Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Back-Burner

   Unfortunately, it's that time of year again, when I set my writing aside for Etsy. I made the decision more tactically this time around, however, and decided to put my book on the back-burner at an opportune moment in the story rather than when I simply can't spare the time to write and handle Etsy orders. It does feel a little premature because, if I'm honest, my shop is not moving at all right now, but I feel happier putting it aside on my own terms, and I have other projects I want to do before November gets here which this will give me the time to do.
   I've been given another tarot story which I'd like to get done before November 1st, or by November 11th at the latest. I'll be away for the first week of the month, so I can use downtime then to get it done if need be.
   I'd also like to write a seasonal short story, too, and I'd like to get a drawing done for it before I leave, and then the story itself can be poked at through November/into December.
   I also have some book art I really want to get done before December. My eyes are too weak to stare intensely at a screen drawing and then move on to writing, it's too much, so I decided to do what should hopefully only be a week's worth of work over three weeks instead, and use my writing time for that. With any luck, it'll be done by December.

   So I have a lot of things I can do with my time while waiting for sales to kick off. Assuming, of course, that they do.
   I confess that this has been the worst year I've ever had on Etsy, and with a massive financial earthquake earlier in the year, this has been the toughest I've ever experienced and it's brought me to tears more often than I'd like to admit. The only thing that's kept me sane has been the improvement I've seen in distribution of and response to The Zi'veyn. But that, unfortunately, barely covers a cup of coffee every month. Fortunately I don't drink coffee, so those pennies go into my savings, but all the same, it barely makes a dent.
   I've been in a pretty poor mood about it all lately, to the point of even dreaming about money problems. But I guess that's part of being an adult. I don't like to complain about it because I know others are in worse positions, but sometimes - like this morning on twitter - it just sort of comes out. Fortunately in a small, quickly-staunched trickle, but I'm ashamed of it all the same.
   Running a business all by yourself, while being a full-time carer and trying to start a writing career (which itself is an even longer, slower process, both in actually creating a single product and then convincing people it's worth their time), well, it's tricky, and even for someone with as sturdy a mindset as me, things can easily weigh. I have a lot of straw on my back - lots of it, admittedly, put there by myself - and it doesn't take much to break it.

   Either way, I'm doing all I can, and I also admit that I have been enjoying working on new pieces, but I'm also glad I'm almost done. My husband and I are going to The Netherlands next month - staying with his parents and seeing friends and family, so it's a cheap get-away, at least - and I'm looking forward to that week away from work and exercise. I'm seriously starting to feel worn down, but I'm also incapable of taking time off of anything without a good excuse (a good excuse in this case being there are no weights available to use).

   I promise my next post will be more cheerful!



Unique Woodland Gifts

   A quick update with last week's new pieces, all woodland themed: sika deer, red fox, barn owl, pine marten & silver fox (melanistic, as demanded by my husband).

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/744505465/deer-necklace-woodland-terrarium?ref=shop_home_active_15&pro=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/745610857/red-fox-necklace-woodland-ornament?ref=shop_home_active_11&pro=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/745346695/barn-owl-necklace-woodland-ornament?ref=shop_home_active_12&pro=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/730912650/pine-marten-woodland-necklace-ornament?ref=shop_home_active_14&pro=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/745061681/silver-fox-necklace-woodland-terrarium?ref=shop_home_active_13&pro=1




Thursday, 17 October 2019

Unique Christmas Gifts for Animal Lovers 2019

   Excuse the desperate SEO title.
   I am so proud of myself. I was supposed to be making animals all year for Christmas stock, but I completely neglected forgot all about it. I was seriously kicking myself until a month and a half ago when I decided to make something I should have made long ago - custom miniature cat and custom miniature dog jar listings. Then that sort of spiralled into making and listing brand new things every week, with a crafting schedule. The plan has been to sculpt some things one week, paint them the next, and list them the next, which has meant that I've been splitting my week between sculpting new things, painting the previous week's sculptures, and listing the sculptures from the week before that, and that's been going on since mid September with an end goal of October 31st, before bringing out my Christmas/winter-specific pieces throughout November - and I've nearly done it!
   I've even started supplying the animals' presence in folklore and mythology on the listings again ^^ I chose 'Myth of the Wild' for a reason! Well, that, and because 'wild' kind of is a myth now. Fences don't keep nature out anymore, they keep it in.

This is the schedule, including links to all new pieces already listed:

16th - 20th September: miniature dogs x 5
23rd - 27th September: miniature cats x 5
30th - 3rd October: wild dogs x 2 (+ St Bernard & new miniature korok)
7th - 11th October: big cats x4
14th - 18th October: miniature woodland animals x5
21st - 25th October: miniature birds of prey x5 (currently being painted)
28th - 31st October: miniature desert animals x3 (hopefully 4) (currently being sculpted)
1st - 19th November: Christmas & winter pieces x19

   I've also put together my order deadlines, both for standard orders for the UK and International, as well as the expected cut-off for custom orders. Custom orders means private requests, as well as the custom korok, custom dog, custom cat, and custom book flower listings. The date might change, in which case it will be announced on twitter and facebook, BUT, as long as you see the custom koroks, dogs or cats listed, custom orders ARE still open. If you're in doubt, however, by all means just get in touch. I respond daily (though I turn my phone off at 8pm GMT)

•❅• Standard Christmas 2019 Order Deadlines •❅•
UK: December 15th, 1pm
Everywhere Else: November 23rd*, 1pm GMT
Final posting date is December 17th, no exceptions.

•❅• Custom Christmas 2019 Order Deadlines •❅•
Worldwide: November 13th

If workload demands this date is changed (pushed back or forwards), this post will be updated. This applies to the custom book flowers, koroks, cats and dogs listings, as well as general private requests.

*Orders placed after this date will be processed as quickly as possible and posted out within a few days. There's every good chance it will reach you before Christmas if placed before December 1st


    Anyway, onto the pitch:

   Fantastically unique wildlife gifts for animal lovers - tiny animals in glass bottles! Available as necklaces, hanging ornaments or standing ornaments, they're easy wildlife gifts for grandad as well as for your sister! Perfect gifts for zoo keepers, gifts for conservationists, gifts for vets, gifts for pet owners - and I make custom pieces, too! If there's a specific animal you'd like, don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll give you a price! I also make custom dog ornaments - either of your preferred breed and colour, or even a custom miniature of your own pet dog! The same goes for custom miniatures of your own pet cat!
   Handmade in the UK with worldwide shipping. £1.50 UK shipping, $4.50 worldwide.


https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/741630251/striped-hyena-miniature-necklace?ref=shop_home_active_11&frs=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/743220045/snow-leopard-necklace-ornament-wildlife?ref=shop_home_active_7&frs=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/744505465/deer-necklace-woodland-terrarium?ref=shop_home_active_3&frs=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/400884559/gannet-necklace-terrarium-miniature?ref=shop_home_active_34&frs=1
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MythOfTheWild?section_id=27168671







Wednesday, 2 October 2019

New Etsy Stock & Sale

   I've been keeping busy since my shift in mindset a couple of weeks ago, and I've been making and painting new pieces for the past 3 weeks, with 4 more weeks planned before I focus on restocking the usual best-sellers. I have to admit, I am really quite enjoying it. That could be a novelty, but I'm embracing it while it lasts! The week before last, I listed lots of dogs, including a custom dog ornament, and last week I gave cats the same treatment with a few stand alone pieces and a custom cat ornament.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/721379720/custom-dog-miniature-pet-lover-gift-dog

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/738934717/custom-cat-necklace-ornament-gift-for

   This week I'm turning my attention back to wildlife. I listed an additional dog on Monday - a miniature St Bernard - and a new tiny red korok to join my permanent line-up, who is delightfully autumnal ^^ But from here on out, they'll be woodland and wildlife creatures, including a restock on some long-sold-out pieces like my African painted wolves.
   I have plans for all the creatures I want to have listed by the 25th of October, but I still have that final week of October that I want to create new listings for, but I've got no ideas for creatures. It seems a long way off, but I can preserve a lot of my writing time if I make creatures one week, paint them the next, and list them the week after that - which means I want to be making these new, mysterious creatures from 14th to the 18th and painting them 21st to the 25th. So I have some thinking to do.
   Which also means I already have this week's listings and next week's listings all painted, and the creatures for the week after that sitting on my crafting tray waiting to be fired ^^ Productivity!

Listing Schedule:
  
7th - 11th October: big cats x4
14th - 18th October: woodland x4
21st - 25th October: birds of prey x4
28th - 31st October: random animals I have yet to actually come up with x3-5
1st - 19th November: Christmas & winter pieces x19

I'm also currently running a small 10% off sale until Sunday 6th. 'Cause, y'know, Christmas is coming.



Sunday, 29 September 2019

Autumn, My Heart

   It's remarkable how much calmer I've gotten since autumn set in. It's cooler now, the days are shortening, evenings drawing in, there's spice in damn near everything, and Hotel Chocolat have brought their autumn selection back - easily one of my favourites.


   I've learned a lot about myself this year, and there are two things in particular that have been crucial.
   First, I realised that, while I love Christmas, it's not Christmas Day I really care for anymore. It's December 1st to the 24th. It's the atmosphere, the food, the decorations, the music, the yoga under the tree lights on dark mornings. The reason that's important is because it quite suddenly takes the strain off of a single day to be 'perfect' - even though my idea of a 'perfect' Christmas has come to just mean 'tolerable', which in turn really just means my oldest nephew behaves for the hour he comes to visit (not easy for a 10 year old).
   By realising it's the 1st to the 24th that matter, it means that, if one day in those 3 weeks isn't particularly good, it's okay, because there are 23 more, and I have that much time to bring the year to a good and enjoyable end. It also makes Christmas as a whole so much less stressful.

   The second is understanding the awful misery I get in the summer - and why I feel so freaking good right now.
   Come June, I always begin to experience feelings of being trapped, that I live my life - my days, my weeks - by the same routine I have done for 10 years and that I have nothing at all to look forward to except more of the same. And it makes me angry on top of miserable because I know that it's not something I can change by adjusting my lifestyle. My mum isn't going to suddenly get better, which means that I must remain living at home and stuck indoors at all times until we're in a position to get help.
   The funny thing is, staying in has never actually bothered me - I was always an indoor teenager - and I never really notice it until the heat moves in. You might think "that's normal - it's because the weather's nice! You just want to get outside." Erm, no. I hate the heat. My ideal days are cold and rainy.
   It was actually my honeymoon that threw the whole matter into perspective.
   We had an unseasonal heatwave in England in late April/early May this year, and I remember feeling suddenly depressed, lazy, angry, and that I had nothing to look forward to and life was a dreary hole. Until I realised that, actually, I had my honeymoon coming up in two weeks in an amazing cabin by a lake, something I'd been excited about it since we booked it a year and a half before. Bang. What was I really feeling trapped by? What was really inescapable, day after day? Heat. When it's uncomfortably warm every single day and there's nothing you can do but sit in front of a fan in your underwear with no skin contact and 0 concentration or ability to get anything done.
   We went on our honeymoon and it was, genuinely, the best holiday I've ever had in my life, both for the company and location. And the heatwave had passed just beforehand, too, and I was feeling much happier until it set back in in July. And then I was miserable again until this month, when it began at last to cool down.

   I've found myself sighing in contentment even though my days have gone the same way they have all year - in fact, I've had additional stress these past couple of months in particular. And yet, I find it so easy to smile. I spontaneously tell my husband I love him every hour rather than every four. I'm sleeping better, I'm less rigid in bed, my neck doesn't tighten up. The world is a brighter place.
   Because it's below 18 degrees.

   I've always said I'm a winter girl, but I don't think that's necessarily true. I am just absolutely not a summer girl. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is usually associated with the onset of winter, but it turns out that I genuinely suffer it during the summer. Fortunately (?) Etsy tends to slow down in the summer, so I have less work to do and subsequently less to focus on, and while it's not easy to sit and write in the heat (thinking, urgh), it's easier than a lot of other kinds of work.
   Now autumn has set in, my productivity is up, both on my writing, on Etsy and in my workouts. I'm also generally keen to do stuff now, and went out to Westonbirt Arboretum for the equinox with my parents (wheelchair accessible, yaaaay). There were leaves, cake and dogs. Good times.

   What's your favourite thing about autumn? Aside from pumpkin spice, Halloween or changing leaves.