Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Life in a Nutshell: A Virtual Smorgasbord of December Projects

Well, it’s been a relatively slow couple weeks for blogging, but I assure you I’ve quite busy with projects. Etsy work, minor household repairs, Christmas decorating, buying and making gifts and crafting a couple things just for me. I’ve been enjoying myself, learning some new things, reading amazing things by some amazing crafters and looking forward to Christmas celebrations with my family and friends. Being 6 months pregnant has, so far, not really affected my energy for these preparations. I’m very grateful for that, and I’m trying to make it continue by not over-working myself. I’m trying to keep this Advent truly mindful of the season and cut out as much stress as possible. If that means a few more store-bought things and a  few less nights of staying up too late and regretting it the next day, that is just fine with me.

That said, most days have been very productive, and I’ve gotten to interact with a lot of people lately via Etsy. Lots of thoughtful men purchasing gifts for their women. The positive feedback from recent sales has also been very uplifting. Here are a few of my favorites feedback comments from the past couple days:

“I've loved the store forever but held off on making a purchase until now. I wish I hadn't waited so long! The flower pins are even better in person, very delicate and detailed.”
“Wow, the work on these is amazing, such delicate details, they lay perfectly and fluff up beautifully after they come through the mail. Can't wait to put these in a few stockings for the holidays this year ... they're excellent stocking stuffers."
“This is truly one of my favorite Etsy shops! High-quality and BEAUTIFUL products, professional and friendly service and fast shipping too!”
Given the seasonal rush of sales, I’ve been busy making new varieties of reclaimed wool flower pins to stock TheJuneBride Etsy shop for the tail end of the holiday rush. Etsy suggests colors to be featured each month (here’s where you’d find that info), and December’s selections include gold, silver, berry hues and teal/turquoise colors. I decided to stock heavy in those shades and, interestingly, it seems to be working… those items are selling more! How neat!


Admittedly, there has been a lot of online shopping going on here too. Some of it was out of desperation for well-fitting maternity clothes, and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of some wardrobe basics with breathing (and growing) room. And then there’s Amazon, the ubiquitous gift center for people of all ages who care for things more digital. I also got a great hard-copy pattern for little kid “kung-fu” pants from shortees via trade (I love trading on Etsy!!).  I haven’t made any yet, but there’s a new baby boy at my husband’s office and I’d love to try some teeny tiny ones as a gift (to go with this cute onesie I traded from CuddleCanvas). They should work up quick, so I should really get to it (and then blog about it!). I also traded for this sweet fused-glass Christmas tree pendant from WillowWoods. My Grandma was the lucky recipient of that item, and I love the fact that it could be used as an adorable ornament if it doesn’t suit her style fancy.

Oh, and I’m forgetting one of my favorite Etsy purchases yet… some amazing handmade soap from SoapySweetTreats. It’s basic in terms of shape, packaging and (best of all) the price. Really wonderful HUGE bars of great-smelling soap at an exceptional price (with free Priority shipping). I purchased it for shaving in the shower (and for satisfying some of my pregnancy-related smell cravings) and I will definitely buy from this shop again (if I ever run out of the amount I bought… 6 bars with assorted scents). The soap here was just as wonderful in use as the (perhaps more photogenic) soaps at the very popular Etsy shop DennisAnderson, but cost less than half as much per ounce ($0.59 vs $1.26). This little comparison really emphasizes the value of successful marketing in one’s pricing ability, but I’m so happy that I found a fantastic “no-frills” shop. It was like getting soap at a farmer’s market, but with better selection and no barn animal smells.

I’ve also personally made a few Christmas gifts, but since I haven’t given them yet, I can’t show you now or I’d spoil the surprise!! But believe me, they turned out better than anticipated and I couldn’t be happier about it. More are on the agenda, though I also plan to abandon that ship if it starts causing me anxiety. Most are for my kids anyway, and they won’t notice :)

I’ve long been inspired by JulieGarland, and the earrings and necklace set I made a few days ago were directly inspired by this gorgeous design of hers. My gold-filled set cost about $12 to make, and I love it. I just love the sparkles… I’m ready to party!


And (“Will this random post ever end?” you’re thinking), since I was flying solo (with 3.5 kids) for a few days while my husband was on a business trip, some of my lonely evening hours were spent researching garment pattern design software. I ultimately decided that Cochinelle was the right fit for my needs and budget, and I’m hoping that this 2-person company can process and ship my order in time for me to play around with it before Christmas. The reviews are excellent, but so far the speed is a little depressing. I’ll keep you posted!

When my husband got back, we decorated the house… lights are up outside, the wreath is welcoming, the six stockings are hung by the chimney with care and the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree has ended with a pre-lit one that will hopefully last for many many years to come (I’ve never had a real tree, so I don’t know what I’m missing, in case you were wondering). We have yet to put ornaments on the tree, but it’s up and glittering in our front window. Less festive, I’ve also replaced my oven light (Did you know that happiness is being able to see the food you’re cooking? It is). And ordered new belts and filters for my vacuum cleaner. A working vacuum cleaner is even more sublime than an oven light. New belts make the thing run like new, and the annual replacement brings me joy as I contemplate the crumb situation that will ail us until the children move out. Oh yes, pure joy.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’m sure I’ll post again with some Christmas baking and other projects, but I’m not too optimistic about being as faithful to the blog as I have been earlier this season. Ah well, seasons of life :)

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