Monthly Archives: August 2009

Etsy for Mistys in many easy steps

A while back I asked you all if I should open an Etsy store. A couple of you replied that I should. I talked to Stephen about it (more than he ever wanted to hear, I’m sure) and I decided that I would go for it. My goal was (and still is) to finish the lighthouse cross-stitch piece before I jump into the Etsy pool. But I’ve been dipping my toe in the water for the past week just to see how the water is.

Step 1: Research is for Scoobies
I’ve been doing research. It feels like I’ve looked at every page on the Etsy store front. I know this is impossible, but I’ve looked at a lot of people’s shops, their mastheads, what they charge and what they’ve sold. I’ve been looking for that magic bullet that makes some stores so successful. The good news from all this research is that I’ve not really found anything quite like what I do. But does that mean the bad news is people won’t be interested?

I’ve read articles on getting up and running and how to get in with the Etsy folks so that they might feature me. I’ve joined a ton of flickr groups, which seems to be one of the ways you promote the goods in your store. I’ll be adding a link on this site so you, my faithful readers, will be able to easily access my store for all your notebook-buying needs. I won’t be placing any ads just yet, but I’m hoping I’ll get a mention or three on friend’s blogs so more folks can find me.

I’ve got a good idea of the categories of products I’m going to offer. I’m trying to make myself stick with what I do well for now and see how it sells. But I keep thinking, “I could make THIS for the shop!” “THAT will definitely sell!” “I should make 50 of those!” But then I look at the short list I’m trying to focus on and remind myself that I need to make the few things that my friends have enjoyed and not be distracted by new possible crafts.

I need to do a bit more work figuring out how to set up my payment options. I have a Paypal account, but I need to hook it to my business checking account. I need to figure out the shipping part of the shop and have all that stuff in place. Basically, I just need a giant block of time to sit down, go over my options, and get it all typed up.

Step 1a: Panic

Step 2: Graphic Design for Shop Girls
I have the name I’m going to call my shop. No, I’m not quite ready to share it yet. I have no idea for the image(s) I’m going to use for my masthead and product labeling. I feel like a big ol’ dork since this is what I do, but I think I have performance anxiety. I want it to be exactly right yet I’m unsure of what note to strike to make it awesome. I’m hoping inspiration will hit me. Barring inspiration, I’m hoping once Liza is back in school, I’ll have some time I can dedicate to figuring it out by good old-fashioned hard work.

A side bar to the graphic design work I need to do for the shop: I also really want to get my graphic design portfolio online. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have put it off and put it off until it’s just ridiculous. I’d like to be able to mention it in my Etsy store so that folks can potentially hire me for that as well. I don’t know where this is going to fit into the schedule since Stephen is deep into Dragon*Con and is unlikely to be able to do the work for our site before the middle of September. I suppose I could figure out how to do it myself, but have you seen this plate I’m currently carrying here? Full, full, and full. Of course, I’m supposing I’m going to have the shop ready before then. Maybe I’m crazier than I thought.

Step 2a: More Panic and consider chucking it all to read the latest Suzanne Brockmann instead.

Step 3: I can haz prodkt?
Thursday, I wanted desperately to start making pieces to put in the shop but my first attempt caused me a massive round of performance anxiety, again. Yesterday, I cleaned off my desk and I am going to concentrate on finishing the lighthouses for the next few days before I start again. It’s hard though because my brain is screaming, “Go. Go! GO!” I’ve been shopping and have a ton of supplies. I feel like now that I’ve made the decision, I need to work. Then the rational part of me remembers the things that need to be in place before all that. I think the ideas for making things will be there but the shop needs to be in good shape before people get there. I can always add more and more product but I only have once chance to make a good impression with the business end of it all.

Seriously, there were more steps when I started taking notes on this process a few weeks ago. Now I’m starting to panic about the time I’ve spent writing this when I could have been: a: Working on the lighthouses, b. Making new crafts for my store, or c. Panicking some more.

Photo Catch Up

There were 3 in the bed and the little one said...
This is how Megan and I keep our kids out of trouble. See how it works?

May's Birthday
From our weekend at the lake in Arkansas. You can imagine the kind of birthday May had with all her grandchildren in one spot.

Noah, Liza, Sam, and Eli
The obligatory grandchildren on a brown couch photo. As Andrew said, “Everywhere we go, there are brown leather couches.”

The only time Eli and Liza agree.
See? More brown couches. This time with the optional box attachment.

Liza and Eli's favorite toy: ¡Tim!
I don’t know why we’ve never gotten a photo with the kids and ¡Tim! so here’s one for the record books.

A break from Dad Jungle Gym
This photo cracks me up. Everyone is doing exactly what they do best in this photo.

First Day of School
Finally, Eli’s first day of school. I can’t wait for him to get home and tell me all about it.

Maybe They Meant a Chevy Suburban

A little over a week ago, we went back to Arkansas to have some time with my family. We stayed on Greers Ferry Lake, one of the several Arkansas lakes brought to you by your local Corps of Engineers and their dams. We visited, swam in the lake, and Andrew and I water-skied. For those of you who haven’t tried water skiing before, you float behind a boat while wearing skis and a life jacket and holding onto a tow rope. The boat leaps forward and, assuming you don’t let the rope be yanked out of your hands, you are suddenly on your feet being dragged at ferocious speeds behind the boat, at least until the fates conspire and you end up somersaulting into the water. It’s a great chance to discover how surface tension works in a very personal and painful way.

We also got to enjoy the local signs, like the one for a nearby flea market.

Ya'll Come Flea Market

Then there was the sign for a local housing development.

Timber Lake Acres - Enjoy Suburban Living

You, too, can enjoy suburban living in lovely Higden, AR, population 101. Maybe it’s closer to a larger city, though.

Map of Higden and Greers Ferry, AR

Hm, Greers Ferry does have around 950 people, but that hardly seems urban. Let’s try zooming out a bit.

Map of Heber Springs, AR

Aha, there’s Heber Springs, population 6,500, within twenty minutes. That must be the urban area.

(I kid, of course. If you drive an hour you can get to Searcy, with nearly 20,000 people.)

So if you want to enjoy some suburban living without the need for an urban population center, have I got a place for you.

Also, The Snacks Sucked

I attended kindergarten in a squat nondescript 1960s-era building. Years later I had some of my 8th grade classes there when my hometown decided to add 7th grade to the junior high school and that school ended up annexing the building. In January of that year I walked into the building to hear that the Space Shuttle Challenger had disintegrated.

But the bad memories started in kindergarten. I had the misfortune of having a teacher who wasn’t quite sure what to do with young hyperactive me. I had given up naps long before I went to school, yet the teacher was determined that I’d lie down on a mat and close my eyes. I worked long and hard at that.

And yet, the teacher knew there was something wrong with me. Eventually she pulled my parents aside. “I think he may be anti-social and I think he may be slow. You should have him tested.”

My mom, of course, freaked the hell out. There was something wrong with her first-born son! My dad the university professor got one of his colleagues in psychology to run me through a battery of tests.

The result: my IQ was more than fine and I seemed socially well adapted. “He’s reading?” he asked my parents. “My guess is he’s bored out of his mind.”

At one point in the school year, when I was sitting on the toilet, another kid peed on me. Later they weren’t going to let me graduate from kindergarten because I didn’t know how to skip, so I got to spend weeks learning how.

Here’s hoping Eli’s memories are better!


We rushed home from our weekend visiting with Stephen’s family to attend open house at Eli’s school.

I expected the school to look like the elementary school I attended: one very long hallway with second grade at the end nearest the offices and stretching to fifth grade at the far end, and Kindergarten, first grade, and sixth grade outside the building in trailers for reasons I never quite understood.

I started Kindergarten in a trailer near the cafeteria. It had dark paneling (I did start school in the 70s) and the bathroom was in a separate building. I remember this very clearly because every day at nap time, I cried so hard I had to go to the bathroom to pull myself together. I don’t know now why I cried. I enjoyed the other kids and getting to go to one of the first grade rooms for reading. It’s true I didn’t get along with my teacher but that doesn’t seem like the reason in retrospect.

I carried all of those memories with me into Eli’s classroom. His is bright with giant windows. There’s a rug at the front of the room near the white board. There are more books in his classroom than in the children’s department of the public library behind our house, maybe more than is in the whole library. There’s a pretend kitchen and a corner that looks like a shrunken mad-scientist lab. The teacher’s desk is a low table. She has three lamps at different locations; it looks as if you could curl up and spend the day reading if you needed to take a break. Like the mom in Tom Goes to Kindergarten, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to want to continue going to Kindergarten after the first day.

In those first few moments as I was taking in the place where Eli will have his first formal educational experiences, I have to admit I teared up a little. Because without even knowing I wanted it, I know just from looking around that room and meeting his teacher that he’s going to have better memories than I do. It makes the transition a little easier for me to bear.

We’ll Be Back

But not for a few more days. We snuck away from the Internet to have some family time, which so far has involved very little blood and only one boating accident. You’ll just have to imagine the fun we had, at least until we get back and share it with the entire world.