticism and it will benefit my product I will do my best to improve the product. I will not let any snarky sarcasm directed at me interfere with my plans.
  4. Never apologize for your price… I learned this as a mentor was helping me set up a consulting business many years ago. I also learned to price my work fairly and to give the client their monies worth.
  5. Pour your heart into product, it will show… I have poured my heart into my crafting for years and those that I was passionate about show it! They rock!
  6. Stay true to your brand… for me this is easy! I’m a crafter, everything is a craft!!! If it is not yet, it will be by the time I get done with it!
  7. Follow your dream… this is probably the most important. I don’t have to be internationally renown to be following my dream. I just need to be free enough to create as many hours a day as possible!

Encouraging others to follow their dreams is a passion of mine. I think about how I can do this often and will probably write about it often. If you need a cheerleader I am here, just ask and I will help in any way I can!

Go out and take that first Giant Step!

 

Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

Recovering Serial Starter

Yep, I own it! It’s who I am!

As I look around my craft room for something to do I am suddenly struck by all the projects that are at various stages of completion. And the tennis match in my head begins:

Logical Me: “You should finish that dress before Emma (age 5) graduates from High School.”

Emotional Me: “Oh, I have time.”

Logical Me: “You are going to lose pieces and forget every carefully laid out step to complete the project.”

Emotional Me: “I don’t have time right now.”

And trust me there are currently 3 project piles that get pulled into this tennis match every time I find myself with an hour to kill.

Unfortunately, crafting is not the only area of my life filled with incompletes.

The garden – I am truly sorry to those last 3 or 4 plants that never got transplanted into the ground. And I apologize to my neighbor for the spaghetti squash vine that has taken over his back yard instead of climbing the beautiful trellis I was going to build.

The craft room – Or more specifically, the relocation of the craft room. I am moving it from one room in the house to another and after a few items are moved I will undoubtedly find a tool or incomplete craft that requires my immediate attention. Or worse, “I will move this once I have a perfect storage solution” and it languishes in the old craft room.

My closet – I know, I know… if I haven’t worn it in a year it’s time to throw it out. But maybe I did not wear it because it was too small or too big. It might fit in the future, right? Probably not!

The causes, in my humble opinion, are as varied as the projects… it’s too hot outside, it’s too cold outside, I have to rip that seam out, I don’t like the color I started using, if my diet works/fails I will have to have pants to wear to work! And the list goes on and on!

So why do I do this? Do I enjoy the chaos? Do I enjoy the lack of completion? Hell NO! I don’t, really I don’t. I have gotten better over the years and have even setup a “system” for dealing with this. It’s not exactly a “12-step” system, but it could probably be stretched out to that!

  1. Complete a project day – one day a week is dedicated to working on nothing but existing projects. No matter the inspiration that may creep into my head I must work on an incomplete project, article, pattern, craft and nothing else.
  2. Reflect on why I wanted to do the project in the first place – what was my vision, what benefits did I believe it would give me, who was it for, make a list of the benefits of being done, picture clearly the finished project.
  3. What is it costing me to leave it incomplete – how do I feel when I look at yet another incomplete, what does it do to my energy to have this hanging over me, does leaving it incomplete fit into the vision I have of my life?
  4. Just start moving towards completion – obviously the emotional rush that fueled the beginning of the project has since died down so I know that a restart is going to be strictly based in a logical step-by-step motion instead of a happy, high-flying emotional process.
  5. Take baby steps and applaud each one – “chunk it down”, “bite-size pieces”, “baby steps”… however small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things each little step is, they are part of the process and by my acknowledging completion of each one I will be able to create momentum that will help to bring the emotional rush back to drive the project over the finish line.
  6. Review the times this process has worked in the past. By looking back at restarts that resulted in completed projects I build an admittedly amazing list of “I can do this”!

Intellectually I know that not all projects should be completed. Sometimes it makes more sense to throw it all out and start all over from the beginning – like burning dinner. Emotionally, I have a hard time letting go of ideas and feel that starting over from the beginning flies in the face of the emotional high I had when I started the project in the first place.

Experience has taught me that I am not alone in this. I see incompletes all around the world. And I think I will never be completely rid of them, but with a system I can keep them in check!

So it’s off to the craft room for me to take those little baby steps and figure out how to get thru just one of those incompletes today! Wish me luck!

 

 

Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

The Scary Big Launch

HandiCraftDesigners was officially launched many years ago as a website that held crafts a group of us thought up and made happen in our own lives. But maintaining a website proved to be a real time killer that took away from the crafting itself, so we, unfortunately, let it go.

A job change situation has caused me to rethink that decision. I have now been unemployed for 16 days and I am probably looking at another 18 days before I can truly call myself employed again. So what do I do with all that time? I want to pour my heart and soul into my crafts again! What else? I know of no better way to take my mind off the stress that is currently all around this job thing.

At first I argued with myself about the time and energy that would be involved. Seriously? I currently have nothing but time and nervous energy that desperately needs to be focused some place constructive. I mean, how many times can I manicure my lawn? My weeds are beginning to feel that they might lose this battle we have waged against each other for so long.

Second, I just know I am not ready… the best time to launch a blog is when you have 5000 followers… right? Or, when you have a terabyte of content ready to go live? And better still, all the good blogs have been taken!

And then there is maintaining it over the long haul… “when I go back to work I will never have time to take care of any of it.”

Then every motivational book, dvd, cd, blog post, and Facebook Live broadcast came rushing back into my head and I mean they rushed in fast! Not in some orderly fashion so that I had time to line up my excuses and shoot them down, but bam, bam, bam one right after the other! There they were…

“Follow your passion” they said. “If not now, when?” “Baby Steps” “No time like the present.” “Be uniquely you and don’t worry about how others do it.” “Start at the beginning.” “It takes what it takes to make it work.” “There are enough hours in the day.” “People find the time for their musts, but not their shoulds.” “Jump in with both feet.” “Allow yourself to start slow.” “Don’t worry if you do it wrong, you will learn as you go.”

And that was not all. They kept appearing before my eyes as I pulled up WordPress and started working on my blog. Of course, I had started it a couple of months earlier but had not published it because it was not perfect yet. “So what, I am going live today!” I said to myself. And I did!!!! Yep, I had an About section, a Contact section, still don’t have a logo or banner I’m madly in love with, but those will come with time. And most importantly, I had 2 articles I had written (1 was actually from that initial attempt a few weeks ago.) I posted them anyway and I went live!

Oh, I am scared! You bet your life I’m scared. As things stand now they are far from perfect. Yet, how many times in my life have I just stopped something because it was not perfect? Always in the past that was my stopping point! Well, not anymore!

Stoked by the adrenaline rush I got when I hit that publish button, I decided it was time to add my patterns to Etsy. So I started working on my Etsy Shop. And that is not perfect either, but I am proud to say that it is up and running with 2 patterns I love up there for the world to see and buy! I am so excited about it!

On day 2 I added the second pattern and will keep adding them as they are ready. And by ready I mean a good quality at a fair price and easy for the customer to use. After posting my first one, I put a blurb in the HandiCraftDesigners Facebook group that all 91 of my followers could see! And not 1 like in 24 hours. That will not do. So today, after posting my second pattern on Etsy, I jumped into my personal Facebook page with all 461 “friends” after 3 hours I got 1 share and about 9 likes and 3 loves! So it’s better than yesterday and it will keep on getting better. Because I will keep on getting better.

The funny thing about making that giant first step and taking that leap of faith is once you get past the initial fear and quit worrying about winning awards, or becoming an over night success, or being humiliated for doing it wrong… it is a self-perpetuating rush that pushes you to the next level. Oh, I still scared to death! I still worry about critics! I still know I have a lot to learn! But for the first time in a very long time I am excited to get up in the morning and get on my computer!

I hope you can find your voice too! Take your idea and run with it! Don’t worry about the results, beyond what it takes to tweak the action your taking. Enjoy the things that make you happy and get it out there for the world to enjoy!

 

Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

The Life of a Multi-Passionate Crafter

You know you’re addicted to crafting when you wake up in the morning, pour your coffee and head straight to the craft room to grab everything you will need for the project that woke you up that morning!

Thankfully, days where project ideas wake me out of a deep sleep are generally started at least an hour earlier than normal. I already choose crafting over breakfast most days, imagine if I decided to choose crafting over work!

I have actually gotten a bit of a taste of that these last couple of weeks as my job of 7 years came to a close and I am working on getting the new office opened. The vast majority of that work has been from my home computer and that plants me right in the middle of Craft Central! So, as soon as I get the chance to take a break, it’s sew this, glue that, write this article, take those pictures…

Not only am I a Multi-Passionate Crafter, but I am also a Serial Starter! That’s right, I own it! I get passionate about a possible project and work on it like crazy for several hours and then the next project steals all the energy and alas, the first project gets put aside for a bit. It’s a never ending process. It’s my New Year’s Resolution every year! And still there I go. I guess the good part is the ideas for the next projects do not get lost in the shuffle and with my catch-up day, I do make myself come back and complete my incompletes!

At any given time I will have 5-6 projects going at once. Ideally, I would complete one and move on to the other, but that is not how my brain works, and I believe in working with what you have! I have found that a break in a project gives me an opportunity to think about the next steps before jumping in there and possibly making of mess of a great beginning. I have also found that without a passion for the task at hand what I generally end up with is a terrible mess. So I always follow my passion.

This will be the chronological journal of the projects that I have going on at any point in time. I will update articles on days when I revisit a project and work more diligently to actually complete more projects in a day or two, because the world is watching!

The categories are many as well, from knitting, to counted cross stitch, sewing, gardening, home repairs and décor to recycle/reuse/repurpose. All of them are a huge part of what will be present in this blog. So thank you for joining me on this incredible journey and now, as they say, sit back and enjoy the ride!